I’m sitting with a bunch of Little Leaguers in East Harlem's Patsy's of pasta/pizza fame, when I watch a bus drive up and disembark a parade of half-hundred hungry-eyed men, women and children led by a Woody Allen-ish guy named Scott whose voice starts booming as soon as he enters the place -- "Here's what I was telling you about." He's excited, engaged, entertaining, truly in tune with his army, all of whom are rapt with attention.
I think to myself: This guy knows what he's doing! So, I can’t help asking one of the marchers, "What's going on?" and she replies enthusiastically in a thick British accent, "We’re taking a tour around New York City to sample the best pizza and learn all about where and how it's made and who's making it." Scott quickly assembles his friends at tables, then orders them into the kitchen where they meet their makers, the guys who bake pizzas "to die for." Next, I know, everyone's eating, drinking, talking, laughing -- I haven't seen fun like this since Saturday Night Live went live.
Then I meet Scott himself and he tells us that he runs the tour, has been for a couple of years. He takes a busload or two of people every day to different pizza joints in the Big Apple -- Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, etc. Most of the people are out-of-towners and out-of-countries and they love it, you can see it in their eyes and on their fingertips. Right then, I decide that regardless of what this guy charges (and it isn't much, especially considering what you get), I'm joining one of his trips. I did and ate some really great pizzas and listened to Scott's enormous knowledge and anecdotes about the history of pizza not only in NYC but in the world. I had a ball.
If you've got kids, they'll love it even more than you do. When they get home, they can tell their friends and families that they've done something few people even in New York City do, but thousands soon will: Eat the best pizza in the pizza capital of the world in half a working day without doing any work. In the process, they also saw the real NYC and its people -- in their own neighborhoods, high end and low. They'll then know, as all veteran New Yorkers know, that there's a whole lot more to the Big Apple than Times Square, Broadway and Rockefeller Center glitz. And you won't have to buy them dinner!
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