Like the debate over which Ray's is the original, the fight over who has New York City's best slice will likely never end. But a good chunk of people—from celebrities to tourists to dyed-in-the-wool New Yorkers—would bestow that honor on Famous Joe's. Those people are 100% correct. Joe's—they're famous enough that no one bothers with the word in their name—serves no-frills slices to a never-ending queue of pizza lovers in Greenwich Village.
The walls are covered in pictures of celebrities posing with the guys behind the counter, who are such fixtures of the place that they have a certain cachet of their own. The 75 year-old owner, Neapolitan immigrant Joe Pozzuoli, still owns and operates the joint after four decades, which goes a ways toward explaining the consistent quality of the pizza. Yes, you have seen Joe's in Spider-man 2, when The Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi was berating Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker for not delivering pizzas fast enough. Those were the heady days before Joe's was displaced from the corner of Carmine and Bleecker by a fancy-pants gelato store—they now live half a block away. But where they are is immaterial, in the long run, because the best pizza is the best pizza no matter where you get it. Just as long as you get it at Joe's.
Famous Joe's Pizza is located in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan. The western slice of Greenwich Village—although some will tell you it's a separate neighborhood altogether; don't listen to them—the West Village is a somewhat sleepier version of its larger neighborhood, with many tree-lined streets populated by residential buildings and punctuated ever-so-lightly with restaurants and bars. The locals have fought notoriously hard throughout the years to keep raucous bars and clubs from staying open—or even opening at all—to preserve the relative quiet of their neighborhood. The West Village stretches east from the Hudson River to 6th Avenue, and north from Houston Street to West 14th. It's northwestern corner is chewed off by the Meatpacking District, where the very sorts of restaurants and bars West Village residents try to keep out of their 'hood flourish. The majority of Bleecker Street's dining, shopping, and drinking options exist on the West Village's end of the street, with a small shopping mecca surrounding the intersection of 7th Avenue, where many high-end retailers have stores, like Brooks Brothers' Black Fleece, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Burberry, Marc Jacobs, and a whole lot more. There's plenty of history here, and the bars are no exception—Dylan Thomas famously stumbled out of the White Horse Tavern heavy with whiskey on the night he expired at the Hotel Chelsea. For those aiming to avoid the thumping, throbbing nightclubs of the Meatpacking District, jazz can be had at Fat Cat, the legendary Village Vanguard, and smaller, quieter establishments like 55 Bar. If you'd like a more structured day of drinking, the folks at the Literary Pub Crawl put on a fantastic and informative tour. The sophisticated residents of the West Village have led a number of excellent restaurants to open in the neighborhood, from Italian favorite Sant Ambroeus, April Bloomfield's game-changing gastropub The Spotted Pig, Yerba Buena, and Perry St.. Of course, if you're not in the mood for high-end cuisine in mood-inducing settings, there's pizza on offer at John's of Bleecker Street, but you'd be better served by walking a little further east and feasting one our favorite New York slice at Joe's. And if it's a burger you're looking for, the city's first Umami Burger is lurking over on 6th Avenue, while perennial favorite Corner Bistro is on 7th. While the West Village is low on museums, it has two of the best independent cinemas in the city between Film Forum and neighborhood landmark IFC Center.
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