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Oven in the Basement

When I first heard that Matt and Emily Hyland were expanding their Pizza Loves Emily reach into Manhattan, I squealed. Their Clinton Hill restaurant makes excellent wood-fired pizza and the newer Emmy Squared does Detroit-inspired pan pizzas in Williamsburg, but Manhattan remained an unknown country. Not only did they announce a new location in the works on the west side of the East River, the plan involved taking over one of the most incredible and curious restaurant spaces in the entire city. Blue Ribbon (known for its line of restaurants) had occupied the space at 35 Downing Street, at the corner of Bedford Street, for twenty-five years. When the lease came to an end and they decided not to re-up, the spot became vacant. Matt and Emily were drawn to it for a bunch of different reasons, non of which I have discussed with them (so I’m really just assuming here that they weren’t forced to take over the space but did it on their own accord), but perhaps the biggest selling point was the old brick oven built into its basement.

The oven is technically part of 33 Bedford Street (pictured above), not 35 Downing Street. That makes it a little hard to research because the 1940 tax photo doesn’t show the Bedford side of the block very well. I’ll have to go back and look at photos of the building next door to see if I can catch a glimpse of 33 Bedford. Hopefully there will be some clue about its use at the time (bakery sign, coal delivery truck, etc). I can also check the reverse phone directory at NYPL or New York Historical Society. Starting in 1929, there was a directory that listed by location so …read more

Source:: Scott Pizza Tours