Petition Seeks To Ban Dollar Pizza From The Lower East Side

It’s four in the morning and your girlfriend/boyfriend just told you you’re not doing enough cardio. You’re devastated, sobbing, and stumbling, but you still want food. But do you go for the dollar slice across the street? Or do you find an open restaurant, sit down with friends, and order a Sunkist? It’s a tough choice, one you may make without weighing the pros and cons, but it’s a choice that you may not even have to make one day.

Residents of the Lower East Side have created a petition calling for the end of cheap pizza joints and pretty much “all pizzerias” in general. Directed at Community Board 3, which governs neighborhoods including the East Village, the LES, and Alphabet City, the petition emphasizes a need to “promote diversity in low to mid-priced food options for New York City’s Lower East Side.”

The pizza conflict is just one example of the struggle that many local businesses are starting t0 face as rent rates skyrocket and chains and large corporations move into the neighborhoods. As Gothamist reported earlier last year, these $1 pizza places first afflicted pizzerias such as Vinny Vincenz, which was forced to lower prices to stay in competition with the popups.

Still, the main question people consider when choosing between these pizzerias and smaller, local restaurants is the food’s quality vs. its quantity. When it’s late Saturday night, you’d probably go for the closest, cheapest food option, not really taking into account that the quaint tapas place next door might go out of business. Nevertheless, the LES petition is trying to decide for you, taking in mind the effect these cheap spots have on neighborhoods.

“It becomes a problem because a place like 2 Bros is convenient and cheap, but I know it’s sacrificing quality and is just bad for some of the small restaurants around,” LSP sophomore Nicole Khudoyan said. “I’d still probably go for the pizza, though.” The allure of one-dollar pizza places is evident. They’re like the Starbucks of pizzerias: efficient, found everywhere, and somewhat destructive to local businesses, but undoubtedly enticing to college students.

As for ideal alternatives to pizza places — both dollar-slice ones and regular pizzerias — EV Grieve asked the spokesperson for the petition, a longtime LES resident, what the petition’s supporters hope will transpire from their efforts. “Anything besides a chain or $1 pizza,” the unnamed petitioner said. “More small joints like Mimi & Coco’s Japanese spot. It’s just so hard for small places to cover the rent and expenses and still scrape a living wage together.”

However, while the petition has good intentions, most college students probably aren’t thinking about the consequences their pepperoni slice has on the niche restaurants in their neighborhoods when they want a quick, cheap bite. After all, most people I asked said they’d still go for the pizza, not so much because they hate their neighborhoods or different food options, but because it just happens to be easier. The petition is currently underway with 29 out of 100 required signatures to take a stand against pizza.

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6 Comments

  • Molly Fabbri
    February 21, 2014

    If they were to eliminate dollar/cheap pizza, which they won’t because that’s ridiculous and this petition means nothing, it wouldn’t mean more money for the competing restaurants. People would just get more halal, hot dogs, and Mcdonalds.

  • Billy Richling
    February 21, 2014

    ^Agreed with Molly. There’s always been these sort of dirt cheap food options. They’re not the best quality-wise, but clearly they’ve found a successful niche. 2 Bros Pizza is NYC-grown, and I’m almost certain 99-cent Fresh Pizza is too, so it’s not like a massive McDonalds or Papa John’s coming in and destroying neighborhoods. High-end places like Julianna’s and Grimaldi’s seem to be doing fine. The mid-level places need to prove that their product is worth the extra cost and right now, it doesn’t seem like they can.

    Also, they’re trying to get 100 people? And they’re only at 29? Community Board 3 has about 163,000 people.

  • Kelly Weill
    February 21, 2014

    MORE DOLLAR PIZZA. MORE DOLLAR FALAFEL. MORE DOLLARS.

    I NEED TO FEED.

  • Jay Chilenski
    February 21, 2014

    What’s the big deal about pizza? You hate pizza that much that you’re trying to get every pizza joint shut down? So us normal citizens can not enjoy the cheesy saucy goodness that is the Zah? You should be deported and listed as a terrorist. Ban your hippie mentality. Douchebag.

  • SammyLongcak
    February 21, 2014

    Its not gonna happen because this is america and we can have 1$ pizza

  • Natalia Ramirez
    February 25, 2014

    Vinny Vincenz sucks anyway

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