Eating outdoors during COVID-19 – not always how you imagine

While outdoor seating has become far more prolific in New York City than it ever has been before, it does not always work out exactly the way you would imagine. While some restaurants in certain neighborhoods have been able to take over their sidewalks and even parking spots front of their restaurants with outdoor tables and chairs for dining, not every business has been able to enjoy this luxury and offer this option to its customers. Many are still relying on takeout and delivery only. Some, attempting to do what they can with limited space, have maybe one or two 2-top tables just outside their front door. They’re doing everything they can with what they have.

We did our weekly Saturday day trip to another neighborhood today, and this time, we visited Carroll Gardens and Red Hook. And the spot we ended up choosing to get food from, Lucali, had no seating at all outside; it was takeout only. It’s actually a place that has been on my list for a long time given it’s supposedly the best Brooklyn pizza in all of New York City, and it normally commands waits of 3-4 hours, as they take no reservations normally, and they are also cash only. So in some way, COVID-19 has allowed us to try this famed pizza with zero wait! Once we picked up the pizza, the next challenge was… where to eat this darn thing?

We walked around aimlessly for a while, struggling to find a bench or somewhere to sit that was semi shaded during this hot summer day. In the end, we finally settled on a stoop… right at a random public school nearby. We sat there and ate an entire pie, just the two of us. And it was likely one of the best pizzas I’d ever eaten in my life. The crust and base were so light and airy but crisp. The cheese was light, chewy, and had just the right amount of saltiness. And the tomato sauce had a little tang and wasn’t too sweet. The fresh basil thrown on whole on the top was like icing on a cake. It was the most expensive Margherita pizza we’d ever eaten at $28 for the pie, but it was truly worth every last cent.

Ahhhh. I’m so grateful to live in New York and be able to enjoy this, even during a global pandemic. And since we have lived in New York for quite some time, New Yorkers tend to be resourceful, so we certainly made the most of the situation and enjoyed it the way we could… on a stairway at school just before the downpour began.

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