Making the front page of the New York Times this weekend is the news that Ray's Pizza on Prince Street, which does not have either the word "original" or "famous" in its moniker but is widely believed to be New York's first Ray's pizzeria, is set to close after the San Gennaro Festival ends on September 25. According to the paper, the closing is due to a complicated family real estate battle that resulted in lawsuits, and "When the Ray in Ray’s, one of the owners of the building, died in 2008, a row arose over whether the restaurant’s lease was valid and whether it should pay rent."
The pizzeria was founded in 1959 by Ralph Cuomo, who also owned the building, and he named it Ray's because he thought Ralph's sounded "I don’t know, maybe too feminine." Cuomo, who yes, had mob ties and spent time in prison, briefly expanded to a second outpost uptown in 1960 and the subsequent owner decided to keep the name. Other, unrelated Ray's popped up after that.
The 79 year-old manager of Ray's and a cousin of Ralph's, Helen Mistretta, is looking for a new restaurant space for the business.
· Ray’s Pizza, the First of Many, Counts Down to Its Last Slice [~ENY~]