Fuller’s first writing suggestion to me for the inauguration of Bob Loblaw’s ImprovBlogLog (i.e. the recently offered alternative title for Strange Projections) was to focus humorously on one of his humorous observations about New York City. In improv, you might get the suggestion “pizza” or maybe, more specifically, “New York pizza.” But I’m not sure that anyone would call out “something funny about how the size of a slice of pizza increases the farther north you go in Manhattan.” Alas, Fuller’s vision is far more nuanced than your standard improv audience member, so here I am writing about (in quite the dilatory manner) how northern Manhattanites must be overcompensating for something with the bloated size of their pizza slices.
Have you ever noticed how the size of a slice of pizza increases the farther north you go in Manhattan? Neither have I. But apparently it’s a thing. A very serious thing too. Before we take a closer look, I should note that while the increasing thickness of slices of pizza as you move farther west in America, stopping with peak girth in Chicago, is an important issue to consider, it’s beyond the scope of this brief exploration. We’re mainly concerned with the sheer length and triangular area of Manhattan slices, meaning we will cast aside the hipster deconstructions happening over in Brooklyn and the no doubt soon-to-be-sauceless slices over in Queens. (Yes, that latter description is alluding to gentrification. It’s not that I don’t trust you, dear reader, to get my reference to white pizza, I simply doubt my capacity to communicate anything clearly. So let me state things plainly: white people are a virus, and they will slice their way through every borough in the city, leaving a trail of pizza sauce on every corner.)
If you’re not familiar with Manhattan, it’s the penis to the Bronx’s scrotum. On this great shaft of land you can be treated to pretty much any sensual experience you can imagine, and you will be treated to every sensual experience you’d prefer not to imagine. (Ask Fuller about the smells. He’s quite the hound for a city’s scents, apparently.) Among these experiences is a food New York City is famous for: pizza. But did you know that there’s a competition afoot in the city? Well evidently, no one at the sensitive head of this penis in the financial district has. Because if you journey there, you’ll find little baby slices. Perhaps we could say that the businessmen down there have more refined tastes, smaller stomachs. Or that they’re too busy feasting on the faith of American citizens in our economy to have room for actual food.
Regardless, as you move away from this pleasure center and up the shaft toward Midtown, you’ll pass Little Italy and a bunch of Villages that don’t give a fuck, so stop measuring their slices, asshole.
In Midtown, the size of the slice isn’t as significant as the size of your wallet. But because all your gawking tourists are scurrying about here like the dumb lab rats in a maze that they are, you better have something big to feed them, and it doesn’t matter what they have to pay. Bigger the better, dammit, because this is America, and they didn’t come here for those embarrassingly small buffet slices over at CiCi’s. Fuck CiCi’s. Five dollars and change for an endless supply of repurposed pizza boxes. (Though to be fair, in Midtown, you’re gonna run into a few pizza boxes masquerading as food, where each slice costs the same as that grotesque buffet.)
Keep moving up the shaft, people. At this point, it should be getting hard. Hard to find a slice that fits comfortably in your mouth. Where cheese isn’t exploding everywhere off your lips and down your chin. Don’t be so dainty about it. Get it all in there! Yeah, that’s good isn’t it?
You could keep stroking your luck, hoping to find the best, biggest pizza slice there is, and chances are – by Fuller’s discerning standards – if you keep moving north, you’ll find it. That would take you into Harlem, and though you’re a fan of Luke Cage, you’re not that invested in pizza. Nor in changing your mind about your racist preconceptions.
But why not go play around with the Bronx a little bit? It’s right there, dangling at the periphery of your vision. Everyone pays attention to Manhattan, but the Bronx needs love too.