When I was a kid there was a local pizza place where the neighborhood kids and I hung around. On Long Island there is a ma-and-pop’s pizza parlor in every cluster of stores, red, green and white variations on the same theme: real, Italian food. Much like bagels and Chinese take-out, Long Island did these things right. Being just outside New York City, it had to. Pizza is a big part of Long Island’s family culture. A big warm box on your lap for the 3-minute car ride away brought the corners of together. On their own, pizzerias serve a different function to the suburban kid. They had an arcade game or two. They had off hours and rarely were there groups dining in, save for few utilitarian eaters. And they had pizza guys, family men who took on mediator/babysitter in many youths’ unofficial after-school program. I remember Vinnie, the busy proprietor of Vinnie’s Pizzeria and his partner, slightly less ambitious and slightly more entertained by the packs of tweens and teens loitering the front and back, using the parlor as hallway, dining room and game room. I forget his name but remember the pieces of raw pizza dough; I remember watching the stand-up mixer spinning round and round; I remember paying for my white slice with broccoli with coins… which he pushed away after the complicated task of sorting through it, expelling the candy wrappers and determining its value registered. Thanks for all the slices.