Another thing I loved was that you could go out for lunch, and in fact we almost always did. I think I was in the cafeteria 3 times in my entire time at Stuyvesant.
Every other day, we’d be at one of the neighborhood places, either Blimpie’s, on the corner of 1st and 14th, or we’d go for pizza. There was also a Greek diner on First Avenue, but that was too rich for my (and my friends’) blood.
The pizza place almost everyone went to, was right next to the diner, and while the pizza was ok, the place was small and crowded. I don’t think it had more than 5 stools – it was like an old-time soda fountain, but with a pizza oven. You’d have to eat a slice dodging elbows, and greasy paper plates being passed over your head.
So most often, me and my Forest Hills/Rego Park/Briarwood geek posse would go to a place on 14th, between Avenue A and B. Unlike the one around the corner from Stuy, which basically made its living on students, this was more of a neighborhood joint.
It had a bunch of those Formica tables, and was never half-full, let alone crowded. I think they had a ‘student’s special’ of 2 slices and a Coke for $2.50 but I never saw any other kids from school. It was just us, and the people who lived across the street, in Stuyvesant Town.
I remember when we first started going there, I was amazed to learn that there were avenues that existed east of 1st Avenue, and they had letters. I had grown up in New York, and had no idea.
I don’t think the pizza was much better than the place around the corner from school but it was our place. They also remembered my name every time I came in - not too surprising, given that it was called Petes-A-Place.
I hadn’t been in there since 1981, but I knew it was still around, because I’d pass by, either on foot or the bus, to/from Banjo Jim’s. Ironically, it looks like welding work during installation of a fire-door at the pizza place, set the blaze off.
I don’t know if the original owners were still there and while fortunately, no lives were lost, and no major injuries sustained, Vanishing New York reports on some things that were destroyed, and not likely to come back.