The NY Post Is Dead Wrong About Hiram Monserrate's Pizza Place
Everyone knows Hiram Monserrate, the politician -- the disgraced legislator from Queens convicted of brutalizing his girlfriend, and now under investigation for financial improprieties during his preceding City Council stint. But what about Hiram Monserrate, the pizzaiolo?
Yesterday the New York Post reported incredulously that the handsome, always impeccably dressed politician was working in a Corona pizza parlor called Papaya Pizza. My first thought was, What would the pies be like? But before I had a chance to get there, the Post dispatched "Crazy Legs" Conti, the notorious competitive eater, to sample the pizza and render an opinion.
Somewhat predictably, he totally trashed the place, while holding up the remains of a box of perfectly good-looking pizza, cheesy and nicely browned along the "bone," or circumferential edge. Who'd trust someone who eats dozens of hot dogs at one time to tell you if something is really good or not? What's more, Conti looked so disreputable in the accompanying photograph that the first commenter was move to refer to him as "Mr. Gross."
When I got to the tiny corner storefront, just across the street from P.S. 19 and located in his old campaign office, there was no Hiram to be found. Instead, a guy in a neat striped uniform was rearranging the plastic-wrapped breakfast pastries on top of the counter, while a woman -- who later introduced herself as Monserrate's mom -- bustled around in a side room, unpacking boxes and seeing to the trash. The pizzeria has been open for two months, and pennants still flap outside. Seating is limited to a single stainless-steel counter that looks out on a row of neat frame houses.
The menu of the place is almost comically short, as befits a café attuned to the culinary needs of the students and faculty of an elementary school. There are eight kinds of pizzas, available by slice ($1.25 and up) or by pie, hot dogs wrapped in pastry, and hero sandwiches in a half-dozen permutations, all made with Boar's Head cold cuts. A sign outside also offers paninis.