I found a new pizza place in Commack, NY yesterday called “Pizza Parlor”.
I’ve been having an on-going discussion with a dear friend, Butterblogger, about the power of English and the words we choose. I’ve always been acutely aware of idioms, idiomatic phrases and pronunciations as they uniquely define the endless numbers of neighborhoods of NYC. Identities are defined by subtle language differences. I and countless other New Yorkers can tell what neighborhood a local is from with the choice or pronunciation of a single word.
Several years ago i heard a stranger choose and pronounce a single word 3,000 miles away from my home town, Dix Hills. Without hesitation, and with no other clues (I was certain), I asked him which high school he went to, “East or West?”. A question and answer that only make sense where we went to High School. The stranger turned out to be a classmate i hadn’t seen in 45 years.
As I approach the 6th decade of life i’m noticing that words come in or out of style. Yesterday i found the above restaurant, “pizza parlor.” It really gave me pause as I NEVER have seen a pizzaria with “parlor” in its name before.
Growing up we always used the term “Pizza Parlor” to refer, generally to a pizza restaurant. We also used the term “Pizza Place.” it was ubiquitous, no one thought anything of it back in the 60’s. I didn’t think anything of it yesterday, until i realized i don’t know the last time i used the term, and I know i’ve never seen a pizzaria called “parlor” before. “Parlor” is a noun not a proper name.
Do people today even think or say “Pizza Parlor?” I’m left to wonder, what does this sound like to younger people? Does it sound old fashioned? Is it even noteworthy? Do people still refer to pizza restaurants as “parlors”? Is it an idiomatic phrase local to Long Island or New York (City or state)?
This is the type of question that may take years to answer. By then “Pizza Parlor”, in Commack, may well be out of business.
2 thoughts on “English & Pizza”
I spent considerable time hanging out at my local Bklyn “Pizzaria” when a “slice” only meant one thing 🤔
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When I go to Joe’s all I have to do is hold up the number of fingers equal to the number of slices I want. No talking necessary.
In the New York City/Long Island area one only has to order ‘A Slice’. It is an unambiguous order.
You can always tell a tourist because they will order “one slice of cheese pizza, please.” which is way too many words, takes too much time and permanently tars them as a visitor.
Then there are vast swaths of the country (and world) where you can’t get a slice, you buy the whole pie.