Your Guide to Everything Brooklyn!

People Travel From Near and Far for The Slice of Brooklyn Tour

(Photos: Jodine Dorce)

A brisk foggy morning didn’t stop 30 people from meeting at a corner near Union Square in Manhattan to jump on an unmarked tour bus to get a “slice” of Brooklyn. Not just any slice, the Slice of Brooklyn Tour that focuses on (you guessed it), Pizza!

Leaving from Manhattan, our first stop was the Brooklyn Bridge Park. During the ride, owner and tour guide of the Slice of Brooklyn Tour, Tony Muia shared stats and little known facts of Brooklyn. For instance, did you know that according to Warner Brothers Bugs Bunny is from Flatbush Brooklyn? If that tidbit didn’t fascinate you, we learned other facts such as Brooklyn being three times the size of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge being one of the oldest suspension bridges in the US.   After gaining a great sense of history, we eased on down to Grimaldi’s Pizzeria to experience one of the best pizza slices I ever had.  Each pie is baked using a coal –fired brick oven and each slice took me back to a villa in Italy. I can taste why Grimaldi’s is one of New York’s most famous pizzerias.

After foregoing their infamously long lines and dining at Grimaldi’s, we hopped back on the bus and got on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.  This multi-media tour took us through Red Hook, Yellow Hook, Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Brighton Beach, Verrazano-Narrow Bridge, just to name a few. We drove by the Brooklyn Army Terminal where Elvis Presley was shipped off to serve in the military and  we even stopped in front of the legendary “Gingerbread House” that’s located in Bay Ridge. We watched movie scenes from a few classics that were filmed in Brooklyn and also went to their filming locations: the street that John Travolta walked down in the opener of Saturday Night Fever to the garage where Tommy Devito gets whacked in Goodfellas.  At each location, Tony Muia shared a Brooklyn story full of historical facts and figures. I kept wondering, how does he know all this “stuff”? Tony, aka tour guide was born and raised in Brooklyn and created the tour so that visitors from all over the globe can experience the uniqueness of his hometown. Each story he shared came from a space of passion and you can feel the pride that he has about his borough.

After our Brooklyn sightseeing portion of the tour from our reclining seats, we made our way to L&B Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst for their Sicilian-style pizza. Not your typical thin crust slice, this pie came square with the airiest dough layered with the cheese at the bottom and the sauce on top.  Although this slice was very different from Grimaldi’s, I must admit the sauce alone made me rank this as my favorite Sicilian pizza slice ever. I ‘m not sure how they get their sauce so sweet or their dough so airy but I did question them about their water. It has to be something in the water.  We finished our dining experience by sitting outside and enjoying a rainbow spumoni. What a treat!

The trip continued with a walk on the boardwalk at Coney Island. Although the rides were shut down, we still found amusement with the locals walking on the boardwalk, high-fiving Tony for being on the Travel Channel. A Slice of Brooklyn Tour has been featured on several shows such as The Today Show and recently turned into a full show on the Travel Channel. I hope the Travel Channel airs the show on a regular basis so the world can see Brooklyn through the eyes of our trusted tour guide, Tony Muia.

I strongly suggest this tour for tourists visiting the New York area and Brooklynites that are born and bred or residing in Brooklyn. It’s always fascinating to learn more about your city through the eyes of tourists. This sightseeing experience will definitely give you a better understanding as well as an appreciation for this borough, especially if you call it home. I never thought of Brooklyn as a tourist destination but when you think of the 71 square miles borough with 25 million people filled with rich history, movies and culture, I can see why people would travel from Belgium and other international locations to experience this Slice of Brooklyn.

The Slice of Brooklyn Tour is roughly 4.5 hours and the cost is $75 for adults. This includes the pizza and soft drinks provided at both pizzerias. For more information, please visit their website.

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November 1, 2014

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