4,000 Pounds of Naples in New York City

New York magazine runs a show-and-tell on the new oven at Una Pizza Napoletana, Anthony Mangieri’s maniacally rigorous and impressively tattooed East Village pizzeria. For years, Mangieri has lusted after a true artisan-built Neapolitan oven—“the devout pizza man’s holy grail,” as New York puts it—and the awkward fact that his pizzeria is in, you know, New York City has not dissuaded him. This summer Mangieri got what he wanted: an authentic Neapolitan oven built by a native craftsman—there are only two in Naples who count, Mangieri claims—whose name he refuses to disclose.

To prepare for the oven’s arrival, Mangieri closed Una Pizza Napoletana for three weeks. The whole thing sounds like an if-you-think-moving-sucked story: The installation ended up costing Mangieri a new storefront, an employee’s trip to the hospital, and $19,000. New York’s feature is a guided tour of Mangieri’s mind-bending obsessiveness: Underneath the oven floor, for example, is a layer of volcanic soil, which absorbs heat and, to quote Mangieri, “as with tomatoes that grow on Mount Vesuvius, to impart a distinct flavor that can’t be duplicated.” I’ll take his word for it. Also, I thought the whole thing looked really pretty.