NY Pizzeria opens for first time since shutdown

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After being closed for nearly two months, one of Trumansburg’s favorite pizzerias has made a comeback.

Almost 17 years ago, Fabrizio Gangi moved to Trumansburg from his home in Italy, following an American woman with whom he had fallen in love. Five years later, after doing some tile work for the owner of New York Pizzeria, he took over the business.

Gangi has been one of Trumansburg’s finest pizza chefs ever since, but like many area businesses, COVID-19 hit him hard.

“We’ve been closed for a few months because we don’t want to get employees sick,” he said. “[We want to] keep the community safe.”

But on May 19, Gangi decided to reopen the pizzeria. As he explained, it was for two main reasons.

“It’s time for us to go back to work because we haven’t made any money and the community wants the pizza,” he said. “I think the community wants the pizza and also because of the financing stuff, we need the money to survive. We have bills. I have a house. I have properties, and we can’t stop working.”

Usually, New York Pizzeria would open around 11 a.m. and serve slices and full pies for lunch and dinner. But because of COVID-19 safety concerns, he’s instead only opening for dinner and offering full pies for pickup or delivery.

“We will do half the business. We won’t do the full business,” Gangi said. “With the [social] distance, with the mask, with the prevention, they just come pick up the pizza, and I hope it will be OK. It will be worth it for everybody, for us that own the business and the employees and the community.”

Since the second week of the pizzeria’s closing, Gangi had received countless messages from Trumansburg residents, wanting him to stay open and offer takeout through the pandemic. Still, Gangi closed the store to keep his staff and community safe. As he explained, he saw the danger coming before the shutdown began.

“I was happy to close for two months for all this. ... I started to realize all this because I’m from Italy,” he said. “We knew before what’s going on, and still, people in America weren’t taking anything seriously, while already, in other countries, people were struggling with this. Italy got hit pretty bad, so I follow the Italian news and I was expecting this. … I have a family in Italy, all over Europe, and we know this was going on in Italy when people weren’t paying attention over here.”

And based on that experience, Gangi said he knows how hard this pandemic has and will continue to shape the community.

“A lot of the events are canceled,” he said. “It will be a different summer around Trumansburg and Ithaca. Tourism-wise, concerts, events – everything is canceled, so I think there will be less tourists coming into this area this year.”

Like many, Gangi is also concerned about the county’s reopening and knows it will likely take some time before things go back to how they were before.

“I hope that in the next few months, things will get better,” he said. “This has been a nightmare. I hope that things will go back to a little bit normal, at least a little bit. … But I don’t think that that will happen anytime soon, to have people inside the establishment again.”

While Gangi is staying optimistic, he’s taking a precautionary approach to his reopening.

“I hope everything will be good, nothing will happen,” he said. “And I feel next fall, winter time, probably, this will increase again. So, we’re going to try for a couple of weeks and see how it goes. We’ll see what we hear in the news and see what’s going on in the next couple of weeks, all summer. It will be a different year.”

Overall, Gangi is glad to be back, serving great pizza to a community eager to eat it.

“I like the community. It’s nice people, and they love the business,” he said. “They love the pizza. … It’s a good community. I like to be here. I’m happy to be here and make the pizza. The people really appreciate the work we’re doing.”

In Brief:

Taughannock Falls State Park

As the weather gets warmer, village residents will undoubtedly want to spend time outside, and Taughannock Falls is a popular spot to do so. However, before you venture out, there are a few changes you should be aware of.

According to Brian Nearing, deputy public information officer for NYS Parks, to encourage visitors to practice safe social distancing at Taughannock Falls State Park, access to the Overlook staircase during peak hours has been restricted through use of a gate at the top of the staircase.

Signage there and elsewhere encourages people to maintain safe social distancing of at least six feet, to avoid congregating in groups and to use face coverings when distancing cannot be maintained.

During busy weekends, parking lots at the park will be closed to reduce crowd size. Ball fields and playgrounds at the park remain closed, while the marina is open.

For more information, visit parks.ny.gov/parks/taughannockfalls or facebook.com/Taughannock-Falls-State-Park.

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