Below is the story of how my pizzeria became my pizzeria. On the Senior Trip, May 30, 2012, I told the story below and took the pictures attached (well, I didn’t take the picture of me – the guy in Times Square with the green Phillies shirt on). Anyway, there are a number of students in the pictures, but I think I see Mary Leone and Jordan Ehring in all three – you can find them yourself!
How “My Pizzeria” Became “My Pizzeria”(2012) (by Joe Scotto)
The story of “My Pizzeria” started in the summer of 2005. My family – Donna, Travis, and Curtis – had been visiting my Aunt Angela and her daughter (my cousin) Mia at their home in Middletown, New Jersey since the summer of 2001. This time, for the first time, we had decided to go into New York City for a visit. For the trip, I had picked up a Knopf Mapguide of the city at a local bookstore.
So, we decided to meet Aunt Angela and Mia at one of her favorite restaurants in New Jersey, near The Gateway National Recreation Area, right on the beach near the ocean. When we got there, I got into a conversation with Aunt Angela about my faith. She knew that I had grown up Catholic and that I had left the Church. She was (and is) a devout Catholic, so she was curious to know what happened to me. I explained to her my story of how I had gotten saved and how my beliefs were different from hers and what I used to believe.
Throughout the meal, we continued our deep discussion on faith. We got around to discussing the church we were attending now. I explained to her that our church was in the Christian and Missionary Alliance. She wasn’t familiar with that, so I tried to briefly describe what the CMA was all about. I haven’t gone to a CMA church for my whole life, so I wasn’t familiar with all the differences between our church and other denominations. I just did the best I could with what I knew.
Eventually, we got talking about A. B. Simpson. Now, at the time I knew next to nothing about him; all I knew, really, was that he was the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. It was the first time I ever had a conversation about him. Of the little I knew, I told her that he had a ministry in New York City, but I didn’t know much more than that.
Well, the next day we got up and took Aunt Angela on the train with us to Manhattan. After visiting the Empire State Building, we decided to find a place for lunch. I looked in my guide book for a place up near Times Square, where we were headed next. In the book, there was a description of a restaurant on 44th Street named John’s Pizzeria. It said it was “housed in a former church.” It looked good and inexpensive, so we found it in the block between 7th and 8th Avenues.
Inside, it really was an intriguing building. Inside, you could definitely see the structure of an old church. While we were waiting to be seated, I took a look around the lobby – they had some pictures displayed telling some of the history of the place. I saw that, in the early part of the 20th Century, it was owned by the Catholic Church. Then, looking closer at a small picture near the cashier, I saw what the church was originally built as. I almost fell on the floor – it was the original Gospel Tabernacle started by none other than A. B. Simpson! Of all the places in NYC, we had walked into the former church occupied by the guy I had just been talking about the day before! I told everybody excitedly what I had discovered and we were all amazed – it wasn’t a coincidence; it was obviously God’s Providence! And it also had some great pizza!
So, from that time on, it’s been “My Pizzeria”. My sister Lisa has been there with her family. My cousins, visiting from California, went there with Aunt Angela. They refer to it as “My Pizzeria”, but they know the real story – it’s a God story. I’ll give Him the glory. And we ate lunch there in 2008… and we plan on eating lunch there this year.
Which we did…
From “My Pizzeria”