It was something I never expected to hear.
Walking down Essex Street around 10 PM, hungry, I stopped into the decades-old Roma Pizza at the corner of Delancey. I ordered a slice of pepperoni and bacon.
The man behind the counter was having a friendly argument with a hipster customer who was blithely gnawing on a plain slice. He was complaining about a rent hike of some sort, and bitterly blaming the landlord and Mayor Bloomberg for his plight. "Since 1964, I been here," he said. He seemed to be the proprietor of Roma Pizza. Who's the landlord, the hipster and I asked. "I don't know who owns it. He's friends with Bloomberg. He's got big connections. It's crazy."
He then gave me my slice on a place. "Four dollars!" he said. "Four dollars I charge for that slice! It's not right. Too much!" I was stunned. Was he actually admitting that pizza has become too expensive? I mean, everyone knows how flour and cheese and everything has gone up in price, and slices aren't the cheap meals they used to be. But a pizza guy saying it?
Of course, he was really lamenting that economic circumstances had forced him to charge more for his pizza than he would have liked. "Hey, I'm happy to pay it," said the hipster. The owner waved him off. "It's too much!"
I left. The slice, by the way, was excellent.