New York mayor Bill de Blasio's first scandal: pizza with a knife and fork

New York: The pizza arrived, steaming and delectable, a smoked-mozzarella-and-sausage pie presented to mayor Bill de Blasio like a gilded offering to a visiting caliph.

The New York mayor, on a pilgrimage on Friday to Goodfellas, the venerable Staten Island pizzeria, smiled, nodded at his slice and then proceeded to do the unthinkable: eat it with a knife and fork.

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NY mayor eats pizza with knife and fork

The outrage began after Bill de Blasio put down his fork, as the New York mayor had broken the city's unwritten rule and eaten his pizza with utensils.

Cue the foodie firestorm.

‘‘Disaster,’’ declared a writer at New York magazine, citing the longstanding city protocol of devouring pizza, no matter how greasy, with the hands, and the hands only.

One website called it Mr de Blasio’s first mistake as mayor. The fake-scandal hashtag #forkgate immediately appeared on Twitter. There were comparisons to Donald J. Trump, who once earned opprobrium for a utensil-laden trip to Sbarro.

Even the overseers of Goodfellas, while happy to have de Blasio in their midst, sounded a sceptical note.


‘‘Hmm,’’ said a co-owner, Scot Costentino, when asked about the fork use. ‘‘I think he’s just trying to be polite.’’

Jerking his head towards the back of the restaurant, Mr Costentino said: ‘‘We’ll talk to him on the side about that.’’

Confronted by reporters about his conspicuous use of utensils, Mr de Blasio argued that he was simply being authentic to his Italian roots.

‘‘In my ancestral homeland, it’s more typical to eat with a fork and knife,’’ said Mr de Blasio, whose mother was Italian. ‘‘I’ve been to Italy a lot.’’

Mr De Blasio is not the first New York mayor to have a peculiar style of eating pizza.

When Michael Bloomberg was served a slice, he would often reach for the nearest salt shaker and pour a copious amount onto his dish. (He was said to prefer a level of saltiness that burns lips.)

And then there was the small matter of Mr Bloomberg’s method of drinking beer: He liked it poured over ice.

Still, despite his billions, the wealthy Mr Bloomberg had a penchant for comfort food, and he munched on street-cart hot dogs utensil-free.

Charles Greinsky, a long-time friend of Mr de Blasio’s who was also eating at Goodfellas on Friday, said he was thrilled to see the mayor visiting his home borough.

But his face darkened when the topic of the fork came up.

‘‘No,’’ he said. ‘‘No. It’s blasphemy.’’

Pressed on why a mayor who prides himself on populism would opt for a such a technique, Mr Greinsky shrugged.

‘‘He’s from Boston,’’ Mr Greinsky said of the mayor. ‘‘He doesn’t know any better.’’ 

New York Times