After spending last fall at NYU London, I knew that my life in New York would never be the same once I returned. My mind had widened, my old friends had made new friends, clubs I once ran had fallen into other hands and different buildings were covered in scaffolding.
I didn’t truly realize how much I had missed until my friends and I tried making plans to grab a meal and my restaurant nomination was met with side glances and pained giggles. My favorite venue for birthdays, reunions, and celebrations of new internships on campus — Patsy’s Italian Restaurant at 67 University Pl. — had closed months ago. I had no idea.
A franchise location of the what the owners’ claimed was one of Frank Sinatra’s regular haunts, Patsy’s was among the first genuinely New York restaurants I frequented. After gawking at its oversized pizzas through the shutters that would open on warm days while patrons dined on its delicate Juliet balconies, I finally overcame my frugality and indulged in some real New York pizza. Patsy’s pies were everything New York pizza should be — thin, greasy, overflowing with toppings and absolutely delicious — and its pasta left me equally speechless.
From that day on, Patsy’s became a cornerstone of my first year. My hallmates and I spent countless happy nights there –– the perpetual emptiness of its dining room making it the ideal location for spur of the moment 15-person dinners. Patsy’s was the kind of place that obviously did most of its business via Seamless, which we took advantage of too. My roommate and I often had Patsy’s delivered six blocks to our room in Goddard Residence Hall when we couldn’t fathom stepping outside in sub-zero temperatures.
I took my mom to Patsy’s when she came to help me move out of Goddard for our favorite impossible to find pasta dish, Rigatoni con Salsiccia — sweet Italian sausage with spinach, broccoli, olive oil, garlic and wine after I decided that no “real New Yorker” could stomach the trek to Times Square for our other favorite pasta spot: Bella Vita. My mom loved the zuppa del giorno — white bean soup — we tried that evening so much so that she recreates it at home every winter.
Now, three years after Patsy’s entered my life, I’m closer to being a real New Yorker than I’ve ever been. I leased my very own apartment, shouted at people on the sidewalk, interned for a New York congressman and reported from the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. But I’m also right back trudging through Times Square with tourists to Bella Vita (211 W. 43rd St.) with for my Rigatoni con Salsicce.
Pasty’s original location is still open at 236 West 56th.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 10 print edition. Email Taylor Nicole Rogers at [email protected]