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City closes Motorino, the ‘Leaning Tower of Pizza’

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Motorino Pizza was shut down by the Department of Buildings after inspectors declared that its tilting Graham Avenue building it was unsafe.

A partial “vacate order” at the so-called “Leaning Tower of Pizza” was posted at 4:30 pm on Monday after inspectors concluded that the visible gap between Motorino’s building at Devoe Street and its neighbor had widened to the point of danger.

Chef-owner Mathieu Palombino blamed building owner Rosa Rivera for not maintaining the structure.

“The stupidity of our landlord is a force we were not able to overcome,” Palombino wrote in a note posted on the door, as employees scurried to move equipment. “While this setback is unfortunate, we promise to soon re-open in a new location.”

Patrons looked on in disappointment.

“This is a total bummer,” said regular customer Jamin Warren. “When I moved to the neighborhood, this was one of the first places I found.”

Another passer-by said she always walked by the restaurant wondering when this day would finally come.

“The building’s been leaning forever,” she said, declining to give her name. “I’m in construction and if that was one of my buildings, we would’ve stopped work on it a long time ago. I’m surprised people are still in it.”

Rivera was unavailable for immediate comment.

It was only back in April that Rivera hired an architect to finally stabilize the building, whose rightward tilt was first discovered in 1994. By last September, that gap had increased to nearly a foot — earning Rivera a $10,000 fine.

At the time, architect Harold Weinberg said the repair work — which involved installing new concrete in the foundation — was “routine.”

Calling Motorino “The Leaning Tower of Pizza” is an apparent reference to the freestanding, but askew, bell tower in the Piazza del Duomo in the northern Italian city of Pisa, a structure that was already being called “The Leaning Tower of Pisa” soon after construction began in 1173. There is servicable pizza nearby.

Updated 12:10 am, August 2, 2011
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Reasonable discourse

bummer says:
i hope they stay local
Aug. 2, 2011, 9:14 am
Carmine and Tony from Graham Avenue says:
For a good slice, cross Metropolitan Avenue and you've got Tony's on one side of Graham Avenue and Carmine's on the other. We're lots cheaper but good for those who couldn't afford Motorino anyway. (We are competitors, but all pizzerias are owned by one family -- the family of humans.)
Aug. 2, 2011, 9:53 am
Sal from Lorimer Street says:
Or just walk down Devoe Street a couple of blocks and you've got Sal's famous pizzeria. Nothing fancy you'll ever read about in this classy paper, but we get the slice done, too!
Aug. 2, 2011, 9:56 am
Papa John from Grand Street says:
And if you just walk a few blocks south on Graham, there's me...oh, never mind.
Aug. 2, 2011, 9:57 am
Domino from Flatbush Ave says:
I'm always worth the trip. Just sayin.
Aug. 2, 2011, 10:42 am
Sbarro from Times Square says:
And be sure to come visit me if you want the true, authentic New York slice!
Aug. 2, 2011, 11:29 am
kelly from park slope says:
the planets must have been aligned just right to allow a headline like that! nice job
Aug. 2, 2011, 11:54 am
Ray's from Everywhere says:
I am like the air. Just open your mouth and my pizza will rush inside you.
Aug. 2, 2011, 3:15 pm
Elio from Freezer Aisle says:
You loved me before, you'll love me again!!
Aug. 2, 2011, 3:17 pm
Busta Rhymes from 2003 says:
you be lucky if you even get a slice of pizza from me.
Aug. 2, 2011, 3:20 pm
Bagel Bites from C-town, maybe says:
Pizza in the morning, Pizza in the evening, Pizza at suppertime.
When pizza's on a bagel, you can eat pizza anytime.
Aug. 2, 2011, 3:21 pm
second stop from lorimer says:
who needs pizza when you can pay $20 for a muffin, some coffee, and a buttload of attitude?
Aug. 2, 2011, 3:24 pm
Colador Chilaxin Cafe from Lorimer says:
That is not a misspelling! I actually spell chillaxing with one L, not two.
Aug. 2, 2011, 3:28 pm
Mother's from Graham Ave says:
not feeling pizza? I'm the most boring, unimaginative burger bar perfect for a neighborhood turning into the most boring, unimaginative ——tardville
Aug. 2, 2011, 4:05 pm
guy from tardville says:
hey dont insult my neighborhood
Aug. 2, 2011, 5 pm
spicynuts from greenpoint says:
What kind of pathetic times do we live in when you have to explain a joke as simple as Leaning Tower of Pizza? Jesus.
Aug. 3, 2011, 2:28 am
jj from brooklyn says:
good point, second stop
Aug. 3, 2011, 1:11 pm
Red Baron from Germantown says:
10, 20, 30, 40, 50 or more....my frozen pizza competitors, have ended up on the floor. 80 men died trying to sample a slice, if you're not eating Red Baron, you're rollin the dice.
Sept. 7, 2011, 3:36 pm

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