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Over 100 Pizzerias May Shut Down Due to NYC’s Green Rule

Iconic NYC Pizzerias Face Uncertain Future Amid New Eco-Regulations

New York City’s dynamic pizza scene is facing a significant setback due to the latest eco-friendly policy. The city government regulation, which mandates a 75% cut in carbon emissions from coal and wood-burning ovens, could potentially force over a hundred pizzerias to close doors.

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Ted Timbers, a representative for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, affirmed these new regulations last year in June. The primary motive behind this decision is to safeguard the health of all the city’s residents. It’s well-known that coal and wood-fired stoves are a major source of air contaminants in areas with poor air quality.

According to Timbers, this sensible regulation was crafted in cooperation with environmental justice groups and the restaurant industry. He further explained that it mandates a professional evaluation to decide whether the implementation of emission controls is practical.

The city’s pizza industry is currently bracing itself for the full impact of the law when it comes into effect on April 27. Several prominent restaurateurs expressed their fears to Fox News about the possibility of permanently shutting down their businesses due to the heavy costs of compliance.

Owner of a Brooklyn-based pizzeria, Paul Giannone, stated this rule would end the era of the appealing wood-burning pizza restaurants across New York City. He perceives it as a loss of cultural and culinary charm to the city’s vibrant dining sector.

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Giannone also expressed his view about the ‘one-size-fits-all’ nature of this regulation. He pointed out that enforcing this rule universally, even if it doesn’t affect the community negatively, might be an overly broad solution to the problem.

On top of the expected shutdowns, this regulation has also led to an enormous financial burden for some establishments. One Jewish bakery reportedly spent around $600,000 to establish an air filtration system. John’s of Bleecker Street, another renowned pizza place, also had to shell out over $100,000 for a smoke reduction system.

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Joey Schirripa, a manager with John’s of Bleecker Street, talked to the New York Post about the rising pressures. The pizzeria was compelled to invest heavily since their business centered around their oven. He remarked that while they comprehend the city’s vision, and intend to support environmental sustainability, the mandated measures have put them in a tough spot.

According to a New York Post analysis, pizza joints with ovens that were operational prior to 2016 may be required to spend at least $20,000 to install air filtration systems complying with the new ruling. Keep in mind, this hefty amount doesn’t include the sustained maintenance costs that would follow.

Under the new directive, pizza establishments utilizing coal or wood-fired ovens must procure the services of an engineer or architect. The mandated professional will assess whether it’s viable to install emissions control devices to meet the 75% reduction in particulate emissions.

If it proves unfeasible to achieve a 75% or greater reduction, or if no emissions controls can be installed, the assessment must identify any emission controls that could possibly offer a minimum 25% reduction. Additionally, an explanation is needed as to why no control measures can be installed.

Several iconic pizzerias renowned for their traditional taste and atmosphere will likely be affected by this regulation. Notable names include Lombardo’s in Little Italy, Arturo’s in Soho, and John’s of Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village.

Paul Giannoni, proprietor of Paulie Gee’s, spoke to the Post about the tough position pizzerias find themselves in due to this rule. Installing a filtration system, according to him, is not only a substantial financial burden but also contributes to operational complications—with barely any definite advantages.

The newly enacted regulation also outlines a provision for businesses that are unable to achieve the stipulated 75% reduction. Such establishments must provide and conduct an assessment to examine the potential for reducing emissions by at least 25%.

The city governance surely aims to prioritize the health and well-being of its denizens, a cause we all can stand behind. However, the fate of quintessential New York pizzerias—known for their unique techniques that often require wood or coal-powered ovens—is now thrust into a cloud of uncertainty.

This regulation prompts the city’s restaurateurs—and, indeed, all of us—to consider what we could lose in the pursuit of a greener planet. It’s a delicate balancing act between preserving cultural heritage and ensuring environmental sustainability for our future generations.

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