My first job as a photographer was for the Courier Newspapers in Brooklyn. I covered community meetings, block parties, and press events. I made no money and it was not sustainable — they paid $7 per photo (!) and did not reimburse expenses — but I loved doing it because my assignments involved photographing people in places all around the vast borough of Brooklyn.
I photographed in Canarsie, Sheepshead Bay, Bensonhurst, Flatlands, Flatbush, Midwood, Marine Park — and yes, the brownstone neighborhoods of Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, and Brooklyn Heights — but also in Dyker Heights, Bedford Stuyvesant, Bath Beach, and Bay Ridge. All were distinct neighborhoods, each had its own local politicians whose spiels I heard plenty of times — and each had its own best pizzerias, many of with which I became familiar.
Last Saturday I returned for the first time in a while to Nino’s in Bay Ridge. The visit was fruitful due not only to the several slices of pizza I ate but also because State Senator Marty Golden — an affable Republican from Bay Ridge who I had photographed plenty of times for Courier Papers (and then later for the NY Daily News) —came in while I was there. Somehow, his presence added validation to what I already knew to be true: Nino's makes good pizza. We chatted for a minute. He told me Nino's is one of several stops along his regular Saturday route: “Pizza at Nino’s, then I'll have an espresso next door, and I'm doing laundry across the street.” (I asked him why a person of his stature was using a laundromat and — like a pro — he evaded the question.) (Rollover the above photo of the scene outside of Nino's for a 2001 photo I made for the Courier. Senator Golden is second from right.)
I should mention that Senator Golden had a square of Nino’s grandma pizza. At Nino’s, it’s called "Gran Mama" and it is far thinner than grandma pies at other pizzerias.
(Above photo shows one of Nino’s owners, Benny Cerva, holding a Gran Mama pie fresh from the oven.)
Nino's Pizza is open 10 am - 11 pm, 7 days/week. Map Nino's Pizza.