Staff Picks: Rose's Pizza in Penn Station closes, hungry riders waiting for trains weep

By Bob Doda, News 12 Digital
It was almost Seinfeldian, in a sense. The line required you to move quickly, SPEAK UP and know exactly what you wanted.
There were tap beers from around the world in tall plastic cups. Fresh manhole-sized pizza pies flew out of the oven as quick as they went in. The cashier made change at lightning speed. The grated cheese shakers were always full.
And there was always time to sit and eat, because your train wasn’t coming for another 45 minutes.
Rose’s Pizza in Penn Station, a longtime favorite spot for pre- or post-event meals and often a necessity for those needing “something in their system,” is closing today.
One final trip to Rose's, Credit: AJ Carlson One final trip to Rose's, Credit: AJ Carlson
For years, my brain became preconditioned to its floppy yet sturdy, “nice and hot” slices as soon as my foot hit the floor of the Long Island Rail Road. I know I’m not alone. The internet told me so.
Tommy Ranieri, of Commack, wrote a heartfelt post on his Facebook page after getting one last calzone.
“I’ll never forget before the [Penn Station] expansion when it was a little hole in the wall spot where I’d get a quick slice before a Knicks game. My junior year of college, when I was commuting ridiculous hours in and out of the city on 18-hour days, Rose’s fed me. Since October, I’ve been back to commuting during the week, and yet again, they’ve been there for me time and time again.”
He also says that he spoke with the owner, who told him “it is what it is.”
A perfect place for a slice. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) A perfect place for a slice. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Last year, the Partnership for New York City estimated that roughly one-third of the city’s 240,000 small businesses might not make it through the pandemic. With its reliance on heavy foot traffic and dwindling LIRR ridership, it’s a surprise that it hung on this long.
On Thursday, an estimated 70,000 people used the LIRR, down 77% from last year. However, the reason for its closure was not entirely clear and could be due to renovations of the LIRR concourse. 
Tributes to the famed pizza spot struck a similar chord, most included it being a reliable source of food after a night of partying and missing the train home.
It happens. Especially to me. I woke up like I was just born in the seating area of the restaurant in the early morning hours after the Phish show on Dec. 29, 2012.
But I’ll mostly remember Rose's for the slices I would get before or after Rangers games with my brother when we had season tickets. Somehow, they fit ricotta, chicken and sausage on the same wedge of happiness.
I always told people that Rose's was my favorite pizza place (Matt’s Pizza, Little Vincent’s get an honorable mention). Rob Howard, a Hicksville native, may have said it best in his online tribute: “You may have been in Manhattan, but you’ll always belong to Long Islanders.”
News 12 Social Media Producer Greg Cannella and Digital Producer Abby Del Vecchio at Rose's. News 12 Social Media Producer Greg Cannella and Digital Producer Abby Del Vecchio at Rose's.