“I hope you brought an appetite,” said Tony Muia, “cause we’re going to feed you.”
Muia, who owns Slice of Brooklyn Tours, led the Brooklyn Days celebration at the Manchester branch Saturday (Sept. 25.) And what did he bring?
Well, for starters Sicilian pizza from Spumoni Gardens.
“The number 1 Sicilian Pizza in the country,” he said.
“I don’t like pizza,” one woman said. Uh, oh…wrong line, wrong place. “Throw da bum out!” a classic refrain from Brooklyn, was the spontaneous reply from a couple of people.
Second course was canolis and that was followed by cheesecake from Junior’s.
Prior to starting his tours of Brooklyn business in 2005, Muia worked in the health care industry. Then he had an idea.
“Manhattan gets all the tourists,” he said, “but people from around the world have an interest in Brooklyn. Let me meet that need.”
He now sees himself as an ambassador sans portfolio for New York City’s most populous borough.
“My tours bring people the history, culture, food and movie locations of Brooklyn,” he said. He now conducts three different tours of Brooklyn, including the “Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour,” a Christmas tour where visitors view the light displays, and a tour of the lesser known neighborhoods.
He said the tour even adds to the knowledge of people who were born and raised in the borough, exposing them to areas they never got to see before.
“You pretty much stayed in your neighborhood unless you started dating someone from another neighborhood,” he explained. “Then you started going out and exploring.”
He said his tours are also enriched when people come to visit their old neighborhood. Their antidotes enrich his narrative.
So what’s the difference between Brooklyn and New Jersey?
“In Jersey they ask, ‘What exit do you live by?’ In Brooklyn they ask, ‘What high school did you go to?’”