The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

The middle of summer is when the surprises in publishing turn up. I'm talking about those quietly commanding books that publishers tend to put out now, because fall and winter are focused on big books by established authors. Which brings us to The Dream Life of Astronauts, by Patrick Ryan, a very funny and touching collection of nine short stories that take place in the 1960s and '70s around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.

Pages

After Sandy, Pilgrimages To 'Church Of N.Y. Pizza' On Hold

Feb 2, 2013
Originally published on February 2, 2013 3:07 pm

It's been more than three months since Hurricane Sandy crashed ashore, and many family-owned businesses in New York and New Jersey are still struggling to get back on their feet.

One of those businesses is Totonno's in Coney Island, where generations of pizza lovers have made the pilgrimage for a slice of New York City history.

Before the storm, you could literally see that history on the walls in the yellowed newspaper clippings and framed photographs of the politicians and celebrities who've eaten there. For now, those photographs are piled on tables in the middle of the restaurant to keep them out of harm's way during construction.

"It's one family, 89 years," says Antoinette Balzano, part of the third generation to own and run Totonno's since it opened in 1924. "It's the oldest pizzeria in the U.S. continuously run by the same family."

The place hasn't changed much; it's got the same tin ceiling and the same nine tables. The restaurant is on Neptune Avenue, a few blocks away from the beach. In all that time, Balzano says, it had never flooded until Sandy, when 4 feet of water rushed in and out. With no flood insurance, Balzano says, it was a struggle to find a contractor she could afford.

"I've had mold company on top of mold company come in, take half the walls out and tell me the job is done," she says.

Eventually, Balzano found a contractor she could trust. He's spent weeks ripping out drywall and installing new electrical wiring. Balzano says the restaurant had barely recovered from the last disaster — a major fire in 2009 that forced Totonno's to close for months. But she says the restaurant is determined to bounce back, to the delight of pizza fanatics like Ed Levine.

"There's something about the Totonno's experience that can't be replicated anywhere," Levine says. "Not just in New York, but anywhere in the world."

Levine wrote a book about pizza and is also the founder of the website SeriousEats.com, which has been following Totonno's struggles closely. Levine says it's easy to forget there was a time when pizza was not ubiquitous in America.

"If you go back 100 years, it was still the province of Italian-American immigrants," he says.

Immigrants like Anthony "Totonno" Pero, who was born in Naples, Italy. Pero got his start making pizzas at Lombardi's — the famous grocery store-turned-restaurant in Manhattan's Little Italy — before leaving to start his own place on Coney Island. Totonno's is one of the restaurants that taught America what pizza should be.

For Balzano, it's more than just the family business.

"He brought a culture here," she says. "Pizza is now part of the American culture, and that was all because of my grandfather."

Balzano's sister, Louise Ciminieri, known as Cookie, is still in charge of the pizza at Totonno's. Levine says that pizza is worth riding the subway all the way to the end of the line.

"Everyone I've sent there has said the same thing," he says. "They feel it; they feel the vibe of that place, and it is the combination of the place, the experience and the pizza.

These days, it seems like you can't throw a rock in New York without hitting a new wood-fired, artisanal, locavore pizza joint. But Balzano doesn't sound concerned about the competition.

"Look, there's wonderful pizza, I'm sure," she says, "but nobody has the name Totonno's. So we'll come back. We'll come back because we have to continue what Grandpa came out here to do."

Balzano hopes Totonno's will reopen in February, and when it does, she says it'll look exactly like it did before the storm. Right down to the pictures on the walls.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

It's been more than three months since Hurricane Sandy crashed ashore, and many family-owned businesses in New York and New Jersey are still struggling to get back on their feet, including one of the oldest and best-loved pizzerias in Brooklyn. NPR's Joel Rose went to check on the recovery of what some call the Church of New York Pizza.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Generations of pizza lovers have made the pilgrimage to a storefront in Coney Island for a slice of New York City history.

ANTOINETTE BALZANO: These are the guys from "Goodfellas." Ah, Danny DeVito.

ROSE: You could literally see that history on the walls at Totonno's in the yellowed newspaper clippings and framed photographs of the politicians and celebrities who've eaten here. For now, those photographs are piled on tables in the middle of the restaurant to keep them out of harm's way during construction.

BALZANO: Oh, the Ramones. I know these are famous singers. Here is Mr. Giuliani.

ROSE: Antoinette Balzano is part of the third generation to own and run Totonno's since it opened in 1924.

BALZANO: It's one family, 89 years. It's the oldest pizzeria in the United States continuously run by the same family.

ROSE: The place hasn't changed much. It's got the same tin ceiling and the same nine tables. The restaurant is on Neptune Avenue, a few blocks away from the beach. And in all that time, Balzano says, it had never flooded until Sandy, when four feet of water rushed in and out. With no flood insurance, Balzano says it was a struggle to find a contractor she could afford.

BALZANO: Oh, my God. I've had mold company on top of mold company come in, take half the walls out, tell me the job is done.

ROSE: Eventually, Balzano found a contractor she could trust. He's spent weeks ripping out drywall and installing new electrical wiring. Balzano says the restaurant had barely recovered from the last disaster - a major fire in 2009 - that forced Totonno's to close for months. But she says the restaurant is determined to bounce back again, to the delight of pizza fanatics like Ed Levine.

ED LEVINE: There's something about the Totonno's experience that can't be replicated anywhere. Not just in New York, but anywhere in the world.

ROSE: Levine wrote a book about pizza. He's also the founder of the website SeriousEats.com, which has been following Totonno's struggles closely. Levine says it's easy to forget there was a time when pizza was not ubiquitous in America.

LEVINE: If you go back 100 years, it was still the province of first-generation Italian-American immigrants.

ROSE: Immigrants like Anthony "Totonno" Pero. Pero was born in Naples, Italy and got his start making pizzas at Lombardi's, the famous grocery store-turned-restaurant in Manhattan's Little Italy, before leaving to start his own place on Coney Island. Totonno's is one of the restaurants that taught America what pizza should be. For Balzano, it's more than just the family business.

BALZANO: He brought a culture here. Pizza is now part of the American culture, and that was all because of my grandfather.

ROSE: Balzano's sister, Louise Ciminieri, known as Cookie, is still in charge of the pizza at Totonno's. And food writer Ed Levine says that pizza, with its magical crust and perfectly balanced toppings, is still worth riding the subway all the way to the end of the line.

LEVINE: Everyone I've sent there has said the same thing. And it could be a four-star chef or it could be a food blogger, and it doesn't matter. They feel it; they feel the vibe of that place, and it is the combination of the place, the experience and the pizza.

ROSE: These days, it seems like you can hardly swing a peel in New York without hitting a new wood-fired, artisanal, locavore pizza joint. But Antoinette Balzano doesn't sound concerned about the competition.

BALZANO: Look, there's pizza, and there's wonderful pizza, I'm sure, but nobody has the name Totonno's. So, we'll come back. We'll come back because we have to continue what Grandpa came out here to do.

ROSE: Balzano hopes Totonno's will reopen this month, and when it does, she says it'll look exactly like it did before the storm - right down to the pictures on the walls. Joel Rose, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.