Italian pizza has me obsessed with brick ovens, but the first time I encountered the concept was when I was in the Middle East, where there are community brick ovens for everyone to come on certain days to make their bread. There is nothing better than fresh Arabic flat bread or pizza (although nearly every pizza is good of course!) from one. Needless to say, I was very happy to find one of these community ovens that is hardly ever used in the middle of New York City!
Of course, there is some history as well. The oven is in front of the Old Stone House in Park Slope, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. It was this site where the Battle of Brooklyn was fought during the American Revolution.
Three thousand American soldiers were trapped inside modern day Prospect Park surrounded by twenty five thousand British soldiers. William Alexander led four hundred American soldiers from the east coast to the area in order to help their fellow Americans.
Although the American army then attacked two thousand British troops six times and took over the house on several occasions, there were over one hundred casualties on the American side. They had to retreat, and General Alexander was taken by the British as a prisoner. The soldiers who were trapped were able to get free again, so it was not an all-out loss.
Eight thousand American comrades were watching the battle from present day Brooklyn Heights were inspired by their bravery, which lifted the morale of the army. This needed to be done in order to win the war later, since the Revolutionary War was much harder and longer than many comprehend because we only look at it through the eyes of our bland history books in school.
I don’t know if the community oven existed back then, but the house itself has been reconstructed. It is neat to wait for your food to cook and ponder the way the American (and maybe the British too) soldiers ate back then as they fought.
Although the oven is able to be used by the community, interested parties should contact the Old Stone House to reserve a time slot.