New York is full of home town institutions, but none more so than Ray's Pizza, a sell-by-the-slice joint on Prince Street that inspired the name of countless rip off "Original Ray's," "Famous Ray's" and "I Can't Believe It's Not Ray's" across town. Now it's closing down.

According to the NY Times, the location at 27 Prince Street, which opened in the '50s, is set to close at the end of the month. When the Ray in the name of O.G. Ray's Pizzeria (whose actual name was Ralph Cuomo) died in 2008 it dredged up some questions about his ownership of the building and the legitimacy of the store's lease. Now they're moving out.

Speaking of gangsters, it seemed like Ralph had ties to the mob and was busted for selling heroin in the '70s and was under investigation for letting the Luchese crime family do business in the pizza joint. I don't know that I'll really miss their good but unremarkable slices, but there's no replacing that only-in-Little-Italy New York flavor will be gone in favor of some stupid designer boutique or cupcake bakery or Jamba Juice. Well, the neighborhood really could use a Jamba.

[Photo by Jesse Ma]