Food

Pizza peeve: New York festival charges $75, serves up cold slivers

State prosecutors are investigating

New York's attorney general is collecting complaints from angry people who say they paid as much as $75 to attend a pizza festival, only to be served cold slices in a Brooklyn parking lot.

The New York City Pizza Festival was billed by organizers as an "eclectic tasting of the best pizza in NYC." Instead, attendees took to social media to complain the event was a scam.

Oscar Mendoza complained on the festival's Facebook page that the three tents set up served slices "smaller than my palm." Chip Scanlon, who traveled from Washington, D.C., posted a photo of the crust-less sliver he said he received.

A Facebook group set up to demand refunds, Pizza Festival Scam Victims, said in a post, "People who arrived early said there were about 5 pies cut into micro slices of really bad pizza.... Clearly this is a scam and the organizers should be held accountable."

Connell Burke told the Gothamist he paid $150 for VIP tickets to celebrate his girlfriend's birthday. 

"It was like the people from Fyre Festival decided to throw a pizza party," he said, referring to a so-called luxury festival in the Bahamas that advertised pop stars and supermodels, but instead featured diaster-relief tents and slices of cheese.

A spokesman for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told an NBC affiliate that the office opened an investigation Monday. The AG's office was "concerned about the online complaints" and have asked attendees to submit complaints on its website

In a post on the festival's Facebook page, organizers blamed Hangry Garden, an "event curation" service for mobile food vendors and pop-up events. 

"Hi guys, we've been hit by an incredible amount of delays in pizza delivery. Fresh, diverse, and delicious pizza was supposed to be delivered every 30 minutes. A make-up tasting will be announced shortly. Sincere apologies. Please do not come for the rest of the night's tastings."

But Hangry Garden co-founder Jeremy Asgari told the Gothamist that his job was to provide furniture and games for the festival. He pulled out the morning of the event when he hadn't been paid.  

"We started getting the feeling that this wasn't the type of event they promised," he said. "We showed up and they didn't have the food vendors, they didn't have anything."


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