Most people toss their pizza boxes, but Scott Wiener isn’t most people. He is a pizza aficionado who gives tours of notable New York City pizzerias. While Wiener always craves a good pie, he’s fanatical about the boxes.
He explained the differences between a paperboard box (“pretty soft”) and what he deemed an upgrade (“corrugation is important because it’s much sturdier”).
Wiener collects pizza boxes. “Right now, I have around 750, maybe a few more,” he told Altschul. “It’s a serious collection.”
His collection has pizza boxes from 50 different countries — everywhere from Australia to Thailand to Kazakhstan.
There are variations of familiar classics, and out-of-the-box boxes — a George Clooney look-alike, a jigsaw puzzle, a racy delivery girl, and a collectible, limited edition.
There’s even a high-tech one that works with your iPad so you can play a video game with your pizza box, in which you must protect a pizzeria from zombies.
Wiener’s (some might say “cheesy”) obsession started when he was traveling in Israel seven years ago.
“When you’re in a different country, you kind of expect, ‘Oh yeah, the money’s different. The language is different, different customs.’ But you don’t expect to look on the wall of a pizzeria and to see this bright yellow box with blue writing on it. Totally rocked me.”
Then he started collecting box after box — including the world’s largest usable pizza box, for a 54″ by 54″ Sicilian pizza.
Throughout a decade spent accumulating pizza packaging, Wiener’s hobby has attracted intense interest. Though he’s also the founder of Scott’s Pizza Tours and the non-profit Slice Out Hunger, Wiener dryly notes that “people more often want to [talk about] the pizza-box collection than anything else I do.” This time, he has 1,550 boxes.