And the hits just keep on coming. Even by NYC norms—constant change, ferocious appetites, everyone crazy for pizza—there's been an inordinate number of standout slice shops and full-pie restaurants opening in just the past month or so. In the latter category alone you've got your new Roman pies, your new Rhode Island pies, new Detroit pies, new vegan pies, new coal-fired pies, new pizza sandwiches... Just amazing. Today, however, we're going to talk slice joints. More specifically: a pair of new places that exemplify how, in loving hands, this most common of all NYC offerings can keep on evolving, while 100% respecting the character at its core.

Upside Pizza in Times Square
This is the best from-out-of-nowhere slice place I've been to since Mama's Too opened to zero fanfare a year ago. Upside founder Noam Grossman, a one-time bridge-and-tunnel kid from Englewood, has collaborated with pizza guru Anthony Falco here for about a half dozen outrageously good high-end slices and pies, sold for exceptionally reasonable prices, on a decidedly unglamorous corner a couple blocks south of Port Authority.

A lot of love gets put into these beauties. The toppings are made in-house (the mushrooms are sautéed daily, the chili peppers pickled on site, the mozzarella stretched right in the basement), and the dough, leavened for upwards of 72 hours, has a delightful sourdough tang. The regular slice is thick with marvelously gooey, salty cheese. The Sicilian Pepperoni, complete with chewy cheese crust, deserves instant Top 5 consideration in an extremely crowded field. The oven is a monster called a Montague Hearth Bake—it's brick lined on all sides and, as Grossman put it, delivers the kind of "strong but gentle" heat needed for the perfect char. And it all goes down in a refreshingly no-frills setting, with just a few standing tables encroaching slightly onto the non-stop hustle of the street. Perfection.

Upside Pizza is located at 598 Eighth Ave, at the corner of 38th Street, as is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday until 1:00 a.m. (646-484-5244; upsidepizza.com)

Sauce Pizzeria LES
Native New Yorker Adam Elzer opened his first Sauce Pizzeria last fall in the East Village—great NYC folds, and the dipping-sauce gimmick really works—but for his expansion a half mile downtown he wanted to do something different. And so the Sauce Square Slice was born. Elzer mixes mashed potato into his long-leavened dough here, which adds both flavor and a nice bounce to the surprisingly airy slabs, and the entire edge of the pie is basically just chewy charred cheese. Get a corner slice, obviously. There are several tables as well as a handful of stools at the windows looking out onto "Hell's Square," so maybe don't come during prime party time. The soundtrack is classic rap, the decor feels like it also came from the 1980s, and both of these are good things.

Sauce Pizzeria LES is located at 84 Rivington Street, at the corner of Orchard Street, and is open on weekdays at 2 p.m. and on weekends at noon. On Sunday and Monday it closes at midnight, on Tuesday through Thursday it closes at 2:00 a.m., and Friday and Saturday it closes at 4 a.m. (917-675-7240)

Made In New York on the Upper West Side
This otherwise unremarkable new slice restaurant received an inordinate amount of attention a few weeks ago when the chef, a longtime Prince Street Pizza cook, was accused by his former employers of stealing the recipe to their famous Spicy Square, a slice so loaded with pepperoni cups that it attracts long lines of Instagrammers to their tiny Nolita shop. Now, Made In New York has a few things going for it—it's located on a busy Upper West Side corner, and there's a bunch of tables for handy family dining—but I can tell you that their Spicy Pepperoni square slice is nothing worth lining up for. Yeah, sure, if you put enough pieces of blistered pepperoni on top of melted cheese it's going to taste pretty good, but the crust here is dry and tasteless, and things get even less interesting as you move on to any of the other 12 or so varieties of pies. They're already expanding, too, to a place in Hell's Kitchen.

Made In New York is located at 421 Amsterdam Avenue, at the corner of 80th Street, and is open Sunday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., and on Friday and Saturay until 4:30 a.m. (646-484-6200; madeinnewyorkpizza.com)