One of the unspoken laws that governs the way New York City works is the truly amazing “Pizza Principle.”
Derived in the eighties through a series of (now archived) articles in The New York Times, the Pizza Principle — also known as the “New York City Pizza Connection” — maintains that since 1960, inflation and other factors have caused the the price of both a slice of pizza and a single ride on the subway to rise at a nearly identical rate. A Times piece from 1980 cites Bronx patent lawyer Eric Bram as an authority on the matter, and the paper wrote about the phenomenon again in 1985. In 2002, Clyde Haberman charted The Times coverage from the two decades previous, and offered this retort to anyone seeking empirical scientific evidence to justify this somewhat baffling synchronicity of price: “Don’t ask why. It simply is so, and has been for decades.”
Seeing as it’s endured for this long, the Pizza Principle will soon force pizza-minded lunch-seekers to pony up another quarter at their neighborhood Famous Ray’s or whatever: the MTA announced that it has approved higher subway, bus, and commuter train fares earlier today, the New York Daily News reports. The price of a single subway ride will now set New Yorkers back $2.50, and it can only be assumed that the price of by-the-slice pizza will increase accordingly.
Though there is one more option. Haberman wrote about the Pizza Principle in The Times most recently in 2007, when subway fares were on the cusp of the $2.25 precipice. In the piece, he cited a letter to the editor written by a local school psychologist, who recommended that the city finally honor the majesty of its subway-pizza connection by simply adjusting the train fare at each station in accordance with the price of the pizza nearby. This might work, right?
OK, maybe not. Instead, it will totally suck to cough up the extra dollar or two spent daily on pie and rides. But this annoyance notwithstanding, how can you root against the mysterious voodoo of the Pizza Principle? The intrinsic connection between two completely desperate — but completely essential — New York institutions is one of those invisible forces that sews the city together. And if history is to be believed, it’s here to stay.
Plus, our local pizza place knew this was coming: the slice of cheese there has already been upped to that wallet-rocking price of $2.50. That’s right, Rosario’s on the Lower East Side. We’re looking at you.