Order Is Restored
These have been anxious times, and many explanations have been offered for our angst: a poor economy, the war in Iraq, government deficits at all levels. But we have a simpler explanation of what's made us feel bad lately: New York's pizza slice-subway fare connection had been broken. But cheer up. With a recent subway fare increase, the connection is being restored.
The pizza slice-subway fare connection was first noted in 1964, when a reader pointed out to the New York Times that a slice of pizza cost precisely the same as a subway token, and that when one rose in price, the other followed. In 1964, a ride on the MTA cost 15 cents, same for a slice from a sidewalk pizzeria. Over the years, the connection held true. In the mid-1970s, both were 60 cents, a few years later, both were 85 cents, and so on, in lockstep.
But as the New Yorker magazine noted, the pizza slice had inched ahead in recent times; most slices cost $1.75 or $2 now while a ride on the IRT lagged at $1.50. "The discrepancy was troubling," the magazine added, "because it forced New Yorkers to wonder if pizza, like coffee and college, had become a ripoff."
Not to worry. The Metropolitan Transit Authority has raised subway fares to $2, forging again the connection between pizza slices and subway fares and bringing the planets back into alignment. Posted 6/1/2003
Postscript: Alas, the pizza-subway connection may finally be broken. In 2014, a single ride on the subway cost $2.50 (although it's hard to be exact because, with farecards replacing tokens, discounts may apply), and in recent years some pizza shops began offering slices for as low as $1.
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