Writing in the Times in 1980, a local posited that New Yorkers for decades had been spending the same amount of dough on a typical slice (aka regular; aka cheese) as they had been on a single subway ride. “The transit token has no relationship to capital costs, union contracts, passenger miles, or depreciation schedules,” a follow-up reads. “Forget all that. The critical variables are flour, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.''
For years, the Pizza Principle bounced around on slow news days. Then in 2014, another local published his own independent, labyrinthine analysis of the theory. He found that it still mostly held true with one exception, the immortal unicorn of New York City living: the dollar slice.
Today a single subway ride costs $2.75. A dollar slice costs, well, $1. And 70 venues hawk pizza across the five boroughs for less than the cost of traveling between them. How they manage to defy the Pizza Principle is a matter of derision and perhaps a little affection among New York City’s pizza masters. We spoke with six of NYC’s most authoritative pizza chefs around this question: How does the most expensive city in the galaxy still manage to feed us for a buck a slice? And -- just as importantly -- do we really want it to?