Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What Things Cost in New York: 40 Years Ago and Today

Last week, New York Magazine celebrated their 40th anniversary. My favorite feature in the magazine was a page comparing prices of some quintessential New York items, from 1968 when the magazine was founded to today. What's interesting is that some things have gone up less than overall inflation, while others have increased far more than that.
By my calculations, the effect of inflation makes something cost 6 times more today than it did in 1968. I took New York magazine's prices and figured out the increase factor and sorted them below-- those in green are a relative bargain today, as they have gone up less than the rate of inflation. Those in red have gone up more than the rate of inflation. Kind of gives you a new perspective on what's expensive and what's a bargain!

Increase Factor Price Today
Movie Ticket 3.2 $12.00
1lb Zabar's Nova Scotia Smoked Salmon 3.4 $34.00
Lombardi's Large Cheese Pizza 4.3 $19.50
Serendipity Frozen Hot Chocolate 4.8 $8.50
Burger at 21 Club 6 $30.00
Village Vanguard Cover Charge 7.1 $25.00
Taxi fare for 2.5-mile Ride 7.5 $11.14
Knish at Yonah Schimmel 8.6 $3.00
Subway Fare 10 $2.00
Financial District Shoe Shine 12 $3.00
Martini at Algonquin Hotel 14.4 $18.00
New York Times 15 $1.50
MOMA Admission 16 $20.00
NYU Undergrad Tuition 17.8 $37,372.00
Broadway Show Ticket 18.2 $113.18
Triborough Bridge Toll 20 $5.00
Pack of Marlboros 25.7 $9.00
1 Ounce Marijuana 26.6 $400.00
Room at Waldorf-Astoria 30.3 $559.00
Box Seat at Yankee Stadium 62.5 $250.00


Anonymous said...

Umm, where did you get the "quote" on an ounce of MJ?
all I can see you doing is going around to your street corner and saying hey man.. LOL!

Anonymous said...

Very big different old price and new price since 4 decades ago.

Anonymous said...

tolls, what a load of crap. tolls are supposed to be to pay for the project, but i haven't seen anywhere where they have stopped taking tolls long after the cash cow has paid for the original project.

the only problem I see is that you haven't (or maybe you have) calculated costs from 40 years ago in today's dollars. that is the true indicator of the cost factor. electronics and jewelry are also two major things in NYC, so those would be a good comparison to show as well.