This article originally appeared on VICE US.
Times Square is miserable on literally any day, but New Year's Eve just takes it to new levels of awful. For starters, there are literally one million people standing shoulder-to-shoulder-to-shoulder in the pens that have been set up in the streets. There are endless hours of boredom as they shift their weight from foot to foot, hoping that they'll be able to see the ball for two consecutive seconds over a sea of novelty hats. And then there are the adult diapers.
Because those year-end revelers aren't allowed to return to their spots if they leave the corrals to use the bathroom—or for any other reason—their choice is to either try to hold it for upwards of 12 hours, or piss themselves. A North Carolina mother-daughter duo told the New York Post that they were both wearing diapers. “I’m pretty cozy. I feel comfortable wearing it,” Nicole Wilson said. (And Nicole Wilson should also be relieved that she's not that Googleable).
On top of all that, backpacks or large bags aren't permitted, so participants' meal options are mostly limited to whatever they can carry in their pockets or in a fanny pack. But the Domino's Pizza location at 40th St. and 7th Ave has spent a decade-plus catering to the captive crowd, sending delivery people out to sell hot pies to whoever can get close enough to the barriers to buy one.
The Post reports that one Domino's worker had sold around 50 pizzas by 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve—despite the fact that each pizza was more than 30 bucks. "It’s absolutely worth it. It was hot. It seems like it just came out of the oven,” one customer gushed. “If he comes back, I will buy some more.”
On a regular day, an eat-in pizza at that same location is $14.49, and the temporary price increase quickly caught the attention of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio. "Jacking up your prices on people trying to celebrate the holidays? Classy, @dominos," he tweeted. "To the thousands who came to Times Square last night to ring in 2020, I’m sorry this corporate chain exploited you—stick it to them by patronizing one of our fantastic LOCAL pizzerias."
And with that tweet, sent just after noon on New Year's Day, de Blasio became the first person to be ratio'd to death in the year 2020. Some people were quick to reply that the Domino's franchise was locally owned, while others pointed out that a $30 pie wasn't exactly a novelty at other "LOCAL pizzerias" near Times Square. A number of other @-replies just went full Econ 101, explaining the concept of supply and demand. ("This is a bad take," one woman wrote.)
Yes, a DoorDash or Grubhub pizza order might've been slightly cheaper (an unscientific survey learned that large pizzas cost about $20), but there was no way for a delivery driver to reach anyone who was corralled in Times Square, not when the streets were closed and the customer was unable to leave the holding area. And we can't believe we're defending Domino's here, but it did have to pay its workers to be there on New Year's Eve, so maybe the price increases were to cover the decreases in either foot traffic or delivery orders on that day.
"Every store in the city is owned by a local resident. Every employee is a local New York resident. Those stores provide jobs to thousands of his fellow citizens," a Domino's spokesperson told VICE. "With his comments, the mayor is suggesting that New Yorkers who own or work at a franchise are 'lesser than' those who don’t. Perhaps that suggests he doesn’t really care about all the people in his city?"
As of this writing, it costs $28.29 to have a large pepperoni pizza delivered from the Domino's on W 40th Street to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel on the next block. That's just a couple bucks difference from the price on New Year's Eve—although you don't have to wear a diaper at the DoubleTree.