Monday, October 24, 2011

Pi(e) Alley

Washington street, arched entrance of Pi(e) alley.

Newsboys assembled in Pi(e) alley.

There are two stories for the origin of the name Pi or Pie Alley. The first refers to printer's type, or pi. When printing was done by assembling individual pieces of metal with characters on the top (yes, there was a time before laser printers), a pile of loose letters or other characters was called pi, or pied type. The presence of many newspaper publishers in the area probably first suggested the name.

The other option comes from the presence of a restaurant that served pie and drinks to newsboys and pressmen. Feel free to take your pick .


  1. That's a pretty cool postcard of the old Bell-in-Hand. Where did you find it?

  2. The historic marker placed at the end of the alley alludes to the newspaper pi explanation. I read it at least 35 years ago. I don't know where the "pie" explanation came from but it is of more recent vintage and of dubious authenticity.