Pi Alley - Boston, MA
Posted by: NorStar
N 42° 21.478 W 071° 03.484
19T E 330510 N 4691573
Quick Description: Pi Alley was named after a) originally "Pie Alley" for the places there that served meat pies; b) "Pi Alley" for the printing letters, called "Pi" found on the ground; or c) for the endless digits representing the constant, PI on the wall. Read on!
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 2/16/2012 7:07:50 PM
Waymark Code: WMDQYV
Just beyond Boston's Downtown Crossing section is a parking garage with a walkway through the building on the first floor. The walkway has, over the entrance, the name of the walkway - "Pi Alley."
As you enter from the east side - Washington Street - there are signs. The first five contain the digits of the constant, PI. The following is the first 150 or so digits of the constant: "3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816406286208998628034825342117067982148086513282306647093844609550582231725359408128481... " This is ridiculous enough. The signs, combined have over 1800 digits (estimated based on counting digits on one sign). The alley, however, wasn't named after the constant, PI.
The sixth sign has a history of the alley. The text is as follows:
As downtown Boston evolved from a residential to commercial area by the end of the 19th century, the name of this alley evolved from the names of local landowners to one more descriptive of the area. Many small restaurants set up shop in the alley to serve the area's workers. A staple in many of these places was meat pies, often ordered by colorful names such as "Cat Pie" earning the alley the name "Pie Alley".
In the days that Washington Street was home to most of the city's newspaper printing plants, many of the printers and typesetters frequented a tavern in the alley called the "Bell in the Hand" In their haste to get refreshments, newspapermen would often drop pocketfuls of mixed up, loose type (called "pi" in the printing business) on the ground, leading to the name "Pi Alley". Today, the alley continues the tradition of small businesses serving the people who work in the area, as well as the many tourists and visitors.
Today, there are several establishments along the alley, including Viga, Dunkin' Donuts, and Odessa Shoe Repair.
Agency Responsible for Placement: Other (Place below)
Agency Responsible for Placement (if not in list above): Pi Alley Parking Garage
City/Town Name: Boston
Relevant Web Site: [Web Link]
Year Placed: Not listed
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