Unearthing the Root of the “Big Apple”

Everyone knows that New York City is also known as “The Big Apple”. Mention the words “Big Apple” and immediately, images of The Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall and Central Park start dancing around in your head. That’s cool. It’s good that you know what landmarks are associated with the Big Apple. But have you ever asked yourself why, of all monikers, it had to be a big red fruit? Why not the Big Banana, the Hot Tamale, the Awesome Orange? Nah! Those just do not have the same ring to it.

It is said that the term ‘Big Apple’ originated during the years after the Great Depression when the streets of New York were lined with apple vendors. However, researchers now believe that the famous nickname was born in the 1920’s and attributed to John Fitzgerald, a sports writer. He used the term “Big Apple” several times in his sports column published regularly in the New York Morning Telegraph. “The Big Apple: was actually used in reference to New York horse racing. A few years later, John Fitzgerald explained the use of the term “Big Apple” in another column he penned under the headline “Around the Big Apple”. He said he heard stable boys use the term ‘Big Apple’ to describe New York City – a place so big, so ripe and so full of opportunity. The term “The Big Apple” became so popular that other writers began using it in their respective columns, and the words were no longer exclusively associated with horse racing. For more details, please visit these sites:- www.bunnydirectories.com

“The Big Apple” became an even bigger hit during the 1930’s and 1940’s. A popular night club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem was called “The Big Apple”, and a jitterbug-style group dance was also called “The Big Apple”. Jazz musicians also used the term “The Big Apple” to refer to important music gigs – usually ones that were staged at venues in Manhattan, home of the biggest, hippest and most appreciative audience in the city.

The term was used less and less through the years and by the 1960’s, “The Big Apple” was considered an ‘old name for New York City’ (much like Siam was the old name of Thailand). However, a resurgence of interest in “The Big Apple”came about in the early 1970’s when Charles Gillett, head of the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau, decided to use the nickname to attract more tourists. Back then, New York City had become infamous due to blackouts, strikes, petty crimes and occasional gang riots. He wanted to combat that image by branding New York as a big, plump, and juicy red apple. After all, who can resist an apple? (Adam and Eve couldn’t.)


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