If you’ve ever wondered why New York is called the Big Apple, you’re not alone. The nickname is actually quite old, and there are a few different stories about how it came to be. Here’s a look at the history of the Big Apple and what it means today.
Checkout this video:
The History of New York City’s Nickname
New York City has been called the Big Apple since the 1920s. There are a few different stories about how the city got its nickname. One story says that it was coined by John J. Fitz Gerald, a sports writer for the New York Morning Telegraph.
Early references to “the Big Apple”
The earliest known reference to the term “the Big Apple” was in a 1909 book called The Wayfarer in New York by Edward Martin. In the book, Martin talks about how New Yorkers are always hustling to make money and refers to the city as “the Big Apple.”
It’s unclear how Martin came up with the term, but it’s possible that he heard it from one of the many professional gamblers who were prevalent in New York at the time. These gamblers would often use slang terms to refer to the cities where they made their money, and “the Big Apple” may have been one of them.
first recorded use of the term in relation to horse racing was in 1924, when writer John J. Fitz Gerald referred to the annual race meet at Saratoga Springs as “the big apple of horsemen’s eyes.” Fitz Gerald was a regular contributor to The New York Morning Telegraph, a newspaper that was popular with horse racing fans.
It wasn’t until the 1970s that “the Big Apple” really caught on as a nickname new york city In 1971, The New York Convention and Visitors Bureau (now known as NYC & Company) launched a promotional campaign called “The Big Apple Circus.” The campaign was designed to boost tourism in New York, and it included a logo that featured a red apple with a green stem and leaves.
The logo was so successful that it became synonymous with the city, and “the Big Apple” soon became one of the most popular nicknames for New York City.
The 1931 racing column by John J. Fitz Gerald
In the spring of 1931, New York journalist and horse-racing enthusiast John J. Fitz Gerald wrote a column in the New York Morning Telegraph in which he referred to New York City as “the Big Apple.” It’s believed that Fitz Gerald picked up the nickname from conversations with African-American stable hands who used it to describe both the prize money available at NYC tracks and the city itself.
While the exact origins of the nickname are unknown, it’s clear that by the early 1930s, “the Big Apple” was already in common use among New Yorkers of all stripes. In fact, a song called “The Big Apple” was recorded by jazz musicians Fats Waller and Tommy Dorsey in 1933, and a dance called “The Big Apple” became popular around the same time.
Over the next few decades, “the Big Apple” continued to gain popularity as both a nickname for New York City and a symbol of its glamour and excitement. In 1971, the NYC Convention and Visitors Bureau launched an advertising campaign centered around the tagline “Come to The Big Apple…The biggest is best!” And in 1997, then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani even renamed one of NYC’s most famous streets (formerly known as Broadway) “The Great White Way.”
Today, more than 80 years after Fitz Gerald first used it, “the Big Apple” is as much a part of New York City’s identity as ever before.
Theories on How New York City Got Its Nickname
New York City has been called the “Big Apple” since the 1920s. There are a few theories on how the city got its nickname. One theory is that it was originally used in reference to horse racing. Another theory is that it was used in reference to the city’s large number of apples.
It was a term used by jazz musicians in the 1920s
The most popular theory about how New York City got its nickname, “the Big Apple,” comes from the world of jazz. In the 1920s, many jazz musicians lived in or visited Harlem, which was then the center of the jazz world. According to this theory, these musicians would refer to New York City as “the Big Apple” because it was the big time—the city where you could make it if you were good enough.
There’s some evidence to support this theory. For example, in 1921, a journalist named John J. Fitzgerald used the term “Big Apple” in a New York Evening Telegram article about Brooklyn horse-racing tracks. And in 1924, a racehorse named Big Apple won some important races in New York City.
But there’s also evidence that “the Big Apple” was used to describe New York City before the 1920s. For example, in 1909, a writer named Edward Martin used the term in a book called The Wayfarer in New York. And in 1918, an advertisement for a New York hotel called the Big Apple Hotel appeared in a publication called Black Tone Monthly. So it’s possible that “the Big Apple” was just a colorful way to refer to New York City that was being used by writers and others long before it was associated with jazz musicians.
It was a reference to the city’s large number of apples
The most likely explanation for how New York City got its nickname is that it was a reference to the city’s large number of apples. This theory is supported by the fact that the term “big apple” was first used in reference to New York City in the 1920s, during the height of the city’s apple-growing industry. It’s also worth noting that prior to the 1920s, the term “big apple” was used sparingly and didn’t appear to be associated with any particular place.
It was a corruption of the Dutch word for “orchard”
One theory claims that New York City’s nickname came about thanks to a corruption of the Dutch word for “orchard.” It’s said that in the 1600s, when the area was still populated primarily by Dutch settlers,green-food seller men were called “appel-koeken,” or “apple-cake men.” Over time, this was shortened to just “appel,” or “apple,” and eventually morphed into the nickname we use today: “the Big Apple.”
The Popularity of the Big Apple
New York City is called the Big Apple because it is a major financial and cultural center of the United States. The city got the nickname in the 1920s, and it has been used ever since. New York is the most populous city in the United States, and it is a global center for business, finance, fashion, art, and entertainment.
The Big Apple Corner in Harlem
In the 1920s, jazz was the hottest music in America and Harlem was its epicenter. The neighborhood was home to legendary clubs like the Cotton Club and the Savoy Ballroom, where top bands regularly played to packed houses. It was also the birthplace of a new form of jazz known as swing.
With so much going on, it’s no surprise that Harlem became known as “the big apple.” The nickname first appeared in print in 1921, in a column by Edna Anderson titled “Notes on New York Byways” in The New York Evening Telegram. Anderson wrote that Harlem “wasn’t the big apple” yet, but she predicted it would be soon.
The nickname really took off in the 1930s, when it was used in a series of articles by John J. Fitz Gerald, a sports writer for The New York Morning Telegraph. Fitz Gerald often referred to Harlem as “the big apple” when writing about horse racing at nearby tracks like Belmont Park and Aqueduct Racetrack. His use of the term helped make it popular with both black and white New Yorkers.
Today, you can find traces of “the big apple” nickname around Harlem. There’s a corner called Big Apple Corner at West 54th Street and Broadway, for instance, and an annual Big Apple Circus that sets up its tents in Central Park each year.
The Big Apple Circus
The Big Apple Circus is a one-ring circus founded in 1977. It is based in New York City, and performs primarily in the New York metropolitan area. The circus has been headquartered at various locations, including Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center, and Brooklyn.
The circus was started by Paul Binder and Michael Christensen, two former street performers who wanted to create a more intimate circus experience. The name “Big Apple” was chosen to reflect the big city that is New York.
The Big Apple Circus has been voted “Best Circus” by the New York Post for eight years in a row, and has won praise for its family-friendly shows. The circus is known for its performer-audience interaction, and often features clowns, jugglers, acrobats, aerialists, animals, and more.
The Big Apple Car Show
The Big Apple Car Show is an annual event that takes place in New York City. It is one of the largest and most popular car shows in the United States. The show features a wide variety of cars, trucks, and motorcycles from all over the world. There are also a number of interactive exhibits and demonstrations.