NYC is called the Big Apple because it’s a big city with a lot of opportunity. It’s also a major center for culture and the arts.
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Origins of the Big Apple Name
New York City is commonly referred to as the “Big Apple”. This nickname did not come about on its own – it was actually quite a journey to get to this point. There are a few theories on how NYC got the nickname “Big Apple”, but the most widely accepted one is that it was first used in reference to horse racing in the 1920s.
Theories about the Big Apple Name
There are a few theories about new york city got the nickname “The Big Apple.” The most popular theory is that it was coined by jazz musicians in the 1920s who used the term “apple” as slang for city. Another theory suggests that the term was first used to describe horse racing in New York, which was then known as the “big city” of horse racing. It’s also possible that the nickname came from a popular 19th-century gambling game called Big Apple, which was played in New York City.
How the Big Apple Name Spread
Though there are many stories of how New York City got the nickname “The Big Apple,” the most likely one is that it was coined by John J. Fitz Gerald, a sports writer for the New York Morning Telegraph. In the 1920s, Fitz Gerald frequently used the term “the big apple” when referring to New York City in his column, which helped to spread the nickname.
The New York Visitors Bureau and the Big Apple Campaign
In the early 1970s, the New York Visitors Bureau (now known as NYC & Company) launched a marketing campaign to boost tourism in the city. They came up with the nickname “the Big Apple” and plastered it everywhere, on T-shirts, mugs, and posters. The campaign was a success—so much so that it’s now become synonymous with the city itself.
The name “the Big Apple” actually has a long history, predating the marketing campaign by several decades. It’s thought to have originated in the 1920s, when New York City was known for its horse-racing track, Aqueduct Racetrack. Horse aficionados from all over the country would descend on the city to watch the races, and they referred to Aqueduct as “the big apple.” The name caught on, and eventually came to be used as a nickname for the city as a whole.
These days, you find “the Big Apple” all over NYC—on street signs, in subway stations, and even on garbage trucks!
Other Promotions of the Big Apple Name
In addition to the various campaigns to promote tourism in New York City, the Big Apple name was also adopted by several other businesses and organizations. In 1971, New York City’s horse racing track in Queens was renamed Aqueduct Racetrack, commonly known as “The Big A”. The track is still in operation today. Also in 1971, a jazz club called Big Apple Jazz Records was opened on West 48th Street in Manhattan. The club only stayed open for a few years, but it did help to spread the Big Apple name even further.
The Big Apple Name Today
The Big Apple is a nickname for New York City. It was first popularized in the 1920s by John J. Fitz Gerald, a sports writer for the New York Morning Telegraph. Its popularity since then has led to its widespread use in popular culture, including books, movies, and music.
The Big Apple Name in Popular Culture
The term “Big Apple” was coined by columnist John J. Fitzgerald in a 1920 New York Evening Journal article. He used the term to refer to the many racing stables in and around New York City. It wasn’t until the late 1920s that the term began appearing in print more regularly, usually in reference to New York City’s vibrant nightlife. In the 1930s, jazz musicians and artists began using “Big Apple” as a code word for New York City.
The first known use of “Big Apple” as a nickname for New York City was in a Monday, April 21, 1924 article in the New York Morning Telegraph: ” Edward J. Montague, Harlem representative on the Board of Aldermen, says that ‘the big apple gets its polish from the rapid transit service’”.
It wasn’t until 1926 that “The Big Apple” started being used regularly in print. On October 16 of that year, Walter Winchell mentioned “The Big Apple” in his gossip column: “Lady Astor’s box at the Follies last nite was full of special notables… There were invited 144 ‘Scions of Gotham’s Four Hundred’ but thanks to Will Rogers only 84 showed up.”
Winchell continued using the term and it soon caught on with both jazz musicians and society columnists. In 1928 Winchell wrote: “Why does everybody knock N Y C? Another reason: lotsa folks here are doing things—and when you’re doin’ things you make more noise than when you ain’t”. By 1929 Winchell was referring to NYC as “the Big Apple” almost every day in his column.
The Big Apple Name as a Symbol of New York City
There are a few theories about how New York City got its nickname, the Big Apple. The most popular story is that it was coined by journalist John J. Fitzgerald in the 1920s. Fitzgerald was a horse racing enthusiast and often used the term “big apple” to refer to the big prizeocket or stakes at races in New York. Another theory claims that the term was first used by jazz musicians in the 1930s who used “apple” as slang for any big city, with New York City being the biggest of them all—the Big Apple.
Whatever the origins of the nickname, there is no doubt that it has come to symbolize New York City and all that it has to offer. From its lively music and arts scene to its celebrated food culture, there is truly something for everyone in the Big Apple.