This commonly asked question got me wondering, why do we call New York City the Big Apple? While I’ve seen several apple trees in New York City, I don’t particularly recall them as being in notable quantity — there are certainly more pigeons than apples in New York City, but we don’t call New York City the “Big Pigeon.” As with anything New York, there are many opinions and contradictions.

In the early 1920s, “apple” was used in reference to the many racing courses in and around New York City. Apple referred to the prizes being awarded for the races — as these were important races, the rewards were substantial.

Based on the research of Barry Popik, the use of “Big Apple” to refer to New York City became clearer. Popik found that a writer for the New York Morning Telegraph, John Fitzgerald, referred to New York City’s races “Around the Big Apple.” It is rumored that Fitzgerald got the term from jockeys and trainers in New Orleans who aspired to race on New York City tracks, referring to the “Big Apple.”

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, New   York City’s jazz musicians began referring to New   York City as the “Big Apple.” An old saying in show business was “There are many apples on the tree, but only one Big Apple.” New York City being the premier place to perform was referred to as the Big Apple.

A 1971 campaign to increase tourism to New   York City adopted the Big Apple as an officially recognized reference to New York City. The campaign featured red apples in an effort to lure visitors to New   York City. It was hoped that the red apples would serve as a bright and cheery image of New York City, in contrast to the common belief that New York City was dark and dangerous. Since then, New York City has officially been The Big Apple.

In recognition of Fitzgerald, the corner of 54th & Broadway, where Fitzgerald lived for 30 years, was renamed “Big Apple Corner” in 1997.

Why did I lead off with this question today?  I am in Times Square!  What a wonderful town!  The plan for this day is to see the Rockettes at RadioCityMusic Hall.  I am so looking forward to this.  The last time I saw this show was in BransonMO in 1999,  It was Thanksgiving time also.

That was another wonderful Thanksgiving memory and a wonderful trip.  We were living in BallwinMO and my folks were down for the holiday.  They had wanted to see Branson and it was only 3 hrs away so why not!  We had no big responsibilities to take care of and were foot loose and fancy free.

The only thing we had when we left was a hotel reservation and enthusiasm.  It was too late to get tickets to the shows we were told.  Best to check in with a ticket store as you enter the town.  We did.  We got 7th row center seats for the Rockettes at the GrandPalace!  We also saw Andy Williams, The Presleys and more.  It was a great way to end the holiday!

This year I am making more Thanksgiving memories again with the Rockettes in their hometown.  The first time I saw them it was here in RadioCityMusic Hall as well.  It was the summer of my appendix operation and this was a treat for having to not play for the month.  My mother and I were here alone visiting cousins.  We went to RadioCity to see ‘Mr. Roberts’ the movie and the Rockettes were on before – maybe it was an intermission?  I was ten which was a long time ago.  I do remember the Rockettes and looking up at the EmpireStateBuilding.  New  York, New  York what a wonderful town!

This weekend we are celebrating a belated 30th birthday – not mine – our goddaughters!  And we are…………


One comment on “THE BIG APPLE

  1. I was probably in Radio City Music Hall for the same showing 55 years ago! My Apple – NYU. Each of us who spends a few years in NYC in our youth always consider it to be our town, We reqally take ownership no matter how far from it we roam or how many years intervene. While in school I worked summers in Central Park and on Madison Avenue in restaurants, and found the most wonderful girl from Mt. Sinai School of Nursing to stay married to for the past 42+ years. Thanks for the memories.

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