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Bet You Didn't Know Why New York is Called 'The Big Apple'

Bet You Didn't Know Why New York is Called 'The Big Apple'
New York City is one of the most happening cities in the world. It is the place to be not just for business, but also to live your life to the fullest. All things are first seen in New York. Also, called "the big apple", everybody wants a bite of it. But, ever wondered why is New York called "the big apple"?
Urvashi Pokharna
Last Updated: Dec 12, 2018
If you are an ambitious single man, you know where you should be - New York. It is the hub of economic activities and single women outnumber their male counterparts! Quite a combination. And there is so much more to the city, lovingly referred to as "the Big Apple".
You can dine at some of the world's most amazing restaurants here that will tantalize your taste buds, live the finest lifestyle, experience one of the best night lives and be the first to adopt the latest innovations. People who do not live in New York, visit it as tourists to bite their bit of the apple because this city has so much to offer.
New York will enamor you with neatly designed skyscrapers, diverse cultures with more than 800 languages spoken in the city, flagship stores of every fashion label, Broadway, historical landmarks and its entertainment industry. Since long, people have wondered and have come up with some really bizarre theories about the nickname.
However, the real picture was brought into light by two etymologists of Missouri University of Science and Technology, Barry Popik and Gerald Cohen, after 20 years of extensive research. Let's learn about their findings.
Why is New York Called "The Big Apple"?
New York city
According to the research, the first citation of New York as "the big apple" can be found in the book The Wayfarer in New York authored in 1909 by Edward Martin, though, the reference seems rather metaphorical.
Such was the opinion also shared by both the etymologists and the Random House Dictionary of American Slang. Quoting the statement from the book that refers to New York as "the big apple; Kansas is apt to see in New York a greedy city.... It inclines to think that the big apple gets a disproportionate share of the national sap."
Later, on February 18, 1924, a sportswriter for New York Morning Telegraph, John 'Jack' Fitzgerald, wrote an article titled "Around the Big Apple". He wrote, "The Big Apple. The dream of every lad that ever threw a leg over a thoroughbred and the goal of all horsemen. There's only one Big Apple. That's New York".
This was the second citation of the term, as he was referring to the race courses in New York city, which happened to be the best of their time. He learned this reference from New Orleans' jockeys, of African-American origin, who dreamed of racing on the New York race courses as the apples or rewards bestowed to the winners were big and lavish in such races.
A few years later, in the 1930s, jazz musicians began making the term more frequent in use. In show business, New York was the most coveted place and that was where all performers dreamed to be. There was a popular Harlem nightclub called "The Big Apple" that played jazz. The audience for these performances was large and sophisticated.
Having a gig meant that you'd be noticed and admired in a large market, translating into a quick road to fame. In fact, if you may know, it was often said, "There are many apples on the tree, but only one Big Apple". This further affirms the findings. A dance form in NYC, that became popular in Harlem's ballrooms in the 1930s, was also named "The Big Apple".
However, it was in 1971 that this name was officially accepted for NYC in its tourism campaign. The city had begun to lose its glory and was becoming notorious for increasing crime rates, riots, blackouts and strikes. The campaign made use of red apples to project the image of a bright and cheerful city and attract more tourists to the city.
Volunteers for the campaign would hand out apples to tourists. This successful campaign was designed by the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau and gained immense popularity. Since then, the term is associated with New York and every year, about 46 million tourists come to the city, spending as much as $28 billion.
In 1997, the West 54th Street and Broadway were renamed as the "The Big Apple Corner", the place of John Fitzgerald's residence, following his death to honor his contribution to the city's toponym.
Rumors About "The Big Apple"
There have been rumors going around about this moniker, one of them claimed that once there was a French pimp called Eve Claudine de Saint-Évremond, who managed a popular brothel in New York in the early 19th century and the women working for her were known as Eve's apples. Hence, the city was referred to as the "big apple".
Another rumor marks the number of apple trees in the city as the reason. According to a third rumor, if the harbors of New York are viewed from the top, they resemble the shape of an apple and hence, the name. Rumors will be rumors and these were an absolute fallacy. This alternate name of New York is not related to an apple pie, an apple tree or the Bible.
Did you know? New York was once the capital of United States of America, between 1785 to 1790, and is presently its largest city. New York is the land of opportunities. It is the city that never sleeps. I ♥ NYC!