Among nicknames given by Alicia Keys like the “concrete jungle” to Jacob Riis’ “the city that never sleeps,” nothing quite beats “The Big Apple.”
However, many don’t know the story behind such a world renown nickname…and no it’s not from New York’s abundance of apples.
In the 1920s, there lived a horse-racing writer for The Morning Telegraph New York named John Fitz Gerald. According to an old NYC press release, “While on assignment in New Orleans, FitzGerald overheard African-American stablehands refer to New York City race-courses as ‘The Big Apple.'”
Apparently the name stuck with Fitz Gerald because he later titled his racing column “Around The Big Apple,” that soon became analogous to the racing scene in New York City.
According to NY Daily News, Fitz Gerald first published the name on May 3, 1921, making today its 100th year anniversary!
As jazz became wildly popular in the city during the 30s, many musicians began to embrace the nickname to show the city was an epicenter for incredible jazz. The nickname then transitioned to represent the city itself and it’s cultural diversity.
Many years later, in “the early 1970’s the name played an important role in reviving New York’s tourist economy through a campaign led by the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau. Today the nickname ‘The Big Apple,’ which replaced ‘Fun City,’ is the international description of our city and is synonymous with the cultural and tourist attractions of New York City,” shared the press release.
After much evolution, the name had become a fan favorite in reference to our beautiful city and still is today! So cheers to 100 years and to many more of loving and celebrating “The Big Apple.”
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