Why Is New York Referred To As The ‘Big Apple’?

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New York is one of the world’s great cities, and is often referred to as the ‘Big Apple‘.

Some of the world’s largest cities have nicknames.

Chicago is known as ‘The Windy City’, New Orleans is called ‘The Big Easy’, Milan is referred to as ‘The Fashion Capital’, while London has been referred to as ‘The Big Smoke’.

London was given that name because of the fog which engulfed the city in the 19th century, with the phrase first appearing in a book of slang in 1874.

New York is home to some of the finest landmarks, Broadway, American sports teams and stadiums.

Why is New York referred to as the 'Big Apple'?
Aerial of lower Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn bridge at dusk, New York (Picture: Getty)

But have you ever wondered why New York City is famously known as ‘The Big Apple’?

The phrase can originally be traced back to the 1920s when horse racing was big in the city and the prizes were apples.

A journalist covering the races, John Fitz Gerald, apparently overheard stable hands saying they were going to ‘The Big Apple’ to work at the event.

He used the phrase in one of his newspaper columns and it picked up from there.

Why is New York referred to as the 'Big Apple'?
Jazz musicians in the 1930s adopted the phrase (Picture: Getty)

It was then used by jazz musicians in the 1930s to say that New York City was home to big-league music clubs.

A 1971 campaign to increase tourism to New York City adopted the ‘Big Apple’ as an officially recognised reference to New York City.

According to tripsavvy, the campaign featured red apples in an effort to lure visitors to New York City.

Why is New York referred to as the 'Big Apple'?
‘Big Apple Corner’ is at 54th Street and Broadway, in Manhattan’s Theater District (Picture: Getty Images)

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 because was experiencing economic woes and high crime rates.

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.

 

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