A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 16, 2005
2005: Statement from a co-worker of Charles Gillett
This was sent to me, and I got the OK to post it here.

From: Gilbert Tauber
To:
Sent: Thu, 16 Jun 2005 01:55:48 +0200
Subject: Message from Big Apple web site visitor

Dear Mr. Popik,

This recollection may interest you:

I worked under Charles Gillett at the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau from 1959 to 1965. He was then the Bureau?s promotion director. My job was writing press releases and updating the Bureau?s various tourist brochures.

I think it was early in 1963 that I was meeting with him about some copy for a new brochure. This was during the run-up to the 1964-65 World?s Fair, and most of the Bureau?s publications carried "Come to the World's Fair" or similar slogans in large type.

After our discussion of the brochure draft, I jokingly asked Gillett what slogan we?d use once the World's Fair was over. He said, "Well, Gilbert, if I ever get to run this place, I'm going to start a campaign based on" - and here he gestured with both hands to indicate a banner headline in the air over his desk - "New York: The Big Apple."

"The Big Apple," I asked? Why?

"It's an old jazz musicians nickname for New York. They used to call it that because New York is where they'd get the best-paying jobs. There was even a dance called the Big Apple."

With that, he stood up, came around to the front of his desk, and skillfully demonstrated several steps.

That was our only conversation on "The Big Apple" during the time I worked for him.

A few years after I left the Bureau, Charles Gillett did get to run the place, and the rest is history.

Gilbert Tauber
Cologne, Germany

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Posted by Barry Popik
1970s: Big Apple Revival • (0) Comments • Thursday, June 16, 2005 • Permalink