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 November 23, 2007
Sing Sing on the Brazos (Texas A&M nickname)

Sing Sing is a famous prison in upstate New York. Life at Texas A&M University (near the Brazos River) was compared to this prison by at least the 1940s. The “Sing Sing on the Brazos” nickname became less applicable when Texas A&M started to admit women in the 1960s. “Sing Sing on the Brazos” is seldom used today.

Texas A&M has also been called “Harvard on the Brazos.”


Wikipedia: Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University, often called A&M or TAMU, is a coeducational public research university located in College Station, Texas. It is the flagship institution of the Texas A&M University System. It opened in 1876 as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, the first public institution of higher education in that state. In 1963, the Texas Legislature renamed the school, Texas A&M University, to reflect the institution’s expanded roles and academic offerings. The letters “A&M” no longer have any explicit meaning but are retained as a link to the university’s past. The nickname “Aggie” refers to students, alumni, and sports teams of Texas A&M.

Wikipedia: Sing Sing
Sing Sing Correctional Facility is a maximum security prison in Ossining, New York, USA. It is located approximately 30 miles (48 km) north of New York City on the banks of the Hudson River. The name comes from the town of Ossining’s original name of “Sing Sing”, though the penitentiary was first called “Mount Pleasant” when it opened in 1828.

26 July 1942, Galveston (TX) Daily News, pg. 11, col. 7:
Kitty Sue Jinkins, Purple Quill queen, was every Aggie’s choice for queen at Saturday night’s prom.

Edmond Henderson, seen on the campus this week, is probably vacationing on Texas’ “Sing Sing on the Brazos.”

February 1946, American Speech, “An Aggie Vocabulary of Slang” by Fred Eikel, Jr., pg. 35:
SING SING ON THE BRAZOS, n. The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, located about three miles from the Brazos River.

Time magazine
Texas Athletic & Military
Friday, Sep. 28, 1962
(...)
Yet none of these superlatives catch even a whiff of the Aggieland spirit. When A. & M. opened 86 years ago, it was smack in the population center of Texas. Today it is 100 miles from anywhere—Austin, Houston or Waco—and though the site is called College Station, the trains that go through the 5,200-acre campus will stop only for hogs or horses, not humans. People who fly or drive there can see why critics call it “Sing Sing on the Brazos.” Looming out of rlatland where the lowly “post oak” grows, the school is a cluster of penal-looking buildings flying the flag of Texas. Center of the campus is the Academic Building, with an odd dome topped by a bare electric light bulb that Aggies used to shoot out regularly. 

27 September 1962, Abilene (TX) Reporter-News, “Aggie Blood Boils,” pg. 1, col. 6:
A pox on Time Magazine and writer Robert Glenn Sherrill has been cast by the hardiest of all college alumni—Those of Texas A&M.
(...)
Here are samples of Sherrill’s written pot-shots heard around Aggie world: “People who fly or drive there can see why critics call it ‘Sing Sing on the Brazos.’ A&M has no departments of art, classics, music or philosophy. English, history and psychology are undistinguished. To scoffers at the major-league University of Texas, Aggies are strictly ‘union packers.’”

2 May 1963, Pasadena (CA) Independent, “Texas Aggies Build Hate for Women,” pg. 10, col. 3:
It is a standing pastime in Texas to razz Aggies. Aggie jokes number in the thousands and a new unmerciful rash of puns, digs and innuendoes will accompany co-eds to the campus that is often called “Sing Sing on the Brazos (River).”

Journalism Is For Rockstars
Why A&M sucks
March 24, 2007

This rant’s probably been a long time coming, what with living 45 minutes from College Station for seven months, and general irritation at Man Boobs, but every whine has its time.

I don’t hate Texas A&M, but I don’t like it. A&M sucks. The reasons for Aggie suckage are wide and varied, but I’ll try to lay it out.

1) College Station is flat and ugly. The campus is not pretty at all, and gives thorough credence to the earlier nickname for A&M, “Sing-Sing on the Brazos.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Friday, November 23, 2007 • Permalink


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