Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863)—perhaps best known as the credited author of the yuletide poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”—lived in what he called Chelsea, in Manhattan. He had an apple orchard on the property; current uses of the property are for the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church and the High Line Hotel.
No one ever associated Moore’s 1820s apple orchard with the 1920s nickname of “Big Apple” until very recently. In September 2013, the Daily Mail (UK) presented the theory in a story about the High Line Hotel:
“The buildings sit on land that was formerly the country estate of academic Clement Clarke Moore. He named it ‘Chelsea’ after the London hospital for war veterans, and the apple orchards on his land are believed to have inspired the ‘Big Apple’ nickname.”
When the nickname “Big Apple” came into use in the 1920s, no one associated New York’s Chelsea neighborhood with apples.
Wikipedia: Clement Clarke Moore
Clement Clarke Moore (July 15, 1779 – July 10, 1863) was an American Professor of Oriental and Greek Literature, as well as Divinity and Biblical Learning, at the General Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Located on land donated by the “Bard of Chelsea” himself, the seminary still stands today on Ninth Avenue between 20th and 21st Streets, in an area known as Chelsea Square. Moore’s connection with that institution continued for over twenty-five years. He is the author of the yuletide poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, which later became famous as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”.
Moore’s estate, Chelsea, was on the west side of Manhattan island above Houston Street, where the developed city ended at the time, and was mostly open countryside. It was once the property of Maj. Thomas Clarke, Clement’s maternal grandfather and a retired British veteran of the French and Indian War. Clarke named his house for a hospital in London that served war veterans. The estate was later inherited by Thomas Clarke’s daughter, Charity Clarke Moore, and ultimately by grandson Clement and his family.
Despite his protests against urban development, eventually Moore began to develop Chelsea, dividing it up into lots along Ninth Avenue and selling them to well-heeled New Yorkers. He also donated to the Episcopal diocese an apple orchard consisting of 66 tracts for use as a seminary, construction on which began in 1827. This became the General Theological Seminary, where Moore served as the first professor of Oriental Languages, and which still survives on the same site, taking up most of the block between 20th and 21st Streets and Ninth and Tenth Avenues. Ten years later, Moore also gave land on Ninth and 20th Street, east of the avenue, for St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.
Garden Bytes from the Big Apple
SUNDAY, JUNE 13, 2010
A SECRET GARDEN
I first saw this building from The High Line, the elevated garden in the Meat-Packing district of Manhattan, and felt an immediate attraction. Turns out it houses the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church, on land donated by Clement C. Moore in1819. The acreage was part of the apple orchard on his estate. The oldest building dates from 1836, with other brick and stone structures also from the 19th century. Within the E-shaped Seminary is a park-like setting called the Close, a very secret garden.
Daily Mail (UK)
History on the High Line: Urban oasis raises the boutique hotel bar in NY’s Chelsea
By TAMARA ABRAHAM
PUBLISHED: 06:02 EST, 24 September 2013 | UPDATED: 09:15 EST, 24 September 2013
There’s no shortage of designer hotels in New York City, but it seems there is always space for one more. Especially when it is as unique as Chelsea’s new boutique High Line Hotel.
It may have only just opened, but the cluster of red-brick buildings spanning a whole block on Manhattan’s 10th Avenue are a local landmark, giving a long-established feel to the hotel.
The buildings sit on land that was formerly the country estate of academic Clement Clarke Moore. He named it ‘Chelsea’ after the London hospital for war veterans, and the apple orchards on his land are believed to have inspired the ‘Big Apple’ nickname.
New York City • The Big Apple • 1970s-present: False Etymologies • Saturday, October 05, 2013 • Permalink