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.

Recent entries:
“When I said ‘nuke the Chinese,’ I meant put the takeout in the microwave” (4/22)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (4/22)
“A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people…” (4/22)
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Entry from July 19, 2004
City That Never Sleeps
In the song "New York, New York" (1977), Frank Sinatra (in a 1979 recording) said that he wanted to wake up in a city that doesn't sleep. The phrase is much, much older than the song.

"The City That Never Sleeps" was a newspaper headline to an August 1907 story about night mail delivery in Manhattan. "New York Is a City That Never Sleeps" was a headline in the New-York (NY) Tribune on March 12, 1911, "The Citi Never Sleeps" was a popular slogan of Citibank in the 1970s.


25 August 1907, Macon (GA) Daily Telegraph, pg. 1, col. 3:
The City That Never Sleeps.
An indication of the progress that New York is making toward deserving the title of "the city that never sleeps" is afforded by Postmaster General Meyer's announcement that he intends to introduce an evening delivery of mail at 8 p. m. in the residential section of Manhattan.

Chronicling America
5 July 1908, San Francisco (CA) Sunday Call, pg. 4, col. 4:
An ALL-NIGHT PROWL in a CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS
By Gibson Adama
"SAN FRANCISCO is the greatest all-night town on earth; the place where they never go to bed." This expression I had heard so many times that I decided to see for myself; ...

Chronicling America
12 March 1911, New-York (NY) Tribune, pt. 4, pg. 1, col. 1:
New York Is a City That Never Sleeps
A Trip Around the Clock with THose Who Keep a Metropolis on the Move.


6 September 1912, Fort Wayne (IN) News, pg. 9, col. 4:
NEW YORK TO BE CITY
OF PERPETUAL LIGHT

GREATEST GAS PLANT IN THE
WORLD TO BE ERECTED--WILL
MAKE IT CITY THAT
NEVER GROWS DARK.
NEW YORK, Sept. 6. -- In addition to the greatest electric lighting plant New York is now to have the greatest gas plant in the world, surpassing even that which supplies the needs of London, and as a result is soon to add to its title of the city that never sleeps that of the city that never grows dark.


The following titles illustrate the popularity of this nickname:

1924--THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS, a film directed by Jame Cruze.
1928--WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS, a film starring Lon Chaney.
1928--"When the City Sleeps," a poem, FORUM, pg. 489.
1953--CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS, a film starring Gig Young and Edward Arnold, with location shooting in Chicago.
1956--WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS, a film starring Dana Andrews and Ida Lupino.
1958--WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS, a song recorded by Polly Bergen.
1966--THE CITY NEVER SLEEPS AT NIGHT, a Lee Hazelwood song recorded by Nancy Sinatra.
1983--THIS CITY NEVER SLEEPS, a song recorded by the Eurythmics.
1984--WELCOME TO SALA, THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS, a recording with music from the city in Java, Indonesia.
1986--SOWETO NEVER SLEEPS, a recording.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNicknames/Slogans • Monday, July 19, 2004 • Permalink