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 July 05, 2004
“Fun City” Nickname (1966)
New York's "Fun City" nickname was born in the first days of Mayor John Lindsay's administration in January 1966. There was a transit strike; after observing New York's troubles, Lindsay declared that he still thought that New York was a fun city.

The term quickly was parodied, with "fun" applying to the darker elements of crime and sex shops. Charles Gillett's 1970s "Big Apple" campaign effectively removed the unfortunate "Fun City" nickname.

Dick Schaap published a column in the New York World-Journal-Tribune titled "What's New in Fun City?" His first citation of the term is the Schaap column in the New York Herald Tribune of January 7, 1966.

7 January 1966, New York (NY) Herald Tribune, pg. 13:
The Fun City

Not long after the transit strike began the other day, Mayor John Lindsay went on radio and television to announce that New York is a fun city. He certainly has a wonderful sense of humor. A little whole later, Lindsay cheerfully walked four miles from his hotel room to City Hall, a gesture which proved that the fun city had a fun Mayor.

The funniest thing was that New Yorkers actually were finding humor in the absence of buses and subways. One citizen was very concerned that the pickpockets and muggers, the true New Yorkers, he called them, would get out of shape. He offered to give them a room where they could practice on each other for the duration of the crisis.
Robert Wagner, who had been Mayor of New York for 12 years before Lindsay took over, chose t ospend the first week of 1966 in Acapulco, another one of those fun cities. He thought it was kind of funny that the city had never had a transit strike when he was Mayor.

Even policemen were groping for jokes. "It could be worse," said a policeman on duty at City Hall early in the week. "It could be snowing. It could be the Christmas shopping season. And Consolidated Edison could have another blackout." Some fun.

13 January 1966, New York (NY) Times, pg. 21:
The transit strike wasn't at all amusing and one benefit is that it will be a long time before advertising men and politicans again will embarrass real New York-lovers by calling it a fun city.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityThe Big Apple1960s: Fun City • (0) Comments • Monday, July 05, 2004 • Permalink

Thanks Barry,
After observing your post I really enjoyed reading some thing about fun city and eagerly looking for your new posts.

Posted by nigel  on  06/24  at  02:06 AM

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