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:
“New York point guards will give up their grandmother before their dribble” (basketball adage) (10/31)
Mayor Pothole or Senator Pothole (responsive to constituent needs) (10/31)
“I could burn water” (i.e., I can’t cook) (10/31)
“When you think, you stink” (sports adage) (10/30)
“Real estate is a relationship business” (real estate adage) (10/30)
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Entry from July 25, 2004
Johnny Pump
A "Johnny Pump" is a fire hydrant. It's a name that I don't hear much anymore.

I found it first in the following novel, which is full of "classic" New York speech.


Call It Sleep
by Henry Roth
New York: The Noonday Press, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
1991, eleventh printing 1996
(Originally published in 1934)

Pg. 87:
They marched cross the street in single file and stopped before a tall hydrant.

"Jump on Johnny Pump!" commanded Sidney leaping up on the two stumpy arms of the fire-plug.

Posted by Barry Popik
Names/Phrases • (0) Comments • Sunday, July 25, 2004 • Permalink