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 13, 2005
“Keeping Up With the Joneses”
"Keeping Up With the Joneses" was a popular comic strip by Arthur "Pops" Momand that began in the New York World in 1913. "Jones" is a popular name; Momand almost went with "Smith."

It's been said that the name "Jones" comes from a family who lived on the east side of Manhattan, but I find that doubtful.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keeping_up_with_the_Joneses
Keeping up with the Joneses is a popular phrase in many parts of the English-speaking world referring to the common desire to be seen to be as good as one's neighbours or contemporaries, thus maintaining a favourable image in comparison with them. To fail to "keep up with the Joneses" is perceived as demonstrating one's socio-economic or cultural inferiority.

15 February 1894, Ohio Democrat (New Philadelphia, OH), pg. 5, col. 2:
The New Philadelphia Directory shows the names of 30 Smiths, 30 Millers, 29 Joneses, and 28 Kniselys. This is a pretty good showing for the Millers and the Kniselys, when they can keep up with the Smiths and the Joneses.

5 December 1987, New York Times, pg. 33:
Arthur R. Monand, Comic Strip Artist, Dies
Arthur R. Monand, an artist and creator of the comic strip "Keeping Up With the Joneses," died Nov. 10 at the Mary McClellan Hospital in Cambridge, N.Y. He was 101 years old and lived in a nursing home at the hospital.
(...)
In 1916, he created "Keeping Up With the Joneses," a comic strip parody of American domestic life, which was eventually syndicated in several hundred newspapers in the United States and abroad.

15 February 1998, New York Times, F.Y.I. by Daniel B. Schneider, "Envying the Joneses," pg. CY2:
"Keeping Up With the Joneses" was a popular comic strip by Arthur R. Momand, which ran in The New York World from 1913 until the early 1940's. Mr. Momand said the srip was based on his observations of life in Cedarhurst, N.Y., where he and his wife had lived "far beyond their means" in a vain effort to keep pace with "the well-to-do class." THe Joneses were often mentioned in the strip, but never seen. The cartoonost said he considered using the name Smith, but decided on Jones because it was more "euphonious."

Posted by Barry Popik
Workers/People • (0) Comments • Sunday, November 13, 2005 • Permalink