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 forthcoming—B.P. (6/26)
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Entry from March 28, 2005
Olympics (NYC 2012), the Big Apple, and the “Public Advocate” disgrace
"Public Advocate" Betsy Gotbaum is against the Olympics and seeks to kill it because the mayor is for it.

Is this what we need a "public advocate" for? Does she have any ideas of her own, other than if a "mayor" is for something, a "public advocate" must be against it? Does anyone really care what the "public advocate" thinks, anyway?

Not only does the 311 line make the "public advocate" office more useless than ever, not only does a recent change in the law (there will be an instant election should a mayor resign or die) also make the "public advocate" office useless, but the public advocate's opinions are useless as well.

The "Public Advocate" must exist through the media, through newspapers and television and radio. But this drowns out the voices of real ("private" and not city-funded) advocates who should be heard.

A case in point is an April 22-24, 2005 opinion by Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum in AM-New York. She got free space to publicize her opposition to the West Side Stadium deal. Her lawsuit and her opinions, however, merely duplicate those already heard and filed in the matter, by Madison Square Garden and by others ("private" advocates). And she didn''t represent me because I don't agree with those positions.

AM-New York had used my "Big Apple" work on the front page in a story about the "World's Second Home" Olympic slogan, but I was never mentioned. I finally wrote in my opinion. I told them that it was only fitting that the Olympics should come to New York City because we're "the Big Apple," and that means the pinnacle in sports. I told them that Betsy Gotbaum didn't represent me, and I might run against her, and I'd like equal time for my opinion to be published as well.

My opinion was not published. I'll post it here.

Re: "World's Second Home" (previous AM-NEW YORK cover story)
Re: "The MTA's sneaky deal" by Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, AM-NEW YORK, April 22-24, 2005, pg. 10.
...
New York should tell the Olympic committee that we're "the Big Apple," and that means the pinnacle in sports, and that the nickname was given to us by a black man. We should honor that black man right now, and if the Olympics should come here, well, it's only fitting,
...
In your past article on the proposed "World's Second Home" motto, you mentioned my "Big Apple" work on the front page, but you did not mention me. Last Friday, you published a wretched opinion by Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum on "The MTA's sneaky deal." I might run against her, and her "public advocating" seeks to kill all our Olympic dreams. I must respond now.
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New York City is the pinnacle in sports. In a February 18, 1924 column in the New York Morning Telegraph, track writer John J. Fitz Gerald wrote the words that speak forever to the soul of this city: "The Big Apple. The dream of every lad that ever threw a leg over a thoroughbred and the goal of all horsemen. There's only one Big Apple. That's New York." I re-discovered those words in 1993. And in the next few paragraphs, Fitz Gerald admitted for the first time that he'd heard "the Big Apple" from dusky stablehands at the Fair Grounds racetrack in New Orleans. New York was and is the big reward.
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Professor Gerald Cohen and I worked together on "the Big Apple." The first "big apple" citation we found was May 3, 1921. On May 3, 1997 (almost eight years ago), after it was signed into law by Mayor Giuliani, I dedicated "Big Apple Corner" at West 54th Street and Broadway, where Fitz Gerald last lived. My mother and father would both die in that spring of 1997. No one politician would help me on what to do next; I personally invited every media outlet in New York City to the dedication. But I wasn't Britney Spears, so no one would understand. No one came.
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So I'll tell New York now what I had planned to say. These immortal words must be placed in an apple in the pavement at Big Apple Corner. "The Big Apple" must mean something beyond a street sign that no one can understand.
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And the black man who called us "the Big Apple" (the greatest achievement in sports) must be honored. The first step is for our mayor (and maybe even our public advocate) to write to the mayor of New Orleans ("the Big Easy"), and to a newspaper in New Orleans, and to ask anyone there if this is anyone's father or grandfather. We must do this, even now.
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Ten years ago (1995), Gerald Cohen's "Big Apple" summary was published in the _Encyclopedia of New York City_, and I thought that would be it. But the Society for New York City History would play a hoax on an emerging internet, stating that "the Big Apple" ultimately comes from an early 19th century French prostitute named "Eve." This would make the Museum of New York City's web page, and I'd help remove it. This would make the New-York Historical Society's web page, and I'd help remove it. This would make the New York Public Library's web page, and I'd help remove it. This would make the Gotham Center's web page, and I'd help remove it there, too.
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But last year, the Big Apple Fest (apple sculptures) began, and the Big Apple whore hoax made that website, too. A Fest article in the Toronto Globe and Mail was titled "What would Madam Eve think?" And so I put my research for free on a website (http://www.barrypopik.com), and I'd write to the Big Apple Fest as I'd written to the others, and they wouldn't listen to me. And I wrote to the public advocate for help, and she wrote to the Big Apple Fest, and I was told that the whore material was there for "discussion purposes." The Big Apple Fest is now starting again for 2005. There is a Big Apple FAQ and some general fruit information on a newly revised website. There is no explanation of "the Big Apple" at all.
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Mayor Bloomberg, the black stablehand must be honored right now. And then, Mr. Mayor, go back to the Olympic committee and tell them who we are. And tell them there was this Greek legend, and an apple was awarded to the fairest, the best. And when New York City finally honors that black man, we are that Big Apple, the goal of all horsemen, the pinnacle in sports.
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If the Olympics want no part of that, so be it.
Posted by Barry Popik
Public Advocate (1993 election) • (0) Comments • Monday, March 28, 2005 • Permalink