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. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from April 13, 2012
“The Eiffel Tower is the Empire State Building after taxes”

"The Eiffel Tower is the Empire State Building after taxes” was supposedly said by an American during a visit to France in 1950 or 1951. New York’s Empire State Building was then the tallest building in the world; the Eiffel Tower is a smaller structure of wrought iron lattice. The joke shows that taxes take away a lot.

A syndicated newspaper column by the actor/comedian Bob Hope (1903-2003) from Paris in May 1951 contained the joke:

“The Eiffel tower is an impressive sight. It looks like the Empire State Building after taxes.”

The comedian Joey Adams (1911-1999) also used the joke by at least 1952. In 1953, a department store executive named Joe Eckhouse was credited with the joke. The Eiffel Tower/Empire State Building saying is listed in many collections of tax quotations and humor.

A similar saying is “A harp is a piano after taxes.”

Wikipedia: Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower (French: La Tour Eiffel, [tuʁ ɛfɛl], nickname La dame de fer, the iron lady) is a wrought iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris. Built in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, it has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. The tower is the tallest building in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; millions of people ascend it every year. It is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower.

The tower stands 320 metres (1,050 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-story building. During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to assume the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930. However, because of the addition, in 1957, of the antenna atop the Eiffel Tower, it is now taller than the Chrysler Building.

Wikipedia: Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a 102-story landmark skyscraper and American cultural icon in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. It has a roof height of 1,250 feet (381 meters), and with its antenna spire included, it stands a total of 1,454 ft (443.2 m) high. Its name is derived from the nickname for New York, the Empire State. It stood as the world’s tallest building for 40 years, from its completion in 1931 until construction of the World Trade Center’s North Tower was completed in 1972. Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, the Empire State Building was again the tallest building in New York (although it was no longer the tallest in the world). Once the new One World Trade Center is completed, the Empire State Building will once again be demoted to second tallest building in New York.

31 May 1951, San Antonio (TX) Light, “It Says Here” by Bob Hope, pg. 12B, col. 5:
PARIS—I’ve been sightseeing and it’s a thrill to see such famous Paris landmarks as the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel tower. The Eiffel tower is an impressive sight. It looks like the Empire State Building after taxes.

22 June 1952, High Point (NC) Enterprise, “In New York” by Walter Winchell, pg. 4, col. 7:
If the Republicans taunt the Democrats with the quip: “The Eiffel Tower is the Empire State Building after taxes!” the Democrats will use Oscar Ewing’s delightful dig: “They promised you a chicken in every pot and now you can’t find parking space!”

Google Books
Volumes 62-63
Pg. 107:
Joey Adams, the erudite (he wrote a book, once) TV-radio-nightclub comedian, honeymooning in Paris, wasn’t too impressed with his first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, to wit: “The Empire State Building — after taxes!”

Google Books
Good for a Laugh:
A new collection of humorous tidbits and anecdotes from aardvark to zythum

By Bennett Cerf
Garden City, NY: Hanover House
Pg. 203:
Joe Eckhouse, handsome department-store executive, classifies the Eiffel Tower as “The Empire State Building after taxes.”

Google News Archive
29 May 1953, The News and Courier (Charleston, SC), “Escapists’ Paradise” by John Temple Graves, pg. 4A, col. 4:
Speaking of architecture, Lou Schneider in The Florida Times-Union tells of a modern American tourist in Paris looking at the Eiffel Tower an commenting that “it looks like the Empire State Building after taxes.”

Google Books
February 1957, Changing Times (The Kiplinger Magazine), pg. 2, col. 3:
An American businessman, back from a trip to Europe, describes the Eiffel Tower as looking like the Empire State Building after taxes.

Google Books
Braude’s Handbook of Humor for All Occasions
By Jacob Morton Braude
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall
Pg. 287:
Eiffel Tower: the Empire State Building after taxes.

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New York CityGovernment/Law/Military/Religion /Health • (1) Comments • Friday, April 13, 2012 • Permalink