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 Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from August 07, 2020
1925-1929: “Big Apple” in The Inter-State Tattler

The Inter-State Tattler is an African American newspaper from New York City that existed from 1922 to about 1932. There were four columns containing “Big Apple,” and these occurred before Harlem’s 1934 “Big Apple” nightclub popularized the term in African American newspapers.

“Formerly of the Big Apple, New York City” was printed in The Inter-State Tattler on September 18, 1925. It is one of the earliest citations indicating that New York City—and not simply its racetracks—is the “Big Apple.”

“Why did Milly Grandson and Miss A. L., of Monmouth street, have the argument about the big time bartender at the New World Cabaret, formerly the ‘Big Apple.’ Page the Grand Old Sheik, Mr. Kay. ... Then Mr. W. L. came along and settled that argument in the ‘Big Apple’ early Sunday morning” was printed in the The Inter-State Tattler on September 23, 1927. “Big Apple” is in quotations and probably means “New York City”—not that the “New World Cabaret” was formerly called the “Big Apple,” or that the bartender formerly worked at a place called the “Big Apple.” “Settled that argument in the ‘Big Apple’ early Sunday morning” seems to mean “Settled that argument in New York City early Sunday morning.”

“Pauline, we see you did not go to the country Saturday with the Big Apple from Edgecombe Avenue, when the Big Apple from Brooklyn gave his orders” was printed in The Inter-State Tattler on June 22, 1928. “Big Apple from Edgecombe Avenue” probably means “New Yorker from Edgecombe Avenue,” and “Big Apple from Brooklyn” probably means “New Yorker from Brooklyn.”

“Where is all the night life in Newark? Gone are all the cabarets,—Big Apple, closed after the holidays. Club Alabama, raided, Kinney Hall, white patrons only” was printed in on February 8, 1929. Here, “Big Apple” is not in quotations. Most probably it means that “New York City” is closed after the holidays, and Club Alabama and Kinney Hall are two Newark places that cannot be visited. However, this could be read that there was a club called “Big Apple” in Newark, New Jersey. It is not known that any such Newark club existed.


18 September 1925, The Inter-State Tattler (New York, NY), pg. 5, col. 3 ad:
KINNEY HALL AND CABARET
Arlington and Augusta Streets, Newark, N. J.
DANCING AND ENTERTAINING
MUSIC BY WILLIE SMITH’S VERSATILE FOUR
Formerly of the Big Apple, New York City

23 September 1927, The Inter-State Tattler (New York, NY), “Newark, N. J. Section” by James E. (Broadway) Jones, pg. 12, col. 2:
Why did Milly Grandson and Miss A. L., of Monmouth street, have the argument about the big time bartender at the New World Cabaret, formerly the “Big Apple.” Page the Grand Old Sheik, Mr. Kay. ... Then Mr. W. L. came along and settled that argument in the “Big Apple” early Sunday morning.

22 June 1928, The Inter-State Tattler (New York, NY), “The High Hatters,” pg. 10, col. 1:
Pauline, we see you did not go to the country Saturday with the Big Apple from Edgecombe Avenue, when the Big Apple from Brooklyn gave his orders.

8 February 1929, The Inter-State Tattler (New York, NY), “Newark, New Jersey” by Harry W. Burroughs, pg. 6, col. 4:
Where is all the night life in Newark? Gone are all the cabarets,—Big Apple, closed after the holidays. Club Alabama, raided, Kinney Hall, white patrons only. SO if one does not take in the show at the Orpheum Theatre, he can sit at home and tune in on the radio.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityThe Big Apple1920s: John J. Fitz Gerald and the N.Y. Morning Telegraph • Friday, August 07, 2020 • Permalink