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 May 30, 2009

kkEntry in progress—B.P.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Main Entry: bel·ly–up
Pronunciation: \-ˈəp\
Function: adjective
Etymology: from the floating position of a dead fish
Date: 1939
: hopelessly ruined or defeated ; especially : bankrupt “the business went belly–up

(Oxford English Dictionary)
belly-up, adv.
1. In or into a position with the belly or underside facing upwards; spec. (esp. of a fish) in or into this position as the result of dying.
1749 W. DOUGLASS Brit. Settlem. N. Amer. I. II. vi. 302 In Newfoundland they work their Fish Belly down, in New-England they work them Belly up, to receive more Salt, and add to their Weight.
1832 Traveller & Spirit of Times 1 Dec. 1/1 On the following day several flounders were seen, belly up, floating on the surface of the water.
2. fig. colloq. (orig. U.S.). In or into a situation of having failed (esp. financially), died, finished, or become defunct. Esp. in to go belly-up.
1920 J. DOS PASSOS Let. 12 Sept. in Fourteenth Chron. (1973) 300 Labor’s belly up completely—The only hope is in the I.W.W.
1930 J. DOS PASSOS 42nd Parallel V. 417 What he wanted to do was to get in on the big war before it went bellyup.
1972 New Yorker 11 Nov. 80 It had already crossed Liebergot’s mind that the astronauts could be what he called ‘belly up’ in a matter of hours.
1975 Guardian Weekly 11 Oct. (Washington Post section) 17 If New York can go belly-up, why not any city in the nation.

9 July 1906, Springfield (MA) Republican, pg. 10:
Benevolent assimilation has gone belly up in the Orient.

1 November 1915, Tucson (A) Daily Citizen, pg. 4:
Taken from The Citizen This Date, 1895
About three years ago when the Allison Brothers began work on the canal on the west side of the Santa Cruz valley, the predictions were many and loud that they would “go belly up” in the enterprise, but they went on unmindful of their critics and completed the work they had undertaken.

Google Books
Belly Up: the collapse of the Penn Square Bank
By Phillip L. Zweig
Edition: reprint
Published by Crown Publishers

Google Books
Belly Up: The Spoils of Bankruptcy
By Walter Stewart
Published by McClelland & Stewart

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Saturday, May 30, 2009 • Permalink