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 July 12, 2004
Big Apple plaque (1996)



This Big Apple plaque was dedicated by me on May 14, 1996, at the Hotel Ameritania, 230 West 54th Street. It is one of a series of plaques in New York City put up by the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center. It was intended to go with the "Big Apple Corner" street sign.

The birth year for John J. Fitz Gerald is stated as "1894," but he was born in 1892.

The Hotel Ameritania removed the plaque during renovations a year later. It has never been re-affixed:

JOHN J. FITZ GERALD
1894-1963
The turf reporter, who popularized "the big apple" as a name for N.Y.C. racetracks, lived here from 1934 to 1963. He first heard the term, equating "the big time" with N.Y.C. racing, in 1920, from African-American stable hands in New Orleans. A decade later, jazz musicians began using the name to identify N.Y.C. as the Capital of Jazz. By the 1970s, "The Big Apple" replaced "Fun City" as the international description of our city.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityThe Big Apple1980s-present: Big Apple work by Gerald Cohen, Barry Popik • Monday, July 12, 2004 • Permalink