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 March 04, 2005
Big Plum ("New York may be the Big Apple, but Cleveland’s a Plum")
"New York may be the Big Apple, but Cleveland's a Plum" (occasionally, "The Big Plum") was meant to answer Cleveland's fiscal crisis in the 1970s, just as "the Big Apple" was meant to help New York. The "Plum" nickname, promoted in 1981 by The Plain Dealer newspaper and its ad agency, Nelson Stern Advertising, did not succeed and was soon dropped.

See Time magazine (http://www.timearchive.com), "Nothing Rotten about the Big Plum," 15 June 1981, pg. 30, reporting that there were T-shirts that read: "NEW YORK'S THE BIG APPLE, BUT CLEVELAND'S A PLUM."


Wikipedia: Cleveland
Cleveland (/ˈkliːvlənd/ KLEEV-lənd), officially the City of Cleveland, is a major city in the U.S. state of Ohio, and the county seat of Cuyahoga County.[7] It is located along the southern shore of Lake Erie, across the U.S. maritime border with Canada and approximately 60 miles (100 kilometers) west of the Ohio-Pennsylvania state border.

31 May 1981, The Sunday Press (Binghamton, NY), pg. 2-A, cols. 3-4:
Is Cleveland a prune of a plum?
CLEVELAND -- New York has its Big Apple symbol, and now Cleveland, tired of its image as an industrial city with little to offer but financial problems, is trying to brighten its prune image -- with a plum.

A seven-day effort dubbed "Cleveland's a Plum Week" gets underway today to promote Ohio's largest city as a great place.

The campaign by city officials and the Cleveland Plain Dealer got its unofficial kickoff Friday when young women wearing plum-colored T-shirts bearing a plum logo passed out 10,000 plum buttons to noontime shoppers and office workers downtown.

T-shirts, tote bags and posters go on sale tomorrow, and commercials will pump up the plum campaign.

Newspapers.com
31 August 1984, Detroit (MI) Free Press, "Cleveland is looking for love in a new slogan" by James Barron (New York Times), pg. 10A, col. 4:
They were unhappy with the plum phrase, which has been Cleveland's unofficial motto for more than a year.

Victor Zalupo, who head the coalition, maintains that 'Cleveland's a plum" was "a poor imitation of New York and its Big Apple image."

"The trouble is," he said, "everyone knows plums are much less interesting than apples."

Salvatore Federico (archived from October 30, 2003)
1983 Big Plum—Big Apple
Kuban Gallery, Cleveland, OH

Cleveland magazine
No Plums Allowed
We challenged five local ad agencies to devise a campaign for marketing Cleveland. There was only one rule.

July 23, 2004
Story:
Lane Strauss
Steve Gleydura
Looking back on it now, our city must have been plum crazy.

Sure, it didn't take long for the "New York's the Big Apple, but Cleveland's a Plum" advertising campaign to look ripe for the pickin'. Mock it all you like. Call it rotten. Call it the pits. Break out the prune jokes.

But back in 1981, with our civic insecurities running on overdrive (or maybe on a snootful of plum wine), The Plain Dealer and its ad agency, Nelson Stern Advertising, wanted to share the city's bounty.

A Moving Tale, or Going West by Ross Chamberlain (archived from October 13, 2004)
ONCE UPON A TIME, long ago in the early Spring of 1992, there was a couple that, all unwillingly, lived far apart, he on the easternmost coast of the country, in the City of the Big Apple (also known as Gotham, the Summer Ashtray, or even New York, New York--"The City so nice, they named it twice"), and she some 500 miles away, on the southern banks of a great lake in the northern middle of the nation, in a city sometimes called the Big Plum, the Mistake on the Lake, or, alternatively, Cleveland.
Posted by Barry Popik
Nicknames of Other PlacesBig Plum, Mistake On The Lake (Cleveland nicknames) • Friday, March 04, 2005 • Permalink