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.

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“I just found out Canada isn’t real. Turns out it was all just mapleleaf” (7/22)
“Jet lag is for amateurs” (7/21)
“Catch flights, not feelings” (7/21)
“Healthy eagles come from America. Ill eagles come from Mexico” (7/21)
“Bite the Big Apple” (Murder, She Wrote episode, 1991) (7/21)
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Entry from August 16, 2015
Chorus Girl’s Breakfast or Whore’s Breakfast (cigarette and New York Morning Telegraph)

The New York (NY) Morning Telegraph used to be the Broadway Bible, and it was said that a “chorus girl’s breakfast” consisted of the Morning Telegraph and a cigarette. The term “the chorus girl’s breakfast” was cited in the book My Actor-Husband: A True Story of American Stage Life (1913, but with a copyright from 1912). No food, but just a newspaper—the Morning Telegram (sic)—composed this breakfast. “Chorus Girls’ Breakfast” was cited in 1914, comprised of just an unnamed New York daily.

“A cup of coffee, three cigarettes, and the racing sheet of the Morning Telegraph“ was the unnamed breakfast in a 1914 novel about New York. “The chorus girls’ breakfast is a copy of the Morning Telegraph and a cigarette” was cited in a 1918 magazine. Alcohol—then illegal—was sometimes included in the breakfast. “It is proverbial that the chorus girl’s breakfast consists of ‘a cocktail, a cigarette and the Morning Telegraph’” was cited in a 1921 newspaper column. “They used to say in New York that the chorus girl’s breakfast was an aspirin, a cup of coffee and The Morning Telegraph” was cited in 1951. The “breakfast” usually took place about 2 a.m. (after the chorus girl’s show and when the paper first came out) or about 2 p.m. (a chorus girl’s waking hour).

The name “whore’s breakfast”—another name for the “chorus girl’s breakfast”— has been cited in print since at least 1939.


Wikipedia: The Morning Telegraph
The Morning Telegraph (1839- April 10, 1972) (sometimes referred to as the New York Morning Telegraph) was a New York City broadsheet newspaper owned by Moe Annenberg’s Cecelia Corporation that was first published in 1839 then as the Sunday Mercury from 1839-1897 before becoming The Morning Telegraph in December, 1897.

The paper was devoted mostly to theatrical and horse racing news. It published a Sunday edition as the Sunday Telegraph. On closing, it was replaced by an Eastern edition Triangle’s sister publication, the Daily Racing Form.

Google Books
My Actor-Husband:
A True Story of American Stage Life

New York, NY: The Macauley Company
1913
Pp. 130-131:
Sometimes, on Sunday morning, if he found me awake he would hand me the Morning Telegram. No wonder they call it “the chorus girl’s breakfast.”

Google Books
February 1914, The Green Book Magazine, “Manhattan Mad” by W. Carey Wonderly, pg. 290:
Redpath was at the stage door with a cab, and in his hand he held a sheet smelling strongly of ink, the first of the dailies.

“Already?” grasped Dick, reaching for it. “What does it say?”

“It’s the ‘Chorus Girls’ Breakfast,’” explained Redpath.

Google Books
The Auction Block:
A Novel of New York Life

By Rex Beach
New York, NY: Harper & Brothers Publishers
1914
Pg. 63:
Jim also had come home in the still hours of the night before, and had but lately made his breakfast on a cup of coffee, three cigarettes, and the racing sheet of the Morning Telegraph.

Google Books
20 September 1918, Reedy’s Mirror (St. Louis, MO), pg. 466, cols. 1-2:
The Paper of the Live Ones
The Morning Telegraph is a peculiar institution—peculiar, that is, to New York.
(...)
Buys it for the racing results, prize fight news, personal gossip of the theaters and movies, politics. The chorus girls’ breakfast is a copy of the Morning Telegraph and a cigarette. New York’s cafe population swears by the paper.

Google Books
29 January 1921, The Saturday Evening Post, “First Nights—and Everything” by Frank Ward O’Malley, pg. 10, col. 1:
WHATEVER truth there may have once been in the accusation, asserted repeatedly throughout a generation just past, that the social leaders of Broadway’s first-night dancing set began their day in midafternoon with a breakfast consisting always and only of a cigarette, a cocktail and the Morning Telegraph, there is less truth in the charge since the Constitution has taken first steps toward forcing Broadway tofeel better in the morning after instead of the night before.

2 March 1921, The Sun (Baltimore, MD), “First Nighters in Gay New York” by O. O. McIntyre, in Indianapolis Star, pg. 6, col. 3:
It is proverbial that the chorus girl’s breakfast consists of “a cocktail, a cigarette and the Morning Telegraph.”

Google News Archive
12 May 1921, Milwaukee (WI) Journal, “The Screen” by Mary Mac, pg. 10, col. 3:
It used to be said that a chorus girl’s breakfast was a cigarette and a glass of water. So maybe it wasn’t because they were poor, bless ‘em, but because they wanted to retain their figures, that they smoked instead of eating solid victuals.

10 September 1921, The Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO), “New York Day By Day” by O. O. McIntyre,
The Morning Telegraph arrives. The young bucks snatch them. They know the proverbial ingredients of the coryphee’s breakfast—the Telgraph and a cigarette.

Google Books
October 1922, Cosmopolitan magazine, “A Visit to Longacre Square with O. O. McIntyre,” pg. 26, col. 1:
Her breakfast, an hour ago, was the chorine’s morning fare — “The Morning Telegraph and a cigarette.”

24 September 1929, Rockford (IL) Register-Gazette, “Bo Broadway” by Joseph Van Raalte (By Central Press), pg. 6, col. 6:
New York, Sept. 24—Once upon a time the Morning Telegraph was known as the Broadway Bible. It involved the famous definition of a Chorus Girl’s Breakfast—“a copy of the Telegraph and a cigarette.”

And now look at it! They’re ripping out the front of the Morning Telegraph building on Eighth Avenue to make room for a white-tile orange drink stall.

O tempora! O morons!

Google News Archive
19 January 1931, Palm Beach (FL) Post, “New York Day By Day” by O. O. McIntyre, pg. 4, col. 2:
It used to be said on Broadway that the chorus girl’s breakfast was “a Morning Telegraph and a cigaret.” Today the popular breakfast along the stem is served at 4 in the afternoon and consists of two raw eggs, well drenched with Worcestershire sauce—taken at a gulp.

Google News Archive
28 September 1931, The Telegraph (Nashua, NH), “About New York” by William Gaines, pg. 4, col. 5:
The Morning Telegraph (in pre-tabloid days, it and a cigaret were a chorus girl’s breakfast) soon is to move from the converted horse car barn opposite Madison Square Garden, so long the sheet’s home.

Google Books
So You’re Going to Stop Smoking
By J. C. Furnas
New York, NY: Simon and Schuster
1939
Pg. 28:
(Until I started this book, however, I had never heard the habit referred to as “a whore’s breakfast.")

Google News Archive
1 October 1951, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, “They Came Here To Live: Hardware Specialist Gardner Recalls Lively Days As N.Y. Sports Writer” by George Bartlett, pg. 19, col. 1:
“They used to say in New York that the chorus girl’s breakfast was an aspirin, a cup of coffee and The Morning Telegraph,” he recalls. “The Telegraph was Broadway’s Bible in those days, when Gene Fowler was managing editor.”

Google Books
The Young Man from Denver
By Will Fowler
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
1962
Pg. 141:
It was said that a whore’s breakfast consisted of a cup of coffee, a cigarette, and a copy of the Morning Telegraph.

Google Books
Voices Offstage: A Book of Memoirs
By Marc Connelly
Chicago, IL: Holt, Rinehart & Winston
1968
Pg. 54:
In 1917 and 1918 the Morning Telegraph printed so much theatrical news that it was known as the chorus girl’s breakfast.

Google Books
The Life and Legend of Gene Fowler
By Harry Allen Smith
New York, NY: W. Morrow
1977
Pg. 193:
There was a saying around Times Square that a whore’s breakfast consisted of a cup of coffee, a cigarette, and a copy of the Morning Telegraph.

Google Books
Ben Hecht:
A Biography

By William MacAdams
New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons
1988
Pg. 114:
A witticism current on Broadway in the twenties was that a whore’s breakfast consisted of a cup of coffee, a cigarette, and a copy of the Morning Telegraph.

Google Books
Bedrooms Have Windows
By Kevin Killian
New York, NY: Amethyst Press
1989
Pg. 1:
These would be my dinner; a fellow I knew in school had a cigarette, a cup of coffee and the Daily News when he woke up every morning, and he called it the chorus girls’ breakfast.

Google Books
Gold Fools
BY Gilbert Sorrentino
Los Angeles, CA: Green Integer
2001
Pg. 87:
Is a cup of coffee and a cigarette a more enjoyable breakfast than a bowl of shredded wheat? Why is the former called a “whore’s breakfast”? Should it, more properly, be called a hostess’s breakfast”? Why is the latter breakfast called a “schmuck’s breakfast”?

Google Books
Options:
The First Novel in the Kate Monahan Series

By Rosemarie A. D’Amico
Bloomington, IN: iUniverse
2010
Pg. ?:
I by-passed the automatic timer on the coffeemaker and chained-smoked two cigarettes while the coffee dripped through. My father would call this a ‘whore’s breakfast’.

Google Books
Over Time:
My Life As a Sportswriter

By Frank Deford
New York, NY: Atlantic Monthly Press
2012
Pg. ?:
Good grief, Heywood Broun came directly out of Harvard to start covering baseball for the New York Morning Telegraph. There, of all people, his editor was Bat Masterson, the erstwhile gunslinger, who had laid down his six-shooters and taken up the sports pages in his declining years. Of course, Broun’s first newspaper was not exactly at the top of the journalistic tree; rather, it was mostly a horseracing sheet that was perhaps best known around Broadway as precisely half of what was called “a whore’s breakfast.” The other half: a cigarette.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film • Sunday, August 16, 2015 • Permalink