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 May 31, 2021
“I had heard so much raving about ‘The Big Apple,’ as it was called” (Malcolm X, 1964)

African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X (1925-1965) was assassinated in Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965. In 1987. New York Mayor Ed Koch re-named Lenox Avenue to be Malcolm X Boulevard.

Malcolm X wrote “I’m Talking to You, White Man” in the Saturday Evening Post on September 12, 1964. He explained how he faked being age 21 and got a job on the railroad at age 16 (just after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, or about December 1941 or January 1942), and how he yearned to go to New York City (then called the Big Apple). He was told about Smalls Paradise, and wrote that “No Negro place of business had ever impressed me so much.” Malcolm X surely saw “The Big Apple” bar/restaurant, right across the street at Seventh Avenue and West 135th Street.

He wrote:

“Secretly, for years, I had wanted to visit New York City. Right there since I had been in Roxbury, I had heard so much raving about “The Big Apple,” as it was called, by various kinds of people who traveled a lot, by musicians, merchant-marine sailors, chauffeurs for white families, salesmen and different hustlers.”

The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965) changes these words slightly:

“I went along with the railroad job for my own reasons. For a long time I’d wanted to visit New York City. Since I had been in Roxbury, I had heard a lot about “the Big Apple,” as it was called by the well-traveled musicians, merchant mariners, salesmen, chauffeurs for white families, and various kinds of hustlers I ran into.”


Wikipedia: Malcolm X
Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little; May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965) was an African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist who was a popular figure during the civil rights movement. He is best known for his time spent as a vocal spokesman for the Nation of Islam.
(...)
On February 19, 1965, Malcolm X told interviewer Gordon Parks that the Nation of Islam was actively trying to kill him. On February 21, 1965, he was preparing to address the OAAU in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom when someone in the 400-person audience yelled, “Nigger! Get your hand outta my pocket!” As Malcolm X and his bodyguards tried to quell the disturbance, a man rushed forward and shot him once in the chest with a sawed-off shotgun and two other men charged the stage firing semi-automatic handguns. Malcolm X was pronounced dead at 3:30 pm, shortly after arriving at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.
(...)
In 1987, New York mayor Ed Koch proclaimed Lenox Avenue in Harlem to be Malcolm X Boulevard.

Alex Haley
Google Books
12 September 1964, Saturday Evening Post, pg. 31, col. 1:
An autobiography
By MALCOLM X
I’M
TALKING TO YOU,
WHITE MAN
Pg. 35, col. 2:
Secretly, for years, I had wanted to visit New York City. Right there since I had been in Roxbury, I had heard so much raving about “The Big Apple,” as it was called, by various kinds of people who traveled a lot, by musicians, merchant-marine sailors, chauffeurs for white families, salesmen and different hustlers.
(...)
The dining-car crew told me before we left Boston that their favorite spot in New York was a place called Small’s Paradise.
(...)
Busy Seventh Avenue ran along in front of Small’s Paradise. No Negro place of business had ever impressed me so much. Around the big, luxurious-looking circular bar probably were 30 or 40 men, or mostly men, and several women, drinking and talking.

From then on, every layover night in Harlem, I explored new places. I first got a room at the Harlem YMCA because it was less than a block from Small’s Paradise.

Genius.com (lyrics)
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Chapter 5: Harlemite

Malcolm X
1965
(...)
I went along with the railroad job for my own reasons. For a long time I’d wanted to visit New York City. Since I had been in Roxbury, I had heard a lot about “the Big Apple,” as it was called by the well-traveled musicians, merchant mariners, salesmen, chauffeurs for white families, and various kinds of hustlers I ran into. Even as far back as Lansing, I had been hearing about how fabulous New York was, and especially Harlem. In fact, my father had described Harlem with pride, and showed us pictures of the huge parades by the Harlem followers of Marcus Garvey. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityThe Big Apple1960s: Fun City • Monday, May 31, 2021 • Permalink