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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Entry from April 05, 2005
Knickerbocker Glory (Knickerbocker Sundae)
The Knickerbocker Glory (or, Knickerbocker Sundae) has a New York name, but you'll probably have to go to the United Kingdom to get it.

No one knows much about the history of "Knickerbocker Glory" (also spelled "Knickerbocker's Glory") -- a sundae in a tall glass, containing ice cream and fruit, and consumed with a long-handled spoon. "The Knickerbocker" (a sundae) was printed in the Practical Druggist and Review of Reviews for June 1903. "Knickerbocker Sundae" was advertised in the Sioux Falls (SD) Daily Press on June 28, 1905, and in the Asbury Park (NJ) Evening Press on December 3, 1909.

"Knickerbocker Glory" has been cited in print in the United Kingdom since at least 1926.


Wikipedia: Knickerbocker
As an adjective, Knickerbocker refers to people or objects from Manhattan (New York City, before 1898).

Wikipedia: Knickerbocker glory
A knickerbocker glory is a layered ice cream sundae that is served in a large tall conical glass, and to be eaten with a distinctive long spoon, particularly in the British Isles.

The knickerbocker glory, first described in the 1920s, may contain ice cream, cream, fruit, meringue. Layers of these different sweet tastes are alternated in a tall glass and topped with different kinds of syrup, nuts, whipped cream and often a cherry.

http://www.angelfire.com/mi3/cookarama/knickerglory.html
The knickerbocker glory is a very elaborate ice cream sundae that is served in the United Kingdom. It goes well beyond the banana split, itself a rich dessert. The knickerbocker glory was first described in the 1930s and contains ice cream, jelly, fruit and cream. Layers of these different sweet tastes are alternated in a tall glass and are topped with kinds of syrup, nuts and whipped cream.

Though a British treat, the name "Knickerbocker" is distinctively American and associated with early New York state and city histories. Before they were called New York, the state and city were Nieuw Amsterdam. They were settled by the Dutch in the 1600s and 1700s.

A knickerbocker was a descendant of the original settlers from Holland. The name comes from the fictional Diedrich Knickerbocker, who "wrote" Washington Irving's History of New York. Knickerbockers, or knickers, are also old-time knee-length men's pants that nowadays are seen on the rare golfer. How the name became connected to the sundae is not known.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
Knickerbocker Glory, a quantity of ice cream served with other ingredients in a tall glass.
1936 G. GREENE Gun for Sale i. 11 Have a parfait... They do a very good Maiden's Dream. Not to speak of Alpine Glow. Or the Knickerbocker Glory.
1941 M. TREADGOLD We couldn't leave Dinah xvi. 256 'Lyons' Corner House,' capped Caroline, envisaging the increasing possibilities of Knickerbocker Glories.
1963 Times 25 Feb. 11/4 Knickerbocker Glory oddly has become the name of a specially luscious mixture of ice-creams and the 'plus fours' deserved a similar grandeur of title.

Google Books
June 1903, Practical Druggist and Review of Reviews, pg. 93, col. 1:
The Knickerbocker.
Ice cream...4 ozs.
Chocolate syrup...1/2 oz.
Raspberry crushed fruit...1/2 oz.
Whipped cream...2 ozs.
Brandied cherries...2
Essence rose, 4 dashes.
Place ice cream in glass and add chocolate syrup, one-half of the whipped cream and two dashes of essence of rose. Add raspberry fruit, then the balance of the whipped cream, two dashes of rose essence and top with cherries. Each of the portions will appear as a separate layer in the glass. This sundae should be served in a tall, narrow, 10-oz. thin glass, and the dispenser in serving should push down a long spoon to the bottom of the glass just once and draw slowly towards the top, as to intermix the portions in one place only. Fifteen cents should be secured for this sundae and all materials should be of the very best.

28 June 1905, Sioux Falls (SD) Daily Press, pg. 6, col. 1 ad:
KNICKERBOCKER SUNDAE
(New Theatre Pharmacy. -- ed.)

Google Books
July 1909, The Ice Cream Trade Journal, pg. 22, col. 2:
KNICKERBOCKER SUNDAE.
Over four ounces of vanilla ice cream pour one-half ounce of chocolate syrup and one-half ounce of crushed raspberry. Fill with whipped cream, put two maraschino cherries on top and add three or four dashes of rose syrup.

3 December 1909, Asbury Park (NJ) Evening Press, pg. 2, col. 6 ad:
KNICKERBOCKER SUNDAE
A delicious mixture of nuts, fruits and ice cream...15c
(Couse's. -- ed.)

Google Books
Meyer Brothers Druggist
Volume 35, Issue 3
1914
Pg. 84, col. 2:
The Knickerbocker -- A Sundae from New York:
Ice cream...4 ozs.
Chocolate syrup...1/2 oz.
Raspberry crushed fruit...1/2 oz.
Whipped cream...2 ozs.
Brandied cherry...2
Ess. of rose...4 dashes

Google Books
The Dispenser's Formulary, or, Soda Water Guide
Compiled by the editorial staff of The Soda Fountain
New York, NY: D. O. Haynes
1915
Pg. 107:
THE KNICKERBOCKER
Ice cream, 4 ounces; chocolate syrup, 1/2 ounce; raspberry crushed fruit, 1/2 ounce; whipped cream, 3 ounces; 2 brandied cherries. Place the ice cream in a glass and add chocolate syrup, some of the whipped cream and 2 dashes of essence of rose. Add raspberry fruit and then balance of whipped cream and the rose essence; top with cherries. Each of the separate portions will appear as a separate layer in glass. This sundae should be served in a tall, narrow, 10-ounce, thin glass, and the dispenser in serving should insert long spoon to the bottom of the glass just once and draw slowly towards top, so as to slightly mix the ingredients. This is done for appearance only. Fifteen cents should be secured for this sundae and all materials should be of the very best.

The British Newspaper Archive
18 March 1926, Yorkshire (UK) Evening Post, "A Mixed Menu," pg. 6:
... my amazement (adds the writer) fellow at our table said if the boy were really hungry would have added Two large ' Knickerbocker Glories ' or ' A Charlie Chaplin Waistcoat ' the menu. What these terms signify still a mystery.

The British Newspaper Archive
15 August 1927, Aberdeen (Scotland) Press and Journal, "London Letter," pg. 6:
... especially in holiday resorts, where some establishments devote a skill and artistry to the creation of sundaes and Knickerbocker Glories equal to that which other restaurants give to the mixing of cocktails.

16 August 1930, Tamworth (UK) Herald, "Brown Study" by Violet M. Methley, pg. 7, col. 3:
Pegeen, her own sundae reduced to its last preserved cherry, caressed the remnant lingeringly, with her long-handled spoon.

"I'm beginning to wish that I'd had a 'Knickerbocker Glory,'" she said pensively. "It might have lasted longer."

26 October 1930, Boston Sunday Globe (Boston, MA), magazine sec., "Brown Study -- A Change in Complexion" by Violet M. Methley, pg. 18, col. 1:
Pegeen, her own sundae reduced to its last preserved cherry, caressed the remnant lingeringly, with her long-handled spoon.

"I'm beginning to wish that I'd had a 'Knickerbocker Glory,'" she said pensively. "It might have lasted longer."

9 March 1937, Times (London, UK), pg. 5, col. d:
Counsel read an extract from a letter which Mrs. Devlin wrote to Mr. Cooper on February 24, 1936. "I have been in the Corner House for lunch to-day," she said. "Do you remember when we went there together and had a Knickerbocker's Glory?"

25 November 1938, The Spectator (London, UK), "Cinema," pg. 901, col. 2:
"It (a film -- ed.) slides down fairly easily like an Alpine Glow or a Knickerbocker Glory, and you emerge a little cloyed perhaps, but without any distinct feeling of nausea -- unless you happen to be French.
GRAHAM GREENE.

14 October 1952, Newark (Ohio) Advocate, pg. 1, col. 5:
London Girl
Almost Eats
Entire Menu
(...)
Weaving slightly, Connie ordered a towering dish of Knickerbocker Glory ice cream.

She got through that, but when the waiter brought in a plate of ordinary ice cream, her face turned the hue of pistacchio and she wobbled out of the restaurant.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Tuesday, April 05, 2005 • Permalink