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 November 17, 2010
“My way or the highway”

"My way or the highway” is a management style that means things are done the way that person says things are done, or people can hit the highway and get out. The expression “my/his/her way or the highway” has been cited in print from at least 1971.

Idiom Definitions for ‘My way or the highway’
This idiom is used to say that if people don’t do what you say, they will have to leave or quit the project, etc.

31 October 1971, Seattle (WA) Daily Times, “Has U.S. given Canada ‘the highway’?” by Vincent R. Courtenay (Detroit News), pg. B6, col. 1:
TORONTO—Coming into this metropolis the other day the cab driver quipped: “Before a marriage the guy promises a girl everything; afterwward he says, ‘Baby, it’s my way or the highway for you.’”

Google Books
The Nigger Factory, a novel
By Gil Scott-Heron
New York, NY: Dial Press
Pg. 11:
“I have a saying for students on my campus. It says: ‘My way or the highway!’”

Google Books
By Jon C. Randall
Detroit, MI: Broadside Press
Pg. II:
They would take you far and lonely away, saying, “my way or the highway.”

Google News Archive
28 March 1980, Lewiston (ME) Daily Sun, “Dave Rozema Admits To making Mistakes,” pg. 21, cols. 4-5:
“I’m running this club and we’ll do things my way. It’s my way or the highway.”
(Detroit Tigers manager Sparky Anderson—ed.)

Google News Archive
16 March 1985, Wilmington (NC) Morning Star, pg. 2A, col. 3:
Reagan to Republicans:
My way or the highway

New York (NY) Times
News Analysis
A President Gets His Way, but There May Be a Cost

Published: December 14, 2007
Even Mr. Bush’s defenders acknowledge that his approach has largely been a my-way-or-the-highway campaign. But they say his victories are proof that his tactics work.

Obama, McCain Take the Low Road on Taxes, Trade: Albert R. Hunt
Commentary by Albert R. Hunt - June 22, 2008 10:21 EDT
June 23 (Bloomberg)—Even before either Barack Obama or John McCain assumes the U.S. presidency next January, they are complicating governance with the twin Ts: taxes and trade.

McCain is placating economic conservatives in the Republican Party by promising tax cuts that would lead to a fiscal nightmare. Obama is pandering to labor with protectionist threats that would endanger relations with important trading partners.

These stances run counter to major themes in both campaigns that seek to differentiate the two contenders from the unpopular Bush administration: McCain as a bipartisan leader, and Obama as a candidate out to change the my-way-or- the-highway approach to foreign policy. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Military/Religion /Health • (0) Comments • Wednesday, November 17, 2010 • Permalink