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 10, 2021
New Orange (not Big Orange; 1673-1674)

It is sometimes said that before New York City was the “Big Apple,” it was the “Big Orange.” New York City was called “New Orange” from 1673 to 1674, but this is mostly forgotten. “New Orange” has nothing to do with oranges, and New York City was never called the “Big Orange.” It is like comparing apples to oranges.

Wikipedia’s “New York City entry states:

“On August 24, 1673, during the Third Anglo-Dutch War, Dutch captain Anthony Colve seized the colony of New York from the English at the behest of Cornelis Evertsen the Youngest and rechristened it “New Orange” after William III, the Prince of Orange. The Dutch would soon return the island to England under the Treaty of Westminster of November 1674.”

“New Orange” had nothing to do with oranges trees, in New York City or elsewhere. The official flag of New York City is blue, white and orange, to reflect its Dutch heritage. The New York Knicks basketball team uniforms also use these colors.

“Big” is a big part of “Big Apple,” and it means “big city” and “big town” and “big time.” While New York City was very briefly called “New Orange,” it was never called “Big Orange.”

American essayist and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “New York is a sucked orange” in 1860, but this also has nothing to do with “Big Apple.”


Wikipedia: New York City
On August 24, 1673, during the Third Anglo-Dutch War, Dutch captain Anthony Colve seized the colony of New York from the English at the behest of Cornelis Evertsen the Youngest and rechristened it “New Orange” after William III, the Prince of Orange. The Dutch would soon return the island to England under the Treaty of Westminster of November 1674.

Wikipedia: Flags of New York City
Colors
The blue, white and orange refer to the colors of the historical Dutch flag. Orange is the color the Dutch adopted after their leader William I, Prince of Orange. The Committee’s report stated that “the order of arrangement follows the practice found in the French, Belgian and other tri-colors, of placing the darkest bar next to the staff.”

Wikipedia: William III of England
William III (William Henry; Dutch: Willem Hendrik; 4 November 1650 – 8 March 1702), also widely known as William of Orange, was sovereign Prince of Orange from birth, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel in the Dutch Republic from the 1670s and King of England, Ireland, and Scotland from 1689 until his death in 1702. As King of Scotland, he is known as William II. He is sometimes informally known as “King Billy” in Ireland and Scotland. His victory at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 is commemorated by Unionists, who display orange colours in his honour. Popular histories usually refer to his joint reign with his wife, Queen Mary II, as that of William and Mary.

William was the only child of William II, Prince of Orange, who died a week before his birth, and Mary, Princess of Orange, the daughter of Charles I of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

Ephemeral New York
March 7, 2011
When New York was officially named New Orange
(...)
In 1673, the Dutch regained control of New York, sailing triumphantly into the harbor with a fleet of 21 ships.

Dutch leader Anthony Colve rechristened the colony New Orange, its official name for about a year—at which point it was permanently ceded to the British under the Treaty of Westminster.

As The New York Times’ Sam Roberts put it in a 2009 podcast, New York “was the Big Orange before it was the Big Apple.”

History.com
UPDATED:SEP 1, 2018 ORIGINAL:JUL 23, 2014
Why is New York City nicknamed the “Big Apple”?
ELIZABETH NIX
(...)
As it happens, long before New York City was nicknamed the Big Apple, it was known briefly as New Orange. In 1673, the Dutch captured New York from the English and dubbed it New Orange in honor of William III of Orange. However, the following year, the city reverted to English control and its former name.

Marketplace
When the Big Apple nearly became the Big Orange
Bridget Bodnar
Nov 24, 2017
(...)
It’s thank to this that the Big Apple came very close to being called the Big Orange. New York was captured by the Dutch army on July 20, 1673. The proud Dutchmen promptly renamed the city “New Orange.”

And that might still be its name today were it not that the Dutch were fighting several other battles on other fronts and rather ran out of steam. Just under 12 months later, the land was returned to the British, who renamed it once more. New Orange went back to being New York.

Twitter
Klaas Meijer
@klaasm67
Big Apple? In 1673 New York was recaptured by the Dutch and renamed New Orange. It was named after the house of Orange, which ruled the Dutch Republic.
2:18 AM · Oct 6, 2018 from Leidschendam-Voorburg, Nederland·Twitter for iPhone

Twitter
DweebNast-e
@DweebnastE
#HungryHistoricalPlacesOrEvents in 1673 the Dutch captured the Big Apple and renamed it New Orange #NewYork
GIF
9:21 PM · Aug 27, 2019·Twitter for Android

Twitter
Mark Dellandre: Author
@DirtyDell1985
Obscure Trivia of the Day:
New York City was once called “New Orange.”
(And now it’s called “The Big Apple.” This is making me go bananas!)
#ObscureTrivia #Trivia #NewYorkCity
2:15 PM · Nov 27, 2019·Twitter for Android

Twitter
New-York Historical Society
@NYHistory
Red apple A is for Apple—aka “The Big Apple.” #DidYouKnow that before NYC was the Big Apple, it was briefly called New Orange?
The Dutch named it New Orange in honor of William III of Orange in 1673 but it returned to English control the following year. #NYHistoryAtoZ
5:00 PM · Apr 3, 2021·Sprout Social

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityThe Big Apple1970s-present: False Etymologies • Monday, May 10, 2021 • Permalink