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 June 12, 2020
“New Yorkers think ‘upstate’ is anything north of the Bronx”

An old joke has it that a New Yorker considers anything north of the Bronx to be “upstate.” The Bronx is the most northern borough of New York City.

This definition of “upstate” has been cited in print since at least 1955.


Newspapers.com
26 August 1955, Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, “Democrats Plan Upstate Drive to Break GOP Hold,” pg. 3, col. 1:
ELMIRA, Aug. 25 (AP)—Michael H. Prendergast, Democratic state chairman, said here today that the Democratic party would establish an Upstate headquarters in Albany to crack what he called the hold of the Republican party upstate.

Prendergast told a reporter for the Elmira Advertiser in an interview that he considered “anything north of the Bronx” as upstate.

Google Books
Country roads and scenic drives in the Middle Atlantic States
By Chris Benton
Chicago, IL: Contemporary Books
1979
Pg. 89:
To residents of New York City, “upstate” means anything north of the Bronx, but to history buffs and vacationers alike, it often means the Saratoga Springs area.

Google Groups: alt.folklore.urban
3 small legands
Mike Moroney
9/3/92
(...)
Also sort of the opposite problem is how many NYC residents call anything north of the Bronx “upstate”.  Being a former “upstate” NY resident I know anything in the greater NYC area (and located in NY State) is definitely “downstate”!

Google Books
From Where We Stand:
Recovering a Sense of Place

By Deborah Tall
Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press
1993
Pg. 5:
Upstate New York — “anything north of the Bronx,” as Ed Koch once put it — terra incognita.

Google Groups: alt.culture.ny-upstate
What counts as upstate?
Ken Staggers
3/15/93
(...)
Being a snotty New Yorker from Manhattan (Manhattan=New York, of course) the answer is anything north of the Bronx smile

Google Groups: alt.culture.ny-upstate
Where is the division between Upstate a
Daniel B Case
9/1/93
In article <262rvm$nkb@tierra.santafe.ede>, (Dan Tasman) writes…
>Notice how the definition of “upstate” changes dased on the location of
>the definer?  For instance, someone living in Manhattan south of Central
>Park considers “upstate” anything north of the Bronx River.

Google Groups: alt.culture.ny-upstate
What’s your definition of Upstate?
Sean May
2/27/95
I haven’t posted to this group before, and I’m sorry if this has already been discussed, but I’ve always found this an interesting topic. It seems that a lot of NYC folks think that anything north of the Bronx is Upstate, while I’ve always been of the opinion that the straight-line border, when extended ot the far eastern edge of the state, does a pretty good job of delineating up from down.

Twitter
Shelby
@crazystairs
@HASHTAGGERY Any one who grew up in NYC refers to anything north of the Bronx as upstate, because technically it is. To them the rest of us
12:07 AM · Sep 4, 2009·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
Trilary Duff
@andreas27
#uknowufromnyc when you consider anything north of the bronx upstate
1:02 AM · Sep 4, 2009·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
Bob Kostic
@causticbob
#youmightbeanewyorkerif you believe anything north of the Bronx is “upstate”
9:33 AM · Mar 21, 2010·TweetDeck

Reddit—NYC
Posted by u/dazdnconfzd August 15, 2015
Anything north of the Bronx is considered upstate, right?

Twitter
emily
@AngstyX
Replying to @nouveauxmutants
Anyone from NYC: anything north of the Bronx is upstate
Literally everyone else in the state:
GIF
2:54 PM · Mar 25, 2020·Twitter for iPhone

Twitter
Jay Kirell
@JasonKirell
Replying to @LethalityJane and @sgtjanedoe
I always felt New York was four things. Long Island, the boroughs (BK/Q/Bx), “the city” (Manhattan) and “upstate” - anything north of the bronx.
7:04 PM · May 14, 2020·Twitter for Android

Twitter
TempeTot @ ShinKami Big Bang
@TempeTot
Replying to @Lovingcocktail
Well, I’m originally from New York, and anything north of the Bronx is considered ‘upstate,’ so I guess none of us make sense, lol!
10:57 PM · Jun 7, 2020·Twitter for iPhone

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNames/Phrases • Friday, June 12, 2020 • Permalink