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 June 09, 2005
Big Lychee (summary)
Hong Kong and Shanghai are sometimes called the "Big Lychee." It was recently voted down as an official Hong Kong nickname, but it still might be used.

Issue of TTG Asia Nov 22 - Nov 28 1996
The Big Lychee?
Talking about originality, Adam was interested to hear the Spotlight Hong Kong campaign chief secretary, Anson Chan, say Hong Kong could become the Big Apple of Asia.

Now Adam has visited New York several times and has enjoyed the theatre, the food, the fun people, the comedy and the electric atmosphere. He is less keen on the crime and drugs scene and hopes Hong Kong will not be heading that way.

Of course, Chan's comments are more in praise of the Big Apple campaign of the 1970s, when the city was desperate to attract tourists. Surely, being Asian, Hong Kong should not be the second Big Apple (which all corny journalists loved to say was rotten to the core). How about the Big Lychee?

Manila would be the Big Mango and Bangkok, the Big Rambutan.

Tokyo would have to reflect the changing seasons to become the Big Orange in winter, the Big Persimmon in spring, the Big Water Melon in summer and the Big Cherry in spring.

Every Asian city would be rushing to pick a fruit so that none was left with the Big Banana.

(Is Adam the only one whose mind wanders in this way at travel industry speeches and presentations?)

Singapore and Kuala Lumpur would be fiercely contesting the title of the Big Durian.

But Seoul would have a name all of its own: the Big Cabbage, of course.

10 December 2002, Dominion Post, "China's Sweet and Sour" by Mathew Loh Ho-Sang, pg. 3:
Shanghai is Chinese but not China. It is the "big lychee" and there is nothing like it in all the People's Republic. Why is that? Anglophile Yu Se Yo, 88, says Shanghai is, and has been historically, where China greets the world and the "crazy concoction that creates makes the city what it is".

The Big Lychee

The results are in on the poll to determine the favourite Hong Kong nickname.

Of 380 votes cast, the poll breaks down thus:

Pearl of the Orient: 124

The Big Lychee: 80

Asia's World City: 68

Fragrant Harbour: 60

Shopper's Paradise: 48

Hong Kong has been known as Pearl of the Orient for a long time, as well as Fragrant Harbour (translated from 香港).

Neither Shopper's Paradise nor the Hong Kong Tourism Board's bland Asia's World City has ever impressed me.

The Big Lychee, however, possesses a certain charm — not unlike the Big Apple. For those who don't know, lychee is a Chinese fruit with a thin, brittle shell encasing a sweet, jelly-like pulp and a single seed.

Though it took second place, it fared well against a long-standing and well-known turn of phrase.

The government should adopt the nickname and make huge banners for the airport reading "Welcome to the Big Lychee".

Posted by Barry Popik
Nicknames of Other PlacesBig Lychee (Hong Kong and Shanghai nickname) • (0) Comments • Thursday, June 09, 2005 • Permalink