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 April 29, 2021
“The Minnesota Night Hawks. I’m coaching. The Big Apple!” (Slap Shot film, 1977)

Slap Shot (1977) is an American sports comedy film about 1970s minor league professional hockey teams. At the end of the film, coach Reggie Dunlop (played by Paul Newman) accepts an offer to be player-coach of the Minnesota Night Hawks. Dunlop says near the end of the film:

“The Minnesota Night Hawks. I’m coaching. The Big Apple!

This “Big Apple” does not involve New York City and simply means “the big time” in hockey. However, it probably was influenced by New York City’s use of “Big Apple” in the 1970s.

Paul Newman was married to actress Joanne Woodward, who won an Academy Award for the film The Three Faces of Eve (1957). A “Big Apple” nightclub is mentioned several times in the film.

Wikipedia: Slap Shot
Slap Shot is a 1977 American sports comedy film directed by George Roy Hill, written by Nancy Dowd and starring Paul Newman and Michael Ontkean. It depicts a minor league ice hockey team that resorts to violent play to gain popularity in a declining factory town.

Dowd based much of her script, as well as several of the characters, on her brother Ned Dowd’s playing experiences on 1970s minor league professional hockey teams.
When the Syracuse team’s captain protests against this daredevil demonstration and hits the referee for dismissing him, Syracuse is disqualified, granting the Chiefs the championship. After their win, and with the Chiefs now effectively folded and finished, Dunlop accepts the offer to be the player-coach to the Minnesota Nighthawks, bringing his teammates with him.

The Minnesota Night Hawks. I’m coaching. The Big Apple.
Slap Shot (1977)

Drew’s Script-O-Rama
Slap Shot Script - The Dialogue
The Minnesota Night Hawks. I’m coaching. The Big Apple!

Google Books
The Making of Slap Shot:
Behind the Scenes of the Greatest Hockey Movie Ever Made

By Jonathon Jackson
Mississauaga, ON: John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd.
Pg. 155:
One line in the script that has frequently been criticized is Reggie’s reference to “the big apple” when he announces at the end of the film that he will be coaching the Minnesota Nighthawks of the Iron League. The Big Apple, of course, is a well-known nickname for New York City, which is nowhere near Minnesota. But Dowd was clearly using “the big apple,” not capitalized, as a synonym for the big time, or the big leagues.

Rear Admiral
But what is Reg Dunlop talking about when he says “the Big Apple” in regards to the Minnesota Night Hawks? Enduring “Slap Shot” mystery.
10:11 PM · Jan 2, 2014·Echofon

Don Brennan
“The Minnesota Nighthawks. I’m coaching. The Big Apple!”. #huh? #slapshot
3:57 PM · Nov 18, 2014·Twitter for BlackBerry

TP Pura
Why does Reggie Dunlap call Minnesota “the big apple” near the end of Slap Shot? #firsttimeinoticed
1:47 AM · May 23, 2016·Twitter for iPad

Jonathon Jackson
Originally a metaphor signifying the big time, the brass ring.
It’s why Paul Newman, as Reggie Dunlop in “Slap Shot,” was able to plausibly claim that the Minnesota Nighthawks, a fictional major league team that had just hired him, represented the big apple for a hockey figure.
Quote Tweet
Maria Popova
· May 3
100 years ago today, “The Big Apple” was coined as NYC’s nickname — the most famous city nickname in the world. And yet even native New Yorkers don’t know its origin. Here are the curious roots of the century-old mystery: https://brainpickings.org/2021/05/02/nyc-big-apple/
1:14 AM · May 3, 2021·Twitter Web App

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityThe Big Apple1970s: Big Apple Revival • Thursday, April 29, 2021 • Permalink