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 11, 2006
Witness (2006): Joe Zito
In 2006, the Society for New York City History (SNYCH) changed its website. No longer did it declare that "the Big Apple" came from a 19th century French whore. The horseracing theory was accepted.

SNYCH member Joe Zito provided more witness testimony.

Joe Zito, who joined the paper as a young man some 70-plus years ago, recently reminisced about Jack FitzGerald and his time:

"In the early 1930s I got my first job as a rewrite man and a
copy reader for the Morning Telegraph. The Telegraph at that
time was situated on West 24th Street, and the site is now
part of the parking lot of the huge Penn South complex.

"John FitzGerald—we called him Jack—was the feature writer
for the paper, and he covered the races in New York State. At
that time, in addition to Belmont Park and Aqueduct, there was
Jamaica Race Track, the Empire City Track up in Yonkers
[now Yonkers Raceway], and of course Saratoga.

"Jack was the first writer to use the term 'The Big Apple' in
print, maybe ten years before I started at the paper—in fact,
he called his regular column 'Around the Big Apple.' He told us
that he had heard it from the Black stable boys at who
followed the horses to the small quarter-mile tracks in New
Orleans and all over the East and the Middle West.

"They were so glad now to come to New York, where the big
money was. The city was so huge to them and so full of
opportunity that they called it the 'Big Apple.'"
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityThe Big Apple1920s: John J. Fitz Gerald and the N.Y. Morning Telegraph • Tuesday, April 11, 2006 • Permalink

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