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 December 28, 2010
“At my age, I don’t even buy green bananas”

“At my age, I don’t even buy green bananas” is often credited to Florida Congressman Claude Pepper (1900-1989), but there’s no documentary evidence that he said it before 1986. Green bananas bought in a supermarket usually take a few days to ripen.
Humor columnist Erma Bombeck wrote in October 1983: “We had an expression for it, ‘Don’t buy any green bananas.’” The “green bananas” joke was cited in at least two newspapers in 1984. In 1985, the joke was widely told involving a stockbroker suggesting long-term investments.
“He’s so old that when he orders a three-minute egg, they ask for the money up front” is a similar joke about old age.
A stockbroker urged me to buy a stock that would triple its value every year. I told him, At my age, I don’t even buy green bananas.
-Claude Pepper
11 October 1983, New Orleans (LA) Times-Picayune, “Don’t buy green bananas” by Erma Bombeck, sec. 4, pg. 3, col. 2:
Mother was going for a walk the other morning when I said, “Where are your socks, Missy? You’re going to die from a cold.”
She said, “I didn’t last week.”
“Do you hear something dripping?”
“Nope,” she said, then added, “You know who you sound like? My mother. We had an expression for it, ‘Don’t buy any green bananas.’”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked.
“It means you’re getting yourself ready to go and your room isn’t ready yet.”
She’s right. I’m gonna hang around a few more years just to see if she gets pneumonia from not wearing socks.
3 June 1984, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “The Scene—in Philadelphia and its Suburbs,” pg. B2:
“Mister,” he said, “I don’t even buy green bananas anymore.”
Google News Archive
12 June 1984, Spartanburg (SC) Herald-Journal, “The Stroller” by Seymour Rosenberg, pg. 1, col. 1:
A senior citizen—somewhere in the 75-80 age category—selected a bottle of wine in a local liquor store, “We’re having a sale on that wine—why don’t you buy a case and keep it around home?” suggested the clerk. “Are you kidding?” replied the elderly gent with a grin. “At my age, I don’t even buy green bananas in a supermarket.”
17 February 1985, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “The doctor who brought us Type A turns lions into lambs” by Linda Will, pg. A1:
At my age, I dont even buy green bananas.
Google News Archive
4 June 1985, Kentucky New Era (Hopkinsville, KY), “Watching the Parade” by Joe Dorris, pg. 4A, col. 3:
Optimism Gone?
The story which Mrs. Primm fire back was about the elderly man—probably around our age—who was beginning to tire and was letting his optimism wane.
A broker friend thought to get the older bird interested in the stock market. Every few days the broker would suggest another security, usually pointing out there seemed to be an opportunity for a quick turnover.
But one day the securities man began his pitch with “Now for a long-term investment…”
“Long-term investment!” the old man snorted. “For your information I don’t even buy green bananas.”
Google Books
August 1985, The Rotarian, pg. 56, col. 3:
The investment counselor was recommending to the 85-year-old man that he purchase a certificate of deposit at 12 percent interest and which matured in 30 months.
“No, thanks,” replied the octogenarian. “At my age, I don’t even buy green bananas.”
—GEORGE B. DEWEY, Rotarian
Meadville, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Google News
12 April 1987, Lakeland (FL) Ledger, “Thanks a Million” by Percy Ross, pg. 5E, col. 3:
Sorry…but at my age I don’t even buy green bananas.
New York (NY) Times
By LIONEL M. KAUFMAN; Lionel M. Kaufman lives in Hartsdale
Published: October 30, 1988
LOOK what’s happening to me, two and a half years after my retirement, when I’m finally making peace with myself about the change.
That wasn’t easy to do, after refusing to give up the career that I truly enjoyed until age 76.
Retirement changes one’s outlook in a number of ways. As an investor I found the word ‘‘growth’’ disappearing from my vocabulary. I began to feel like the elderly investor who turned down a growth security with: ‘‘At my age I don’t even buy green bananas.’’
OCLC WorldCat record
I still buy green bananas : living with hope, living with advanced breast cancer.
Author: Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization.
Publisher: Chicago, IL : Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization, [2003]
Edition/Format:  Book : English
At My Age You Don’t Buy Green Bananas
September 22, 2008
“At my age, you don’t buy green bananas.” — T. Boone Pickens, 80, explaining the importance of rapidly implementing a plan to use natural gas and wind as a bridge to wean America off oil, at the National Press Club, September 22, 2008
New York (NY) Daily News
Rep. Charles Rangel may be embarking on his final term in House of Representatives
BY Richard Sisk
Sunday, December 12th 2010, 4:00 AM
WASHINGTON - Charlie Rangel beat the post-censure blues last week by reveling in upcoming combat with the new crop of Republicans in what could be a two-year last hurrah.
“At my age, I have to think about it,” Rangel said of chances he will call it a career after serving his 21st term in the new Congress sworn in next month.
“At my age, you don’t buy green bananas,” Rangel said with a grin. “I do realize that I’m 80 years old.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Tuesday, December 28, 2010 • Permalink

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