A “first annual Big Apple Ball” was held at the Four Seasons restaurant in Manhattan on Monday, May 7, 1973. The ball was the idea of Frank Crowther, who had held other balls with varying degrees of success.
The ball charged $25 per person, and people were asked questions such as the most overrated and underrated things about New York City. Money was supposed to go to benefit the New York Public Library, but no money was left over. Although billed as the “first annual Big Apple Ball,” there was never a second ball.
A very different “Big Apple Ball” was held in Washington, DC, on January 17, 2017, for the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump.
2 May 1973, Variety, “Broadway,” pg. 69, col. 1:
The Four Seasons to host the first annual Big Apple Ball Monday (7) in which ticket holders ($25 per) will ballot on the beneficiary of the bash. If there’s no concensus, the N.Y. Public Library will get the proceeds.
9 May 1973, Washington (DC) Post, “Big Apple, Small Corps” by Sally Quinn, pg. F1, col. 2 photo caption:
Frank Crowther, organizer of the first Annual Big Apple Ball.
Pg, F3, col. 4:
That (Crowther’s previous party failure.—ed.) could be one reason the First Annua; Big Apple Ball Monday night was such a colossal bomb.
The sponsors for this party included former Deputy Mayor and current proprietor of Jimmy’s restaurant Richard Aurelio, Frank Crowther, cartoonist Jules Feiffer, author of “Semi-Tough” Dan Jenkins, restaurateur Elaine Kaufman, writer Larry L. King, and actresses Julie Newmar and Alice Playten.
11 May 1973, New York (NY) Times, “How Blimpie’s Got a Thai Line” by Michael T. Kaufman, pg. 41, col. 8:
They held the Big Apple Ball at the Four Seasons Restaurant Monday and, as Frank Crowther’s parties go, it was somewhat small potatoes, with only about 150 people showing up.
Tickets cost $25 a person and the plan was for the leftover money to go to the Public Library. There was no leftover money.
13 May 1973, Sunday News (New York, NY), “Charity Balls Are Alive And Well” by Kiki Levathes, pg. 78, cols. 2-3:
As actress Julie Newmar and actor Dick Shawn discovered, there were more apples than people at the first annual Big Apple Ball in the Four Seasons restaurant.
But, the biggest blow to our rumor monger who hopes for the demise of charity balls was the flop of the first annual Big Apple Ball, an anticharity ball for the benefit of the New York Public Library, held Monday night at the Four Seasons restaurant.
It was conceived by promoter Frank Crowther as a “giggle”—a laugh at the traditional charity balls—and its sponsors included such unorthodox benefactors as Richard AUrelio, Jules Feiffer, and restaurateur-philosopher Elaine Kaufman.
There were, however, more apples floating in the pool in the main dining room than people standing around it—scarcely 50 third-string radical chic who looked doubtful that there should or ever would be a second annual Big Apple Ball.
New York City • The Big Apple • 1970s: Big Apple Revival • Saturday, May 22, 2021 • Permalink