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 January 22, 2011
Fear City

Welcome to Fear City: A Survival Guide for Visitors to the City of New York (1975) was published by the Council for Public Safety—police, firefighters and other unions. New York City was in dire financial straits and Mayor Abraham Beame had proposed heavy cuts in municipal services. The pamphlet—with a skull on the cover—was aimed to discourage tourists from visiting New York City. The pamphlet had received such negative publicity that it was not distributed, although the unions distributed other pamphlets to get their message out.
Negative nicknames for New York City during this economic crisis period included “Default City,” “Fear City” (by the police and fire unions), “Stink City” (sanitation unions), and “Stupid City” (teachers unions).
OCLC WorldCat record
Welcome to fear city : a survival guide for visitors to the city of New York.
Author: Council for Public Safety (New York, N.Y.)
Publisher: New York : The Council, [1975]
Edition/Format:  Book : English
12 June 1975, New York (NY) Times, “Unions vs. New York,” pg. 36:
Union leaders purporting to represent the city’s uniformed services have stooped to new lows of irresponsibility with their threat to dispatch off-duty police and firemen to warn tourists that they are entering “fear city” unless impossible union demands for full pay and payrolls are met.
Google News Archive
13 June 1975, Eugene (WA) Register-Guard, pg. 4A, cols. 4-6:
Judge halts “Fear City” campaign
as threat to New York’s economy

NEW YORK (UPI)—Members of 27 labor groups planned to distribute a pamphlet entitled “Welcome to Fear City—A Survival Guide to the City of New York.”
But Mayor Abraham Beame called the scheme a “gross outrage,” and the city went to court Thursday to prevent it from happening.
The workers, led by police and fire unions, were angry about proposed cuts in municipal services. Their proposed pamphlet portrays New York as a haven for murderers, muggers, rapists and other criminals because of the budget-induced layoffs.
18 June 1975, New York (NY) Times, “‘Fear City’ Booklet Rights Again Upheld” by Glenn Fowler, pg. 19:
For the second time in as many days, unions representing policemen, firemen and other public-safety officers won affirmation in court yesterday of their constitutional right to pass out “Fear City” leaflets at transportation terminals, hotels an shopping districts.
The unions, however, faced with mounting criticism of their tactics in attempting to pressure the Beame administration to rescind planned layoffs of 10,962 uniformed officers, continued to hold in abeyance distribution of the black-bordered, skull-emblazoned pamphlets warning tourists to stay out of New York because of rampant crime and inadequate fire protection.
20 June 1975, New York (NY) Times, “Police and Firemen Take Job Campaign to Street” by Glenn Fowler, pg. 43:
The policemen’s and firemen’s unions took their antilayoff campaign to the city streets yesterday, sending sound trucks into Bron and Queens neighborhoods to urge the public to bring pressure on Mayor Beame and other elected officials to rescind the scheduled cutbacks in public-safety personnel.
In contrast to their aborted “Fear City” leaflet drive aimed at persuading visitors to shun New York, the sound-truck effort is directed at residents, and, particularly, voters, around the city.
18 July 1975, New York (NY) Times, pg. 8:
Seeks to “Alert the Public” to
Peril of Police Layoffs

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which led last month’s “Fear City” campaign, has resumed distributing leaflets that the city is unsafe because of the dismissal of 3,000 police officers.
The new leaflets—entitled, “If You Haven’t Been Mugged Yet…” and “Who’s Next?”—have been handed out by off-duty policemen in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens during the last week, according to Howard Morse, a public-relations adviser for the P.B.A.
5 September 1975, New York (NY) Times, “20,000 City Teachers Press Demands; Fact-Finging Panel Is Called Into Talks” by Leonard Buder, pg. 20:
Then, carrying signs that read, “Don’t Be Fooled, Save Our Schools” and “Fear City, Stink City and Now Stupid City,” they marched peacefully across the Brooklyn Bridge to continue their demonstration outside City Hall.
23 January 1976, New York (NY) Times, “Rise in City Convention Business Held Periled by Cutback in Fund” by Micahel Sterne, pg. 31:
“Let’s be honest,” said Charles Gillett, the bureau’s president. “After the ‘Fear City’ and ‘Stink City’ and ‘Default City’ labels put on this town last year, New York has become harder to sell. We should be spending more money, not less.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNicknames/Slogans • Saturday, January 22, 2011 • Permalink

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