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 March 12, 2022
Little Apple (Roosevelt Island, New York City)

When “the Big Apple” caught on in a big way in the 1970s, Roosevelt Island joined the bandwagon, too. T-shirts proudly declared “Roosevelt Island - the Little Apple.”
Wikipedia states that Roosevelt Island is sometimes called “the Little Apple,” but this is really not true. The nickname died with the 1970s T-shirt. However, “Little Apple” is of interest here for historical purposes.

(E-mail to barrypopik.com)
FYI: Just happened across your site. I’m the writer who first created “The Little Apple” trademark and T-shirt when I was 25 and one of the original, brave pioneers who lived on Roosevelt Island in the 70’s. It went on to win the prestigious Gold Award for creative excellence in advertising at “The One Show” in 1977. Never made a penny from it. Never bothered me. The cheezily designed ripoffs of it did.

I went on to become SR. VP./Creative Director at Columbia Pictures & 20th Century Fox Films and am currently a Screenwriter (WGA) and Freelance Copywriter.

Just thought you’d like the info for your archives on the subject. They’re rich in detail and well written.

All the best,
Steve Kasloff

Roosevelt Island has also been called “Manhattan’s Other Island.”
“Little Apple” has also been used as a nickname for Manhattan (Kansas), Ithaca (New York), Yonkers (New York) and Toronto (Canada).
Wikipedia: Roosevelt Island
Roosevelt Island is a narrow island in New York City’s East River. It lies between Manhattan Island to its west and the borough of Queens on Long Island to its east, and is part of the borough of Manhattan. Running from the equivalent of East 46th to 85th Streets on Manhattan Island, it is about 2 miles (3.2 km) long, with a maximum width of 800 feet (240 m), and a total area of 147 acres (0.59 km2). Together with Mill Rock, Roosevelt Island constitutes Manhattan’s Census Tract 238, which has a land area of 0.279 sq mi (0.72 km2), and had a population of 9,520 as of the 2000 United States Census. It had a population of 11,661 as of the 2010 United States Census.

Roosevelt Island is sometimes referred to as “The Little Apple”, a joking reference to New York City’s nickname as the “Big Apple”.

18 May 1976, New York (NY) Times, pg. 65:
When Mayor Beame and the first group in Car One landed at the Roosevelt Island station, for example, a crowd of about 200 people were on hand, some of them wearing tee-shirts emblazoned with “Roosevelt Island, The Little Apple,” others carrying signs reading, “The Tramway Is Super,” “Mayor Beame I Like You and Your Tramway,” and “It’s Fun to Ride the Tramway.”

31 May 1976, Daily News (New York, NY), “Tram Tourists Welcome at Isle” by Martin King, pg. ML7, col. 3:
“New York is known as the Big Apple, right? Roosevelt Island is the ‘little apple’ and we hope to see as many tourists as we can,’ he (Harry Dromer—ed.) said.

25 December 1977, New York (NY) Times, pg. 143:
There is no hardware store, household appliance store, shoe store, ice cream fountain, barber shop or beauty parlor, bar or cocktail lounge, bakery, florist, book shop, travel agency, jewelry store, movie theater, record store, clothing store (although the stationery store does sell T-shirts proclaiming that Roosevelt Island is “The Little Apple”).

4 August 1978, New York (NY) Times, pg. C24:
Shopping is sparse. C.O. Bigelow Pharmacy II, cousin to the 1838 establishment in the Village, has some interesting toiletries and the Roosevelt Island Stationery offers island souvenirs, including a cuddly T-shirt that says “Roosevelt Island - the Little Apple.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityThe Big Apple“Little Apple” and other nicknames • Saturday, March 12, 2022 • Permalink

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