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 November 19, 2004
“Streets of New York (In Old New York)” (1906)
"The Streets of New York (In Old New York)" (1906) was a popular song in its day. It had long puzzled me. Women were called "peaches." The first line contains: "In old New York the peach crop's always fine." Peaches -- in the Big Apple?

There was probably no influence from the "peach crop" on "the Big Apple." But this Victor Herbert classic is worth listening to on its own merits.

"The Streets of New York"
Words by Henry Blossom
Music by Victor Herbert

Victor Herbert is usually remembered for his operettas, but the musical comedy The Red Mill (1906) was one of his biggest hits. The plot involves two American vaudevillians who are stuck in Holland and trying to get enough money to get back to New York. This showstopper was introduced by the popular team Dave Montgomery and Fred Stone. In the long-running 1945 Broadway revival, it was performed by Eddie Foy Jr. and Michael O'Shea.

This is the lyric as it appears in the original sheet music published by M. Witmark and Sons (NYC) in 1906. The entire song is in 3/4 time "Tempo di Valse."

Verse 1
In dear old New York it's remarkable very!
The name on the lamp-post is unnecessary!
You merely have to see the girls
To know what street you're on!
Fifth Avenue beauties and dear old Broadway girls!
The tailor made shoppers the Avenue A girls,
They're strictly all right but they're different quite
In the diff'rent parts of town.

In Old New York! In old New York!
The peach crop's always fine!
They're sweet and fair and on the square!
The maids of Manhattan for mine!
You cannot see in gay Paree,
In London or in Cork!
The queens you'll meet on any street
In old New York!

Verse 2
If a spare afternoon you should happen to have and you
Start on a leisurely stroll up Fifth Avenue,
There is where with haughty air
You'll see them as they walk!
With velvets and laces and sable enfolding them,
Really you'll nearly fall dead on beholding them,
Lucky's the earl that can marry a girl
From Fifth Avenue New York.

(Repeat Refrain)

Verse 3
Whatever the weather is shining or showery,
That doesn't cut any ice on the Bowery.
Ev'ry night till broad daylight,
They dance and sing and talk!
The girls are all game and they're jolly good fellows,
They're not very swell but they're none of them jealous,
They go it alone in a style of their own
On the Bowery in New York.

(Repeat Refrain)

Posted by Barry Popik
Music/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Friday, November 19, 2004 • Permalink

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