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 August 23, 2005
“The Bronx is burning” (1972; alleged Howard Cosell quote during the 1977 World Series)
"Ladies and Gentleman, the Bronx is burning" is the title of a 2005 book. It's from a alleged quote by the late Howard Cosell during a World Series game on October 12, 1977. The television cameras caught a fire near Yankee Stadium.

However, "Bronx is burning" is a phrase that had been used earlier in the 1970s, describing the fires (often intentionally set for insurance purposes) in the South Bronx. Report from Engine Company 82 by Dennis Smith is the title of a book that was published in 1972, and The Bronx Is Burning (1972) is the title of a BBC2 documentary that was made from the book. "South Bronx Is Burning" by James P. Brown was printed in the New York (NY) Times on December 24, 1974. "The 'old neighborhood' is burning" by Ronald Kirk was printed in the Chicago (IL) Tribune on June 15, 1975. "The South Bronx Is Burning -- Look Out!" by Bernard Cohen (Associated Press writer) was printed in the Rocky Mount (NC) Telegram on July 6, 1975.

Wikipedia: Howard Cosell
Howard William Cosell (/koʊˈsɛl/; born Howard William Cohen; March 25, 1918 – April 23, 1995) was an American sports journalist who was widely known for his blustery, cocksure personality. Cosell said of himself, "Arrogant, pompous, obnoxious, vain, cruel, verbose, a showoff. I have been called all of these. Of course, I am." In its obituary for Cosell, The New York Times described Cosell's impact on American sports coverage: "He entered sports broadcasting in the mid-1950s, when the predominant style was unabashed adulation, [and] offered a brassy counterpoint that was first ridiculed, then copied until it became the dominant note of sports broadcasting."
"The Bronx is Burning"
Cosell was widely attributed with saying the famous phrase "the Bronx is burning". Cosell is credited with saying the quote during Game 2 of the 1977 World Series, which took place in Yankee Stadium on October 12, 1977. For a couple of years, fires had routinely erupted in the South Bronx, mostly due to low-value property owners setting their own properties ablaze for insurance money. During the bottom of the first inning, ABC aerial camera panned a few blocks from Yankee Stadium to a building on fire, giving the world a real life view of the infamous Bronx fires. The scene became a defining image of New York City in the 1970s. Cosell supposedly stated, "There it is, ladies and gentlemen, The Bronx is burning."

In 2005, author Jonathan Mahler published Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx is Burning, a book on New York in 1977, and credited Cosell with saying the title quote during the aerial coverage of the fire. ESPN produced a 2007 mini-series based on the book called The Bronx is Burning. Cosell's comment seemed to have captured the widespread view that New York City was on the skids and in a state of decline.

The truth was discovered after Major League Baseball published a complete DVD set of all of the games of the 1977 World Series. Coverage of the fire begins with Keith Jackson commenting on the large size of the blaze, while Cosell added that President Carter had visited that area just days before. As the top of the second inning began, the fire was once again shown from a helicopter-mounted camera, and Cosell commented that the New York Fire Department had a hard job to do in the Bronx as there was always numerous fires. In the bottom of the second, Cosell informed the audience that it was an abandoned building that was burning and no lives were in danger. There was no further comment on the fire, and Cosell appears to have never said "The Bronx is Burning" (at least not on camera) during Game 2.

Mahler's confusion could have arisen from a 1974 documentary entitled "The Bronx is Burning": it is likely Mahler confused the documentary with his recollection of Cosell's comments when writing his book.

OCLC WorldCat record
The Bronx is burning
Authors: Harry Weisbloom, British Broadcasting Corporation
Summary: Amidst the danger and decay of the impoverished South Bronx, the firemen of Engine Company 82 fight fires which occur at an alarming rate in the area's numerous abandoned buildings. In between alarms, the firemen discuss the routines of their profession, the uneasy relationship they have with the community they are mandated to serve and the sense of dedication they feel in the face of extreme peril. The camera follows the company as they battle fires often set by arsonists. Firefighter Dennis Smith, the author of Report from Engine Company 82, discusses the physical and psychological pressures of the job
Film, English, 1974
Publisher: Time-Life, New York, 1974

OCLC WorldCat record
Report from Engine Company 82
Author: Dennis Smith
Print Book, English, 1975
Publisher: Futura Publications, London, 1975
Physical Description: [2], 215 pages ; 18 cm
ISBN: 9780860070177, 0860070174
OCLC Number / Unique Identifier: 877376791
Fire fighting New York (City). Personal observations
New York (N.Y.) Fires and fire prevention
New York (State) New York
Notes: Originally published: New York : Saturday Review Press, 1972 ; London : Millington, 1974

7 September 1972, The Stage and Television Today, "Features make BBC's best sale yet," pg. 11, col. 6:
Man Alive begins again on BBC-2 on September 27 with a film called The Bronx is Burning about the work of the world's busiest fire service in New York.

21 September 1972, Acton Gazette and West London Post (Acton, UK), "Small Screen," pg. 22, col. 7:
The Bronx is Burning, a programme about the world's busiest first service Engine Company 82 in New York launches a new series of Man Alive on Wednesday BBC 2.

24 December 1974, New York (NY) Times, pg. 19, col. 1:
South Bronx Is Burning
By James P. Brown

16 March 1975, The Sunday Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, GA), "For Thoughtful Viewers," Green Sheet, pg. 11, col. 3:
Window on the World -- 10 p.m. (28) -- "The Bronx is Burning -- The true, human drama of men who fight first in an urban jungle, featuring fireman Dennis Smith, whose book became a national bestseller. narrated by Burgess Meredith.

14 June 1975, Daily News (New York, NY), "What's On?" (TV/Radio) by Val Adams, pg. 37, col. 3:
"The Bronx Is Burning," a documentary produced about three years ago by the British Broadcasting Corp. and Time-Life Films, has suddenly become timely. Channel 5 has decided to televise it for the first time in New York tomorrow at 9 p.m. and again on Monday at 8 p.m.

The film follows Engine Co. 82 in its battles with fires in the South Bronx. Dennis Smith, who wrote a bestseller about his adventures with the fire fighting unit, will be interviewed.

"THE BRONX is burning," says another kid, also a Puerto Rican. "It's a conspiracy to burn down the Bronx, to drive out all the blacks and Puerto Ricans."

6 July 1975, Rocky Mount (NC) Telegram, pg. 31, col. 3:
The South Bronx Is Burning -- Look Out!
Associated Press Writer

16 March 1977, Daily News (New York, NY), "Knight of Fiscal Wars, We Ode Ya This" by Donald Singleton, pg. 4, col. 3:
the whole South Bronx is burning down,
Big Mac is going under --
Things sure aren't looking good, thinks Abe;
It gives one cause to wonder.

14 April 1978, Daily News (New York, NY), "The Bronx? Most folks don't know the north, east and west of it" by William Reel, pg. 32, col. 1:
During the World Series last year, the TV cameras took time out to show a flaming building a few blocks from Yankee Stadium. Howard Cosell, never one to forego an opportunity to pontificate on the apocalyptic cataclyms that wreak havoc on contemporary urban America, made much of the blaze. "The Bronx is burning," Howard announced. The way he said it, you knew it was a story.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's Speech on Affordable Housing in New York City
The Enterprise Foundation's 2004 Network Conference at the Marriott Marquis
October 14, 2004
Good afternoon.

I want to thank Shaun Donovan for that kind introduction. He's not only an eloquent speaker; he's also a highly effective City Commissioner, who is doing an extraordinary job directing New York's affordable housing policy.

Now, to all of you who are here from out of town.

Welcome to New York.

Take it from the mayor: There's never a bad time to visit our city. But there really is something special about "autumn in New York." For a lot of New Yorkers - me included - October means championship baseball in the Bronx. Last night, the Yankees continued to battle the Red Sox for the American League pennant - writing one more chapter in the greatest rivalry in professional sports.

But those of us who are of a certain age can remember another October ballgame in the Bronx that wasn't so glorious. It was during the 1977 World Series. It was a night game, and Howard Cosell was in the broadcast booth. And speaking to a national audience, he directed the television cameras away from the action on the field, and toward a building being consumed by fire just a few blocks from the stadium.

"Ladies and gentlemen," he said, "The Bronx is burning."

It was a bleak picture in a disheartening time, because the harsh truth was that whole blocks in the South Bronx, and in other communities in our city, were being vandalized, abandoned,
and even going up in flames.

OCLC WorldCat record
Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning : 1977, baseball, politics, and the battle for the soul of a city
Author: Jonathan Mahler
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.
Edition/Format: Book : Biography : English : 1st ed
By early 1977, the metropolis was in the grip of hysteria caused by a murderer dubbed "Son of Sam." And on a sweltering night in July, a citywide power outage touched off an orgy of looting and arson that led to the largest mass arrest in New York's history. As the turbulent year wore on, the city became absorbed in two epic battles: the fight between Yankee slugger Reggie Jackson and team manager Billy Martin, and the battle between Ed Koch and Mario Cuomo for the city's mayoralty. Buried beneath these parallel conflicts, one for the soul of baseball, the other for the soul of the city, was the subtext of race. The brash and confident Jackson took every black myth and threw it back in white America's face. Meanwhile, Koch and Cuomo ran bitterly negative campaigns that played upon urbanites' fears of soaring crime and falling municipal budgets. These braided stories tell the history of a year that saw the opening of Studio 54, the evolution of punk rock, and the dawning of modern SoHo. As the pragmatist Koch defeated the visionary Cuomo and as Reggie Jackson finally rescued a team racked with dissension,1977 became a year of survival but also of hope. -- Publishers description.

New York (NY) Times
April 24, 2005
'Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning': That 70's Show
1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City.

By Jonathan Mahler.
Illustrated. 356 pp. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $25.
After a fire broke out in a school near Yankee Stadium during the 1977 World Series, Howard Cosell seemed to capture far more than a passing news story when he said on the air, ''There it is, ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning'' -- at once encapsulating the era and giving Mahler his eventual title.

Howard Cosell's "The Bronx is Burning" Comments During 1977 World Series
Jun 12, 2016
Howard Cosell and Keith Jackson comment on a building fire seen nearby Yankee Stadium during Game 2 of the World Series, October 12, 1977.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNames/Phrases • Tuesday, August 23, 2005 • Permalink

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