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 05, 2013
“Tighter than the skin on a grape”

“Tighter than the skin on a grape” means very tight, such as someone tight with money or a tight sporting contest. “Tighter than the skin on a grape” has been cited in print since at least 1954. It’s not known who came up with the food expression.
 
   
Google Books
Festivals Europe
By Robert Meyer
New York, NY: Washburn
1954
Pg. 140:
Holidays It is important that visitors to Great Britain know the Bank Holidays there because on those days everything closes up tighter than the skin on a grape.
 
9 May 1954, Independent Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA), “Wild Waves Are Saying” by Iola Masterson, pg. D-3, col. 2:
Sassy, our boys have that Junior Class sewed up tighter than the skin on a grape, don’t they?
   
19 February 1955, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Cronin’s Corner” by Ned Cronin, pg. B3:
It was tighter than the skin on a grape.
   
19 April 1955, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Cronin’s Corner” by Ned Cronin, pg. C3:
Bayer has this department locked up tighter than the skin on a grape.
 
Google News Archive
20 March 1964, Spokane (WA) Daily Chronicle/I>, “‘West Virginia ‘Bricktop’ Blows Out Roman Candle” by Robert C. Ruark, pg. 4, col. 8:
But she was business to the core, which is to say that in her club she was tighter than the skin on a grape.
     
Google Books
Happiness
By Ann Harleman
Ames, IA: University of Iowa Press
1994
Pg. 36:
“Tighter than skin on a grape — that was my ex. Took me for everything I had.”
 
Google Books
Circus of the Damned
By Laurell K. Hamilton
New York, NY: The Berkley Publishing Group
1995
Pg. 31:
Jeans no tighter than the skin on a grape showed slender hips.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Monday, August 05, 2013 • Permalink


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