Why is New York Called Big Apple

If you are aware of American culture you must wonder why is New York called big apple? US is generally referred to as America by the people. It is a developed and very advanced country with great opportunities for all those who dream and are ready to work hard to realize their dreams. Many people refer to as America as Big Apple though it is the city of New York that is actually nicknamed the Big Apple. Not many people are aware of the reason behind this nickname though they continue to use this name for this big and very important city of US. This article takes a look at the origins of the nickname Big Apple for the city of New York.

Why is New York Called Big Apple – Reasons

Various reasons put forward for this nickname

New York is a metropolitan that has got not one but several nicknames. These include The City that Never Sleeps, Gotham, The Great American Melting Pot, and of course The Big Apple. However, it is The Big Apple that has stuck and used most commonly by the people around the country. There are some people who say that the name came from some rich families that were forced to sell apples on the streets of the city after their wealth collapsed during the Great Depression. There is even a story that links the name Big Apple with a brothel owned by a lady called Eve in the 19th century. The girls of this particular brothel were referred to as Big Apples by the people of the city.

Why is New York Called Big Apple

Sports columnist FitzGerald used the phrase in his column

However, more realistic account of the name Big Apple comes from a phrase used by sports journalist John J FitzGerald in his newspaper column called Around the Big Apple. He used to start his column with a header titled ‘The Big Apple’. His column was dealing with horse racing. This was a time when it was a dream of every jockey to earn big prize money by taking part in big races. Big Apple was a phrase that alluded to a large purse of money given to winners in races held in New York in those times. Soon the phrase caught the fancy of the common people and New York came to be referred as Big Apple by not just the people of the city but even the outsiders.

Big Apple has become a symbol of New York

The phrase Big Apple was made popular by the jazz musicians of those times as they used it to describe the jazz scene in the city of New York. The name lost some of its appeal in the next two decades. However, it once again became popular in the 1970’s when New York Convention and Visitors Bureau made a red apple as its logo to attract visitors to the city. Since then, Big Apple has become associated with the city of New York and it has even become an unofficial name for New York just as Sin City has become a nickname for Las Vegas.

The phrase Big Apple, when used to refer to New York, reflects the alluring nature of the city. It symbolizes New York as a fast moving and exciting city with lots of opportunities for who dream to make it big someday in their lives.


Images Courtesy:

  1. The Big Apple by Kenny Louie (CC BY 2.0)

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