Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Where does the name "Big Apple" come from?

Who's asking: A guy on the train from Boston to New York yesterday

He asked this to no one in particular, but of course I needed to look it up when I got to Maeve's.

New York has been known as the "The Big Apple" only since the 1930s. Jazz musicians -- particularly bandleader Fletcher Henderson -- made it part of their slang, but the term seems to have originated with New York sports columnist John J. FitzGerald. He reported having heard two stableboys at a race track in New Orleans talk about making it to the Big Apple, by which they meant New York. FitzGerald wrote a column for the New York Morning Telegraph called "Around the Big Apple," and the intersection of Broadway and W. 54th is named "Big Apple Corner," in his honor.

It's a quick trip to New York, but I've managed to see a lot of people in a short time, and will see more this morning before getting back on the train. Today's song list is not quite random, because I wanted to start it with the song that's been running through my head for the past 24 hours.

Five Random Songs

"Another Hundred People," Pamela Myers & The Vocal Minority, from the Company soundtrack. "Can we see each other Tuesday if it doesn't rain?/Look, I'll call you in the morning or my service will explain..."

"Strike Like Lightning," Lonnie Mack. From the Alligator Records 20th Anniversary Collection, which any fan of blues or southern rock should own.

"Soul Shadows," Bill Withers. Bill Withers's voice sounds like warm syrup.

"An Cail n Fionn (Natasha)," James Galway & Phil Coulter. Flute and piano, mood music for a rainy day (which this is).

"At the Zoo," Simon & Garfunkel. This version is from the Old Friends live album, and has great violin and drum backing.

1 comment:

elizabeth said...

One other theory I've heard about this is that it's related to a popular call-and-response dance performed at (among other places) the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem called the Big Apple (http://www.lindycircle.com/history/big_apple/)