Have you ever been to New York City? If not, what are you waiting for? From Broadway to the Statue of Liberty, New York City offers a variety of entertaining, historic and cultural attractions that is unmatched by any other city in the United States.

So, if you get the chance, take a bite of the Big Apple! That nickname — the Big Apple — has been attached to New York City for quite a while. You’ve probably heard New York City called the Big Apple on sports broadcasts and television shows and movies many times.

But why is it called the Big Apple? If you’ve ever seen a map of New York City, you know it doesn’t look anything like an apple…although it IS quite a big city. So how did it get its unique nickname?

Although the origin of the Big Apple nickname was once a mystery, recent research by Barry Popik and Gerald Cohen has brought some clarity to the history of the term. According to their research, the Big Apple nickname for New York City first became popular in the 1920s when it was used often by sports writer John J. Fitz Gerald of the New York Morning Telegraph.

Fitz Gerald wrote mainly about horse racing in the New York area. Experts believe he picked up the term “the Big Apple” from jockeys and trainers who viewed the races in New York as the most important horse races of the day.

Other writers eventually picked up on Fitz Gerald’s use of the Big Apple nickname, and many began to use it in contexts other than horse racing. Over time, the nickname became associated with New York City, in general. “The Big Apple” even became a popular song and dance in the 1930s.

The nickname became forever entrenched in the 1970s, when the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau promoted the nickname as part of its marketing efforts. The leader of the Bureau, Charles Gillett, thought the image of bright red apples would improve the image of the city, which many thought of as dark and dangerous.

So exactly how big is the Big Apple? Really big! With almost 19 million people in the greater New York Metropolitan Area, it’s the most populous area in the United States and one of the most populous areas in the entire world. New York City is the home of the United Nations, as well as many companies that have a significant impact on worldwide commerce, finance, media, education, technology and entertainment.

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    • Hi there, Siddman, we hope you get to experience New York City sometime in the future! You certainly are right– it’s quite a busy place! We’re glad you have learned why it’s called the Big Apple– way to go, Wonder Friend! :)

  1. We liked seeing all the things in New York.

    We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about: skunk, stink bug, a bear, fish, garbage, smelly dogs, socks, or feet.

    • YAY, we are so excited to Wonder about NYC with the WONDERful students in Ms. Bayko’s class! YIPPEE! We Wonder if any of you have visited the Big Apple? :)

      SUPER smelly guesses for tomorrow’s Wonder… we can’t wait to sniff our way to tomorrow! :)

  2. We have 14 students/teachers who have visited NYC, and 6 students/teachers who have not.

    We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about a stink bug/beetle, a skunk, garbage or the garbage disposal in your sink.

    • Wow, we think it’s super cool that those who have visited the Big Apple can share their adventures with the others who haven’t been yet! We’re so happy the students in Miss Burnap’s class are here today! We can’t wait to Wonder about something stinky tomorrow– don’t forget to plug your noses! :)

  3. Good morning, Wonderopolis!

    We collected some data about what we think tomorrow’s Wonder will be about. Here are our results:
    -Two people think the Wonder will be about garbage.
    -Three students think the Wonder will be about dirty socks.
    -Seven students think the Wonder will be about raw fish. It had the most votes.
    -Two people voted for stinky shoes.
    -Four people think the Wonder tomorrow will be about the “dump”.

    Only 18 out of 21 students voted.

    We enjoyed learning about the Big Apple today!

    Have a WONDERful Wonder Day!

    • Happy Thursday, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Phillips’ class! :) We are SUPER glad you shared all your guesses with us– tomorrow is going to be a smelly Wonder, that is certain! These were all STELLAR ideas and we hope to see you tomorrow! Also, we liked that nearly 100% of the students voted– 6/7 of the students, to be exact! We Wonder what percentage that is…?

      We hope you liked learning about NYC with us today! Thank you for stopping by to Wonder! :)

    • Phew, what a smell! We think the students in Mrs. Fulton’s class are on to something… we can’t wait to find out tomorrow! :)

  4. No one in our class has ever been to the Big Apple, but almost everyone would love to visit it some day. We wonder how New York City got its nickname and how many people lived there and our wonders were answered.

    We think tomorrow’s wonder might be about toxic socks, smelly gas, the oil field, or dairies.

    • Hey there, WONDERful students in Mrs. Karr’s class! We are oh-so-happy you’re here! We hope all of you can travel to the Big Apple one day, and many other places, too! Thanks for being great Wonder Friends– we love learning a new thing or two with you! See you tomorrow for a smelly Wonder! :)

  5. Dear Wonderopolis,

    We think New York City looks cool and awesome! We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about skunks!

    Thanks for keeping us wondering!

    • YIPPEE, our Wonder Friends from Ms. Moreland’s class are back! :) We loved learning about the Big Apple with you today– it’s a pretty cool nickname to have, don’t you think?

      We can’t wait to see all of you tomorrow for a smelly Wonder… whatever could it be?! :)

  6. Dear Wonderopolis,

    We loved watching the time-lapsed photos. We never knew what that term meant until today!

    Our class predicts that tomorrow’s wonder will be about: skunks, cooked broccoli, stink bugs, a sewage pipe, and rotten eggs.

    We look forward to tomorrow’s wonder!

    • WOHOO, we are super excited the students in Mrs. Wall’s class enjoyed our Wonder today! We love to hear that you’re learning something new with us, too!

      We love your AWESOME guesses for tomorrow’s stinky Wonder… but we think you’ll enjoy it! See you tomorrow… but in the meantime have a WONDERful day! :)

  7. Hey today I learned many things and this is what:
    Also that many many many many people vist the big apple every day,
    last New York City first became popular in the 1920s when it was used often by sports writer John J. Fitz Gerald of the New York Morning Telegraph. Thanks!

    • Great job, Jules, you are a Wonder champ today! We love to hear that you have discovered so many new facts about NYC! We are glad you shared your comment with us today– NICE WORK! :)

  8. Hi Wonderopolis!
    I loved today’s wonder and the really awesome video with it! Make sure to send a shout out to my class Mrs.Anthony’s class! Also send a shout out to Brooke, Donna, Emily & Ainsley & Kennedy! Hopefully the class will read it tomorrow. I think that tomorrow’s wonder will be about how much trash you use, or skunks or stink bombs. :)

    • We’re so glad you visited today, Allycat! Thanks for sharing your comments and sending a shout out to some of your Wonder Friends– you’re so awesome! We will Wonder with you tomorrow… it’s going to be a smelly one! :)

    • Could you imagine being a part of such a big city, nkinney? We bet it would be a great deal of fun– the hustle and bustle would give us energy, but we also enjoy being a part of a smaller, quiet place too! It’s fun to IMAGINE ourselves living in different cities– have you tried that? :)

  9. The cars looked like race cars! We wonder how fast they were actually going! Tomorrows wonder could be stink bugs, or skunk!

    • Isn’t it cool to see the fast version of that video? We are so happy the COOL 2nd grade students in Mrs. Phillips’ class are here today! We are looking forward to WONDERing about something smelly tomorrow… see you soon! :)

    • How very cool that you’ve visited the Big Apple, Nicolina! We hope you had a STELLAR time!

      Thanks for sharing your comment and experience with us– we will see you tomorrow for a smelly Wonder! :)

    • Hehe, we like your association, Tessie! We hope you had a great big crunchy apple to snack on today after reading that Wonder… maybe it was even from New York! :)

  10. Hey Wonderopolis, I have always wondered what it would be like to go to New York or “The Big Apple” but it is definitely a dream of mine! :o) I think tomorrow’s Wonder will be about a garbage truck, or a dump and how it breaks down over time. Whatever it is I can’t wait to see it!

    • We’re so glad you’ve shared your comment with us, Tori L! Thanks for stopping by to Wonder and imagine about the Big Apple with us– we hope you get there soon! We’ll see you tomorrow for a stinky, but fun, Wonder! :)

  11. How did he edit that I’m from Miss Foster’s class woooooooooooooooooooooow New York is awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :)

    • Hey there Wade, we hope you’re having a great time Wondering with us in Miss Foster’s class– we are glad you enjoyed today’s NYC Wonder, too! We hope to see you soon, Wonder Friend! :)

  12. I just went to NYC this summer! It was the best trip of my life! I went to the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building! It was so fun!

    • HOW COOL, Emma! You’re one lucky duck– we are so glad you shared your AWESOME NYC experiences with us! We hope you have a WONDERful day, Wonder Friend! :)

    • That sounds AWESOME, David! We hope you have a SUPER time in the Big Apple– now you can Wonder about all the great sights you will visit! If the video is freezing, we Wonder if you should try to use another computer or Internet connection, especially if you’re viewing the video at school. :)

  13. This is a good website because you would probably be wondering things that you didn’t know the answer to. Thanks wonderopolis.

    • WOW, you did a great job explaining what we do here at Wonderopolis, Shawn! Great job! We hope you keep up the SUPER WONDERing and have fun using your imagination! :)

    • Hey there, Spicy Lamb! The weather in the Big Apple looks like rain today! But we bet there’s always something to do in NYC! :)

    • WOOHOO, we hope you get there, Breanna! What are the top three things you’d like to do or visit in New York City? :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Have you ever been to the Big Apple?
  • How did New York City get its nickname?
  • How big is the Big Apple?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Ready to see some of the famous sights around The Big Apple? Check out these virtual tours and panoramic image galleries to get a taste of New York City:

Have you ever been to New York City? If so, what was your favorite part? Did you eat at a restaurant that was just incredible? Did you see a Broadway show?

If you’ve never been to New York City, make a list of the top ten things you’d like to see if you were ever to visit. Some things you might want to include on your list are the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge!

Still Wondering

New York City has welcomed more immigrants to America than any other city. EDSITEment!’s Newcomers to New York interactive map website is an engaging and informative tool on the history of Manhattan and its diverse inhabitants.

Wonder What’s Next?

Whew! Someone open a window! Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day really stinks!

Upload a Photo or Paste the URL of a YouTube or SchoolTube Video.