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.