Big Apple "whore theory" was all a joke

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Wed Oct 9 09:48:19 UTC 2002

    This is a bizarre development. An author (Mr. Kroessler) with
pretensions to credibility puts his credibility behind an explanation
which collapses upon examination There's not a shred of evidence in
favor of the whore theory for NYC's sobriquet "The Big Apple," and
yet its veneer of plausibility has gained it some adherents among the
public. The "several clues" about the falseness of the theory may be
obvious to Mr. Kroessler, but they are cryptic at best to the public,
which seems totally unaware of them.

    If this is intended as a joke, where is the laughter? The more
appropriate term is "hoax."

    Is SNYCH (Society for New York City History) a bona-fide
historical society, or is it also intended as a joke? The name sounds
official, which of course adds to the public's willingness to accept
the whore-theory as a bona fide possibility.

Gerald Cohen
Professor of Foreign Languages
University of Missouri-Rolla
editor, _Comments on Etymology_
author of a book on the origin of the name "The Big Apple," plus
several follow-up articles on the subject (with full credit to Barry
Popik for his discoveries in this field). One follow-up article
concerns the whore theory.

At 8:20 PM -0400 10/8/02, Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:
>Date:         Tue, 8 Oct 2002 20:20:16 EDT
>Reply-To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>From: Bapopik at AOL.COM
>Subject:      Big Apple "whore theory" was all a joke
>Comments: cc: gersh.kuntzman at, enosthroop at
>X-OriginalArrivalTime: 09 Oct 2002 00:20:23.0209 (UTC)
>    I saw the book NEW YORK, YEAR BY YEAR (2002) by Jeffrey Kroessler at my
>local Barnes & Noble.  Kroessler is president of the Society for New York
>City History (SNYCH), and he credits Peter Salwen in the introduction.
>    I e-mailed Kroessler (as I've e-mailed Salwen for the past seven years,
>without a response) that it's long past time to get the "Big Apple whore
>theory" off the web.
>    Unlike Salwen, Kroessler e-mailed back.
>    The "whore theory" was all a joke!
>    Yes, we'd known all along that not a single "true fact" checked out.  But
>the point is, it's on the New York Public Library's web site as the truth!
>It takes up half the box in LET'S GO NEW YORK 2002!  It was mentioned as true
>    Despite my constant efforts, the African-American responsible for "the Big
>Apple" has never been honored by the city.  SNYCH could have at least HELPED.
>    I told Kroessler again to take the "whore joke" off the web.  I guess
>Kroessler and Salwen both think it's still funny.
>Barry Popik
>(letter attached below)
>Subj:   Re: Get Salwen to remove his "Big Apple" libel from the web!
>Date:   10/8/2002 9:13:54 AM Eastern Standard Time
>From:   <A
>HREF="mailto:kroessler at">kroessler at</A>
>To: <A HREF="mailto:Bapopik at">Bapopik at</A>
>Sent from the Internet (Details)
>It's a joke. And obviously so, as there are several clues that are
>Jeff Kroessler

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