The New Yorker on "The Big Apple"

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sat Jan 15 13:38:43 UTC 2005

At the risk of providing further ammunition to a certain person's
extensive complaints of neglect, let me point out that The New Yorker,
17 Jan. 2005, p. 40, has an item about the New-York Historical Society
that includes the following: "The most commonly asked question is
about the origin of the term 'The Big Apple.' (It seems to have
started with African-American stable-hands in New Orleans in the
nineteen-twenties; an earlier usage of the term, in a 1909 collection
of vignettes called 'The Wayfarer in New York,' is, according to the
Historical Society's official line, a red herring.)"

In terms of spreading truth rather the usual etymological bullshit,
the above scores pretty highly.  Regrettably, however, it fails to
give credit to Barry Popik for his pivotal role in illuminating this

Fred Shapiro

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