"Big Apple" whores are gone!! (the continuing saga)

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at UMR.EDU
Wed Apr 12 01:42:39 UTC 2006

     My thanks to Barry for drawing the item below to ads-l attention.  As for the material from Joe Zito, I'm less than impressed with it.  As Barry well knows, Peter Salwen perpetrated a hoax, and so anything else Salwen says is subject to suspicion too.

    It certainly took Joe Zito quite a while to come forward with his recollections.  And by the time he did, the material that Barry had collected on John J. Fitz Gerald was republished and in the public domain. My own guess is that if Zito really did have something worthwhile to say about "The Big Apple," he could have come forward with it any time in the 1970's or 1980's, when there was much speculation about the origin of the nickname.

    In any case, Zito's recent information adds nothing--absolutely nothing--to what Barry has already turned up about John J. Fitz Gerald and his use of "The Big Apple."

    This summer I hope to start compiling the second edition of my _Origin of New York City's Nickname "The Big Apple"_, with Barry listed as co-author this time as tribute to his very important contributions to the subject. I'll include a detailed discussion on Salwen's whore theory about the nickname.  Salwen may have decided to withdraw his hoax, but it's likely that the hoax will continue to have a life of its own.

Gerald Cohen

> ----------
> From:         American Dialect Society on behalf of bapopik at AOL.COM
> Sent:         Tuesday, April 11, 2006 1:17 PM
> Subject:           "Big Apple" whores are gone!! (the continuing saga)
> http://salwen.com/apple.html
> ...
> ...
> ...
> ...
> The "Big Apple Whore Hoax" is gone!
> ...
> In 1995, Peter Salwen's website stated that "the Big Apple" came from a French whore in the early 19th century. This hoax would be cited by the New York Public Library, New York Historical Society, Museum of the City of New York, Big Apple Fest 2004, and newspapers and websites throughout the world. My website was started in 2004 to correct the record for an internet age.
> ...
> It appears that Salwen has changed everything in the past week.
> ....
> Salwen's new website states:
> ...
> "Various accounts have traced the 'Big Apple' expression to
> Depression-Era sidewalk apple vendors, a Harlem night
> club, and a popular 1930s dance known as the 'Big Apple.'
> One fanciful version even links the name with a notorious
> 19th-century procuress!"
> ...
> There is no mention, of course, that this last "theory" had been offered by Salwen himself.
> ...
> Some photos are taken from my website. As has been the case through all this, I'm mentioned, but my name is spelled wrong:
> ...
> "In FitzGerald> '> s honor (and due largely to the strenuous efforts
> of attorney-etymologist Barry Popick, who, like the columnist,
> had migrated to NYC from upstate New York) a street sign
> reading 'Big Apple Corner' was installed at Broadway and
> West 54th Street in 1997, near the hotel where FitzGerald died
> in poverty in 1963> -> although a location near the old Telegraph
> office might arguably have been a happier spot for it."
> ...
> Salwen, if he is to be trusted, has at least added something. He provides us with another witness--Joe Zito--who confirms the documentary evidence and the previous witness (the late Shirley Povich, et al.):
> ...
> ...
> "> In the early 1930s I got my first job as a rewrite man and a
> copy reader for the Morning Telegraph. The Telegraph at that
> time was situated on West 24th Street, and the site is now
> part of the parking lot of the huge Penn South complex.
> John FitzGerald> -> we called him Jack> -> was the feature writer
> for the paper, and he covered the races in New York State. At
> that time, in addition to Belmont Park and Aqueduct, there was
> Jamaica Race Track, the Empire City Track up in Yonkers >
> [now Yonkers Raceway], and of course Saratoga.
> Jack was the first writer to use the term > '> The Big Apple> '>  in
> print, maybe ten years before I started at the paper> -> in fact,
> he called his regular column > '> Around the Big Apple.> '>  He told us
> that he had heard it from the Black stable boys at who
> followed the horses to the small quarter-mile tracks in New
> Orleans and all over the East and the Middle West.
> They were so glad now to come to New York, where the big
> money was. The city was so huge to them and so full of
> opportunity that they called it the > '> Big Apple.> '> ">
> ...
> ...

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