Big Apple / Manzana
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Tue Apr 25 00:55:35 UTC 2006
In a message dated 4/24/2006 6:26:05 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL writes:
For some reason, as yet unknown, the racing community came up with the
phrase "the Big Apple" which was applied to New York. I, for one, would
like to know why. Investigation of horses named "Apple" or "Manzana" or
"Apfel" or "Pomme" certainly seems like it would be germaine to the
question. Your research certainly kills some of the theories that have
floated around. But if there had been a horse named "Big Apple" in the
1910's or earlier, I can't help but think it is relevant. If there was
one named "Manzana" that was called "Grande Manzana", or "Big Manzana",
that would also seem relevant. I've only found the "Manzana", not the
Big or Grande part. They may not exist. But it doesn't hurt to look.
I looked fifteen years ago.
A further strike against "manzana principal" is that "big apple" originally
meant the money reward of the New York City racetracks, not "city block" of
New York City. The failure to turn up a single relevant citation anywhere in
the New York Morning Telegraph should have been devastating. People just don't
accept negative evidence. They think you just didn't look hard enough to find
the "real story."
Yes, I also looked at horse names in my extensive reading. "Apple Jack" was
a big winner, even in New Orleans. "Queen Apple" was a moderately successful
horse. "Red Apple" was not especially successful. The most important fact,
though, is the simple one--horses love apples.
There was a culture of apples (the most popular fruit in America, by far)
that existed in the early 1900s that doesn't exist today. Songs were written
about apples. Cities nicknamed themselves "Land of the Big Red Apple." Cartoons
popularly showed the apple as a reward.
There is no big mystery here.
When a Yahoo Answers anonymous non-scholar rejects my opinion on "manzana
principal" based on no evidence and faulty reasoning and the "help" of the
Language Log, I guess this just never ends.
If someone really wants to do something, a person like William Safire would
write a true column on this, and the mayor of New Orleans would be
interviewed. It would be asked when the African-American stablehand would be honored and
finally identified as someone's father or grandfather. This should have been
done in 1992!
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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