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 -

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