New York Times responds

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Tue Jun 6 01:10:25 UTC 2000

   Yesterday, the New York Times acknowledged an error.  My name had been misspelled in the April 1996 article.  There was a correction in last Sunday's Times on page 2.  Four years later!
   An message mentioned this correction (search using "New York Times" and "Lisa Carparelli" and "Big Apple" as key words), and then added:

   As for your additional claim, our research establishes that the earliest known reference to "the Big Apple" as a nickname for New York City is in a 1909 book, "The Wayfarer in New York," by Edward S. Martin (Macmillan).  That reference is cited in a 1993 Oxford University Press book, "The City in Slang," by Irving Lewis Allen.
   So with respect, we do not share your belief that the term originated with two African-American stable hands.  At most, a reporter from The Morning Telegraph overhead it being used by stablehands and then popularized it.
   We are glad to correct the record on the spelling of your name, but we believe that's all the correction that is due.  (...)
--Lisa Carparelli, spokeswoman, The New York Times

   Is William Safire alive?
   Who made this judgment on The New York Times?  An etymologist or a reporter?
   "Our research establishes..."  We've ALL acknowledged that citation--me, Gerald Cohen, the RHHDAS.  It's taken out of context.  It was used metaphorically.
   Did you talk with Charles Gillett?  No?  Well, he's dead!  His obituary gave "Big Apple" credit to Damon Runyon.  I've mentioned this thousands of times, but that was never corrected.
   Has anyone seen my research?  Has anyone else checked out National Apple Month/Week in every single New York City newspaper for 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, and so on?  "The Big Apple" was hiding all of those years, huh?
   "The Big Apple" was also hiding on every computer database we know, huh?
   Walter Winchell's early columns don't use "the Big Apple."  Ever think of why not?  Ever read through every single one of them?
   So "Big Apple Corner"--that was signed into law by the mayor--doesn't deserve any coverage at all?
   This is a disgrace to African-Americans, the John J. Fitz Gerald, to Charles Gillett, and, of course, to me.
   If William Safire is still alive, he should find out which reporters on his paper are dabbling in etymology.  And he should tell them they're wrong.  And he should write about it.

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