Let's Go New York City 2002

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Tue Nov 27 21:26:12 UTC 2001

St. Martin's Press, NY
356 pages, paperback, $16.99
November 2001

   This is just out, and I bought a copy.  (No one gives me anything for free.)
   In 1997, when I was dedicating "Big Apple Corner" in honor of John J. Fitz Gerald, I sent tons of wonderful stuff to LET'S GO.  Let's Go got it wrong in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001, despite being "updated annually."  I sent e-mail.  I wrote critical reviews on Amazon.com; Amazon added fake reviews for "balance."
   However, the editor of this year's edition saw a review and contacted me.  He asked if "Big Apple" comes from whores.  I told him that there was not one signle citation that supports this, and that not one single scholar believes this.
   But if it's on the web, it has to be true, and it's gotta be mentioned, so, rather than cite the African-American stablehand's actual words in the limited space available...

Pg. xi:
Thank you to all who have shared their New York experiences with me.  Barry Popik and Professor Gerald COhen have helped me uncover the truth behind the Big Apple.

Pg. 2:
_Best nickname for the city:_
Gotham.  Celebrates the city's bad guy image.  Much cooler than the Big Apple.

Pg. 24:
Every time a New York Met hits a home run in FLushing's Shea Stadium, an oversized plastic apple rises from behind the outfield wall in celebration, a physical manifestation of the city's nickname: the Big Apple.
   According to scholars Barry Popik and Gerald Cohen, the nickname got its start in the 1920s, when John G. FitzGerald named his horse-racing column "Around the Big Apple."  FitzGerald apparently heard New York so dubbed by African-American stablehands in New Orleans who looked upon GOtham as the big time or the big reward for years on the minor tracks.
   A less plausible, but more sexy explanation ofthe nickname comes from Peter Salwen, who claims that the Big Apple is synonymous with GOtham's long history of prostitution.  Salwen writes that Evelyn de Saint-Evremond ran a first-class bordello in the early 19th century.  WHen Evelyn was shortened to Eve, the "young men-about-town soon got into the habit of referring to their amorous adventures as "having a taste of Eve's Apples."  Hence the Big Apple.
   Popik disagrees with Salwen and seems to have the evidence on his side.  He told _Let's Go_: "Big Apple doesn't come from whores."
   In either case, Big Apple did not become prevalent until Charles Gillett, former (late--ed.) president of the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau, popularized the name with his Big Apple Campaign in 1971.  His P.R. ploy hit onto something inexplicably catchy.

(The Harlem jazz men weren't first, so they're dropped entirely in favor of this prostitution crap.  Wonderful--ed.)


   After 9-11, I thought I might as well clear everything up.  I wrote to the Internet Public Library (ipl at ipl.org) and told them that the Salwen whore theory was trash.  I told them that I'd happily provide them with more detailed stuff; I asked them to write to Salwen for a single "Big Apple" citation.  The IPL never wrote back.
   Just before Yom Kippur (pre-fasting), I had dinner with my sister and her family, and another woman from Westchester.  Her daughter is a big-time literary agent.  I was told to send my work to her.
   I spent all day making copies and gathering stuff and outlining chapters.  I got together a detailed bio (Popik/Cohen FORUM ANGLICUM book; some COMMENTS ON ETYMOLOGY issues; WSJ, NY Times, and NY Post articles; citations in similar books by Paul Dickson, Tom Dalzell, and the Word Detective), and presented proposals for a BIG APPLE book and a CLEMENTINE PADDLEFORD BIOGRAPHY.  I walked into her office the next day.
   She refused to take a tape of the 1937 Big Apple song that was given to me by the songwriter's daughter.  I told her that the song and dance had to be on a CD with the book; it was a piece of history and not some demo tape.  But she didn't want it.
   She seemed shocked that I actually walked into her office to talk to her; she made certain that the reply envelope had enough stamps.  I told her that if she had any questions, to please e-mail.
   Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency, Inc., 2112 Broadway, is a tiny firm that specializes in romance and mystery fiction.  She also does some cat/dog and self-help books.
   Everything was very neatly arranged, easy to go through, impossible to misunderstand...

         Nov 14-01
   Dear Barry--
      I'm at a complete loss as to what you are thinking of having published--this is not a proposal--and if you are looking for another edition of FORUM ANGLICUM--Im (sic) not the right agent.  Best of luck.

   Oh well.  Those hundreds of thousands of tourists wouldn't want my Big Apple & NY's Finest stuff anyway.
   Might as well book that New Zealand trip now...

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