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Why Is New York City Called "The Big Apple"?



Why Is New York City Called "The Big Apple"?

A Short Reader

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.14

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    credible, jitterbug-style, paging, parking-ticket, origin, vendors, nightclub, sensible, provided, goin, synonymous, jazz, supposedly, circuit, horseracing, practically
     content words:    Big Apple, New York, Straight Dope, Cecil Adams, New York City, Savoy Ballroom, Barry Popik, New York Telegraph, John J., Fitz Gerald


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Why Is New York City Called "The Big Apple"?
By Joyce Furstenau
  

1     "The Big Apple" is a phrase that has been used to describe the city of New York since the early 1920's. Several stories of the start of this phrase exist. They come from a variety of sources. All of them are sensible, but we will probably never be able to agree on its actual origin.
 
2     One version of the origins of "The Big Apple" was reported in a 1977 newspaper column called "The Straight Dope" written by Cecil Adams. He reported that the phrase got its start in show business circles. The quote was: "There are many apples on the tree, but only one 'Big Apple.'" This reference supposedly was made by jazz musicians comparing a show in New York City as the biggest opportunity of all.
 
3     It also may have been a reference to the apple vendors on the sidewalks of New York during the Depression. The "Big Apple" was also the name of a popular nightclub in Harlem. The Big Apple was also a jitterbug-style group dance that originated in the South. It became a huge hit at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom.

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