Why is New York called Big Apple?

When you think of New York, a few iconic symbols might come to mind: The Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Central Park, and of course, the nickname – The Big Apple. But have you ever stopped to ponder how the bustling metropolis came to be associated with a fruit? Let's dive deep into the origins of this intriguing moniker.

1. Horse Racing Roots

The most accepted origin of the term "The Big Apple" traces back to the horse racing world of the 1920s. John J. Fitz Gerald, a sportswriter for the New York Morning Telegraph, first popularized the name. In one of his columns in 1924, he mentioned that jockeys and trainers referred to New York City's racing tracks as "The Big Apple", signifying the ultimate destination or prize in their profession. Essentially, if you made it in New York, you made it big – much like today's performers see Broadway or the New York stage as the pinnacle of success.

2. The Tourism Campaign

The term faded for a while but was resurrected in the 1970s by the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau as part of a tourism campaign to revitalize and rebrand the city. It was a time when New York faced economic hardships, and the positive, vibrant imagery of a big, juicy apple was seen as a way to entice visitors and boost morale.

Photo: [peterhermesfurian] ©

3. Jazz and Music Influence

The world of jazz in the 1930s and 40s also has ties to the term. Musicians often referred to New York City as "The Big Apple" as it was considered the most coveted place to perform. If you could make it in New York, you were on top of the world.

4. Beyond the Literal: Symbolism

While the concrete origins of the term are linked to horse racing and music, the Big Apple has come to represent so much more than its literal interpretation. Just like an apple symbolizes knowledge, temptation, and a city teeming with opportunity and dreams, New York offers its dwellers and visitors a taste of something unique, diverse, and dynamic.

From the bustling streets of Manhattan to the quieter corners of boroughs like Brooklyn and Queens, every part of New York City has its flavor, much like the different apple varieties you might find in an orchard. Over the decades, "The Big Apple" has grown to represent not just a destination but a feeling, a dream, and the very essence of possibility. Whether you're chasing dreams of stardom, success, or simply a unique adventure, New York City, The Big Apple, promises a bite of the extraordinary.