Why New York is called
the Big Apple
New York City has been called many things—“The Great American Melting Pot,” “Gotham,” “The City that Never Sleeps”—but its most famous nickname is “The Big Apple.” But where did this moniker come from?
There have been many ideas about how New York came to be called “The Big Apple.”
But the nickname actually springs from a catchphrase used in the 1920s by New York
Morning Telegraph sports writer John J. Fitz Gerald. He heard it used by
African-American stable hands at the racetrack in New Orleans. They referred to
New York as “the big apple that all horsemen aspired to race at.” At the time, the jockeys and trainers of smaller horses were said to want to make a “Big Apple," their name for the big money prizes at larger races in and around New York City.
Fitz Gerald liked the phrase so much he titled his racing column
"Around the Big Apple." In the introduction to his column from
the February 18, 1924 issue Fitz Gerald writes: “The Big Apple.
The dream of every lad that ever threw a leg over a thoroughbred
and the goal of all horsemen. There's only one Big Apple.
That's New York.”