Why is New York called “The Big Apple“?

There is no single, authoritative answer as to why New York City is known as The Big Apple. That the term is now widely known may be due to a tourism publicity campaign launched by the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau in 1971. Certainly, the term was used before that.

Barry Popik’s home page
Barry Popik is recognized as an expert on the origin of the term “Big Apple”. Check out his site!

Here are some explanations we got when we posed this question to the world:

* John Fitzgerald, a horse race reporter in the 1920s wrote that according to stable hands, a trip to New York’s racetracks was a visit to the “Big Apple” because it was the greatest reward for a thoroughbred horse. This seems to be the official answer, since the NY government supports it.

* Jazz musicians in the 1920s and 1930s used to refer to a gig in New York as “playing the Big Apple.” There was a jazz club in Harlem called “the Big Apple” which is where this phrase may have originated.

* In the early 1800s, a French businesswoman in New York named Eve Claudine de Saint-√Čvremond had a staff of beautiful and elegant women who were referred to as “Eve’s Apples.” Soon the phrase grew to encompass all of New York’s women.

Previously, the phrase had been linked to jazz slang, or to the popular dance named the Big Apple. The Dictionary of American Slang (Wentworth and Flexner) and The Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins both trace the phrase in this way, but this only takes it back as far as the 1930s.


How can I get to Manhattan from JFK, LaGuardia, or Newark Airports?

For a cab from LaGuardia to Midtown, it costs about $25 (with tip). From JFK, there is a flat fare of $45 plus tolls and tips to get into Manhattan, and from Newark plan on about a $60 cab ride into Manhattan. We suggest a cab from LaGuardia, because public transport is a hassle from there. However, from Newark, a good (and cheap!) thing to do is take the Olympia Trails bus. Or if public transportation just isn’t your thing, you can ride to your destination in comfort by calling Carmel Car & Limousine Service at 212-666-666.

At baggage claim, follow signs for “ground transportation”. You will see a desk set up where you can buy a ticket for $15 to either Penn Station (34th St. and 8th Ave), Port Authority (8th Ave and 42nd St) or Grand Central Station (42nd St. and Lexington Ave.) or even downtown to the Financial District. If the desk is closed, just follow the signs to the bus and you can buy a ticket once you are on board. There is always staff outside to help you and to answer questions. It is simple. From JFK, you can take the AirTrain. The AirTrain will take you to the A or E subway line. When you get off the AirTrain, you pay your fare of $5 for the AirTrain, then $2.25 for the subway. There will be machines and staff there selling the Metrocard you will need to pay this fare. Then you take the subway into the city. It takes about 1.5 hours (no longer) between the time you get on the Airtrain and you arrive in Midtown Manhattan. It is really easy, don’t be afraid of the subway! You could also take a bus from LGA or JFK, see http://www.nyairportservice.com/page.php?id=31. There is always supershuttle, too—call 1 800 Blue Van or www.supershuttle.com. There is a great explanation of all your options at http://www.citidex.com/20.htm#C1560 , and read about the Air Train to and from JFK at http://www.panynj.gov/Airtrain/

What is the population and size of New York City?

As of July 2009, the population of NYC was 8,391,881. New York State population, as of 2010, is 19,421,055. The size of New York City is 308.9 square miles. That’s all five boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, and Queens). Manhattan occupies only 23 square miles.

What are the state symbols, senators, other state facts?

State bird: Bluebird, State flower: Rose, State tree: Sugar maple, State beverage: Milk, State fruit: Apple, State capital: Albany, State motto: Excelsior (ever upward), State muffin (yes, there is actually a state muffin): Apple muffin, State area: 49, 576 sq miles, State governor: Andrew Cuomo, NYC mayor: Bill DeBlasio, Date NY became a state: July 26, 1788, State nickname: Empire State, US senators: Kirstin Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer. New York has 2 senators and 29 representatives in congress.

What is appropriate dress for a Broadway show?

You will see people in jeans, and you’ll see people in evening gowns and men’s suits. Somewhere in between is appropriate. A suit and tie for men is not necessary, but if that’s what you want to do, go for it . You won’t be the only one. We think you should stay away from the jeans and sneakers though. Generally, you want to dress for the restaurant you are eating at before or after the show.

Where can I find out about movies and TV shows shooting in New York?

You can check this link, to find out current NYC productions: http://www.nyc.gov/html/film/html/locations/current_nyc_productions.shtml

What is the weather like in New York City?

The highest temperature ever recorded in the state is 108 degrees Fahrenheit, recorded on July 22, 1926 in the city of Troy. The lowest was -52 degrees Fahrenheit on Feb. 18, 1979 in the city of Old Forge. But, thank goodness those are not the usual temperatures. Average temp. in January is low 26 degrees, high 38 degrees fahrenheit, and in July, low 67 degrees and high 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Plainly said, it is hot in the summer, cold in the winter (expect snow), and very pleasant in the spring and fall. Bring an umbrella, in any case.

Is it dangerous in New York City?

Statistics continually rank New York City very “safe” in comparison to other US cities. New York City continues to be safer than cities such as Detroit (which has the highest crime rate in the nation), Atlanta, Tampa, Miami, Orlando, St. Louis, Dallas, Phoenix, Houston, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and even New Haven, CT! See http://www.morganquitno.com/cit01dang.htm In any case, the crime rate goes down each year in NYC, and you will find that fact in many different sources. Anyone who says NYC is a very dangerous place is watching too much TV. If you use common sense and don’t wander into unknown areas deep in the Bronx in the middle of the night, for instance, you will be fine. Just use common sense, be aware of your surroundings, and know where you are going. No problem.

How much does it cost to ride the subway or bus?

A weekly pass will cost $29, a 30 day pass is $104, and per ride it will cost $2.25. You cannot buy subway tokens anymore, so you will buy a “MetroCard” which can be used on the bus or subway. The subway is very easy to use, very convenient, and the fastest and cheapest way to get around the city. People are always there to ask if you get stuck or have question. If you have a question, ask a new yorker!

If I have a street address, how can I find the cross streets?

There is a “formula” for that, but if you are not mathematically inclined, there is a great website that figures it out for you. You tell it the building number and what street it is on, and it will tell you which avenues it is between. Or, if you have an avenue address, it will tell you between which streets the address is. Very handy. The website is www.manhattanaddress.com .

There are a lot of questions about how to get tickets to various TV shows. Here are some of the key website addresses that people ask for.

For Saturday Night Live and other NBC Shows: http://www.nbc.com/Footer/Tickets/
For Live With Regis and Kelly:
For David Letterman:

How much is rent in New York City?

Well, it really depends on where you want to live and in what sort of an apartment you want to live. If you want to live in Manhattan, you can plan on about $1200 or more for a studio apartment. One bedrooms will go for about $1500 or more. Two bedrooms, easily $2000. So, it is not cheap. However, if you are willing to live in the outer boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island, you will likely pay less. In the “nicer” neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens you will pay less than $1000 for a studio and if you want to share an apartment with others, you can often find a place where you can pay $700-ish for your room. These are all approximations, and of course there are plenty of people out there paying a lot more or a lot less than what is mentioned here. The best thing to do to get an idea of what apartments are going for is to go to the real estate listings of www.villagevoice.com or the NYC section of craigslist.com. If you are moving to New York and don’t have a lot of time to spend looking for an apartment, you might try to sublet at first (see same websites) so you can just get a place while you look for the place you really want. Or, if you are willing to pay for it, a broker can get you a place pretty quick. Broker fees run usually about 12% of a year’s rent, so you have an idea of how much cash you’ll have to cough up if you go the broker route. Plus, of course, you will most likely need first and last month’s rent up front. Start saving, kids! One good point to remember about paying such high rent: most people in New York City do not need a car, because the public transportation can get you just about anywhere you are going, at any time. So, you save some money in that you don’t need a car, like most other people in the country.

Where can I find “knock-off” or “fake” designer bags? Canal Street?

Canal Street is definately the place to go to find designer-copy handbags, often called “Knock-Offs” . There you will find that nearly every other store is selling inexpensive, fake Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Prada, Coach, Gucci…you name it. Be aware that it is “frowned upon” by law enforcement to sell these bags, and sometimes the shops will suddenly close their doors if police are going by. This sort of thing would happen more on weekends than weekdays. Lately we’ve even heard stories of the bags being confiscated from international travelers leaving New York as they go through customs. It is likely, however, that you will not have problems (although we take no responsibility if you do!), and that you will have fun shopping in Chinatown and Canal Street especially. Nearly every subway line has a Canal Street stop, so it is very easy to reach.

Where can I smoke/not smoke in New York?

There has been a law in New York City since spring of 2003 making it illegal to smoke in bars, clubs, and restaurants. Some people seem to think the law makes it illegal to smoke while walking down the street, sitting in a park, etc. That is not the case. Very often, you can’t even smoke in outdoor seating sections of restaurants. Some have outdoor gardens in back where you can smoke, but for the most part, don’t plan on smoking while at a bar, dance club, or restaurant. Club Macanudo is one place you can still legally smoke, at 26 E. 63rd St., and another is Circa Tabac at 32 Watts St. in SoHo. If you just plain want to quit, we strongly recommend Alan Carr’s The Easy Way to Stop Smoking . It’s amazing.