The Big Apple
The "Big Apple" is a nickname or alternate toponym for New York City.
Ah, New York City: the capital of the 20th century, the crowded island at the center of the world and, most importantly, where I live. New York has many nicknames, from Gotham to the city that never sleeps (not true), but none have stuck out quite as much as The Big Apple. Most of us are so comfortable calling New York the Big Apple that we don't even stop to think about how ridiculous it sounds. So, how did we come to call the greatest American city a piece of large fruit? It all has to do with jazz and horse racing.
The term's first appearance was in a column by New York Morning Telegraph
writer John Fitzgerald. He was writing about horse racing and used the term, which he credited to a black stable boy in New Orleans.
J. P. Smith, with Tippity Witchet and others of the L. T. Bauer string, is scheduled to start for “the big apple” to-morrow after a most prosperous Spring campaign at Bowie and Havre de Grace.
New York races at the time were by far the best, hence the need for a nickname. After that, Big Apple started to pop up more and more in horse racing columns and Fitzgerald continued to push it's use. After a short while, Big Apple spread beyond the racing world and was picked up by jazz musicians.
The story goes that jazz musicians had a saying: "Every city you play you pick a little apple; but when you play New York you pick the big apple." Or something like that. Either way, jazz spread the use of Big Apple further and a jazz club called The Big Apple opened in Harlem and a dance was invented also bearing the same name.
It's pretty much been that way ever since. In the 1970's the city officially adopted Big Apple as their symbol to lure tourists to the declining metropolis. Obviously, it worked.
I really do apple New York, now that I think about it.