The Big Apple: Is there a worse name?

Readers: Continuing with that summer vacation theme, I figured that the one city everyone has visited (or at least heard of) is New York City.  If you’d rather see something other than summer vacation posts, please let me know in the comments.

A Big AppleApple is a great word.  It starts with a nice “Aah” sound, the likes of which you might hear when hiking the Grand Canyon and discovering that your fellow hikers keep disappearing.  Then you have the double P, forming the prefix ‘app’.  This is a pretty well known prefix; app, in Latin, I recall, it means: “Steve Jobs is enslaving the world.”  Finally, to finish it off, there is the “le” making the “ull” sound, which exemplifies the phonetic English language (which is about as phonetic as the word phonetic).

Similarly, New York is a great city.  There are the 60 story-buildings built by chivalrous but egotistic architects who took the childhood game of “My pile of mud is higher than your pile of mud” too far.  You can get cheap Rolexes from friendly people on corners who have so many customers that they run away after every sale.  And don’t forget the subway.  I mean, what else would you do in a city with so many skyscrapers? Obviously, you want to hollow out the ground beneath those towering tons of metal and glass.

Why then, do you ask, is the Big Apple such a bad name?  It seems like they could have done worse.  It could’ve been the Large Lemon, the Gargantuan Grape, or even the Monstrous Melon.  Heck, it didn’t have to be a fruit; it could have been creative, like the Oversized Orange (orange isn’t a fruit.  It’s a color).  Being a teenager, and therefore an expert on anything that isn’t important (like the best apps for my phone), I’d have to say that I’m as qualified for picking apart the nickname “The Big Apple” as my pet fox, affectionately known as “The Donald”, is for presidency of the United States.

Let’s start with the overall message, shall we?  When you think of a “Big Apple”, do you think of: A) The movie industry’s latest attempt to create a sequel with an actual plot, for the movie “James and Giant Peach;” B) The city that never sleeps, and, consequently, didn’t understand “Inception”; C) A different joke about the movie industry that could be made, probably relating to a silent still life depicting a bowl of fruit; D) The latest scientific discovery that ate up millions of taxpayer dollars; or, E) A large apple.  I think of, literally, a big apple.  While this isn’t the most obvious answer, I am a teenager, so the 5 things I think about, in order of importance, are sleep, food, sleep, food, and sleep.  Since I had to be awake to write this, my mind is currently on the subject of food.

The most offensive part of the nickname, though, is the “The.”  It is classic American-ism to assume that this is the only city named “The Big Apple.”  I just checked a scholarly encyclopedia (the Wonderfully Interesting and Kind-of Incorrect -pedia) article, and learned that not one, but three, yes, THREE cities in the US call themselves the “Watermelon Capital of the World.”  They are: Hope, AR; Cordele, GA; and Rush Springs, OK.  As a bonus, Green River, UT, calls itself “The World’s Watermelon Capital.”

All of these towns/cities have one thing in common: they actually grow watermelons.  Because they are all claiming the same thing (being the world’s watermelon capital), these cities could experience hatred and conflict amongst each other, if they were larger.  However, since theses cities have populations smaller than that of the Rhode Island Police Force, we can use this police force to keep peace (they don’t have anything else to do; if the criminal runs more than a few blocks, it falls under the jurisdiction of another state).

Conversely, though, New York City is not known for growing apples.  New York is known for being a cultural and financial center, but we don’t call it “The Big Melting-Pot Bank”.  I did a little more research (making this writing the most-researched paper I have ever written, above my 13-page research report on the lifespan of a bedbug), and learned that the term “The Big Apple” first came into wide usage with Jazz Musicians, usually when they were showing off their bruises from performances to each other.  “That,” would say one, “That is the bruise from a big apple. New Yorkers haven’t heard of throwing tomatoes, which hurt less.”

I would love to continue criticizing the nickname, but, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go pitch “The Genetically Modified Prickly-Pear Fruit Gone Wrong” to the mayor of LA.

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  1. Just wanted to say I really like the graphics for this blog.
    The ideas seem really well organized and put together
    and I’m new at this whole thing. Maybe you can give me some feedback on my own blog
    listed above in the link.

    • Thanks, Dev. I’m glad that you enjoy this blog so much. I haven’t had a chance to check out your blog yet, but one thing I think applies to all strong blogs is having consistent and valuable content.

  2. This. Is. Fantastic. I was already a fan of your blog, but I spent last weekend in New York City, riding subways and looking at skyscrapers, so this made me laugh several times. I was actually in the subway at one point and thought about how horrible it would be if the whole labyrinth collapsed in on itself from the weight of the buildings on top of it.

    • Thanks so much, Raz. I’ve been to New York as well, and I’ve had the same thought during some of the longer subway station waits.

      – Phil

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