A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 20, 2010
District of Confusion (Washington, D.C. nickname)

The United States capital of Washington, District of Columbia ("DC"), has been nicknamed the “District of Confusion” since at least 1943. The “District of Confusion” nickname probably comes from the “alphabet soup” of agencies associated with the New Deal in the 1930s. The nickname “District of Confusion” is rarely used today.

Other “D.C.” nicknames include “District of Corruption” (since at least 1951), “District of Criminals” (since at least 1992) and “District of Cunts” (popularized on the television series Veep in 2013). “Washington Demands Cash” has been cited in print since 1958.


Wikipedia: Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C. (pronounced /ˈwɒʃɪŋtən ˌdiːˈsiː/, WOSH-ing-tən DEE-SEE), formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States, founded on July 16, 1790. Article One of the United States Constitution provides for a federal district, distinct from the states, to serve as the permanent national capital. The City of Washington was originally a separate municipality within the federal territory until an act of Congress in 1871 established a single, unified municipal government for the whole District. It is for this reason that the city, while legally named the District of Columbia, is known as Washington, D.C. The city shares its name with the U.S. state of Washington, which is located on the country’s Pacific coast.

The city is located on the north bank of the Potomac River and is bordered by the states of Virginia to the southwest and Maryland to the other sides. The District has a resident population of 599,657; because of commuters from the surrounding suburbs, its population rises to over one million during the workweek. The Washington Metropolitan Area, of which the District is a part, has a population of 5.3 million, the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the country.

The centers of all three branches of the federal government of the United States are located in the District, as are many of the nation’s monuments and museums. Washington, D.C. hosts 174 foreign embassies as well as the headquarters of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The headquarters of other institutions such as trade unions, lobbying groups, and professional associations are also located in the District.

The city is governed by a mayor and a 13-member city council. However, the United States Congress has supreme authority over Washington, D.C., and may overturn local laws. Residents of the District therefore have less self-governance than residents of the states. The District has a non-voting, at-large Congressional delegate, but no senators. D.C. residents could not vote in presidential elections until the ratification of the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1961.

3 January 1943, Beckley (WV) Raleigh Register, pg. 8, col. 6:
None of them dug up that old gag about this being the district of confusion, but it was understood that a quick perusal of the congressional directory and a hurried huddle with some veteran capitalities had left them a bit on the befuddled side, because they found that:...

Google Books
We fight with merchant ships
By Mary B Palmer
Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill Co.
1943
Pg. 93:
“Washington, District of Confusion.” For Andrew Jackson Higgins, loss of that Liberty-ship contract was a terrible blow.

Google Books
16 August 1943, Life magazine, pg. 111, col. 1:
He denounced the District of Columbia as the District of Confusion, and the New Orleans Association of Commerce, which unlike the AFL did not go to bat for him, as the Assassination of Commerce.
(War tycoon Andrew Jackson Higgins of New Orleans—ed.)

28 December 1951, Baltimore (MD) Sun, pg. 9:
“We used to call it the District of Confusion,” he told his audience. “Now the phrase is the District of Corruption.”

27 February 1952, New Orleans (LA) Times-Picayune, “District of Confusion” by Clayton Rand, pg. 25, col. 5:
Washington is a city situated on the banks of the Potomac in the District of Confusion. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Tuesday, July 20, 2010 • Permalink