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 September 09, 2011
Foggy Bottom

Foggy Bottom is an area of Washington, D. C., known for its fog and cited in print by that name since at least 1857. In 1947, the U.S. Department of State moved to a building in Foggy Bottom. The State Department itself was soon jocularly called “Foggy Bottom.”


Wikipedia: Foggy Bottom
Foggy Bottom is one of the oldest late 18th and 19th-century neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. The area is thought to have received the name because its riverside location made it susceptible to concentrations of fog and industrial smoke, an atmospheric trait that did not prevent the neighborhood from becoming the original location of the United States Naval Observatory. Foggy Bottom is west of downtown Washington, in the Northwest quadrant, bounded roughly by 17th Street to the east, Rock Creek Parkway to the west, Constitution Avenue to the south, and Pennsylvania Avenue to the north. Much of Foggy Bottom is occupied by the main campus of the George Washington University.

Features
The name Foggy Bottom often is used as a metonym for the United States Department of State because its headquarters is in the neighborhood, as are the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Friendship Lodge Odd Fellows Hall; and the infamous Watergate complex, site of the Watergate burglaries which led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation. GWU has grown significantly over the past decades and now covers much of the neighborhood, which has many historic old homes and numerous mid-rise apartment buildings.

Wikipedia: United States Department of State
The United States Department of State (often referred to as the State Department or DoS), is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries. The Department was created in 1789 and was the first executive department established.

The Department is headquartered in the Harry S. Truman Building located at 2201 C Street, NW, a few blocks from the White House in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The Department operates the diplomatic missions of the United States abroad and is responsible for implementing the foreign policy of the United States and U.S. diplomacy efforts.

The Department is led by the Secretary of State, who is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate and is a member of the Cabinet. The current Secretary of State is Hillary Clinton. The Secretary of State is the first Cabinet official in the order of precedence and in the presidential line of succession.

The Free Dictionary
Fog·gy Bottom
n.
The U.S. Department of State.
[From the location of the Department of State in a low-lying area of Washington, D.C., near the Potomac River.]

23 June 1857, Daily National Intelligence (Washington, DC), “Local Matters,” pg. 3:
THE TRACK OF THE HAIL-STORM on Sunday afternoon proved to have been comparatively narrow, a circumstance for which we have all good reason to be thankful. Its nucleus or middletrack entered the city in the vicinity of Easby’s shipyard, all around which, and especially “Foggy Bottom,” testify, in the utter destruction to gardens and trees of every description there, how terribly severe was the storm of wind, rain and ice-bullets that hurled itself for several minutes, as if to wreak vengeance on the labors and hopes of man.

Chronicling America
9 July 1867, National Republican (Washington, DC), pg. 4, col. 3:
FISTIANA.—Another brutal exhibition transpired at the classica lArlington Heights on Sunday afternoon. A match had previously been made between two “light weights” named Billy and John Moran, of Foggy Bottom, the “mill” to come off at the time and place above stated.

Chronicling America
26 July 1875, National Republican (Washington, DC), Pg. 4:
Brutal Assault.
About dark last evening four roughs of the notorious Foggy-bottom gang, jumped over the fence in the rear of Mr. John lLbert’s brewery at the corner of Twenty-fifth and F streets, and finding Mr. Albert and his family inside, demanded drinks.

8 December 1946, New York (NY) Times, “State Department May Have to Move” by Bertram D. Hulen, pg. 121:
WASHINGTON, Dec. 7.—The national capital is accustomed to seeing Government agencies on the move to new quarters as organizations expand or contract. But President Truman hasset it back on the heels through a reported decision to remove the State Department from its historic position directly across the street from the White House to the so-called NewWar Department Building a half mile away on the edge of the gas house district in what is locally known as Foggy Bottom.

8 June 1947, New York (NY) Times, “Bipartisan Foreign Policy Now Facing Crisis” by James Reston, pg. E3:
When this oversight was pointed out to the Secretary, it must be said that he went out of his way to try to improve the personal relations between Capitol Hill and Foggy Bottom (where the State Department is now located).

16 February 1948, Seattle (WA) Daily Times, pg. 6, col. 1:
With us, too, the White House often is synonymous with the national administration. But never let it get around that the American State Department’s new building stands in a part of Washington, D. C., that once was known as Foggy Bottom.

Google News Archive
26 December 1948, Tuscaloosa (AL) News, “Foggy Bottom” by Stewart Alsop, pg. 4, col. 4:
(One wag has suggested that the theme song of Foggy Bottom, as the State Department is not very affectionately known, should be “Set Up Another Committee,"sung to the tune of “"Give Us Another Old Fashioned.")

OCLC WorldCat record
Cops and robbers in Foggy Bottom; a call for responsible and aggressive reporting on foreign policy,
Author: James Reston
Publisher: [Lawrence, William Allen White Foundation, University of Kansas, 1950]
Series: William Allen White memorial lecture, 1, 1950. 
Edition/Format:  Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Farewell to Foggy Bottom; the recollections of a career diplomat
Author: Ellis Briggs
Publisher: New York, McKay [1964]
Edition/Format:  Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
High on Foggy Bottom : an outsider’s inside view of the government
Author: Charles Frankel
Publisher: New York : Harper & Row, [1969]
Edition/Format:  Book : Biography : English : [1st ed.]

OCLC WorldCat record
Puzzle Palaces and Foggy Bottom : U. S. foreign and defence policy-making in the 1990s
Author: Donald M Snow; Eugene Brown
Publisher: New York : St. Martin’s Press, 1994.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
The lords of Foggy Bottom : American secretaries of state and the world they shaped
Author: Tom Lansford
Publisher: Baldwin Place, NY : Encyclopedia Society, ©2001.
Edition/Format:  Book : Biography : English

Google Books
The Oxford Dictionary of American Political Slang
By Grant Barrett
New York, NY: OXford University Press
2006
Pg. 109:
Foggy Bottom n. the U.S. Department of State. Joc. [Located in Foggy Bottom, a district in Washington, D.C.; as applied to the State Department, the name is employed for its connotations of befuddlement and obscurity.]
[1883 Washington Post (Apr. 26) 4:
He would take Anderson’s heart to Foggy Bottom that night.]
[1947 J. Reston, in New York Times (May 25) VI 7:
The State Department has moved its principal offices...from Pennsylvania Avenue to Foggy Bottom, which for the benefit of any cynics, is not an intellectual condition but a geographical area down by the Potomac.]
1950 Sat. Eve. Post (July 29) 60:
Another reporter askeda taxi driver to take him to Foggy Bottom, as the new State Department Building is known.

Google Books
Safire’s Political Dictionary
By William Safire
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
2008
Pg. 256:
Foggy Bottom Nickname for the offices of the State Department in Washington, D.C.

The new headquarters of the State Department was built at the end of World War II on once-miasmic land that had originally been called “Foggy Bottom,” and the name was reapplied because it recalled a fogginess of official language.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Friday, September 09, 2011 • Permalink