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 March 29, 2008
Gotham City

“Gotham” has been a nickname for New York City since the 1807 publication of the Salmagundi Papers by Washington Irving and James Kirke Paulding. On December 13, 1940, one comic book used a setting of “Gotham City.” In February 1941, Detective Comics used “Gotham City” for a new comic book character called “Batman.” Gotham City was a dark, crime-ridden place.

In 2008, city councilman Hiram Monserrate proposed making “Gotham City” (not “Gotham") the official nickname of New York City, ahead of “the Big Apple” and all other nicknames. This was to coincide with the movie Batman: The Dark Night—that was shot in Chicago. “Gotham City” is trademarked by DC Comics, so New York City would not have the promotional rights to this nickname.


Wikipedia: Gotham City
Gotham City is a fictional city appearing in DC Comics, and is best known as the home of Batman. Batman’s place of residence was first identified as Gotham City in Detective Comics #48 (February 1941). 

Fictional history
In Swamp Thing #53, Alan Moore wrote a fictional history for Gotham City that other writers have generally followed. According to Moore’s tale, a Norwegian mercenary founded Gotham City in 1635 and the British later took it over—a story that parallels the founding of New York by the Dutch (as New Amsterdam) and later takeover by the British. During the American Revolutionary War, Gotham City was the site of a major battle and rumors held it to be the site of various occult rites.

Shadowpact #5 by Bill Willingham expanded upon Gotham’s occult heritage by depicting a being who has slept for 40,000 years beneath the land upon which Gotham City was built. Strega, the being’s servant, says that the “dark and often cursed character” of the city was influenced by the being who now uses the name “Doctor Gotham.”

Many storylines have added more events to Gotham’s history, at the same time greatly affecting the city and its people. Perhaps the greatest in impact was a long set of serial storylines, which started with Ra’s Al Ghul releasing a debilitating virus called the “Clench” during the “Contagion” storyline. As that arc wrapped, the city was beginning to recover, only to suffer an earthquake described as being 7.6 on the Richter Scale in “Cataclysm”. This resulted in the federal government cutting Gotham off from the rest of the United States in “No Man’s Land.” This trio of storylines allowed writers the freedom to redefine the nature and mood of the city. The result suggested a harder city with a more resilient, resourceful, and cynical populace; a more dramatic and varied architecture; and more writing possibilities by attributing new locales to the rebuilding of the city.

Name and New York City connection
Gotham is known to be architecturally modeled after New York City, but with exaggerated elements of the styles of the city; before Detective Comics #48, Batman’s adventures were said to happen in New York City. Gotham City derives its name from a sobriquet for New York City which was first popularized by the author Washington Irving in his satirical work Salmagundi (1807). Irving adopted the name from the story of the Wise Men of Gotham, in which the inhabitants of the town of Gotham (in Nottinghamshire, England) behave like madmen.

The name “Gotham City” is generally associated with Batman and DC Comics, although it also appears in the first Mr. Scarlet story by France Herron and Jack Kirby from Wow Comics #1. Kirby historian Greg Theakston notes that this was published December 13, 1940, shortly before Detective Comics #48 was published.

Village Voice
Councilman Goes to Bat For ‘Gotham City’
Posted by Candice M. Giove at 2:27 PM, March 24, 2008

Call New York City what you will: The Big Apple. The City that Never Sleeps. The Capital of the World.

While the city has had a number of nicknames over the years, no official second appellation exists. Now, one elected official is pushing the City Council to designate “Gotham City” as New York City’s chief nickname just in time for the summer release of “Batman: The Dark Night.”

Queens Councilman Hiram Monserrate, who counts Batman as one of his childhood heroes, views his Gotham City pitch as a tourist lure. “I see that as a marketing tool, ‘Come visit the real Gotham City,’ taking advantage of this movie which will be one of those gate-breaking, record-selling movies like it always is,” he said.

Armed with this tagline and capitalizing on the flick’s buzz, Monserrate envisions theater-goers spending dollars on the streets of the living, breathing Gotham. “Come visit the real Gotham City and come visit our shops,” he said. “When we talk about Gotham we talk about tremendous, tremendous nightlife, restaurants, lounges, clubs and cafes, frappuccinos and everything else that we have in this City, the Village, Queens.”

New York City Council
Res. No. 1285
..Title
Resolution officially designating “Gotham City” as the nickname of New York City.
..Body
By Council Members Monserrate, James and Gerson

Whereas, The name Gotham is derived from the Anglo-Saxon term for “Goat Town;” and

Whereas, The village of Gotham, Nottinghamshire, England, first gained notoriety in the thirteenth century when its residents feigned dementia, then thought to be a contagious condition, to avoid being subject to King John’s taxes; and

Whereas, The name Gotham was first applied to New York City in Washington Irving’s “Salmagundi Papers,” to draw a favorable comparison between New Yorkers and the shrewd inhabitants of Gotham, Nottinghamshire, England; and

Whereas, For over the past six decades, New York City has served as the model for Gotham City, the imagined hometown of Batman and his civilian counterpart, Bruce Wayne; and

Whereas, Gotham preceded “the Big Apple” as a nickname for New York City; and

Whereas, Several New York City-based institutions have incorporated the “Gotham” name into its title, including the Gotham Center for New York City History, the Gotham Gazette, Gotham Bar & Grill, Gotham Writer’s Workshop and Gotham Comedy Club; and

Whereas, Whether it refers to the clever inhabitants of a distant land, or a fictitious city protected by the Caped Crusader, the name “Gotham” will forever be inextricably linked with our great metropolis; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York officially designates “Gotham City” as the nickname of New York City. 

(Trademark)
Word Mark GOTHAM CITY
Goods and Services IC 028. US 022 023 038 050. G & S: TOYS AND SPORTING GOODS, NAMELY, GAMES AND PLAYTHINGS - NAMELY, ACTION FIGURES AND ACCESSORIES THEREFOR; TOY VEHICLES; DOLLS; FLYING DISCS; HAND-HELD FOR PLAYING ELECTRONIC GAMES; EQUIPMENT SOLD AS A UNIT FOR PLAYING A BOARD GAME, A MANIPULATIVE GAME, A PARLOR GAME AND AN ACTION TYPE TARGET GAME. FIRST USE: 20031200. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20031200
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 78181816
Filing Date November 5, 2002
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1B
Published for Opposition April 4, 2006
Registration Number 3353156
Registration Date December 11, 2007
Owner (REGISTRANT) DC COMICS composed of Warner Communications Inc., a Delaware corporation and Time Warner Entertainment Company, L.P., a limited partnership organized and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware comprising as general partners American Television and Communications Corporation, a Delaware corporation and Warner Communications Inc., a Delaware corporation PARTNERSHIP NEW YORK 1700 Broadway New York NEW YORK 10019
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Attorney of Record Janet A. Kobrin
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNicknames/Slogans • (0) Comments • Saturday, March 29, 2008 • Permalink