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 February 05, 2012
“It’s lonely at the top, but you eat better”

"It’s lonely at the top” is an old American proverb. The novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Marble Faun (1860) has, “It’s very lonesome at the summit!”

“It’s lonely at the top, but you eat better” (in other words, success at the top may make a person lonely, but at least one doesn’t starve) is a popular bumper sticker slogan that has been cited in print since at least 1987.


Google Books
The Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
2006
Pg. 346:
Nathaniel Hawthorne
U.S. novelist and short story writer, 1804-1864
“It is very lonesome at the summit!”
“Like a man’s life, when he has climbed to eminence.”
The Marble Faun
ch. 28 (1860)
Pg. 528 (Modern Proverbs):
“It is lonely at the top.”
N. Y. Times, 3 Feb. 1935

Zazzle.com
It’s Lonely At The Top, But You Eat Better
Bumper Stickers

9 February 1987, Toronto (Ontario) Star, “Unicorns and holidays grace these timely signs” by George Gamester, pg. A2:
Of course, adds Heather Lee of North York, IT’S LONELY AT THE TOP - BUT YOU EAT BETTER.

19 May 1991, Sunday Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria, OH), “Stick this on your bumper” by Mike Harden (Scripps Howard News Service), pg. E1, col. 1:
“It’s lonely at the top but you eat better.”

Google Books
The Best American Humor, 1994
Edited by Moshe Waldoks
New York, NY: Touchstone
1994
Pg. 83:
It’s lonely at the top, but you eat better.

Google News Archive
22 April 1997, Beaver County Times (PA), “Bumper Stickers Spotted around the U.S.,” pg. A2, col. 1:
It’s lonely at the top, but you eat better.

Google News Archive
20 January 2001, The Dispatch (Lexington, NC), “Your bumper, too, can have a sense of humor” by Bob Stitt, pg. 1A, col. 3:
It’s lonely at the top, but you eat better.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Sunday, February 05, 2012 • Permalink