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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“He who goes to bed hungry dreams of pancakes” (2/28)
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Entry from September 16, 2011
Nosebleed Seat (Nosebleed Section; Nosebleeder)

A “nosebleed seat” ("nosebleeder") in a “nosebleed section” is a seat in an auditorium, theatre, arena or stadium that is so far away from the action being viewed, it’s seemingly liable to give the viewer a nosebleed from the great altitude. “Nosebleed seats” at a sporting event are usually the cheapest seats.

“Nosebleeder” has been cited in print since 1950, “noseblead seats” has been cited in print since 1960, and “nosebleed section” has been cited in print since 1971. 


Wikipedia: Nosebleed section
The phrases nosebleed section and nosebleed seats are applied tongue-in-cheek to those seats of a public arena, usually an athletic stadium or gymnasium, that are highest and, usually, farthest from the desired activity. A common reference to having seats at the upper tiers of a stadium is “sitting in the nosebleed section” or “nosebleed seats”. At the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Harvey Lichtenstein Theater, the Gallery section is known locally as “nosebleed central”. The reference alludes to the propensity for nasal hemorrhage at high altitudes, usually owing to lower barometric pressure.

At the opposite extreme, the “nosebleed section” in a club refers to the very front of the venue, the most active part of the mosh pit, where accidental collisions can make nosebleeds common. It is used in this sense in the popular Hilltop Hoods song, “The Nosebleed Section”.

Wiktionary: nosebleed seat
Etymology
From the tendency of high altitude to cause or aggravate nosebleeds.

Noun
nosebleed seat
(plural nosebleed seats)
1.(idiomatic) A seat high in the back of bleachers, stands, or the balcony at a theater.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
nosebleed, n.
colloq. (orig. U.S.) (humorous). attrib. Denoting places or situations characterized as likely to cause nosebleed due to excessive altitude or speed, esp. the highest (and cheapest) seats in an auditorium or stadium.
1978 Washington Post (Nexis) 17 Jan. d 1 From the nose-bleed altitude of section 209, the Red Coats marveled.
1991 Arena Summer 99/2 Chevrolet Corvette L98: ‘The heart of this heartbeat of America will skidpad at 0.89G—nose-bleed territory.’
2001 Kansas City Star (Nexis) 31 Oct. d1 Scalpers hawked nose-bleed seats for as much as $1,000.

nosebleeder, n.
U.S. colloq. A seat high up in an auditorium or stadium.
In quot. 1975 apparently: a spectator who occupies such a seat.
1950 San Francisco Examiner 11 Feb. 10/2 Gentleman Georgie Solotaire describes balcony seats in theatres as ‘nose-bleeders’.
1975 San Francisco Examiner 9 Feb. c7/2 (advt.) 49er Nosebleeder. We wish to improve our seat location to watch improved team.
1994 Times-Picayune (New Orleans) (Electronic ed.) 22 July l17 Fans in Cleveland paid $46 apiece for their cheapie Eagles tickets—the nosebleeders—while those who wanted better seats in Las Vegas paid $140.

Google News Archive
14 April 1960, Montreal (Quebec) Gazette, “Nosebleed’ Seats Fail To Irk Fans,” pg. 27, col. 2:
Toronto, April 13.—(CP)—If Toronto Maple Leafs hoped to anger Montreal fans by relegating them to newly-constructed “nose bleed” seats near the roof of the Maple Leaf Gardens, the plan has backfired.
(...)
Visiting clubs are allowed to buy 120 seats—this trip 50 Hab fans were given seats as high in the Gardens as they could go.

19 December 1971, New Orleans (LA) Times_Picayune, pg. 1, col. 6:
The big auditorium was filled to the brim, from the orchestra seat area right on up to the nosebleed section.

9 August 1973, Omaha (NE) World-Herald,"We’ll Take Osmond Fans to Kansas City” by Peter Citron, pg. 49, col. 5:
Our tickets are good—no, not in the front row, nor in the nosebleed section.

5 September 1975, San Mateo (CA) Times, “Speaking of Sports” by Jack Bluth, pg. 22, col. 4:
Tickets are now scaled from $8.50 down to $5 (nosebleed section) but season tickets cost the same as they did before the price hike.

Google News Archive
9 October 1975, Roma (GA) News-Tribune, “Different site, but same diehards,” pg. 6A, cols. 1-3:
NEW ORLEANS (AP)—It isn’t the Squirrel Cage or the Snake Pit, butthe same old diehards and crazies were at the spanking new basketball arena in the Louisiana Superdome doing their same old thing Wednesday night.
(...)
The stands range upward 17 stories, with the upper level seats being the cheaper general admission area.

“They only charge a buck and a half up here, and they’re the best seats in the house,” said one of the fans in the nosebleed section. “It’s like watching from the Goodyear blimp.”

Google Books
October 1977, Cincinnati Magazine, pg. 45:
Worst Seat In The Stadium
Under the Scoreboard, way up in the nosebleed section.

Google News Archive
9 October 1981, Montreal (Quebec) Gazette, “‘Real’ Expos fans cheer from on high” by E. Kaye Fulton, pg. 1, col. 1:
They’re the seats up in the at Olympic Stadium, the nose-bleed section that erupted last night shortly before 11 p.m. when Philly Manny Trillo struck out in the top of ninth and the Expos walked out of the stadium with two mini-series wins under their belts.

Google News Archive
11 October 1982, Pittsburgh (PA) Press, “Good Seats Still Available In City’s Athletic Arena’s,” pg. C4, col. 4:
While their fellow Top 10 teams are selling nosebleed seats for $10-14, Pitt sells youth tickets for $2 and will give jackets to kids who buy them for the Louisville game.

29 September 1989, Toronto (Ontario) Star, “SkyHigh prices sought by scalpers” by Jim Wilkes, pg. A1:
Tickets which usually range from $4 for upper deck nose-bleeders to $15 for field level chairs are going as high as $200 on the street corner market.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • (1) Comments • Friday, September 16, 2011 • Permalink


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