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 November 27, 2011
“Statistics are like bikinis—what they reveal is interesting, but what they conceal is vital”

"Statistics are like a Bikini bathing suit. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital” was said by economist (and later Baruch College professor) Aaron Levenstein, printed in Leonard Lyons’ syndicated newspaper column in November 1951. The saying about statistics has been frequently reprinted and has been used to describe sports—especially baseball—statistics.

Another statistics saying associated with sports is “statistics are for losers.”


Wikipedia: Bikini
The bikini is typically a women’s two-piece swimsuit. One part of the attire covers the breasts and the other part covers the crotch and part of or the entire buttocks, leaving an uncovered area between the two. Merriam–Webster describes the bikini as “a woman’s scanty two-piece bathing suit” or “a man’s brief swimsuit”. It is often worn in hot weather, while swimming or sunbathing. The shapes of both parts of a bikini resemble women’s underwear, and the lower part can range from revealing thong or g-string to briefs.

While two-piece bathing suits had been worn on the beach before, the modern bikini was invented by French engineer Louis Réard in 1946. He named it after Bikini Atoll in the Pacific, the site of the Operation Crossroads nuclear weapon tests in July that year.

10 November 1951, Evening Standard (Uniontown, PA), Leonard Lyons column, pg. 4, col. 6:
STATISTICS: At the Research Institute of America, Leo Cherne began to discuss the interpretation of statistics with his economist, Aaron Levenstein. The economist said: “Mr. Cherne, statistics are like a Bikini bathing suit. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.”

15 June 1954, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Disaster Safeguards Urged as Red Cross Parley Opens,” pg. A1:
“Sometimes I think statistics are like Hollywood beach costumes. What they reveal is of considerable interest but what they conceal is vital.”

17 May 1955, Springfield (MA) Union, “Statistics and Bikinis,” pg. 11, col. 8:
Norwich, England, May 16 (AP)—“Statistics are like Bikinis,” said Lord Mancroft, Conservative party under secretary for home affairs, “what they reveal is intriguing, but what they conceal is vital.” He was addressing a political meeting.

Google Books
Motivation Research:
Its practice and uses for advertising, marketing, and other business purposes

By Harry Henry
New York, NY: F. Ungar Pub. Co.
1958
Pg. 11:
Indeed, it may truly be said that, in the fields of marketing and advertising, statistics are like bikinis — they reveal a good deal that is both interesting and instructive, but they usually conceal what is really vital.

Google News Archive
3 November 1958, Meriden (CT) Journal, “A Study in Figures” by Frank R. Corkin, Jr., pg. 11, col. 3:
It has often been said that statistics are like a woman’s girdle—they can be made to fit any shape. And the figures out of baseball headquarters are no exception. They prove anything that the reader wants to prove, good or bad.

Google News Archive
10 June 1959, Park City Daily News (Bowling Green, KY), “Figures Lie In Case Of Orioles” by Gordon Beard, pg. 10, col. 6:
BALTIMORE (AP)—Statistics are like bikini bathing suits. What they reveal is interesting, but what they conceal is vital.

New York (NY) Times
PROF. AARON LEVENSTEIN
Published: July 5, 1986
Prof. Aaron Levenstein, professor emeritus at Baruch College, died of cancer Thursday at his home in Mohegan Lake, N.Y. He was 75 years old.

Professor Levenstein was associate professor of business administration at Baruch from 1961 to 1981, when he retired.

He was born in Manhattan. Mr. Levenstein graduated from the City College of New York in 1930, and he earned an LL.B. from the New York Law School in 1934. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • (0) Comments • Sunday, November 27, 2011 • Permalink