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.

Recent entries:
“A man is washing the car with his son. The son asks, ‘Dad, can’t you just use a sponge?‘“ (6/23)
“Don’t waste a moment of your life trying to be normal” (6/23)
“Dance like no one is watching. Because they are not. They’re checking their phones” (6/23)
“Dance like no one is watching. Because they are not. They’re checking their phones” (6/23)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/23)
More new entries...

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Entry from November 21, 2009
“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who…maintain their neutrality”

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Inferno (Dante)
Inferno (Italian for “Hell") is the first part of Dante’s Divine Comedy. The poem was written in the early 14th century. It is an allegory telling of the journey of Dante through what is largely the medieval concept of Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as nine Circles of suffering located within the Earth. Allegorically, the Divine Comedy represents the journey of the soul towards God, with the Inferno describing the recognition and rejection of sin.

Wikipedia: Divine Comedy
The Divine Comedy (Italian: La Divina Commedia), written by Dante Alighieri between 1308 and his death in 1321, is widely considered the central poem of Italian literature, and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature. The poem’s imaginative and allegorical vision of the Christian afterlife is a culmination of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Church. It helped establish the Tuscan dialect in which it is written as the Italian standard. It is divided into three parts, the Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.

Originally the work was simply titled Commedia and was later christened Divina by Giovanni Boccaccio. The first published edition to add the word divine to the title was that of the Venetian Humanist Lodovico Dolce in 1555.[3]

Google Books
The Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
2006
Pg. 420:
John F. Kennedy
U.S. president, 1917-1963
“This is not a time to keep the facts from the people—to keep them complacent. To sound the alarm is not to panic but to seek action from an aroused public. For, as the poet Dante once said: ‘The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.’”
Speech, Tulsa, Okla., 16 Sept. 1959 (printed in John F. Kennedy, The Strategy of Peace, ed. Allen Nevins [1960]). No passage in Dante matches Kennedy’s words, so the quotation seems to belong to Kennedy rather than the poet. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., states in A Thousand Days [1965] that Kennedy wrote “The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who, in a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality” in a loose-leaf notebook of quotations kennedy kept in 1945-1946 and attributed these words to Dante.

Google Books
The Quote Verifier:
Who said what, where, and when

By Ralph Keyes
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
2006
Pg. 89:
The hottest place in HELL is reserved for those who do not speak out in times of moral crisis.” Variations of this comment are popular among idealistic politicians, who invariably cite Dante, because John Kennedy did. (...) Winston Churchill is sometimes credited with having said during the run-up to World War II, “The hottest part of hell is reserved for those who, at a time of grave moral crisis, steadfastly maintain their neutrality,” but Churchill scholar Richard Langworth cannot find that comment in any speech given by his subject from 1938 on. The phrase “hottest place in hell” was a commonplace in nineteenth-century religious exhortations.
Verdict: Author unknown, not Dante, not Churchill.

Google Books
The Spirit of Literature
By Henry Powell Spring
Winter Park, FL: The Orange press
1945
Pg. 34:
It was Dante who said: “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”

20 May 1948, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, “Neutral on Law Breaking” by George E. Canright, pg. 18:
“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality."--Dantce Alighierl

Google News Archive
30 November 1954, Milwaukee (WI) Sentinel, “Letters to The Sentinel,” pt. 1, pg. 10, col. 5:
Dante was quoted on this general subject to this extent: “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”
JOHN J. MORTON
P.O. Box 235
Antigo, Wis.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Saturday, November 21, 2009 • Permalink