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 January 08, 2006
“Where are the customers’ yachts?”
"Where are the customers' yachts?" is a question asked by someone who saw only brokers' yachts at a yacht club. It's an old Wall Street remark.


29 October 1885, Forest and Stream, pg. 276:
THE BROKERS' YACHTS. -- When Mr. W. R. Travers was at Newport last summer, a great many fine yachts lay in the harbor. "Wh-who-who-whose yacht is th-th-tha that?" he asked, pointing to one of them. "That belongs to Mr. Jones, the well-known broker." Mr. Travers raised his dexter finger slowly and brought into line another yacht. "Wh-wh-wh-whose yacht is that?" he asked with some difficulty. "Oh, that's Mr. Smith's the broker." "Wh-wh-whose is that?" pointing out still another. "That belongs to Mr. White, another broker." "W-w-well, wh-wh-where's the customers' yachts?" inquired the great Wall street joker. -- Chicago Mail.

24 August 1890, Washington (DC) Post, pg. 3:
"W-w-where are the customers' yachts?" stammered the famous William R. Travers after the yachts of this and that wealthy stockbroker had been pointed out to him at Newport.

Chronicling America
31 August 1902, New York (NY) Tribune, pg. 11, col. 6:
William R. Travers, in his day the wit of Wall Street, who, though as cheerful a soul as ever lived, nearly always played the bear side of the market, once summed up the whole stock market situation in one inspired stutter. He was cruising along the coast in his steam yacht when he ran into a fleet of other fine private yachts. The owners of these, recognizing Travers's yacht, put out in their launches to pay him a visit. As they came up the side, one by one, Travers welcomed them in silence, recognizing each as a fellow broker or banker in Wall Street. When they had all gathered beside him at the rail he looked out over the blue waters where the trim yacht of each rode at anchor -- and there were no other boats besides.

Travers pointed to the fleet. "T-t-tell me," he said, mournfully. "Wh-wh-where are the-the c-c-c-customers' yachts?"

13 August 1937, Washington (DC) Post, "No Customers' Yachts," pg. 8:
"But where are the customers' yachts?" said the visitor to the New York Yacht Club after his host had pointed to one after another of beautiful craft anchored there and named its broker or banker owner.

OCLC WorldCat record
Where are the customers' yachts? or, A good hard look at Wall Street
Author: Fred Schwed
Publisher: New York, Simon and Schuster, 1955.
Edition/Format: Book : English : Bull market ed
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Sunday, January 08, 2006 • Permalink