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:
“Big Apple” explained in a film (2010) (11/18)
“No matter how loud car alarms are, cars never seem to wake up” (11/18)
“If snow is made of water and water has no calories, how come snowmen are fat?” (11/18)
“Cooking is like golf. You slice it, chip it, and put it on some greens” (11/18)
“Big Apple” answer on “Final Jeopardy!” (2009) (11/18)
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Entry from January 23, 2013
Crawl and Stall (Stall and Crawl)

"Crawl and stall” traffic” (or “stall and crawl” traffic) is an expression for when traffic slows down, cars crawl along, then stall, and then crawl along again. “Crawl and stall” has been cited in print since at least 1922, when it described Philadelphia’s traffic. “Stall and crawl” described New York City’s traffic in 1976.

Another term for “crawl and stall” is “beep and creep.”


13 October 1922, Saginaw (MI) News Courier, “Trifling Travelogs: Philadelphia” by W. H. Porterfield, pg. 3, col. 2:
The trolley cars run one way only, down and across, and as for taxis and trucks, they don’t run—they simply crawl and stall.

24 March 1964, Boston (MA) Herald, pg. 2, col. 1 ad:
“Me drive to the World’s Fair? Never! Why should I take the aggravation route of stop, start, crawl, and stall when I can fly right over it?”
(Eastern “Air Shuttle”—ed.)

14 August 1976, Boston (MA) Herald American, “‘Cannonball’ plot is just pretext for mayhem” by John Koch (film critic), pg. 8, col. 4:
THE PLOT about an illicit transcontinental race from the West Coast to stall-and-crawl Fun City is nothing more than a pretext for all this four-wheeled mayhem.

Google News Archive
8 April 1978, The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA), For Solitude, There’s No Place Like A Car” by Ellen Goodman, pg. 8, col. 4:
There is, after all, nothing especially convenient about wending through the “ creep and beep,” “stall and crawl” rush hour on city streets.

Google Books
19 December 1979, The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA), “Truth Test: Commuting, Cost Of Home” by Ellen Goodman, ‎
It does take him a mere 28 minutes to get to work if he times his test run for a dry midnight, presses his stop watch at the toll booth instead of the garage, and discounts the stall-and-crawl, mope and hope traffic from the freeway to the parking lot.

Google Books
I Stand Corrected:
More On Language

By William Safire
New York, NY: Avon
1986, ©1984
Pg. 382:
So the traffic flow may be described as “beep and creep,” “bump and grump,” or “stall and crawl.”

Google Books
Social Problems
By Darrel Montero and Judith McDowell
New York, NY: Macmillan; London: Collier Macmillan
1986
Pg. 433:
There is, after all, nothing especially convenient about wending through the “creep and beep,” “stall and crawl” rush hour on city streets

Google Books
The Body in the Belfry
By Katherine Hall Page
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
1990
Pg. 167:
She ended up crossing the George Washington Bridge, or rather crawling across, at six o’clock listening to the “Eye Over Manhattan” helicopter reporter describe the traffic as “jam and cram,” “stall and crawl.”

13 May 1992, Boston (MA) Globe, “Ford on the road” by Michael Blowen, Living, pg. 42: ‎
They’ve introduced phrases such as “gawker blocker,” “bumper thumper” and “stall ‘n’ crawl” to the vernacular.

New York (NY) Times
FOLLOWING UP
By Joseph P. Fried
Published: February 29, 2004
(...)
‘’Traffic on the Long Island Expressway is backed up to the Elmhurst tanks.’’

For years, this familiar refrain on radio traffic reports was as welcome to Manhattan-bound drivers on the highway’s Queens stretch as a nail in every tire. It threatened four miles of crawl and stall all the way to the Queens-Midtown Tunnel.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityTransportation • Wednesday, January 23, 2013 • Permalink