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 June 01, 2005
Edifice Complex
"Edifice Complex" (a pun on "Oedipus Complex") has long been associated with New York City and State. Governor Nelson Rockefeller's complex of state office buildings in Albany is often called part of his "edifice complex."

The first known citation is 1946 and involves a New York building.

11 August 1946, New York Times, pg. 130:
Since that Madison Avenue mansion became Random House, Bennett Cerf has been bivouacking in a suite so spacious that even Mr. Cerf could hide in it--if he ever wanted to hide. A kind of manorial record is being kept of the cracks that visitors have made on first looking into the building's vast reaches. George Jean Nathan was the first to make the observation that the publishers obviously have an Edifice Complex.

18 April 1950, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. A7:
HOPEFUL NOTE: Bob Hope reports that he knows an architect who is seeing a psycho-analyst about his edifice complex!

18 September 1952, New York Times, pg. 27:
Perhaps, as Bennett Cerf said on another occasion, Mr. Marquand is driven to write by an edifice complex.

12 August 1959, Washington Post, pg. A12:
Edifice Complex
"Yes, this building has a great deal of taste," Frank Lloyd Wright once remarked blandly while inspecting a new structure, "but all of it is bad."

24 September 1970, New York Times, pg. 51:
Promising Jobs, Governor Admits "Edifice Complex."
(Nelson Rockefeller - ed.)


Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBuildings/Housing/Parks • Wednesday, June 01, 2005 • Permalink