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 April 05, 2005
Knickerbocker Glory (or, Sundae)
The Knickerbocker Glory (or, Knickerbocker Sundae) has a New York name, but you'll probably have to go to England to get it. I've also noticed "Knickerbocker Glory" at all the restaurants in Malta.

No one knows much about the history of "Knickerbocker Glory," a sundae in a tall glass, served with fruit. It appears to have been served in New York (and is cited in print since at least 1903), and then someone in England got the recipe and it became widely popular over there.


(Oxford English Dictionary)
Knickerbocker Glory, a quantity of ice cream served with other ingredients in a tall glass.
1936 G. GREENE Gun for Sale i. 11 Have a parfait... They do a very good Maiden's Dream. Not to speak of Alpine Glow. Or the Knickerbocker Glory.
1941 M. TREADGOLD We couldn't leave Dinah xvi. 256 'Lyons' Corner House,' capped Caroline, envisaging the increasing possibilities of Knickerbocker Glories.
1963 Times 25 Feb. 11/4 Knickerbocker Glory oddly has become the name of a specially luscious mixture of ice-creams and the 'plus fours' deserved a similar grandeur of title.

http://www.angelfire.com/mi3/cookarama/knickerglory.html
The knickerbocker glory is a very elaborate ice cream sundae that is served in the United Kingdom. It goes well beyond the banana split, itself a rich dessert. The knickerbocker glory was first described in the 1930s and contains ice cream, jelly, fruit and cream. Layers of these different sweet tastes are alternated in a tall glass and are topped with kinds of syrup, nuts and whipped cream.

Though a British treat, the name "Knickerbocker" is distinctively American and associated with early New York state and city histories. Before they were called New York, the state and city were Nieuw Amsterdam. They were settled by the Dutch in the 1600s and 1700s.

A knickerbocker was a descendant of the original settlers from Holland. The name comes from the fictional Diedrich Knickerbocker, who "wrote" Washington Irving's History of New York. Knickerbockers, or knickers, are also old-time knee-length men's pants that nowadays are seen on the rare golfer. How the name became connected to the sundae is not known.

Google Books
June 1903, Practical Druggist and Review of Reviews, pg. 93, col. 1:
The Knickerbocker.
Ice cream...4 ozs.
Chocolate syrup...1/2 oz.
Raspberry crushed fruit...1/2 oz.
Whipped cream...2 ozs.
Brandied cherries...2
Essence rose, 4 dashes.
Place ice cream in glass and add chocolate syrup, one-half of the whipped cream and two dashes of essence of rose. Add raspberry fruit, then the balance of the whipped cream, two dashes of rose essence and top with cherries. Each of the portions will appear as a separate layer in the glass. This sundae should be served in a tall, narrow, 10-oz. thin glass, and the dispenser in serving should push down a long spoon to the bottom of the glass just once and draw slowly towards the top, as to intermix the portions in one place only. Fifteen cents should be secured for this sundae and all materials should be of the very best.

Google Books
July 1909, The Ice Cream Trade Journal, pg. 22, col. 2:
KNICKERBOCKER SUNDAE.
Over four ounces of vanilla ice cream pour one-half ounce of chocolate syrup and one-half ounce of crushed raspberry. Fill with whipped cream, put two maraschino cherries on top and add three or four dashes of rose syrup.

Google Books
Meyer Brothers Druggist
Volume 35, Issue 3
1914
Pg. 84, col. 2:
The Knickerbocker -- A Sundae from New York:
Ice cream...4 ozs.
Chocolate syrup...1/2 oz.
Raspberry crushed fruit...1/2 oz.
Whipped cream...2 ozs.
Brandied cherry...2
Ess. of rose...4 dashes

Google Books
The Dispenser's Formulary, or, Soda Water Guide
compiled by the editorial staff of The Soda Fountain
New York: D. O. Haynes
1915
Pg. 107:
THE KNICKERBOCKER
Ice cream, 4 ounces; chocolate syrup, 1/2 ounce; raspberry crushed fruit, 1/2 ounce; whipped cream, 3 ounces; 2 brandied cherries. Place the ice cream in a glass and add chocolate syrup, some of the whipped cream and 2 dashes of essence of rose. Add raspberry fruit and then balance of whipped cream and the rose essence; top with cherries. Each of the separate portions will appear as a separate layer in glass. This sundae should be served in a tall, narrow, 10-ounce, thin glass, and the dispenser in serving should insert long spoon to the bottom of the glass just once and draw slowly towards top, so as to slightly mix the ingredients. This is done for appearance only. Fifteen cents should be secured for this sundae and all materials should be of the very best.

9 March 1937, Times (London), pg. 5, col. d:
Counsel read an extract from a letter which Mrs. Devlin wrote to Mr. Cooper on February 24, 1936. "I have been in the Corner House for lunch to-day," she said. "Do you remember when we went there together and had a Knickerbocker's Glory?"

14 October 1952, Newark (Ohio) Advocate, pg. 1, col. 5:
London Girl
Almost Eats
Entire Menu
(...)
Weaving slightly, Connie ordered a towering dish of Knickerbocker Glory ice cream.

She got through that, but when the waiter brought in a plate of ordinary ice cream, her face turned the hue of pistacchio and she wobbled out of the restaurant.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Tuesday, April 05, 2005 • Permalink