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. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from July 05, 2004
“Big Apple” in Kurt Vonnegut Jr.‘s novel Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)
Just before Charles Gillett's campaign revived "Big Apple" in the 1970s, there is one important citation. The New-York Historical Society liked it enough to put it on its web page.

From Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s novel Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance With Death (1969; Delta Trade Paperbacks 1999), pg. 265:

"You've been time-traveling again. I can always tell."


"Where did you go this time? It wasn't the war. I can tell that, too."

"New York."

"The Big Apple."


"That's what they used to call New York."


Wikipedia: Slaughterhouse-Five
Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death (1969) is a science fiction-infused anti-war novel by Kurt Vonnegut about the World War II experiences of Billy Pilgrim. It follows his time as an American soldier and chaplain's assistant, to postwar and early years—occasionally traveling through time itself. The text centers around Pilgrim's survival of the Allies' firebombing of Dresden as a prisoner-of-war, an event which Vonnegut himself lived through as a captured serviceman. The work has been called an example of "unmatched moral clarity" and "one of the most enduring antiwar novels of all time".

In 1968, Billy and a co-pilot are the only survivors of a plane crash. Valencia also crashes and dies of carbon monoxide poisoning while driving to visit Billy in the hospital. Billy shares a hospital room with Bertram Rumfoord, a Harvard history professor. They discuss the bombing of Dresden, which the professor claims was justified, despite the great loss of civilian lives and destruction of the city.

Billy's daughter takes him home to Ilium. He escapes and flees to New York City. In Times Square he visits a pornographic book store, where Billy discovers books written by Kilgore Trout and reads them. Later in the evening, when he discusses his time travels to Tralfamadore on a radio talk show, he is evicted from the studio. He returns to his hotel room, falls asleep, and time-travels back to 1945 in Dresden, where the book ends.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityThe Big Apple1960s: Fun City • Monday, July 05, 2004 • Permalink

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