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 June 10, 2009
Hoagie (sandwich)

Entry in progress—B.P.
The long list of the names of sandwiches served on long rolls includes blimpie, bomber, Cuban (medianoche), Dagwood, garibaldi, gondola, grinder, hero, Italianjawbreaker, muffuletta, peacemaker (La Mediatrice), pilgrim, pistolette, po’ boy (poor boy), rocket, skyscraper, spiedie, spucky (spuckie, spukie), submarine (sub), torpedo, torta (Mexican po’ boy), wedge and zeppelin (zep).
Wikipedia: Submarine sandwich
A submarine sandwich, also known as a sub, grinder, hero, hoagie, Italian sandwich, po’ boy, wedge, zep, or torpedo, is a popular Italian American sandwich that consists of an oblong roll, often of Italian or French bread, split lengthwise either into two pieces or opened in a “V” on one side, and filled with various meats, cheeses, vegetables, spices, and sauces. The sandwich has no apparent generic name, and major US cities have their own names for it. The usage of the several terms varies regionally but not in any pattern, as they have been used variously by the people and enterprises who make and sell them. The terms submarine and sub are widespread and not assignable to any certain region, though many of the localized terms are clustered in the northeast United States, where the most Italian Americans live.
The term hoagie originated in the Philadelphia area. Domenic Vitiello, professor of Urban Studies at the University of Pennsylvania asserts that Italians working at the World War II shipyard in Philadelphia, known as Hog Island where emergency shipping was produced for the war effort, introduced the sandwich, by putting various meats, cheeses, and lettuce between two slices of bread. This became known as the “Hog Island” sandwich; hence, the “hoagie”.
The Philadelphia Almanac and Citizen’s Manual offers a different explanation, that the sandwich was created by early twentieth century street vendors called “hokey-pokey men”, who sold antipasto salad, along with meats and cookies. When Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta H.M.S. Pinafore opened in Philadelphia in 1879, bakeries produced a long loaf called the pinafore. Entrepreneurial “hokey-pokey men” sliced the loaf in half, stuffed it with antipasto salad, and sold the world’s first “hoagie”.
Another explanation is that the word “hoagie” arose in the late 19th-early 20th century, among the Italian community in South Philadelphia, when “on the hoke” was a slang used to describe a destitute person. Deli owners would give away scraps of cheeses and meats in an Italian bread-roll known as a “hokie”, but the Italian immigrants pronounced it “hoagie.” By 1955, restaurants throughout the area were using the term “hoagie”, with many selling hoagies and subs or hoagies and pizza. Listings in Pittsburgh show hoagies arriving in 1961 and becoming widespread in that city by 1966.
Other less likely explanations involve “Hogan” (a nickname for Irish workers at the Hogg Island shipyard), a reference to the pork or “hog” meat used in hoagies, “honky sandwich” (using a racial slur for white people seen eating them) or “hooky sandwich” (derived from “hookie” for truant kids seen eating them). Shortly after WWII, there were numerous varieties of the term in use throughout Philadelphia. By the 1940s, the spellings “hoagie” and, to a lesser extent, “hoagy” had come to dominate lesser user variations like “hoogie” and “hoggie”. By 1955, restaurants throughout the area were using the term “hoagie”, with many selling hoagies and subs or hoagies and pizza. Listing in Pittsburgh show hoagies arriving in 1961 and becoming widespread in that city by 1966.
Former Philadelphia mayor (now Pennsylvania governor) Ed Rendell declared the hoagie the “Official Sandwich of Philadelphia”. However, there are claims that the hoagie was actually a product of nearby Chester, Pennsylvania.
. Philadelphia-style hoagies should have bread that is crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.
. Hoagies often have more than one deli meat (never fish or chicken).
. Mayonnaise and vinegar were not traditionally used in hoagies, and mustard never is. The traditional dressing was olive oil. Other oils, possibly seasoned, or Italian dressing are sometimes used today.
. Sweet peppers are the default, though can be replaced with hot peppers
20 July 1940, Pittsburgh (PA) Courier, “Quaker City Daze” by Herr Mann, pg. 19, cols. 3-4:
PHILADELPHIA, July 18.—(Editor’s Note—In the absence of Herr Mann Lucille “Pestie” Gaines of Rho Delta sorority is pinch-hitting this week).
Have you noticed recent signs in eateries announcing “Hogies, 10c.” In case you don’t know they are oversized sandwiches with about half a loaf of bred surrounding a variety of Italian delicacies. They’re good when you’re hungry and don’t have much money.
3 November 1940, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, pg. 4W, col. 3 classified ad:
SANDWICH shoppe, steaks, hoggies, etc. Good location. Very reasonable. Rent cheap. 1442 Passyunk ave.
January 1941, Philadelphia (PA) Yellow Pages Telephone Directory, pg. 578, col. 3:
Hoogie Shop 17 & Fairmt…BARing-9983
13 October 1941, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, pg. 30, col. 3 classified ad:
BAKERY & Hogie, $50 wk. prof., $1000. No cooking or baking. Nice fix. 1521 N. 9th.
1 November 1941, Philadelphia (PA) Tribune, pg. 14, col. 2 ad:
Peg’s Sandwich Shop
Try Our Delicious Italian Hoggies
September 1943, Philadelphia (PA) Yellow Pages Telephone Directory, pg. 598, col. 3:
Tony’s Hogie Shop 6709 Woodlnd av…BELgrde-4362
19 March 1944,  South Philadelphia American (Philadelphia, PA), pg. 6, col. 2 ad:
Get Your
Italian Hoggie
S. E. Cor. 20th & Mifflin St.
“Al Is The Man Who Made
The Biggest Hoggie
In The World”
October 1944, Philadelphia (PA) Yellow Pages Telephone Directory, pg. 687, col. 1:
Bertha’s Oyster House
Spaghetti—Delicious Hoggie Sandwiches
3828 Eastwick av…BELgrde-1777
October 1944, Philadelphia (PA) Yellow Pages Telephone Directory, pg. 692, col. 4:
Hoogie Shop 37 & Firmt…BARing-9764
October 1944, Philadelphia (PA) Yellow Pages Telephone Directory, pg. 696, col. 2:
Stonehurst Sandwich Shops
Submarine (Hogies) & Other Tasty
Sandwiches to take out
7016 Elmwood Ave.
SARatga 4155
October 1944, Philadelphia (PA) Yellow Pages Telephone Directory, pg. 696, col. 3:
Tony’s Hogie Shop 6709 Woodlnd av…BELgrde-4 (Copy cut off.  Don’t call-ed.)
October 1945, Philadelphia (PA) Yellow Pages Telephone Directory, pg. 754, col. 1:
Bertha’s Oyster House
Spaghetti—Delicious Hoggie Sandwiches
3828 Eastwick av…BELgrde-1777
October 1945, Philadelphia (PA) Yellow Pages Telephone Directory, pg. 755, col. 1:
Delicious Hoggie And Steak Sandwiches
Bet 18th And 19th Passyunk
2152 S Dorrance…DEWey-9313
October 1945, Philadelphia (PA) Yellow Pages Telephone Directory, pg. 756, col. 1 (large ad):
The Original
Hoggie Man
orders made up to go out…
CALL GRAnite 5702
October 1945, Philadelphia (PA) Yellow Pages Telephone Directory, pg. 760, col. 3:
Jen’s Hoggie Shop 1527 Jackson…FULton-4461
October 1945, Philadelphia (PA) Yellow Pages Telephone Directory, pg. 762, col. 3:
1258 S 20 FULton-1353
October 1945, Philadelphia (PA) Yellow Pages Telephone Directory, pg. 762, col. 4:
Neff’s Hogies 5515 Woodlnd av. ...SARatga-2363
October 1945, Philadelphia (PA) Yellow Pages Telephone Directory, pg. 763, col. 2:
Hoggie’s—Steaks—Sodas—Ice Cream
6216 Lansdowne av…GREnwd-9924
October 1945, Philadelphia (PA) Yellow Pages Telephone Directory, pg. 764, col. 4:
Stonehurst Sandwich Shops
Submarine (Hogies) & Other
Tasty Sandwiches to Take Out
438 Long Lane Upper Darby…Madison-6303
7016 Elmwood Av…SARatga-4155
October 1945, Philadelphia (PA) Yellow Pages Telephone Directory, pg. 765, col. 1:
Specializing in Real Italian Hogies
6709 Woodland Av.
6214 Woodland Av.
6709 Woodland Av…BELgrde-4362
24 January 1947, Chester (PA) Times, pg. 13, cols.1-3:
Bob Finucane Strolls
Along the Streets of Chester
Open the door, Richard—the door to DiCostanza’s grocery store.
Yesterday’s gale blew me along West Third street to the 1200 block. Then a sudden gust from the south spun me headlong into DoCostanzo’s (sic) grocery store.
It’s a grocery store, sure enough, but anyone who has been in Chester longer than twenty minutes has heard of the Italian (submarine) sandwiches turned out there.
Mary DiCostanza, 20-year-old daughter of Mrs. and Mrs. Augustine DiCostanzo, who operate the store, is the chief sandwich maker and she is the one you sually find behind the counter.
“I make most of the sandwiches these days,” said Mary. “But we all can make them if necessary. Polly, Ann and Rose, my sisters, and Mother and Dad—any of them can make a good Italian sandwich.”
I’ll explain. It looks like a bleeding football. it feels like a bleeding football. It smells good, tastes delicious.
Really—it’s a small loaf of Italian bread, slit down the seam, and (Col. 2—ed.) crammed with the following delicacies:
(a) boiled ham;
(b) salami;
(c) capicolo (Italian meat);
(d) cheese;
(e) tomatoes;
(f) onions;
(g) pickles;
(h) hot peppers;
(i) sage;
(j) oil.
If you think it takes a long time to make an Italian sandwich, you’re wrong.
“It takes about a minute,” Mary said. But I’ll bet she can compose one of these culinary concertos in less than fifty seconds.
Even on a bad day, at least one hundred Italian sandwiches go out DiCostanzo’s front door. On a good day, as many as two-hundred and fifty are taken out.
“Rainy weather is not submarine sandwich weather,” Mary explained. “We hate to see it rain. The best time for Italian sandwiches is at night. Yes, at night people seem to get hungry and instead of going into the kitchen and preparing something, they’ll just step out and buy an Italian sandwich.”
A warning: Don’t eat an Italian sandwich before dinner. They are the best appetite-spoilers of all. When you finish one, you feel like you’ve been eating for a week at one sitting.
DiCostanzo’s first started to make Italian sandwiches in 1925, the year the store opened and the year Mary was born. At first business was slow.
“But gradually,” said Mr. DiCostanzo, “it picked up until today we do—well, we do o. k.”
Papa DiCostanzo hung up the apron recently, and turned the job of making sandwiches over to his four daughters. But I suppose, if the situation demanded, Papa could make a comeback and whip together a tasty submarine sandwich. My money would be on him.
Some cooks won’t eat what they prepare themselves—and you never (Col. 3—ed.) heard of an undertaker burying himself, did you?—but Mary loves her handiwork.
“I eat one almost every day,” boasts Mary, who is short, dark, and a slick chick behind the slicer.
For free, I am offering DiCostanza’s grocery store this slogan: “We’ve never had a submarine surface yet.”
2 September 1950, New York (NY) Times, pg. 23:
From the Reader Mail:  “Recently, while I was in Philadelphia,” writes Robert B. Byrnes of Baltimore, “I noticed signs in many of the restaurants, taverns and sandwich shops proclaiming the excellence of ‘Hoagies,’ ‘Hoggies,’ ‘Hogies,’ and ‘Horgys,’ almost every sign being differenlt spelled. Investigating for myself I learned that here was again the type of Italian sandwich you spoke of as the ‘grinder.’”
The “grinder” as mentioned here in July, is that mammoth construction of a horizontally cut loaf of Italian bread with a filling of meat, cheese, olive oil, tomatoes, etc. Besides being called a hoagy and variations thereof, it also is known as a submarine sandwich and, Mr. Byrnes notes, in certain parts of the country, as a poor-boy sandwich.
23 September 1953, Philadelphia (PA) Evening Bulletin:
More about the hoagie.—(A.H.)  Another legend of its origin is offered by reader Fred P. who writes: “About 1926 my mother had a grocery store in South Philly near a railroad and hoboes used to buy these large Italian sandwiches. Since all hoboes were known to be ‘on the hoke’ it decame known as a hoke sandwich; later as a hokie, and the name was finally changed to hoagie.” This might be pure “hokum,” or possibly appropriate. The slang “hoke” for a gentleman of the road comes down to us from hocus-pocus, via hokey-pokey, a term for a juggler—possibly from Ochus Bochus, an early magician.
8 May 1958, Blytheville (AR) Courier News, “Hero Sandwich Ideal for Parties” by Cecily Brownstone (Associated Press Food Editor), pg. 12. cols. 3-4:
A MAMMOTH-SIZE sandwich has been getting around under a lot of aliases. Call it a hero, jawbreaker, grinder, submarine, wedgie, poor boy, hoagy, dagwood, zep, gondola, torpedo, gismo, or BIG SANDWICH. It all depends on where you live. But one thing is certain, this sandwich is made from an individual loaf of French or Italian bread—white or whole wheat—or a long loaf of the same, cut into shorter lengths.
Its filling is something out of this world—a mountain of savory foods to dream about. Ham, salami, bologna, head cheese are some of the meats that may be piled on top of each other, layer on layer. Tuna fish, smoked salmon, anchovies might be the layers of fish. Next comes cheese. Then vegetables—green peppers (raw or roasted), pimiento, raw onion, tomato, lettuce. Olives and pickles give everything extra savor. No law says you have to include all these; that’s the best part of these structures—you can choose your favorites for the filling.
1 October 1970, Delaware County Daily Times (Chester, PA), pg. 1, col. 2:
Reputed creator
of hoagie dies
Mrs. Catherine DiCostanza, 70, of 310 Crestview Circle, Nether Providence, who reputedly originated the Italian sandwich known in the area as the hoagie in 1925, died Wednesday in Riddle Hospital, Middletown.
Mrs. DiCostanza and her husband, Augustine, operated a combination delicatessen and sandwich shop for 43 years at 1212 W. 3rd St., Chester. The business was rented out for two years and earlier this year the family returned to operation of the shop at the same W. 3rd Street location.
Before moving to Nether Providence about 15 years ago, the DiCostanzas also lived at the same address as their business.
Mrs. DiCostanza reportedly made the first “hoagie” at the request of one of the many workmen who visited the delicatessen and wanted to eat a large sandwich right there.
She created a hearty sandwich to meet the needs of a hearty appetite and now the popularity of “hoagies,” “heroes” and the like has spread throughout the country. About 15 years ago, the Saturday Evening Post carried an article on the family’s hoagie-making business.
Mrs. DiCostanza was born in Italy and came to the United States as a young girl.
At present all of her family is back working in the hoagie shop at Chester.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by two sons, Joseph of Chester and John of Ridley Township; four daughters, Polly DiCostanza, at home; Mrs. Anna Lombardo or Nether Providence; Mrs. Mary Volturo of Chester and Mrs. Rose Wichanski of Westtown, and nine grandchildren;...
25 September 1973, Delaware County Daily Times (Chester, PA), pg. 4, col. 1:
Hoagie originator
DiCostanza, 78, dies
The funeral for Augustine DiCostanza, patriarch of the Chester hoagie-making family who died at home Sunday morning, will be at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday from the Nacrelli Funeral Home, 2217 Providence Ave., Chester.
Mr. DiConstanza was 78 and resided at 310 Crestview Circle, Nether
(...)(Col. 2)
Mr. DiCostanza, along with his late wife Catherine, operated a delicatessen and Italian sandwich shop at 1212 W. 3rd St., Chester, for 43 years. A son, Joseph, resumed the hoagie business at the same location in 1970 after two years of the store being rented to another business.
Mrs. Di Cosanza, who died in 1970, has been credited as being the originator of the sandwich known today as the hoagie.
Mr. DiCostanza was born in Schippone, Italy, and came to the United States more than 60 years ago. he immediately settled in Chester and in 1925 he and his wife opened their sandwich shop in the front portion of their home.
4 August 1977, Washington (DC) Post, “Please Pass the Subs—Er, Hoagies, Er…,” pg. E10:
Submarine, he (Howard Robboy of Temple University, who wrote an American Speech article on sandwich names—ed.) found, is the most popular name for the sandwich, followed by hoagie, poor boy and grinder. In some cities they go by more than one name, such as Philadelphia, where one finds both hoagies and submarines. Other names are torpedo (Reno, San Antonio, San Diego), Italian sandwich (Louisville, Reading, Allentown), hero (New York City and Newark), rocket (Cheyenne and Cincinnati), bomber in Buffalo, mufalatta in New Orleans, Cuban sandwich in Miami, wedgie in Weschester County, N. Y. and slame in Berkeley. Norristown is the only place it is referred to as a zeppelin, and Madison the only place one finds it as a garibaldi.
27 April 1978, Christian Science Monitor, “Heroic as applied to a sandwich” by J. Lee Anderson, pg. 18:
The supersandwich, depending where in the country you happen to live, is variously known as Submarine, Torpedo. Hoagie, Poor Boy, Grinder, Rocket, Bomber, Zeppelin, and what may be most appropriate for this heroic-sized masterpiece, Hero.
New York (NY) Times
In Hoagieland, They Accept No Substitutes
By R. W. APPLE Jr.
Published: Wednesday, May 28, 2003
According to those who have explored the murky recesses of local food history, hoagies owe their name to the Hog Island shipyard on the Delaware River. During the Depression, or so the story goes,
construction workers there used to buy Italian sandwiches from a luncheonette operated by one Al DePalma, who called them “hoggies.” Time changed the name to hoagies.
Hoagies are not fundamentally different from New York’s heroes or Boston’s grinders or Everytown’s submarines. Call them what you like, but Philadelphia must eat more per capita than anyplace else, and in a city where almost everybody, including Wawa convenience stores, fills eight-inch-long bread rolls with cold cuts, South Philadelphia fills them better than anyone.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Wednesday, June 10, 2009 • Permalink

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