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 January 18, 2005
“You cannot be serious!” (John McEnroe)
Tennis player John McEnroe spouted this bit of "Queens-ese" at Wimbledon in 1981.

Wikipedia: John McEnroe
John Patrick McEnroe, Jr. (born February 16, 1959) is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player from the United States. He won seven Grand Slam singles titles (three at Wimbledon and four at the US Open), nine Grand Slam men's doubles titles, and one Grand Slam mixed doubles title. McEnroe also won a record eight season ending championships, comprising five WCT Finals titles and three Masters Grand Prix titles from twelve final appearances at those two events, a record he shares with Ivan Lendl. During his career, McEnroe won 77 ATP-listed singles titles and 71 in doubles.
McEnroe remained controversial when he returned to Wimbledon in 1981. Following his first-round match against Tom Gullikson, McEnroe was fined U.S. $1,500 and came close to being thrown out after he called umpire Ted James "the pits of the world" and then swore at tournament referee Fred Hoyles. He also made famous the phrase "you cannot be serious", which years later became the title of McEnroe's autobiography, by shouting it after several umpires' calls during his matches.

You Cannot Be Serious
By John McEnroe with James Kaplan
New York, NY: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Pg. 132:
Although this was to become one of my most famous matches, I'm positive almost nobody remembers who I played, and where I played it: Tom Gullikson, first round, Wimbledon, 1981.
Pg. 133:
I threw my new racket and gave a scream that came straight from Queens -- but that traveled very far in the years since.

""Man, you cannot be serious!"
"You guys are the absolute pits of the world you know that?" I screamed. Another colorful bit of Queens-ese.

22 June 1981, New York Post, pg. 53, col. 3:
"Why can't I argue -- is it against the law to argue?" McEnroe snapped.

In the 12th game he hammered his racquet on the turf and shouted at James after a sideline placement was called out. The crowd, which had been solidly on McEnroe's side, then began a slow handclap as a sign of disapproval, and resumed it in the tie-breaker when he argued over a service fault.

Before the seventh game of the second set, while changing ends, McEnroe banged his chair with his racquet.

This brought a rebuke from James, who said: "You are misusing your racquet, Mr. McEnroe."

Two games later another call went against McEnroe.

"You can't be serious," McEnroe shrieked at the umpire. "You are an incompetent fool, an offense against the world."

23 June 1981, New York Daily News, pg. 52, col. 3:
Two game later another call went against McEnroe. "You can't be serious," McEnroe shrieked at the umpires. "You are an incompetent fool, an offense against the world."
20 December 1996, New York Times, pg. B15:
And if they still cannot agree, they will take their grievance to the highest figure of authority in the entire Garden, the Hanging Judge Herself: Mary Carillo, McEnroe's childhood friend and adult nemesis.
"I will tell John, 'You cannot be serious,'" Carillo said, emphasis on the "cannot." She got his Queens inflections perfectly.

John McEnroe - You Cannot Be Serious
Uploaded on Jun 11, 2008
Classic McEnroe outburst. John McEnroe v Tom Gullikson at Wimbledon in 1981. Umpire was Edward James.

Business Insider
10 Sports Quotes You Didn't Know Were Trademarked
JUN. 16, 2014, 4:49 PM
"You cannot be serious!" (John McEnroe)
When athletes lash out during a game or at a reporter, they suffer the consequences with penalties or suspensions. But sometimes they also profit from these infamous incidents.

“Superbrat” John McEnroe was known for his Queens, New York attitude and brought it with him to Wimbledon in 1981. When the umpire, Ted James, made a call against him, McEnroe lost his cool. He screamed, like a true New Yorker, “You cannot be serious!” repeatedly. He then cursed at the referee and called James the “pits of the world.”

McEnroe ended up winning Wimbledon and later apologized to James. That didn’t stop him from trademarking his phrase, and writing an autobiography by the same name.

Goods and Services IC 025. US 022 039. G & S: T-shirts. FIRST USE: 20070300. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20070300
Standard Characters Claimed
Serial Number 78879936
Filing Date May 9, 2006
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Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Tuesday, January 18, 2005 • Permalink

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