Behind the Name

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New York

New York

Issac Lee

Issac Lee

New York

Mark Pierre, Staff Writer

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Throughout our speech, there is a set of nicknames used for places despite there not seeming to be a direct correlation between the name and the area. This goes for “Big Apple”, Atlanta’s own “Hollywood of the South”, and “Hell’s Kitchen”. However, these nicknames have history few know.

New York City is regarded as the “Big Apple”, however unlike “The Peach State” or “The Pine Tree State”, it wasn’t earned by its agriculture produced in the city. Rather Ask History states the nickname came from 1920s track journalist John Fitz Gerald overhearing African American stable hands. Gerald then used the nickname in his newspaper columns and by the 1930s, jazz musicians used it to show the city’s major music clubs. The nickname died down and picked up speed again during the 1970s as part of a promotional stunt for the city. Facing economic woes and worrying crime rates, president of the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau, Charles Gillett puts the name on various promotional items to raise tourism. The stunt worked, leading city conditions to improve, and the name stuck.

Atlanta also has its share of nicknames, one stemming from its active use as a film and television backdrop. The term “Hollywood of the South” has been used by The Washington Times, appearing in 2010’s “The Walking Dead” pilot, “Insurgent” of the Divergent series, and Marvel Studios’s “Guardians of the Galaxy 2”.

Atlanta has become a film fascination for Georgia’s large financial incentives and architecture. Starting in 2008, Georgia offered productions with a budget of at least $500,000 20 percent tax credit, and 30 percent if the Georgia state logo was displayed in credits. This ranked Georgia the third best state to film in, according to U.S. in Film L.A.’s 2014 filming location survey. By 2015, the state claimed production held a $6 billion economic impact.

The works of architect John Portman also brought in “Insurgent” production designer Alec Hammond. Hammond came to the city “looking for a location that could be manipulated into a post apocalyptic metropolis”, fitting the place of “The Divergent” series.

The “Hollywood of the South” still finds work to this day, appearing in the mentioned “Guardians of the Galaxy 2”, which hit theaters May 5th of this year. As of July 31st, “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” had a worldwide gross of $860 million according to Box Office Mojo.

Not all nicknames have positive connotations, however. Between Eighth Avenue and the Hudson River, New York holds a midtown area referred to as “Hell’s Kitchen”Many theories speculate on how the area gained its nickname, its past is telling enough. Hell’s Kitchen is filled with clues. Some speculate that the name came from a restaurant that shared the same name while others assume an 1881 New York Times report that mentioned a building nicknamed “Hell’s Kitchen” for its thieves and drifters.

Hell’s Kitchen had its share of gang wars, notably between Mickey Spillane and Jimmy Coonan from the late 1960s to 1977. After Spillane was hit by a feuding Fat Tony Salerno, Coonan took over the neighborhood with an iron fist. He went as far as murdering a small time gambler heavy in debt in the Hudsonview Terrace apartment tower.

Hell’s Kitchen is now regarded as one of New York’s safest areas by chairwoman of the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Association in 2015, Kathleen Treat. National Public Radio reports that Hell’s Kitchen has served as the backdrop of Netflix’s The Defenders, which aired on August 18th. It focuses on four Marvel Comics superheroes defending New York, specifically the portion of Hell’s Kitchen.

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