One of the more popular stories as to how New York got its nickname is as follows.
During the 1940s, Robert Emmerich, who played piano in the Tommy Dorsey Band, wrote an obscure song called “The Big Apple.”
It was soon forgotten by everyone except legendary reporter Walter Winchell, who liked the song so much that in his daily column and on the air he began referring to his beat, New York City, as “The Big Apple”.
Pretty soon, even though Emmerich’s song was long forgotten, its title became the great city’s nickname.
But the nickname the “big apple” was documented much earlier in the 1909 book The Wayfarer in New York, by Edward Martin.
The nickname was then popularized as a reference to New York City by John J. Fitz Gerald in a number of New York Morning Telegraph articles in the 1920s in reference to New York horse-racing.
It has also been debated that the nickname “big apple” was used for any large city and was taken out of context when referring to New York.
The nickname was known as an old name for New York until it was revived in the 1970s to market the city as a tourist attraction.