“The Big Apple” is a nickname for New York City. It was first popularized in the 1920s by John J. Fitz Gerald, a sports writer for the New York Morning Telegraph. Its popularity since the 1970s is due to a promotional campaign by the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau, known now as NYC & Company.
Although the history of the Big Apple was once thought a mystery, research over the past two decades, primarily by amateur etymologist Barry Popik and Gerald Cohen of Missouri University of Science and Technology, has provided a reasonably clear picture of the term’s history. Previously, there were a number of false etymologies, including a claim that the term derived from a New York brothel whose madam was known as Eve. This was subsequently exposed as a hoax and has been replaced on the source web site with more accurate information.