New York state is the second-largest grower of apples, behind only Washington state and many believe New York City is called the Big Apple because we grow so many apples, but the nickname actually has nothing to do with our much-loved fruit.

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Would you believe that New York City’s nickname of the Big Apple is actually centered around horse racing?

Back in the 1920s, there was a newspaper sports reporter by the name of John J. Fitz Gerald. Fitz Gerald was reporting on horse races at a track in New Orleans when he overheard some stable hands mention that they were headed to the “Big Apple.”

The “Big Apple” the stable hands were referring to was New York City and the reference “Big Apple” was because New York’s tracks were considered to be some pretty big-time venues.

After what he overheard the stable hands say about New York, Fitz Gerald decided that he liked the sound of the name and began to drop it in his newspaper articles where th nickname started to gain traction.

By the 1930’s several jazz musicians piggybacked off Fitz Gerald, also calling New York City the Big Apple when talking about the music clubs in which they played, being big time or big league.

Interestingly, calling New York City the Big Apple kind of fizzled out after the 1930s and didn’t really make a comeback until the 1970s when a man named Charles Gillett held the position of president of the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau who decided to revive it.

Gillett was a fan of jazz music and knew that back in the 1930s, musicians referred to the City as the Big Apple and decided to see if he could get the nickname to stick again. It did and as they say, the rest is history!

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Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

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