There have been numerous speculations as to why New York is called the Big Apple. Some ideas include a brothel madam named Eve, some others the apples that were being sold during the Great Depression and many many more.
The truth though, is that the name was actually a horse race catchphrase used in the 1920s.
In the 1920s, John Fitz Gerald was a New York City newspaper reporter. As a catchphrase, when he was referring to the big-time horse race venues of New York City (in contrast to the smaller ones found in other parts of the country), Gerald was using the expression “the Big Apple”. Throughout the 1920s this was the catchphrase he was using when referring to New York in all of his columns and this is why, in the early 1930s, a lot of jazz musicians started adopting the term in an effort to indicate that New York City was home to the biggest music clubs. (the article continues after the ad)
In the years to come, the nickname was somehow lost up until the early 1970s. When designing a new advertising campaign for NYC, the advertiser Charles Gillett, who was a jazz enthusiast, had the idea of using the term “the Big Apple” in order to emphasize on the fact that NYC was indeed, the capital of jazz. You see, at that time New York had extremely high crime rates and needed an image improvement. The campaign was launched, it was a big success and this time the name stuck. And this is why even today, people call New York, the Big Apple.