I did not hear back from the Chicago Historical Society on my paper on
the origin of the "Windy City." It was sent in July, and I was told to wait
eight weeks. So I'm still unsure if I'll meet y'all in Chicago in December.
The American Political Items Collectors (APIC) magazine still hasn't
come out. "O. K." was announced in the last issue for the next one.
Next postings here should be "Origin of the Marathon" (the NYC Marathon
is this Sunday--I'm gathering together my Athens Gazette clippings from 400
B. C. :-) ); "New York's Finest (police), Bravest (fire), Strongest
(sanitation), and Boldest (corrections)," "soap," "soft soap," and "no
soap!"; and the "Origin of Jazz."
The Wednesday after the election (Nov. 6), I go before the City
Council's Parks Committee for a permanent sign blade reading "Big Apple Way"
for Broadway and West 54th Street, right next to David Letterman's place in
the Ed Sullivan Theater. A plaque was put up last May on the Ameritania
Hotel at this site, and the street sign should have been done simultaneously.
The measure was unanimously approved by the local community board, and
Councilman Thomas Duane's office has taken a year to simply bring it before a
city council committee. When The New York Post ran a story about this over a
year ago, it began "Poor Barry Popik..."
I'll tell the City Council Committee that Charles Gillette, the NYC
Conventional & Visitors Bureau President who revived "the Big Apple" in 1970,
DIED LAST DECEMBER! Perhaps the city council will recognize my name in the
Voters Guide under a statement endorsing term limits--which these idiots
thoroughly deserve and were voted in three years ago (the city council
president is trying to change the existing law, and unfortunately, its
confusing the voters and it might be successful).
And then, after I tell them of my pathetic five-year struggle (and
resist the urge to personally strangle everyone in the room), I'll quietly,
calmly, read this letter, which was sent to me by a sportswriter who is
enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame:
Jan. 14, 1996
Dear Mr. Popik,
My name is Shirley Povich, and I joined The Washington Post in 1922,
first as a city room reporter and then sports writer, sports editor and
columnist. I am now ninety. Ostensibly I retired in 1974, but it seems I
have been behind in my work every (sic) since, having written a column for
The Post last Sunday.
Your letter to The Post asking if perchance if perchance (sic) anybody
here had knowledge of James V. FitzGerald, it was referred to me.
I am pleased to tell you that I worked for James FitzGerald as a
reporter in 1922-23 and then became a sports writer. He was then city
editor. May I say, too, he was my great benefactor. I was directed to The
Post's city room to find a job in 1922 when this bewildered 17-year-old was
suddenly recognized and hugged by Mr. FitzGerald, who was the city editor.
He knew me as a boy in Bar Harbor, Maine, when he came there to play golf
with the publisher, Edward B. McLean, for whom I caddied, and on occasion I
caddied for Mr. FitzGerald. He adjusted my hours so I could attend
Georgetown University. I knew he used to be a sports writer, but I am not
certain that he ever became Managing Editor, if so, briefly. but we were good
friends and I had great admiration for him. I recall that he leter did
public relations for Georgetown.
I was aware, too, of his brother, John (we called him Jack) FitzGerald,
who was probably the finest racing writer of his time (N.Y. Telegraph), and I
encountered him often at the tracks.
Like James V., Jack FitzGerald was also very literate and a cut above
the other racing writers of that era. His Big Apple Column was so well known
and well-read. Unlike James V. he was a rotund chap and a fine story teller
who was not averse to bellying up to a bard.
I find it most fascinating that he was responsible for affixing Big
Apple to the Big Apple. On my next visit to the Big Apple I will take
delight in strolling the soutwest corner of 54th and Broadway and
contemplating the story of Jack FitzGerald and his new immortality.
I trust that some of this information has been helpful to you.
Shirley Povich (signed)