Exploring the Famous Nicknames of NYC Till Now

New York City, known for its high population density, serves as a center for culture, finance, technology, the arts, and various other industries. New York City has accumulated a variety of nicknames over the years, each representing a different aspect of its vibrant identity. Explore the significance and history of the most famous NYC nicknames that reflect the deep affection for this incredible city.

Interesting Nicknames for NYC

The Big Apple

The nickname “Big Apple” has been linked to New York City since the 1920s and is one of the most well-known NYC nicknames. At horse races in and around the city, the victorious horse would receive the largest apple. It was first used to discuss the horse racing industry in NYC, and later expanded to cover NYC as a whole. Jazz musicians even composed songs about the iconic city known as the “Big Apple” – the largest, most impressive, and most vibrant city.

Then, in 1971, an official announcement was made through an advertising campaign targeting tourists. The campaign portrayed NYC as a vibrant, cheerful, bright red apple – essentially, the top city in the world. Since then, “The Big Apple” has become New York City’s most well-known nickname.

The City That Never Sleeps

Popularized in the 1970s and 80s through the song and movie “New York, New York,” this nickname has been associated with NYC since the 1880s. In 1898, Jacob Riis mentioned a New York City neighborhood in his book Out of Mulberry Street: Stories of Tenement Life in New York City, saying, “The Bowery never sleeps.”

NYC was nicknamed “The City That Never Sleeps” in the early 1900s because of its nighttime mail delivery and extensive electric and gas lighting. Currently, it serves as a common point of reference for the city, capturing the vibrant and dynamic vibe.

The Empire City

NYC is also known as The Empire City. George Washington referred to New York State as “the Seat of the Empire” in December 1784, highlighting its significance and power similar to ancient empires. New York City earned the nickname “Empire City” because of its significant role as a key economic, cultural, and political center in the state of New York.

The City So Nice They Named It Twice

One of the most well-known nicknames for New York City is “The City So Nice They Named It Twice”. This fun nickname highlights the charm of the city and the interesting fact that both the city and state share the same name. In 1959, the jazz song “Manhattan” featured a spoken word introduction by Jon Hendricks, where he refers to New York City as “New York, New York – a city so nice, they had to name it twice.”

Also Read: Exploring the Best Things To Do in Times Square in 2024

The Melting Pot

Henry James depicted New York City in 1905 as a blend of various components melded together in a large pot. The 1908 play “The Melting Pot” tells the story of a Russian immigrant who comes to America with the belief that all ethnicities will blend together. The concept of a “melting pot” emerged to illustrate the blending of various cultures and ethnicities.

New York City is often referred to as “The Melting Pot” due to the diverse population that includes people from various cultures, bringing their languages, traditions, and cuisines to create a vibrant mix of international influences.


Back in 1807, Washington Irving playfully referred to NYC as “Gotham” after an old folk tale titled “The Wise Men of Gotham.” The people of Gotham outsmarted the king by pretending to be foolish, causing him to build the road elsewhere to avoid them.

New Yorkers have wholeheartedly adopted this fun nickname. In 1940, “Gotham City” made its debut in the Batman comics, adding an extra layer of excitement to the stories.


Metropolis is commonly used to describe a large city that acts as a center for business, arts, and manufacturing. Because of its size, activity, and advanced infrastructure, NYC is definitely deserving of a nickname like “Metropolis”.


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