A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from March 09, 2005
“Big Mac” (Municipal Assistance Corporation)
"Big Mac" was the nickname of the Municipal Assistance Corporation, created in 1975, during the city's fiscal crisis, to issue bonds.

The "Big Mac" name was a pun on "the Big Apple" (New York City's nickname, re-popularized during the 1970s), McIntosh (a popular New York apple variety), and "Big Mac" (a large McDonald's hamburger, introduced in 1968).

"Introduced systemwide in 1968, the Big Mac was the brainchild of Jim Delligatti, one of Ray Kroc's earliest franchisees, who by the late 1960s operated a dozen stores in Pittsburgh."

3 June 1975, New York Times, pg. 69:
"The Big Mac"
"Call it the Municipal Assistance Corporation - the 'Big Mac' - that way it could help Beame or Makowski," he (NY governor Hugh Carey - ed.) said jokingly. Stanley M. Makowski is Mayor of Buffalo.
(Abe Beame was then mayor of New York City - ed.)

9 June 1975, New York Times, pg. 63:
Governor Carey's panel of advisers on the city's financial situation shuttled yesterday between meetings at Grace (sic) Mansions and meetings with lawyers representing the city's financial institutions, attempting to put the final touches on the bill to create the Municipal Assistance Corporation.
The idea of including representatives of the state legislative leaders on the board of the Municipal Assistance Corporation - or "Big Mac," as it has come to be called - was first suggested last week by Senator Anderson.

26 August 1983, Wall Street Journal, pg. 14:
Rather than cutting spending, the city government in 1975 persuaded the state to create yet another OBE (Off-budger enterprise - ed.), Big Mac, to issue revenue bonds to pay off its debt.

Agencies such as Big Mac and the newly proposed Whoops II, instead of financing any moneymaking operations that would at lease provide a source of revenue, have the sole purpose of paying off existing debt. They are merely conduits through which a well-disguised taxpayer bailout will flow.

Felix Rohatyn, director of the Municpal Assistance Corp., has been labeled by Newsweek as "Mr. Fixit - the man who orchestrated New York City's recovery from bankruptcy," but the fact is that Big Mac simply shifted the burden of the city's financial problems to the taxpayers of New York State. Een despite such massive subsidies ($10 billion in taxpayer funds authorized), Mr. Rohatyn's claims o success are likely to be greatly exaggerated.
Posted by Barry Popik
Banking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Wednesday, March 09, 2005 • Permalink