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 Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from December 13, 2004
When you leave New York…
"When you leave New York..."

There are many ways to finish this, but all generally tell you that you're not going anywhere special.

"When you leave New York you are camping out" was popularized by actor Nat Goodwin (1857-1919) in the play A Gold Mine (1889). "'Cause when you leave New York/Let me say you ain't going nowhere" is from the song "New York's My Home" (1956).

Wikipedia: Nathaniel Carl Goodwin
Nathaniel Carl Goodwin (July 25, 1857 – January 31, 1919) was an American actor and vaudevillian born in Boston.
It was not until 1889, however, that Nat Goodwin's talent as a comedian of the legitimate type began to be recognized. From that time he appeared in a number of plays designed to display his drily humorous method, such as Brander Matthews' and George H. Jessop's A Gold Mine, ...

31 March 1889, The Sunday Herald (Boston, MA),, "Tales Told by Drummers," pg. 22, col. 5:
"If all our work could be done in large cities it would make life much easier, for, as Nat Goodwin says in his new play, 'When you leave New York you are camping out. I don't care where you go,' and most of us agree with Nat, for in New York the hotels are right, the elevators run all night,

3 January 1898, Chicago (IL) Tribune, pg. 1:
"The production of my (Nat Goodwin -- ed.) play was largely due to Miss Maxine Elliott, who, while in (Page 5 -- ed.) Australia, suggested to me that after our return to America we produce Mrs. Ryley's play, 'An American Citizen.' The people throughout the country hold me responsible for a saying I think was original, that 'When you leave New York you are merely camping out.'"

10 October 1904, Washington (DC) Post, pg. 6:
Years ago some actor man thought he was getting off a fine sentence when he sang out: "When you leave New York you are camping out." I'd substitute for that piece of alleged wit by saying, when you leave New York you are getting back to comfort and civilization.in contrast to Boston, ...

Google Books
Nat Goodwin's Book
By Nathaniel Carl Goodwin
Boston, MA: Richard G. Badger
Pg. 100:
Perfect equality, unanimity, brotherly love and comradeship were the qualities in vogue on the Rialto in dear old New York during the early eighties. At that time I made the remark, "When you leave New York you're camping out."

I have been camping out since 1900.

9 September 1922, Coshocton (OH) Tribune, pg. 4, col. 4:
But when Jane is in California she talks about New York. Nothing like little Old Broadway. No street to compare to Fifth Avenue. When you leave New York, you are camping out.
(Winifred Black column - ed.)

12 November 1956, Mansfield (OH) News Journal, pg. 4, col. 1:
LOS ANGELES - It may have been Bugs Baer's first visit in this earthly paradise of smog and neon that he was introduced by a toastmaster as author of the deathless line: "When you leave New York, everything else is Bridgeport."

1956 (See "Music" section for this song - ed.)
"New York's My Home"
Cause when you leave New York
Man, you don't go anywhere.

13 April 1971, New York Times, pg. 38:
There's a song lyric that goes: "When you leave New York/You're not going anywhere."

8 April 1972, Clearfield (PA) Progress, pg. 22, col. 2:
The attitude is summed up by the New York affectation that "when you leave New York, your next good meal will be in San Francisco."

22 March 1976, New York Times, pg. 25:
At the height of the city's financial writhings, New York magazine called for personal belt-tightening in the form of fewer dinner parties and film screenings, while advertising a $14 metal toast plate engraved, "When you leave New York, you ain't goin' nowhere." Remarkably, New Yorkers are able to couple such expressions of scorn with a childlike bewilderment at why the rest of us don't love them as they love themselves.

8 May 1977, Burlington (NC) Daily Times News, pg. 10B, col. 5:
He spotted an advertisement in a newspaper, offering signs that read "When you leave New York, you're going nowhere." He ordered one.

4 October 1977, Valley News (Van Nuys, CA), section 3, page 7:
Popular t-shirts worn in the big apple proudly boast "when you leave New York you ain't going nowhere" but actress Chita Rivera's recent nationwide tour proves it just isn't so.

14 July 1987, Syracuse (NY) Herald-Journal, pg. D3, col. 2:
Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve: WHEN YOU LEAVE NEW YORK, YOU AIN'T GOIN' NOWHERE.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNames/Phrases • Monday, December 13, 2004 • Permalink