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 August 17, 2012
“Bureaucrats cut red tape—lengthwise”

“Bureaucrats cut red tape—lengthwise” (that is, in the least efficient way) is a joke that was printed on bumper stickers in the 1980s. The joke has been cited in print since at least 1961, but was popularized by James H. Boren and his National Association of Professional Bureaucrats (NATAPROBU) by 1972.
Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) said in November 1975, “Bureaucrats favor cutting red tape—lengthwise.”
28 September 1961, Fairbanks (AK) Daily News-Miner, “My Fairbanks: The Real Sam McGee” by Kent Brandley, pg. 12, col. 2:
But Sam doesn’t make a habit of writing to Senators, and he doesn’t understand a government that cuts its red tape lengthwise.
8 October 1972, Denton (TX) Record-Chronicle, “Bureaucrat Is Strictly Unexplicit” by Joyce Hopkins, pg. 1, col. 6:
AND AS DEAR TO the former senior foreign service officer’s heart as cutting red tape—lengthwise—is the use of a little suffix, “istic,” to indicate a planned action.
(James Boren—ed.)
Google News Archive
22 May 1973, The Dispatch (Lexington, NC), “Mail Snarl Now Hurting Bureaucrats, Official Says” (UPI), pg. 5, col. 2:
His (James H. Boren—ed.) association is not opposed to cutting red tape, he said, so long as it is cut lengthwise.
16 March 1974, The Idaho Free Press & The News-Tribune (Nampa, ID), “By the way: D.C.‘s anything but dull” by Pete Hackworth, pg. 4, col. 4:
He (James Boren—ed.) says such things as the bureaucrats are actually, REALLY, cutting red tape these days—lengthwise!
Google Books
Volume 86, Issues 18-26
Pg. 29:
He (Ronald Reagan—ed.) laces it all with good-humored punch lines: “Bureaucrats favor cutting red tape — lengthwise.”
18 January 1977, The Oregonian (Portland, OR), “Bungling bureaucrats ‘rewarded’” by John Guernsey, pg. B14W, col. 1:
“The bird” refers to the Board of International Association of Professional Bureaucrats, whose founder and president, James H. Boren, will speak at Reed College Tuesday.
His organization regularly confers the “honor” on public or private operations which insist on cutting red tape lengthwise.
Google News Archive
13 September 1979, St. Joseph (MO) Gazette, “Competition set for bureaucrats,” pg. 5A, col. 1:
OTTAWA (UPI)—Ottawa bureaucrats have decided proficiency at stalling, buck-passing and throwing paper airplanes merits recognition.
Teams in the red tape cutting contest must slice a three-meter strip of red tape—lengthwise, of course.
Google News Archive
18 March 1982, Spokane (WA) Chronicle, “Presidential humor back” by Theo Lippman (Baltimore Sun), pg. 14, col. 5:
On bureaucracy: “Bureaucrats favor cutting red tape—lengthwise.”
Google News Archive
15 February 1986, Schenectady (NY) Gazette, “New York City Scandal Shakes State Politics” by Ray Herman, pg. 37, col. 3:
And, from time to time, many of us have been victimized by bullying bureaucrats in motor vehicle offices, and property assessment “experts” who like to cut red tape lengthwise.
17 March 1987, Atlanta (GA) Journal-Constitution, Rod Hudspeth column, pg, D3:
TODAY’S BUMPER STICKER spotted by Christopher Cook: “Bureaucrats Cut Red Tape…Lengthwise.”
Google News Archive
1 February 1988, Altus (OK) Times, “Barbs,” pg. 6, col. 3:
Do you ever get the feeling that bureaucrats cut red tape lengthwise so you end up with twice as much?
Google News Archive
2 November 1993, Milwaukee (WI) Journal, “Paper chase: Laughing at bureaucracy” by Chris Casteel (The Daily Oklahoman), Green Sheet, pg. G1, col. 3:
WASHINGTON, D.C.—When Jim Boren started the International Association of Professional Bureaucrats in 1968, he was all in favor of cutting red tape — lengthwise.
Google Books
In The Words Of Ronald Reagan:
The Wit, Wisdom, And Eternal Optimism Of America’s 40th President

Edited by Michael Reagan
Nashville, TN: Nelson Books
Pg. 27:
Bureaucrats favor cutting red tape—lengthwise.
November 1975

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Military/Religion /Health • Friday, August 17, 2012 • Permalink

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