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 November 14, 2015
“Chess nuts boasting in an open foyer” (pun)

“The Christmas Song” (often called by its opening line, “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”) made its way, by at least 1972, into a popular and terrible chess pun:
“Chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.”
Wikipedia: The Christmas Song
“The Christmas Song” (commonly subtitled “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” or, as it was originally subtitled, “Merry Christmas to You”) is a classic Christmas song written in 1945 by Bob Wells and Mel Tormé.
According to Tormé, the song was written during a blistering hot summer. In an effort to “stay cool by thinking cool”, the most-performed (according to BMI) Christmas song was born.[1] “I saw a spiral pad on his (Wells’ ) piano with four lines written in pencil”, Tormé recalled. “They started, ‘Chestnuts roasting…, Jack Frost nipping…, Yuletide carols…, Folks dressed up like Eskimos.’ Bob didn’t think he was writing a song lyric. He said he thought if he could immerse himself in winter he could cool off. Forty minutes later that song was written. I wrote all the music and some of the lyrics.”
7 April 1972, St. Louis (MO) Post-Dispatch, “TV Comment: Bobby Fischer Item Is Pawn For Joker” by John J. Archibald, pg. 8D, col. 1:
CHESS MASTER BOBBY FISCHER will make a rare television appearance Sunday at 5 p.m. on KMOX-TV when he is interviewed by Mike Wallace on “60 Minutes.” And that is as bad a reason as any to tell a story being spread by Post-Dispatch sportswriter Don Poston, It seems that Fischer was standing in the vast lobby of a downtown building recently, talking with some other chess players. Before long they were bragging about their accomplishments with knights and pawns, and the situation got so far out of hand that a guard had to eject them. The guard said he couldn’t tolerate “chess nuts boasting by an open foyer.”
6 February 1977, Albert Lea (MN) Tribune, pg. 4, col. 7:
There was this group of egotistical chess players who were allowed to meet in the lobby of a fashionable hotel. But, the rantlngs about their prowess became so loud that the manager finally threw him out. He explained that he was sick and tired of chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.
Google News Archive
2 March 1977, Sarasota (FL) Journal, “Cope’s Column” by Bill Copeland, pg. 1-B, col. 3:
Mark Beltaire claims that a big hotel canceled a Chess Club Rally because of the chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.
10 March 1978, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Just roll with the puns” by John Anders, Guide, pg. 39, cols. 3-4:
Jeanine Cobb of Waco writes with the news of a recent chess tournament which transpired at a posh Dallas hotel. Play had stretched on endlessly for days and all of the hotel people were growing weary of the chess players and their incessant chattering about pawns, bishops, rooks and the like. Even when the tournament mercifully ended , the players stayed in the lobby to discuss strategy.
“Finally,” write Jeanine Cobb, “the manager of the hotel walked up to them and asked them to leave. The assistant manager asked his boss why he wanted the players to leave the foyer since they were not causing any trouble but were merely rehashing the game. To this the manager replied, ‘If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.’”
Google Books
The World’s Most Crazy, Wacky, & Goofy Good Clean Jokes for Kids
By Bob Phillips
New York, NY: Galahad Books
Pg. 41:
At a convention of egotistical chess players in Fresno, the air conditioning failed, and they were told to sit in the hall where more air was circulating.
The manager of the hotel was heard to complain to an employee, “I’m so tired of listening to a bunch of chess nuts boasting in an open foyer!”
Google Books
The Biggest Joke Book Ever
By Jack Jacoby
Victoria, BC: Trafford Publishing
Pg. ?:
A group of chess players were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. 
“But why?” they asked, as they moved off.
“Because,” he said, “I can’t stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.”
David A. Lindsay
Chess enthusiasts met in the hotel lobby - a case of chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer?
#Kindle fantasy
2:30 AM - 5 Nov 2015

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Saturday, November 14, 2015 • Permalink

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