The Big Rotten Apple YKTTW Discussion

The Big Rotten Apple
New York is Hell on Earth.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-06-23 17:54:29 sponsor: Lawman592 (last reply: 2012-06-30 19:41:29)

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Do We Have This One?? Rolling Updates.

Go ahead, bite the Big Apple. Don't mind the maggots.
--Shattered, The Rolling Stones.

Basically, City Noir + Big Applesauce = The Big Rotten Apple. New York City is depicted as a dysfunctional, crime-plagued, vermin-infested, smog-choked, polluted, grimy, sleazy, seedy, corrupt, racially-divided, poverty-ridden, financially-bankrupt Wretched Hive filled with Apathetic Citizens, hostile Jerkasses, violent psychotics, drug addicts, deviants, a crumbling infrastructure, and not enough parking spots. The Big Rotten Apple trope can come into play in any story set during the city's existence but you'll most often see it in stories set in New York in the years before Rudy Giuliani became mayor--roughly the period lasting from the early 1960s to the early 1990s.


Comic Books
  • In Daredevil, the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York has this element.
  • The Punisher: The change in the city since the 70s and 80s is acknowledged at one point during the "Welcome Back, Frank" story arc when Frank, during an inner monologue, laments a bit about the fact that the city's cleaned up quite a bit.
  • Gotham City is an expy of the darker side of NYC in the Batman franchise. ("Gotham" has been a well-known nickname for New York City long before Batman even came about, and artist Frank Miller has referred to Gotham City as "New York City after dark.")
  • Watchmen (in Rorschach's opinion)

All the animals come out at night - whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.
  • The Warriors portrays New York as having an entire alternate society of warring tribes (which includes the police) that only come out at night.
  • Fort Apache The Bronx
  • After Hours
  • Do the Right Thing
  • Quick Change
  • Trope is Played for Laughs in Last Action Hero where, after two people are shot dead in the middle of a street in full view of numerous bystanders, one of the shooters shouts to the rooftops that he did it and wants to confess only to be met with apathy by the crowd and one person yelling at him to shut up.
  • Summer Of Sam
  • This trope can also be seen in films that take place during the 19th century that show the gritty side of 'Gilded Age' New York:
    • Gangs of New York mostly takes place in the historic Five Points slum, which is filthy, violent and crime-plagued, ruled over by rival gangs and a corrupt police force. And then the Civil War Draft Riots break out and the area gets destroyed by cannon fire (which really happened).
    • An American Tail has a New York ruled over by cat gangs (representing racial persecution in historic New York at the time) extorting immigrant mice with a protection racket. The sequel accentuates New York's negative characteristics to force the Mousekewitz family to move out west.
  • Movies set in a future New York that take the hellishness depicted in this trope and multiply it exponentially include:


Live-Action Television
  • All in the Family
  • Barney Miller
  • Late Night with David Letterman and Late Show: Before 9/11, the opening would have the announcer make some disparaging crack at about the city ("From New York, where the subway cars smell like urine, it's The Late Show with David Letterman!"). Post-9/11, every episode begins, "From New York, the Greatest City in the World...."

  • Mad Magazine in the seventies and eighties liked to make use of this.

  • Billy Joel's song Miami 2017 takes it to its logical conclusion...
    They said that Queens could stay
    They blew the Bronx away
  • Shattered by The Rolling Stones (quoted at the top).
  • Walk on the Wild Side and Dirty Boulevard by Lou Reed.
  • New York's Not My Home by Jim Croce describes New York as a wretched, depressing place.
  • The Message by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five.

Print Media

  • Both the theatrical and film versions of Jules Feiffer's pitch-black satire, Little Murders, feature an over-the-top depiction of New York as a decaying urban hell-hole beset by continual garbage strikes, electrical outages, and numerous unsolved random murders.

Web Original
  • The Nostalgia Chick seems to agree that NYC is rotten but loves the city anyway, as movies that depict it as clean always draw her ire, and the insults in "Fairytale Of New York" make her nostalgic. (She was in LA at that point.)

Western Animation
  • The Simpsons: In "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" episode, Homer tells about a previous visit to New York during the 70s when this trope was in full force.
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