Posted by Masakim on July 16, 2003
In Reply to: "The great white way" posted by Bruce Kahl on July 16, 2003
: : : Does anyone know how the saying "the great white way" (as in broadway) started or its origin. Ive been looking all over and there is no place of origin menotioned anyware. I was thinking it probly has to do with racism... does anyone one know?
: : Not racism. It's about the lights on the fronts of theaters.
: Yes, and in particular, the phrase refers to the theatre district in NYC. The "Great White Way" refers to Broadway between the low 40s to the low 50s.
: See link below for a history of Broadway.
Great White Way
A nickname of Broadway, in New York city, especially the part that passes through Times Square, so called because of the brilliant illumination afforded by the lights of the theatre marquees and advertising signs.
From _Names & Nicknames of Places & Things_ by Laurence Urdang
Great White Way The nickname for New York's Broadwayhas special reference to its bright street lights and illuminations, and is said to have been originally given in December 1901 after a heavy fall of snow. The name itself suggests a quasi-Indian origin. (Cp. pseudo-Indian 'big white chief'.)
From _Brewer's Dictionary of Names_ by Adrian Room
Start at Fifty-ninth Street and walk down what the Manhattanese call Tne Great White Way. (_Saturday Evening Post_, February 20, 1909)