Make Newtown Pippin city’s official Big Apple: Gennaro

Make Newtown Pippin city’s official Big Apple: Gennaro
A member of the city Council hopes that the Newtown Pippin, which is believed to be first grown in Elmhurst, will be named New York City’s official apple. Photo courtesy the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc.
By Philip Newman

City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) has urged the Council to name the Newtown Pippin, which colonists were eating centuries ago in what is now Elmhurst, as New York City’s official Big Apple.

“The Newtown Pippin, the pre-eminent apple of Colonial America, which has delighted apple lovers for nearly 300 years, was first bred and grown right here in Queens,” Gennaro said at a news conference at City Hall Monday.

“There can be no better choice than the storied Newtown Pippin as the official apple of the Big Apple,” Gennaro said. “And as the Environmental chairman of the City Council, I love that the Newtown Pippin is green. Let us all aspire to have a greener lifestyle and let the green Newtown Pippin inspire us to do that.”

Historians say the Newtown Pippin was the favorite of Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and was first grown in Newtown — now Elmhurst — around 1730.

It is now grown on the former estates of Washington and Jefferson, Mount Vernon and Monticello, as well as on small farms throughout New York state and sold at New York City greenmarkets in the fall.

Attending the news conference were supporters including Green Apple Cleaners, SlowFood NYC, Red Jacket Orchards, Sage American Kitchen, community members and students.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg described the Newtown Pippin as “New York City’s most historic apple” in a 2004 proclamation.

Green Apple Cleaners said it would donate hundreds of Newtown Pippin saplings to be planted in public spaces, including school, hospitals, houses of worship, cultural institutions and community gardens.

Brad Groznik, a spokesman for Gennaro, said no vote has yet been scheduled for a resolution in the Council.

“The councilman is busy building support among his colleagues,” Groznik said.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at [email protected] or phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 136.

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