Why is New York City nicknamed 'Gotham'?I've been curious about this myself, so I looked it up. Several sources point to the author, Washington Irving, as the originator of this nickname. In an 1807 letter published in the Salmagundi Papers (a satirical periodical that Washington himself published along with his brother), Washington wrote:
"'One of the most tickling, dear, mischievous pleasures of this life is
to laugh in one's sleeve - to sit snug in a corner unnoticed and
unknown and hear the wise men of Gotham, who are profound judges (of
horseflesh) pronounce from the style of our work, who are the authors.
This listening incognito and receiving a hearty praising over another
man's back is a situation so celestially whimsical that we have done
little else than laugh in our sleeves ever since our first number was
Apparently, 'Gotham' is a reference to a village in central England where the inhabitants feigned stupidity to keep the unpopular King John from living there.
Here's a 1989 letter from the NY Times referencing all this: http://www.nytimes.com/1989/09/0...
and the Wikipedia Entry on Washington's Salmagundi Papers which also mentions the use of the Gotham nickname: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sal...