Saturday, April 13, 2024

What These Vintage Labor Day Photos Reveal About The End-Of-Summer Holiday

You’ve spent the summer working hard — or working just hard enough and praying for endless Summer Fridays. The holiday of the people is upon is. But it wasn’t always about having an extra day to nurse a hangover. Or, was it? What exactly is Labor Day, anyway?

The first Labor Day happened in 1882, in NYC. It was created by the labor movement as a “workingmen’s holiday,” and it was an absolute rager, according to the Department of Labor, with 10-20,000 marchers participating in the parade and then heading for the afterparty:

While some returned to work, most continued on to the post-parade party at Wendel’s Elm Park at 92nd Street and Ninth Avenue; even some unions that had not participated in the parade showed up to join in the post-parade festivities that included speeches, a picnic, an abundance of cigars and, “Lager beer kegs… mounted in every conceivable place.”

From 1p.m. until 9 p.m. that night, nearly 25,000 union members and their families filled the park and celebrated the very first, and almost entirely disastrous, Labor Day.

We wouldn’t call that a disaster. Sounds like we’re upholding the tradition, 132 years later. Check out the slideshow above for photos of Labor Days past.


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