While the rest of the city celebrated Independence Day 1921 by heading to Coney Island or shooting off fireworks, 14,000 anti-prohibition activists gathered at Washington Square for a “demonstration for wine, beer, and personal liberty,” according to the next day’s New York Times.
“Braving a broiling sun,” they marched to 60th Street to protest the 18th Amendment, which had gone into effect in 1920. “‘How Dry I Am’ and ‘Hail Hail the Gang’s All Here,’ appropriately enough, were the popular marching tunes of the afternoon,” the Times adds.
An earlier Times article about the impending “wet” parade predicted 20,000 women would attend, though that number fell far short, as most of the marchers were guys.
As unpopular as prohibition was, it took 12 more years of speakeasy raids and booze being dumped into sewers for it to be repealed. Here, a crime against beer in lower Manhattan: