New York’s costumed bicycle parade of 1896

It’s an event that sounds part Critical Mass–style ride on the newly elegant Upper West Side, part goofy Halloween costume party for the city’s emerging leisure class.

Sponsored by the Evening Telegram in June 1896, the hugely popular Saturday afternoon bike parade started at 66th Street and the Boulevard (Broadway).

Thousands of riders decked out in costume cycled up to 108th Street, then turned on to Riverside Drive. From there they went to Claremont Avenue, back to Riverside, and down to 66th Street to finish.

“The Evening Telegram has offered prizes for the best costumed and most graceful lady rider, the best costumed and most graceful gentleman rider, the best decorated costume, the most grotesque or fancy costume, and for the best appearing bicycle club,” reported The New York Times the day before the parade.

So who won? I vote for the guy in the cowboy hat and fake beard in the back.

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One Response to “New York’s costumed bicycle parade of 1896”

  1. WHAMMO! Says:

    Wonder if any of them were body slammed by a cop?

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