Posts Tagged ‘Union Square’

The first-ever Labor Day parade

August 27, 2008

It happened in September 1882 (on a Tuesday, actually); thousands of workers marched from Fifth Avenue to Union Square, where picnics, fireworks, and rallies were held, all in support of an 8-hour workday. 

Beginning in 1894, the first Monday of September was designated “National Labor Day,” a date set by President Grover Cleveland.  

Labor Day weekend didn’t always mean last chance for a summer beach vacation; an annual parade occurred in the city every year for decades, and thousands of New Yorkers marched or came out in support. The parade was cancelled several times in the 1980s, then called off again in 2002 in honor of the victims of September 11.

Last year’s parade was KO’d as well, its popularity eclipsed in part by the massive West Indian Day parade in Brooklyn held the same weekend.

“Rainy Late Afternoon, Union Square”

August 11, 2008

By Frederick Childe Hassam, 1890. That looks like Broadway and 14th Street behind the umbrella-wielding crowd. The painting belongs to the Museum of the City of New York.

Forgotten New York politicians: Roscoe Conkling

August 1, 2008

Roscoe Conkling, isn’t that a great name? Conkling was a New York political fixture in the late 19th century, first as a Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives and then later a member of the U.S. Senate. He was pro-Lincoln and pro-Grant in a city quite hostile to the Civil War.

Mr. Conkling’s statue sits at the southeastern corner of Madison Square Park. There’s significance for this: During the Blizzard of 1888, he decided to walk from his Wall Street office to his home on 24th Street. At Union Square, he fell in a snow drift, became ill, and died five weeks later. 

His family asked the Parks Department to place the statue near where he fell in Union Square, but he wasn’t deemed important enough. Madison Square Park must have been for B-list New Yorkers.

“Laying the tracks” at Union Square

July 6, 2008

“Laying the tracks at Broadway and 14th Street,” by Hughson Hawley, 1891. A trolley car, soon to be put out of service by the new underground rapid transit system these men are building, zips by in the distance.

Museum of the City of New York

More old Manhattan phone exchanges

May 11, 2008

LE is easy enough to figure out without the sign explaining it.

This one is from a building on Union Square. But what’s the WY for? Of course, I love that the sign survives, but it’s a little puzzling why they haven’t updated the phone number.