On September 5th 1882, people came from all over to Lower Manhattan in New York to march in the first Labor Day parade and celebrate labor laws and worker’s unions. But it almost didn’t happen. At 10am, the parade’s start, there were only a couple hundred people and no band or music to march to. Organizer William McCabe was almost about to call it off, until two hundred more workers from New Jersey showed up by boat and brought a band with them. The parade triumphantly started marching uptown and final reports counted anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 men and women marching along.
And here’s where the fun part happens. As the U.S. Department of Labor tells the story,
“At noon, the marchers arrived at Reservoir Park, the termination point of the parade. 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.”“
That’s right, you heard it here, kegs mounted in every conceivable place. I have a feeling our forefathers knew how to party harder than we do. Apparently, the festivities lasted until 9pm at night, which in those days, after sunset, was considered pretttty late. So let’s honor our laborers before us and drink to their hard work! Cheers and Happy Labor Day from The Tap.