Even in a summer as unusual as the past one has been, Labor Day will still serve as a marker of the switch from one season to the next. Begun as a day of celebration of the American worker in 1882, Brooklynites have been observing the holiday ever since. Read a few tales of the history of work and the celebration of Labor Day in Brooklyn below.
In honor of Labor Day we take a look at Brooklynites of the past hard at work in the borough. From children participating in family labor in the 19th century to 20th century war production, the vintage images depict the realities of making a living in the city.
New York City was home to the first Labor Day parade and rally. The year was 1882 and the place was Union Square, at that time the heart of Manhattan. We’ve been celebrating the American worker with a special day for 133 years.
The Labor Day holiday grew out of the 19th century labor movement — when workers banded together to powerfully advocate for better working conditions and higher wages. From newsies to beer brewers, Brooklyn has a storied past when it comes to organized labor. Here, we take a brief look back at five famous Brooklyn strikes.
For the busy Brooklynite looking for something to do on Labor Day 1887, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle printed a list of engaging events on Sunday, September 4 — an events link for the 19th century.
- Penciled into History, Women at Work in Greenpoint (1915)
- A Honking Good Idea — E.A. Laboratories
- The Story of Brooklyn’s Lady Developers, Architects and Builders