NYC Labor Day 2019: Everything You Need To Know

By Dom Bewley

  • What's the history behind Labor Day in NYC?
  • Why should you celebrate Labor Day?
  • How can I celebrate Labor Day in NYC?
  • Why not celebrate Labor Day in style with the New York Pass?

Labor Day is nearly upon us. Raise your glasses, and switch off your alarm clocks. Hopefully you're one of the millions of people celebrating Labor Day this weekend. If you'll be in New York over the holiday, then congrats. You might want some tips on what to do. You may even want to know more about the day itself. Never fear, read on.

Here's everything you need to know about Labor Day in NYC.

What's the history behind Labor Day?

The first Labor Day was observed over 130 years ago, way back in 1882. The ultimate goal - to celebrate the achievements of the American workers who helped the US become one of the most prosperous nations on Earth.

To this day, we still don't know who suggested it. Some say it was conjured from the mind of Peter J McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labor. Others posit that one Matthew Maguire, secretary of New York's Central Labor Union at the time, willed it into being. Either way, don't look a gift holiday in the mouth - most of us still get a long weekend.

Why should you celebrate Labor Day?

Well, you probably work really hard and definitely never call in sick when you want to binge awful reality shows. Right?

While you're out gallivanting, spare a thought, and pour a beer out for those of us who sadly find themselves working. Likely the same person who sold you said beer in the first place. Never mind.

How can you celebrate Labor Day in NYC?

We're glad you asked. Thankfully, this being the greatest city on earth, you're simply spoiled for choice. Here are the 10 best things to do on Labor Day in NYC:

Labor Day Parade

What better way to spend Labor Day than to go to the parade, aka the West Indian Carnival. It’s back in Brooklyn, so if you’re looking for a good time and want to celebrate Caribbean culture with some authentic jerk chicken and cocktails, go. Millions of people stop by every year, so why not join them? You can even dance to some reggae, if you’re the sort that likes ‘having fun’.

Werk: Labor Day White Party

If you’ve never been to a white party, it’s a little complex so we’ll try and break it down for you in layman's terms. You wear white, and you go to a party. What better way to celebrate all that hard work you definitely do every day than getting to work on the dancefloor at House of Yes’ free party. DJ Dirtyfinger will be ripping up the decks. With any luck, he’ll play Will Smith for the entire day.

Electric Zoo Festival

Randalls Island again plays host to New York’s biggest EDM night with the Electric Zoo Festival. For those of you who don’t have your finger on the pulse like we do, EDM stands for Electronic Dance Music. So put your dancing shoes on and go throw some shapes. Tiesto is playing, and he’s widely considered as the Godfather of EDM. That makes Electric Zoo an offer your cannot refuse.

The U.S. Open

It’s back. Tennis’ biggest competition is finally here. Prepare your body as people in shorts hit a yellow ball over a net. That’s right, it’s TENNIS TIME. Catch some of the world’s biggest tennis athletes as they do their best to take the prize. Who will win? Who knows, but it’ll probably be the most tennis that any human could possibly handle in the history of ever.

Nowadays BBQ

How does a barbecue in Brooklyn sound? Walk in to Nowadays for absolutely free this Labor Day, and put your money toward some sweet chargrilled goodness and refreshing craft beer. It’s all outdoors, so you might as well make the most of the sun while it’s out. Plus there’s live music to fill the awkward gaps in conversation between you and your friends. It’s OK, we all have them.

Statue of Liberty Tour

Go back in time and explore the humble beginnings and history of the Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty Museum recently opened its doors to the huddled masses. There’s lots to see inside, including a model by the French artist who designed it, and even a copper model of the statue’s face you can creepily stroke with your fingers. Just don’t let anyone see you doing it. The shame. And on Labor Day of all days.

New York Unicycle Festival

Millennials unite, moustaches firmly waxed and shorts extra tight. It’s time for four days of ONE WHEEL MADNESS at this definitely real festival. Not only will you be able to weird flex your unicycle skills/gear with all of your unicycling peers, but there’s also public performances (people doing tricks), unicycle hockey, unicycle basketball, and unicycle SUMO. We can only begin to imagine how amazing that last one must be. And hey, if you’re a uni-virgin then never fear, they even have Learn-to-Ride area. So you can learn to ride a unicycle. Very cool.

Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit

Fancy a bit of culture? How about a trip to the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit? On Labor Day you even get the chance to chat to the artists about their work, and there’s prints and other goods you can pick up. Whether you’re buying or browsing, backflip into Washington Square Park and get arty.

Summer HD Festival

Opera lovers rejoice! Totally free screenings of opera productions are being held every night a the Metropolitan Opera’s Summer HD Festival. Rain or shine, you can expect some of opera’s biggest classics to be shown, like... Madam Butterfly? But if there’s any lightning, run as fast as you can. Not really, just leave in an orderly fashion. Showings start at 8pm, but get there early to ensure you get a seat. No one stands at the opera.

Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise

Finally, Cap’n, you could take to the seas on a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise. You’ll get to see the city’s skyline in all its glory, without any of the car horns or death-wish cyclists. Every cruise is about an hour long, so make sure your phone’s charged up and 'gram like there's no tomorrow.

Why not celebrate Labor Day in style with the New York Pass?

Whether you call the Big Apple home, or you're visiting from afar, why not make the most of Labor Day with the New York Pass? You'll get free entry to the Statue of Liberty Museum, the Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise, and over 100 top New York attractions like the Empire State Building!

That's everything you need to know about Labor Day in NYC. What are your plans this weekend? Let us know below!

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