EPISODE 324 At last! The Bowery Boys: New York City History podcast looks at one of the strangest traditions in this city’s long history — that curious custom known as Moving Day.
Every May 1st, for well over two centuries, from the colonial era to World War II, rental leases would expire simultaneously, and thousands of New Yorkers would pack their possessions into carts or wagons and move to new homes or apartments.
Of course, for the rest of the world May 1 would mean all different things – a celebration of spring or moment of political protest. And it would mean those things here in New York – but on a backdrop of just unbelievable mayhem in the streets.
There are a few theories about the origin of Moving Day but most of them trace back the Dutch colony of New Netherlands. So why did New Yorkers continue the custom for centuries?
FEATURING Davy Crockett, Lydia Maria Child, The Jeffersons, Mickey Mouse and an amazing New Yorker named Amy Armstrong with a really stubborn husband.
PLUS: Greg reads a poem.
To get this episode, simply stream or download it from your favorite podcast player.
Or listen to it straight from here:
MOVING DAY! MAYHEM AND MADNESS IN OLD NEW YORK
The Bowery Boys: New York City History podcast is brought to you …. by you!
We are now producing a new Bowery Boys podcast every other week. We’re also looking to improve and expand the show in other ways — publishing, social media, live events and other forms of media. But we can only do this with your help!
We are now a creator on Patreon, a patronage platform where you can support your favorite content creators.
Please visit our page on Patreon and watch a short video of us recording the show and talking about our expansion plans. If you’d like to help out, there are six different pledge levels. Check them out and consider being a sponsor.
We greatly appreciate our listeners and readers and thank you for joining us on this journey so far.
3 replies on “Moving Day! Mayhem and Madness in Old New York”
why didnt they just renew leases or whatever they could instead of moving>
Many people could renew their leases. But there were no protective rent regulations in the 19th century, thus landlords could raise rent and discriminate without warning.
This makes some of my family history make more sense. My great-grandparents lived in Manhattan, around where MSG is now, in the 1870s. According to their children’s birth certificates and census records they lived in the same neighborhood, but in different buildings throughout the years. So I assume that was because they were moving frequently most likely on Moving Day.