If New York City seems more crowded this Labor Day than in recent years, you’re not imagining things: Staying home appears to be the new going away for many people.
Approximately 39 million Americans are on the move this holiday weekend; that’s down about 13 percent from last year. The major factor, of course, is money: Because of the recession and uncertain times ahead, more people are deciding to stay put and save the travel costs by enjoying the city. (The spate of lovely weather hasn’t hurt either, making even a local park seem more appealing.)
Labor Day also falls late this year, meaning that more kids will be starting school right after the holiday weekend ends; this offers more of an incentive for parents to stay home and get kids ready without a mad rush.
If you’re itching to find things to do, don’t wander over to Fifth Avenue for the annual Labor Day Parade just yet: it’s not being held until next Saturday, September 12. (Late, yes, but more of a reason to prolong that endless summer vibe.) The parade starts at 10:00 am on 44th Street and Fifth Avenue and ends at 72nd Street and Central Park West. Get there early.
The first Labor Day Parade, by the way, was held in 1882 in New York; Labor Day was made a federal holiday in 1894 after the idea of celebrating the country’s workers spread across the country.
In the meantime, there’s always the West Indian American Day Carnival being held today in Brooklyn, a celebration of New York’s Caribbean population. The parade begins at Rochester Avenue and Eastern Parkway and ends at Grand Army Plaza. Elaborate floats and costumes are the norm, as are reggae and calypso music and food from Trinidad, Barbados and Grenada. (Festivities run from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM.)
For information about the West Indian carnival, call (718) 467-1797.