10,000 Girls Celebrate May Day In Prospect Park, 1919
I may not be 100 years old, but I do remember being in public school celebrating May Day with a traditional maypole dance.
May Day in New York has other connotations and since the 1890’s May Day has been known for communists, socialists, union activists and workers marching (sometimes together, sometimes separately) around the city protesting and trying to bring attention to their causes.
But here we see a time when the world was finally at peace, a few months after the conclusion of the Great War (World War I). Soldiers with their hats on can be seen in the extreme foreground observing and enjoying the festivities.
10,000 Girls in Brooklyn, N.Y. May Day fete
Shouts of joy ring through Prospect Park as happy children dance, play games and sing. Photo shows a general view of thousands of girls of the Brooklyn Girls’ Branch of the Public Schools Athletic League in their annual May Day fete in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York. (photo credit: Central News Photo Service May 2, 1919)
There are two groups that have a dawn maypole every May Day in New York City. My group, Ring O’Bells Morris puts up a pole and dances with anyone who makes the trek to our traditional location in Prospect Park. It’s a wonderful tradition, finishing with a potluck picnic breakfast and well on our way to normal work days by 8:15. We enter the park from Grand Army Plaza at 5:45 May Day morning, but if you’d like other details in advance, write to us at our facebook page. We dance an old English street performing tradition called Cotswold Morris.
Manhattanites may be able to find out about the Bouwerie Boys may pole by writing them. I don’t even know for sure what Manhattan park they use now for their may pole.
This is so cool. BTW, I just shared this article with my wife and she says she remembers being in public school celebrating May Day with a traditional maypole dance.