Labor Day in New York City

Labor Day in New York City

Labor Day in New York City

Labor Day was first observed on August 26, 1878, and became a federal holiday in 1894. Since then, it has come to be regarded as a day of rest and partying, the last true day of summer. Traditionally a day of picnics, barbecues, water sports, and fireworks displays, Labor Day also marks the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons, with the NCAA playing their first games the week before Labor Day and NFL playing their first game the Thursday after Labor Day. Labor Day is widely perceived as the last day of the year when it's fashionable for women to wear white.

Labor Day weekend in New York City is the time to enjoy these last days of summer with college football, refreshing cocktails and a great view of some fireworks over the water!

Here at NYC Tourist you will find all you need to know about Labor Day in NY, including what places are open on Labor Day in NYC and where is the best place to view the Brooklyn West Indian Day Parade.

Important Information about Labor Day in NYC

Labor Day in NYC

Here is some important information about Labor Day in New York City:

  • Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September.
  • Labor Day is a United States federal holiday. That means schools, banks, and post offices will be closed. Many restaurants, stores, and NYC attractions will be closed, as well.
  • Most of the restaurants and bars in NYC will still be open, as well as almost all of the popular NYC attractions.
  • New York City is one of the most popular destinations for Labor Day Weekend, so be sure to book your NYC hotel in advance! When you book online, you can often find great NYC hotel deals to make this weekend even more special - but don't wait too late! 
  • Every year, there is a Labor Day Parade held on the second Saturday in September! The parade starts at 44th Street at 10am and head up 5th Avenue until 72nd Street.

To find more fun things to do on Labor Day in NYC, see below.

NYC Labor Day Event Tickets

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Labor Day Hotels

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Transportation in New York City

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Tours in Manhattan

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NY Harbor Cruise


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Foods of NY Tours - Est. 1999


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Greenwich Village Food Tour


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Chelsea Market & Meatpacking District Food Tour


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Chinatown Food Tour


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Brooklyn West Indian Carnival - Labor Day Parade in NYC

Brooklyn West Indian Carnival

The Brooklyn West Indian Carnival is easily the largest parade in New York City, with an average annual attendance of over two million people.

Founded in Harlem in the 1920s, when Jessie Waddle and her West Indian friends began to stage costume parties at the Savoy, Renaissance, and Audobon Ballrooms, the Brooklyn West Indian Carnival is easily the largest parade in New York City, with an average annual attendance of over two million people. At this fun NYC parade, held each year on Labor Day, you can expect live music, dancing, and exotic Caribbean cuisine. Your tastebuds will be delighted by flavorful dishes such as jerk chicken, coconut bread, oxtail, and macaroni pie, while your eyes will be dazzled by vibrant costumes and colored powders, paints, and dyes.

If you're looking for a good place to view the West Indian Parade, try standing between the Brooklyn Museum and Grand Army Plaza. There, you'll be able to accompany the parade's steel drummers with your own noisemakers (don't forget a bottle, a whistle, or a spoon!).

The Brooklyn West Indian Parade begins at 11am at Rochester and Eastern Parkway and ends at 6pm at Grand Army Plaza. Those who can't get enough of the West Indian American Day Parade might want to consider attending the parade's prelude, the pre-dawn procession known as the J'Ouvert Parade.

NYC Attractions Open on Labor Day

Empire State Building

The Brooklyn West Indian Carnival is easily the largest parade in New York City, with an average annual attendance of over two million people.

Of course, parades aren't for everyone. Unfortunately, because Labor Day is a United States federal holiday, many popular New York City attractions will be closed, making it difficult for leisure travelers to find fun things to do on Labor Day. Don't worry, though: there are a few fun NYC attractions, such as the ones below, that are open year-round.

  • Madame Tussauds Wax Museum: A relatively recent addition to Times Square NYC, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is one of only a few kid-friendly NYC attractions open on Labor Day. Here at Madame Tussauds you will find the strikingly lifelike wax statues of your favorite Hollywood stars, sports heroes, and historical figures. Among those represented at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum NY are Lady Gaga, Leonardo DiCaprio, Taylor Swift, and President Barack Obama.
  • Central Park Zoo: If you're looking for a fun, relaxing way to spend Labor Day afternoon, look no further than the Central Park Zoo. This kid-friendly NYC attraction, open 365 days a year, displays some of the most exotic animals in the world, including snow leopards, polar bears, poisonous reptiles, and peguins. One of the best things about the Central Park Zoo is that, unlike the Bronx Zoo across town, it can be walked comfortably in a couple of hours. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes!
  • Empire State Building: If you're in New York City on Labor Day, why not enjoy a classic NYC attraction? Take a tour of the Empire State Building! This iconic building, the tallest building in New York City, offers tours 365 days a year, for just $20 a person. After reading about the history of this Art Deco skyscraper, you'll enjoy stunning views of the Manhattan skyline from the popular Empire State Building observatory deck. It's an experience you'll remember for the rest of your life!