"Moving Day", a Day When 1 Million New Yorkers Used to Move on the Same Day Every Year

Image 1
A cartoon depicting New York's Moving Day. Image: H.P. Finn from the Comic Annual of 1831/public domain.
Image 2
"Can't you take a few things more?" A cartoon from Harper's Weekly, 1869. Image: public domain.

Moving Day in New York City used to occur on May 1st every year. On this day, nearly every lease in the City expired, forcing those who didn’t renew to move to new locations. Each year, there were on about a million families who moved house on Moving Day, releasing a day of chaos onto the City.

Though many cities had moving days, New York’s is probably the best example just for sheer scale. Up until World War II, almost all leases in the city would expire simultaneously on 1 May. That sounds just such a bad idea that you think it can’t possibly have happened, but sure enough, total mayhem would ensue every year as everyone moved at the same time.

Check out the full article for a fascinating read on the history of this bizarre holiday.

Matt Coneybeare

Matt Coneybeare

Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

Matt enjoys exploring the City's food scene with his Wife and the outdoors with their three dogs. He is an avid marathon runner, and spends most of his time working from a treadmill desk at home.

Brought To You By...