Urban archaeology: What do ragamuffins have to do with Thanksgiving?
Ephemeral New York explores one of our Thanksgiving history obsessions. You see, once upon a time in neighborhoods around the city, Halloween really wasn't the season for going "trick or treating." It was Thanksgiving day! Kids would dress up and go around begging. These little ragamuffins would knock on your door and ask "Anything for Thanksgiving" in a kind of way that would make Fagin proud. The outings seemed to be confined to certain Brooklyn neighborhoods populated by European immigrants, but there were reports of the tradition thriving elsewhere in the city.The tradition petered out in most places by the early 1960s, and Halloween became the definitive day when it was societally accepted for children to ask unfamiliar adults for gifts.
Once you're done with your turkey and the games are off the air, take a few minutes and learn about this lost New York City tradition. Here's a look at how the tradition played out in Greenpoint. And even more here and here. And please share your recollections and insights in the comments.
-- Rolando Pujol