A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
Black Friday (Big Friday) (9/24)
“How do you tell a proper joke about eating?"/"In jest.” (9/23)
“What did the cauliflower bank robber say to the broccoli getaway driver?"/"Floret.” (9/23)
“I decided to cross the road, not because I’m brave, but because I’m chicken” (9/23)
“I woke up this morning to a robber in my house searching for money. I joined him” (9/23)
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Entry from September 24, 2017
Black Friday (Big Friday)

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Black Friday (shopping)
Black Friday (/ˈblæk ˈfraɪdeɪ/) is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November). Since 1952, it has been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the U.S., and most major retailers open very early (and more recently during overnight hours) and offer promotional sales. Black Friday is not an official holiday, but California and some other states observe “The Day After Thanksgiving” as a holiday for state government employees, sometimes in lieu of another federal holiday such as Columbus Day. Many non-retail employees and schools have both Thanksgiving and the following Friday off, which, along with the following regular weekend, makes it a four-day weekend, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers. It has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005, although news reports, which at that time were inaccurate, have described it as the busiest shopping day of the year for a much longer period of time. Similar stories resurface year upon year at this time, portraying hysteria and shortage of stock, creating a state of positive feedback.

15 December 1957, Sunday Call-Chronicle (Allentown, PA), “Allentown Shopping Record Set; Christmas Sales Yesterday Top All-Time Highs,” pg. 17, col. 5:
“It far exceeded the Big Friday the day after Thanksgiving when stores were open from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.,” reported a breathless representative of one of the larger stores.

29 November 1958, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “Shoppers Jam Midcity; 102,000 to See Game Today” by James P. McFadden, pg. 1, col. 8:
‘BIGGEST BIG FRIDAY’
(Police Inspector Maurice R.—ed.) Pilner directed a total of 450 uniformed policemen, from the Foot Traffic and Motor Highway Divisions, in a heroic attempt to keep traffic moving despite the first big bulge of the holiday season.
(...)
All traffic line reflected the police estimate that this was the biggest “Big Friday” of recent holiday seasons. The name is given to the day after Thanksgiving, when Christmas shopping traditionally begins on a major scale.

25 November 1960. Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “Christmas Shoppers TO Jam Stores In “Big Friday” Spree,” pg. 1, col. 2:
This is “Big Friday,” traditionally the start of the heavy Christmas shopping rush in Philadelphia. Police and city officials pronounced themselves ready Thursday night for the influx into center city of the many thousands expected to jam the department stores, specialty shops and streets of the area.
(...)
“‘Big Friday is the biggest (Col. 3—ed.) shopping day of all and, since the schools are closed, thousands of youngsters will come to the midcity area with their parents so they can see Santa Claus in the department stores,” Inspector Halferty said.

25 November 1960, Philadelphia (PA) Daily News, pg. 4, col. 4:
It’s ‘Big Friday’ in Midcity,
Yule Shoppers Flood Stores

Midtown stores girded for their biggest business day of the year today. nd police braced for their biggest traffic headaches.

The occasion: “Big Friday.”

It was the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season. A day which, in past years, has brought the biggest shopping crowds in Philadelphia’s history into its midtown section.

26 November 1960, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, pg. 1, col. 2 photo caption:
Part of the vast crowd that thronged to center city for “Big Friday,” traditional Christmas shopping day, is pictures at Juniper and Chestnut sts.

26 November 1960, Philadelphia (PA) Daily News, pg. 23, col. 1 (editorials)L
Have Fun—Safely
We are now about in the middle of what police warily call “The Big Weekend.”

It began Thanksgiving Day and continues through tomorrow night.
(...)
It was “Big Friday,” traditionally the start of the Christmas shopping season and part of “The Big Weekend” (see above).

28 November 1960, Women’s Wear Daily (New York, NY), “Initial Christmas Sales Run Even To Slightly Ahead: New York and Cleveland Prove Exceptions — Volume Not Commensurate With Traffic,” pg. 2, col. 5:
(From Philadelphia.—ed.)
All sources were bitter about newspapers and, particularly, repeated radio news bulletins reiterating Mayor Dilworth’s plea for people to leave their cars at home and take public transportation, and reports from police officials forecasting record traffic jams, both vehicular and pedestrian, for “black Friday.”

26 November 1961 (Sunday), Sunday Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), pg. 3, col. 3:
Shopper Throngs and Carols
Open Christmas Season

(...)
Frederick Yost, sales promotion director for John Wanamaker, said:

“It’s as big a Saturday as we have ever seen, and that’s encouraging for the rest of the shopping season.”

Yost said the store was filled most of the day Friday. The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally a big shopping day.

Patrolman Leonard Schork, of the Foot Traffic Division, stood at Broad and Chestnut sts. at noon yesterday and agreed with Yost.

A Day of Waving Arms
“In my division, we call these two days Big Saturday and Big Friday.

“It’s a big season down here. We have 337 men working the traffic beat. It makes a long day of waving arms at jammed-up cars.”

Old Fulton Post Cards
1 December 1961, Shortsville-Manchester Enterprise (Shortsville, NY), “Around and About,” pg. 4, col. 2:
Kathie Caulkin, our intrepid advertising manager, made a serious mistake in judgment last Friday. Took her three kids to Rochester on the day all city police call “Black Friday.”

Besides being the day after Thanksgiving—thus one of the busiest shopping days in the year—bus drivers were still on strike, adding to automotive traffic. Katie reports she waited through 13 changes of a single traffic light—then had to back up to get into the parking garage. “I didn’t care if I crumpled fifty fenders at that point,” Katie reports.

28 November 1964, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, pg. 34, col. 3:
Thousands Fill Midcity Stores on ‘Big Friday’

27 November 1965, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “Yule Shoppers Jam Midcity” by Miki Mahoney, pg. 1, col. 2:
It was “Big Friday” in police jargon. The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year in center city.

25 November 1966, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, pg. 1, col. 2:
‘Big Friday’ Jams Midcity
By JOSEPH H, TRACHTMAN and LEONARD J. McADAMS

25 November 1994, Philadelphia (PA) Daily News, “This Friday Was Black with Traffic” by Joseph Barrett, pg. 80:
The term “Black Friday” came out of the old Philadelphia Police Department’s traffic squad. The cops used it to describe the worst traffic jams which annually occurred in Center City on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
(...)
In 1959, the old Evening Bulletin assigned me to police administration, working out of City Hall. Nathan Kleger was the police reporter who covered Center City for the Bulletin.

In the early 1960s, Kleger and I put together a front-page story for Thanksgiving and we appropriated the police term “Black Friday” to describe the terrible traffic conditions.

Center City merchants complained loudly to Police Commissioner Albert N. Brown that drawing attention to traffic deterred customers from coming downtown. I was worried that maybe Kleger and I had made a mistake in using such a term, so I went to Chief Inspector Albert Trimmer to get him to verify it.

Trimmer, tongue in cheek, would say only that Black Friday was used to describe the Valentine’s Day massacre of mobsters in Chicago.

The following year, Brown put out a press release describing the day as ‘’Big Friday.” But Kleger and I held our ground, and once more said it was ‘’Black Friday.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Sunday, September 24, 2017 • Permalink


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