In 1924, employees from Macy’s organized the company’s first parade featuring floats and animals from Central Park Zoo. The parade began at 9 in the morning on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, and proceeded from 145th Street and Convent Avenue to the Macy’s store on Broadway and 34th Street, ending at noon. The event was a success, prompting Macy’s to declare in newspapers the following day that the parade would return in 1925. Now a New York City institution, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade marks its 85th anniversary this year.
Carl Van Vechten (1880 – 1964) was primarily known as a writer, America’s first modern dance critic, patron of the Harlem Renaissance and the photographer of many performers and literary figures such as Billie Holiday, Langston Hughes, Anna May Wong, and Mahalia Jackson. He also documented daily life in New York City. Below is a selection of the photographs he took of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. To see all of his shots of the parade, visit our Collections Portal.
All photos are used with permission from the Van Vechten Trust.