One of my favorite New York City holidays has largely been forgotten. During the American Revolution George Washington and his army left the island of Manhattan on November 16, 1776 (which was quaintly celebrated at nearby Fort Tryon Park recently). Through the remainder of the war the city was run by the British and they garrisoned their redcoat troops here. The Treaty of Paris settled the post-war world in North America on September 3. 1783.
It took awhile for the British to decamp from New York (lots of packing, filing mail forwarding, saying goodbyes, etc.) but they finally set their departure date for November 25, 1783 at noon. They marched down to their ships, waved toot-a-loo (being British and all) and headed back across the Atlantic.
The city celebrated the anniversary of the redcoat departure and the return of George Washington as a holiday for more than a century. But then our growing friendship with the United Kingdom and military alliance made it all a bit unseemly and the celebration of Evacuation Day faded away.
But we could all use another day off this time of year so I suggest that New York City re-instate the holiday and we all take a day off work. Cheers!
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