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From the beginning, Labor Day has been celebrated by Americans with picnics. The U.S. Department of Labor credits a “massive” Sept. 5, 1882, picnic in Wendel’s Elm Park at 92nd Street and 9th Avenue as the first observance in the nation. Some 10,000 marchers joined the parade to the park, which was the largest park in the city at the time, according to Department of Labor historians. Union organizers reportedly sold 20,000 tickets for the picnic, and the proceeds were distributed to the unions. The people who attended for concerts and speeches likely lost a day’s pay; even more people came to the park in the evening for fireworks and dancing, according to news reports. Newspapers of the day declared the observance a ‘day of the people,’ and “a huge success.” In response to overwhelming demand for a federal holiday celebrating the contribution of workers to the nation, the 53rd Congress adopted legislation in June 1894 establishing the first Monday in September as a legal holiday to honor workers.