If I could time travel in New York it would be to the 1940s. Somehow all the black and white photos from the era manage to make even the most horrendous of situations look glamorous and romantic – like these ones of Black Friday at Macy’s, 1948, by Nina Leen for LIFE Magazine.
Although it wasn’t technically called Black Friday back then, the day after Thanksgiving has always been a big event on the American retail calendar, and in 1948, Macy’s – at one million square feet – was the biggest store in the world which meant prepping for the holiday season was a military operation involving 14,000 staff, 400,000 items and 250,000 shoppers. Yikes!
“Planning entailed both logistical and motivational efforts. At a giant pep rally, the morale of staff members was lifted by a harmonious rendition of “Jingle Bells.” Telephone operators prepared to respond to as many as six questions per minute. Plainclothes employee detectives trained to spot shoplifters from among the hordes. And clerks readied themselves to handle fluid pricing on that year’s hottest items—from striped pajamas to “simulated” pearls to Macy’s house-brand Scotch—which fluctuated as many as five times per day as reports of competitors’ pricing came in.”
(Photos via here.)