August 15, 2016

French F. French Company on Parade

Fred French employees assemble on Tudor City Place before marching in the NRA parade.
September 13, 1933
In the '30s, NRA stood for the National Recovery Administration, a New Deal agency created to stimulate the depressed economy and boost morale via set prices, minimum wages and fair business practices. Its symbol was the Blue Eagle (depicted on the French Company banner, above).

In September, 1933, the NRA staged an elaborate parade up Fifth Ave., from Washington Square to 72nd St. It was one of the biggest parades NY had ever seen, with 250,000 marchers and 1,500,000 spectators. The marchers were employers and employees who had enrolled with the NRA, among them the French Company.

The parade went on for ten hours, finally concluding around midnight. (Some spectators went home, had dinner, and came back for more). The Times reported that the mood "recalled the Armistice." This mood didn't last long. In 1935, the NRA was dismantled after being declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

See wonderful newsreel footage of the parade here.

The parade reviewing stand was set up on the steps of the New York Public Library
The parade was patrolled by 2,000 policemen, who struggled to keep the crowds back.

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