2017-12-27 / Features

New Year’s Eve Traditions That Started In Astoria

New Year’s Eve Calling Cards – An Astoria Tradition

The emergence of a new year held special significance for young men and women living in Astoria in the early 1900s.

Young men carried small, ornately designed “calling cards” to present to young women – a sign of their desire to begin a courtship.

The men were often chosen by family or friends to call on the women on “Ladies Day,” January 2, when they presented the cards that contained an address or other contact information.

After meeting with several men the women would respond in writing to their choice of suitor – often responding with calling cards of their own, decorated with flowers and messages of affection.

Queens historians believe our New Year’s phone calls and emails to family and friends are a throwback tradition started by Astoria’s young lovers 108 years ago. The First New Year’s Eve Party

Did you know that western Queens might have been the birthplace of the traditional New Year’s Eve party?

The first recorded New Year’s Eve bash was held in 1852, when 200 Astoria and Long Island City residents gathered at a Ball and Supper hosted by Astoria businessman, Henry Hunt.

Hunt hosted the party at a hotel located at 21st Street and Astoria Boulevard, where the acclaimed 19th-century Astoria Brass Band belted out holiday tunes welcoming the New Year.

The tradition continued for a number of years with a gala “Grand Ball” New Year’s Eve celebration at the Turn Hall on Broadway in Long Island City. —Liz Goff

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