Culture on the Cheap
A Very Greenpoint Thanksgiving: Ragamuffin Day
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic
Although I have featured this item on my site numerous times before, I cannot resist posting it again on this Thanksgiving Day. Enjoy!
Thanksgiving is already proving to be a one for yours truly. There will be not Macy’s parade watching for me; I’m too busy preparing a feast of chile rellenos, beans, rice, and salsa! For this reason today’s offerings will be decidedly lite. However, I have enough time to resurrect an oldie but goody from Greenpoint’s yesteryear for your turkey day enjoyment: Ragamuffin Day.
What was Ragamuffin Day, you ask? This is an excellent question. Imagine if you will trick or treating— but on Thanksgiving Day. On this day children throughout our fair city (Greenpoint in particular) smeared their faces with charcoal, put on the tattiest apparel and went door to door asking:
Anything f’ Thanksgiv’n?
If the man or woman of the house felt charitable he or she would throw them candy, fruit or change for their efforts. And just like the trick or treating we know today there was ample latitude on both sides beggars and beggees alike for mischief. Do you know what a red penny is? You will after reading this article from the November 27, 1931 edition of the New York Times…
Those of you who want to learn more about Ragamuffin Day from a distinctly Greenpointian (and firsthand!) point of view should point and click your way to Greenpt.com. There you will find a number of amusing firsthand accounts of this long gone tradition. Check it out!