May 1st used to be the day that yearly apartment leases ended, resulting in a fury of chaotic furniture relocation known as Moving Day. The April 25, 1897 New York Tribune insert below gently lampoons the event.
This was really the worst traffic day in New York each year, as thousands of people shuffled around with their possessions. The first moving services for hire were essentially Long Island farmers with wagons to rent.
"High rents, incommodious dwellings, & necessity combine to crowd our streets with carts overloaded with furniture & hand barrows with sofas, chairs, sideboards, looking glasses & pictures, so as to render the sidewalks almost impassable," said John Pintard in 1833.
So what happened to Moving Day? The subway changes everything, basically, as did the construction of new homes in boroughs outside of Manhattan. By 1913, the Evening World discovered: "[t]he rapid transit facilities have enabled hundreds to move further out, and east side landlords say they have more vacant apartments than ever before. Hence rents are cheaper and fewer are unable to pay up."
Somebody should tell JL Kesner's Department Store on Sixth Avenue between 22nd and 23rd Streets. Their 1913 advertisement in that same issue featured the following: