Welcome. It’s Labor Day weekend.
I love this story about how summer travel in 2020 looked a lot like summer travel in 1965, with families traveling by car to domestic destinations rather than far-flung ones. Times articles in the late 1950s trumpeted the rise of recreational camping and the advent of the motel, novel vacation options for drivers taking to the country’s developing network of highways. This year’s road trippers were, of course, more likely to have sanitizer and masks in the glove box than AAA TripTiks, but the similarities are striking all the same. The story’s a good weekend read, sure to inspire nostalgia in anyone who ever spent what felt like a lifetime on a sticky back seat or bench seat playing license plate games between rounds of “are we there yet?”
While I was reading Times stories from the ’50s, I had a look at the newspaper from 100 years ago. On this weekend in 1920, a story headlined “Labor Day Travel Will Beat Records” noted that “there is not a berth to be had on any train leaving the city for the vacation playgrounds for two or weeks to come.” Franklin D. Roosevelt, then a candidate for vice president, spoke on Labor Day of that year in Prospect Park, proclaiming, “Frankness, justice and square dealing on both sides is all that is needed to insure perfect harmony between capital and labor.” Ellis Island officials worked Sunday and Monday to meet 37,000 immigrants expected from Europe. Airmail between New York and San Francisco was announced. I could have spent all day lost in the old papers, imagining “the movement of air fleets from ocean to ocean,” carrying letters and postcards.
If you’re looking for ways to spend time this weekend, I guarantee rabbit holes aplenty in the digitized pages of the TimesMachine. Or head for the shore with our guide to safe beachgoing. You could plan your fall reading or TV-watching schedule, take in a U.S. Open match, or binge a new space drama starring Hilary Swank. You might watch “The Painter and the Thief,” a ravishing documentary about a painter who befriends the man who stole two of her paintings from a gallery in Oslo. Or take a long walk and listen to two podcasts I’ve been loving lately, “Nice White Parents,” a five-part series from The Times about building a better school system, and “My Brother, My Brother and Me,” a Maximum Fun show in which three nonsense-loving brothers offer absurd advice addressing their listeners’ usually-trifling problems. You could make Marian Burros’s famous plum torte. You could prepare peaches like this, as I have nearly every night for a month.
Write to us and tell us how you’re spending the holiday. Tell us what you’re thinking about and what you want to know: [email protected] We’re At Home. We’ll read every letter sent.
As always, more ideas for living a good life at home and near it appear below.