the trombone player to the rescue!

The term “Black Friday” came out of the old Philadelphia Police Department’s traffic squad. The cops used it to describe the worst traffic jams which annually occurred in Center City on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

It was the day that Santa Claus took his chair in the department stores and every kid in the city wanted to see him. It was the first day of the Christmas shopping season.

Schools were closed. Late in the day, out-of-town visitors began arriving for the Army-Navy football game.

Every “Black Friday,” no traffic policeman was permitted to take the day off. The division was placed on 12 tours of duty, and even the police band was ordered to Center City. It was not unusual to see a trombone player directing traffic.

Source:  Philadelphia Enquirer article, 1994

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