The New York Times on Birkat haChamah, The Blessing of the Sun, April 8, 1897:
HEBREW FESTIVAL MARRED
Rabbi Arrested for Observance of an Ancient Talmudic Ceremony In Tompkins Square.
THE BLESSING OF THE NEW SUN
No Permit Had Been Thought Necessary for the Gathering and Policeman Foley Could Not Understand What It Meant – Occurs Once in 28 Years
Orthodox Hebrews in every part of the world celebrated yesterday what is familiarly known among them as “the new sun.” The festibal comes once every twenty-eight years, on the fourth day of the first week of the Hebrew month Nisan, corresponding practically to the month of April. The celebration in New York was spoiled for some hundreds of people by the interference of two park policemen with a gathering in Tompkins Square, the arrest there of Rabbi Wechsler, and the flight of Rabbi Klein.
See the whole piece here, in the New York Times archive.
My favorite quote:
The celebration is rather a complicated matter to explain to anybody. Rabbi Klein’s knowledge of English is slight, while Foley’s faculties of comprehension of matters outside of police and park regularions and local events are not acute. The attempt of a foreign citizen to explain to an American Irishman an astronomical situation and a tradition of the Talmud was a dismal failure.
Gotta love it.
And the result:
Both became excited, and the people who clustered around them increased the confusion. When Foley was told in broken English about a “new sun,” he was doubtrful whether it was an attempt to guy him, or whether some new infection of lunacy had broken out on the east side. His demonstrations became so threatening that Rabbi Klein understsood that he was in danger of being arrested and clubbed, and chose the easiest and fastest plan of escape.
Only in New York, folks.
[For specifics on this mitzvah, see my three other posts linked under Birkat haChamah.]