So, it’s Friday morning. Soon, it will be Friday afternoon, and if the weather holds the outdoor tables of bars and restaurants will be crowded with beer drinkers and lazy lunchers who have taken off from work, in a ritual known as Summer Fridays.
In case you are unfamiliar with this complex behavior of the delicate species known as Homo Manhattanus, it works something like this: summer can be hot. Hot weather makes people unproductive, even if most office buildings are now air-conditioned. But the mere thought of all that humidity out there slows the mind. So, people are allowed to leave work early on Friday under the assumption that if they stayed around until five or even six, they’d just while away the hours looking at videos of cute dachshund puppies. (That’s what I do, at least, duties be damned). Although the practice is a de facto rule of the publishing industry, it has spread to other parts of Manhattan's white-collar sector.
Nobody really knows when, exactly, Summer Fridays started, though a study commissioned last year by Ultimat Vodka — I had no idea those guys had a sociology research department — posited the following:
Starting in the 1960s, New York advertising agencies began to realize that employee productivity on Fridays was close to zero when the summer sun was shining and beach houses beckoned. And so the unofficial weekly "Summer Friday" holiday was born, and soon quickly spread to other industries in offices across the country.
The New York Times, writing about the trend in 2010, quipped that "the media world seems particularly fond of summer Fridays. Maybe there’s something about a postprandial jitney ride that gets the creative juices flowing."