This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Civil defense; I Am An American Day parade (New York at War); aluminum plant in New York; trade registration.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71159
Municipal archives id: LT3978
The original text of the WNYC radio broadcasts are the property of the New York City Department of Records/Municipal Archives.This digital edition is made available for research purposes only. The text may not be duplicated or reproduced without the written permission of the New York City Department of Records/Municipal Archives 31 Chambers Street New York, NY 10007
Immediate Release Sunday, April 19, 1942
CITY OF NEW YORK
OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
TEXT OF THE MAYOR'S SUNDAY BROADCAST "TO THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK" FROM HIS OFFICE IN CITY HALL, APRIL 19, 1942. BROADCAST OVER WNYC, 1:00 P.M. to 1:30 P.M.
[Audio not available beginning here]
PATIENCE AND FORTITUDE.
Blackouts in Brooklyn
The blackout last Tuesday in Brooklyn again was very successful. The technique of all the services involved is constantly improving, and I want to express the appreciation of the Mayor, and, I am sure, the people of the City of New York for the loyalty to duty and the splendid services of all of the volunteer forces. The Air Wardens as usual, were on the job, alert and business-like. They performed their duties well.
Next Tuesday, there will be another blackout drill in Brooklyn, covering the Red Hook, Stuyvesant, Prospect Park, Bedford, Bushwick, Ridgewood, Brooklyn Heights and Borough Hall, Greenpoint and Williamsburgh sections. I am informed that the Brooklyn Navy Yard will blackout within its territory. Commissioner Huie reports that the lights on the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburgh Bridges, as well as those on the bridges of Newtown Creek, will be extinguished during the period of the blackout.
An interesting experiment will be tried next Tuesday in keeping with my practice of calling out equipment of the Fire Department and the medical rescue units. Next Tuesday, these squads and this equipment will use their headlights. The War Cabinet has decided that in the event of an attack with people injured, the medical rescue units will be called only after the citizens are injured. By that time, the enemy has already been over the city and the headlights will in no way give any assistance to the attack. The same is true for the Fire Department. If a fire is started by incendiary bombs, it is evident that the enemy has reached his objective and the glare of the fire itself will be of greater guidance to the enemy than the lights from the fire apparatus.
Fire Auxiliaries and Fire Defense Equipment
Now, while I have already mentioned the good work of the Air Wardens, here is more cheerful and encouraging news from Fire Commissioner Patrick Walsh, concerning our Auxiliary Firemen . The Auxiliary Firemen, Commissioner Walsh informs me, are receiving training at actual fires. They are at hand and at work at real fires and have already worked at the 2 four-alarm fires in the Bronx on Thursday. Commissioner Walsh said that they handled the hose and equipment and are not afraid of either water or fire.
'It is a crime', said Commissioner Walsh, 'that those men have not received their equipment, such as helmets and rubber coats and boots.'
Now you must understand that it is not because the City is not ready to purchase this equipment. The city cannot purchase this equipment under existing priorities, and in addition because this equipment has been promised by the Federal Government. Up to date, none has been received.
Mr. James G. Blaine, Chairman of the Volunteer Office, has some plans along these lines and I expect to hear an appeal by Mr. Blaine very soon. Chief John J. McCarthy informs me that at the two-alarm fire on Friday afternoon in the Radio Center Hotel, an auxiliary fireman operated the aerial ladder, swinging it expertly from window to window, while the fireman on top of the ladder ventilated the building.
'While I am on the subject,' continues Commissioner Walsh's report, 'here is how some of our citizens can help. Superintendents of loft buildings, factories, etc., whose buildings are equipped with iron shutters, should see to it that those shutters are closed in the evening. As a matter of fact it is a law that they should be closed but it is all the more important now since, in the event of an air raid, particularly an incendiary air raid, the closed shutters would prevent any incendiaries from going through the window.
There is no district more hazardous, and more vital to New York City today, and to the winning of the war is the New York City waterfront. Smoking cannot be tolerated on our piers. This is only plain, common sense. Aside entirely from the fact that it is against the law, you will remember I informed you that I had signed a local law forbidding smoking on waterfront property. Now, cargoes are highly inflammable and a discarded match or a cigarette butt carelessly thrown, may result in fires with losses of millions of dollars, but what is more important, of precious war materials.
Fire Equipment Bill in City Council The City Council is still considering the fire equipment bill which would provide a minimum of fire equipment for all buildings in the City of Now York. Councilman Walter R. Hart, Chairman of the Defense Committee, hopes to have a bill ready by the next session of the Congress - of the Council, I mean - (I thought I was back in Congress, sometimes I wish I were.)
Well, today is April the 19th, and no pumpers and no equipment from Washington up to date.
Orders Concerning Coastal Lighting I received a letter from Major General Irving J. Phlllipson, calling attention to the lights along the coast in New York City. In this respect, I think New Jersey has done a little better than we have but we're right on the job. I informed you a few weeks ago that the lights over an entire section of the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn are now permanently extinguished. The General calls my attention to reports received from masters of ships. Naturally, the names of the ships cannot be mentioned but I just want to read a few of these reports to impress our fellow citizens living along the coast within the city how important it is to dim out the lights in all their windows facing the sea.
One master reports that from New York Harbor entrance to two miles beyond Ambrose, lighting conditions dangerous. Another master advises that when off New York City, lights from Rockaway Beach will silhouette a ship at sea a distance of six miles off the beach. Another master reports Rockaway Beach lit up very brightly.
"Commissioner Valentine issued an order, after receipt of a report from me based on General Phillipson's communication. Commissioner Valentine's order was issued only yesterday, and the report this morning shows great progress. Now, we will control the lights (public lights) on the streets and on the high-ways and I appeal to all New Yorkers having their homes or places of business along the shore to be sure to dim their lights.'
"Let us do this voluntarily, if you get what I mean." "Last week, I announced the appointment to the Mayor's War Cabinet, composed of Commissioner Valentine, Commissioner Walsh, Comptroller McGoldrick, Commissioner Huie, Commissioner Bernecker, Commissioner Hodson, Mr. Blaine, and Deputy Chief Inspector Arthur Wallender. I also announced the appointment of Mr. John Morris as the Commandant of the Air Warden Service. I announced the appointment of Inspector Wallender as the coordinator and head of all Defense activities. All of you who heard me, I am sure, understood, yet on Tuesday, April 14th, the New York Times carried an editorial which was inaccurate, un-intentionally inaccurate I am sure, and it says the OCD recommends for each community "a commander assisted by a command group, in general charge" of a staff, emergency fire and police service, air raid warden service, medical ser-vice, public works service, and utilities service. We have no such full time commander.
Why, that is exactly Inspector Wallender's office. I made that clear. I'm sure the statement contained in this editorial was unintentional.
Then it goes on to say 'one wonders if an air raid will be needed to bring about this reorganization.' "Now, now. Is the New York Times wishing an air raid? I'm sure the New York Times' inaccuracy and misstatement was unintentional, for anyone can see how a statement so inaccurate can cause lack of confidence and fear on the part of the population of the city and how it becomes fertile soil for fifth columnists to work and to create fear and confusion and perhaps panic. Surely, this statement was unintentional.
Patrolmen's Benevolent Association Now, while we're talking about statements in the press, I have before me several headlines; one from the New York Times of April 13, which says, 'Police will fight Mayor on pensions,' and then another from The Mirror says, 'See Police Break with La Guardia' on April 13th, and one from The Times on April 15: 'Hot Session Held on Police Pensions' and then more from the New York Times on April 14th: 'Mayor Rebuffed on Police Pensions,' and so on.
Now, I'm sure that these scare headlines are unintentional, for surely no one wants seven and a half million people to lose confidence in their Police Department, particularly when such statements are not correct, and I am sure that the inaccuracies are unintentional. Let me read a letter which I received from the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association on April15, while these scare headlines were being printed. It is dated April 15, 1942 and it's addressed to me as Mayor: 'At the regular meeting of the delegates of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association of the City of New York, held on the 14th instant at the Hotel Commodore, the following resolution was ominously adopted.
'Resolved that the delegates of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association of the City of New York in meeting assembled on this 14th day of April, 1942, representing practically 100% of the members of the uniformed force of the Police Department of the City of New York, do hereby extend to the Honorable Fiorello H. La Guardia, Mayor of the City of New York, their sincere appreciation and deep gratitude for the timely and forthright expression of confidence in their integrity at a time when unfavorable notoriety has been given a few of the members charged with dereliction of duty in connection with who enforcement of certain gambling laws of the State of New York, and his justifiable and understanding explanation of the difficulties and impediments encountered by the members of the Police Department in their efforts to discharge their duties fully in the enforcement of these laws.'
That's the end of the resolution. And the letter continues: ' l am particularly gratified to be able to present to you the above resolution at this this, and then, the letter says: 'When the public press is giving expression to false and utterly unfounded reports concerning the business that was conducted at this same meeting and of the [Audio available beginning here] alleged nativities of this Association with respect to the Pension Laws.'
The letter is signed Patrick Harnedy, President of the Association. Now, I call attention to this, my fellow New Yorkers, because I want to reiterate my confidence in the Police Department of the City of New York. I am sure that the New York Times' stories, (those were not editorials) were misleading. No statement had been made by any of the members at that meeting. After hearing the letter from the President of the association, and the resolution, I am sure you will all be convinced of how inaccurate and how unjustified these headlines are, all unintentional, I am sure.
Service Buttons for Theatre Managers
Well now, I told you, I think it was last Sunday, or the Sunday before, how much the managers and producers of entertainment are doing for our soldiers aid sailors, marines and airmen and that the city would recognize the very valuable services generous, by awarding the service button to the managers and producers of entertainment.
This will be done on April 21 at the Metropolitan Opera House and the program consists of entertainment by soldiers and sailors who will entertain the entertainers who have been entertaining then. The guests of honor will be the managers, producers and casts of all of the plays that have been entertaining the soldiers and sailors. Admission is by invitation. All available seats, other than those required for the entertainers and the managers will be available on invitation to volunteer workers: first, of the recreation committee, and then the other volunteer services. I know it is going to be a difficult tack to get the invitations out, you all know the capacity of the Metropolitan Opera House and we will do the very best we can. Because it is a difficult task and because it will require a great deal of tact, I have asked Mrs. Anna Rosenberg to be the chairman of the Invitation Committee. And because it is difficult, Mrs. Rosenberg, notwithstanding all of her other duties, has accepted. There will be other announcements from time to time between now and the 27th.
"I AM AN AMERICAN DAY" and "New York At War" Parade
Just a reminder that in pursuance with the proclamation of the President of the United States, 'I AM AN AMERICAN DAY' will be celebrated in New York City on May 17th, at Central Park. Mr. Grover Whalen is the chairman of the Mayor's Committee for 'I AM AN AMERICAN DAY ' I informed you last week of the monster parade to be held on June 13th. We took a survey and found that June 13th was more acceptable than June 14th. The theme of the parade will be 'NEW YORK AT WAR.' It will be, without doubt, the most impressive Parade ever held in the City of New York and as I informed you last week, Mr. Grover Whalen will be the chairman of the committee. More announcements about this from time to time.
Citizens Patrol Corps
About Citizens Patrol Corps, I want to say that the enlistments are coming along beyond all expectation. I understand that the Bronx and Brooklyn quotes are filled and that they are now recruiting for the reserves. Here is an interesting enlistment of 61 who are coming into the City Patrol Corps. I have commissioned Dr. Edwin Franco Goldman, the nationally known bandmaster, a Major in the City Corps and his entire band of pieces have enlisted 30 that the Goldman band will become the City Patrol official band. I consider that a very attractive addition to our snappy City Patrol Corps.
I am informed by Major General Robert M. Danford, the Commandant of the City Patrol corps that Mr. P. Francis Edgar of St. George, Staten Island, has been commissioned a Colonel and has assumed command of the Staten Island Division of the City Patrol Corps. He is another valuable addition to our snappy Corps.
Aluminum Plant in Queens You will be interested to hear that the large aluminum Plant is on its way, within the city. I had a meeting with represen-tatives of the RFC and the Aluminum Company of America, and we discussed the city's cooperation in the construction of this enormous plant. The meeting was held by the various officials, heads of departments involved, including the Borough President of Queens, his Commissioner of Borough Works, and various representatives in the field of housing, streets and sewers. The Mayor was represented by Commissioner Robert Moses and all details have been worked out. You'll see results real soon. This is real serious business.
City Control Centers
Comptroller McGoldrick, the chairman of Committee of Procurement and a member of the Mayor's War Cabinet, reports that all the control centers in the City of New York are completed and wired and fully installed and ready to be in service. There is one Central City-wide Control in the lower part of Manhattan, and we have reserve borough control centers. If the City Control Center should be put out of business because of enemy action, we have seven other centers that can take up the service of the chief control center in addition to serving the borough needs, seven in all. These control centers are fully wired and equipped with telephone and signals and everything necessary so that there is one center receiving all reports of incidents and details, no matter where it may happen with in the city and from there directly sent out to the appropriate officials for such service or help as may be required. This was a very difficult and complicated job. It cost the city well over $100,000.
Now we have three means of communication; first, the telephone, and if that goes out of business, the City Police and Fire radios and then a messenger service if all is put out of commission. Personnel are now being trained to man these patrol centers. 367 sirens have already been installed and that work is progressing very satisfactorily, besides New York City has put in the first order for the gigantic sirens developed by the Bell Laboratory in conjunction with the National Scientific Research Committee. The orders have already been placed.
A Letter from C. C. Burlingham This is interesting. You know, I received so many letters concerning the press and what is supposed to be the the relations between the press and myself. Among them I received a most charming note from one for whom I not only have a great deal of respect and admiration but from one whom I so genuinely love. He is New York City's prime citizen. Of course, you all know I refer to Mr. Charles C. Burlingham and he writes me and calls my attention to Scene 2 of Act 2 of Shakespeare's Hamlet, and Mr. Burlingham chides me for not talking more to the press and quotes this most becoming part of Scene 2 of Act 2 of Hamlet in a dialogue between Polonius and Hamlet.
'Ham. - 'tis well, I'll have thee speak out the rest soon.- Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used, for they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the time; after your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you live.
Pol. - My lord, I will use them according to their desert.
Ham. - God's bodykins, man, much better! Use every man after his desert, and who should scape whipping? Use them after your own honour and dignity; the less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty. Take them in.'
Thanks, C.C., we will try
Sugar Rationing Plans
Let's end this with just something sweet. It isn't exactly sweet because it means you're going to got less of the sweet. It's in reference to the sugar registration and James W. Danahy, in charge of the rationing boards in New York City asked me to inform the people that the registration of Trade Users and Suppliers of sugar takes place in New York and the remainder of the country on April 28th. and 29th. Now, this is not to be confused with the Consumers' Registration which takes place May 4th to May 7th, inclusive. Now, you and I have to register on May 4 and May 7th but those who sell or supply sugar must register on April 28th and 29th. Every retailer and wholesaler of sugar must register from April 28th to 29th, as must also all institutions and industrial users of sugar. The City of New York is cooperating wholeheartedly with the Federal Government to make this registration a complete success. Approximately 250 high schools and junior high schools will be used in the trade registration on April 28th and 29th, and 1,100 elementary schools will be used in the consumers' registration May 4th to May 7th. With more than one hundred thousand persons to be registered in the Trade Registration and seven million five hundred thousand to be registered in the Consumer's Registration, the size of the job in New York is staggering. As an indication, permit me to say that our own Department of Purchase is acting as a custodian and is supervising the repackaging and distribution of more than thirty million pieces of literature to all the schools. We feel confident, however, that the Federal Government will have no complaints about the way these registrations are handled in New York. Watch the radio for complete and accurate information.
PATIENCE AND FORTITUDE.