This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Mayor La Guardia covers various topics including egg, fish, and potato prices and the campaign against tuberculosis. He also addresses letters he has received from members of the public.
[Poor quality original at approximately 30 minutes in.]
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 72640
Municipal archives id: LT4042
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
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SUNDAY, APRIL 23, 1944
CITY OF NEW YORK OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
TEXT OF MAYOR F. H. LA GUARDIA'S SUNDAY BROADCAST TO THE PEOPLE OF NEW YORK FROM HIS OFFICE AT CITY HALL, APRIL 23, 1944, BROADCAST OVER WNYC AT 1:00 P.M. FOLLOWS:
Patience and fortitude.
If we watch ourselves now and all of us work together I think we will be able to beat the black market in almost every commodity of food. At a conference held in the Mayor's office Friday, after a full and frank discussion of the egg situation, it was agreed by Federal and Municipal authorities, as well as by the entire egg industry - wholesalers, receivers, jobbers and retailers - that the consumers should be given the benefit of the present abundant supply of eggs. I want to talk to you about that now. In the spirit of helpfulness, the wholesalers, receivers and jobbers made a concession in the price to retailers, and the retailers made an additional concession to the consumers.
Commencing tomorrow, April 24th, Grade A, large eggs, will be sold in retail stores in New York City from 45 cents to 47 cents a dozen, without cartons. I cannot tell you any more than to advise you that your children cannot eat the cartons and that they are not worth 3 cents. So arrange to buy your eggs without the cartons. You ought to hear the way the retailers jump on me when I talk about cartons. They say, lay off of that stuff, will you? I will not lay off, because it is just money thrown away and once we get the people accustomed to it, it will be just that much saved, and it will run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars in a year. You cannot bring an old carton and exchange it. I cannot get them to do that. But what you can do, is to take your old carton and take the eggs out of the carton in the store, and put them in your old carton. It will cost you 2 cents less.
You can get the best, large Grade A eggs from 45 to 47 cents a dozen without the carton; Grade B eggs, 39 cents. I cannot recommend Grade B eggs too strongly. They are fine eggs, so take advantage of the 39 cent price. You ought to hear the involved technical explanation of a grade B egg. It is so involved and technical that it does not make sense. I will prove it to you. Do you know what I learned yesterday? In the course of talking with these egg men, I learned a great deal and it seems that in your Grade A dozen there is a tolerance of 2 or 3 Grade B eggs and we have been eating them all the time and no one has ever noticed it. So buy your Grade B eggs; they are only 39 cents a dozen. Another thing, about brown eggs and white eggs. I need not tell you we do not eat the shells. The inside of each is exactly the same. It is just a little trick of the trade to play up white eggs. Now in Boston, somebody is telling the consumer that white eggs are as good as brown eggs, because in Boston they played up brown eggs and there they cost more. The same is true in Cleveland, Ohio. So buy brown eggs, because you can get them for a penny a dozen less.
A dozen grade A large eggs at 45 cents a dozen, without the carton, should weigh a pound and a half. So watch that please.
I have the promise of Mr. Sweeney and all of the big hotels, and of Mr. Henckle of the Restaurant Association that they will all specialize in tasty egg dishes during the coming week - souffles and omelets and all kinds of fancy egg dishes. At home, you can now make those puddings you have been putting off, with raisins being off the ration point list you can make some very nice nutritious desserts for the kids.
There are 701 carloads of potatoes of the last crop waiting in New York State; 700 carloads are in Nassau and Suffolk. I recommend that the stores continue to sell potatoes for 5 pounds for 15 cents, and that you should continue to buy at that price, but do not pay more than 15 cents for 5 pounds.
STATEMENT BY MR. VAHLSING
Last Monday, I read a statement made by Mr. F. H. Vahlsing of the Washington Market. What Mr. Vahlsing said is absolutely correct, only he missed my point. My point is that the wholesalers should not be required to pay so much when the government is supporting the price. In other words the government should pay the differential to the farmers so that the wholesalers, retailers and consumers can get the benefit of the abundant crop. That is the only difference between us.
LETTER FROM HARRIET R. EGAN
Mrs. Harriet R. Egan, I received your letter and I read it at the meeting of egg people the other day. There was one farmer present, I do not know how he got in, but he certainly was welcome. I want to say to farmers, any time you hear that we have a meeting of egg dealers, of course, you are welcome. Now, Mrs. Egan, of Hudson, N. Y., I am told by the officials that the farmers are being paid 37 cents a dozen for the eggs. You say you got 34 cents, and I believe you of course, and that is again my point. I say that the government should have paid you the difference between your 24 cents and the supporting price. Then, don't you see, the consumers could have gotten the benefit or the 34 cents paid to the farmer. That is the point I am going to keep on making, and as I said before, when I go to Washington they agree with me, but nothing happens.
Lester Stone, who used to be in my office ”” he is a publicity man now and I am kind of putting in a plug for Lester ”” had a great idea. He said, 'Mr. Mayor, if you are going to plug eggs, now is the time to plug bacon ”” bacon and eggs.' Well, Lester, the idea is good but the price is not good. Bacon is just too high and I am not going to plug it. If you do buy bacon, the sliced bacon is 42 cents a pound now, and slab bacon is 33 cents. If you have large families, I recommend buying the slab bacon because you cannot cut it as thin as the sliced bacon in stores and, therefore, you get more of the nourishment to the children in the thicker slices. But, with the abundance of pork products at this time, I consider the price of 42 cents and 33 cents just too high, so I am not going to plug it.
COTTAGE CHEESE AND CREAM
Commencing on May 1st, cottage cheese and cream, including sour cream, will be more abundant and your dealer will have as much as he had last year. His supply will not be curtailed, so you can prepare for that. Cottage cheese is very good for the children and helps to balance a meal.
In May and June, milk will be abundant and we will have no trouble. We are studying now just what we will do after June. I am conferring with Dr. Blanford of the Department of Agriculture and we will keep you informed. Incidentally, I am watching the price of retail milk in New York City. I hope that politics will not interfere with baby's milk.
I remember how the price of fish jumped the week before Easter and before the Jewish holidays. Now is our chance. The supply of fish is so abundant that they do not know what to do with it. There will be plenty of mackerel, shad, porgies and butterfish. Mackerel should sell as low as 13 cents a pound next week and Hudson and Jersey Shad as low as 20 cents for roe shad and 10 cents for buck shad. But do not get excited about it please. Do not buy any fish tomorrow. Just let some of this fish accumulate. Commissioner Brundage is conferring with the fish people. We will bring these prices down. In other words, the consumers must get back all of the excess prices that they paid during the last few weeks. So, just hold back tomorrow. We will announce prices to you through WNYC and other radio stations. They will be very, very low, and they should be lower than the prices I have just quoted. Morris Novik, keep the people informed tomorrow, right after Commissioner Brundage's conference.
I am not In a position yet to advise you what to do about poultry. The price will go up 2 cents in May and June and 1 cent after that. We are studying the situation. If the increase is justified we will tell you. If it is not justified, we will tell you that, too.
People ask me why I am always boosting U. S. Attorney McNally. Well, I am not particularly boosting Mr. McNally, but he is doing such a fine job that people ought to know about him. He has just filed another information, this time against an out-of-town dealer, a wholesale poultry dealer, Thurman Phillips of Vincennes, Ind. This came out of a case which the U. S. Attorney prosecuted last winter. Phillips sold 168,596 pounds of poultry to Romano Brothers, for the sale price of $61,239.99, when the price should have been $46,567.78. This is a warning to all outsiders, we are not going to stand for any chiseling in New York City.
Last week I told you that names of retail dealers who were convicted three times would be made public. That policy is now in effect and the names will be posted in the Department of Markets every week. To give you an idea, 5 convictions have been obtained against each of the following: Hautner and Maier, butchers of 1524 Westchester Avenue, Bronx; Louis and Harry Rivkin, 68 East 161 Street, Bronx, fruit and vegetable dealers; Arthur and Theresa Creo, 211-61 Jamaica Avenue, grocers; David & Bertha Glossberg, 1123 Avenue J, Brooklyn, fruit and vegetable dealers; Tony Agresti, 1062 3rd Avenue, Manhattan, grocer; Louis Kahn, 2024 Lexington Avenue, butcher; Harry Grubel, 3410 Broadway, Manhattan, butcher; James & Carmella Lima, 3671 Broadway, fruit and vegetable dealer; Morris & Belle Raskin, 651 Lexington Avenue, delicatessen dealer; and six convictions against Morris Levy and Morris Penberg, 4025 Broadway, fruit and vegetable dealers; and 4 convictions against Ira and Joseph Weissberg, 205 First Avenue, Manhattan, grocers.
Of course, I may not be able to give you all of the names every week, but they will be published in the Department of Markets. Now, dealers, do not blame me if the women get after you.
Next Thursday, April 27th, a group of men and women are celebrating the anniversary of the Altro Work Shops, the oldest workshop for the rehabilitation of tubercular people. I wanted to go to the celebration but I am working such long hours in the daytime, that I must forgo many, many invitations for evening affairs. Therefore, I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Mr. Fred M. Stein who, in December 1913, with Mrs. Sidney C. Borg, Rabbi Sidney E. Goldstein, Mr. Walter R. Meyer and Dr. Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, formed this rather novel activity. It provides work for convalescing tubercular patients. In its thirty years the Committee for the Care of the Jewish Tuberculous has served over 12,195 patients and their families. The patients, of course, include people of all faiths and color. In its workshop tubercular patients undergoing industrial convalescence have earned in this period $2,238,700 and the loss of operation was only $227,300, which this Committee provides. The experiment is over and it is most successful. I congratulate the Committee for the Jewish Tuberculous on its outstanding services to tubercular patients of our city and wish them a most successful celebration and many years of continued useful activity.
CAMPAIGN AGAINST TB
Talking about tuberculosis, our New York City Health Department is intensifying its campaign against tuberculosis at this time. We have made progress during the past years in our fight to control this disease, but in wartime many of our activities, such as low cost housing, demolition of insanitary old-law tenement houses and the extension of some of our hospital and health work have been stopped. Therefore, we want to warn everybody to be very careful. This disease may be insidious in its beginning and may attack without warning. You may never realize you are suffering from tuberculosis. However, a chest Xray enables a physician to recognize the disease in its early stages, and when it is discovered early, the chances of complete recovery are very good. So, if there is any inkling at all, be sure and see your family doctor for an examination and make the necessary arrangement for a chest Xray. This is what I want to tell you ”” if you do not have the funds you can obtain a chest Xray without any cost at all at any one of the District Health Centers of the Health Department. So do not neglect it.
Of course, as I have said so many times, people who work must have rest. I have a communication here from a person in Kings County who works all night and who complains about very tall children, some six feet high, playing stick-ball right in front of his home, when he tries to sleep in the daytime. Now, children, we have parks and playgrounds so please use them and be considerate of the fact that there are many people trying to rest during the day.
RED CROSS NURSES
The American Red Cross again calls my attention to the need for nurses. We are short of nurses in all city hospitals. I do not know what to do, the situation is getting critical. The Red Cross points out that there are a great many nurses here, in New York City, who are just doing a sort of a luxury practice, private nursing. They appeal to these women to join the Armed Forces and I join in that appeal.
I should like the girls who are graduating from our high schools in June to think about the nursing profession as a career. You may apply by writing here or to the Head of the Nursing Service at Bellevue Hospital or to Commissioner Bernecker of the Department of Hospitals for information about the Cadet Nurses Corps.
The United States Government is providing very generously in helping girls to obtain a complete nurse's education and again I want to call the attention of all girls graduating this June, to think about taking up nursing as a profession. There is a great need for nurses now and even after the war, this need will continue. I want to repeat the American Red Cross call to women doing private luxury nursing to join the Armed Forces.
Talking about the Red Cross, Mrs. Ford R. Jessop sent me a check for $25.00 to give to the Red Cross because she likes WNYC. Thank you, Mrs. Jessop. Morris Novik will send the check to the Red Cross.
I want to thank the Jersey visitor ”” you know who I mean ”” for the information he gave me. That dump on the northwest corner of 30th Street and 6th Avenue, 1 flight up, has been thoroughly cleaned out. It was just as you described it ”” a clip joint, selling liquor without a license and there were other violations of law. We cleaned it out. I want to thank you for sending me the information. I also want to know why the Captain of the Precinct did not have that information. How about it, Captain? Didn't you know about it?
Now the lady who wrote about the number racket in which the numbers are given in the New York Mirror under the Treasury daily reports - the information you send me is insufficient. If you will tell me where your husband buys these numbers or where he plays these numbers, we will clean the places out very, very fast for you. I agree with what you say, but let me have the information. You are under the impression that the envelopes would have the information but they do not. These thieving chiselers would not put their own address on, so please let me have the information.
MOTHER OF SEVEN CHILDREN
To the mother of 7 children, who I will identify by saying you wrote in the upper right hand comer, 'May I thank you for taking the time to read my letter', please let me have the address of the dump where your husband goes. I will clean it out immediately. If you will give me more information, we will also attend to the other matter in your letter. You give the father of your 7 children one more chance, but I can tell you now, that Pat Walsh will not stand for anyone in his Department neglecting a mother and 7 children. So do not hesitate.
JUVENILE AID PROGRESS
We are making great headway in the prevention of juvenile delinquency. Splendid work is being done by the Juvenile Aid Bureau of the Police Department, by the Attendance Bureau of the Department of Education; and by other government agencies including Commissioner Moss of the Department of Licenses. Of course, when we
have juvenile delinquency a child is hurt, and when we stop juvenile delinquency someone else is hurt. If you violate the law and a minor is involved, do not come crying to me and tell me about the large investments in your business. I have given ample notice. The Police have been instructed to immediately report any licensed Places violating the law in reference to minors to the Commissioner of Licenses and to the Police Department, those places will have their licenses revoked. In the course of two weeks one very serious case was apprehended, six caught just in the nick of time, and all others were good preventive work.
WAR BOOKS LISTED BY PUBLIC LIBRARY
The New York Public Library has issued a list of books entitled "The Family in War Time". It is available at all New York Public Library branches. Books relating to families and their relation to war tines are listed. Some of the books are very good; some are no good; some I think are trashy; some are not very worthwhile; but the list on the whole is very useful and very interesting.
BONUS FOR CUSTODIAL EMPLOYEES IN CITY COLLEGE
I have been asked by the employees of Plant Operation of our City Colleges about the bonus. The first bonus was granted January 1, 1944. An additional bonus will be provided for you in the budget and will become effective July 1, 1944.
ATTORNEY SOLICITATION OF FIREMEN
Talking about bonuses, I have here a copy of a blank retainer which was sent out by a lawyer to all firemen. It says: 'The undersigned, employed as a Fireman in the Fire Department of the City of New York, do hereby retain David A. Savage, ****, New York City, as my attorney to enforce my claim for overtime wages due to me from the City of New York ****. I agree that my attorney shall receive ten (10%) per cent of any and all monies recovered by me under such claim ****.' Well, that is just what I told the wives of firemen, I think it was two weeks ago, that the Association had a perfect right to retain an attorney and he had a perfect right to get his retainer ”” that the attorney was being paid while he was telling the men not to sign waivers and get their bonus. In other words, he was getting his but the firemen were not getting the cost-of-living bonus. That is up to them, of course. Today is the 23rd and any firemen signing, expressing a desire to get the cost-of-living bonus between now and the first of the month, will start to get it on the first of the month. I will say no more about that until the end of next month, so you cannot say I did not remind you. The firemen have lost the bonus for January, February, March, April ”” that is four months, or four times $35, totaling $140. They have lost $140. to date, so any time they want it they need just let us know. It is only fair to say that after this retainer was sent to the station houses, the following telegram was dispatched to every firehouse: 'For your guidance I am forwarding the contents of a telegram just received from David A. Savage, Attorney: "I hereby withdraw my contingent retainer agreement for collection of overtime pay. Please inform all members of Association immediately. I am sending you a letter on this matter. David Savage". (The telegram is signed by) Vincent J. Kane, President.' The whole thing looks funny to me.
I still am of the same opinion about the vote ”” the soldier ballot law. As I said before, I think it is impractical and do not think it will work. It is the law and we want to help in everyway we can. I had Mr. Simpson here and I asked him some questions. He informs me that any form of letter and paper, in writing, giving the home address and military address of the member of the Armed Forces, and signed by him or her, will be treated as a proper application. The only requirement is that it be signed by the serviceman.
It is not necessary to write the application or the letter to the War Ballot Commission of New York. You can send it to your own family or you can send it to a friend, or to anyone, just expressing a desire to obtain a ballot. Just why you should I do not know, but that is the law. You can write it to me, or to anyone, and it will be sent to the Commission, and then the ballot will be forwarded to you. So, families, in writing to your boys, be sure to advise them that if they care to vote, and they would just say they would like to have a ballot, that is all that is necessary. If the request is contained in a personal letter, it will be treated as confidential.
DELAWARE AQUEDUCT OPENING
I had an interesting time two weeks ago. We opened a gate, admitting, for the first time, water to the now $200,000,000 Delaware Aqueduct. You know our water system is very interesting. Whenever it rains we pick up millions of gallons of water which you would think would run right off. You know we can store that water. With the opening of the new gate, we will now be able to pour in about a hundred million gallons a day which will be stored. That goes to the West Branch Reservoir. We will use our lower reservoir and impound the water in the upper reservoirs in Ashokan. That will give us a net gain, we figure, of 50 to 60 million gallons every day throughout the year.
LEONARD P. WOOD
And this was accomplished, without interference with the war effort, as a result of the unflagging devotion, skill and ingenuity of a group of loyal City employees - the engineers of the Board of Water Supply. They did a marvelous job. I must tell you about one of the engineers, Leonard P. Wood. He is 73 years of age and has served the City for 38 years. After serving 38 years, his family suggested that he retire, and they brought pressure on him to do so. He put in his application to retire, to which he was entitled, and he now gets a pension which, of course, is less than his pay. But do you think he ever left his work? No, not a bit. For three years, he has been going to work every day, and they tell me that one day last year he was sick and he asked permission to stay hone because of this illness. Think of it! That is the kind of loyalty that has made the government of the City of New York what it is.
Let that be an example to some who want to shirk their work, those who want to sleep all day and then scab at night. When I say scab, I mean it. To have discovered that we have City employees working in the building trades for wages below the prevailing rate and in many instances less than the prevailing rate. In some instances, they are being employed in order that the employer may avoid paying overtime to his own employees. Mr. Wood never did anything like that. There are thousands and thousands of fine, splendid, hard-working, loyal employees of our City government and they cannot be expected to carry on the work of shirkers who want to draw their full pay and then work for others and deprive somebody else of a job.
TIMES CAMPAIGN ADVERTISING NEW YORK CITY
I want to express my thanks to the New York Times for their very splendid campaign advertising New York City, not only in their own paper, but in papers throughout the country. In addition to twelve advertisements related to the general advantages of doing business in New York City, the Times has run ads about Port of New York, Textiles, Women's Wear, Plywood , Synthetic Rubber, Cosmetics, other Beauty Supplies, Fashion Center and Machine Tools. We expect advertisements in the immediate future in Men's Wear, Plastics, Fur Industry, Candy and Foods and Electric Tools. It is bringing to the notice of the country many, many advantages of New York City. The City Department of Commerce, Commissioner George A. Sloan, and the Mayor's Business Advisory Committee, have been cooperating with the New York Times. I want to express the thanks of the Mayor and of the people of the City, to the New York Times for this very splendid service.
Talking about the future of New York City, I had a talk with my old friend Adolf Berle, the other day in Washington. As you know, he so well fills the high office of Assistant Secretary of State. He has just returned from London, where he attended a conference on post-war commercial aviation, well, I did not ask him anything that I had not read in the papers, but I did say, 'Adolf, if you were Mayor of New York City, knowing what you know, would you expedite the construction of the new airport at Idlewild, or would you go slow?' Mr. Berle answered, 'Fiorello, speed up as much as you can.' I am going to take the hint. We will do that.
EXPANSION OF COLUMBIA EXTENSION COURSES
I am very happy to note in keeping with the progress we are making in New York City ”” I have always said we are going to make it the Center of Education, Medicine and Art ”” that Columbia University is planning to expand its extension services. A committee has recommended the adoption of the proposal of President Nicholas Murray Butler, that University Extension be made a faculty of the University taking rank with existing faculties. That means that courses will be provided in the late afternoon and evening in the arts, music, drawing, painting and other creative and applied arts so as to give many thousands of students an opportunity of getting a college education during hours which would fit their employment or occupation. This is very, very useful and sets a good example.
I note the Committee that made the study and recommendations were all members of the Columbia University Faculty. I wish that our City Colleges would take that hint. You notice Columbia did not go to any small, provincial town to get some little two-by-four who had never been heard of but who wanted to get his name in the newspapers, to come to New York for some small pressure group. I hope our City Colleges will follow that example. We can do a great deal more in extension courses in our City Colleges and I hope we will be able to do it. I know we have the talent and the genius right here to work it out.
LOUIS BREWER LETTER
I note your suggestion, Mr. Louis Brewer. If you will look in my budget message, you will find that the suggestion has been considered.
FARE DISCUSSION ON WNYC
The Citizens' Transit Committee ”” those are the 10 cent transit people ”” want me to call attention to the fact that their request to get time on WNYC has been granted. They will be on the air with other distinguished citizens of New York on Monday, April 24th, at 6:15 P.M., to discuss the 10 cent or increased fare. Needless to say, people opnosed to the increased fare will have an opportunity to discuss their side on WNYC if they so desire.
CITY CENTER PROGRAMS
Newbold Morris called my attention to the fact that the Ballet Russo de Monte Carlo at the City Center is going very fine and that it will continue up to May 1st. On May 1st we start another opera season with Dusolina Giannlni and also with Irma Gonzales, Mexico's leading prima donna. We are going to have Carmen, Tosca, Martha, La Traviata, Pagliacci, Cavalleria Rusticana and La Boheme. You can get your tickets now at 131 West 55th Street.
HUROK BALLEY AT METROPOLITAN
By the way, talking about the ballet at the City Center, I want you to know that our friend Hurok has a ballet going at the Metropolitan Opera House. You see, we are not competitors. His ballet is good, too. It is very good. Try and see Mr. Hurok's ballet dancers.
Next week I am going to tell you about our postwar exhibit which opens to the public on Monday, May 1st. I will tell you about that next Sunday.
And next Sunday, I hope, if no unforeseen circumstances compel me to change my program, to talk to you about health insurance. The report is in and as I said, I hope to be able to talk about health insurance if no unforeseen circumstances compel me to change my program.
Patience and fortitude.