This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Description from the Municipal Archives card catalog:
1. Shortage of Milk
2. Marketing in NYC
3. John Wanamakers Department Store
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71167
Municipal archives id: LT4057
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, AUGUST 20, 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, AUGUST 20, 1944, BROADCAST OVER WNYC AT 1:00 P. M. FOLLOWS:
Patience and Fortitude.
[AUDIO NOT AVAILABLE HERE; SEE BELOW] WAR NEWS
It won't be long now before we will know whether the jig is entirely up with the Nazis or whether they are withdrawing and consolidating their lines to places of solid defense in continued resistance. A few days, I think, will tell. In the meantime the war is not over! We must all work harder and produce more.
MILK SUPPLY, --CEILING PRICES
There has been a great deal of talk during the past week, and some anxiety, concerning the milk supply. As you all know, the peak of the flush season of milk is past, and we are not entering the dry season. Milk will be less each month from now until December. Many local stores, naturally, ran short of milk during the last few days because of the excessive heat. This is due to two reasons: One, the much greater demand for fluid milk and the caution of the dealers in not stocking up with too much milk because of the weather. The much greater demand for fluid milk is due to hot weather increasing the consumption in New York City 5%. You will say that that is not very much. No, it is not very much, but when you stop to consider that we use 4,000,000 quarts a day, 5% is a great deal of milk. Some independent dealers wore short of milk and, naturally, when the dry season comes on, dealers not having their own source of supply, first feel the shortage. Six such dealers have called on the United States Milk Marketing Administrator, Dr. Blanford, and reported Thursday, August 17th, that they were short a total of thirty-six tanks of milk a week. That same afternoon Dr. Blanford arranged for thirty tanks to be delivered to these dealers a week, leaving them only six tanks short a week. Since that time, I understand, that even the six tanks may now be supplied. No section or neighborhood of the City need feel that at any time there will be a greater shortage in one neighborhood than in another. We will watch that and we will see to it that the milk is properly distributed. Of course, neither the Mayor, nor the United States Department of Agriculture, nor the City Department of Health, nor the Milk Market Administrator can prevent individual dealers from complaining or claiming that they do not get milk.
This is their job. They must find the milk. But I want to assure all mothers and all families and all consumers that the present amount of milk that is coming into New York is about the normal amount of milk for this season of the year and that we will see to it that it is distributed. Should there be a greater shortage, we will then see to it that consumers with children, and hospitals and the sick have first call. There will be no change in the retail price of milk.
Now, I am going to say that several times in the next few minutes, because I want to drive it home. Any change in the price of milk to any individual dealer will not affect the retail price of milk to the consumer. Do I make myself clear? Some dealers cannot get the same kind of milk that they have been accustomed to getting and, therefore, may be compelled to pay a little more for a greater butter fat content milk, and again I say there should be no increase in the retail price to the consumer. Now, let me explain how milk is priced to the farmer. You may not understand it and if you don't, I don't blame you. It took me a long time to learn it because it is rather involved. The basic price of milk to the farmer is based on milk having a 3.5 fat content, and a 4 cent-per-hundredweight premium for one point over that. Then the average price is taken and the retail price to you, to me, to our families is fixed. As we go into the dry season, the fat content increases. There is no milk or very little now between 3.5 and 3.3 which is the minimum requirement for New York City. Milk having less than 3.3 fat content cannot be sold in New York City. At this time of the year, the milk averages 3.8% fat content which brings it around 11 or 12 cents a hundredweight more to the dealer. Again let me say this cannot, does not, and must not affect the ceiling retail selling price to the consumer. The selling price to the consumer, the family, is fixed, knowing of course of this condition every year. Therefore, dealers who say they cannot get milk are under a misapprehension. They can get milk but they cannot get a 3.5% or 3.4% milk. Again, for the third time, or the fourth time, it cannot and must not affect the retail price of milk to the consumer.
One of the complainants stated that he was six tanks a week short. The United States Milk Marketing Administrator obtained this milk for him. It is 3.8 milk. Now he does not want it, but don't worry, that milk will come in to the City.
I am giving you the situation as of this date. I can assure you that your City Department of Health, Commissioner Stebbins, Dr. Blanford and I are watching very closely. We will insist and continue to insist with the United States Department of Agriculture, that New York City will obtain all to which it is entitled should the supply become shorter from our own milk shed and our own source of supply.
Something has been said about milk being used for industrial purposes, as if that was something very wrong. Well, I want you to know that the industrial purposes for which milk is being used at this time is for butter and for cheese, but what is more important, for dry milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk for the armed forces.
To farmers who shop around now and are getting a higher price outside New York City, remember, the war will be over and you will want to sell your milk to New York City and we will not forget. I do not think I have to say anything more.
"C. I." BEEF
The meat supply is just about the same. We had about 300,000 pounds less beef this week than last week.. The beef, as I told you is what the trade used to call utility beef, but it is very good beef. The cattle come right from the plains and let us call it "Cl" Beef - Civilian Issue Beef, and be very thankful that we have as much as we have. Let us just learn how to cook it. [AVAILABLE AUDIO BEGINS HERE] It needs a little different treatment but there is enough of "Cl" beef coming in.
I talked about mutton two weeks ago and say, maybe you think they didn't gang upon me at home. When I got home, the children and my wife, were ready. They said, 'Well, I suppose next week, we are going to have mutton.' I said, 'Yes, why not. We used to have it.' 'Oh', they replied, 'it was different then. We used to go down to Washington Market to get it. It was very choice.' I said, 'Well, be very glad to get it now, because it does not require points and it is cheap.' So, last Sunday, we had mutton. The children were all set for it. My wife got some of her kinfolks to dinner for reinforcements, I think. Well, we had a roast mutton, and say, the kids just couldn't say a word. It was fine - - the regular mutton I was talking about. Yes, inexpensive and not requiring any coupons and it was delicious. We had some left over and a few days later, my wife made hash of it, and the children liked even that. I want to warn you, though, don't put it through the meat grinder. Ours was sort of cut up in little pieces, and it was very good.
Just to remind you of the price, Roast mutton: from 20 to 23 cents [AUDIO NOT AVAILABLE BEGINNING HERE] a pound (and it is very good boiled, too.) Chops: from 15 to 33 cents a pound and cuts for stews and pie, 8 to 11 cents a pound, so that's very cheap.
A friend of mine sent out to buy some chops, and he told me about it and said, 'Say, I thought you said mutton chops were cheap.' They should be cheap. Well, he told me the price he paid for them and I just couldn't understand it. Well, I will tell you what he did. His butcher trimmed all the bones and waste off and then rolled it up with the kidney inside and it was about 2 1/2 inches high - you know, choice mutton chops of the old days. Well, of course, you have to pay for what you get and with the bones and everything cut off, it requires about three or four times the amount for one chop. I am not talking about that kind of a chop. Those people can take care of themselves. I'm talking about us folks, you know.
I have to talk to you about eggs. A lady writes to me that she went in to one of the chain stores and bought some Grade B eggs. When she got homo, she found that two of the eggs were just no good, you know just rotten. She went back to the store and complained, and they said, 'well, you wanted Grade B eggs, and we are very sorry we cannot refund the eggs.
Now, Mr. Chain Store, you know bettor than that. You just restore those two eggs, and if you don't, I will tell people that you are not obeying the law, and what's more, I'll send the inspectors there. You would not want that, would you? I am sure it is just a mistake of your clerk. So let it go at that for the moment.
Let me tell you about eggs. If you buy Grade A eggs, the dealer is allowed a tolerance of two eggs in every dozen of grade A eggs. That means that you can get two grade B eggs in a dozen of grade A and I say if your allowed two Grade B eggs in a dozen of Grade A, then your Grade B eggs are pretty good. Fine. Now we come to Grade B eggs. The dealer is allowed a tolerance of two Grade C eggs in one dozen of Grade B eggs, but no dealer is allowed a tolerance for rotten eggs. The State of New York, the laws of the State of New York, prohibit the sale of rotten eggs and if you get a bad egg in a dozen or any amount of bad eggs, take them right back to your dealer and get a good egg for it or a refund of money. If there is any hesitancy about it, just let me know or let the Department of Markets know and we will get the good egg for you or the money. Again, I say, buy Grade B eggs. They are so good that two of them out of twelve are allowed in Grade A. If we continue to buy these Grade B eggs, I tell you, you are going to see results before very long.
Let us talk another moment on eggs. Do you know that there are five million cases of eggs in storage. Thirty dozens to a case is one hundred and fifty million dozens of eggs in storage. How did they get there. The government bought them. How do I know? A representative of the War Food Administration testified before a Senate Committee that the government had spent between one hundred and one hundred and fifty million dollars for eggs. Subtracting the eggs bought by the government for lend-lease, and for other purposes, there is at least one hundred million dollars of eggs purchased by the government to support the price. When he was asked, 'what are you going to do with all the eggs?' The answer for WFA was 'I wish I knew.' Well, I know. And it is just what I have been saying all along. It is unscientific, uneconomical, unfair and most wasteful and sinful for the government to buy eggs to support the market price and then expect to hold these eggs and sell them to the consumers at the same price. That is not food subsidy. I maintain, and you have heard me say so many times, that once the farmer receives his parity price for the eggs, then the consumer should get the benefit of the natural market price of those eggs. Now see what happened: A few days ago, right here, in our own City some fifty thousand boxes of eggs were offered for sale and the bids were rejected because they were below ceiling price. Now, that is not only unfair, it is just dumb and stupid. Why? Because those eggs being kept in storage are no longer fresh eggs and no one is going to pay ceiling prices for storage eggs. It would have been better for the government had they sold those eggs under ceiling price, giving the benefit to the consumer. We would have had just that many more eggs, the government would not have lost all of the money and would have recouped a great deal of it. Those five million cases of eggs that are now in storage held by the government ought to be sold for about 75% of ceiling price to the consumer. The government would then recoup 75% of its investment for supporting the prices and the consumer would get the benefit of the lower priced eggs. I will watch this market and keep you informed. We will not pay ceiling price for storage eggs. I am quite surprised that anyone representing WFA should have made such a statement, to artificially keep them from the consumer and involve those same consumers in an expenditure of one hundred million dollars, when we have a shortage of food and when eggs are needed. This is not only unfair, it is stupid.
The only good bargain I saw this week was peaches for canning. The retail ceiling price was fourteen cents a pound but the City has been buying a great amount of peaches for canning for our institutions and we were getting them wholesale for $2.50. They were available at stores at $2.75 for 50 pounds and peaches are really easy to can. If you can get them around $2.75 for 50 pounds it is really a good buy for canning purposes.
I want to extend my thanks to the Auxiliary firemen of the 5th Division. Here is a resolution they sent to me: "We, the Auxiliaries of the 5th Division hereby resolve that we will continue our duties as members of the New York Fire Department Emergency Auxiliary Corps. We will be on the alert and keep ready and fit for all emergencies that may arise. We reaffirm our original pledge to do our duty to our Country, City and Community, and resolve we will not slacken in our efforts to be efficient members of this branch of the United States Citizens Defense. Corps." Thank you. That is what we need from now on until we are sure that the war is over.
This brings me to another war subject. That is the salvage of paper. I want to appeal to all retail stores to follow the lead of the larger stores in not using paper for wrapping purchases. Your customers now know that it is smart not to have his purchase wrapped. Just keep that paper, and in addition retail stores should keep all the paper that they may accumulate, and pack it, dispose of it, and, if you cannot dispose of it any other way, the City will call for it.
There has been a great deal of waste of newspaper. We have had complaints that people in apartment houses are careless with newspapers and that much is lost when it is mixed with garbage. Please don't do that. It is not only wasteful in time of war, but it is also against the law. Incidentally, we are going to get fifty new inspectors through the New York City Paper Salvage Committee, who are going to help us enforce this ordinance which prohibits the mixing of paper with garbage. Paper is much needed, so be on the lookout.
I have had many inquiries this week because of the publicity on so-called political publications to soldiers. The Congress amended the laws, you know.
The inquiries were substantially this: Is there anything in the law which prohibits anyone from sending to a relative or a friend in the service any political matter? The answer is no. Everyone is free to send printed matter of any kind, nature or description, books, magazines, pamphlets, letters and similar matter addressed to any soldier. There was no prohibition and there is none in the law as to that. The prohibition refers almost entirely to publications of the government or papers sent at government expense.
I have to say a few words today about infantile paralysis. Every year, in the late summer some cases of infantile paralysis occur. In 1916, 1931 and 1935, there were epidemics. Now get these figures: In 1916, we had over 9000 cases and 2000 deaths; in 1931, 4100 cases and 500 deaths; and in 1935, 2000 cases and almost 100 deaths. This year, 1944, Health Commissioner Stebbins tells me that we have had a total of 387 cases and 27 deaths since January first. These were in all boroughs, except Richmond. There were no cases in Richmond.
There has been a great deal of alarm about infantile paralysis. The disease does not necessarily cause permanent crippling; in fact over one-third of this year's reported cases have had no paralysis at any time, and a good proportion of those with paralysis will also recover completely. I can understand the dread and fear on the part of parents because of this disease. We must be realistic, however. Parents should know exactly what our public health doctors advise about infantile paralysis. The first important thing is that no money should be spent on getting injections or medicines to prevent the disease. In spite of all the research work that has been done on this particular disease, no definite medicine or vaccine exists for prevention. So don't spend any money for injection or medicine to prevent the disease. The second important thing is to keep steady and calm, because, after all, the chance that a child may contract the disease even in the severest epidemic is only one or two in a thousand. No good is obtained by listening to wild rumors concerning limitations on children's activities and the closing of bathing beaches and swimming pools. Since infantile paralysis is rarely contracted by actual contact with a person who is suffering from the disease, but rather because at this time of the year the virus is generally distributed throughout the community, there is no added danger in attending schools or other places in which cases have occurred. In other words, the virus may be in any of us, and it docs not spread by direct contact with one having it. Children should be permitted to carry on their ordinary activities, and no restrictions are placed on travel to or from New York City. Swimming at approved bathing beaches and in pools is healthful and is not prohibited. No beach anywhere in New York City has been closed because of the infantile paralysis situation. Beaches have been closed but because of other diseases, but not for infantile paralysis. Dr. Stebbins assures me that, based on our experience of over thirty years with this disease, there is every reason to believe that no serious epidemic will develop this year. In fact, we are all hopeful that within the next week or two in all probability fewer and fewer cases will occur.
I just want to give a little good news to people doing business in the midtown section of Manhattan. We have broken the attempt to demand a five-year renewal of leases. Everyone concerned has agreed to cooperate. This is to thank Mr. Joseph Platzker, of the Department of Housing and Building and of the Mayor's Committee on Lofts and Dwellings and also Federal Officials and the Department of Justice.
People talk about assessed evaluations and others talk about property going down in Now York City. Well, here are several hundred parcels in the vicinity of the Idlewild Airport. The assessed valuation amounted to $525,320, but the court awarded, $661,558. That would indicate, wouldn't it, that New York City is all right and that our assessments are not too high.
CITY'S FUTURE BRIGHT
'New York, the largest City in the United States, is a great City. It will be an even greater City for it will have a far more glorious future than either its present or its past. The position of leadership it has so long enjoyed will be more pronounced and secure. We have unfailing confidence in the future of the City of New York. Our present and post-war plans which provide for extensive expansion within the City are a concrete expression of that faith.' [AUDIO AVAILABLE BEGINNING HERE] Now that is not one of my statements boosting New York. That statement will appear in an advertisement tomorrow of the John Wanamaker store. You know, that is one department store, that did not join with those who would defame and disgrace our City by trying to tear down values and by other nefarious activities. John Wanamaker has been quite an institution in New York City for a long time. In their advertisement tomorrow, they announce the signing of leases for two additional stores. One will be located at 385 Madison Avenue and will be a fashion shop. The other will be at 59 Liberty Street. Good luck to you, John Wanamaker. We appreciate your confidence in this great city.
Here is some more. The Proctor & Gamble Company which has quite a large plant on Staten Island, informs me that at present they are figuring on spending approximately one million dollars just as soon as they can get material and equipment for the enlargement and expansion of their plant at Staten Island. The million dollars will be divided as follows: $400,000 in building, and $600,000 in equipment. Thanks, Proctor & Gamble. If there is anything we can
do to help you, just let us know.
I have a letter here, which says: 'Will you please let me knew why city employees can work on two jobs. I have a nephew recently discharged from the armed forces as a result of wounds suffered in action. He is unable to work full time because of his injuries, yet, when he applies for part time work, he is told there are no openings, because city employees are available for part time work.' 'Disgusted B. of E. Worker' then writes: 'Is Mr. Bromberger too busy to look after this case?' No, Mr. Bromberger is right here in my office and he is not too busy to look after this case. We did follow up the clue that you gave us, and we found two of our city employees getting oyer $2000 a year employed part-time as you stated. Now, 'Disgusted Worker, ' if you will have your nephew get in touch with this office (for I want to make sure he is able to work) we will go straight to this employer and see just what is wrong. We will be very glad to help you. You have a just complaint.
I have a letter here that really made me glad all over when I got it. I want to read it to you. A citizen writes:
'* * * the other afternoon members of this organization were treated to a most beautiful demonstration against racial intolerance, carried on superbly by one of New York City's policemen. The officer's method of handling was firm, but educational, and impressed all onlookers, of whom there were many, that intolerance is unworthy of any citizen of New York. It so happened that a young colored boy of approximately eight years asked for a glass of milk at a drug store soda fountain. The boy was told by the attendant that no milk was available to him. He left the store and took his trouble to the officer on the beat ***** who returned with him to the store, suggesting politely that all children regardless of color should be served. The attendant refused to give the boy milk in spite of the officer's urging. Then followed a firm lecture on the importance of practicing democratic principles. This resulted in the boy receiving his milk, the attendant acknowledging his dangerous point of view and the witnesses glowing with pride at a policeman's performance. I hope that this is but a single manifestation of many more to come in the post-war era.'
Thanks for writing. I do not know this officer. You have given me his number. I hope he is admitted to the bar. If he is, I will make a Magistrate out of him. That is the kind of common sense we need on the bench.
MOVIE THEATRE COMPLAINT
I have received a complaint about the Wagner Theatre, 110 Wyckoff Avenue, Brooklyn. They were admitting children indiscriminately and not limiting them to the children's section and the matron was not on the job. What is also very serious there was smoking all over the place. The theatre was visited August 2nd and was warned, and again on August 14th. The license of the Wagner Theatre at 110 Wyckoff Avenue has been suspended for this weekend -- yesterday, today and until Monday morning. Upon a reoccurrence of such negligence, the license will be revoked. Smoking in prohibited places, particularly moving picture theatres, is a very serious offense, and neglect to observe the requirements of admission of children in 'movie' houses is also a serious offense.
ADMISSION OF MINORS TO MOVIES
On the same subject I got this letter. I must read it to you:
'I wrote this letter to let you in on a racket that has been hovering over New York for a long time. I am one of the many average American boys who are being victimized by these racketeers. It is the movie racket. The signs hanging in front of the movie box offices usually say 'Children over twelve are adults and pay adults price.' That is all right with us, but what happens inside the theatre is entirely unjust. The so-called 'adults' outside become children once again inside and they are stuck in a corner of the theatre with the rest of the children.'
Well, Robert, you've got a just case there, but you want to be fair. It is not a racket. In the first place, the movies are compelled to separate children who are unaccompanied by guardian or parent during the hours allowed children to enter alone. The movie house must have a matron in charge. It is not their fault, that is the City law. The sign outside, (children over twelve years of age are adults) again is not the fault of the moving picture house. That is the United States Law. The United States tax law specifically provides that children over twelve must pay adult prices or the movie house must have separate tickets and separate tax.
After I got your letter I took the matter up with the moving picture houses through Harry Brandt who operates the Brandt Theatres and I always find him helpful. I was very happy when I got this letter:
"In response to your letter of August 15th, and its relation to children's admission to theatres, I am pleased to advise you that the great majority of theatres in the City of New York are acceding to your request and permitting children, during the summer vacation period, up to sixteen years of age, to be admitted to the theatres at children's admission prices."
Well, yesterday I had this all ready to tell you, Robert, and the rest of the children, when lo and behold, we ran into another snag. As I told you, the United States Internal Revenue laws or the tax laws are very severe in all details. They require the same tax to be paid for children over twelve years of age as on the adult admission. If the theatre want to admit them on the children's rate, they must have a separate series of tickets printed with
separate serial numbers. It is going to take a few days to do that and all the movie theatres are trying hard to comply. We are going to see if we just can't use a rubber stamp on the regular ticket. I think though, that the children under sixteen who are compelled to sit in the children's section should be admitted at children's prices and most of the theatres have agreed to do so as soon as we can get the various technicalities arranged with the United States Internal Revenue office. Of course, this is important because the prices in theatres have gone up and there is a 20% tax. Children are charged from 12 to 18 cents and in some other places 24 cents. Now, children, go easy on mother, won't you? If there are two or three or four children in the family and you keep on asking, 'Ma, I want to go to the movies. Why can't I? Joe across the street has the money.' You know, with three or four in the family, at 24 cents each, that amounts up to quite a bit, so you have to be reasonable and cooperate at home. And just don't insist too much. This will help mother and daddy quite a bit if we can possibly obtain admissions at children's prices.
CITY CENTRE STOKOWSKI CONCERTS
Just one more announcement. I think this is good news, and I want to give timely notice of it. Starting Monday evening, October 9th and Tuesday afternoon, October 10th, we start the Stokowski series of concerts at the New York City Center Theatre. It is a great treat to hear a symphony concert directed by the great Maestro, Leopold Stokowski. Here is another great thing! The series of six concerts begins Monday, October 9th at 8 o'clock. The Tuesday series begins October 10th and will start at 6 o'clock in the afternoon. I call that the Subway Series, because you can finish work, get a sandwich or something, go to the 6 o'clock concert and you save a trip home and back in the subway. Another thing: The series of six concerts can be heard in the 2nd balcony for only $3.00 for the entire series. If you want to sit in the orchestra it will cost $9.00 for the series, and in the 1st Balcony $6.00, including tax. Now, that is bringing the best of music to the people of the City of New York at the lowest price in the history of this City. The ticket office is now open at 131 West 55th Street. That is the address of the City Centre. You can buy your subscriptions there. It is a great opportunity and I am very happy to announce it. I have got other things here that I think are interesting but I am going to leave them for next week.
In the meantime, Patience and Fortitude."