This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Food shortages, low cost clothing, Mayor Gaynor. Fiorello La Guardia talks t the people. Broadcast on WNYC, February 18, 1945.; La Guardia talks about meat shortage Armed Forces food consumption OPA price violations warns poultry dealers about overcharging low cost clothing New York Times article on meat shortage manufacture of rayon underwear coal and kerosene shortage numbers games and odds and practices of gamblers admonishes Henry Morgenthau, Jr., to alter number quotations gambler convictions thanks New Jersey for fighting gambling urges listeners to write Representative about gambling legislation.; La Guardia also reviews book on life of Mayor Gaynor asks James J. Walker if he followed Gaynor's ideas Gaynor's handling of police his philosophy on police action compares himself to Gaynor traffic problem with interstate busses transportation problem at Brooklyn Naval Yard, Brooklyn Civic Center investigation of college basketball at Madison Square Garden, proposed changes in seating and gambling Committee on Consumer Assistance usury laws shelter for neglected children WNYC American music series creation of music during war period Lend-Lease philosophy.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 54806
Municipal archives id: LT4085
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, FEBRUARY 18, 1945
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, February 18, 1945.
BROADCAST OVER WNYC AT 1:00 P.M. FOLLOWS:
Patience and Fortitude:
The people of the City of New York are adjusting themselves to the available food during this war period. As I told you many times and particularly during the last few weeks, the supply of meat is becoming increasingly short and will continue to be less for the next few months. In fact, the supply of meat will be short during all of 1945.
I want to extend my thanks and that of the War Food Administration to the restaurants, and hotels and public eating places of New York that are cooperating so magnificently in the meatless Tuesdays and Fridays. This reflects itself in the retail market and has made it much easier for housewives to do their marketing. It has sort of let up the pressure. It is all so helpful because, as I have said, the supply will became increasingly short. When you do without meat on Tuesdays and Fridays, or when you eat a left-over meal at home on a Monday, just remember that 20 million pounds of beef go to our armed forces overseas every week. This is in addition to what men in the Army and Navy consume here at home. 20 million pounds is an increase from a normal consumption of 12,500,000 pounds. Commencing now and during all of Spring, the Armed Forces, the Army and Navy, will increase their purchases up to 25 million pounds per week. This is for both theatres of war - European as well as the Pacific. You see, because of the changed position of our troops in the Pacific, we are providing all of the meat for the Army and Navy in the Pacific at this time. So please do not begrudge the Armed Forces the food that is necessary to keep them going in order to do the fighting for us. The figures I received from the National Livestock people of the Midwest and Southwest bear out for the first time the figures given by the Army.
PRICE CEILING ENFORCEMENT
This week we issued 222 summonses in the Magistrate's Court for violation of OPA price ceilings.
POULTRY PRICE CEILING ENFORCEMENT
I do want to say that it is becoming increasingly difficult to enforce prices in poultry, so will you please cooperate with us. Most poultry, both live and fresh killed, is now sold above ceiling prices. We are having a difficult time. I have instructed Commissioner Brundage to place Inspectors right in the shops. They will have their badges on and they will witness sales. Listen dealers, do not think you are going to get away with this, I know what you have been doing, A lady comes in, buys poultry, you put in in the bag and you say $2.50, $3., $1.85, but you do not say anything about the weight. Well that is chiseling, that is violating ceiling prices. In fact that is even something more serious, and we are not going to let you do it, so be on your guard. Commissioner Brundage, just station your inspectors in places you suspect and I hope that the consumers will cooperate.
There will be porgies all during next week at 21 cents per pound. All stores that have been able to buy in large quantities can sell for 21 cents a pound. That is a good buy. Other stores should sell around 22 cents per pound. Look here fish dealers, I am cooperating with you, am I not? So you just cooperate with me and with the people of the City of New York. Porgies will be 21 cents per pound and that is the best buy in fish next week.
MEATLESS DAY MENUS
Congratulations to these restaurants for very attractive and tempting dishes for meatless days: Colony, Zucca's, Crillon, Massoletti's, Luchow's, Keen's 36th Street, and Keen's 73rd Street, Ye Olde Dutch Tavern, White Turkey Restaurant, Hotel Abbey Restaurant and Billy the Oysterman. That is good work.
NEW YORK TIMES FORECAST OF NEAR-MEATLESS SUMMER
Talking about meat, will wonders never cease. I want to call your attention to an article in the New York Times today by Charles Grutzner, Jr., entitled "Estimates Reveal Threat Of Near-Meatless Summer." Weil, thank you New York Times for coming to life. Only let me remind you that the figures you use were obtained from the same source from which I obtained them, from the WFA and the OPA- and I announced these figures two weeks ago. In the meantime, the New York Times has been seeking to sabotage the conservation of meat program. Therefore, how can you reconcile your sneering and jeering of conservation of meat with the article in today's Times by Charles Grutzner, Jr. I ask you New York Times, won't you please cooperate? We need all the help we can get, and you know this is Brotherhood Week and Unity Week, and all sorts of things, so won't you please help?
LOW COST CLOTHING
You remember, that I talked to you two or three weeks ago about low cost clothing. Well, we got a little shock about two days ago when the papers announced that some of the manufacturers had protested and did not like the new Order. I talked to Mr. Chester Bowles yesterday again on it, and he assured me that there will be plenty of low cost garments, particularly for women and children, and that we must give a little time for the Order to take effect. As I told you 3 or 4 weeks ago, we ought to begin to see the benefits of this in the latter part of March, surely around the middle of April, May and June, July and August, there should be plenty of cotton garments available. Seventy-five percent of the allocations of textiles will be for low priced garments and 75% will bear the retail prices on a label sewed in each garment. Again, I say that is good work, OPA and WPB. The trouble started with some of the rayon manufacturers. Well, I am not very much concerned with that, most of us can not afford to wear rayon underwear anyhow and we will do the best we can. Let me remind manufacturers who are protesting against this program for low cost garments, they may be barking up the wrong tree. Suppose they do beat the OPA and suppose they do put most of this production in high priced garments? Did it ever occur to them that Congress could slap another luxury tax on those high priced garments and then they would not know what to do, would they? So I would advise all manufacturers and mills just to follow the regulations and the new orders of WPB. By the way, Mr. Bowles thinks the rayon question has been settled satisfactorily. If you can possibly mend your children's clothes, or your own, do so and do not buy until April when the low cost new garments will come out.
COAL - KEROSENE
We are keeping right on top of tho coal situation. There has been a very difficult situation in kerosene. A great many of our buildings that have no central heating plant are heated by kerosene, and most of the New York City supply of kerosene is blocked between Albany and Buffalo. It is not coming through yet. I have taken this matter up with Mr. Harold Ickes, the Fuel Administrator, and there is some relief in sight - we will got some tonight, and some tomorrow. I want to ask the retail dealers of kerosene for their complete cooperation. If you can not handle it all immediately we will be very happy to put some of our own oil tanks on the streets to help the situation. Of course, if we can get continued help from Deputy Commissioners Sun and Temperature, our problem will be eased.
Thanks to the New York Stock Exchange, and thanks to the Curb Exchange and thanks to Cincinnati - that was fine cooperation. It was what was to be expected from reputable, decent, law abiding citizens.
I want to talk to the players of numbers. You poor victims, or in your own language, you poor suckers, you know under the numbers, you do not have a chance. I know what is going on. I have before me the card showing that you can select one number of three different reports. Do you know what your chances are? No you don't. If you did you would not be fool enough to play. Do you know that you have one chance in 999 of winning? And they call themselves gamblers. That is why I call them thieving tinhorns, they take no chance at all. Let me tell you something if you are given the choice of 1 in 3 of different reports, do not let them shift the location. That is what they are doing. If you have one in 3 in any order, then your chances of winning is increased 333 to 1, that is, the tinhorn has 333 chances to your one. As it is rigged now, he has 999. And even if you happen to play the three winning numbers, he will shift the order on you. If he does that, just holler "cop", hang on to him and we will do the rest. I want to again thank those who cooperated.
The boys are still playing the Morgenthau numbers. Say Henry, why Don't you help too? After all when you are quoting billions of dollars, after you have the billions, the rest does not make much difference. Does it Henry? So that is what they are calling it Henry - the Morgenthau numbers - and I do not think that is nice, do you? You are just too nice to do anything like that and I would like to have you help.
POLICY RACKETEERS SENTENCED
Well, it was not a good week for the tinhorns. The policy racket in Manhattan was jolted Friday in two magistrates' court when three men were given indeterminate penitentiary terms up to three years. Ah, you big bums, you will go on the coal heap now and work for the first time in your life. Give it to them Dr. Amaroso. Another received a 90 day term and two others paid fines of $250 each. Well, that $250 is just bread taken from the mouths of children. Chief Magistrate Henry H. Curran imposed the 90 day prison term and the other prison terms were imposed by Magistrate William Klapp. Magistrate J. Roland Sala also had a good day in court. He gave one six months, he gave 30 days to three and 15 days to another. I guess he softened up by the end of the day.
APPELLATE DIVISION BOOKMAKING DECISION
We have had another very good break in the Appellate Division Second Department. I want to thank the Appellate Division for sustaining a conviction by Magistrate Horn in the case of the people against George Marsanito. It established good law. You know some of the Appellate Courts have held that we almost have to have a moving picture and a sound track of a tinhorn taking a bet. In this case, the mere fact that the thieving tinhorn was in the midst of all these slips and numbers and information was held to be sufficient to sustain a conviction and the Appellate Division of the 2nd Department certainly deserves the thanks of the community.
Even New Jersey is getting after the tinhorns. Go to it, Jersey that is good work.
BROOK GAMBLING BILLS
Incidentally, I have been talking big, haven't I? Well not so big after all. I need help, yes sir, I need help in moving the Brook bills now pending in the State Legislature. These bills would remove some of the jokers in the present law which make it so difficult to get a conviction. Won't you help me, I can not do it alone. It seems that the tinhorns have more influence than the Mayor of the City of New York in this respect. So won't you write to your State Senator and your State Assemblyman and ask them to get busy on the Brooks bills. Ask him if he is for the children, for the family, for family life, or if he is for the tinhorns.
"GAYNOR" BY LOUIS PINK
You know, some of the conditions today are the result of mistaken policy of years ago. This week I received from my good friend, Louis Pink, who heads the Associated Hospital Service, a book that he wrote back in 1931 called "Gaynor". You know, Mayor Gaynor was the most scholarly of all of us 99 Mayors that have served the City. It is a very interesting book. I would recommend that people, especially this year, read the book. It is strange, he wrote it in 1931 and on the fly leaf, it says "Dedicated to James J. Walker, the bright and colorful Mayor of New York City - to all future Mayors of New York City - to lawyers, judges, politicians and philosophers everywhere." Well Jimmy, I wonder if you read that book. Perhaps if you had I would not be here today. It is a very good book, but of course there are some things that Mayor Gaynor did that I do not agree with. That is what made me talk of it. He had a notion about the treatment of the activities of the Police. He did a lot to impair the morale of the Police and he did a great deal to establish the custom of the courts going in and policing instead of leaving it to the Commissioner. But Mayor Gaynor lived to rue that policy. The cause celebre, the young Duffy case, that he championed before he became Mayor, well while he was Mayor, Duffy just continued on and finally was sent to the penitentiary. Louis Pink says this, "Gaynor, when in the Mayor's chair, found that it is not easy to treat the criminal classes like gentlemen and keep the city clean. No problem proved so vexatious as the police. No other problem gave Mayor Gaynor so much heart-ache or added so quickly to his years. What is the answer to this question? Must a law be broken by its officers sworn to enforce it?" Let me add, I say no. "Or can convictions be secured, and the criminal element, gambling and prostitution be suppressed without the use of unlawful force or the employment by the police of the vilest creatures of the underworld?" I will answer that. It can be done without resorting to such tactics. That is what I am trying to do. That is why I appeal to the press for help. That is why I ask the courts for their understanding and help. Yes, there are things that Mayor Gaynor did that I do not approve of. But he was a great Mayor and he did great things, I like to read about him. You know I do not claim to have any of his virtues, I do not claim to have his capabilities and abilities, but I certainly have many of his faults. And incidentally may I say to my political friends, you ought to read "Gaynor" because in this book you might learn that the only way to get rid of a good Mayor is to shoot him.
TRAFFIC CONGESTION - BUSSES
My other trouble is traffic. I have talked to you on many occasions about it, and recently we had a very bad condition in mid-town on the west side of Manhattan with Interstate busses. Now these Interstate busses have just acquired bad habits. I have been fussing around with them for 10 years and they have not learned yet that they can not buy their way in New York City - not as long as I am Mayor. Oh, yes, they have beaten us a couple of times in court - I understand, I understand, but we must solve our traffic problems. Commissioner Valentine has just promulgated a regulation, effective 12.01 A.M., February 24, 1945, which will result in the spacing of Interstate traffic busses on the west side, so as not to have a flock of these same busses on the same block at the same time. They will either be spaced or timed in order that they may reach their terminal without blocking and congesting traffic in Manhattan. Of course, we recognize interstate transportation. But such busses are permitted only to take passengers from another state and to bring them to a terminal in New York City, the same as the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central. They can not pick up and discharge passengers on the streets of New York without obtaining a franchise to do so. So I hope that this new order of the Commissioner will help. We must solve this problem by going to its very roots, by arranging for appropriate terminals out of the flood of traffic, the same as we have for railroads and airplanes.
We hope to improve somewhat the transportation problem in Brooklyn. We are getting help from the Manpower Commission mission. We are now studying a plan with the Navy Yard whereby trolleys can take on and discharge passengers right within the Yard. If we can get more personnel and more material. I hope conditions will be better.
BROOKLYN CIVIC CENTER
It looks now as though a plan for a Civic Center in Brooklyn will be presented real soon, with a limited number of acreage or space if the Banks agree to take over that property leaving the City without any loss or cost whatsoever. A beautiful plan is now in the course of preparation by the Borough President of that Borough, Mr. Cashmore and Commissioner Robert Moses, representing the Mayor. I understand that the Comptroller is now negotiating to see whether a proper sale of the land can be made.
For the past two weeks, Commissioner Edgar Bromberger and his staff have been making a study of college basketball. The report was submitted to me early this morning. I know how keenly interested and concerned you all are and therefore we will give you a sort of preliminary report on conclusions and recommendations which I have approved. There are some details yet to bo studied and considered in the long range program which, of course, will take some time. The study covered the basketball field only. It was a painstaking, unemotional, objective approach to the problem.
I am sure you will all be glad to hear that the report indicates that up to date no improper action or attitude but one rather of the best and approved methods of amateur and collegiate athletics has been maintained by all of the faculty members connected with those activities. Therefore, the faculty members, coaches, advisors and others have all acted with propriety according to the best ethics of colleges, and there is no fault to find. There is some slight disagreement as to the present methods which will be carefully studied in time.
I can announce now that insofar as colleges supported by the People of City of New York, that is CCNY and Brooklyn College, there will be no change in games scheduled at Madison Square Garden during 1945. Inasmuch as games are scheduled well in advance, I do not believe there will be any change in games to be played at Madison Square Garden for the year 1946.
On the report of the Commissioner and within the time I have had to study it, I am going to urge now terms in the agreement between the City Colleges and Madison Square Garden. These public games have passed the promotional or experimental stage and sufficient experience has been obtained to justify more equitable terms. For instance, in the game of December 6, 1944 between CCNY and Detroit (and bear in mind that two games are played each evening, the other game was between NYU and Rochester) the total gross receipts were $19,505. Expenses of Madison Square Garden were $2,085. Traveling expense of visiting teams was $1,700. City College received $1,628 and NYU received $2,042, University of Detroit received $1578, University of Rochester received $1,578 and Madison Square Garden received $8,481. Madison Square books broke this figure down to $5933 direct profits and credited the basketball department of Madison Square Garden with $2,548. With these figures, I am sure everyone will agree that a greater percentage should go to the colleges. This could be easily arranged with Madison Square Garden taking an amount say equal to normal rental for the use of the Garden. Another suggestion which I shall make, perhaps, it may reduce the revenue, but I am not sure.
Now, then, to give you a complete picture of the 8 events of this season, that is 8 evenings, the total receipts were $155,728. Expenses for Madison Square Garden were $14,100. Total traveling expense of visiting teams, $15,900. College participation, $55,911. Madison Square Garden participation, $69,738, in addition to the $14,100. Madison Square Garden breaks down its income, $14,100 expenses, $49,000 direct profit and $20,738 to the basketball department of Madison Square Garden.
You understand, of course, that the total of college participation covers 32 different college teams during the 8 evening events and CCNY took part in 5 and Brooklyn College in 3 of the 32 games. This brings us up to January 10, of this year. For the five games CCNY during the 1944-1945 season, received a total of $10,267, and Brooklyn College $3,563 for the three games.
I will seek by invoking such influence as I may have, to have more seats on the floor and on the mezzanine assigned to students at minimum rates. The present arrangement of charging $1.20 with a limited number of seats to students is not satisfactory. I can see that my suggestion may reduce the income slightly, but I do not believe it will, and I think it is worth while. At present 2400 seats at $1.20 are allocated to student bodies. As I have said, that is not enough.
More desirable seats for students and not on the top balcony, must be provided at the maximum of 50 cents. Students who desire to go in the balcony should be able to do so for 25 cents. A most unsatisfactory condition has already been corrected at the suggestion of Commissioner Bromberger, and that is to reserve suitable and desirable seats to all members of the varsity teams who participate in games, but who do not happen to be playing that evening.
There is no doubt that gambling prevails on these games. I do not mean innocent or friendly small bets between friends, I am talking of chiseling gamblers, the thieves and tinhorns who do not take any chance at all. Evidence gathered by the Commissioner indicates that this pollution of professional gambling prevails in many parts of the country where big games are played. Two sheets, patterned on racing forms, are published. Of course they are not interested in sport - they are just sheets for the promotion of the tinhorn thieves. One is published in Minneapolis and one in Philadelphia. Continued police activity will be maintained and swift and drastic action taken wherever those pests are active.
Here again in the name of all sport loving Americans, in the name of our college students, I appeal to the press for cooperation. A great deal of the loot of the thieving tinhorn could be eliminated if the press stopped printing odds on teams before the game is played. I can only make this urgent and sincere plea. Suggestion has been made for the formation of a Metropolitan Conference consisting of college officials. That is something I shall leave entirely to the colleges themselves. Another suggestion has been made for the creation of some sort of a Board of Central Control consisting of College, City and other officials. I am not prepared to go along with that. I hope the time has not come when every time a kid takes a ball in his hand he has to be supervised by government officials. Rather let us all join in cleansing the community of the undesirable element, the leeches that prey upon innocent and enthusiastic people who would corrupt our youth. Let the police and the courts handle that end of it.
I received the first report from the Mayor's Committee on Unity. It concerns the matter of the cost of living in West Harlem. A survey was made and on that survey a report was submitted. Among the recommendations include (1) consumer's education in marketing and (2) the establishment of standards of proper marketing and standards of food by the establishmont of a public market in that area. I think it is a good suggestion. I shall make that recommendation to the Board of Estimate for an amendment to the capital outlay budget for the construction of a public city market in that area. I want to express my thanks to Mr. Charles Evans Hughes,
Jr., and to the entire Committee on Unity.
LOW INTEREST BILLS
If you have not done so, will you please write to your Assemblyman and Senator - here is another letter for him -to give us some relief, to give us some help, to remove the blot from the State of New York by amending the usury laws so as to prohibit the charging of 36%, 30%, 18%, and 15% on small loans. Write to your Assemblyman, write to your Senator. Listen, they call these the LaGuardia bills. Look, they are not spiting me if they do not pass these bills, they are just helping those leeches, those usurers, those blood suckers, who take 36% interest on small loans. These bills would help the families in our town and our City, it would help anyone in the State. So write to your Assemblyman, write to your Senator for action on the interest bills.
CHILD CARE ASSOCIATION MEETING
Right after this broadcast, we are going to have the organizational meeting of the Board of the Association for Temporary Child Care. We have been having considerable trouble about that. It is so hard to find foster homes now. We are terribly overcrowded in the facilities we have, so three religious groups got together, Catholic, Protestant and Jewish, and they formed a Committee, It looks promising. The three groups have agreed to contribute together $45,000 and the balance will be provided by the City. Arrangements have been made with the SPCC for the leasing at a nominal sum of the SPCC building. I want to pause to express the thanks of the Mayor and of the People of the City of New York to the SPCC for their fine cooperation. This is an experiment. I do not know whether or not it will work - I think it will. This is only half the job. We also have to provide proper shelter for children who are held awaiting disposition of the Children's Court. The present arrangements are not satisfactory. I do not mean to say by that that the members of the Committee of the Youth Center have not done a magnificent job. I do not know what the City would have done without them, and I want to express my appreciation to them. Even though they did so well with the facilities they have, it is sort of a make-shift. We have to approach this problem as a whole and that is what I intend to do. So right after the broadcast, we will have this organizational meeting and then maybe we can get proper personnel in time. We hope to open the new Shelter for Neglected Children in a very few days. Now mark you, this is not temporary shelter, oh no, we want to find foster homes for neglected children. Many of these children have their own families to go home to when the temporary cause of their requiring shelter has been removed. Sometimes the mother is sick, or sometimes something happens to the father. There are all sorts of reasons why these children come to us. They have done no wrong. They just had misfortune in the family.
Don't you think that they are entitled to a cheerful place? Comfort without cheer is not enough. That is why I say I would like to have those children in their own homes, but if they cannot have their own homes, then foster homes. So what we plan for now is temporary shelter.
WNYC MUSIC FESTIVAL
This is WNYC American Music Festival Time. Do you know we have already given 84 concerts and radio programs of American music, or music performed by American musicians. I think you know it is one of the greatest contributions of our time for good music. I want to congratulate Mr. Novik and WNYC for this outstanding American Music Festival that has attracted the attention of the whole nation. Last night we heard a concert by members of the Armed Forces. It was most interesting. The conductor, a very good conductor, was a private first class, and he had sergeants and commissioned officers in the orchestra. There were some soloists there, all members of the Armed Forces. They had everything from the Captain down to a two-day recruit. The harpist had been inducted into the service Thursday and he was playing in this Armed Force symphony on Saturday. There is a great deal of significance in this American Music Festival Week. It means that we have not permitted the war to stop the creation of music and of art. We are going forward, we are going forward in the sciences, but we have not interrupted the creative art or things of beauty. We are saving a lot of the good things.
Not only for ourselves but for others too. The time will soon come when we will be able to share these better things of life with other countries, besides lend-lease of wheat, and corn and meat, and lend-lease of weapons of war and ships and planes. We are storing up and after the war, we will be able to lend-lease to other countries these things that we are saving and storing now, for the better things of life. We will lend-lease to them of our music and of our art. We have conserved the spiritual values of life, and yes, we may be able to lend-lease the spiritual values of life, and yes, we may be able to lend-lease what we have sought to hold, what we seek to pass on, Love of God,
Patience and Fortitude.