This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Coastal Defenses. Civil defense. Food supply in NYC.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71122
Municipal archives id: LT4080
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, JANUARY 14, 1945
CITY OF NEW YORK
OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
TEXT OF MAYOR F. H. LA GUARDI A'S SUNDAY BROADCAST TO THE PEOPLE OF NEW YORK FROM HIS OFFICE AT CITY HALL, JANUARY 14, 1945, BROADCAST OVER WNYC AT 1:00 P.M. FOLLOWS:
Patience and Fortitude.
WARNING BY ADMIRAL INGRAM
I suppose a great many are really anxious since the announcement of Admiral Ingram, Well of course I looked into it at once. As you know, the Civilian Authorities are constantly in communication with military authorities. Of course you will understand that all military intelligence, that is, all information, must necessarily come from military or naval sources. We have no means, and properly so, of obtaining any information of our own concerning the activities of the enemy. The announcement made by the Admiral is in keeping with prudent precaution by one who has the responsibility for defending our coast. The situation is no different from what it was some six weeks ago when the possibility of an attack was announced. Of course, in war, when we say possibility, we mean that everything is possible. The Army and the Navy are doing everything possible to defend our coast. Your City government is ready as it has been all during this war to do its share of the work. Naturally, we cannot defend, since we have nothing to shoot with, but that is not our function. Our function is to protect life and property insofar as it is within our power to do so. In the event of an attack, we would have to pick up the dead, care for the injured and make all emergency repairs as soon as possible in order not to retard war production, or to in any way hamper our normal city life. That we are prepared to do.
Although, and I want to repeat, the situation is no different than it was six weeks ago, and the possibility, according to the highest military authorities, is rather remote, yet just remind yourselves of what I have been saying for the last three or four years, that more lives can be lost through panic than by enemy bombs. So keep calm and remember that in the remote event of an attack by V2 bombs there is no advance notice - we do not know until we are hit; they cannot be seen; they travel at the rate of an artillery shell, and therefore the first notice is when it strikes.
Very little if any notice is given on the V1 robot bomb so that in all likelihood, there will be no alert sounded until we are struck. Now, if bombs may fall without warning, be on the alert. If an air raid signal is sounded, follow the rules in which you have been instructed. Above all, be calm and avoid panic. If you hear a great explosion, stay where you are, do not rush to the streets, do not rush for exits, stay away from glass windows. If in the open, lie face downward away from walls, protect your head and face with your arms. Do not use the telephone. We need that, the Army, the Navy, the Police, Fire, Emergency Repair, Medical Emergency Services, we need the telephone, so do not use the telephone. If you see a person fall in the milling crowd, raise your hand and shout "Stop" to avoid piling-up and stampeding. Obey orders and instructions of police and wardens. Keep your radio tuned to a local station. Do not be curious. Don't be a wise-guy and get killed. Be prudent and live. Now, let me repeat again, the situation has not changed, it is a remote possibility, but we must be ready. I am telling the dirty, nasty Nazis right now, that we will not stop working, we will not stop production, we will just carry on.
TRIBUTE TO LESTER WOLFF
A new hero of the war is added to the honor list. Lester Wolff of Hook and Ladder 154, an Auxiliary Fireman, a volunteer of our protective forces, was killed last night, responding to an alarm with his company, Hood and Ladder #154. The Mayor and the People of the City of New York, send their sympathy to his family. Lester Wolff died in the service of his country.
APPEAL FOR CIVILAIN DEFENSE VOLUNTEERS
And now, you barflies, you night club hounds, how do you feel? I see your pictures in the paper often, with your girl-friends, sporting around. You are not in the Army, you are not in the Navy. How many of you are in the City Patrol or in the Air Warden Service, or in the Auxiliary Fire Service? Ah, some day, the slackers will be very much ashamed of themselves. I appeal again to the patriotic, family-loving, clean living men of the City of New York beyond the draft age, to join the City Patrol or the Fire Auxiliary or Air Warden Service now. We need men. You know the "work or fight bill" will soon become law. The City is apt to lose more men in the regular armed services and therefore we must have volunteers. Is it asking too much for one who is exempt because of age or one who is exempt because he has family, to do a little volunteer work to protect that family, to protect his city that has been so good to him. Join the Air Warden Service, Auxiliary Fire Service or City Patrol now.
MEAT AND SET-ASIDE ORDER
I have to talk about meat and have quite a bit to say today about it. Consumers, listen attentively to what I have to say to you. Retailers, please take note, and Washington, please take note too. This is a sort of a three-pronged message. First, overall tonnage of nearby slaughtered meat was close to normal this week, while amounts of western dressed meat received was still low due to storm conditions delaying transport. Now that set-aside of army and other government meat requirements is operating under the new set-aside system, consumer supplies are still scant. Steer beef arrivals were large, but set-aside ran to a large percentage. Supplies of locally dressed cow beef and bull beef increased nearly one-half, but not equal to demand. Veal is comparatively scarce, and while lamb supplies increased from last week, supplies were not adequate to demand. This report comes from the War Food Administration and was given to me yesterday and brings us up to date.
Meat is scarce and will continue to be scarce for several months. Set-asides are being kept current. Many local slaughterers in and around New York City and New Jersey and many kosher slaughterers were behind in their set-asides and are compelled to make up now. Therefore with the requirements of the Armed forces and with the available supply, meat will be scarce for several months. I am coming back to that in just a moment.
NEW MEAT REGULATION
The news items concerning the new meat regulation have been rather confusing. I want to see if I can simplify it from a statement received from the Office of Price Administration. I quote the pertinent portions of the new regulation:
"(1) An over-riding ceiling of $18 per owt. will bo placed on live cattle." [That is up to July 1st - I am just giving you up to July 1st.]
"(2) Maximum prices and subsidy payments for 'Choice' cattle will be increased by $1. The minimum in the 'Stabilization Plan' range will be increased by 50 cents."
(3) [This is important.] "It will be made a violation of price regulations for a slaughterer to pay more for live cattle on the average during any month, than the revised maximum prices he is permitted to pay under the subsidy price schedule." [That is typical OPA language and rather involved. It means that no slaughterer will be able to buy all choice cattle and pay the highest price. He must buy an average of all grades in order to keep a balance and thereby not limit his purchase of cattle to choice. Mr. Bowles, the National Administrator, has assured me that he has the machinery to enforce this very important regulation.]
(4) OPA will, from time to time, establish for packing houses a maximum percentage of 'Good' and 'Choice' cattle which they may slaughter during any one month." [Now, that is important. If they do that, it will work. If they cannot do that, it will not work.]
(5) The minimum prices on the commercial and lower grades of cattle will be adjusted to make them $1.50 per live owt. under the maximums in all zones." [lf they do that, and they pay the subsidy, it will work and we will get meat at ceiling prices. If they do not, it will not.]
NEW CEILING PRICES FOR RETAILERS
I am talking to the retailers now. Here are the ceiling prices from slaughterer to retailer:
Beef Carcass or Sides $21.50 per owt, that is AA choice; Good or A, $20.50; Commercial or B, $18.50; Utility or C, $16.50.
Hindquarter, $23.75 for AA Choice; Good or A, $22.50; Commercial or B, $19.75; Utility or C, $17.25.
Do not pay more Mr. Retailer. If you can not get it do not buy it. If it is
offered to you at black-market prices, cooperate with us and we can stop it.
CHESTER BOWLES' LETTER
Here is a definite statement which I received from Mr. Chester Bowles, Administrator of the OPA. I asked him for this statement so that I could quote it today during the broadcast!
"There is no use says Mr. Bowles of my going over the data covered in these several releases. I would like to emphasize, however, that we strongly feel that this program provides the means by which our enforcement people can strike a real body blow at the black market." [Thank you Mr. Bowles. You have our complete support, but you must do just that. Then continues Mr. Chester Bowles] "The program will require slaughterers to buy their livestock within the limits of the stabilization range, and we will be able to take enforcement action if they persist in buying cattle above these limits. Slaughterers who buy their livestock within the limits of the stabilization range cannot possibly have the losses that have been alleged during the last few months. Most of these extreme losses were due to the fact that the slaughterer was paying much more for his cattle than is permitted under the new program."
BONERS NEEDED BY ARMY
As I said before, the Army is buying large supplies, is controlling the set-aside and supervising it very strictly. If there is less business for retailers in New York City I want to say to all butchers, that the Army needs boners. Any butcher trained in the retail business can find employment at once with the Army as a boner. Apply to the U. S. Employment Service, or apply direct to the Quartermaster Corps, U.S. Army in New York. The Army will employ all the boners it can get.
OPA STATEMENT TO CONGRESS
I think it is worth while to read this statement made by Mr. Bowles and sent to every member of Congress. I quote:
"The government did break its promise on food rationing to Americans at home. It had to be done so that the majority of families living on a current stamp basis could meet their needs. Also so that Americans abroad would be sure to have enough food if the war should still be going on next summer and fall.
After all, not only must we share scarce commodities at home fairly but we must supply our fighting force. The stronger and better equipped they are to meet and overcome the enemy the sooner they will be able to finish their job and come home. That is what you and I, as Americans, want more than anything else.
Last summer the country had what seemed to many as plenty of food. The Nazis were being chased out of France at a rate which raised the possibility of early European victory. War planning was shaped accordingly.
Military leaders approved the termination of many war contracts. War production leaders told various manufacturers to convert to peace-time production. The War Food Administration which has charge of all food supply problems, directed OPA to remove 17 processed foods from point control.
Today the war picture is different. War planning has had to be changed. Munitions plants have been ordered back to production. There will even be some new ones constructed. Production of civilian goods is being contracted or abandoned. Rationing is being tightened up.
This is not the first time that changing war conditions have forced a change in plans in a way that seemed like breaking a promise. Some of our boys went into the steaming jungles of the South Pacific two years ago on assignments which they expected would be completed in a few months. They are still there. On many fronts there are men in the supply corps, the engineer corps and construction battalions who have had to throw down their pencils and shovels to fight, because the going got tough.
I am sure that American housewives have what it takes to face their disappointment exactly as the men in uniform have faced more difficult and equally unexpected emergencies." This statement is signed by Chester Bowles.
MAYOR'S RECOMMENDATIONS TO GOVERNMENT DEALERS AND CONSUMERS, RE: FOOD DISTRIBUTION
Going back to the new meat regulation, here are my recommendations to the Federal Government, to the looal dealers and to consumers. This is to the Federal Government:
(1) Strict supervision of deliveries to slaughter houses in order to keep constant average in grade and hence price.
(2) Increase price to be paid by Army for special service, choice of meat, and the 60% take. In other words, the Army pays $21.50. If the slaughterer is paid the $17.50 or $18, he cannot sell that 60% set-aside to the Army without a loss. However, the Army cannot pay more under existing law. Therefore, Congress should amend the law to require the Army to pay actual price without loss for their choice cattle.
(3) Separation of butter and fats from meat coupons. I have been begging for this for 3 years. OPA agrees with me, WFA agrees with me, and yet we cannot got it.
(4) Limit and separate stamps for meat only. Limit them in accordance with available supply, and control shipments so as to honor stamps in accordance with quarterly rationing.
(5) Watch prices and adjust subsidy. Reduce and increase according to available supply on the hoof. It is easier to prevent ills than to cure them, as you must have experienced during this emergency.
(6) Give the consumer the benefit of natural market prices on eggs that have been purchased by the government. Don't keep them until they get rotten. That is so wasteful.
Give us a chance to consume them now at real market prices.
(7) The same should also apply to other price supported commodities.
Now to our local people:
Retailors - play the game honestly and patriotically. Refuse to pay more than wholesale ceiling price and sell retail at lawful ceiling prices. Report violators, tie-ins, and black market slaughterhouses and wholesalers. I have assurance from the OPA in Washington and from WFA that if you will cooperate, you will be fully protected. I am working on a plan where it may be possible through mutual agreement to reduce the number of days that retail butcher stores should remain open each week.
Consumers - cooperate with your retailers. If the retailer is honest, he is having a tough time serving you. Consumers must take their share of the various grades just as the slaughterer and the retailer. A moment ago I told you that every slaughter house had to take a certain percentage of every grade of cattle, therefore you must do the same. Do not be foolish and insist on choice AA. Chances are you can get it only occasionally, and chances are you will pay for choice and get commercial or utility instead. So, watch for commercial, it is very good beef and watch for utility, you make many, many, many tasty dishes with it. So buy commercial or utility.
Consumers must reduce their consumption of meat. It is going to be scarce. We will soon return in a matter of a few days, as soon as I get back from Washington, to meatless Tuesdays in addition to good old fish Fridays. On Monday, arrange your menus, so that your Monday dinner will be left-overs of the previous week. We do it at home and it is tasty and attractive and rather exciting. We must reduce consumption of meat in all public eating places, hotels and restaurants. I am now working on a plan for meatless Tuesdays and Fridays in all public places and for a by-product menu on Mondays. You and I, talking at home, can call it left-overs on Monday, but of course the ritzy places, they can not call it left-overs, so they will have by-product menus on Mondays - if you get what I mean.
Last week, we talked about fish and lo and behold, in a minute there was a rush for haddock and cod and the prices jumped. Now, retailers, I am sorry you did that. I have a letter here from The Fishery Council, in which they promise to cooperate and in which they inform me that there is plenty of fish available but that some of the retailers did not order enough. That is no reason why the price should have been jumped. The price of haddock and cod is 23 cents in group 1 and 2 stores. Look here independent dealers, I have always been very fair with you, and you know I have, and I have always given OPA prices in your stores. However, you did not act fairly last week on the fish. The OPA ceiling price is 23 cents and it jumped to 30 and 35 cents. Just for that I am going to say that in the chain stores you can get haddock and cod for 21 cents. If you do not play the game, I am going to boost the chain stores and give the chain store prices. Enough is enough. I am not going to take it and I am not going to let you people get away with it. All right, listen housewives, cod and haddock can be obtained in all chain stores at 21cents per lb. Mr. Retailer, independent dealer, your price is 23 cents per lb. and you stick to that 23 cents per lb. I will help you next week, if you play the game this week. If you do not, I have something else up my sleeve.
Here is some more bad news. There is going to to a set-aside for the armed forces of 20% in February, and 25% in March of all butter. Butter will be very tight and very scarce. Although the set-aside starts in February, the Army is taking butter now which will reflect in our available supply, and for which dealers may obtain credit in their February quota. So again, let me remind you that oleomargarine is just as good. Yes, we used it last night. We had hamburgers last night, we generally do on Saturdays when Mario has stamps, and we used oleo and you cannot tell the difference.
WALKER GORDON MILK
I want to say to families who use Walker Gordon milk for infants that I have just received assurance from Locals 680 and 584 Unit #2 of the Teamsters Union that any infant requiring the special Walker Gordon milk will receive it on prescription of a doctor. I want to express my thanks to the Locals for doing this and I want to say to the Walker Gordon Company, that I hope they will get in touch with the New Jersey State Board of Mediation and adjust their existing difference. I have a high regard for the Walker Gordon Company. It is one of the finest scientific dairies in the whole world. It has a magnificent plant and its service is excellent. It has such a high reputation and we all have so much confidence in it that I hope the labor adjustment will be settled.
As I said before, we have to adjust our menus on available food. Tonight, when I go home, you know I do not have lunch, we are going to have a special OPA pasta faggioli. We revised the recipe to meet the present meat shortage. You know, ordinarily with pasta faggioli you can use a ham bone or a slice of ham or something like that, but that is just out of the question now. So Mario is going to use just 2 oz. or so of salt pork with sliced onions, and then boil the beans in that, nice brown kidney beans, When that is about cooked, then you put in a good supply of escarole, and when that is cooked, then you put your pasta ditalis or you can take macaroni and spaghetti and break it up and put it in there and let it boil to the consistency that you want, but do not cook your macaroni or spaghetti too much or it will got pasty and gluey and will not be nice. This makes a perfect, well balanced meal in itself. You have the proteins, the vitamins, the starches, and everything that you need - and no stamps required.
Oh, there are some 50 or 60 different ways that you can cook pasta faggioli. Some people instead of using the pork, might well use vegetable oil, it does not take much to do that and it is very good and very tasty.
I suppose if you ask some very prosperous Italians around town, "Do you know what pasta faggioli is," they will say, "Oh, no, we have never heard of it, we have never had it in our house." That is a lot of bunk, all poor people have pasta faggioli and nowadays it is quite a luxury and it is very nutritious. Of course, it is tough on me, because when I have pasta faggioli I just have to watch my diet. I have to go on a very strict diet for the next week, I can not have any fruit juices, or anything, because I have had pasta faggioli. No, that is not because I am afraid of getting fat, but because I have to look after my sugar content. Many people at my age have to be very careful about that. If you can exercise self discipline and not eat starchy foods, you will avoid a great deal of inconvenience. I have never had to take insulin yet ”” knock on wood”” but I do have to watch my diet and have to pay the price every time I have pasta faggioli. I mention that dish just to give you an idea that it is possible to get the things that you like and to get the necessary nutrition for yourself and the children ”” that is important ”” even on any kind of a limited market. We just must adjust ourselves to that which is available.
LETTER FROM WIFE OF GAMBLER
Oh yes, the woman who wrote me, "I wonder Mr. Mayor if in your broadcast you can mention if it is possible for your humble servant to call at your office. I would appreciate the favor very much." This is from the wife of a gambler. Yes, I will be very happy to see you. Come in and just tell Inspector Harten that you are the lady that wrote the letter to which I refer and you will then confer with Mr. Murphy and I will be glad to see you.
GAMBLING IN APARTMENT HOUSES
I want to say in answer to several letters which I have received that unless tenants in an apartment house cooperate, that is where commercial gambling has been introduced in apartment houses we cannot put the rascals out of business. These thieving chiseling tinhorns do that, because they get comfort in the counts. The courts and the newspapers bawl out the police officers who do their duty and that is a sort of a tip-off, don't you see, to these thieves, to rent an apartment and run their games there. We can not have our police abused by the newspapers, so when you write in you must cooperate.
FIRST BOOKMAKER CONVICTED SINCE RACING BAN
Oh, incidentally, I have to tell you this. The first book maker arrested since the abolition of racing in this country, was convicted by Magistrate Disorio and received 18 days. Well, that is very good, Judge Disorio, that is very good indeed, that is the way to treat them. But this is the funny part of it, it is funny, but it was not funny to him I guess. He happens to be a very good friend of a very good friend of mine and my family, but it did not do him any good, did it. So do not depend on that boys, that will not help you.
CITY CENTER PROGRAM
Before I close, Paul Moss and Newbold Morris want me to announce that the City Center is now giving "La Via Parisienne". It is very beautiful music by Offenbach. If you do not have your tickets, you must go and get them, because it is very lively and interesting music. Tomorrow night, we have the Leopold Stokowski concert. On Tuesday at 6 P.M., for office and shop workers, we have the same Stokowski concert.
I am sure you noticed that very often if I make some chance remark, the newspaper boys kind of construe it as to what I may do in the future. For instance, if I say I must repair my glasses since they are getting loose, and I am going to need them a long time, the next day they say, "Mayor indicates he is going to run for office". Or, if I reach over and I say I do not have muoh tobacco but it will do, they say "Mayor indicates he may not run for office". Now, I want to tell you something. There is no justification for any construction on anything I may say as to future planning for the City or any future activity. Of course, I can understand the interest of some of the people but I can assure you, my friends, there is so much to do to keep me busy without giving any thought to politics or the coming election. I have to administer this City as Mayor. It is the only way it can be administered and not as a candidate. At the proper time, during the week perhaps when petitions must be filed,
I will make an announcement. Up to that time, it is all I can do to run this City without giving any thought to anything else.
Some statements have been made by leaders of political parties. That is all right. These statements were completely within the realm of political propriety and they are quite justified in building up either opposition or antagonism. That is quite proper and I have no fault to find with any of the statements that have been made. But I just am too busy to give it any thought now. At the proper time, perhaps during the week that petitions may be filed, I will make an official or personal announcement.
Up to that time, there is no reason to try to deduct or look for any hidden meaning, or any innuendo or any tip-off of any kind, nature or description. I am running your City. That is what you elected me to do and that is what I will do until the very last day of my term, whenever that maybe and I will do it with
Patience and Fortitude.