This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
La Guardia says this is the last New Year's proclamation by Hitler and it was "certainly the wail of a desperate man." Certain parts of it, says the Mayor, sounded like they were taken from a meeting of America First. He call Hitler's speech a clumsy attempt to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Britain. Mayor La Guardia reviews previous New Year's addresses and claims by the 'arch criminal' Adolph Hitler. And each year he was wrong about Nazi victories. His back is against the wall. He warns, however, that we must continue the fight against him. "Let us not permit the theory of Hitler to take hold in our country."
The food situation is not good. The Office of Price Administration has not done well. He is concerned about a new regulation preventing retailers from buying poultry. Buying of chicken with feathers as opposed to buying a chicken without feathers. Broilers, fryers and roasters. A lot of detail about chickens.
Price violation enforcement
First Prosecution of rent ceiling violation.
Use of soft coal.
(Some missing audio)
City opera building
La Guardia talks about being Mayor. How difficult it can be. He reads from a speech of President Theodore Roosevelt's made in Paris in 1910.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71146
Municipal archives id: LT4031
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
SUNDAY, JANUARY 2, 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, JANUARY 2, 1944, BROADCAST OVER WNYC AT 1.00 P.M. FOLLOWS:
Patience and Fortitude:
Hitler made a New Year's proclamation to the German people on New Year's Day. It is his last New Year's proclamation. This last proclamation was certainly the wail of a desperate man, a fanatic being haunted by millions and millions of his victims. Certain parts of Hitler's New Year's proclamation sounded as if they were taken from a meeting of America First or the Front or the Mobilizers, a clumsy attempt to put a wedge in between the United States and Great Britain. I don't think it registered very much. And how different was this proclamation from that of previous years. In 1941, he said, "The year 1941 will bring the completion of the greatest victory in our history." Again the arch criminal was wrong. In 1942, he said, "Now this year 1941 lies behind us. It will enter history as the year of the greatest victories of all times." Yes, victory over the powerful armed forces of Norway, Holland and Belgium and Greece. Cowardly attacks on Poland and Czechoslovakia. They were the victories about which he was crowing, but now the Nazi forces find themselves with their backs to the wall. The end is in sight.
NO RELAXATION OF WAR EFFORT
Again I say we must not relax, we must not let up, we must continue to work, and work harder. No let down, no strikes, no interruption of production, no complaining and grousing. Willingness to put up with the little sacrifices and all of us lending every bit of energy, every bit of strength, every bit of time to help the armed forces, help our country, unity at home. Let us not permit the theory of Hitler take hold in our country. Let us not permit prepared, stimulated propaganda to create ill-feeling and hatred, jealousy or loss of confidence among the United Nations who are fighting for the liberation of countries all over the world, freedom of men and for permanent peace.
I guess I must talk about food again. The situation in not as good as it was a few weeks ago. I don't know, but I'm inclined to say that the OPA has not done as well in the last 10 days or two weeks as it had during the previous three weeks. I'll talk more about that next week.
NEW POULTRY REGULATION
I am a little concerned about a new regulation of OPA, which permits retailers to buy poultry live or dressed and do the drawing themselves. After all that we have gone through it seems to me that this is very dangerous, but I hope that the consumers learn to know a little more about it and will protect themselves. If you buy a chicken or a fowl with feathers on it, you pay up to 45 cents a pound.
Now let me see if that's right. Yes. You pay from 34 cents to 45 cents a pound. If it is plucked, you pay 46 cents ”” from 41 cents to 46 cents a pound. If it is drawn, you pay from 44 cents to 59 cents a pound, the difference being that broilers and fryers and roasters and capon and the like being 46 cents and the stags and old roosters and ducks being 35 cents and 36 cents a pound. I have said so many times, this is the only way that the consumer may protect himself. If you buy poultry and it is not drawn, you pay 46 cents a pound for broilers, roasters or capons, and no more. Now, if an attempt is made to charge you 58 cents or 59 cents a pound, it must be weighed with the intestines drawn, plucked of course, with the feet off and the head off. Is that clear? If you are charged 58 cents or 59 cents for broilers or fryers, or if you are charged for a roaster 56 cents a pound, or for fowl, 50 cents and 51 cents a pound, it must be weighed in your presence without anything in it except the gizzard, the heart and the liver, the head off, feet off and plucked. Please protect yourself and report any violation to the Department of Markets.
PRICE VIOLATION ENFORCEMENT
Our Department of Markets has been very active. Last week we had 180 summonses in Magistrates Courts, 35 Departmental Summonses and 297 warnings, making a total of 512. We started enforcement on April the 12th, and I think this is the time to give you the total number of cases. We had 2,201 civil violations. We had 6,275 Magistrate's summonses for violations; 1,701 Departmental summonses; 12,548 warnings ”” a total of 22,725 violations which required the attention of the Department of Markets. In addition to that, you know, recently I invoked the powers of the office of the City Sheriff on food enforcement.
I now have a report from Sheriff John J. McCloskey who tells me that during the past week the Sheriff's Office issued a total of 101 Magistrate Court summonses against 19 wholesale food merchants; 38 of the violations charged were in the sale of fruit and vegetables; 63 in the sale of meat and provisions. Of the 38 fruit and vegetable violations, 32 involved the sale of onions. In the Magistrates Court last week fines imposed totalled 1,540. One defendant was sentenced to serve 30 days in jail and another was given 24 days in jail, but that was kept on ice in case he should repeat the violation.
There are two more cases against wholesalers of kosher poultry, which were prosecuted by U. S. Attorney James B. M. McNally who I'm getting to call "Always on the job McNally" insofar as the enforcement of food regulations is concerned. He got a plea of guilty which was very important. The first involved the Bathgate Live Poultry Co., Inc. of 1823 Webster Ave., Bronx. The corporation and its president, Jacob Turkowitz, were jointly and severely fined a total of $2500 by Federal Judge John W. Clancy. In addition, Turkowitz was given a jail sentence of 30 days which he will begin to serve on July 15th.
This is interesting, one of the poultry dealers, the Delancy-Pitt Poultry Market, decided to go on trial, and the trial ended with a finding of guilty. The sentence will be imposed during the week. Again I want to thank the Federal Courts for their very splendid cooperation. In addition to that the fines in the United States District Court amounted to $7,500, and jail sentences totalling 90 days were imposed, so, I believe, that before long, the dealers in this City will realize that enforcement is going to be really effective in New York City.
FIRST PROSECUTION OF RENT CEILING VIOLATION
The first case of violation of rent regulations has been brought in the Federal Court and again, U.S. Attorney James B. M. McNally is prosecuting this case. It will be watched with a great deal of interest.
A great deal of worry this week was about coal. We must do everything we can to conserve coal. Mr. Ickes and Mr. Nelson say that we must save 65 million tons of coal this year, that is in 1944. Everybody is cooperating. I received a memorandum of what everybody was doing about coal in the country and I find that New York City is doing its share in conserving coal. In the course of this last cold week ”” this is strange ”” I received complaints that our subway cars were too warm. Well, I can understand that. People come from the street with their overcoats on and they feel warm. That is a place where we can save a little coal and I am going to ask Commissioner Delaney to look into it. Perhaps you know that if we save 10 degrees of heat in these cars that are electrically heated, we will save 13,000 tons of coal per month in this way along.
We all must be careful in turning out lights that we do not need because every little bit helps.
In sending complaints to the Department of Health ”” we had 24,000 complaints in the last two months please coordinate these in each apartment house and not have every tenant telephone in a separate complaint. This piles up the work and retards investigations. Also, do not report a case of coal shortage unless you absolutely have no coal. This is particularly more important now because Mr. Ickes has frozen an amount of anthracite coal which is at the disposal of consumers who are certified to be in need of coal by the Department of Health. We must all cooperate.
USE OF SOFT COAL
I have appealed to all operators of buildings to use bituminous coal. Now, these 3 methods are suggested for firing soft or bituminous coal in furnaces heating homes or small plants:
(1) Frequent firing of small quantities of soft coal, just enough to cover the bed of hot coal. This method is suggested only for small furnaces
(2) Placing of the fresh coal on one half of the bed at one time and pushing the live coal to the other side, [AVAILABLE AUDIO ENDS HERE] then at each successive firing the side on which the fresh coal is placed can be changed.
(3) Place the fresh coal just inside of the fire door, then after the coal has been converted to coke with the smoky part of the coal burned off, push the coke into the center of the fire with a hoe or rake. If the furnace has a dead plate inside the fire door this should be used for placing of fresh coal.
I will have these instructions repeated on WNYC and if any operator of a building will write in to the Health Department or Commissioner Edwin Solmon, City Fuel Administrator, Municipal Building, New York, we will be pleased to mail a copy of these suggestions.
Talking about enforcement, the other day the boys from Room 7 all came in here with a story appearing in the "Brooklyn Eagle" stating that there was a black market in coal and prices were $1 to $4 a ton above the ceiling price, and what is the Mayor going to do about it? Well, I inquired, who is selling above ceiling prices? They didn't know. So, I telephoned to the City Editor of the "Brooklyn Eagle", an experienced and splendid newspaper man, and he said he would inquire and let me know. Well, he did inquire, and he told me it was an employee of the "Brooklyn Eagle", not a reporter, who had had the experience, but that the employee would not give the name of the dealer. I then telephoned to U. S. Attorney Harold M. Kennedy of the Eastern District of New York, and told him the story. Now, there it is. If people will not give me the information there's very little that I can do. Nothing even the Federal Government can do, if people who are paying above ceiling prices will not cooporate by giving the information, and, particularly, is that true of the newspapers. I submit to the newspapers that they should cooperate with enforcement agencies in breaking the black market. I told you that story because I think it is very interesting.
INFLUENZA CASES DECLINE
I know you want to hear something about the influenza and pneumonia situation. I am glad to tell you that the influenza situation is improving steadily. The Health Department is continually gathering and checking facts and the Health Commissioner, Dr. Stebbins, tells me that since the peak of the outbreak on December 13th, there has been a continuous decline of influenza cases in New York City. The drop has not been in a straight line. There have been a few small humps on the way down. There were days when the cases increased in number over the preceding day. Influenza definitely is on the down-grade. That doesn't mean it can't go up again. Do not ignore what you may think is just an unimportant cold in the head.
If you have a cold, or the grippe, stay at home. Get in bed. Get some rest. Give your body a chance to fight. If you have a fever, call the doctor and follow his orders. Everybody must help by fighting the things that spread the disease. Such things as going about when you have a cold, coughing and sneezing on your neighbor in the subway or theatre, or your place of employment, in the shop or in the office. Carry a handkerchief with you and when you feel that sneeze or cough coming, protect your neighbors by using your handkerchief.
Now here's one other message to you from the Health Commissioner, and I'm really concerned about it, too. He is concerned about the number of persons who are developing pneumonia. Pneumonia, as I have told you, generally causes trouble about this time of the year, but the number of deaths from pneumonia in the City last week was too far above normal. Influenza has a bearing on this increase in pneumonia deaths. The doctors tell me that once you have influenza you are more susceptible to pneumonia, no you see why I keep warning you to stay at home when you have a cold. I do not want to alarm anyone unnecessarily. You know I'm always advising you to be calm, cool, and deliberate in any situation. I'm a realist. I know wishful thinking has never cured any disease or remedied any situation. What we have to do is to face the facts and act intelligently. The facts are these: We still have influenza in the City although it is not as prevalent as it was. We have more pneumonia. We must continue to fight every cold, every case of grippe, every ease of "flu". When there is any doubt, just call a doctor.
I have been praying that snow keeps away from the City. Here is a reminder that it may come and we are still in need of personnel to help clear away the snow and I call upon people in blocks to organize and volunteer to clean their own cross-walks. I hope you will do that. It will help.
CIVILIAN PROTECTION DEMONSTRATION
On Thursday, January sixth, at 3 p.m., the Protective Services of our City will demonstrate the manner in which they will go into action if called upon to cope with a real bombing by the enemy. Now, I know some people will sneer at this. This demonstration is in keeping with the policy of the State Director of Civilian Protection and our own city policy and in accordance with the wishes of the army for the volunteer civilian protective forces to keep alert and prepared. The scene of the action will be at 40th Street, betweon Fifth and Sixth Avenues, and on Sixth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets, fronting on Bryant Park, During the course of the bombing, fires will break out at three different locations. All subsurface utility lines will be assumed to have been broken. A building will be assumed to have collapsed. Theoretical use of poison gas will be a part of the demonstration. A squad of soldiers under Col. Lewis F. Latimer of the Chemical Warfare Section, 2nd Service Command, U.S. Army, will be in charge of the simulation of incendiary and high explosive bombs. There will necessarily be detonations and everything will go into action as if it were a real attack. There will be a narrator present to explain each maneouver and its purpose. The City Patrol, Air Wardens, Auxiliary Fire, Heavy and Light Duty Rescue Squads, Public Utility Vehicles of the Emergency Repair Division, Emergency Welfare Division of the Welfare Department will all be on the job. If you are in the vicinity of Bryant Park on January sixth, at 8 p.m., that's next Thursday, do not become alarmed if you hear commotion in that area. Rather, come over and see and learn how it is done.
There is another call here for waste paper. About a year ago we had a call for waste paper, but this time, they tell me it is on the level. Everybody please collect waste paper, and as I've said before, in all these salvage drives, there is no way you can give it to the government. The government pays for every bit of paper material or anything containing paper. So you can give it to any organization like the Salvation Amy, the Red Cross or any of the organizations collecting paper, or you can donate it to your janitor or superintendent. If you have large quantities, you may sell it yourself. The price for mixed waste paper is from 25 cents to 35 cents a hundred pounds if it is picked up at your place of business or residence. If you deliver to a dealer, it is from 40 cents to 50 cents per hundred pounds. So, please conserve paper and, by all means, do not throw any paper away.
With the approaching session of the Legislature, it is well to begin thinking about legislation to make the bookmakers and the tinhorns appreciate that we have laws in this State. The existing statutes need tightening up.
The Legislature seems not to have been trying hard when the present gambling laws were enacted and they were enacted many years ago. For one thing, an obvious escape for tinhorns is contained in the last sentence of § 986 of the Penal Law. The first part of that section seems to prohibit bookmaking and makes violation a misdemeanor except (and then comes the joker) 'except when another penalty is provided by law'. There is, of course 'another penalty' and this makes prosecutions rather difficult and technical.
If the gambler's profit could be taken out of gambling there would be no gamblers. Now, that isn't anything that I've invented. That has existed in Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence for several centuries and we must simplify the provision in our State Law. The way to take the profit from the tin horn is to provide an easy method for the victim or the victim's family to retrieve gambling losses from the gambler. The Penal Law provides a method which does not help the victim much. The law has several defects which must be remedied if it is to be useful. The first and most glaring defect is that the loser must lose at least $25 or more at one time and must sue within three months after losing. The second is that the loser's family, the real victims of the tin horns, have no such right. We have got to make the law applicable to existing conditions, and, besides, I think that any family of one losing in gambling ought to have the right to recover the losses or any Department of Welfare, or any association or organization that looks after destitute people, and the family becomes a charge, should have the right to recover these losses. I look forward to the cooperation of the Legislature this year to amend the law.
By the way, last week we had the best week in violations concerning gambling. We had only seven cases reported, which is the low for the entire year. Oh, I know I'm kicked around, abused and misrepresented by politicians and others because I am trying to protect home and family life against the thieving tin horns, but there is a gratification. I received a letter dated December 24th, Christmas Eve in which the writer states:
"I must tell you how grateful I am to you and the Police Department in stopping the gambling that was going on at Utica Avenue and Prospect Place, Brooklyn. My husband has been working steady, no drinking and gambling, and our home is happy again. Words can hardly express my appreciation. God Bless you all."
And it is signed, and the address is given. That makes it worth while, doesn't it?
Oh, I was talking about Bryant Park before. Incidentally, Bryant Park will be closed to the public after 10 p.m. It will be bad medicine to be found in this park after that time. People found in the park after that time will be brought to court, charged with disorderly conduct, if not on more serious charges.
THANKS TO CITY PATROL CORPS
I want to take this opportunity of expressing my thanks and appreciation to the City Patrol Corps for the splendid work they have been doing in the parks. Citizens who are lurking in the bushes, behind benches, late at night in the parks should not complain if they are brought
to court and perhaps disgraced for life. The City Patrol has been doing very fine work.
N.Y. COMMUNITY TRUST SPORTS AWARDS
Talking about parks, here is some good news. Fifteen thousand dollars in prizes have been made available by the New York Community Trust for winter sports championships. For instance, basketball, outdoor ice skating, track, boxing, table tennis, instrumental music, handcraft exhibition and indoor roller skating. Your entry blanks are available now. Apply to the Park Department offices in each of the boroughs for your entries. Thanks to the New York Community Trust for this very generous contribution.
Oh, say I must tell you this before I close. Yesterday
METROPOLITAN we finished kind of early here, and I thought I would OPERA
BROADCAST take part of the day off. I went home and tuned in
the radio and heard "La Traviata" from the Metropolitan Opera House. Now frankly, no, it was not on WNYC. It was on WJZ. But I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it. Jan Peerce was the tenor. The cast also included Lawrence Tibbett, Miss Albenese and Miss Votipka, and Sodaro conducted. It was a splendid performance. I got quite a kick out of it.
Sometimes I manage to get home early on Saturday, and sometimes I get the last act or the last two acts, and I get a lot of enjoyment. I find that if I have friends there they like to listen, too. So, it occurcd to me it might be nice to organize a Metropolitan Opera House Radio Fan Club. I know there are so many people all over the country who would enjoy it.
A little word about the Metropolitan. George Sloan, the other day, was making an appeal for funds. What do you think of this idea. All of us radio fans who just can not go to the Met. on Saturday afternoon and can not go evenings as much as we like. Suppose we charge ourselves 10 cents every Saturday afternoon for this fine opera performance that we get over the air. There are going to be 20 such Saturday radio performances. That's $2 If you want to join my Metropolitan Opera House Radio fan Club, it's 10 cents every Saturday, and send your ten cents or $2. for the season directly to the Metropolitan Opera House and tell them how much you enjoyed their radio performance. Maybe next year we will have more radio performances, don't you see, and we want to keep that Metropolitan Opera going.
Oh, some day, we will [AVAILABLE AUDIO BEGINS AGAIN HERE] have our own grand building for opera. I have been set back on that a little as I told you some time ago. But it is going to come. You can't keep good things down and so I thought I'd give you that message, and I think it would be a good thing, just 10 cents every Saturday, $2. for the season, and send it to the Metropolitan.
I said we were going to have a new opera house some day. I have been criticized for that, as you know. Every time one gets a new idea, every time we try to do something, there is nothing but criticism, opposition, sometimes ridicule and very often abuse.
No, I don't get discouraged. Somebody was asking me about that here yesterday when they asked me about ten years' being on this job. Sometimes I feel kind of lonely, though. Well, I have a little quotation here from Theodore Roosevelt, and when I feel I cannot take it at all I just read it. Let me read it to you.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the one who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcomings; who does actually try to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
That was from Theodore Roosevelt in his speech before the Sorbonne in Paris on April 23, 1910.
Patience and Fortitude.