This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
War news. Argentina. Raid precaution. Food.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71153
Municipal archives id: LT4054
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SUNDAY, JULY 30, 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, JULY 30, 1944, BROADCAST OVER WNYC AT 1:00 P.M. AS FOLLOWS:
The Red Army is advancing and pushing back the Nazis every day. Things are apt to happen on that front. The news for the last few days from Cherbourg Peninsula is most encouraging. Our troops and the British are advancing southwest of the Peninsula. I believe it was last week that I spoke about the possible break and a division in high military circles in Germany. That does not mean that the Generals who differ with Hitler are in favor of the United Nations or believe in the things in which we believe. Not at all. The difference in all likelihood is in the matter of strategy and tactics. It means that even if they should shoot Hitler or get rid of him in some way, the war would continue. Of course, there would be no change in the approach toward any new military government in Germany other than that already announced by Churchill and Roosevelt as to unconditional surrender.
That was a good statement Cordell Hull made the other day about Argentine. It is about time, but it was a good statement and it certainly snapped Argentine into action. Now they profess to be great friends of the United Nations and in the report today they tell of all the things they have done. Well, Argentine, actions speak louder than words - the only way to show real sincere friendship with the United Nations and Sister Republics of the Western Hemisphere is to get right in line. I think that is something that would be brought about by the people of Argentine - a better understanding between the people of Argentine and the people of the Sister Republics, in South, Central and North America. The diplomats can not do very much, they have not done very much to date. Here is a job for La Prensa and La Nacion, two great papers that have brought about great changes and have contributed a great deal to the growth, development and greatness of Argentine. Let us hope that Argentine will soon be in line.
REVIEW OF AIR RAID PRECAUTION
On this hot August Sunday, there is no cause for alarm, but as I have stated so many times, surprise is one of the greatest factors in warfare. New York City has been always well prepared and therefore there should be no letdown. Let us recall the fundamentals in precautionary measures in the event of an attack. We issued millions and millions of copies of these rules during the last two years. You must have several copies in your home, so get one out now so as to refresh your memory. Remember, the first thing is to remain calm. I always have said that I feared a panic more than bombs, so remain calm, walk, do not run. Refresh your minds as to the necessary precautions to take. In any crowded place in the event of an alarm or in case of an attack if there is any obstruction or anyone falls, do not try to jump over the obstacle and get all heaped up, just raise your hand, shout stop, and have everybody stop. In case of an attack, keep away from windows, keep away from glass, get under cover, because you will be subject to the falling fragments of our own fire, as well as bombs. In loft buildings and office buildings, particularly high buildings, do not rush to the elevators, go to the designated places of shelter in your building; do not rush out of the loft buildings and office buildings, if the attack comes in the day time. Pedestrians should get under cover and away from glass. Operators of trolleys, taxis and cars have been instructed as to when to stop. Passengers must leave and get under shelter. In the ball parks and other places of public gatherings follow the instructions for that particular place.
I am just saying this because we are still at war. I want to appeal again to the air wardens, the auxiliary firemen, the city patrol, the emergency medical service, the emergency repair service, the emergency welfare and housing units, not to let down now. You have done so much to date, you have given so much of your time, you have been trained, so continue your efforts. It may not be much longer; so let us be ready no matter what happens. Do not let ourselves get caught unawares, because after all, with the new technique of warfare, there is very little that can be done except to afford the maximum protection during the attack and after the attack. Wardens and fire auxiliaries would play a great part in that. We would have to pick up the dead and remove the injured and care for the injured; we would have to put out fires and remove debris.
As I have said, there is no reason for any panic or alarm, but let us be good soldiers. Let me call the attention of the air wardens, the fire auxiliaries and the city patrol to a photograph reproduced on page 8 of the Sunday magazine section of the New York Times. That is a warning. Let that be our poster for the next few weeks.
I have to talk about food again today. I have not said much about food during the last two or three weeks and I just think it is time to catch up. I think it was two weeks ago that I was very happy to announce that the rationing of meat, beef - commercial grade -would be lifted as of August 1st. Well, I was a little afraid about that. It now has been postponed until August 13th. You will remember that an announcement was made by the War Food Administration, but the OPA did not like it, so there is a difference of opinion between the WFA and OPA with the result that the lifting of rationing has been postponed. That is just not good. Washington should not do that. If WFA is responsible for the supply and feels that rationing may be lifted for any given commodity, then OPA should go along, or at least WFA and OPA should got together before any public announcement is made. Don't you see that if two agencies of the Federal Government disagree, people will lose confidence in this whole rationing system and all of the regulations. This makes it hard for us who are on the job. So I hope that WFA and OPA will get together. I wired my approval to WFA when they announced the lifting of the rationing on commercial meat and I think it is justified, but these differences of opinion simply are bad. I say I think the order was justified because last week there were 13,731,000 pounds of beef in our city as against 11,312,000 pounds in the corresponding week a year ago. As I have said so many times, there is no telling how much of this is for the consumers, because it includes army and lend lease shipments. But the increase is very substantial. In fact, we have had an increase of 200,000 pounds since last week. So I think that according to the forecast it is quite justifiable to lift the coupons on commercial meat.
That brings me to something else that I want to tell the housewives. Let us not fool ourselves about the meat that we get here. Most of it is commercial grade - there is very little choice or grade A. That is why it is proper to lift the coupons. Now, housewives, be on the lookout.
You may be paying grade A prices for commercial meat and whether commercial meat is good or not, the fact remains that is what we have been eating for the past 6 or 8 or 10 or 12 weeks. And it is good. I wish all of the people in the world could get meat as good as that. I want to remind you of the prices of Grade B or commercial beef. T bone steak, 44 cents a pound; sirloin 36 cents a pound; round, bone in, 37 cents a pound; round, boneless, top and bottom, 39 cents a pound; round tip, 39 cents a pound and chuck blade or arm, bone in, 28 cents a pound. Bear in mind the commercial grade prices, because in all likelihood that is what you are getting. For stews, goulash and ragouts, the prices are really reasonable. Short ribs, 30 cents a pound; plate, bone in, 21 cents a pound; plate, Boneless, 25 cents a pound; brisket, bone in, 24 cents a pound; brisket, boneless, cured, 28 cents a pound; flank, 29 cents a pound; neck, bone in, 24 cents a pound; neck, boneless, 29 cents a pound; heel of round, boneless, 28 cents a pound; shank, bone in, 20 cents a pound; shank, boneless, 28 cents a pound, and soup bone 3 cents a pound. I want to say something about soup bones in just a minute. With these cuts, stews and other cuts I need not tell New York mothers that many, many, tasty and nutritious dishes can be prepared for the children.
CONSERVATION OF BUTTER
Butter is scarce. If you can refrain from buying butter for a while I advise doing it. After all, the weather is very hot and there is a great deal of waste in butter during such weather. Conserve butter as much as possible, save your coupons, save your money and save the butter.
Poultry should be less than ceiling prices. As you know, broilers, fryers and roasters are 46 cents a pound. In fact you ought to be able to get those for 43 cents a pound. Soup chickens and the fricassed chickens, what they call the older fowl, and roasters are 36 cents a pound. They make very good dishes and they are not expensive now. If you make a soup, I would suggest buying some of these soup bones, they are only 3 cents a pound and they give a great deal of nourishment in the soup, while your chicken will flavor it. If you have plenty of vegetables in the soup, you can serve the chicken cold to the children at the next meal and they will like it. You bet they will just gobble it up. Take advantage of the lower prices at this time.
I know I am going to incur the wrath of all the dealers, but I still say, do not buy Grade A eggs, buy Grade B eggs. Large eggs sell for 53 cents a dozen without the carton and medium eggs sell for 48 cents without the carton. Save paper, do not buy the carton, save 2 cents, and buy Grade B eggs.
CEILING PRICE ENFORCEMENT
The enforcement of ceiling prices is going along very nicely. The Department of Markets has issued 377 Magistrates' Court summonses. I am happy to announce that the recommendation of the Department of Markets that a chart showing the weekly retail prices of eggs will be issued to all stores, effective August 3. I want to thank the OPA for its cooperation.
The Sheriff's Office has finished its first six months of enforcement of regulation of wholesale dealers and I want to extend my thanks and congratulations to the Sheriff's Office. Last week, July 17-25, eight wholesalers were jailed for chiseling, stealing and violating of wholesale prices. By the way, talking about chiselers I want to call your attention again to the Magazine Section of today's New York Times on page 13, there is a fine cartoon called the "Black Market Hall of Shame". It is very good. I want to congratulate Rollin Kirby. I would like to get the original of that Rollin, so that we might make posters of it. It tells the story.
SAFE AND POLLUTED BATHING WATERS
This summer, of course, a great many people are staying home and going to parks, the seashore and all sorts of places of recreation. I want to make a special appeal to all of you to heed the warnings of the Department of Health. We have very splendid shores, and then we have some waters that are proscribed by the Department of Health because they are dangerous. The Department of Health has informed me that the water is good for bathing at beaches along the Atlantic Ocean (including Coney Island and the Rockaways), along the shore front of lower New York Bay on Staten Island from Ft. Wadsworth to Tottenville, and on the North Shore of Long Island east of Ft. Totten (including Little Neck Bay) and on the opposite side of the Long Island Sound north - now get this - north of Throggs Neck or Ft. Schuyler. That is all good. However, south of Throggs Neck, be careful. Do you hear that, Eric, South of Throggs Neck is no good.
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Like most cities, of course, we have water areas which are polluted by industrial waste and sewage.
Bathing is definitely dangerous in these areas which include, now get it, the Hudson River, from Yonkers to the Battery; the East River from Ft. Schuyler (Throggs Neck) to South Ferry; the Harlem River, Little Bay, Powell Cove, Flushing Bay, Bowery Bay, Baxter Creek, Westchester Creek, Pugsloy's Creek, the Bronx River, Upper New York Bay, Gowanus Bay, the Narrows, Gravesend Bay, Rockaway Inlet, Jamaica Bay, Kill van Kull and Arthur Kill. These waters are dangerous so please keep away.
Of course, a great many mothers are all very anxious in this season of the year. Commissioner Stebbins assures me that there is no cause for alarm. We have had some cases of disease, a little more than usual. Mothers should take great care and simply observe their children. Look out for a headache, a cold or sore throat and upset stomach. Any of these may be followed by a stiff neck or aching of various parts of the body with temperature. If any of your children show any of these symptoms of cold or sore throat or upset stomach and a stiff neck, take the temperature of the child at once. If you have no thermometer, borrow one from a neighbor. The way to sterilize a thermometer is to wash it with soap and water. Do not use hot water or it will break. If your neighbor has no thermometer, take the child to any of the 22 New York City Health Centers or any of the 34 New York City Child Health Centers or any of the clinics in our 14 City Hospitals or the 25 or 30 volunteer hospitals that have clinics. However, do not forget to get a thermometer even if you have to call City Hall to get one. Take that child's temperature. If he has no temperature, there is nothing to worry about. If he has a temperature bring the child to the hospital or get a doctor immediately. If you can afford it, get a doctor. Just watch it and you will have no trouble.
NIGHT CLUB PRICES
Someone asked me whether all night clubs were chiselers. Well, the answer is no, of course. Many of the night clubs pay their taxes honestly. It is like every other industry, some do and some don't. As to prices, of course prices in night clubs are high. The service is costly, the entertainment is very costly and it is natural that prices are high. No, the city does not check on prices in night clubs. We have all we can do to use the Department of Markets and the Sheriffs office to protect food for families. I consider night clubs a luxury, so I leave that to OPA. No, we can not control prices in night clubs. We are too busy and we leave that entirely to the Federal Government.
Oh, say, I must tell you about some of the cases I spoke to you about last week. The case I referred to as the heart breaking case - I think we are going to save that home. Yes, sir, I had a talk with the mother and I think she is going to keep that boy. I am very hopeful, And you know the three kids I told you about as being attractive, well they are attractive. That is the case where the mother abandoned them. I had a nice talk with the father - he is a dandy father. He goes home from work every night, prepares the meals for them, does the washing, and really he does want to keep those boys, and the boys are nice. The 15-year old boy would have gone to high school this year, but he was truant so much he could not take the examination. We are going to check on their attendance. We have arranged to send then to camp and I believe that the home will be saved. I am sure the Court will be quite pleased. The little girl I told you about, that was unkempt, well she has left the hospital in very good physical condition. I am looking forward to meeting her and her mother, perhaps during the coming week.
I talked to you about bowling alleys. We have had considerable trouble with bowling alleys employing children. Here is the solution. I have put it right up to the industry themselves. They have opened an office at 147 West 42nd Street (Room 815) as a hiring hall for the employment of men as pinsetters. This is a man's job and the bowling alleys must pay a man's wage. Men, you can get jobs by applying at 147 West 42nd Street, Room 815 from 2 P.M, to 7 P.M. I have been told that it takes about two weeks of necessary experience before the wages are good. As I have repeatedly said, this pinsetting is a man's job and not a child's job and I am going to enforce the law of the State of New York.
Last evening we had a checkup by the Juvenile Aid Bureau and I am very happy to say they found only 7 cases where children were employed. I think Commissioner Moss has already revoked one of the licenses of these 7, the others, I think have been tried - I am not quite sure.
The bowling industry has promised me that they recognize this as a man's job. You can go to the above office, apply and get a job, and I have been advised that in season it is possible to earn very good wages. At any rate I want to express an appreciation to the bowling industry for this effort. But mark you, I am not fooling. Do not tell me you are going to have a hiring hall and then let me find kids working, because if we find children, Commissioner Moss will be very, very severe, so do not come crying to me if your permit is revoked.
BUSINESS IS INCREASED IN NEW YORK CITY
Business has been good in New York. In fact it has been very good. Do you know there has been an increase in sales of 19 percent in the retail stores of our city in the week ending July 22, 1944, in comparison with the corresponding week of 1943; an increase of 14 percent for the four weeks ending July 22, 1944 as compared with the corresponding period of 1943; an increase of 16 percent for the four weeks ending July 15, 1944, as compared with the corresponding period in 1943. I have been watching these Federal Reserve Bank Reports and there has been this constant increase in our retail business in New York.
The Hotels have had a good year, too. There has been from a 7 to 27 percent increase in the room sales in dollars in the 6 months ending June, 1944, as compared with the same 6 months in 1943.
We have had an increase of 14 percent in Brooklyn carloading in May 1944 as compared with May, 1943. I am very anxious to keep that up because I have been talking to you, as you know, from time to time, telling you what we are doing to be ready to keep New York City going after the war.
I want to call your attention to the Survey of Buying Power in the May 10th issue of the magazine 'Sales Management'. Any firm in business or manufacturing studying possible markets for its product can get good meat from this article without spending any red ration points.
I have looked it over to see where New York City stands in comparison with other cities and localities. Where does it stand? Tops. Yes sir, we stand at the very top in the important comparisons. Buying power is based on many factors. The most important is population. Well, of course, we rank as the first United States City in population. But that is not enough by itself. India and China, I take India and China because I do not want to make comparisons of other sections of our own country - have large populations but little buying power, because there, the working people are not well paid. On the contrary, New York people are well paid. This is expressed in figures which are termed 'effective buying power'. That is, the money available to pay for necessities, goods, and services people desire to have. Now get this, the national average buying power per person, per year, is $1,103. In New York City the average buying power per person is $1,509. That is not the family, it is per person. Our effective buying income is $10,279,000,000. Just think of it, over $10,000,000,000 of purchases for rent, heat, light, food, clothing, education, culture, recreation and all the good things that people want to make life worth living.
These figures were for 1943. The 1944 figures will be about the same, if not a little better as far as we are concerned, but let us look ahead. We all want this buying power to increase. This $1,309 per person is an average figure. We want more of the lower paid people to have more of the good things of life. And we want the higher paid people to continue at their levels because what they buy of the more expensive goods makes employment and income for the workers who make those goods. And they invest extra capital in the business and machinery, thus providing the tools which makes goods and employment. You know it takes a good many thousands of dollars to fit up a plant so that each employee can have the necessary tools for his job.
There is just one way - I think only one way - for us to keep the buying power of our city available. We all have to work. We all have to give work and service of value for the wages and salaries we expect to receive. After the war, competition with our city will be keen. New York City workers will have to compete with workers in other cities or we will lose our business and our position of advantage and high pay. We can not permit restriction of output to increase our costs or we will not be able to compete and unemployment will result. We do not want our annual income to drop, therefore, we will have to earn it by working together for high output - that is, producing more and continuing the low cost of the goods we want to sell. I say that our hourly or weekly wages should not be reduced even though they are higher than in other cities. Of course, we have to make that up by greater efficiency. What I am saying is to keep them high and to keep our jobs, we must earn our wages by conscientious hard work and production - no slow down, no loafing on the job, but a good day's productive work for a good day's pay. It is equally true in war time and in peace time and perhaps to us in the city just as much if not more important in peace time, so let us keep New York on top.
My time is about up, but I just can not resist telling you about the Police Chiefs who had a meeting in White Plains a few days ago and of the proposition that was made to legalize horse-betting off the track. You know what that would mean, it would mean pool rooms, or rooms or parlors all over the city where people would gather every afternoon to lay wagers on horses. In the first place, if it is going to be legal to bet on horse races, what assurance have we that it will stop there? What difference is there between a bet on a horse race, which is horses running around a track and a marble spinning around a wheel. No difference, is there? And then, too, you know, in many places in order to meet the wants of moronic people, they have mechanical horse races - a sort of a toy, whioh races around. Then if we are going to have roullette, we will have fare; if we are going to have fare then it will be some other game, and then I suppose it will be dice. But what I want to say in the first place is that the papers announced that the vote was unanimous. Well, it was not. I received several individual communications from officers who were there who told me that the vote was not unanimous. It was a viva voco vote. While the majority were ayes, it was not unanimous by any means.
But this is what struck me. During the meeting one of the officers said:
' *** the political power that is out of power gets church leaders and reformers busy to fine illegal gambling and who gets blamed? It's the chief of police, of course! The District Attorney asks the gamblers which cops get money from them, but I never heard of gamblers being asked which candidates for public office got money.'
Well, why didn't you? What were you doing? Why didn't you ask? You had a perfect right to ask. Any police officer who is hampered by a mayor or by any elected official from enforcing the gambling laws of this state has a sworn obligation and duty. If he believes that the official has been bribed, either by money, favor or otherwise, in order to prevent the Police Department from enforcing the law, he should go to a grand jury and give the facts. Now you can not hide behind that. What you say may be quite true and perhaps candidates do receive money from gamblers, but it is the duty of the Mayor, the District Attorney, the Police Department or other enforcing agency to enforce the gambling laws of this State and I say that gambling is not possible in any community if the police is on the job.
For instance, take a city like Mt. Vernon with a population of 67,362. Gambling could not exist there 5 minutes if the police were on the job. Ha, now you are going to say "How about New York City?" The same goes here. You will understand now why Commissioner Valentine keeps his men on the job. You will also understand why we have so many hundreds of cases every week, so many thousands of cases every year. It is just because we insist upon enforcing the law. And even with all that, every now and then, there is a scandal. If the courts of this state would support the police in the enforcement of gambling, we could do a much better job. When I say courts, that goes for the Appellate Courts, the highest in the State, right down to the Court of first Assistance.
A case like we had last week is good. There Magistrate Curran gave a gambler 60 days in jail instead of a fine of $25, $50, $100, or $250, which would be nothing to a tinhorn, chiseling thief. But 60 days in jail - that is good. If that procedure were followed all of the time, we would have no trouble at all. But I am very much amused about this 60 day jail sentence. It is what I call the 'cost of living case'. I will tell you what happened in that case. I got a letter from the wife of a city employee who asked me 'how come my husband didn't get the cost of living bonus?' So we checked, and sure enough we found that he had received the cost of living bonus. But he told his wife he did not get it. When the next month he said he had an assessment he had to pay which was taken out of his check. Again we investigated and, of course, there was no assessment that he had to pay. Well, then, she came right down and we found a bookie, not very far from the Municipal Building, no sir, not very far at all, and it did not take long to grab him. They grabbed him, he was arraigned, asked for an adjournment and then was let out on bail. While he was out on bail he was arrested again. That is the case that Magistrate Curran gave 60 days and that is the way to treat them. A little more of that and we would have no trouble at all. I am sure that the good wife is going to get her cost of living bonus from now on.
Talking about gambling, I want to quote right from this morning's New York Journal-American - the authoritative paper on racing -that is why I quote it. Let me read it:
'New Yorkers may pour some $420,000,000 through the mutual machines this year. At least that's what the daily average of $2,213,166 for the first 94 days of racing at local tracks indicates. (Just think, $2,200,000 a day.)
'When the Empire City Racing Association wound up with $49,763,884 for its 24-day meeting it boosted the season's handle (in wages or horse races) to $208,038,625. This represents an increase of $84,869,178 over the figures of a corresponding stage last year or approximately 70 per cent. The total attendance to date is 2,391,058 or a dally average of 24,373.'
Just think, 24,373 people every day at the track and the races start at 1:30. It takes at least an hour to get there. Therefore, these people must leave their places of work at 12 o'clock. I wonder where these people come from. I wonder whether they are supposed to be at work at that time or not. That is something that is very, very interesting. But imagine how much money would be placed in bets if this were wide open. I want the good people of the country, the people in Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Indiana, and all of the states, and in my own State, to know that New York City balances its budget without one cent of this dirty or blood money. None of this money goes to make up our budget or our surplus. I know that I speak for the overwhelming majority of the people of this City when I announce to the country that we do not participate in this dirty money.
I am a little late now, I have to go, do you know where I am going? I am going up to Hunter College in the Bronx, for the Second Anniversary of the Waves. There is a fine organization. Well, every time the Navy takes on a job, it always does it well. Well, I will have to be going now.
PATIENCE AND FORTITUDE