Mayor LaGuardia. Probably the most colorful Mayor New York witnessed in its history, made his end-of-year address on December 30, 1945. It was also one of his very last addresses before leaving office on January 1st, 1946. As Mayor of New York for three terms, from 1934 to 1945, Fiorello LaGuardia was one of New York’s most popular Mayor’s, appealing across party lines to reform New York City politics; revitalizing the city, unifying the transit system, creating public housing, reorganizing the police force and reestablished employment based on merit, rather than patronage (i.e. crony) jobs.
Not without his detractors, who likened the diminutive Mayor (5′ 2″) to a dictator, LaGuardia was instrumental in restoring the financial health of New York, breaking free of the banking interests control over the city. He also expanded the federally-funded worker relief program for the unemployed and he was New York’s first Italian-American Mayor.
1945 was a tumultuous year – it was the end of World War 2, and the beginning of the long-unsure journey of Peace. It was a time of reconstruction and return to a life out of uniform.
In this address, one of his regular weekly broadcasts given over New York’s own Public Radio station WNYC, Mayor LaGuardia talks about the end of the year, the end of his time in office and the Peace Conference, just concluded in Moscow. He makes mention of the upcoming address by Secretary of State James F. Byrnes as well as the new Airport the city has to look forward to. He also talks about some of the controversies still going on as he was about to leave office – and he gives over time to read personal letters from constituents. It was all part of what made Fiorello LaGuardia admired by so many people.
Here is Mayor LaGuardia’s assessment of the year and assessment of his time in office as 1945 comes to a close.