August 30, 1942 – Fiorello LaGuardia Has A Few Words About Labor Day In Wartime.
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August 30, 1942 – Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia sits down and gives a 15 minute rundown on where you can go for the Labor Day holiday. Needless to say, with America now hot in the grips of War, finding those “places to escape” were becoming fewer and farther between. But LaGuardia, ever the optimist and salesman for New York City, offered up a veritable feast of places (real and imagined) one could take advantage of during the precious time off.
LaGuardia was a regular of the airwaves around New York City, probably one of the few Mayors of a large metropolitan are to take advantage of the one-on-one of radio at the time. His broadcasts to the average City dweller were legendary, and his description of the comics during the New York newspaper strike became one of the high-points during his tenure at City Hall.
For those not familiar (thanks Wikipedia!):
Fiorello LaGuardia is best known for being the 99th Mayor of New York City for three terms from 1934 to 1945 as a Republican. Previously he had been elected to Congress in 1916 and 1918, and again from 1922 through 1930. Irascible, energetic, and charismatic, he craved publicity and is acclaimed as one of the greatest mayors in American history. Only five feet, two inches (1.57 m) tall, he was called “the Little Flower” (Fiorello is Italian for “little flower”).
La Guardia, a Republican who appealed across party lines, was very popular in New York during the 1930s. As a New Dealer, he supported President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, and in turn Roosevelt heavily funded the city and cut off patronage for La Guardia’s enemies. La Guardia revitalized New York City and restored public faith in City Hall. He unified the transit system, directed the building of low-cost public housing, public playgrounds, and parks, constructed airports, reorganized the police force, defeated the powerful Tammany Hall political machine, and reestablished employment on merit in place of patronage jobs. La Guardia is also remembered for his WNYC radio program “Talk to the People,” which aired from December 1941 until December 1945.
La Guardia was seen as a domineering leader who verged on authoritarian but whose reform politics were carefully tailored to address the sentiments of his diverse constituency. He won elections against the historically corrupt Tammany Hall political system, presided during the Great Depression and World War II, implemented New Deal welfare and public works programs in the city, and gave political support to immigrants and ethnic minorities. He was also supported by President Roosevelt. La Guardia was known as a reform mayor who helped clean out corruption, brought in experts, and made the city responsible for its own citizens. His administration engaged new groups that had been kept out of the political system, gave New York its modern infrastructure, and raised expectations to new levels of urban possibility.
The Mayor will now explain it all to you.