A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“A man is washing the car with his son. The son asks, ‘Dad, can’t you just use a sponge?‘“ (6/23)
“Don’t waste a moment of your life trying to be normal” (6/23)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/23)
“Dance like no one is watching. Because they are not. They’re checking their phones” (6/23)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/23)
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Entry from March 30, 2005
No Democratic or Republican way to clean the streets
Fiorello La Guardia (1882-1947) is famous for saying that "there is no Democratic or Republican way to clean the streets" in New York City. In other words, that there's "only one New York," without all the politics. La Guardia said in September 1937, "I stated in 1933, and it has been accepted in many cities of this country, there is no Republican way of cleaning streets any more than there is a Democratic way of putting out a fire."

However, the saying had been used much earlier. Robert C. Morris, president of the Republican County Committee, said in September 1901, "There should not be such a thing as a Republican or a Democratic way of cleaning the streets."

"There is no 'Catholic' way to cook a hamburger" was said by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 2007 and is a similar saying.


Old Fulton NY Post Cards
25 September 1901, New-York (NY) Daily Tribune, pg. 2, col. 4:
There should not be such a thing as a Republican or a Democratic way of cleaning the streets, of collecting the taxes, of arresting the poolroom and dive keepers, and it makes no difference whether a man is a Republican or a Democrat when his duties are to manage the Police Department, to conduct the finances or to supervise the whole municipal administration.
(Robert C. Morris, president of the Republican County Committee -- ed.)

23 February 1934, New York (NY) Times, "1,500 BACK SEABURY ON ECONOMY BILL," pg. 2:
He (Samuel Seabury -- ed.) expressed the belief, however, that the public had begun to realize that the administration of city government was not a matter of partisan politics but of business - "that there is no Democratic or Republican way to clean the streets."

18 July 1936, New York (NY) Times, "Mixing Elections," Books, pg. 14:
After years of struggle we get city elections separated from national for every one knows there is no Democratio way of putting out a fire or Republican way of cleaning a street.

11 August 1935, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, "Women Voters Fight Against Apathy Toward Public Service," pg. E3:
There is neither a Republican nor a Democratic best way to put out a fire.

14 September 1937, New York (NY) Times, "Text of Mayor La Guardia's Speech to Republican Women":
I stated in 1933, and it has been accepted in many cities of this country, there is no Republican way of cleaning streets any more than there is a Democratic way of putting out a fire.

19 September 1941, New York (NY) Times, "Text of O'Dwyer Speech Accepting Nomination for Mayor":
I recognize there is no Democratic or Republican way of cleaning a street or putting out a fire, but I believe that in a democracy, party responsibility adds greatly to the protection of the citizen.

22 August 1962, New York (NY) Times, "Durable Campaigner: Theodore Roosevelt Kupferman, pg. 22:
"As La Guardia used to say, 'There's no Democratic or Republican way to sweep the streets.'"

27 May 1965, New York (NY)Times, pg. 39:
Quotation of the Day
"I'm running as Lindsay. As Fiorello La Guardia said, there is no Republican way or Democratic way to clean the streets."--Representative John V. Lindsay at a news conference in Washington.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Wednesday, March 30, 2005 • Permalink