A few weeks ago, we shared a documentary film about the FDNY fireboats in New York Harbor called "Sea Going Smoke Eaters." This week, we thought we'd follow up with this amazing recording from 1938.
Marc A. Hermann, who created the video and posted it on YouTube writes:
"In what may be the earliest known recording of the FDNY radio system, this clip is found on the January 1, 1939 broadcast of "New York Advances," a program produced by municipal radio station WNYC. The show summarizes city initiatives and projects of the preceding year, including a piece about the use of two-way radios by fireboats.
"Additionally, the clip provides insight to the department's roster of fireboats which were given concurrent "land unit" designations. Two-way radios were implemented department-wide by the early 1950s."
WNYF was the radio station of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY). This broadcast to the public on WNYC was part of a New Year's Day special describing the activities of the city government of the previous year, including the oath of office speech of Mayor LaGuardia, and fictionalized reenactments of modern and historical happenings.
Following the broadcast of the FDNY fireboat roll call, "Chief of NY's Army and Navy, Fire Commissioner John McElligott, who discusses the importance of two-way radios; expresses his wish that, in the future, each police car and fire department will be equipped with a two-way radio; and lists the other development advancements of the department over the past year." Listen to the entire 1939 "New York Advances" broadcast on the New York City Municipal Archives website.
For more on FDNY fireboats and their history, check out this website featuring information and images of many historic FDNY fireboats.
If you enjoyed this post and would like to support more history blog content, please make a donation to the Hudson River Maritime Museum or become a member today!
This blog is written by Hudson River Maritime Museum staff, volunteers and guest contributors.
Hudson River Maritime Museum
50 Rondout Landing
Kingston, NY 12401
The Hudson River Maritime Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the maritime history of the Hudson River, its tributaries, and related industries.
Become a member and receive benefits like unlimited free museum admission, discounts on classes, programs, and in the museum store, plus invitations to members-only events.
The Hudson River Maritime Museum receives no federal, state, or municipal funding except through competitive, project-based grants. Your donation helps support our mission of education and preservation.