AUGUST 29, 1957
NEW YORK—I attended a luncheon on Tuesday of the Mayor's new committee which is going to try to make New York City even more attractive than it is by a "Salute to the Seasons." Tourism has become one of the important things and, therefore, to create more interest in the city and give people more pleasure when they are visiting, it is important from many angles.
It will be good for business, and those who live here will have their morale lifted in finding their city not just a great commercial area with shops, museums, libraries, theatres, and movies, but also a beautiful city.
I could not help thinking of the Mayor of Haifa, Israel, who found that beautifying his city lessened his juvenile crime difficulties. It may even help our youthful crime wave to "salute the seasons."
There will be three salutes, of one month each, planned for the first year. The first one will begin October 23 in the heart of Manhattan at the Main Public Library at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, with Mayor Robert F. Wagner opening the ceremonies.
The City has appropriated $309,000 for lighting and flower displays, but that is only a beginning. There will be committees from every industry who will work to improve the buildings in which they have interests. Shops, movie houses, theatres—all will be working on this plan.
The Washington Arch, Columbus Circle, the 59th Street Plaza and various other spots will be lighted at night. Those of us who have been in Paris and enjoyed driving after dark to see the fountain and the Place de la Concorde, Notre Dame, the Arch near the unknown soldier's grave, all illuminated, will realize that this illumination is in itself a great attraction.
There will be something in this plan for every citizen to do, so the neighborhood associations will be called to a meeting and then we, the individuals, will be told what the plan for our neighborhood beautification is and what we, as individuals, can do.
For the sake of a general effect, I think there should be a general plan made, block by block, for outdoor decoration. But it leaves a great deal of leeway for decoration of backyards and even windows if we think of our houses as part of the plan to make our city more attractive to the average traveler.
I left Hyde Park early Tuesday morning and we had in the office that morning a discussion for about two hours on the meeting of the World Federation of United Nations Associations which I am not attending this year. Then I would up things in the office, since I will not be in the office again until early October.
As usual, the last days before starting a trip are busy ones, but I know from experiences that I will be ready to leave on Friday afternoon for Russia. Tomorrow I will tell you what I hope to do while on this trip.