The White Wings’ parade on film!
“Filmed on an unidentified street in New York City, probably Fifth Avenue. Rows of men wearing the white uniforms of New York City street sweepers (known as White Wings) march by the camera. Each row has a police escort. The parade of uniformed men continues until several hundred pass. Immediately following the marching men come approximately a hundred horse-drawn two-wheel carts of the kind used for hauling garbage [Frame: 3394]. One four wheeled cart is seen near the end of the film. In 1895, under the reform administration of Mayor William L. Strong, New York City’s Department of Street Cleaning was headed by Colonel George Waring. It was he who garbed his workers in the white duck suits (earning them the name “White Wings”) seen in the film. He is also recognized as a brilliant sanitary engineer who marshalled the two thousand man force to clean four hundred and fifty miles of streets each day. According to Jacob Riis, “his broom saved more lives in the crowded tenements than a squad of doctors.” By 1903, the date of the filming, a new city administration was in power and Waring had been replaced.”