The darling, quarreling, billingsgate, God-awful City Council.
-- FRANKLIN P. ADAMS1
THE NEW City Council attracted widespread interest in political, newspaper, and academic circles, not only because New York is a world metropolis, but also because of the legislature's novel and experimental features and for its uproarious and brawling initial sessions. It was only when the war began to overshadow municipal news that public interest in the City Council subsided.
The opening sessions contrasted spectacularly with the dull routine of its predecessor. A body once described as a museum was suddenly transformed into a three-ring circus. One observer found it so different from the old board that "only the fact that the Council sits in the same chamber brings any remembrance of that ancient and deposed group." In the first months of 1938 the chief cause of the turmoil was a Protean struggle for organization and control.2
For more than two decades the Democrats had dominated the city legislature with ease. In 1938 it was a different story. Thirteen Democrats were ranged against a coalition of thirteen-- 3 Republicans, 5 American Labor Party men, 3 Fusionites, and 2 insurgent Democrats. Since President Newbold Morris could cast the deciding vote in case of a tie, the coalition seemed to have a working majority.____________________