New York City during the 1930s and 1940s saw a unique array of political alliances. Although FDR was a Democrat, he was not connected to the party’s two leading machines in the city, Tammany Hall in Manhattan and its counterpart in Brooklyn. Meanwhile, FDR’s close ally Fiorello La Guardia was a liberal Republican.

La Guardia (aka the “Little Flower”) was also closely linked to leftist Congressman Vito Marcantonio and the garment union-driven American Labor Party (ALP), which had strong ties to the Communist Party (CPUSA). Here’s a sampling of how these connections played out just after the war, with Woody Guthrie, then living on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island, as our point of entry.

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