Although Ms. Quinn also has a reputation for being too cooperative with Mayor Bloomberg, Al Hagan, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, described watching Ms. Quinn strongly oppose the mayor’s efforts to close firehouses.
“No firehouses were closed while she was on watch as the speaker, despite the fact that every year City Hall was calling for really massive closings,” he said. “I chuckle all the time when I read things that say she’s the mayor’s surrogate. I don’t see it that way at all.”
Mr. Oddo thinks Ms. Quinn prefers to have her fights with Mr. Bloomberg in private. “Every now and then you have to very publicly kick them in the groin,” he said. “She has chosen not to do that. I’m aware of some of those private moments where she has gone headlong into the administration that never necessarily made the newspapers.”
On those occasions, Mr. Oddo said there’s no questioning Ms. Quinn’s intensity. “When she is unhappy, she thunders, and I love it.”
For her part, Ms. Quinn implied she was the one pulling the strings in her relationship with City Hall.
“I think he has a close relationship with me,” Ms. Quinn said of Mr. Bloomberg when asked about the perception she’s too cozy with the mayor. “I made a decision that Michael Bloomberg and I would work together. I made a decision we would get as much done as we could for the people of the City of New York, and I made a decision that when we couldn’t come to agreement, we would disagree agreeably.”
She pointed out she has opposed Mayor Bloomberg on several “issues around social services,” including his food stamp fingerprinting plan and his homeless shelter policy.
“We’re actually suing the mayor over the homeless housing thing,” she said, “and somebody said to me, ‘What does this mean about your and the mayor’s relationship?’ I said, ‘Nothing! We’re not dating, get over it!’”
Either way, as she luxuriates in her newfound attention, balancing the various interests that have defined her career thus far will be crucial. Perhaps once again Ms. Quinn’s personal life will prove instructive. Since being set up with Ms. Catullo on a blind date the week after September 11th, Ms. Quinn has had to learn to find a balance between her workaholic tendencies and her life with a woman who was initially wary about dating a politician. For example, Ms. Quinn said, she stopped checking her BlackBerry at night because Ms. Catullo “would scream” about it.
Ms. Quinn wouldn’t tell us where the pair went on their honeymoon this summer, but she assured us that she was able to put work aside during the trip, for the most part.
“I BlackBerryed very little,” she said, “and I think my staff would even confirm that I was remarkably off the grid, which is not, like, my strength.”