"Manhattan Masquerade" takes place during the first fifteen days of 1933. The Wall Street Crash occurred three years before and now fully a quarter of the American labor force was out of work. Charities and local governments are severely strained in their efforts to feed the hungry and the Federal government offers more uncertainty than assistance. Herbert Hoover was defeated in the previous year's Presidential Election, but Franklin Roosevelt will not take office until March 4th.
These are the darkest days of the Great Depression, a true winter of discontent.