Fred at the Main Line has uncovered evidence that representatives of 30+ NY congregations asked Rabbi Meir Leibush (aka Malbim) to come to New York and serve as Chief Rabbi. According to the newspapers, he accepted.
I searched the archives of the New York times for additional information, and found none.
More on the subject: Defending pre-war America
Search for more information about Malbim at 4torah.com.