New York: With both American presidential candidates present in New York on election night for the first time in modern history, the glamorous money and media capital of the world is preparing for the mother of all election night parties, with huge crowds of supporters expected to attend.
Candidates tend to return to home ground on results night and never before in living memory have both candidates been from the same city. Cerebral Hillary Clinton and street smart Donald Trump are quintessential New Yorkers, but could hardly be farther apart politically. However, both of them will be holding their shindigs in Manhattan just a few blocks apart. Clinton will hunker down for election night with thousands of Democrat party faithfuls in a sprawling building with a – literal — glass ceiling.
Trump announced this week that his “victory party” would be held at a power hotel, the New York Hilton Midtown, that boasts of having hosted every president for more than half a century since John F. Kennedy.
“Hillary Clinton has spent her whole damn career breaking through glass ceilings, and in 2008 she called the presidency the, “highest, hardest glass ceiling” of them all. So when her staff announced she’d host her election-night party at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York, it made sense,” noted New York magazine.
On Tuesday night, Clinton will give a victory or conceding speech from a stage shaped like the United States, complete with outlying pillars for Alaska and Hawaii, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center which has an occupancy capped at 3,930 people. Stage crews were still putting finishing touches to the dramatic stage over the weekend.
“I wouldn’t miss Hillary’s victory party in New York for anything in the world,” hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal told the Wire. Chatwal, who owns the Chatwal and the Dream hotels and the Bombay Palace restaurant chain, is one of Clinton’s “Hillblazers,” shorthand for one of her big donors, who have typically raised over $100,000 for her campaign.
Media reports say Clinton is planning an Election Night fireworks display on the Hudson River. “It could blow up in her face,” if she doesn’t win warned the New York Post. In 2012, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney paid $25,000 for a fireworks display on Boston Harbor that was scotched by his defeat to President Barack Obama.
The elegant Hilton ballroom with the Trump party is a stone’s throw from Trump Tower and a 10-minute car ride from the Javits Center. A host extraordinaire, Trump will entertain a relatively select group of supporters at the Hilton ballroom for an invitation-only gathering, though large crowds of Trump fans are heading to the city.
The presence of huge crowds to be part of Election Night events is creating an unprecedented security challenge for law enforcement authorities. “You can assume there will be considerable security around election night,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was quoted as saying. One fear is that there might be hooliganism and clashes between supporters of the two candidates on the streets and in Manhattan’s serpentine subway system.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Secret Service, will deploy thousands of extra officers to secure the candidates’ venues. The NYPD will turn the city into a fortress on Election Day even as New Yorkers party hard in celebration or drown their sorrows.
No New Yorker has occupied the White House since Franklin D. Roosevelt died while in office 72 years ago. That’s a long time for New Yorkers to be out of the presidential game, so the city is pulling out all the stops to embrace the election night. Hotel Americano near the Hudson River is serving Benghazi blistered shishito peppers, Nasty Woman burgers and Grab ’Em by the [bleep] truffled Parmesan pommes frites. The slick, clubby Americano Hotel located in Chelsea which is known for its design, art and night-life says, “Buses for Canada will be waiting out front…just in case.”
“I plan to go to an election watch party at Feinstein’s/54 Below,” said actress Jennifer Stanton who will gather with her friends at the iconic New York hotspot for the Broadway crowd. The restaurant will serve Mexican food and the waiters will be wearing “Bad Hombre” T-shirts.
It is rare for one city in America to throw up both the major party candidates in a presidential election. Trump, an alpha male and billionaire businessman, personifies the money and power that makes the wheels spin in New York. Trump is a kindred spirit for the Wall Street masters of the universe who exude a “Trumpian” super confidence.
“Trump has been an item of fascination in New York for decades. He is a textbook candidate for today’s infotainment era,” said political non-fiction author Rachel Parker.
At one stage during the primaries, Republican Ted Cruz took a lot of flak from New Yorkers for criticizing Trump’s “New York values,” which he defined as “socially liberal, pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage and focus around money and the media.”
Clinton, who was born in Chicago, raised in the Midwest and studied in Yale, has lived all over America. Seventeen years ago, Clinton and her husband bought a sprawling, 11-bedroom, hundred-year-old Dutch colonial house for $1.7 million in Chappaqua, New York. In 2000, Clinton trounced her Republican rival Rick Lazio to become the US senator from New York. New Yorkers see their tolerant and inclusive values reflected in Clinton.
“It’s no secret that I support Hillary. She promises an optimistic and inclusive America,” said Indian American actress Sheetal Sheth, who lends her celebrity to the “Vote Against Hate” video which castigates Trump’s latent racism.
Though the Hindus for Trump campaign has been getting publicity, many in the South Asian community have also decried Trump’s attempt at floating conspiracy theories about Clinton top aide Huma Abedin. “Today Trump is calling Huma Abedin a terrorist. Why? Because she is brown? She has an Indian father and a Pakistani mother so Trump just brands her a terrorist! It is outrageous,” said Virat Kumar, a young New Yorker.
“This is the kind of dangerous terrorist name calling that gets Sikhs beaten up for wearing a turban or an Indian working in a deli racially abused by Americans for being brown. Trump is fanning hate.”