New York City Site Visit: August 11-12, 2014

photo: NYC & Company
photo: NYC Mayor's Office
photo: Barclays Center
photo: NYC Mayor's Office
photo: NYC Mayor's Office
photo: NYC Mayor's Office
photo: NYC Mayor's Office
•         Branded DNC Tote (this is the felt bag)
•         NYC Water reusable water bottle
•         Mayor de Blasio Pen
•         Branded DNC NYC Moleskin notebook
•         “D” lapel pin
•         “DNC 2016 NYC” lapel pin
•         Brooklyn map tote bag
•         Jaques Torres Chocolate
•         Red Hook Winery Wine
•         Salty Road Salt Water Taffy
•         Spoonable – spoonable caramel
•         Downtown Brooklyn BID Maps
•         Welcome note from Mayor
•         FDNY Hat
•         NYPD Hat
•         Staten Island Yankees hat
•         Louis Armstrong CDs (branded Queens)
•         Bronx Zoo plush stuffed animals
Mayor de Blasio: Welcome to New York City my fellow Democrats.  I know I might be just a bit biased about this, but New York is not only the world's greatest city, it's also the best city for the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

The convention would be based in Brooklyn at the Barclay's Center, one of the newest and finest arenas in America.  But this is a city with five remarkable boroughs, all with world class event venues, attractions, hotels and restaurants.  The convention would take place across the whole city.  And since we have the biggest transportation system in the country, available 24-7, we can get you around.

This is the most diverse city in the world.  We are truly the face of America and of the future.  We're also a great progressive city.  We're taking on the big issues Democrats care about, from income inequality to affordable housing.  We're showing every day that progressive ideas can work.

New York would be so excited to have you here in 2016, and we can promise you an amazing time and an amazing convention.  Thank you.

Statement From Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on New York City’s Bid to Host the 2016 Democratic National Convention

Albany, NY (August 11, 2014)

“When it comes to hosting an event like the 2016 Democratic National Convention, there is simply no place quite like New York City. The Big Apple is an unparalleled destination with the infrastructure and amenities needed to support an event of this magnitude. Hosting the DNC would also be a significant boost to the regional economy, ultimately supporting jobs and economic activity in all five boroughs and beyond. As the selection committee continues evaluating the remaining proposals, I encourage them to envision just how successful a convention located in New York City would be.”


Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Holds Media Availability at Barclays Center on New York City's DNC Bid

August 12, 2014

Mayor de Blasio: All right. We just had a lovely 25 minute subway ride, from Rockefeller Center, here to the Barclays Center. And we’ll have great conversations along the way about everything that New York City is ready, willing and able to do to win this convention and make sure it's a great convention for the Democratic Party. I want to start by acknowledging my colleagues who are here – Chief Joe Fox, the Chief of Transit for the NYPD; Fred Dixon, President and CEO of NYC and Company; Polly Trottenberg, Transportation Commissioner; Amy Dacey, the CEO of the DNC; Carmen Bianco, the President of New York City Traffic; and Laurie Cumbo of the New York City Council, who represents this very spot.


And we are thrilled she’s here. So, the ride this morning went smoothly. It was a great opportunity for all of us to spend some time together, and we were deep in conversation, and before you knew it, we were here.

And I want to thank Carmen for the great work – everyone at the MTA – in putting this together today. And it showcases how easy it is to get to from midtown Manhattan, here to the Barclay's Center. The Barclay's Center is an extraordinary facility, one of the newest, most advanced in the nation. In Midtown, and in so many other parts of the city we have extraordinary world-class hotels. It’s easy to get from one to the other, and we showed that today. And the ease of transportation is one of the great elements that New York City brings to the equation. Right here, we’re at the site of one of the greatest concentrations of mass transit anywhere in the country –  anywhere in the country. And that’s a great benefit to the delegates, if we are so lucky as to win the convention. We have nine subway lines that converge in this immediate area – five bus lines, and a Long Island Railroad stop – so, lots of ways for people to get here, and get here smoothly. On an average weekday, the Atlantic Avenue-Barclay's Center stop serves nearly 40,000 riders. So to us, we are ready, willing, and able to handle whatever the demands of the convention are.  We routinely handle major events here – the MTV Video Music Awards, NBA Playoff games and most importantly, Beyoncé concerts, which really get a lot of attendance. On the other end, in Midtown, we have some of the greatest transportation available anywhere in the world as well – 27 bus lines and 19 subway lines. 

And we wanted to show off today, to the committee from the DNC, the nation’s largest, most efficient transportation system. We are very, very proud of it. And the facts speak for themselves. Our transportation network accounts for nearly one third of all mass transit trips in the United States of America – one third of all the national total happens here in New York City. There are many New Yorkers like Council Member Laurie Cumbo, who do not have a driver's license but do have a Metrocard. And it gets her where she needs to go. Our system operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We serve 4.8 million passengers on an average weekday, system-wide. And New York City subways travel a total of one million miles every day. And that’s just the subways. We have a vast network of buses, taxis, ferries, bike lanes – you name it, we got it. And it's flexible. It's a system that's ready to accommodate the needs of the Democratic National Committee. 

We know that every event is different – technology keeps changing, approaches keep changing. What the DNC tells us they need is what we will achieve. We did it earlier this year with the Super Bowl, which was an extraordinary moment for New York City. We do it every year, on New Year’s Eve and at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. And we want to take this experience, this flexibility, this know-how, and put it at the disposal of the DNC. We will use every tool at our disposal to make sure delegates get around quickly and easily, because we want them to experience the city. The delegates, and everyone else who comes to the convention, represent every part of this country, and people will come from all over the world. This is an incredible moment to showcase not just New York City as an idea, but each and every borough – starting with Brooklyn – to show people the totality. This is going to be a five-borough convention.  So we're going to get people from all over the world to feel what we have to offer, and we think that's going to lead to a great short-term economic impact, but even greater long-term economic impact.

We want them to experience world-class dining, and when I say world-class dining, that might mean a Michelin-starred restaurant, or that may mean hot dogs at Nathan's in Coney Island. They are both world-class. Or Gray's Papaya on 72nd Street – I'm maintaining my loyalty there. Cultural experiences like no other in the world – obviously, we have Broadway shows, and now more and more people are going to the Bronx for hip-hop tours to see the origins of hip-hop, something New York City is proud to have been the birthplace of. Last year, 54 million visitors came to this city – thank you, Fred Dixon – and more will be coming. That's because we have more than 500 hotels, and 105,000 rooms available. Again, ranging from a 5-star hotel to a youth hostel. We reflect the face of America in every way, and that's true in our people, that's true in our businesses, that's true in our restaurants, that's true in our hotels. We've got something for every kind of person. And we are eager and energized to host this convention.

We know it's a very competitive process, and we're going to fight hard, and do everything we can to win it, and there is an incredible unity – elected officials, business leaders, labor leaders, civic leaders – all in common cause to win this. The comprehensive travel plan we put together reflects this commitment. There will be a special dedicated bus lane during the key hours of the convention from Midtown to the Barclays Center. We did a run-through the other day and clocked in at under 15 minutes. Now, these strategic street closures, there'll be private ferry and shuttle bus service, there'll be a special Metrocard – whatever it takes to make this work smoothly for everyone coming to visit, and for our fellow New Yorkers, we're going to do it.  New York City has proven that it can make a great event like this happen. This event will be singular and particular, and we're going to make sure we do what this event demands to make it great for all.

Now, I want to have you hear from a few of my colleagues just how focused and enthusiastic we are about winning this convention and making it great. First, a man who epitomizes Brooklyn, and can tell the story of Brooklyn from his own extraordinary experience, starting out with a desire to serve – becoming a New York City police officer, rising to the rank of captain, then becoming a state senator, now the borough president of Brooklyn – one of the great voices of conscious in this city, Borough President Eric Adams. 

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams: We had a great lunch yesterday, sitting down talking about the important aspect of what this convention is going to represent. And not only putting our best foot forward but putting our New York and Brooklyn brand forward.

Everything from this Shake Shack to if you want to shake it up, on 42nd and Times Square. We’re bringing the best A game to this presentation. And the mayor is right. We are all on the same page like a laser. Law enforcement, lawmakers, and those who abide by the law are all coming together to let the DNC know the diversity of this borough – the diversity of this city – is what is the image of the Democratic Party.

We are what America should look like, what America would look like, and what America is going to become, when we have the Democratic Convention here in the borough of Brooklyn and in the city of New York. In 2016, the convention should be in the county of Kings. Thank you.


Mayor de Blasio: And now we’re going to bring extraordinary enthusiasm to the work she does representing this district in the City Council, and she has been nonstop singing the praises of Brooklyn to this committee and speaking from the heart – Councilmember Laurie Cumbo.


Councilmember Cumbo: Good afternoon. This is an honor and a privilege to be here. And what has been spoken so much are the dreams that come true. When you hear our borough president’s story and his rise to the top, it shows you how dreams come true. But I’m brought back to 1972, when the first African-American woman ran for President of the United States of America. And it was there, from Brooklyn, New York, that glass ceilings were shattered and women had the opportunity to come out in ways that they had never done before politically, to support an African-American woman from Brooklyn, New York. And I believe again, here, in Brooklyn, New York, we will make history once again when we bring the Democratic National Convention to Brooklyn, New York in 2016.

And we will inspire the world and dreams will come true and everyone will be watching. This is going to make the World Cup look small. So we are going to make sure that we put all of our effort forward to make sure that you have the confidence to bring this forward. So thank you so very much. I look forward to welcoming you to my district – the coolest, the hippest, the sexiest, the greatest, the most dream-filled district in the entire city of New York. Thank you.


Mayor de Blasio: Tell us how you really feel, Laurie. Laurie, you did not mention the name of the woman who is smiling down on us right now, and would be endorsing this effort. Shirley Chisholm, incredible trailblazer from Brooklyn. Finally, it’s been a real honor – let me first say I want to thank Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen – just joined us, who’s doing an extraordinary job on this effort. Thank you for your leadership, Alicia.

It’s been a great pleasure and honor, in just these last days, to get to know the members of the committee that have been sent by the DNC to evaluate all the cities in contention. They have a very tough job. Every city wants this deeply. Every city has a lot to offer. Our job is to show them everything that we can and will do, and our spirit, our enthusiasm, our level of cooperation. But I know it’s a tough choice. And then the even tougher part is putting on the convention, which is one of the most difficult kinds of jobs that anyone could have to do, for there's so many complexities that have to be accommodated on a rigorous time schedule. So, I admire all the members of the committee for the job they're taking on. I want to especially thank the CEO of the Democratic National Committee, Amy Dacey, who has been a great colleague in this work, and she knows how deeply we want this, and she knows how hard we'll work for it, and we hope that we're blessed enough to get this convention. And she knows the kind of partners we're going to be. But again, she has a big job to do with her colleagues. We wanted to give her a couple minutes to speak to you about the process and the work the DNC is doing on the way to making their decision. Amy Dacey. 

Amy Dacey: Thank you so much. Thank you. Good morning, everyone. I want to thank certainly the mayor, his administration, all his staff and the elected officials who have taken the time to be with us yesterday, and we have several more meetings today as we move forward. When the team came to DC to have a proposal to talk about why they wanted to see the convention come to New York City, they did a great job, and we knew that we had to do a site visit, and come in person to see what New York had to offer. We're being very thoughtful about this process. We're taking it very seriously. I appreciate everyone's willingness to be open and honest and to answer all our many questions. We know that in 2016, we will be nominating and electing the 45th President of the United States. And so the DNC is working toward that goal, and certainly with everyone here we've had some good conversations to move that forward, so thank you.

Mayor: Thank you very much.



Mayor: Just a couple of words in Español, and then we will take questions on this topic. 

[Mayor speaks Spanish]

With that, we welcome your questions on this topic.

Question: [inaudible]

Mayor: Louder. You can speak, but do it – sound like a New Yorker, here.

Question: What specifically makes this city different from the other cities [inaudible] convention?

Mayor: Again, I want to express both my understanding of the difficult choice, and the difficult job that Amy and her colleagues have to do, and my respect for all the other cities in contention. I believe cities have to do a lot together, and that was epitomized yesterday at Gracie Mansion, when we had mayors of almost 40 cities gathered together in common cause to move a national urban agenda. So, we believe – I think mayors, and leaders of different cities all over the country – believe we have a lot in common, a lot we've got to do together. In this specific competition, New York City has a lot to offer because of our transportation system, which is unparalleled. We have a lot to offer because of our police. There is no police force anywhere in this country as large and effective as the NYPD. There's no police leader who has the excellence and experience as Bill Bratton. We know we can provide this convention with the very best in security, with the very best in transportation. We know we can provide an incredible supply of enthusiastic volunteers, we know that we have great attractions and venues –  that in every way, whatever the Democratic National Committee needs, we'll be able to accommodate them. And there's real unity here. Again, I can't speak for other cities, because I don't know what's happening there. I can say here, the unity between business and labor and elected officials, civic leaders, is extraordinary. I think those are all elements that the DNC is looking for, and I think we've made very clear that we will accommodate whatever their needs are, and we have the capacity to do so. 

Question: What does it mean to you to have Bill and Hillary Clinton also on board wanting to [inaudible]?

Mayor: Again, you know, I have a very clear policy. I only speak about someone's position if they've stated it themselves. So, you know, I am hopeful that everything we're doing here is something that Hillary Rodham Clinton thinks highly of, and Bill Clinton thinks highly of, but I don't assume that. They will speak for themselves. Right now, the audience and the decision makers are the Democratic National Committee, and particularly this committee that's been sent out from the DNC to look at the site, and we know that our task is to answer their concerns. 

Question: Mr. Mayor, last time the city hosted the convention was the Republicans in 2004, and there was well more than 1,000 arrests of protesters, resulting lawsuits pending from that – this time around, have you started formulating a plan as to where the protesters would be permitted, and how the police are supposed to interact with them?

Mayor: Well, we have a lot of experience in this city handling big events, handling protests. We believe thoroughly in the democratic process. One thing I always say is, even with the complex dynamics around Occupy Wall Street, which went on for weeks and weeks, it was extraordinary how both protesters and police actually work together to make things as peaceful as possible. So, I think we're very good at accommodating people's rights to speak. We learned a lot, I think, from the mistakes of 2004. I think we're going to do things in a way that reflects our values, and I think it will work because we have the greatest police force in the nation, but the time to really start those plans will be if the DNC decides to grant us the convention. 

Question: Mr. Mayor, some other council members have said they're worried that the DNC won't [inaudible] lower-income communities. Is there anything that you're looking at to bring the possible benefits, perhaps create jobs, and also, if you are concerned that it's going to require so many more additional resources that we're going to take out of other parts of the city [inaudible]?

Mayor de Blasio: Well on the first point, I think people know what I believe in. I’m very devoted to making sure that everything we do benefits people economically, all over the city, all five boroughs, especially folks who have not had as much opportunity. So the convention will be another example that there are a lot of jobs associated with it, and a lot of opportunity we can provide, particularly to people in parts of Brooklyn who deserve that opportunity. And I’m going to pass the ball to Laurie in just one second. So my answer is, that is a priority for us. It’s a priority for us to make sure that this is an economically inclusive convention. It’s a priority to make sure that in the contracting there’s a very substantial element of minority and women-owned businesses. That’s who we are, that’s what we believe in, we will make sure that happens, that’s what the Democratic National Committee believes in. As to what we will do, first of all, remember although the date has not been chosen, we strongly believe the date will be in either July or August. Those are the best months to be able to put on a big event here, in that a number of people are out of town and traffic is easy, it’s a simpler time. But the vast majority of resources that are being put together will be private resources. We’ve got an extraordinary commitment from the business community, and from labor, to put together the resources we need for the host committee, will be well in excess of $100 million dollars. The public resources, we’re going to be efficient about, but we will many times over make back that investment because of the economic activity associated with the convention and the tax revenue, the business, the jobs created. I’m very certain that this well be a great equation for the city. Laurie?

Councilmember Cumbo: I just wanted to add as well that the businesses in this area alone have benefitted from the development that has been happening in this area, and also here at the Barclay’s Arena, in terms of hiring, Community Boards 2, 3, 8 and 9 were prioritized, as well as the majority of people that were hired were from the Ingersoll, Walt Whitman, and Farragut Houses. So there has already been an infrastructure built and created to make sure that those that are the most economically challenged in our city have a pipeline to the growth and the development that’s happening in Brooklyn, New York. And as the council member for this district, I am extremely excited to host this conference here in Brooklyn, New York, and we are going to do everything possible, as we have, to make sure that all of Brooklyn benefits, and that this is something that will continue to unite our borough and to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to benefit from all that is going on, and all that will be happening, in terms of the excitement, and most importantly, the revenue that will be generated from this very important convention.

Question: [inaudible]

Mayor de Blasio: Well, remember, until a few weeks ago, I was one of the people who lived in the area, so I have a pretty keen sense of this immediate area and its needs. Look, I want to remind people, conventions historically have taken place over four nights. Obviously, there’s activity during the day, but the prime element has been over four nights. I know there’s been consideration about whether that model would be altered, but let’s talk about the traditional model. Four nights, for a period of time, there’s a lot of activity. We’re going to make sure that the resources are in place to make that as smooth as possible. I have spent plenty of time around this arena on game nights, and on concert nights, and the protocol right now – and I thank Chief Fox and everyone with the NYPD – the protocol right now for moving traffic and moving pedestrians and moving the subway riders is very, very sophisticated, and works very smoothly. Obviously, there will be additional elements with the convention – part of how you answer that is to put additional people power on. We’ll add more NYPD forces, we’ll add volunteers, we’ll add all the pieces we need to keep it moving. But the impact will be for a few days, really a few nights, in summer. And I think, as Laurie indicated, the vast majority of folks in this neighborhood — first of all, this is one of the greatest Democratic bastions anywhere in the United States of America. I guarantee that I know it very, very well. I got elected here a bunch of times. People will be thrilled to have the Democratic National Convention here to begin with. Second, I think for the businesses in this area, there has been great opportunity since Barclay’s came in, and that opportunity will expand in the weeks around the convention. So we all know there will be some congestion, we all know there will be some challenges, but there’s going to be a lot of money flowing, and I think the vast majority of small business owners will appreciate that fact, especially at a time of year where that isn’t as much money flowing – you know, summer is kind of a lag time for a lot of small businesses. They’ll get a big boost here. We know the restaurants in this whole area, the bars, are going to do great. So I think the inconveniences will be limited and brief, but the impact will be very positive.

Question: [inaudible] what areas of concerns you might have about the bid?

Amy Dacey: Yeah, I actually think it’s a little premature to comment on that. We’ve only – This is the third city we’ve visited so far. We’ve been to Birmingham, Columbus, now New York, and we’ll go to Philly and Phoenix. I think in all instances and our priorities are certainly in the financial resources and the logistics that put together a good convention and we’re taking the time along with the team to evaluate that in each city. And so thus far we’re really just – we’re going to have to several more in depth meetings today and I’m looking forward to having them.

Question: What do expect the [inaudible]?

Mayor: I think it should be quite limited, the initial projection is about $10 million dollars, but we expect to earn that back in revenue many times over. And the vast majority of the resources will be private. I mean, look, to Amy’s point, you know the things that are going to be looked at here – resources, logistics, security – we feel a very strong position on all of those. We know again, this is a highly competitive process. We know other cities have a lot to offer. But those are three areas where we are very strong, and on the resource front I am absolutely convinced of the kind of support we’re going to get from business, from labor, from private donors. So the exposure to the taxpayers is going to be very limited. But the economic impact for the city in the short term and the long term is going to be very big.

Question: Earlier this year there was an effort by some [inaudible] would take place during economic development and you also said [inaudible] How is this different from something like the Olympics and does this [inaudible]

Mayor: No, they’re apples and oranges. First of all, we have keenly watched the experiences of other cities. The Olympic experiences have not been particularly positive, in my view, in recent years. And that’s in part because it’s such an elaborate production. It requires so much new infrastructure in many cases, and the history has been a lot of spending, public spending for limited impact in the short run and then a lot of times facilities that didn’t have much use in the long run. So we looked at that and said the cost benefit analysis didn’t add up. The benefits would have been – of course it would have been a wonderful, special event – but the benefits if you thought about them in terms of the branding of New York City, exposure of the world to New York in terms of the visitors, just didn’t add up compared to the cost and the uncertainties. This is entirely different because for one thing this city has a long experience of hosting conventions very successfully. I was at the ‘92 Convention as a young City Hall staffer, which came off beautifully and obviously was the beginning of the Clinton era and a time a lot of us look back on very appreciatively that that convention started the Clintons on their road. We’ve done conventions well, we’ve done other big events well, and found the way to keep them efficient so that the tax payer exposure is limited but the impact is very big. So I think that there is no comparison. Conventions are – thank God – much more straightforward and we can do them much more efficiently. The Olympics by definition is a big sprawling, complicated, endeavor and we just didn’t think it was worth it for the city.

Question: [inaudible] most Democratic county in the country [inaudible] a little more diverse politically?

Mayor: I think the question – this is my own personal view, I don’t want to represent Amy’s view or the DNC’s view, I just want to offer my own personal view. I think we – our politics and our discourse has changed over the years. Not long ago in America, there was this iron clad assumption that the vice presidential candidate had to come from a certain region or that the state they came from they would carry out of local pride and that was really a deep, deep assumption for many decades in American politics. That assumption was dispelled in recent decades. It’s no longer the way the thing is looked at. I think there has been an assumption at times that a convention in a swing state has a particular lift. I don’t think that’s been proven as fact. I think what really has to come out of the convention – first of all, it has to work, it has to be cost efficient, it cannot leave the party in debt, it has to be a good business – if you will – equation for the Democratic party because real business happens after. The convention is a foundation for what’s going to happen in the months immediately following, and in my view, you know, what we have to prove to the DNC is that we can give them a very effective, efficient convention that’s fully funded and that we’re ready then for them to take the next step strongly. And I think the other thing that’s happened with conventions – and I think Charlotte’s a great example of this – the message in the hall is what matters. Everything else is being created to facilitate what happens in the hall. Charlotte was extraordinary in terms of framing President Obama’s message and what it meant to be a Democrat and it was one of the things that propelled Democrats to victory in 2012. So my view of the world is that the job here would be to create the environment where all the pieces work so that then the real important piece, which happens inside the hall, can be center stage. Thanks everyone.

Question: [inaudible]

Mayor: I have demonstrated many things but not a National Democratic Convention. Thank you very much.