New York officials rolled out a literal blue carpet Monday for a visiting Democratic National Committee delegation at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, part of the city's bid for the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
"We are in touch with our future generations and future needs," Sen. Charles Schumer said of Brooklyn's appeal. "Millions of Americans, new Americans, young migrating Americans are flooding here to eat, think, create, laugh, love and work in an environment that is tolerate, fertile and exhilarating."
He led about a dozen officials, including Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, at a news conference outside Barclays that sought to underscore the borough's hipness, cultural diversity and progressive values.
"New York has the right story to tell. That's because Brooklyn's story is America's story," Mark-Viverito said.
The 15-member DNC scouting team arrived at Barclays in Prospect Heights via charter bus in dedicated traffic lanes from the New York Palace Hotel in midtown Manhattan in 13 minutes and 25 seconds, said Peter Ragone, senior adviser to Mayor Bill de Blasio. A concern with the city's bid has been traffic and transportation, and officials said dedicated ferries, the mass transit system and the dedicated lanes should alleviate skepticism.
At the news conference, Police Commissioner William Bratton stressed the city's ability to ensure security and crowd control and pointed to the subway station in the plaza outside Barclays, with access to nine subways and the LIRR, as a fast and easy way to travel.
DNC CEO Amy Dacey said the committee is taking the task of choosing a convention site very seriously, because it expects to nominate the 45th president of the United States in 2016.
Schumer said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, an ex-U.S. senator representing New York and a state resident, wants Brooklyn to win the convention bid.
The DNC was to enjoy a "Taste of Brooklyn" luncheon at Barclays. They were to be treated to iPads with a "DNC 2016 NYC" app and past New York City convention speeches, customized Brooklyn Nets jerseys and swag bags with gear from all five boroughs.
De Blasio, who lives minutes from Barclays, was not at Barclays Center to welcome the DNC, but he will attend an invite-only dinner at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. De Blasio on Monday afternoon instead hosted a U.S. Conference of Mayors group at Gracie Mansion.
Events planned for the DNC technical advisory committee Monday and Tuesday are meant to demonstrate the city's capability to raise funds for the convention (the cost is estimated to be $8 million to taxpayers in addition to between $80 million and $100 in private fundraising); to provide and ensure security via the NYPD and other agencies; to shuttle delegates and other attendees successfully around the five boroughs; and to offer Barclays as a convention hall for the first time. Past Republican and Democratic conventions in New York City have been held at Manhattan's Madison Square Gardens, within blocks of high-capacity hotels. Brooklyn does not have enough hotel space by DNC standards.
The city can expect hundreds of millions of dollars in convention revenue in return for its investment, Glen said.
New York City is expected to be a top contender for the convention against Philadelphia. Birmingham, Alabama; Columbus, Ohio; and Phoenix are other finalists. Cleveland will host the 2016 Republican National Convention.