Site Selection 2004 

City of New York  |  NYC & Company, Inc.  |  April 11, 2002 Press Release

"The Democratic Party can do no better than selecting New York City.  No other city provides the energy, spirit and vitality of New York.  No other city contains the neighborhoods, languages and diversity of New York.  No other location offers the media, cultural and financial capitals.  And there is no City that better symbolizes the spirit of America."

--Jonathan M. Tisch and Robert E. Rubin 
"If you make it here, you'll make it everywhere." 
-Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
Overview:  "New York produces winners."  Meeting in New York, Democrats have nominated Jimmy Carter (1976) and Bill Clinton (1992).  New York Democratic party chair Herman D. Farrell Jr. wrote in a letter supporting the City's bid that "the historic parallels are irresistible."  "Twelve years prior, Democrats will have chosen New York City as the launch pad for a presidential campaign that successfully dislodged a popular, one-term presidential incumbent with the last name of 'Bush.'  New York delivered a 34-point bounce to William Jefferson Clinton.  The opponent never recovered."  Farrell further noted that, "Our presidential candidates benefit by energizing the Democratic electoral base of New York State, which has consistently delivered the largest plurality for the presidential ticket of any state in the country in the last three elections--1992, 1996 and 2000."

Convention Complex:  Madison Square Garden.  Constructed in 1968 and renovated in 1991.  17,924 permanent seats including suites; 3,000 portable seats can be added on the convention floor for a total of 20,924 seats with no sight line obstructions.  Total MSG space available 623,401 square feet.

Host Committee:  Co-chaired by Jonathan M. Tisch, Chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels, and Robert E. Rubin, former Treasury Secretary, now serving as Chairman of the Executive Committee and member of the Office of the Chairman of Citigroup Inc..

Hotels:  More than 230 hotels and over 66,000 hotel rooms; 49,000 hotel rooms in midtown Manhattan.  Initial commitment of 17,317 rooms of which 1,941 are suites.  Possible DNCC headquarters are The Grand Hyatt, Hilton New York, Sheraton New York, and The Waldorf Astoria.

Security:  "We have over 39,000 police officers equipped with the resources, training, experience and proven ability to handle all world class events." --Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly

Transportation:  The mass transit system, including 26 subway lines and more than 200 bus routes, serves 2.3 billion people each year.  Three major airports (JFK International, Newark International and La Guardia), rail (Penn Station is the busiest train station in North America).  The bid also notes that "delegates and guests will find it refreshing that they can actually walk from their hotel to the convention complex and to the places they'll want to see around midtown Manhattan."
New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg presented New York City's bid to DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe in a ceremony in the main lobby of Grand Central Station on the afternoon of April 11.  The document weighed in at 69 pages and had six appendices totaling about a hundred additional pages. 

One of the appendices contained letters of support from New York City's business and cultural leaders, representing groups from A (the American Museum of Natural History) to Z (the Zagat Survey).  For example, Tim Zagat, founder and publisher of the Zagat Survey, wrote, "I can assure you the restaurant community here will roll out the red (white and blue) carpet for your delegates and guests, giving them a memorable edible welcome. 

The bid document also included a CD-ROM with an upbeat 3 minute 42 second video pitch from Mayor Bloomberg.  In the opening part of the video, Bloomberg, standing in Madison Square Garden, makes the case that "New York produces winners."  The scoreboard behind him reads "Welcome Democrats" and the clock shows the time as 20:04.  Bloomberg closes the video stating, "If you make it here, you'll make it everywhere."

Observations.  After the devastating attacks of September 11, New York City is a sentimental favorite to hold one and possibly both of the 2004 conventions.  The bid states, "The City hopes that both the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee will host their 2004 conventions in New York City as a dramatic statement of America's resolve in the face of the September 11th attacks."  Democrats seem to come to New York once in every decade, having held their 1976, 1980, and 1992 conventions here.  The city also made an unsuccessful effort to attract the 2000 Republican convention.  According to the 2000 Census, the New York-Northern NJ-Long Island consolidated metropolitan area has a population of 21.2 million (the nation's biggest metropolitan area), and the primary New York area is home to 9.3 million people.  The fact that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, elected in November 2001, is a Republican could enter into some calculations, but the presence of a Republican mayor did not stop Democrats from going to Los Angeles in 2000 and is unlikely to stop them from going to New York in 2004.

Copyright © 2001, 2002 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.