Site Selection 2004 

City of New York  |  NYC & Company, Inc.  |  June 17, 2002 Press Release

"Long the epitome of the 'American Dream,' New York is eager to demonstrate that the spirit of these United States will not be broken -- united, defiant and determined to emerge victorious, we will show that our city and America are stronger than ever before."

--Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor

 "No other city can match New York's energy, its history and diversity, its commerce, or its people, and New Yorkers are seeing the positive difference Republican leadership has made in their lives.  And just as New York embraced Ronald Reagan, I strongly believe, New York is firmly behind President Bush."

-George E. Pataki, Governor

"When Ronald Reagan talked about a 'shining city on a hill,' he must have had New York in his mind's eye.  More than any other place, New York symbolizes the values of a great nation and the strength of a great people.  The 2004 Republican National Convention is our chance to showcase the values and leadership of the Republican Party in the City often referred to as the 'Capital of the World.'"

-Rudolph W. Giuliani, Chair of the New York City Host Committee 
for the 2004 Republican National Convention
"If you make it here, you'll make it everywhere." 
-Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
Overview:  "There is no better place than New York City for the Republican party to showcase its ideals, its leadership, and most important, the fact that Republican ideas can create miracles."

City Obligations:  The City of New York and its Host Committee are prepared to commit funds of $71.5 million, consisting of $51.5 million of cash and $20 million of in-kind security services provided by the New York Police Department, toward the Convention.

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.  The Arena floor is 26,000 sq. ft. with no columns.

Host Committee:  Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is chair of the Host Committee.  Vice Chairs are Roland W. Betts (chairman and founder of Chelsea Piers, L.P.; Betts and George W. Bush assembled the group of investors that purchased the Texas Rangers Baseball Club in 1989); Marie-Josée Kravis (senior fellow of the Hudson Institute Inc.); and Jack Hennessy (former investment banker, served as CEO of Credit Suisse First Boston).

Hotels:  More than 230 hotels and over 66,000 hotel rooms; 49,000 hotel rooms in midtown Manhattan.  Initial commitment of 22,025 rooms of which 2,100 are suites.  Possible RNC headquarters hotels are New York Marriott Marquis, the Grand Hyatt, Hilton New York, Sheraton New York, and the Waldorf-Astoria.

Security and Transportation:  The NYPD has over 39,000 uniformed police officers and about 10,000 civilian members, making it the largest police force in the nation.

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 RNC Chairman Marc Racicot and Site Selection Committee Chairperson Ellen Williams at RNC headquarters on the afternoon of June 17.  The document opened with letters from Bloomberg, Pataki and Giuliani and an introductory text titled "A New York Renaissance."  Nine sections followed, presenting the details of the City's proposal (Response to RFP; City Obligations; Convention Complex; Host Committee & NYC; Hotels; Security & Transportation; Official Letters of Support; General Letters of Support; and New York City Maps).

The bid document also included a CD-ROM with an upbeat five-minute video pitch from Mayor Bloomberg.  The video opens with the distinctive "Love Theme from St. Elmo's Fire" and a video clip of President Reagan, Vice President Bush and Soviet leader Gorbachev.  There are clips from speeches by Giuliani and Pataki.  Next is a sports montage, underlining the "New York City produces winners" theme.  Bloomberg states that, "It has been this city where Republican presidents have made their mark on history."  He cites Abraham Lincoln's Cooper Union speech in 1860, Teddy Roosevelt's tenure as police commissioner and governor, Ronald Reagan's official launch of his 1980 campaign in view of the Statue of Liberty, and most recently George W. Bush's rallying of the nation following September 11.  Toward the close is a clip of President Bush throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium, a nice touch given that Bush is an avid baseball fan.  The video ends to the rousing strains of "New York, New York."

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.  Here, on Sept. 14, 2001, occurred one of the most memorable moments of George W. Bush's presidency, as he appeared amid the rubble of the World Trade Center site, surrounded by rescue workers, speaking to them through a bullhorn.  Republicans have never held their convention in New York City.  (The city did make an unsuccessful effort to attract the 2000 Republican convention).  With the state boasting a Republican governor, George E. Pataki, and the city having experienced a revival under Republican leadership provided by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and now Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the Big Apple seems a strong pick to host the party's convention in 2004.  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. 

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