New York officials rolled out a blue carpet for a Democratic National Committee scouting team Monday at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, rallying behind the city's bid for the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
"New York has the right story to tell," City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said. "That's because Brooklyn's story is America's story."
About a dozen officials, led by Sen. Charles Schumer in the absence of Mayor Bill de Blasio, sought to underscore Brooklyn's cultural diversity, hipness and progressive values at a news conference outside Barclays. DNC representatives were inside to assess the arena's potential as a convention hall and would be in town through Tuesday to review other logistics of the city's proposal, including transportation, security, lodging and financing.
"Millions of Americans, new Americans, young migrating Americans are flooding here to eat, think, create, laugh, love and work in an environment that is tolerant, fertile and exhilarating," Schumer said of his native Brooklyn.
The DNC arrived at Barclays via charter bus in dedicated traffic lanes from the New York Palace Hotel in midtown Manhattan in less than 14 minutes, said Peter Ragone, senior adviser to de Blasio. A concern with the city's bid has been travel between the boroughs, though Ragone said a "transportation system within a transportation system" would be created, with dedicated lanes and ferries to supplement mass transit options.
Police Commissioner William Bratton stressed the city would ensure security and crowd control.
DNC CEO Amy Dacey said the committee is "very serious" about the site selection process, because it expects to nominate the 45th president of the United States in 2016.
Schumer said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a former U.S. senator representing New York and a state resident, would be "so happy" to see Brooklyn chosen. A Clinton spokesman did not return a request for comment.
De Blasio was not at the site to welcome the DNC, but hosted an invitation-only dinner for the group at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Monday night. De Blasio earlier Monday led a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting at Gracie Mansion. Attendee Michael Nutter, mayor of convention candidate Philadelphia, ribbed de Blasio: "I wish my friend the best of luck, to a certain point," he said.
City Hall officials unveiled a list of potential convention donors that included JPMorgan Chase chairman, president and CEO Jamie Dimon and music producer Russell Simmons, as well as other business and cultural leaders. Officials estimated that between $80 million and $100 million could be privately raised in addition to the estimated $8 million cost to taxpayers and $50 million security reimbursement from the federal government.
Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said the city can expect hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue in return for its investment. The 2004 Republican and 1992 Democratic conventions at Madison Square Garden more or less met revenue projections.
The DNC team's schedule Tuesday includes breakfast at Rockefeller Center, a luncheon at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and a barbecue at Gracie Mansion with de Blasio.
Other DNC convention finalists are Birmingham, Alabama; Columbus, Ohio; and Phoenix. Cleveland will host the 2016 Republican National Convention.
With Ivan Pereira