New York is about to wrap up its role as an important cinematic setting for a dark and dramatic national campaign. On Tuesday, it will host the candidates’ hoped-for “victory” celebrations.
Hillary Clinton is slated to star at the Javits Center on Manhattan’s West Side. Donald Trump has signed on for election night not far away, at the New York Hilton Midtown.
Fittingly, for a city so big on film and television, several of the election’s highlights — planned and unplanned — ended up being shot on location.
In his glitzy Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, the just-announced GOP candidate last year began his salvo at Mexicans in the U.S.: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
At Ground Zero in lower Manhattan on Sept. 11, Hillary Clinton was caught on video wobbling and being loaded into a van after a near-collapse — a scene that later forced her to reveal she had pneumonia.
Four days earlier, the candidates answered questions back-to-back at a contentious “commander-in-chief” forum at the Intrepid Air, Sea and Space Museum. On Sept. 26, they traded fire at Hofstra University in their first face-to-face debate.
As much as they are selectively touted as New Yorkers, you were never likely to bump into Trump or Clinton on a crosstown bus or the Long Island Rail Road. Both experience the Empire State from inside a protective bubble for big shots.
Back in February, before endorsing the nominee, Queens-raised Rep. Peter King candidly took issue with Trump’s being referred to as a “Queens guy.”
“He grew up in Jamaica Estates. Jamaica Estates is like Park Avenue,” King said. “There’s no tough guys from Jamaica Estates. That’s where all the rich kids were.”
Clinton also came into New York from the top, moving to an exclusive Westchester enclave from the White House to run for the Senate.
Ordinary life goes on around the rarefied real estate of both Trump and Clinton.
Trump Village in Coney Island, Brooklyn, the working-class complex built by Trump’s late father, Fred, housed the family business headquarters, where the son learned the landlord’s life.
The 46th Assembly District, which includes the sprawling Trump Village, will no doubt be Clinton terrain on Election Day; it’s 3-1 Democratic.
Likewise, Clinton may have done a ton of fundraising in the Hamptons, but polls show the Suffolk congressional district where she spent summer days going heavily for Trump.
Meanwhile, New York produced a number of the campaign’s more memorable side characters.
Former Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani achieved attack-dog status for longtime friend Trump, turning up on TV and at the GOP’s Cleveland convention as if running for office again himself.
Across the partisan divide, former city Rep. Anthony Weiner has appeared again, too. A probe of his alleged sexting with an underage teen became the legal corridor through which FBI Director James Comey, a former Manhattan U.S. attorney, saw fit to reopen a probe into Clinton’s emails.
Next week we’ll learn what all the New York moments meant.