Tony Blair Lecture Boots Upper East Side Voters from 92nd Street Y Polling Place
By Gabriela Resto-Montero and Nicole Bode
UPPER EAST SIDE – The British are coming — and Upper East Side voters had to make way.
Residents could have used a heads up from Paul Revere when the polling station at the 92nd Street Y had to shut down and relocate to another space in the building to make room for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
“It was a logistical snafu,” said Beverly Greenfield, spokeswoman for the 92nd Street Y. “[Voting machines are] usually in that lounge, but Tony Blair’s going to speak here tonight.”
Greenfield said the first-floor Felix M. Warburg Lounge where the voting machines were positioned early Tuesday morning is the standard location for the polling place.
But 92Y staff discovered around 11:30 Tuesday morning that they double-booked the room, which they also needed to use for press and security preparation in anticipation of Blair’s appearance Tuesday night, Greenfield said.
According to the 92nd Street Y website, Blair is set to join Katie Couric at 8 p.m. for a sold-out lecture about his legacy and his book, “A Journey: My Political Life,” followed by a book signing.
The voting booths were relocated to two first-floor classrooms on the opposite side of the building from the lounge, Greenfield and election workers said.
“We came in, we realized that they were in the wrong place, and we moved them,” Greenfield said.
Voter Ruth Altman, who was among those who voted in the classrooms after the move, said she appreciated the comic timing of Blair's visit.
"It is ironic, isn't it?" Altman said.
Blair was in Philadelphia Monday to receive the 2010 Liberty Medal from former President Bill Clinton for his work on conflict resolution in Ireland and elsewhere.