PROSPECT HEIGHTS — New York officials rolled out the blue carpet Monday for delegates from the Democratic National Committee who are touring Brooklyn this week to decide if the borough should host the Democratic presidential convention in 2016.
A team of official and unofficial Brooklyn cheerleaders — including Senator Charles Schumer, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adam and Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner — kicked off the DNC’s two-day tour with a pep-rally-like press conference outside the arena complete with a marching band and praise for the borough’s history and infrastructure and “swag,” in the words of Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo.
Schumer even cited the wishes of the former Secretary of State, a likely contender, as a reason for Brooklyn to host in 2016.
“Hillary Clinton — it’s been in the newspaper — wants it in Brooklyn,” he said Monday. “She walked the streets of Brooklyn with me when she first campaigned and I think she would be so, so happy if we had the convention in Brooklyn."
The DNC cohort will tour the Barclays Center, nearby hotels and cultural spots, such as the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and restaurants on their visit to the city. But mostly, said DNC CEO Amy Dacey, they’ll be in “working meetings” discussing the logistics and financial details of the to-be-determined convention.
But the elected officials at Monday’s press conference didn’t focus much on the details of the trip, instead revving up the crowd with big-picture claims of Brooklyn’s status as a hub of progressive politics, success and cool.
“Brooklyn’s story is America’s story,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Public Advocate Letitia James told the crowd, “Brooklyn is the hottest borough on the planet.”
Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alicia Glen put the convention in slightly more concrete terms: dollars and cents.
“Based on our analysis of the 2004 convention, we’re looking at a return on investment of at least ten times,” she said, adding that the net revenue from the convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, equaled around $250 million.
Brooklyn is up against four other cities bidding to host the convention: Philadelphia, Phoenix, Columbus, Ohio and Birmingham, Alabama.