Led by Sen. Chuck Schumer, a host of politicians in support of hosting the 2016 DNC convention in Brooklyn were paraded through the on a blue carpet with flags waved by local children, a dance troupe and a marching band through Barclay Center's glass doors. Credit: Bess Adler/Metro
Local leaders gathered in front of the Barclays Center on Monday to gush about Brooklyn and its bid to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Led by Sen. Chuck Schumer, a host of politicians were paraded through the arena's plaza on a blue carpet with flags waved by local children, a dance troupe and a marching band through Barclay's glass doors.
The day's fanfare was for the sake of a 15-member scouting team for the DNC who are in town till Tuesday to evaluate Brooklyn's chances to host the weeklong political convention, where the party will announce its next nominee for the presidency.
The group is also considering Philadelphia, Phoenix, Birmingham, Alabama, and Columbus, Ohio.
Schumer raved about Brooklyn's hipness and its symbolism as a model for American triumph as he dismissed any concerns about the boroughs capabilities to host an expected 35,000 attendees.
Chief among those concerns is Brooklyn's hotel capacity of 3,500 rooms, which Schumer called "a canard" and "gobbledygook" when delegates can stay in accommodations across the East River.
"Midtown Manhattan hotels are a lot closer to the Barclays Center than the convention centers in Chicago and Los Angeles and North Carolina were to their hotels," Schumer said.
Both he and Police Commissioner Bratton hailed the subway system and the NYPD's preparedness for increased traffic and safety conditions if New York were to host the convention.
Bratton said more than 12,000 police officers could be committed to the event, less than half of the police force but still a larger police force than any other possible host cities.
When asked about traffic and transportation demands, Bratton simply pointed to the Atlantic Avenue subway station across from Barlcays.
For its part, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority says the transit hub can handle the crowd.
"We are primed and ready and will work with the city on a service plan should the DNC come to New York in 2016," MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said in a statement.
In total, city officials expect the convention to cost the taxpayers some $8 million, with about another $130 million in private fundraising to offset costs. About $50 million would be reimbursed by the federal government for security.
Some Brooklynites are already looking forward to the idea of hosting the DNC, even if it may come at a price.
"It would be great for Brooklyn," resident Lorenzo Daughtry said in the shadow of the arena. "I live two blocks from here. It will be crowded and there will be a lot of traffic, but it is important for businesses to showcase the best of New York."
The City Council member who represents the neighborhood agreed.
"We represented and birthed the concept of cool. We have swag on lockdown," Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo told reporters. "We have it all here in Brooklyn, New York."