NEW YORK CITY – While Buffalo turned into an election-eve political celebrity-fest Monday, the city on the other end of the state was proving its reputation as the city that never sleeps.
From Manhattan to Brooklyn to Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx, it was politics, politics and more politics.
What Republican Donald Trump was doing in Buffalo’s First Niagara Center, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were doing in New York City. In their own styles.
Supporters packed the Clinton rally – in a Hilton Hotel banquet hall in midtown Manhattan – and they came to an event that focused on women and women’s issues.
Clinton was the reason the room filled up, but the rally offered a slate of high-powered women: Cecile Richards with Planned Parenthood, who is the daughter of the late, former Texas governor, Ann Richards; U.S. Congresswoman Caroline Mahoney of New York City; U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; and former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords
Giffords’ presence was emotional. The former congresswoman who survived a gunman’s assassination attempt, spoke slowly. She called Clinton a woman of courage and toughness, who will stand up to the powerful gun lobby.
“Speaking is hard for me,” Giffords told the crowd, “but I want to say in January two words: Madam President.”
Speakers after Giffords, including Clinton, referred to Giffords’ strength and courage.
Clinton took a swipe at Sanders record supporting the gun industry and said that she stands with Giffords and will work for sensible gun laws.
Clinton and the other speakers focused largely on women’s issues at the rally, but Clinton said issues such as pay equity, family leave and preschool education aren’t just women’s issues – they are family issues
She took another swipe at Sanders, saying the election isn’t about making speeches.
“It’s about getting things done,” she said.
But other comments she made were focused on Republican candidates, who she said would threaten the advances women have made in recent years, particularly in terms of women’s health issues.
It wasn’t that long ago, she said, when breast cancer research was only done on men.
She ended the rally saying: “We have a stake in America. That’s what this election is all about.”
Later Monday, Sanders had another of his outdoor rallies, attracting thousands of young people and others. This rally was at Hunter’s Point South Park in Queens.
It was outside, on the waterfront, with temperatures in the high 60s at 7 p.m.
The atmosphere, in some ways, seemed more rock concert than political rally.
It even had a bit of street carnival feel, with venders selling Bernie T-shirts, Bernie pins, even Bernie signs on the streets leading up to the rally site.
“Pins just $2 each, come on, buy one,” a vendor said.
The rock band TV on the Radio performed for the crowd.
Actors Fisher Stevens and Danny Glover addressed the crowd, and Glover introduced Sanders.
“If we get a big turn out tomorrow, we are going to win New York,” Glover told the crowd.
Sanders gave his stump speech. He railed against Wall Street and corrupt campaign finances.
He talked about helping working families
But, he said, he can’t do it alone. It takes a revolution, he said, that the American prople must help support.
Sanders then talked about differences between himself and Clinton, noting that she has Super PACs, and he doesn’t.
He also criticized Climton for her paid speeches, and again asked her to release transcripts of her speeches.
Sanders, his voice sounding hoarse, ended his hour long stump speech, talking about empowering people.
Voting, he said, is empowering.