Brooklynites Could Care Less About Convention

Brooklyn lost out to Philadelphia to host the Democratic National Convention in 2016 this week—and more Brooklynites seemed to be relieved instead of disappointed.

After a Brooklyn community board meeting Thursday night, many residents and local officials talked about the Democratic Party’s decision to not hold the 2016 convention at the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn. As the arena was gearing up to host the NBA All-Star game this weekend, lots of Brooklynites argued that the Barclays Center was busy enough already.

By Mikhail Kim (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Mikhail Kim (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

“Every time these kind of big events come to our neighborhood, the amount of visitors is overwhelming,” said Celeste Jasmine, a Brooklyn resident who lives near the convention. “The streets get too congested.”

Gregory Todd, a real estate broker who works in Bedford-Stuyvesant agreed. “If you go there, you can see it’s crazy,” Todd said. “There is too much going on there, like the NBA All-Star Games, all these celebrity concerts.”

Some local officials like Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams saw the bright side of the loss. “Through this process, we have strengthened our world-class infrastructure and logistical capacity to stage high-profile events like the MTV Video Music Awards and NBA All-Star Weekend,” he said in a press release.

But the result still disappointed borough officials. If chosen, Brooklyn would have hosted the first New York-based presidential convention to be held outside of Manhattan. The most recent political convention in New York took place in 2004, when the Republican Party gathered in Madison Square Garden.

“Instead of a cutting-edge choice that would be a nod to the Democratic Party’s future, the pick was made for a safe site that hearkens more to its past,” Borough President Adams said.

Nizjoni Granville, the chairperson of Brooklyn Community Board 8, also expressed her disappointment after the meeting. “I think it’s a loss for Brooklyn because we were looking forward to having it here, for the business, for the energy, and for the reputation,” she said.

Another board member, who refused to give his name, however,  felt the DNC’s decision was a wise one. “I think that actually Brooklyn is not ready for it in terms of security issues,” he said. “There is no way we could have properly staged the event.”

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