Jo Freeman's Adventures in Hillaryland
By Jo Freeman
I vote in Brooklyn. When I heard that Hillary's election night watch party would be in the Javits Center on the Hudson River, I thought that someplace in that 1.8 million square feet of space there might be room for me. In all the Presidential elections I've worked in, I've never been in the right city for a candidate's own election night party, whether it be a wake or a celebration.
Greta Page-Mann photo
I applied for press credentials to represent SeniorWomenWeb, whose credentials I carried at the Democratic and Republican Conventions. That rejection came within a few days. Next I applied for general admission. The e-mail confirmation came within 15 minutes. It said go to the Javits Center on W 34th St. Then it added, Can Hillary County on You? Donate now. Once it had my e-mail address, hillaryclinton.com sent me half a dozen e-mails each day asking for something.
As I walked down 34th St. from the subway exit on Tuesday evening, I could see stenciled into the sidewalk Hillary Clinton's head and the words "Madame President #IFEELLIKEHILLZ". I saw a good half dozen of these before I got to the Javits Center. There was a barricade at 10th Ave. and 34th St. Police said they were only letting in those with some sort of special ticket. The staff member answering questions said that entrance was only for staff, VIPs and press. I wasn't any of those. However, since I wasn't press, I had decorated my press vest with a dozen different Hillary pins that I had picked up at or since the Convention. On my head was a cap that said 'Hillary for President 2008'. I looked like I belonged inside the Javits Center with the rest of the celebrants.
There was a crowd at that entrance, none of whom were happy to be told to walk up to 40th St. to try to get in there. But there they went. On the way up Tenth Ave. all the cross streets were barricaded, the cops were plentiful, several vendors were hawking their Hillary wares, and some doors were open to 'private" events' — requiring still more tickets. Everyone wanted to be at or around the Javits Center.
At 40th Street the crowd was thick. We were funneled into a sidewalk. Packed between barricades and buildings like the proverbial sardines we moved in spurts west on 40th St. to 11th Ave. and then to 12th Ave. Sometimes we didn't move all. This was not for the faint of heart, or those who had trouble walking or didn't like crowds. At 12th Ave. there were more blockades, keeping people from mixing with the cars speeding down the street. There we halted and waited for 10-15 minutes. We could see that a larger group had been passed to the other side of the street and was walking east on the sidewalk, across the street from the sidewalk where we had been walking west. No one told us where we were going or why.
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