No Trump Tower: While Clinton Goes Big, Trump Plans Modest Post-vote Party

Danna Harman
Asher Schechter
New York, NY
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The election night ballroom for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is shown in a Hilton Hotel, Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, in New York.
The election night ballroom for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is shown in a Hilton Hotel, Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, in New York. Credit: Mark Lennihan, AP
Danna Harman
Asher Schechter
New York, NY

NEW YORK CITY - “It’s a private party.” “Place is very limited.” “If you are receiving this email, we are unable to credential you for the Donald J. Trump Victory Party.” These are some of the stock replies received this week by hundreds – supporters, detractors and journalists alike – who asked to be put on the guest list for the planned Trump post-election event in New York City Tuesday night.

Since the early 1940s, no presidential nominee has held their election night event in New York City. On Tuesday, however, both presidential nominees will hold their events in New York, both within walking distance from each other in Midtown Manhattan.

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A "Make America Great Again" hat sits in a case on the stage in the grand ballroom of the Hilton Midtown hotel ahead of Donald J. Trump, 2016 Republican presidential nominee's election night event in Credit: Andrew Harrer, Bloomberg

After months of campaign stops featuring large, open-to-all rallies in fields, fairgrounds and stadiums as well as none-too-few events at Trump-named properties around the country, the Republican presidential nominee’s team has opted, on election night, to hire out a smaller venue, and one neither named nor owned by Trump: the third floor grand ballroom at New York Hilton-Midtown. 

A couple of blocks away from the Trump Tower, where Trump lives, and where the nominee will reportedly be watching the election returns earlier in the evening, the Hilton’s 2,300 square-meter (24,726 sq. ft.) ballroom can hold a capacity crowd of 3,300, according to the hotel website.

Foreign correspondents file stories outside the ballroom where preparations are taking place for Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump's election night party in New York, U.S. November 8, Credit: Jonathan Ernst, Reuters

Perhaps, as one advisor, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was unauthorized to speak on behalf of the candidate, suggested, it was just “superstition” that drove the decision to keep the event small – the same reason which was earlier given to the Washington Post for the Trump campaign’s decision not to plan a fireworks display. Or, perhaps, admitted the same advisor, keeping the event relatively small has to do with “some doubts that it will actually be a victory party.”

In 2012, Republican candidate Mitt Romney spent $25,000 on a fireworks show over Boston Harbor that was called off when it became clear he had lost to President Obama.

Last year, when Trump launched his campaign, he did it from the atrium at Trump Tower – where it is expected many of his supporters and journalists will gather on election night. But the atrium was apparently not an option for the victory party mainly because, despite its name, it’s considered a public space and no political activities are allowed there. After the Trump campaign launch there, the Trump team was fined $10,000 by the city of New York.

A general view inside the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York on November 7, 2016 as workers prepare for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's election night event.Credit: Robyn Beck, AFP

Besides being within walking distance from Trump Tower, Trump’s planned victory event is also a New York hop and a skip – 24 blocks — away from the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, with its famed glass ceiling atrium, where Democratic candidate Clinton will be holding her own party. 

Judging from her official election night, Clinton appears more confident that she will defeat Trump than many pollsters and analysts. Her victory, as of this writing, is far from certain, but the scene at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center — the venue for her election night event — exudes self-assurance.

Located on Eleventh Avenue between 34th and 40th street and spread over 170,000-square meters (1,800,000 sq. ft.) of glass and metal, the self-proclaimed "crystal palace" normally functions as New York’s premier convention space. Since being completed in 1986, it has hosted its share of major events, including the annual New York Comic Con. 

If Clinton wins, however, it will host the biggest event in its short history: the victory celebration of the first female president in the history of the United States.

Getting tickets to Clinton’s big night was, of course, a monumentally difficult task, given that hundreds of Clinton supporters had already started lining up for tickets since Saturday. Some attendees may still have to spend the evening outside, in the chilly New York air. 

Originally, the Clinton campaign planned to make the event even glitzier, with a fireworks show that was eventually cancelled, but the event is expected to be plenty glitzy nonetheless. Poetically enough, by the end of the night she is planning to celebrate, should she win, her becoming the first female U.S. president — under the enormous glass ceilings of the Javits Center.

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