by Jonathan Vatner | June 01, 2004
To prepare New York City for this summer’s Republican National Convention, estimated to draw 50,000 attendees, the city’s movers and shakers are doing just that.
    The New York Host Committee 2004 has recruited 8,000 volunteers for the period between Aug. 18 and Sept. 3, to help delegates at the hotels where they will be staying and at the city’s major transportation hubs.
    The Host Committee’s main effort has been to raise $64 million in private funds for a variety of needs, including rent and refurbishing costs for Madison Square Garden, site of the convention. In addition, the Farley Post Office building across the street will be refitted to house the expected 15,000 members of the media.
    The funds also will help the Big Apple provide unprecedented levels of security at the Garden. About 10,000 of New York City’s 36,000 cops will be on duty at the arena. The federal Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security are helping devise safety plans.
    “Every precaution possible will be taken to make sure that New York hosts a safe and successful convention,” said an RNC spokesperson.
Protesters are expected, but the RNC spokesperson voiced confidence in the effort to keep anyone from interfering with the event.
    The largest hotels, such as the New York Marriott Marquis and the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, are boosting their own security forces during the convention.
    Meanwhile, NYC & Company, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, has been working overtime on RNC plans. The bureau  has created a list of venues for private functions and a convention services brochure specifically for planners of special events associated with the convention. The bureau also is footing the bill for hotel rooms for the heads of each delegation.
    There will be plenty of parties. For example, all meeting space at the city’s five W Hotels has been set aside for festivities, according to Keith Douglas, the chain’s area director of sales and marketing.
    Besides a slew of events to showcase the city, paid for by the Host Committee, most every hotel housing a delegation will host an event, for which the delegations and the hotels will share the bill, said Joseph E. Spinnato, president of the New York City Hotel Association.
    “New York knows how to party. I think we can satisfy the Republicans,” said Spinnato.