A Grand Old Party for New York City
Security and space are big issues for the Big Apple and the Republican convention
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
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
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
“Every precaution possible will be taken to make sure that New
York hosts a safe and successful convention,” said an RNC
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
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
“New York knows how to party. I think we can satisfy the
Republicans,” said Spinnato.