While there were major hiccups at a polling site in Williamsburg this Primary Day, things were pretty chill in the East Village, where the voters we spoke to seemed pretty split between Bernie and Hillary. (Maybe it was those Uncle Don posters, but no one seemed to want to Make America Great Again.)
At the East 4th Street polling station in the Manhattan School for Career Development, Jasmine Hanley, an NYU undergraduate student, and Adolfo Velasquez, a marketing worker on his lunch break, both said they voted for Bernie. Hanley, who said it was her first time voting, opined that “most young people support Bernie.”
Both Hanley and Velasquez were excited to see New York City at the center of such a crucial point in the electoral process. “This vote is make or break for Bernie,” Velasquez observed.
Marnie Finkelstein, a college professor who was also voting at the East 4th Street station, said she had voted for Hillary Clinton, although she admitted that the decision was tough. “I was really torn,” she admitted, saying that she actually really liked Bernie and his policies. “I just thought about who had a better chance. I was trying to think of the larger picture,” she professed, while her companion clicked his tongue in mock disapproval.
Finkelstein, a longtime resident of the East Village, believed that the neighborhood was quite evenly divided in their sympathies for Hillary and Bernie.
At P.S. 63 on 121 East 3rd Street, the 82-year-old N. Gallo, originally from Mexico, climbed down the stairs of the school after having cast his vote for Bernie. “Bernie is a Democrat, and he’s just a more serious man,” Gallo explained in Spanish. Then he threw in some casual sexism, adding that he didn’t vote for Hillary because “I don’t like the idea that a woman would be the president of a country this big.” Well, then.
William Chang, an unemployed longtime neighborhood resident, and Nick Wilde, a university student, both voted for Hillary, although their sympathies seemed more in line with Bernie. “Hillary is a continuation of the status quo,” Chang admitted, but he didn’t think Bernie would be able to push through any changes. Regardless, he stated that the neighborhood was “primarily Democratic” and that its residents “didn’t skew too clearly in one direction or another” regarding support for Hillary or Bernie.
Wilde said, “I voted for Hillary but I gave Bernie all of my delegates. I was really torn, but she just seems more experienced.” For Wilde, the outcome was clear: “I think it’s going to be Hillary versus Trump.”
At the Cooper Square Elderly Housing apartments at East 5th Street, one or two voters sauntered through the doors within the course of a ten minute period. Aaron Gaita and David Cole, two friends who work across the street from the polling station, emerged rather disgruntled. Gaita and Cole lived further uptown, but didn’t know they could only vote in the polling station assigned to their address.
“They’re making it very hard to vote in this city, and it’s so quiet here right now,” Gaita complained before heading back to his office, saying that he and Cole would have to forfeit voting because their lunch break was about to be over.
Janette, who declined to give her last name, said she had voted for Bernie and was pleased with the voting process so far. Janette, who’s a photographer, was also impressed by the number of young voters she’s seen. “Bernie seems to have inspired a lot of younger voters,” she observed.
John J. Edwards, the information clerk, admitted that although the polling station has had a great turnout thus far– “we’ve gotten over 200 people,” he said– the space was accustomed to less traffic. “It’s a quiet area because of the elderly,” he said. Nonetheless, he encouraged more voters to come out during the course of the day. “Come out and let your vote be heard,” he cheered.
Regardless of people’s choices, one thing seemed clear: everyone was very excited that New York City was such an important battleground in the election. “New York will set the tone,” Chang said before leaving P.S. 63. “As New York goes, so goes the rest of the United States. And I don’t even mean New York state, I mean New York City!”