A rooftop Ambush Comedy show. (Photo: @ambushcomedy via Instagram).

I planned to spend election night in Connecticut with my parents, but work and Cuomo’s cautioning against traveling to neighboring states with spiking COVID rates have conspired to keep me here in the city.

 So I began casting about for somewhere to be or something to do on Election Night. I asked myself: Where does one go after casting a ballot at one of the city’s coolest polling places, or even one of the many less hip ones around town? 

If I were a local, after receiving the coveted “I Voted” sticker my first stop would be Concord Hill. Aside from being a well-reviewed eatery with a focus on locally sourced ingredients, they’re offering a free shot for anybody who shows up with proof they participated in our democratic process. These aren’t just well drinks, either. For Election Day, they’re offering vodka infused with rosemary and honeydew. 

General manager Gina Buck says Concord Hill is too small for a proper election night event, and she thinks most people will be watching from home anyway. “I suspect they want to be able to scream and say whatever they need to in either direction.”

I certainly want to retain my screaming abilities once the returns start coming in, so I took a brief walk and poked my head into the nearby bars I usually frequent. One place canceled their live outdoor music for the night, anticipating low turnout. But for the most part there were no special plans, just a bit of debate about whether folks will want to watch or be distracted. 

David Piccolomini, a standup comic and one of the producers of Ambush Comedy, suggested tuning out the election for just an hour and a half to watch the 7pm show on the rooftop of The Tiny Cupboard in Brooklyn. (Register here.) “You’re not going to know the results. We probably won’t even know the results that night. Just give yourself a break,” he advised.

Hosted by Drexton Clemons, and featuring both Josh Johnson, a current writer on The Daily Show and Danny Jolles, who has appeared on The Tonight Show With Stephen Colbert, Piccolomini assured me there’d be at least a bit of topical comedy. Even then, he allowed, I could still check my phone if I really wanted to.

Justin Buchanan, the Co-Owner of Pieces, Hardware, and The Playhouse said his three venues in the Village will provide a balance of distraction and engagement. Sadly an emphasis on safety means the staff will not be performing their own feats of balance like splits or death drops, but each location will have a celebrity host. Bootsie Lefaris will take the stage at Pieces, while Pixie Aventura and Marti Cummings will be joined by DJs at Hardware and Playhouse respectively, with RSVPs encouraged.  The hosts will provide a running commentary on the results, chat up guests, and provide atmosphere.

“We’re all optimistic for a good night, obviously,” Buchanan said. “If not, then we’ll be together to console each other. Those of us in the nightlife industry realize that it’s our job to offer people a distraction from everyday life.”

Looking around for further options I discovered that tickets to the Metropolitan Republican Club’s watch event were sold out. In fact, explicitly political in-person events were a little hard to find across the spectrum. The Columbia University Democrats are hosting a Zoom party, but the admin of the NYU chapter’s Facebook told me that apart from some members getting together to phone bank they don’t have any specific Election Day plans.

Further from the center, the NYC Democratic Socialists of America are hosting both a general Election Night Zoom event and a Socialist Feminist event.

Though who to vote for may be the most important choice made by many throughout the city on Election Day, there are plenty of choices to be made after casting the ballot. For most, it may even prove the more difficult decision to make.