Behind the scenes of Clinton’s visit

Former President Bill Clinton strolls along the First Avenue Loop on his way to the community center on April 11. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Former President Bill Clinton strolls along the First Avenue Loop on his way to the community center on April 11. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last month’s surprise visit from former President Bill Clinton to Stuyvesant Town, while kept a closely guarded secret at the time, was surprisingly easily thrown together.

Just ask Council Member Dan Garodnick, who sponsored the event on behalf of the Clinton campaign, and pitched the idea.

This week, Garodnick told Town & Village that he’d suggested to the campaign that “Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village would be a very exciting visit for either Hillary or one of her top surrogates.”

This was a reference to the former leader of the free world, with Garodnick also telling team Clinton that the community hadn’t had a president visit since then Senator John F. Kennedy. He’d campaigned for his presidential run in 1960 at a rally on First Avenue that was attended by thousands. In response, Garodnick said, “They saw the wisdom in that and thought that it would be a fun event to get the former president over there.”

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Residents come out for Clinton

Apr21 Hillary at Mikey Likes It

A week after her husband visited the community, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton got the real scoop of local flavor at Mikey Likes It, an ice cream shop owned by Stuyvesant Town resident Mikey Cole (pictured at left) on Avenue A. The visit may have paid off as Clinton did well with locals at the polls on Tuesday. (Photo by Tajanay Brown)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

On Tuesday, democratic voters in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village overwhelmingly chose Hillary Clinton, with the former Secretary of State getting 63 percent of the vote in the community compared to Bernie Sanders’ 39 percent.

Election data from the New York Times reported similar citywide results, which had Clinton with 63 percent of the vote and Sanders with 37 percent.

Meanwhile, though the numbers showed a wide margin for Clinton, voters who spoke with T&V on Primary Day seemed less definitive about their decisions.

One Stuyvesant Town resident and poll worker said that it almost came down to “eeny, meeny, miny, mo” for her in terms of picking the best Democratic candidate but the recent debate forced her to look more specifically at some issues, which swayed her towards Clinton.

“She’s kind of a hawk, which is a big problem for me, but she’s been fighting the good fight for a long time,” said the resident, who did not want to be named. She said that she was convinced by articles written by former Sanders supporters on why they were no longer voting for him, in particular a piece from social activist Tom Hayden, found when she did more extensive research following the debate.

“I probably would have decided by flipping a coin, which I don’t like to do, but the Brooklyn debate solidified it for me,” she added. “I’ve been a Bernie fan from the beginning. Both he and (Massachusetts Senator) Liz Warren are great, but (Clinton) has been around these people for years, working in Washington for decades. She knows how to do this.”

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Former President Clinton visits Stuy Town

Clinton p1pic

Former President Bill Clinton, at the Stuyvesant Town Community Center with Council Member Dan Garodnick and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and residents Herman Diamond and Doris Black (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With the presidential primary a mere eight days away, Hillary Clinton’s campaign got a boost in Stuyvesant Town, when her husband, former President Bill Clinton, stopped by to schmooze and pose for pictures with voters.

The visit by the former leader of the free world on Monday was almost as guarded as he was, with the event kept quiet up until the last minute when word started to get around the neighborhood. At that point, the Community Center started to fill up much more than it usually would for afternoon bridge games, mainly with politically connected residents. However, many of the seniors who’d gone there earlier to play cards were still shocked to see a president campaigning on the property for the first time in decades. Then presidential candidate John F. Kennedy had also made a campaign stop in Stuy Town in 1960.

With secret service men in tow, who cautiously allowed tenants to tap Clinton on the shoulder or back while requesting photos with him and asking him questions, the former president eventually made his way around the entire community center.

When shaking his hand, one woman informed him, “You are gorgeous.” In response, Clinton said, “It’s been a long time since a girl said that to me.”

He also got a compliment of sorts from longtime resident Tony Koestler, who told him he looked better in real life than he did on TV. An unruffled Clinton agreed with the man. “Most people with round faces do,” he said.

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