New York City’s take on Trump


A large crowd watches the presidential election results from Times Square in New York City on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. This is the first time in modern history that both major party candidates have come from the same state — New York.

Alex Delaney-Gesing

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump won the 2016 Election early Wednesday morning after a battle for the win against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

A flash of red and white glinted in the late afternoon sunlight on the corner of 5th Avenue in New York City Tuesday. Brooklyn resident Rocky Granata, decked out in a hat, scarf and red T-shirt with “Trump for President 2016” written in bold, held up a full-sized flag bearing “Trump” etched in vivid white.

Just a few blocks from Trump Tower, masses of pedestrians crowd the street corner, intrigued in the slew of merchandise dedicated solely to Trump.  From knitted white and red scarfs to hats and T-shirts, Granta has made a small profit — part of which he donates to local veterans hospitals — over the last few months as he’s followed the GOP campaign to venues across the country. 

Despite being registered as a Republican, Granata, 57, initially supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primaries. The junior senator’s outsider status and revolutionary plans for social change had pulled him across the aisle. But when Sanders lost the Democratic nominee to former Secretary of State Clinton, Granata figured his best bet for a different type of leadership in the country was the businessman-turned Republican.

“I think Donald Trump gets people going,” he said. “He’s got the star power like (President) Ronald Reagan did in the ’80s, but he’s his own guy. He’s got his own style.”

Granata admits Trump has made more than his fair share of arbitrary comments throughout his campaign.

“They weren’t proper in the first place, but he’s since retracted them,” Granata said. “He wasn’t right in saying them, and I think he knew that. He’s not a stupid guy.”

A few feet away, dressed in his own Trump attire, Elizabethtown, New Jersey, resident Narayan Mankuzhy advertised merchandise for the nominee. Like Granata, he was a Sanders supporter in the primaries. The difference: he still “feels the Bern.”

“The candidates just don’t tell the truth like Sanders did,” Mankuzhy said.

Trump’s reputation in the city is for being a successful businessman. An entertainer, he said.

“He’s appealed to a lot of people because of that,” Mankuzhy said. “Besides, he’s only been a supposed politician for the last year or so. It’s a weak time for this country: not many people to look up to at the moment, especially with this election. Maybe that’s why he’s been so well-supported.”

Mankuzhy isn’t registered to vote in this election. While he’s lived in the New York area for the last 25 years, he’s originally from India, and still has his green card. Even if he were a citizen, he said, his vote would be lost on the two candidates.

“It would have gone to waste because I would have written in ‘Bernie,’” he said.

While Trump isn’t the ideal leader Mankuzhy would want in office for the next four years, he said if the people vote for him, then he’ll support him.

“He’s not the leader I want; he’s not for me,” he said. “But if he’s elected, I will support him.”

A few blocks over, closer to the Hilton Midtown Hotel where Trump held his victory party venue on the fifth floor ballroom, media trucks and New York City Police officers swarmed the entrance to the building.

NYPD officers stationed themselves outside the entranceway. Their black uniforms stood out against the bright fluorescent lights lights illuminating the walkway and hotel lobby. K-9 dogs held tight by their owners sniffed media and hotel guests as they walked in and out of the hotel. 

Groups of Trump protesters and supporters moved in groups of 10s down the sidewalk. Supporters’ hands clutched Trump-Pence signs and red, homemade “Make America Great Again” signs as they chanted their chosen nominee’s name, while the protesters yelled “Dump Trump” and held up “Make America Hate Again.” 

Monte Smith, 63, stood in front of the hotel’s lobby doors. His black cap shaded his eyes as he observed the activity outside.

“I’ve worked here 31 years and have never seen anything like this,” Smith said. “With Trump and Clinton both in town, it’s a little crazy. But you’ve got to do what you got to do, and I came to work today. After I voted.”

Smith, a Queens, New Jersey resident, said that with New York known for leaning liberal, he doesn’t think its residents will take too kindly to the idea of a Republican president. Personally, he said, “I don’t think the guy’s as bad as people make him out to be.”

A couple hundred feet away from the media trucks set up, NYC resident Francisco Carate set his box of custom-made “Cap’n Trump” cereal boxes on a trash can and began to advertise to passersby. Most turned away after realizing the boxes were empty.

“The point of these boxes is to show a satirical approach to a very complex time in America,” said Carate, 22. “I’m showing others what kind of leader Trump would be; It’s all a gimmick, his campaign and these boxes.” 

The proceeds from the boxes —  which Carate priced as “pay as you wish” — will go toward the city’s homeless population.

NYC is mixing pot of the wealthy and the poor, he said. “It’s ironic that in a city with millions, there can be people as rich as Trump, yet there are still those homeless and sleeping on the streets.”

As the evening progressed, the thousands flocked toward the heart of the city: Times Square.  

Election updates and results from national news networks scrolled across the screens. Cheers erupted and boos spread as more states were claimed by the nominees. Fox News announced Clinton as the winner of New York. Cheers ensued in waves, drowning out the “Kill Hillary” chants that responded. Florida was projected for Trump. Clapping followed. Ohio and North Carolina were projected, then confirmed as red states.

A man with a white poster reading “Trump you are fired. Now go away” walked down Broadway Avenue through the thick crowds of people who had come to a stop, eyes fixed on the wall-sized screen calling out projections. Another man with a white sign reading “Blacks for Trump” written in bold black passed him. Neither said a word to each other.

Amber Barry, a 15-year NYC resident, sat near a charging station for electronic just outside the square. She said she’s indifferent to the hype surrounding Trump. In the past, Barry said, she’d never paid too much attention to his career.

“I’ve always thought he’s just outrageous, and there’s so many outrageous people just believe him, no matter what he says,” she said.”He’s like a character. He wants the attention. He’s more of an entertainer and wants to prove to himself he could win, just to do it. He just wants to create more for his name.” 

In a white hat and blue “Make America Great”gear, Tim Graney of Houston, Texas, proudly displayed his Republican support while out in the city. He brought his family to NYC to show his support for Trump. He said he voted early just so he’d be able to be in his chosen candidate’s home state and city to witness his victory. 

“Trump is a leader, (and) we need a leader in charge,” he said. “ America needs to be a leader across the world, and Trump has proven he can be.” 

Alex Delaney-Gesing is a senior reporter, contact her at [email protected].