September 02, 2004
A few random thoughts about the RNC in NYC: -Just about every reception, breakfast, meal, etc. is sponsored by a company, activist group, or some combination of them. The Illinois Delegation events are no exception. But we hear these are the "minor league" events. The real receptions of power and note are invitation only, and closed to the media. For example, there are several wood trim, plush carpeted rooms at Madison Square Garden with their own security detail that host such events. A glimpse inside shows a level of posh reception not seen by most delegates. -Every hotel hosting a state delegation has a 24 hour security detail. Outside our hotel, there are always five NYC Police officers and a K-9 unit, and sometimes what appears to be a Secret Service members and cops on bicycles or motorcycles. Mind you, that is for one hotel housing one delegation. The Illinoisans took a luncheon harbor cruise around NY today. The whole time we were followed (closely) by a NYC police boat. -The delegates are making time for fun. Some stories of popular events: shopping, Broadway shows (Aida, The Lion King, and Chicago are most often mentioned), visiting Ground Zero, attending Yankees and/or Mets games, and walking through Central Park. Don't worry though, the IPR reporters are way too busy working to have any fun or see any sights. -The delegation took a trip to Ulysses S. Grant's Tomb yesterday. If you recall, Illinois made an attempt to have the tomb and remains of the president, general, and former Galena resident brought to Illinois. Officials here in New York say that attempt was the impetus for the NY state and federal government to get its act together and restore the monument, and install security to put an end to the vandalism and homeless shelter nature of the site. Anyway, Illinois delegates came lay a wreath at the tomb, hold a memorial service for Grant, and take a tour. Illinoisans say they are glad the tomb is in good shape, but still kind of wish it had come to Galena. Still, kind of a neat trip. -Everyone we have run into in New York has been very polite and nice. Especially the police. It may be a concerted effort to make the RNC feel at home, or could be the lingering effects of the post 9/11 New York mentality. Still, I think it's safe to say the rude New Yorker stereotype has been put to rest (at least a little bit) this week.
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