NYC’s security headache: Trump, Clinton almost within shouting distance on election night

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 November, 2016, 11:17pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 November, 2016, 11:17pm

It is a rare celestial crossing that has both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spending election night not only in the same city, but barely more than a mile apart in midtown Manhattan – and it is creating unprecedented security headaches for New York City.

Not since they sparred with each other on the debate stage have the Clinton and Trump orbits overlapped in this way.

Clinton is planning a big bash in a symbolically glass-roofed atrium that is part of the Javits convention centre.

Trump will be ensconced in a Hilton a mere 15 blocks away.

“Election day brings with it a unique set of challenges. For the first time in modern memory, both major party candidates will monitor the results here in New York and will have election night parties in midtown Manhattan,” New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.

More philosophical about the election was New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat. “It has been in many ways a challenging and painful year,” he told reporters. “It stained our democracy. [Election day] is the day when we get to make it right, when democratic process comes alive and people choose.”

The last time two presidential candidates were from New York was 1944, when Franklin Roosevelt won his fourth term, prevailing over New York Governor Thomas Dewey, but celebrations were subdued because of the second world war. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, live in the suburb of Chappaqua, where they moved in 1999 so that she could run for the US Senate.

The Queens-born Trump lives in a penthouse condominium atop the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.

The election night jitters come in the midst of a heightened terrorism alert. A bomb that exploded in the Chelsea neighbourhood in mid-September injured 29 people. Federal officials have said they have received intelligence warnings of a terrorist threat from the al-Qaeda militant group.

Islamic State has also called on its supporters to attack election targets.

“Currently the credibility and the sourcing of that information is under investigation and ongoing with no new information since last week,” said James Waters, head of the Police Department’s counterterrorism bureau.