Navy Yard

Democratic Debate Preview: The Eagle’s inside look at the Brooklyn Navy Yard showdown

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders prepare to square off in Brooklyn

April 14, 2016 By Scott Enman Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Inside the debate hall the Duggal Greenhouse at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Eagle photos by Scott Enman

There’s a palpable energy in the air in the streets of Downtown Brooklyn.

Walking down the sidewalks, one notices an abnormal number of police officers.

Every few minutes, fleets of unmarked black cars and news vans zip past.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Political analysts march about in their best suits as young political journalists furiously scribble on notepads.

All this commotion can mean only one thing: it is the day of the Democratic presidential primary debate between Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The battle of Brooklyn is set to begin at 9 p.m. EST and will be broadcast live on both CNN and NY1.

The showdown, which will take place five days before the April 19 New York primary, will be moderated by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer and questions will be posed by CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash and NY1 political anchor Errol Louis.

Ahead of the Brooklyn brawl, the Brooklyn Eagle was given a sneak peak of the debate hall and the Navy Yard grounds.

After a behind the scenes tour, the Eagle spoke with CNN’s Washington Bureau Chief and Senior Vice President Sam Feist about how tickets to the debate were allocated.

“The vast majority of seats in the hall were given to the Clinton and Sanders campaigns so that it is a balanced debate hall,” Feist told the Eagle. “The remaining tickets were passed out by CNN and NY1 to New York dignitaries.”

Feist also spoke to the Eagle about how quickly the debate was set up and how CNN strived to theme the debate around Brooklyn.

“This debate came together in a very, very short amount of time,” said Feist. “In record time is a good way to describe it. This venue speaks volumes to where we are, which is in the heart of Brooklyn. You’ll see that the pressroom is in an actual warehouse,” Feist continued.  

The pressroom is filled with Brooklyn-made products, such as Brooklyn Roasting Company coffee, Mast Brothers chocolate and local food trucks.

As Feist’s voice echoed in an eerily deserted debate hall, where in only a matter of hours it would be filled to the brim with spectators eager to watch a battle of epic proportions, the Eagle noticed it was sitting in the reserved seat of none other than quintessential Brooklynite Spike Lee.

How fitting.


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