For Clinton, a big rally on a small island

June 1, 2015

The rebuilt Roosevelt Island Tram glides into its loading dock on the first day of operation following a nine-month modernization project which replaced the previous tram system with a faster version in New York November 30, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Hillary Clinton will hold her first large rally of her campaign this month on Roosevelt Island, the little slip of land in New York’s East River best known as the site of the former New York City Lunatic Asylum.  According to an email from her campaign, the June 13 rally will be held in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, which belatedly opened in 2012, four decades after architect Louis Kahn first began designing the memorial to the former president.

Clinton can count on an impressive backdrop of the skyscrapers of Midtown Manhattan as she gives what her campaign says will be her fullest explanation yet of why she should be elected president next year.  How a crowd of thousands might reach the island is less clear at this point – it has a single subway station that rarely deals with large crowds, and a tram car system, memorably featured in the climactic battle scene in the 2002 “Spider-Man” film, that can deliver about 100 people to the island at a time. There is also a small bridge connecting the mostly car-free island to the borough of Queens.

Clinton, who moved to New York in 1999 ahead of a successful run to become a Democratic U.S. senator for the state, picked the park in part because she said she was inspired by Roosevelt’s presidency and considered his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, a role model, according to the announcement email. When she last ran for president in 2007, she held her first rally at school gym in Des Moines, Iowa, a few days after her initial announcement. This time around, Clinton has been an announced candidate for about seven weeks, but has only held small events with little or no access for the general public.

The hospitals and prisons that once made the island infamous have long been replaced by small clusters of middle-class housing, popular with people who work at the United Nations headquarters just across the water. Although Clinton is yet to discuss much in the way of specific policies, she has said she is concerned both about reducing the number of people the U.S. sends to prison and making it easier for people with mental health problems to get treatment. Given the setting of her rally, Clinton may be tempted to invoke the work of Nellie Bly, the celebrated journalist whose 1887 book “Ten Days in a Mad-House”, written after she feigned insanity and got herself committed, caused outrage for exposing the abusive treatment of mentally ill inmates on the island.

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Bill Clinton should be in prison for him and his cronies repealing Glass-Steagal and making mortgage lending a race-baiting vote buying scam and causing the housing/banking collapse.

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