Dateline New York City: What the Primary-Watchers Did Last Night

Freelancer Caitlin Johnson, who went primary-watch-party-hopping last night, sends in this fun dispatch:

Tom Leger opened up his spacious Tribeca loft last night for gay Clinton supporters to watch the returns. By 9 p.m., only a handful of his friends showed up, but that didn’t stop Leger, an English teacher at Hunter, from jumping off his couch each time the preliminary results showed Clinton ahead.

Leger said, "It’s a pretty sorry election for queer people – it’s a pretty sorry election for the country." He says Clinton rarely discusses gay rights, but he still feels she’s the best person for the job. "I wanted Hillary because I love Bill Clinton, and when I went out canvassing for Clinton – when I saw her, it became about Hillary Clinton."

His guests, however, were not so sure. One was torn between Obama and Clinton, another confessed that deep down, he supported fellow vegan Dennis Kucinich.

Almost everyone at a Barack Obama party I went to, by contrast, was drunk off the Kool-Aid. The party, which took place at the Irish Rogue pub in Times Square, was organized by ObamaNYC. It drew a crowd of good-looking young professionals. Organizer Nina Arawal, sporting an "I got a crush on Obama" pin, said more than 200 people attended. They congregated around the bar’s many big-screen TVs, which were tuned to either CNN or MSNBC. Even as the results showed Clinton ahead, the revelers enjoyed their beers and Buffalo wings with confidence.

"We think he’s going to win tonight," co-organizer Leah Kozak said. But even if he doesn’t, she said, "We think it’s going to motivate people to work harder."

Throughout the night, the crowd broke into cheers – either "Obama! Obama!" or the favorite, "Fired up! Ready to Go" – but at around 10:30, the Obamaniacs were visibly tired, slumping in their seats. Finally their champion gave his concession speech and the crowd erupted again. Arthur Fournie, who works for a publishing company, leaned across a young blond woman and shouted: "Undeterred!"

"We are going to bring it. I don’t give a fuck! I’m not a sycophant; I’m not about politics," he said, holding his beer while gesticulating with his other hand. The blond woman grew nervous. "It’s not bullshit! This is not bullshit!"

A few blocks to the east, The Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century party was still going strong at O’Lunney’s pub. Organizer Elizabeth Caputo said the event drew more than 200 people – Obama, Edwards and Clinton supporters alike. The crowd, however, tilted towards Hillary. Among them was City Councilman and Brooklyn borough president hopeful Bill de Blasio.

"I know her," he said. "I know her work. I used to work for her, so I’m biased. We’ve never seen anything like it – anyone run for president that has such a role in our national life. It’s not even close for me."

But for all his political experience, de Blasio says, he has never seen people in the city so energized about a presidential race.

"It’s unbelievable," he said. "Something very profound is happening; it’s clearly a desire to get things right this time."