Hillary Hits Williamsburg but Skips the Clams

As Hillary Clinton’s motorcade of black vans and S.U.V.’s rolled toward an Italian restaurant in Williamsburg, Assemblyman Vito Lopez, the boss of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, stood in the eatery’s empty dining room talking about respect. “She’s paying her respect, which I think is a very good characteristic,” he said, referring to Mrs. Clinton’s visit to Cono & Sons, one of the neighborhood’s last vestiges of white-tablecloth and red-sauce dining. “Very respectful. She came even though she knew she would prevail on the vote tonight.”

The vote to endorse Mrs. Clinton by the politicians comprising the Kings County Democratic Party was never really in question. Mr. Lopez had scheduled the meeting weeks earlier. But the very notion that Mrs. Clinton would actually put in a personal appearance—an overture that is all but required in the courting of local politicians in primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire—seemed to bowl over the Brooklyn politicians.

“Brooklyn has the largest Democratic population, approximately one million people,” said Mr. Lopez. Tall and hulking, he gave the impression in his dark gray suit of a soft-spoken, Selsun Blue–scented slab of cement.

As Mr. Lopez explained how the visit signaled Brooklyn’s resurgence after a nasty corruption scandal, a man with a shaved head came over to whisper something in his ear. They conferred earnestly.

“You should sit them on the sides,” Mr. Lopez said. “Put her in the middle.”

“It’s her meeting,” he added.

Mrs. Clinton’s trip to Williamsburg was part of a busy day for her in New York. In the morning, she appeared on ABC’s The View, where she jokingly commiserated with the women on the panel about all the attention given to a female candidate: “The hair, the clothes, the laugh.”

She continued her estrogen-charged “Women Changing America” tour by delivering the keynote address at the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee luncheon at the Grand Hyatt at Grand Central.

At the early afternoon meeting, she accepted lots of hugs and sat at a round table with female power brokers like the president of Emily’s List, Ellen Malcolm; New York first lady Silda Spitzer; and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

When a speaker remarked on her impressive lead in national polls, and the likelihood of women voters electing her president, Mrs. Clinton raised her eyebrows and took a sip of iced tea. When it was her turn, she gave a girl-power version of her stump speech. (“I am thrilled at the prospect of becoming the first woman president of the United States.”) Supporters bought chocolate-colored “Making History” Hillary T-shirts.

Shortly afterward, Mrs. Clinton headed out to Forest Hills to pick up the Queens County endorsement.

Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, the waiters at Cono & Sons—dressed traditionally in black vests, white shirts and black ties—peeked between the potted cactus plants that screened the windows. Cono Natale Jr., the restaurant’s heavyset owner, directed the setting of a giant square table in the back room with plates and glasses for more than 30 people. Brooklyn lawmakers and politicians filed through the front door. One waiter called for “cheese and hot peppa” and another warned that service would slow considerably when the senator arrived.

“We’re all going to be in there,” the waiter said.

A little bit after 4 p.m., Mrs. Clinton arrived. Dressed in slacks, a gray wool jacket, black blouse and sparkling earrings and necklace, she walked in front of the restaurant’s brick facade, past one sign that said Jazz Night and another that said “Tuesday’s Wine Lovers Nite.” As she greeted Mr. Lopez at the door, Mr. Natale asked the camerawoman from New York 1, “You get the front of the restaurant at least?”

Hillary Hits Williamsburg but Skips the Clams