US presidential contenders take bites out of the Big Apple
Clintons enjoy Irish hospitality in New York at final campaign event before state primary
Hillary and Bill Clinton at a campaign stop with Irish American supporters in Manhattan on Monday. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters
Pastry chef Bill Yosses fed two US presidents, George W Bush and Barack Obama. He waits for a third, Bill Clinton, and, he hopes, a fourth, Hillary Clinton, to arrive at an Irish campaign event in Manhattan.
Yosses joined a crowd of Irish Americans at a “primary eve celebration” for the Clintons at the Fitzpatrick Grand Central Hotel, owned by Dubliner John Fitzpatrick, on Monday night before New Yorkers went to the polls yesterday.
The final two Democratic candidates and three Republicans swung through New York city campaigning for votes ahead of the key primary that should help decide whether Clinton will see off Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and whether businessman Donald Trump can nail down the Republican nomination to avoid a convention fight in Cleveland in July.
Clinton eyed up but didn’t touch a slice of strawberry cheesecake at Junior’s Cheesecake in Brooklyn.
Ohio governor John Kasich, a Republican needing to bulk up in third place, ate chicken soup with kreplach, apple strudel and three pickles at a kosher-style deli on the Upper East Side.
On Monday, the Clintons refuelled with a private dinner at the Wheeltapper Irish Pub in Fitzpatrick’s Grand Central, before wooing Irish-Americans enjoying Guinness and cocktail sausages at a party hosted by Fitzpatrick and John McCarthy of Irish American Democrats.
“I am sure the man eats junk food because it comes spewing out of his mouth whenever it translates into language,” said Yosses of Trump when asked about the candidates’ preferred meals as president.
New York results
“Bernie, I am sure, eats very sustainable, local food – by local, I mean, within five feet,” he continued, laughing.
“Hillary, because she is brilliant, intelligent, dynamic, sensitive, probably eats a very well-cooked home meal.”
Fed and watered, Clinton told the Irish crowd that she and Bill “wanted to be once again with our dear friends” at the last event before New Yorkers vote.
She thanked the Irish-American community for supporting him in making it possible for America to bring about peace in Northern Ireland in the 1990s.
“It means that the United States is in a unique position, to use our good offices to bring people together who do not want to talk to each other, who do not even want to sit at the same table as each other,” she said.
Advice for Ireland
“Well, you can’t form a government until you believe that it’s better to work together than hold firm. I don’t know enough about the underlying circumstances to know whether the time is right yet but I know sooner or later that Ireland needs a government to go forward,” he said.
McCarthy described the Irish as “a key constituency bloc” for the Clintons in New York and beyond, including in the next state contests on Tuesday in the north east: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
“The Irish are valuable to her everywhere because one thing that is so ingrained in Irish American experience is their participation in politics,” he said.
One diner, a retired chemist who didn’t want to give his name, said he was a registered Democrat but had no appetite for either candidate.
“We don’t like Bernie Sanders because he is going to ruin the country and we don’t trust Hillary Clinton,” he said as he and his wife ate salad and fresh bread in Zabar’s deli, the famed culinary epicentre of Jewish New York.
Further up the Upper West Side, well into Bernie territory next to Columbia University, writer Drew Stafford (27) and student Sonny Paul (25) were tucking into a spanakopita at the Hungarian Pastry Shop.
They are both supporting Sanders, though don’t believe he will beat Clinton.
“His values are more exciting to me,” Stafford said. “I don’t think he would necessarily be the greatest president but his ideology is more in line with what I think is auspicious for America’s future.”
“Hillary is a murdering imperialist,” said Paul, deadpan.
“But that green jacket she’s been wearing on the campaign, she wears it so well,” said Stafford, as they continue chatting, drinking coffee and eating.