In New York, two Americas

By Tim Grieve
Published August 30, 2004 2:46PM (EDT)

In Boston last month, the Democratic National Convention felt sometimes like a street party that spilled more or less seamlessly from Boston Common to the Fleet Center to the bar at the Four Seasons. No matter where you went in Boston, there were throngs of delegates wandering about, convention credentials hanging around the necks.

New York isn't like that, at least not yet. While protestors flooded the streets Sunday, Republican delegates were all but invisible in public. And Sunday night, when tourists took back Times Square, there still were few signs -- except for a handful of anti-Bush stragglers and a sea of cops -- that the GOP was in town.

The delegates all seemed to be inside, behind the security checks that separate convention hotels from the rest of the New York. Inside the Roosevelt Hotel, where delegates from Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Oregon are staying, the lobby bar was busy Sunday night, a bunch of white guys in Dockers and golf shirts pounding back Buds and -- could it be? -- white wine.

The Olympics and then the late-night news played silently on a couple of TVs above the bar, but nobody paid much attention to either. From the air-conditioned cool of the bar, the protests on the streets and the closing ceremonies in Athens seemed equally foreign and far away.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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