Volume 74, Number 27 | November 10 - 16, 2004

Villager photos by Robert Stolarik

Billionaires for Bush performed in typical tongue-in-cheek style at Bowery Poetry Club on election night.

Victory and alcohol don’t mix for Kerry supporters

By Vin DeCrescenzo

For the many who gathered in bars and clubs along the Bowery, election night started as an excuse to go out drinking — but as the night progressed for Kerry supporters they found more and more good reasons to drink.

The Bowery Poetry Club, which functioned as a home away from home for out-of-town protestors during the R.N.C., was packed to the point of turning people away. One student carried a bottle of cheap champagne all night waiting to uncork it and celebrate a Bush defeat.

Nick Nace, a 24-year old musician from Canada, manned the “Try Canada Now” booth, handing out brochures about his native country. “We’re not saying you should move to Canada if Bush wins, but it’s an option.” The crowd downed 50-cent “Darth Nader” shots as they watched veteran R.N.C. protestors, Billionaire’s for Bush, perform beneath a huge screen showing election coverage — part of their “Block the Vote. Preemptive Victory Tour.”

A few doors down at Marion’s Continental, Sarah Dione, a 37-year-old fashion designer from Queens, was among the subdued pro-Kerry crowd nervously watching the results while trying out the free “same-sex marriage” shots. By 10 p.m. — with Florida and Ohio yet to be called — Dione believed “hope is still on the horizon.”

“I haven’t met a Bush supporter here all night,” commented manager Richard Bach. “If there is one they must be in the closet.”

At the neighboring Marquee, political humorist Andy Borowitz of the Borowitz Report hosted a sold-out party upstairs. In the basement for a donation there was an open bar and the chance to follow election coverage if you were willing to watch a small TV in the coat check.

Across the street at Phoebe’s, one of the few Bush voters out refused to give his name but said he was feeling “very confident” as he enjoyed the $3 drafts with a friend and played cards quietly tucked away in the corner.

Otto’s Shrunken Head on 14th St. threw a “Booze or Lose Party” where N.Y.U. student Morgan Ralph, a Bush voter from Connecticut, hid his allegiances when they handed out free shots for every state that was called for Kerry. The heavily tattooed crowd stuck around past midnight awaiting an open bar to drown their sorrows if the election was called for Bush. But by 2 a.m. they started to dissipate sensing the inevitable drawn-out result. Said one “booze or loser” as he stormed out into the street, “I’ve got a splinter in my craw and it’s Ohio.”

Outside the bar people gathered to smoke cigarettes and lament about the prospect of four more years of Bush. “I spent seven weeks in Europe this summer defending my country to criticism,” said first-time voter Annesta Kaufman, an 18-year old from N.Y.U. “But it’s like you have a girlfriend your friends don’t like. They’ll put up with it for a while but after four years, it’s like, ‘Why don’t you break up with them already?’ ” She added jokingly, “If we ever want to elect another decent president we may have to bomb Middle America first.”

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