One woman said she waited two and a half hours to vote, only to conclude: “People are really excited. It’s a good sign.”
This is the first year that New York has offered an early vote for the presidential election, and the city’s election board appears to have been surprised by the extraordinary demand.
Polling hours have now been extended to try to ease the busy queues, which had even sparked New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
He waited in line for 3.5 hours on Tuesday to cast his vote at Park Slope in Brooklyn, and he even ordered a take-out pizza as he approached the front of the line. He had eaten a slice before, wearing gloves and a mask, and began distributing the slices to fellow voters.
It was a similar sight all over town at Madison Square Garden, which is usually home to the New York Rangers and New York Knicks, but has temporarily turned into a polling site.
The voting line swirled around the block, as poll workers hand out hot chocolate and coffee, and New York overwhelmingly voted Hillary Clinton in 2016, nearly four to one.
In the final weeks of the presidential race, Trump repeatedly referred to the “death” of the city that was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic earlier in the year.
“Look at what happened to New York, it’s a ghost town. It’s a ghost town,” Trump said at the last presidential debate last week.
“For many years I loved her, she was vibrant. She’s dying, everyone leaving New York.”
As hundreds of people were in line to vote at Madison Square Garden this week, “This ghost town is voting,” wrote on the sidewalk with chalk.