NEW YORK —
Forty-five minutes past 9 p.m., Manhattan’s iconic Empire State building changed hue.
Once red, it was suddenly blue. Democratic blue.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had just been declared the winner of the New York Democratic Primary—the state she served as U.S. Senator for eight years.
Inside New York’s Sheraton Hotel near Times Square, the reverberation was deafening to even the most remote set of ears—behind the ropes cordoning the media, the cameras, and the filing center backstage, down one flight of stairs, and another, to the street below.
For two minutes, an adoring crowd cheered their hometown hero. For a moment, it seemed, she had won it all.
“My, you did something wonderful tonight for America!” declared a triumphant New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to the crowd.
"You had one chance, and you know what? You got it right!”
“My face hurts from yelling!” said Kelly Kollar, as she exited the hotel ballroom.
Kollar, was excited to see Clinton -- a candidate she described as intelligent, qualified, and compassionate -- emerge victorious. "It’s a little disappointing sometimes feeling like the momentum is behind Bernie, and I think tonight was exciting for me to be able to cheer for Hillary and feel like the momentum was on her side,” she said.
WATCH: Excerpts from candidates' victory, concession speeches
For those that were late to the party, still in line as the celebration continued, a friendly debate emerged between Clinton supporters and less-than-enthusiastic allies.
"I’m not mad at Hillary,” said Clay, a Brooklyn resident originally from Mississippi. "I like Bernie Sanders too, but … I can see them as running mates."
Overhearing Clay’s comments, Nia Yancopoulos, a Columbia University student, let her jaw drop in disbelief. "I mean, they would definitely win that way!” Clay added.
“I think it’s beyond repair,” said Yancopoulos. "The way that he treated her in the debate, the allegations about the campaign financing ... there is no way he is getting on her ticket.”
New Yorker Pamela Hamilton attended tonight's Hillary Clinton primary night party and voted for her earlier today in the NY primary, April 19, 2016. (T. Trinh/VOA)
Nora Presley, an African-American resident from New York chimed in too. In her view, the Democratic Party has overcome tough primaries in the past, and will do so again in 2016. "Hillary ran eight years ago against Barack Obama, and it was nasty,” said Presley. "And then once he became president, he appointed her Secretary of State.”
Win or lose, Ben Moe, Yancopoulos’ boyfriend, said Sanders has already done good by moving the debate to the left. “You have this other candidate, [Sanders], who stands for so much more and who wants to change the entire terms of the game that we’re playing and says, ‘no, we’re not going to let corporations with billions of dollars buy candidates. We’re going to let the people speak.’ That’s direct democracy," said Moe. "That’s what this entire nation is built on.”
Supporters cheer during a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., at Hunters Point park, April 18, 2016.
A few blocks away...
Outside Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue the scene was hard to miss, as news vans and satellite trucks flanked both sides of the block. Passers-by, tourists and even taxi drivers all slowed to survey the mix of reporters corralled behind steel barriers and policemen standing guard outside. Directly across the street, a small group of protestors held court in front of a Prada store.
As celebrations abated inside, Trump supporters headed to the streets to catch taxis home. Carl Paladino, former New York gubernatorial candidate and honorary co-chair for Donald Trump’s New York state campaign, was pleased with the primary results, and explained why he supported Trump. "He’s pure. He’s honest, he’s frank and he’s Donald Trump ... and he’s gonna be the next president,” Paladino remarked.
Protesters gather outside Trump Tower, April 19, 2016. (T. Trinh/VOA)
Sean, another New Yorker who voted for Trump earlier in the day, felt "the Donald" represented much-needed change. “He’s a non-career politician. I agree with a lot of his policies, and frankly, Washington needs a huge change.”
“Kasich’s too late for the race,” he added. “He can’t win, it’s not possible.”
For Emelia, a New Yorker from Arizona, voting along her Republican party line was an easy choice. Less easy to defend among her fellow New Yorkers was her choice of Trump. “You don’t really mention it unless you’re with your close circle of friends who understand … it’s not something that I bring up,” she said.
Like many supporters, Emelia appreciated Trump’s brash, straightforward manner. "He speaks his mind, that’s for sure. He doesn’t leave anything off the table. So that’s admirable,” she added.