Election Express: Lady Liberty ready for her close-up
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The Democrats have been here five times, but come Monday the dress rehearsals will cease and the real deal will begin for the Republicans, who will gather in New York for the first time for a party at a very patriotic-looking Madison Square Garden.
Gigantic banners have been unfurled and secured to the building. Red, white and blue banners decorate the post office across the street.
Even the lampposts bear smaller banners of former Mayor Ed Koch, which read, "The Republicans are coming -- make nice."
The streets around the venue are partially blocked off to traffic and congested with media crews lugging cameras and equipment into the Garden.
Of course, there's a buffer zone around the site of the Republican National Convention made up of police cars and emergency vehicles and cops walking a very secure beat.
Democrats have held five of their conventions in the city. It's the GOP's first.
New Yorkers vote predominately Democratic for president, and in 2000, Al Gore took New York with 60 percent.
Now that each night of the convention is scheduled and scripted, how will the Republicans fare?
And how will New York City fare? Lady Liberty answers that question in another lamppost banner, which reads, "Welcome to New York ... We are ready for our close-up."
Calm before the storm
Christopher Rogers, CNN's "Crossfire"
Posted 4:13 p.m. ET
The Election Express has taken its place at the end of pier 62 at beautiful Chelsea Piers where the sun is shining bright overhead and a cool breeze is drafting off the water.
It's the perfect place for our crew and the rest of the Election Express team to unwind a bit before showtime.
The convention countdown is now in full swing and what better place to spend this day than among the sailboats, glistening water, and the laughter of kids playing on the pier.
But no more time to brag about our location -- it's time to get down to business to bring you the best political coverage around.
When you tune in this afternoon for our live broadcast of "Inside Politics" and "Crossfire," hopefully you'll get a little sense of this calm before storm.
Politics on the Pier
By Lauren Gracco, CNN
Posted 12:22 p.m. ET
The view from pier 62
The Big Apple seems to be getting bigger with the influx of convention-goers piling into the City, with the RNC just days away.
The CNN Election Express took an excursion from the lush greenery of Central Park and headed for the water toward the Hudson River and to pier 62 at Chelsea Piers.
Chelsea Piers is a versatile waterfront. It's been a port for passenger and cargo ships, and served as a departure point for troops in both world wars. And today, it will be the backdrop for "Inside Politics" and "Crossfire."
The Piers are also a well-known sports and recreation park, offering a long list of activities including bowling, golfing, kayaking, boat rides, skateboarding and rock climbing.
With all of the parties, protesting and politicking that will be going on next week, this could be a good stop for Republicans and Democrats alike to unwind and toss party differences out the door, or in the Hudson.