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Madison Square Garden
Photograph: Shutterstock

Nine of the coolest polling places in New York City

Waiting in line to cast your ballot isn't boring at these nine voting sites across NYC.

By Shaye Weaver
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Waiting in line to cast your ballot can be a long and boring experience with most of us heading to schools, churches and YMCA buildings, but some lucky New Yorkers get to vote in the coolest polling sites in NYC.

Instead of checking the boxes in a library, those who live in the voting districts of some historic places, museums, and amazing NYC attractions actually can vote there. If you're curious, the city has a map of polling sites you can check out here.

Scroll down to see the most unique and coolest polling places in NYC.

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The coolest voting sites in NYC

Loew's Kings Theatre Brooklyn, New York
Loew's Kings Theatre Brooklyn, New York
Matt Lambros

Kings Theatre

Music Music venues Flatbush

Once one of Brooklyn’s most elegant movie theaters, the Loew’s Kings Theatre is actually a polling place this year. Voters get to cast their ballots underneath the stunning vaulted ceiling and take their selfies in front of the historic marquee. It originally opened in Flatbush as a movie and live performance space in 1929. When multiplex cinemas became popular in the 1950s, the theater lost traction with audiences. It eventually closed in 1977 and the stunning interior fell into disrepair. After an elaborate $95 million restoration, the 3,074-seat theater reopened in 2015 in all its original glory. Classic acts and rising stars alike perform at the ornate theater.

Queens Botanical Garden
Queens Botanical Garden
Photograph: Courtesy Queens Botanical Garden, Anne Tan-Detchkov

Queens Botanical Garden

Attractions Parks and gardens Flushing

Some lucky Queens residents get to vote at this 39-acre serene space. They'll get to pass the two blue atlas cedars that flank the gate at the garden's Main Street, and perhaps even purchase tickets to see its variety of horticultural sights, including a Fragrance Walk, Cleansing Biotope and Wetland and Woodland Garden. 

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Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden
Photograph: Shutterstock

Madison Square Garden

Music Music venues Midtown West

The iconic concert venue and sports area announced in August that it is serving as a polling site for over 60,000 voters this year. The famous arena is a 20,000-seat venue and home to New York basketball and ice hockey teams the Knicks and the Rangers, but also is a favorite spot for college basketball tournaments (The Big East), professional boxing, MMA fighting and as a destination for WWE. Non-sports fans, however, mainly know the Garden as the best spot in town to catch touring international sensations like Adele, Beyonce and Aziz Ansari and countless other amazing concerts.

Barclays Center ribbon cutting
Barclays Center ribbon cutting
Photograph: Filip Wolak

Barclays Center

Sports and fitness Stadiums Prospect Heights

In September, the Barclays Center announced that it too would be a polling site. It is the borough's largest voting space and is providing thousands of voters with a centrally-located polling site. The 19,000-seat venue opened in September 2012 and brought with it the Brooklyn Nets, the borough's first major pro sports team since the Dodgers left in 1957. Besides the NBA, the venue hosts concerts by superstars such as Rihanna and (part owner) Jay-Z, sports tourneys including the Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Championship and family-friendly events like the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus.

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Theater for the New City
Theater for the New City
Photograph: Wikimedia Commons

Theater For New City

Some voters will get to go inside the Theater for New City (even though theaters are closed right now) to cast their ballots. The East Village venue is one of the city's leading Off-Broadway spots for political and community-centric programming with four theaters across 30,000 square feet. It's housed in the former First Avenue Retail Market, which was created in 1938 by Fiorello LaGuardia to take pushcart peddlers off the streets.

Brooklyn Borough Hall
Brooklyn Borough Hall
Photograph: Shutterstock/Ark Neyman

Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza

Museums History Downtown Brooklyn

Voters around Brooklyn Borough Hall, where the Brooklyn Borough President works, get to perform their civic duty in what is the former city hall of the City of Brooklyn. Built in 1848, Brooklyn Borough Hall is a city landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. It's pretty cool that some New Yorkers will get to vote inside a place where government is actively happening and has been for more than a century.

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Brooklyn Museum
Brooklyn Museum
Photograph: Courtesy Kolin Mendez/Brooklyn Museum

Brooklyn Museum

Museums Natural history Prospect Park

Imagine going to vote and being able to check out some of Brooklyn Museum's exhibitions before you leave (Of course, you'd have to get tickets). Some voters will get to do this and we're totes jealous. The museum, found on the edge of the sprawling Prospect Park, has a large holding of Egyptian art as well as the famous feminist piece, The Dinner Party, by Judy Chicago. Works by such Impressionists masters as Cézanne, Monet and Degas are also included in the collection along with with prime examples of Early American Art, period rooms and so much more.

Brooklyn Borough Hall
Brooklyn Borough Hall
Photograph: Shutterstock

Tweed Courthouse

The Tweed Courthouse is a historic courthouse building on Chambers Street and is named after William M. "Boss" Tweed, the infamous leader of the corrupt Tammany Hall political machine in the mid-19th century. (Boss Tweed was actually convicted here in 1873 in an unfinished courtroom.) It is the second-oldest city government building in the borough, after City Hall, and is on the National Register of Historic Places and its facade and interior are both New York City designated landmarks. Today, it's where the city's Department of Education is located.

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Church of the Heavenly Rest
Church of the Heavenly Rest
Photograph: Shutterstock/Felix Lipov

The Church of the Heavenly Rest

Museums Special interest Central Park

This Upper East Side Episcopal Church is also a polling site, like many other churches and places of worship across the city. This building, however, is a gorgeous place to cast your ballot. Founded in 1865 by American Civil War veterans, it was meant to memorialize soldiers who had died in that war. With 1,000 members in 1900, it moved from its original site on Fifth Avenue and 46th Street to Fifth Avenue and 90th Street. It's an inspiring place to vote, plus it was featured in the 1997 film The Devil's Advocate with Keanu Reeves.

More on the 2020 election

Junior's
Photograph: Courtesy of Junior's

The best Election Day deals in NYC

News Eating

The election results on November 3rd are up in the air (remember 2016?). But there’s one thing New Yorkers can count on: Your “I Voted” sticker is a ticket to a number of Election Day deals in NYC at restaurants and bars across the city.

If you’re in line waiting to vote, Pizza at the Pools is doing some admirable work feeding citizens and poll workers. If you’re looking to pick up a meal or treats to stress eat your way through the day, here are some of the best Election Day deals NYC has to offer. Another pro tip: Citi Bike and Lyft are offering 50% off one ride with the code "2020VOTE" today.

The Goods Mart

The Goods Mart
Photograph: Courtesy of The Goods Mart

Get a free La Colombe 8-ounce coffee with a voting sticker today and tomorrow at this curated Soho market.

Junior’s

Junior's
Photograph: Courtesy of Junior’s

You get a $7 discount off all full-priced cakes sold online through November 3rd. Cupcakes ($4.25) and 6-inch cheesecakes ($18.95) with a “Vote” logo will be sold at the Brooklyn location (386 Flatbush Avenue). The promotion also coincides with the iconic restaurant’s 70th anniversary.

James

James
Photograph: Courtesy of James

Are you an optimist or a pessimist this election cycle? James, the cozy neighborhood restaurant in Prospect Heights, has you covered either way this November 3rd. They’ve curated two Election Survival Kits: The Optimist ($130) includes a bottle of pét-nat, two plum margaritas and ingredients for pasta with a black walnut pesto (there’s an apple crisp for dessert, too). For The Pessimist ($145), there’s a heavier-hitting bottle of red and two Dystopian Negronis to pair with two hanger steaks.

Crop Circle

Crop Circle
Photograph: Courtesy of Crop Circle

Crop Circle’s guokui—a thin, crispy flatbread filled with various fillings, such as spicy beef to brown sugar, from Northern China—are sold at a 50% discount for one order with a I Voted sticker. It’s only available until midnight on November 2nd.

Leyla

Leyla
Photograph: Courtesy of Leyla

This popular Turkish restaurant on the Upper West Side is offering a free appetizer—the spinach yarma (a yogurt-based spread with barley, garlic, black sesame and za'atar)—if you show your I Voted sticker. It’s available the entire week.

Good Enough to Eat

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You I Voted sticker gets you a free homemade biscuit with strawberry butter with any purchase from the menu (think comfort food like reubens or mac and cheese).

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme
Photograph: Courtesy of Krispy Kreme

All participating Krispy Kreme locations will be giving away free Original Glazed doughnuts—you don’t even have to show your sticker. In fact, they have their own stickers to hand out on Election Day.

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#WallofLies
Photograph: Phillip Buehler

A massive mural featuring 20,000 of Trump's lies has been installed in Soho

News City Life

Well, Donald Trump finally got his wall.

As we barrel ahead toward election day, a new installation put up in Soho takes 20,000 false and misleading statements from President Trump and fashions them together to create a massive, 100-foot long mural full of his quotes. (The lies included in the piece were all documented and fact-checked by The Washington Post.)

In fact, this isn’t the first time the mendacious mural has been erected in the city. On October 3, Radio Free Brooklyn installed the first iteration of the piece in Bushwick outside of Pine Box Rock Shop. That first piece drew media attention, and even a visit from Senator Chuck Schumer, but was subsequently defaced with an assortment of pro-Trump slogans including “Vote Trump or Die” and “Stand Back and Stand By.”  

#WallofLies
Photograph: Phillip Buehler

 

 

 

Not willing to let that act of vandalism silence them, the organizers behind the mural launched a fundraising campaign to create a new mural. After raising over $4,000, the team was able to install a new piece that’s twice the size of the original on the corner of Lafayette and Grand Sts. in Manhattan.

The thousands of lies included in the installation are helpfully categorized by color-coded topics. All the greatest hits are there including Russia, Coronavirus, Ukraine, Taxes, Immigration and more. Check out the new public artwork for yourself and, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to make a plan to vote in next week’s general election.

#WallofLies
Photograph: Phillip Buehler

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NYC boarding up election day 2020
Photograph: Courtesy @joysphere

NYC's most iconic stores are boarding up ahead of election day

News City Life

Over Halloween weekend, New Yorkers walking in Soho and down Fifth Avenue were alarmed—not over spooky Halloween costumes but about stores being boarded up before the November election.

New Yorkers watched workers with buzz saws board up stores like Bloomingdales, Tiffany & Co., Dior, Alexander McQueen, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Louis Vuitton. More were spotted in Times Square on Monday, including the Hard Rock Cafe and an AT&T store.

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Boarding up in Soho before election day.

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By boarding up, New York City stores are bracing for the possibility of unrest on election night and the days following, similar to what took place in June when people looted Macy's and a few Soho stores.

Soho's more expensive shops were especially targeted. Windows were shattered and their inventory was looted.

Seeing shops boarding up their storefronts now is alarming to a lot of New Yorkers because it gives off the impression they're are bracing for one particular outcome, but the New York Post says the NYPD advised businesses in the last week in these areas to take extra precautions.

The NYPD also has its rapid deployment unit—trained for civil unrest and other bad situations—with about 600 officers, standing by, The Post says.

“We aren’t against peaceful protests,” Deputy Chief John J. D’Adamo said. “The last thing we want to do is make arrests. We want people to be able to scream at the top of their lungs about whatever they want — and we also want them to finish what they have to do safely and get home safely.

“I want our officers to get home safely, too.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio warned people during his Monday press briefing that we may not know the election results on the night of the election or even the following day, but whatever happens, New Yorkers should express their opinions in a peaceful manner.

"I want folks to know this city is prepared for those who want to express themselves about the results the right way to do that is peacefully. That is always honored," he said.  

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- A massive mural featuring 20,000 of Trump’s lies has been installed in Soho

Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.

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