The campaign estimated over 27,000 people crowded into Washington Square Park in New York City last night to see Senator Sanders speak below the historic arch, beating the estimated 24,000 that attended then Senator Obama’s rally in 2007.
The parks were closed all day for the event, but lines began to form along LaGuardia and Thompson Streets as early as 9am, as police formed a barricade along surrounding streets and the campaign set up the stage.
The line moved into the park around 4:30pm at which point the crowd was anxious to see Vampire Weekend and Dirty Projectors start to play. The rally did not start until 7pm.
Senator Sanders had speakers including actress and activist Rosario Dawson, Tim Robbins, Spike Lee, and former Senator Nina Turner warming up the crowd before he took the stage.
“Now is the time for unbridled idealism,” said actor/director Tim Robbins, citing his participation in protests against the war in Vietnam in the same park.
“If we can send a man to the moon,” said Nina Turner, “we can educate our children.” The crowd responded in cheers to Turner’s rousing speech.
“Climate change is making it very clear that we need to move right now,” said Rosario Dawson.
Senator Sanders took the stage with his wife Jane, amid a roar from the crowd. His speech focused on his plans to address climate change, rebuilding the country’s infrastructure, instituting a single-payer healthcare system, and creating a tax on speculation in Wall Street.
The rally was held this week, ahead of New York State’s democratic primary on April 19th and urged campaign volunteers to canvass and phonebank over the weekend.