Things are rather quiet at Bodega Pizza with fifteen minutes till the debate. The one customer there stares quietly at the projection waiting for something to happen. It takes almost half the debate before people start gathering to watch.
Emily Holland, a waitress at Bodega Pizza, explains why a crowd might not be around.
“This whole election is just hard because people were really on board with Bernie Sanders and they haven’t really gotten over that.”
“We advertised for it,” says Holland laughing. “It’s good to know about these things, you know, as a well-informed adult.”
Even though the restaurant was quiet with the one customer, there were people passing and peering in. One man just stood beyond the open patio while looking long enough to see Trump grilling Clinton with questions. Holland even mentions a guy who came in beforehand to ask about whether the debate will be playing.
A woman passing by also stops to watch. She waits two minutes next to the patio staring at the screens before deciding to come in for a pizza.
However, with Trump beginning strong, according to Twitter followers of @therealdonaldtrump on the #nydebate, Bodega Pizza remained empty.
By 10:00pm, the restaurant peaks with eleven people watching Hilary firing back with quips like “maybe because you hadn’t paid any federal income tax for a lot of years,” as transcribed by the Washington Post. Even an off-duty employee comes over to watch. But, it’s a rather quiet and focused crowd with frowns to match staring at the screens.
Christina Contreras, a local of Washington Heights, has been watching the debate intently and gives her take on why it’s important.
“I care about minimum wage because that’s affecting us in our community. They need to higher the wages for everybody so we don’t keep sucking each other’s blood.”
Contreras then mentions how her life as a subway musician has shown her people griping about not having enough money to get by. She also uses herself as an example, since she lives with her mother because rent is too high.
Holland agrees that minimum wage is an important issue. She talks about how she’s moved five times with her sister in four years because rent keeps rising and it’s difficult to make ends meet.
Contreras is also rather disappointed in the presidential nominees.
“I don’t know if I can trust them, him or her,” says Contreras. “I just don’t trust any of them.”
Another Washington Heights resident and the guy who came in beforehand, Daniel Padmos, feels similarly. However, he says he would still side with Clinton over Trump.
“It’s clear that Trump didn’t prepare for the debate, nor the presidency.”
Padmos mentions that he would sum up most of what Trump says as ignorance, but doesn’t seem that impressed with Clinton either.
“I don’t think anyone won the debate. I can’t even really say who technically won.”
Contreras had a clearer view about who won.