Here’s how to (maybe) get tickets to the Bernie/Hillary debate in Brooklyn

Debate after party at Hot Bird!
Debate after party at Hot Bird, anyone? Or is this more of a Franklin Park crowd?

After much back and forth, the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders campaigns finally agreed to a debate in our fair borough on April 14 at the Navy Yard’s Duggal Greenhouse, in advance of the April 19 primary vote. If you were hoping to snatch up tickets to the hottest thing to come to the Brooklyn waterfront since rampant overdevelopment … too bad! There’s none available, at least for right now. The campaigns and state democratic party HQ, which usually controls the tickets, haven’t released any information about it yet, and no one seems to know exactly what the deal is.

But we talked to Mary Lovci, the vice president of Duggal global events group, who said CNN told her to direct people to the candidates’ websites, which will be making announcements about the tickets shortly, so keep your eyes on the Hillary and Bernie sites. We’ll update this you/this post with more info when tickets do become available. UPDATE 4/6: We talked to a staffer at the state Democratic Party who said they’re accepting names for a list of people looking for tickets: they’ll email you when and if they tickets become available to them. The number to call is below.

UPDATE 4/11: DNAinfo reports the tickets will only be distributed through the campaigns and will not be open to the public. The state democratic party can be reached at 212-725-8825. If you call, you might have to leave a message but they’ll get back to you (in theory). But the staffer said even they are confused about who’s handling the tickets, so it might not be a guarantee, but you’ll be on a list at least. 

UPDATE 2: We heard from a few people at a local Bernie campaign office that tickets would be hard to come by: a staffer said they often go to higher ups in the campaign first, who pass them down to volunteers, and volunteers are more likely to get tickets than regular joes off the block. We’ll post a list of local debate watch parties next week too.

The three-year-old Duggal Greenhouse seats about 1,000 people and it’s no stranger to large events, Lovci said. It’s been used as rehearsal space for Beyonce and Madonna before their world tours, and hosted an Alexander Wang Fashion Week show in 2014 (to which Fashion Week attendees apparently reacted as if he’d moved it to Ouagadougou). Here’s what it looked like during a Fashion Week show:

Moncler Valentine’s Day Box WAS pure ❤️. @moncler #moncler #nyfw

A photo posted by Patricia Manfield (@patriciamanfield) on

We tried to find out more concrete information on ticket availability, or if any will be available to the general public instead just saved for the hip kids of Hillary’s biggest donors and/or Bernie’s childhood stickball buddies. Debate tickets are usually distributed by the party, but a staffer of the Kings County Democratic office told us to call Hillary’s people (notably he said to call Hillary’s campaign, not Bernie); both campaigns haven’t returned requests for info and the state democratic party office in Manhattan isn’t answering their phone. Tickets are clearly going to be a hot item.

It’ll be the first time the two candidates have debated on stage since March 9. Both CNN and NY1 will carry the debate live from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. when it airs on April 14. 

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders have both confirmed their attendance at the debate. It’ll be moderated by CNN’s coin-operated election countdown robot Wolf Blitzer (groaaan), along with CNN’s Dana Bash and NY1 Inside City Hall host Errol Louis (ok!). 

Here’s what the Greenhouse looked like last week during a conference event:

Of course, you can already read Hillary and Bernie debate the important issues right here.


  1. I read that one of the conditions Bernie made on agreeing to this date/place for the debate was that the NY State Democratic Party was NOT to be one of its organizers. That might explain why the party officials are sending calls to the individual campaigns. The last thing Bernie needs is another event going haywire due to the Dem Party “mistakes”.

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