CAMPAIGN ’88 : Silver Lining: No Need for Visit to New York

Unlike in some past elections, New York is not a hotly contested arena this year--Republicans so far have pretty much conceded the state to Democratic candidate Michael S. Dukakis.

While that is a problem for George Bush, there is a silver lining: Neither candidate has to campaign much in New York City, and neither one has.

Both men frequently visit next-door New Jersey, and both go to New York to raise cash. But Dukakis has not staged an open-to-the-public event in New York City since Aug. 11. And Bush has not done so since the New York primary in April.

There are big reasons for a candidate’s avoiding New York: boisterous crowds, controversial public officials, the danger of any minor gaffe being magnified by the city’s huge concentration of news media.


Then there are little reasons. Motorcades, for example. In all other cities, local police block off large numbers of intersections ahead of a motorcade, guaranteeing a quick exit that keeps the candidate out of danger.

That sort of intersection control in New York would cause paralyzing gridlock, so police have to settle for blocking a few streets at a time and hoping for the best. Aggressive drivers seldom cooperate.

After Dukakis met with foreign dignitaries Thursday near the United Nations, for example, his 16-car, three-bus motorcade picked up several unexpected additions--a gray stretch limousine, a silver Cadillac sedan and a van from a New York fish wholesaler, all of which tried to slip into line in the hope of getting a faster trip across town.