This video contains raw footage shot for "Five Day Bicycle Race," a project comprised of live in-studio commentary and taped edited coverage of the 1976 Democratic National Convention in New York City. Produced by independent videomakers calling themselves The Image Union (including many members of TVTV and Videofreex), it aired on Manhattan Cable for three hours per night for five days during the convention. In this video, videomaker Skip Blumberg interviews a number of New York residents about the DNC, politics, and their lives growing up in the premier city in the U.S.
00:00Copy video clip URL This tape begins with a blue screen.
00:09Copy video clip URL Cut to footage from inside a house. Blumberg documents the date as July 7, 1976.
00:25Copy video clip URL Blumberg speaks with an older man about living in New York and being a Democrat. “The two party system I think is a great thing for the country and I’m so glad that we were able to get it to New York, this convention. And I’m sure that with the two parties, we will pick the best one come November, and I think the best one for the poor people of New York and of America is the Democratic Party.” The man attributes his liking the Democratic party to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his ushering the country out of the Great Depression. He goes on to say that education is the most important issue for him in this election year. He brings up the issue of busing and states that it is the only way to gain equality in the educational realm.
04:25Copy video clip URL Amidst the hustle and bustle of Canal Street in Manhattan, Blumberg interviews a man named Gadi about the DNC and the current election cycle. He states that the primary system is an okay way to learn about a candidate. When asked how he feels about the country, Gadi says that things seem to be getting better. He and Blumberg talk about the general feeling across the country and the friendliness found in New York. “New York is at least much better than it’s described. In Europe or Israel everybody thinks New York is hell and the generation of the empire you know?”
06:47Copy video clip URL Blumberg speaks with Paul Lorner about the DNC and the presidential candidates. Lorner speaks to Blumberg briefly from inside of a delivery truck.
07:32Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of New York resident Neil Escowski. Blumberg asks Escowski about his thoughts on the DNC. Escowski talks about Carter’s entrance into the race and his reaching the front runner position. “I feel he has a nice smile but I also feel that he doesn’t speak on issues. He’s been avoiding issues. I really don’t know what his background is expect for being governor. You hear all things about him. I feel he’s as good as anybody right now.” Escowski cites taxes and employment as essential issues. He goes on to say that he feels very removed from the government and calls for an entirely new system of governing in the country. “The system should definitely be revised. It has to be because we’ve had the same system for years and years and what do we have? The rich get richer and the poor just stay the same.” The man goes on to say that even in communist countries, people have their basic needs taken care of. “The government should provide for the people. This government does not provide for the people. It provides for the rich.”
10:38Copy video clip URL Blumberg speaks with Susan Price. Sitting with her children near a park, Price comments on politics. “I only have one thought I think and that’s that, for me, it’s an illusion. I just have no interest in it at all. I think it’s external and I think it’s a game and a play and I think that I take a more philosophical view that the changes in people have to come from inside and once they come from inside then external things happen. But working the other way around is just an illusion.” She then makes a few comments on the current politicians in office and gives them credit for their work. When asked if the government influences her life very much, she states that it doesn’t. She goes on to say that it is a blessing to live in a country where the ultimate goal is freedom. She also says that the capitalist system is the best system we have in the country.
13:30Copy video clip URL Blumberg speaks with Jeremiah Suplaw about his views on politics. “I don’t know really what to think you know–doesn’t seem like it makes much difference. I guess that’s about how I can best characterize it you know, it doesn’t seem like it makes much difference who’s who. It’s all the same–same old gang it seems to me anyway, you know?” Suplaw also talks about the lack of transparency in government. Despite his apathy towards politics, he still says he lives a very fulfilling life. He states that he has kind of removed himself from everything because of his experiences as a marine in Vietnam, but that because of his keeping a distance from government and politics, he tends to see it more clearly. Suplaw then ends the interview so he can look for his son.
17:19Copy video clip URL Blumberg speaks with Managing Editor of the Soho Daily News Alan Wolper about the DNC and Carter’s presidential run. The man first comments on God becoming a big campaign issue during the election. He also states that Carter’s own religious beliefs might help him in places like New York because of the heavy Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant influence. He goes on to say that this will be the first election since 1960 where religion will be a huge issue. He also states that the Democratic Party is trying to resurrect Watergate by possibly choosing Peter Redino as a Vice Presidential candidate.
20:03Copy video clip URL Blumberg comments on the fact that most of the people he has spoken with on the streets do not feel like politics is a very large part of their lives. Wolper responds to this assertion by saying that New York City people are a little weird about politics in the fact that they are primarily interested in local politics. He also states that many New Yorkers are afraid of Jimmy Carter because of his refusal to give the city a loan.
21:53Copy video clip URL Wolper comments on the United Action Front’s proposal to get 20,000 people into Central Park for a demonstration. Wolper goes on to talk about what the DNC means to the various groups that can make some money off of the event, specifically cab drivers, prostitutes, movie theaters, and others. Wolper also comments on the symbolism of the DNC being held above Penn Station. “By holding it in Penn Station it’s almost saying like they’re on their way in and out you know? I mean that’s like symbolically to us doesn’t mean a goddamn thing.” He goes on to say that the Democrats aren’t focusing on any of the problems in New York. Wolper also comments on the delegates and their inability to see the true New York City due to where the convention is being held.
25:54Copy video clip URL Wolper talks about how he will be involved with the convention. “The convention, because of the kind of convention this is, it’s going to be a convention of outsides. It’s going to be a perimeter convention.” Wolper states that the action will be at the caucuses, not at the convention. Wolper goes on to speak about his talk radio show. Blumberg then asks Wolper who he believes will win the election. Wolper states that Carter will win if he picks a good running mate and that Ford won’t win because he pardoned Richard Nixon. Wolper also talks about his voting habits and the need for a third party.
31:48Copy video clip URL When asked if he would ever run for president, Wolper says that he has no interest in doing so. Wolper also says that journalism and politics should be completely separated from one another. There is a strict policy of no employee involvement with any political campaign at the Soho Daily News. Wolper then jokes with a fellow employee, Yakov Cohen, about a possible presidential run. This gets cuts off by the end of the tape.
32:56Copy video clip URL Tape ends.