Sanders vows 'surprise for the establishment' at huge New York City rally

Bernie Sanders addresses 27,000 in New York's Washington Square Park
(Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

On Wednesday night at Washington Square Park in New York's Greenwich Village, Bernie Sanders rallied a crowd his campaign estimated at 27,000. "When I look at an unbelievable crowd like this I believe we're going to win here in New York," Sanders said. He took aim at rival Hillary Clinton, who is leading him in the polls before next Tuesday's pivotal New York primary, and he acknowledged "this is a tough race for us." But, he added, "I think we've got a surprise for the establishment."

Also Wednesday night, Clinton spoke at a community center in the Bronx, to a smaller but overcapacity crowd of about 1,300, and did not mention Sanders. Instead, she focused on Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and said the Bronx "is a borough of immigrants in a city of immigrants in a state of immigrants in a nation of immigrants,” and "New York values are at the core of American values."

Sanders was preceded by a number of warm-up speakers, including actor Tim Robbins, who noted that he had protested the Vietnam War in Washington Square Park, the center of New York University, and also Dr. Paul Song, a health care advocate and head of the Courage Campaign. Song raised a bit of a controversy when he argued for replacing the "corporate Democratic whores" with "Bernie-crats." He later clarified on Twitter that he was talking about members of Congress, not Clinton.

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Then-Sen. Barack Obama brought about 20,000 people to Washington Square Park in 2008, The Washington Post notes, and Clinton won the state primary by 17 percentage points.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.