The Boardwalk is the great equalizer.
Democratic Socialist presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders stumped at the People’s Playground on Sunday, and the air of populism had one lefty shouting at fellow Sanders supporters and defending Donald Trump-loving pot-stirrers.
“Despite what they look like, they are, in fact human — I’ve had a conversation with them, they speak our language,” Bensonhurst Berner Daniel Blakey yelled at a crowd of Sanders voters who heckled sign-waving Trump fans that he spent the rally talking with.
Bernie fanatics waited on a four-block line (from the Boardwalk to Surf Avenue and over to W. 16th Street) to enter a high-security stage-side corral, but Blakey watched from outside. He wound up surrounded by conservatives after an outspoken Midwood Trump fan demonstrating on the borough’s longest public promenade aroused a morbid curiosity in him, he said.
“I didn’t want to wait on line with the other bleeding hearts,” Blakey said. “I saw this guy with the ‘Deport Socialists’ sign and said ‘I gotta talk to him.’ ”
But Coney Island must beware big-government Berners, the sign-waving Trump Libertarian said, because out-of-control bureaucrats wrecked the entertainment mecca once before, and Sanders represents their political ilk.
“It’s disgraceful that people came out here to support socialism,” said Midwood resident Anthony Grina, whose sign also read ‘Coney needs Capitalism.’ “The city destroyed Coney Island when they built the projects.”
The sentiment might set off alarm bells with critics who say Trump’s immigration and surveillance policies are racist, but Grina is only sore about the history Brooklyn lost amid a vast 1950s public works campaign that razed rides and homes and replaced them with publicly subsidized housing, the Amusement District worker said.
“It’s not a race thing — they destroyed the Amusement District,” Grina said from under a bright-red hat emblazoned with Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again.”
Another right-winger Blakey befriended didn’t know there was going to be a rally when he came down to Coney, but he was prepared none the less.
“I take this hat wherever I go,” said Bay Ridgite Rich Scocca, who sported a cap identical to Grina’s.
Blakey and the Trumpers traded jabs while Sanders stumped, and neither managed to sway the other, but Blakey did rethink his decision to wear only a small Sanders button while standing among conspicuous fans of The Donald, he said.
“Does anyone have a Sanders sign?” Blakey said. “I don’t want people to think I’m with these guys.”