New Yorkers Prepare for the Age of Obama


photo by missheather

Everything is, or can be, a New York story, and New York news outlets carry the local angle on the Inauguration. “People — many from New York — arrived in [Washington] to witness history,” reports NY1. “I made hotel reservations in March,” Djamillah Samad of the Bronx tells them. “I had faith.”

The Times crowdsources local celebs: David Byrne wants “a make-work policy” that “will make this city secure, safe and sexy”; Luc Sante wants to revive the Federal Writers’ Project; engineering executive Sam Schwartz wants ambitious transportation projects, including a revival of the Staten Island Subway; Diane Von Furstenberg says, “I’m unbelievably optimistic. I must be drinking some kind of special water.”

The Daily News celebrates “the first President in a long time who has been so closely associated with big cities… He is urban, through and through, and can be expected to understand the problems of a place like the Bronx from a street-level perspective…” The Post offers a series of testimonial videos from New Yorkers including radio host Glenn Beck (“He wasn’t my candidate and neither was John McCain… we have just ripped each other apart for eight years and we’ve got to heal ourselves together”), Handsome Dick Manitoba (“I was a little nervous until he picked Hillary for Secretary of State”), and model Chanel Iman (“Unfortunately this year I couldn’t vote because I wasn’t 18 yet… my way of voting was wearing all the shirts”).

amNY grills several citizens, who expectedly hope for Obama to “create opportunities,” “help out the MTA so they don’t have to raise fares to $3,” provide “more jobs for people,” “find more peaceful solutions,” etc. Ronald Peet wants to thank the new President “for continuing this tradition of strong black men in this country… I think he is a great influence for a lot of people who don’t have a strong black man in their lives personally.”

There are of course events scheduled, including those we’ve mentioned and many, many more. Columbia, where Obama went to school from 1981 to 1983, has a big screen set up outdoors, and will serve hot chocolate and cider.


This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 20, 2009


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