After days of manically hitting the refresh button on news websites, for many New Yorkers word flew in on the wings of the whoop-and-car-horn cacophony unleashed shortly before noon on an unusually gloriously warm and sunny November Saturday.
The eruption heralded history: One president on his way out after nearly four years of tumult, another on his way in to confront stark crises, backed by the first woman ever elected vice president of the United States after a 241-year drought.
A mix of jubilation and relief filled many, if not all neighborhoods, of a city where the hometown product in the White House is deeply unpopular in, well, many, if not all neighborhoods.
If only for a few hours, New Yorkers wracked by the loss of more than 24,000 of their own over the last eight months and by ongoing economic upheaval, grabbed the opportunity to tell the world they’re looking ahead with hope.
Our team hit the streets of the city to capture sights and sounds of a day in history.
Bodega worker Bilal Zokari, 20, popped out onto a stretch of Brooklyn’s Vanderbilt Avenue after the news of Joe Biden’s win broke and started banging a pot.
Neighbors quickly followed suit. “People were just surprised at first, like ‘What are you doing?’ and I was like ‘He won’ and everybody starts clapping and people started coming of the houses and started banging,” he said.
Zokari voted in Brooklyn with his father on Election Day. He said Biden’s win is huge for his family, who are Muslim. “It’s a big deal,” he said. “I was just happy.”
Crowds massed shortly after noon at Greenwich Village’s Washington Square Park, one of the centers of protests in recent months — including “Count the Vote” rallies this past week.
In honor of the late John Lewis pic.twitter.com/0PR6AVB30Q— Josefa Velásquez (@J__Velasquez) November 7, 2020
Deandre Scott, 18, of Hell’s Kitchen, scales new heights at 72nd Street and Columbus Avenue in Manhattan.
Neighbors started massing on a corner of Bedford-Stuyvesant minutes after the announcement that Biden and Kamala Harris had beaten Donald Trump and Mike Pence.
The crowd that gathered in front of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building chanted, “Black lives matter!” and “Kamala!” in honor of Harris, who scored a trifecta of vice presidential firsts: the first woman, the first African-American and the first South Asian-American to be elected to the post.
Tommy Tejada, 36, enjoyed a beer with friends on Prospect Avenue sidewalk in the South Bronx after hearing the news that Biden was projected to win the presidency. The 36-year-old owner of a welding business and his pals danced to bachata and chatted from their folding chairs about “everything but Trump.”
It looked like a summer day in Astoria as friends marked the day on Broadway and 29th Street.
The libations also flowed in Brooklyn:
In bright blue Brooklyn, neighbors toast on the street pic.twitter.com/6CWEddMhcS— Rosa Goldensohn (@RosaGoldensohn) November 7, 2020
When she heard the news, Daisy Martinez, 27, of The Bronx, ran out onto the street, happy and hopeful. As day turned to evening, she enjoyed the spring-like weather at a small plaza in the South Bronx with her children, sister and nephews.
Grand Army Plaza became celebration central for Brooklyn after the Biden-Harris victory announcement.
Sen. Chuck Schumer is celebrating at Grand Army Plaza with hundreds of people. “Our long fight is over,” he tells the growing crowd pic.twitter.com/tmS6x3vw0g— Josefa Velásquez (@J__Velasquez) November 7, 2020
Dancing in the streets under the statue of Adam Clayton Powell. pic.twitter.com/iNUm8gPfZl— Eileen Grench (@GrenchPAN) November 7, 2020
Similar scenes unfolded at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, as picnickers erupted in waves of cheers.
Signs of the times, via the East Village.
As evening fell, Grand Army Plaza played host to a dance party with a soundtrack that included a DJ’s mixes, a jazz band and a mobile symphony of car horns honking in solidarity.