Party in the Streets

New Yorkers celebrated throughout the city after the official victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

09 Nov 2020 | 10:12

On Saturday, New York City put on a party that was four years in the making: New Yorkers danced on street corners, popped champagne from rooftops, banged on pots and pans from their stoops, cheered and applauded, embraced the people they love.

These were expressions of relief, of joy, of accomplishment, of newfound vitality, as news networks made it official: Donald Trump had been defeated, and the country had repudiated a president who the people of New York had said, since his election, did not represent their values.

At Columbus Circle, hundreds gathered in celebration. Some were Joe Biden supporters, and others merely Trump adversaries. Some carried signs renouncing fascism, others advocating for democratic socialism.

Near the entrance to Central Park, a small circle formed around a chorus clad in pink and black from the grassroots group, Vote Resist Sing!, who belted out parody songs inspired by the president. To the tune of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” they sang, “You can dance, you can ji-ive, tweeting out lie after lie ... See that fool, so obscene. Poor little puppet king.”

A larger crowd danced to songs like Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” that blared over a loudspeaker, and cheered for people who climbed on top of cars to wave the American flag.

“Why We Are Here”

There were reminders, too, of what had been at stake in the election. A Planned Parenthood organizer spoke about her experience as a DACA recipient after Trump ended the Obama-era program that allowed undocumented immigrants who had been brought to the United States as children to live and work without threat of deportation.

“This election has been very, very personal to me as my life in the last four years has been in limbo. I had been waiting for court decisions to tell me what to do with my life. But I want to tell you it was not just me, or DACA recipients, who have been affected, but every immigrant in this country,” she said, reminding the crowd of the immigrant children who had been separated from their parents at the border under the Trump administration’s no tolerance policy. “That’s why we are here and why we need to protect the results.”

On Broadway, in front of the Trump International Hotel, a spontaneous parade began, and two children peaking their heads out of the sunroof — flying a rainbow flag as well as the red, white and blue — served as its grand marshals. The pair waved to the masses of people who lined the street and cheered them on. Other vehicles followed their lead, honking horns and rolling their windows down to share celebratory music. Cyclists passed with their fists raised in solidarity.

Suddenly, Senator Chuck Schumer emerged from the stream of people, raising a Biden/Harris sign into the air, which he’d done at other gatherings around the city Saturday afternoon. He was swarmed as he made his way up Broadway and was called on to make a speech. The senator took a bullhorn from a spectator, and sang: “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye,” as the crowd joined in.

Hours later, the party started to disperse to other corners of Manhattan, continuing to send a message to Trump that when he leaves the White House, he won’t be welcomed warmly back in his hometown.

Victories for Incumbents

In local elections, Democratic incumbents easily held onto seats in the state legislature.

Upper East Side Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright declared victory late Tuesday night in what had been a rocky re-election campaign against a fairly competitive opponent.

Back in March, Seawright’s chances of securing a fourth term were put in doubt when the Board of Elections kicked the incumbent off both Democratic Party and Working Families Party ballot lines due to filing errors when submitting her petition signatures.

And yet, Seawright made it onto the ballot as an independent, running on the Rise and Unite Party line. Seawright’s placement on an unfamiliar ballot line gave her Republican challenger, Louis Puliafito, a bit of a boost.

Though the absentee ballots had not been counted, Seawright claimed victory with 56 percent of the vote with nearly 80 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Board of Elections. Even with major party backing, Puliafito seemed to have fallen short with 12,167 votes to Seawright’s 15,464.

UES Assembly Member Dan Quart, who won a litigious and contentious primary race in June, cruised to victory in the general, toppling his Republican challenger, Judith Graham, with 69.5 percent of the vote.

State Senator Liz Krueger, who represents the UES, defeated Republican challenger Mike Zumbluskas with 74 percent of the vote.

Assembly members Yuh-Line Niou, Linda Rosenthal, Richard Gottfried, Harvey Epstein and State Senator Brad Hoylman were all re-elected in uncontested races.

Longtime members of Congress Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney will return to Washington following decisive victories.

The city’s Board of Elections only began counting the 500,000 absentee ballots cast by voters on Monday, to the annoyance of those waiting on results. Many had been critical of the BOE’s handling of the June primary as well as the failure to anticipate the massive turnout for early voting — and continued to voice disapproval of the process.

City Council Member Mark Levine took to Twitter to vent frustration about a state law that required the BOE to wait until Monday to start counting the absentee ballots.

He wrote, “Is there anywhere in the country which does this slower??”