Now this is a real President’s Day celebration.
Just as on that other holiday honoring our prior commanders in chief, about 30 businesses on or near DeKalb Avenue in Fort Greene will offer a weekend of special deals in the run up to Barack Obama’s inauguration as the 44th president on Tuesday.
From Saturday, Jan. 17, until Obama is sworn in, many restaurants will offer food and drink specials, while stores will have one-time offers. Participating businesses are identifiable by an “inauguration on DeKalb” sign.
The deep discounts mirror the neighborhood’s deep support. Back on Election Night, thousands of people spilled onto DeKalb Avenue in a spontaneous celebration of the junior Senator from Illinois’s victory.
“The whole neighborhood backed Obama,” said Mark Henegan, the owner of the South African restaurant Madiba. “I was one of the first people to put up his poster in the window.”
Madiba, which is at the corner of Carlton Avenue, is planning for a boisterous crowd the day Obama is sworn in. It will be open for brunch to watch the broadcast live from Washington. Later there will be live music and copious amounts of “Obama Mama” rum punch.
The proprietor of Caffe E Vino said he was swept up in the tide of enthusiasm that many people in the neighborhood feel for the incoming president.
“I believe in him,” said Giuseppe Gambino, whose Italian restaurant is between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street. “He seems like he knows what he’s doing.” That’s important in this time of economic crisis, Gambino said, because “There’s no easy work for him to straighten up everything,” he said.
He’s offering customers a free glass of red or white (but not blue) wine as part of patriotic enticements.
For a full (and impressive) list of participating restaurants and businesses, see dekalbavenue.wordpress.com.