HOPE! Obama inspires Brooklynites — blue or red and black or white
John Fecunda, third grader at PS 11 in Clinton Hill
“Before, when Bush was president, I thought I could never be president. But on Election Day, 2008, history was made. To me, ‘Yes we can’ means we can make schools a better place to learn. We can turn around our economic crisis. We can change the world. Obama’s election journey tought me that a black male can do what a white male can do. And one day, I could become president. I could really become president. Obama inspires me and gives me hope.”
The Black Man
Sidney Cherubin, 34, lawyer and judicial hopeful from Carroll Gardens
“We have a lot to look forward to. I think I’ve always been hopeful and inspired, but I think it’s great to see America motivated and more hopeful and inspired. And the fact that the number of people that went out and voted this year and this was the result is what is amazing. I think it’s hopeful for African-Americans and just to have an African-American president and a role model for the younger generations to look up to.”
The McCain supporter
Eric Miller, former president of the Brownstone Republican Club, Brooklyn Heights
“It’s been a long time since someone I didn’t vote for won, but I still was very moved by the majesty and the grandeur of the event. I don’t know if any one line will be etched in stone like, “Ask not what you can do for your country…,” but I think he gave a very sincere speech. I was cheered by the nod he gave to the free market and his strong promise to protect and defend the Constitution. There were a few things that I wasn’t crazy about. I can’t agree with him on everything, but I do hope for his success.”
The Old Pol
Marty Markowitz, borough president
“I’ve been inspired since Barack Obama started his campaign, although I was a Hillary Clinton supporter and enthusiastically so. But it was just luck that a man like this comes along. His speech this afternoon showed the balance that he’s known for, his coolness and balance, his integrity and what his vision is for America. I think he did it superbly. I’m more than hopeful, but he already cautioned us not to expect anything too quick. This day is shared by all of us, African-American and non-African-American. It’s America’s promise being realized.”
The Obama Supporter
Madeline Green, sixtysomething resident of Fort Greene
“I felt a tremendous amount of pride. It was a great speech — short, but it encapsulated his philosophy. He has so much on his plate, and I hope he’s going to be able to execute. This is the beginning of a healing process. But it’s not all about Barack. We all have to contribute. And he gives me hope that it can happen.”
The English Professor
Kenneth Bruffee, retired professor from Brooklyn College, lives in Park Slope
“I was listening for Obama’s ‘Agincourt’ number [a reference to a speech in Shakespeare’s “Henry V”]. He knows the routine, and for two years, he’s been running it when he wants to get really revved up. He got it started, and then when he got to the last part of his speech, it was BAM! I heard it. He got really gutsy. When he was running, he said many of the same things — it’s going to be tough, etc — but cautiously. He’s insistent now.”
From a packed assembly at a Clinton Hill elementary school to a full crowd at Borough Hall to even the apartment of a John McCain supporter, Brooklyn lived up to its adopted name — Baracklyn — on Tuesday, cheering as Barack Obama finally received his new title: president of the United States.
The county that gave President Obama more than 80 percent of its votes back in November turned almost entirely to blue, at least during the new Leader of the Free World’s inaugural address.
Borough President Markowitz threw open the people’s house, Borough Hall — and the crowd of more than 100 was so jazzed about the new president that people rose to their feet when inauguration MC Sen. Diane Feinstein asked the audience — she meant the one in DC! — to rise.
There were boos when then-Vice President Cheney was wheeled out minutes before Obama’s swearing-in. But Cheney’s appearance was the only somber note for the crowd. There were wet eyes — and a few sniffles — as Obama raised his right hand, and a defeaning cheer as Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts declared Obama president.
Through it all, Markowitz watched from the front row, beaming at Obama, though he had supported Hillary Clinton during the primary season.
Meanwhile, at Front Street Pizza, a true civic center in DUMBO thanks to a friendly staff and two large TVs, everyone applauded when Obama finished the mangled oath of office with the words, “…so help me God,” including eight first-grade boys whose teachers had brought them to the pizzeria for the greasy civics lesson.
The boys — Hispanic and African-Americans, all — fell over each other in excitement.
“I want to be Obama!” cried one 7-year-old.
“I want to be Obama’s brother!” said a 6-year old, mentioning that the new president has a lot on his plate.
Around the corner, the Water Street Restaurant and Lounge was also packed, as hundreds of DUMBO residents and workers surrounded the projection-screen television and bellying up to the bar.
Toasts were many.
“People were cheering at the TV screens, they were so excited,” said one happy Obama fan.
In Fort Greene, DeKalb Avenue, where dozens of restaurants and stores were offering “Inauguration” specials, was a sea of celebrants.
“It was crazy in here all day!” said Chantel Frizzell, a waitress and chef at Madiba, a South African eatery at the corner of Carlton Avenue, which opened early to handle the crowds. “You couldn’t move in the restaurant. People were standing everywhere, looking for any space they could. It was amazing.”
The Brooklyn Academy of Music also invited in about 500 people, projecting the inaugural events on screens in two of its movie theaters. Hundreds more were turned away.
“When I was a young man, I used to think there was a group of white men running the country who were not in touch with me,” said Raoul Morrison, who watched the speech with his young son. “The world doesn’t change overnight — but at least it’s on the right foot.”
Updated 5:10 pm, July 9, 2018