US election night in Times Square
The US election results: I didn’t stay up for the “Brexit” vote in my own country but couldn’t resist attempting to try to stay up in NYC having landed just a few hours earlier! So after dumping my suitcase in the hotel room I headed straight out to Times Square to see what was going on!
First reaction? Screens everywhere of course, but this time most showed polls result, voting maps, scrolling “News Alerts”, together with PR mugshots of Clinton and Trump! One showed a bar chart with the magical figure ‘270’, the target for the potential winner. That target seemed a long way off at 8pm.
Having scoped out both ends of Times Square, ABC News not doing much on a raised stand at one end and the famous red steps at the other, I settled somewhere in the middle in front of the Jumbotron screen underneath the Marriott Marquis hotel. The atmosphere was cheery and good-natured with more locals than tourists it seemed, many using the square’s red fold-up chairs and facing them all in the direction of that big screen. Apparently Clinton was at the nearby Javed conference center and Trump in one of New York’s larger Hilton hotels to accommodate his large contingent. Either way Times Square felt like the place to be!
Dressed up street performers seemed thin on the ground and instead many an odd character took the opportunity to entertain the crowd! There was the tall black guy with bobbed hair camping it up singing Whitney Houston songs and the jet black haired religious white guy dressed in red wandering around with a book with a mirrored cross on the front.
There was ‘The Obamanator’ – a guy dressed up like Obama, the young Hillary supporter who was attracting a lot of press attention, the 2 Brazilian guys in USA hats who were being “papped” constantly, the older Hispanic lady who whelped when the ‘254’ Trump result came in, but who was then instantly swarmed over by the press photographers. Not knowing whether to stop crying or continue for the cameras she went with somewhere roughly in-between the two.
So what there was a LOT of press. Press taking photos of anything that moved, amateur photographers like me taking photographs of people holding up placards and everybody else taking “selfies” of all the goings-on! Every other 20 people seemed to be holding a foam-headed microphone. Some connected to state of the art “proper” TV cameras, many instead connected by cable to an iPhone. Different broadcasters, different needs I guess! I was interviewed by the Times Square initiate on a “proper” camera but made it my only interview of the night.
The crowd’s conversations were intelligent, the concerns in the crowd genuine, with many people hoping their friends/families “back home” in their home states would do the “right thing”. The realisation in the crowd of an imminent Trump victory felt more likely as the night went off but still with a feeling of “surely not”. Towards 1am (6am equivalent UK Time) I started to flag with the Trump score stuck on ‘254’. I wanted to be there for the collective gasp when the final ‘270’ vote came in but I’ll have to assume it went ahead without me all the same.
So viewing all this in Times Square?! Well it was the place to be! Ample screens to stare at, many places to sit down and lots of entertainment to help pass the time. Good luck America! Check out my subsequent post about attending a protest march up to Trump Tower!