NEW YORK - Across New York City people took to the streets to clap, cheer and bang pots and pans to celebrate the news that Joe Biden is set to become the 46th President of the United States.
News of The Associated Press call of Biden's win spread instantaneously through President Donald Trump's hometown. People who didn't immediately see an alert on their phone learned the news from the yells coming from neighbors' windows.
Throngs cheered on the sidewalk outside Trump Tower, the president's longtime home, and gathered by the hundreds in public plazas that have served as gathering spots for Black Lives Matter protests.
Many spoke of a feeling of intense relief. Kyle Boyd, of Brooklyn, said he heard the commotion and instinctively grabbed the cowbell he had banged during nightly celebrations for health care workers throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
“I hadn’t quite imagined it,” Boyd said over the shouting of revelers as a man hoisted a bottle of champagne nearby. “I had no idea when it would come.”
On an East Harlem streetcorner, Jose Diaz was selling T-shirts with an image of Trump and the message “game over.”
Diaz, 57, was so confident Biden would win that he had the shirts made up two months ago, spending $2,000, and had given 100 away, he said.
“The game is over. Now people can get back to normalcy,” said the union ironworker, who was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Manhattan. “This is America. Everyone has the right to vote. He can’t change the rules of the game for himself.”
In Manhattan's Washington Square Park, people waded into a fountain on an usually warm fall day.
In Harlem, chants of “Black Lives Matter” mixed with cheers, claps, horn-honking among a multiracial crowd on a plaza on the neighborhood’s main drag, 125th Street. Some danced to R&B classics and, later, sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the hymn also known as the Black national anthem.
“If Biden does what he says he’s going to do, we’re going to be a great country,” Terence Blakes, who goes by the name “Born Life,” said as he watched. The 53-year-old, who works at a Harlem school, said he’d waited two to three hours to vote in his precinct in Brooklyn.
The president-elect is expected to address the nation Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.
With the Associated Press.