I know I haven’t written much on this blog lately, but my life really hasn’t been all that interesting lately! I did have a bit of excitement tonight though. As you may have heard, the Obamas had a date night in the City this evening, and went to see a performance of August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone on Broadway.
After I had gotten out of my show, I like to walk a bit. I decided to walk up to Times Square to see what a traffic-free Broadway looked like (pretty fantastic in my opinion!). I had read that they were seeing the play, so I decided to check out what I could see. From Broadway, the answer was, well, not much. The entrance to 44th St. was completely barricaded, not only with barricades, but also with two Sanitation trucks completely full of sand (blocks explosives, I heard someone say). I decided I might have better luck on 6th Ave, as the Belasco Theater is right off 6th Ave.
I had gone up to 45h St to get across, as the cops weren’t letting anyone go across 44th. As I walked down 6th Ave back to 44th, a dozen or so black SUV’s lined the street (Secret Service vehicles, anyone?), as did a couple of ambulances, which an officer mentioned was there “just in case.” I settled right on the southwest corner of 6th and 44th. It was 10pm, and the show wouldn’t be done for another hour or so. I was in a prime viewing spot, as I was staring straight at his limo!
Unfortunately my prime viewing spot was short lived. After a short while, the cops made everyone condense onto the sidewalk. Fortunately, a glass enclosed bank was on the corner and we were able to look thru the glass. But even THAT was short lived, as we were pushed back again (though still able to see thru the glass…barely). We were even pushed back a 3rd time, this time completely away from the building…so much for the glass! Now we couldn’t see the limo at all.
Much like the Broadway side, 44th St was cordoned off on 6th Ave by 2 layers of barriers, a layer of squad cars, and again, 2 Sanitation trucks full of sand. Police were everywhere. A man stood in the middle of the street in a suit, just staring into crowd…a Secret Service agent, perhaps? I got to chatting with a friendly woman nearby, who pointed out to me that there were snipers stationed atop the the surrounding buildings!
It was now nearly 11:30. We noticed that the traffic going up 6th Ave had completely stopped. The layers blocking the entrance to 44th St. slowly began to disappear. Several police cruisers and motorcycle cops drove DOWN (yes, down…6th Ave is an UPTOWN Avenue….) 6th Ave. A couple of helicopters hovered overhead. One of them, my new found friend pointed out, appeared to be a military helicopter. Suddenly, the Sanitation trucks moved. People started screaming.
Then, the black vehicles started to pour out of 44th St. Plain black cars, plain black cars with flashing police lights. Black SUVs. Then two identical looking limos, both with two people, visible only by silhouette, in the back. As the second passed, the person in the back who was facing my side of the street waved to the crowd. And everyone knew, that was Mr. Obama.
I had my handy dandy Flip Video camcorder on me, so I caught a little clip of the motorcade as it passed. Check it out below!