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January 20th, 2009

OBAMA’S INAUGURAL SPEECH REACHED THE 4 CORNERS OF THE GLOBE. EVEN SOHO.

by Joelle Panisch


Watching the Inauguration from the Cupping Room Cafe in SoHo.

The staggering attention to Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration has reached even the cobblestone streets of SoHo. In stores and shops, restaurants and bars, offices and residences nearly all televisions were tuned to the inauguration.

SoHo houses a collection of people from all walks of life—many homespun, many foreigners who relocated to New York for its prestige.

“It’s in the air. Whether you are a salesgirl in Bloomingdales or whoever, everyone is talking about the same thing. Everyone’s talking about Obama,” said Favio Greene, a British tourist in Soho for a holiday.

When asked if his family was watching back home. “They’re watching everywhere,” Greene responded.

At the Cupping Room Cafe on West Broadway a crowd of nearly 70 gathered to watch the inauguration with promises of $5 “Obama-mosa” mimosas. Lisa Dellon, 33, and Jennifer Weber, 30, both from New Jersey sat at the bar to bring in the moment.

“We were going to watch it at work,” said Dellon, “but we came here because Jen didn’t want to cry in front of her coworkers.”

Another patron, Moroccan born Blaoui Del has been a United States citizen for 23 years. When asked how he felt he simply said, “Proud. Very proud.”

As the ceremony began a hush washed over the crowd with everyone, cooks and businessmen alike, focused on the historic speech. Applause erupted as Obama set forth and boos echoed as images of former president George W. Bush flashed on the screen. When controversial pastor Rick Warren’s name was announced a sarcastic,“Who?” emerged from the crowd, a sign of SoHo’s deep rooted gay heritage and political views.

Afterwards discussions threaded from mistakes of our past to debates about solutions for our future. Let’s hope the fervor lasts.

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