This year the US witnessed one of the closest presidential elections in history. For months, Obama and Romney were two of the most mentioned names in the media, and every action they took, every word they said, was construed as campaigning. Last Tuesday, November 6th, the elections took place, and New York turned from multicolored to red and blue.
As a Mexican, elections in the US were a mystery to me. The way people vote here is a lot different than in Mexico, and also the way candidates react to the results. But the thing that amazed me the most was the way the city was visually transformed to celebrate the country’s elections… and the best place to see was Rockefeller Center.
The plaza on 5th Avenue and 50th Street was a completely patriotic place for the whole day, becoming Democracy Plaza. Stands with screens led you through a path of voters, NBC crew and tourists looking up. When you reached the end of the path, you could see what everyone was looking at: Two massive banners -one blue, for Obama, and one red, for Romney- hanging from the NBC building (where the “Top of the Rock” is). There were also four large screens next to the building, where people could see the news, forecasts and results of elections for the Senate. On the ice rink, a map of the US had been drawn, with all of its states. There were also cabins set for NBC to anchor the news from there (at a distance I was able to see David Gregory and Brian Williams). This was an amazing view, but it was at night when everything got interesting.
During the counting of the votes, you could witness a live minute-by-minute update of the results. When each of the candidates won in a state, that state would be colored red or blue on the map in the rink, and the banners on the building would elevate according to the number of votes. The best thing was the reaction of the people that were watching… everyone cheered for their candidate, and it really felt like a celebration.
I loved this experience, and more so because it’s so much different that what I’ve lived at home during election season.
What was your NY experience during the elections?