Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Inauguration Day of Barack Obama

Jumbotron viewing of the Inauguration of Barack Obama on the Plaza of the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building. 12:00 PM. Photo: Jeffrey Hirsch.
January 21, 2009. The Inauguration Day of Barack Obama was a sunny one both in New York and in Washington. Cold, ahhh, very cold, but sunny and bright.

I don’t think anything else went on in New York except for the Inaugural. JH went up to Harlem with his Digital and watched with the crowd on Adam Clayton Boulevard and 125th Street. There was good cheer and high hopes and tears streaming down the cheeks of many. I watched at home, choking up when I first saw the man as he walked toward the entrance to the podium.
Jumbotron viewing of the Inauguration of Barack Obama on the Plaza of the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building. 12:00 PM.
I don’t know if it’s me, but he doesn’t look like any other Presidents in memory. First of all he looks like a kid (although a mature one). That’s probably because he’s wiry. And he looks more like a college lecturer than a man who’s been wheeling and dealing among the wheelers and dealers of backroom politics. As he walked through the halls on his way to the entrance, his head held high, his lips solemn, I wondered what was going through his mind. I wondered if he was, like me, barely able to keep it in.

I wasn’t the Obama fanatic like so many I know and have read about. I wasn’t against him but his newness to the national political scene, oddly, added to my natural skepticism about politicians. Most impressive, however, was how he has treated his election after the fact – reaching out to all kinds of people, friend and foe. It may be that he has the talent for bringing out the best in people. Virtue was a word in his speech. Virtue may be his guide. What would that mean? We shall have to see.
12-foot bronze statue of the late civil rights activist and Harlem congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr. 12:30 PM.
Nevertheless, there is something about the man, something about his wife and his two small daughters, that makes me feel proud to be an American, proud to call him my President and his family my First Family. I am not inclined to these sentiments about any politician even those whom I admire and respect. It’s nervous making; he’s only a man, not a god; and we are only people.

I asked Carol Joynt, our Washington Social Diary Correspondent to sum up her thoughts, feelings and experience of these past few days culminating with yesterday since the nation’s capitol is her home and the players are all familiar to her, past and present.
Here’s what she wrote. Memo to DPC:

I love the way he loves her. One look at the way President Barack Obama danced with Michelle at the Youth Ball and it was clear he loves her and it's a warm and passionate love. Is that too far to go with a Presidential couple? I don't know. Maybe it will be good for us. We're so accustomed to sexlessness in our political marriages that it is a revelation to see a pair who may quite possibly be getting it on with each other. I love that. Will it lift the economy out of the junk heap, will it bring world peace, probably not. But, since it's been so long since we've tried it, let's give love a chance.

I'm exhausted by good vibes at the end of four days of celebration. I'm not fooled that the vibes will change the city overnight, but it's possible they will change the city over time. For the moment, I'm a little weary of parties where we're all standing up and talking and drinking and eating at the same time, but God Bless the hosts and hostesses and caterers who made it possible. I have fond memories of crisp good champagne at any number of parties. I can't believe I wore stilettos as often as I did - that's so not Washington. I loved the way so many of us women complimented  each other on dresses only to each admit at the same time, "I've had it for ages." Indeed, Recession fashion.

Over the past however many years I've been involved in a load of inaugurations: both of Nixon's, Carter, both of Reagan's, Bush #41, both of Clinton's, and the last two of Bush #43. None compared to what we've just experienced. It was a Presidential Woodstock, and I expect it will grow in legend in the same way.

What else do I remember: waffles in front of the TV this morning as Obama appeared on the inaugural stage and the image of all those flags waving in hysteria. Gosh, we can still do that. And those two adorable little girls. Tonight, their first night in the White House, I'm wondering what it must be like to for them. Is it not the biggest doll house? If only the Oval Office weren't such a seismic opposite of that fantasy.

Wednesday is a White House open house, but don't be fooled. There also are important meetings planned. How long will the honeymoon last? Is this even an era where honeymoons can happen. Again, I love the way he loves her, and thank God for that.
Edgar and Ellie Cullman Lizzy Dexter, Ben Fischbach, and Tracey Pruzan
Last night at the Park Avenue apartment of interior designer Ellie Cullman, the Olympia International Art & antiques Fair held a kick-off for the American Friends of the Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair. Mario Buatta, Ellie Cullman, Brian McCarthy, Michael Smith and Rose Tarlow are the co-chairs. The Olympia is the UK’s largest international art and antiques fair and one of the top events of the London season. More than 250 of the world’s best dealers and galleries of fine art and antiques participate. The fair will be held in London, June 5th through June 14th.

This is the 36th year of the Olympia. More than 30,000 private buyers, curators, interior designers and devotees from all over the world are expected.
Freya Simms and Michel Witmer Timothy Van Dam, Kathy Pereira, and Jennifer Watty Susanne Earls Carr and Bruce Budd
Ron Wagner and Michael Simon Jon Barman, Brooke Mason, Christopher Mason, and Kelly Graham
Mr. and Mrs. Erik Thomsen Mark Gilbertson and Dr. Douglas Steinbrecht Matthew Patrick Smythe and Will Iselin
Stefani Rinza, Carlton Hobbs, and Elle Sushan Melissa Feldman, Angelika Elstner, and Deborah Buck
Paula Weideger and Tony Freund Cutty McGill Guy Regal and Ellie Cullman

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