A chill wind ripped south down Broadway as the crowd began to assemble in Times Square. Thick, gray clouds made a patchwork of the sky and the temperature hovered around twenty degrees. The mass of people didn’t notice, or maybe didn’t care: history was in the making. A new President would soon be inaugurated.
People from all over the globe gathered together to share the moment.
“We’re from Ireland,” said Sean Kelly, 27. “We had planned to visit the States anyway, but when we realized we could be here for the inauguration, we rescheduled.”
Kelly was not alone.
“I had originally planned to go to Washington,” said Erin Millen, 24, of Sydney, Australia. “When I realized that it was a complete impossibility, I decided to come to New York instead. The energy here, it’s incredible.”
Steam billowed out from manhole covers and subway grates, and people struggled to maintain their footing on slippery patches of the sidewalk. Strangers huddled together for warmth, united in the hope of a new era.
AUDIO: Why Gather at Times Square? Lee Carter Reports
Shortly after noon, the numerous television screens of Times Square projected the image of Obama solemnly being sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts. Though there was no sound, the crowd hung on every word the two men silently uttered. Traffic slowed. The whipping wind and the electric hum of neglected billboards were the only sounds.
Suddenly, a great, sustained cheer went up as the new President flashed his now trademark smile, signaling that his long journey to the White House was over, the transfer of power complete.