Election Day Vibes in New York City
New Yorkers have ridden a wave of emotions in the past 24 hours.
Early Tuesday morning, the streets were alive with eager voters carrying cups of coffee and tea as they walked to their designated polling sites.
At voting locations on the Upper West Side, lengthy lines of people wrapped around street corners, and most waited patiently to cast their ballots.
People seemed to enjoy the experience. Maria Plowman, a 46 year-old bookkeeper, discussed politics and films with a fellow voter as she waited in line.
“She [the voter] seemed very knowledgeable about numerous historic events that I sort of felt like I might be in over my head with this one. But then we talked about documentary movies to get off the subject of the election. She was nice to chat with while I was waiting,” Plowman said.
Voters at PS 87 also had a reason to smile when the school’s fifth grade students meandered up and down the line, selling baked goods and coffee to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Matthew and an upcoming trip to a nature center.
The students offered blondies topped with red and blue M&Ms in the shape of an American flag and one-dollar coffee deliveries to even those farthest down the line.
Gretchen Smith, a dancer with the New York City Ballet who voted in Manhattan’s east village, made light of her wait time by looking at social media.
“I actually couldn’t sleep last night. But then I remembered that there are a plethora of kitty cat videos on Instagram and it was incredibly helpful,” she noted.
Cat videos and bake sales may have kept New York City voters happy and calm on Election Day, but the news of Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton caused the city to enter a state of shock.
Cameron Dieck, a dancer and student at Fordham University, noticed a dramatic change among New Yorkers on his commute to Lincoln Center on Wednesday morning.
“Usually the subway has a lot of morning hustle-bustle. People are either doing work on their commute, or you can hear someone’s music playing on their headphones, or people are having little conversations. But you could hear a pin drop on the subway this morning. People looked like they were processing,” Dieck said.
Dieck partly attributed this reaction to the polls. In the days before the election, most polls showed Clinton with a sizeable lead over Trump. And on Election Day, almost 90 percent of voters in Manhattan sided with her.
“I think people (especially in New York City) were kind of tooting that we’re going to elect the first female president. So I think Election Day was excitement and this morning was despair,” he noted.
The despair was also evident on social media sites like Instagram and Twitter. Smith and other users posted a plain black image to their accounts to express their opposition to Trump’s presidency.
Plowman also expressed her concerns about Trump.
“I’m fearful for what a mess he’s going to make for this country,” she said.
Despite the city’s widespread disapproval of the election outcome, Trump’s win affirmed that much of the country believes in his ability to lead the nation.
His narrow margin of victory — he won the electoral college while Clinton won the popular vote — also illuminated the nation’s polarization on issues such as national security, immigration, and race, as Dieck described.
But citizens might have one belief in common.
“I think honestly the thing that Americans could probably agree upon most right now is the fact that there is a huge division,” Dieck said.
He then added, “But I think people would actually have a harder time pinpointing what the division is over.”
Today the city may be in a state of shock; but considering the drive of New Yorkers and the need to end polarization for the sake of democracy, this condition won’t last long.