Why West Siders Hit the Streets When Biden Won: ‘Today We Celebrate, Tomorrow We Work’


Photo by Stephen Harmon.

By Amelia Roth-Dishy

Upper West Siders rejoiced at home and in the streets on Saturday afternoon after networks and major news sources finally called the presidential election for Joe Biden. Buildings across the neighborhood erupted in sound as people whooped for joy, banging pots and pans out of their windows or on their fire escapes.

“I heard cheers, like for the essential workers at the beginning of the pandemic,” Jordan A., a college student from the Upper West Side, said. She wasn’t sure what they were cheering for until she looked at her phone and saw the news. Jordan grabbed her sister — who grabbed a megaphone — and the two ran outside, joining a growing group of revelers who gathered spontaneously on the traffic islands at 71st Street and Broadway.

Daniela C., another local and college student who joined the 71st Street crowd, called today “the best day ever.”

“Donald Trump is a man who ensues hate and violence,” she said. “He’s made this country awful for the last four years.” Daniela also heard the cheers from her apartment before she knew what they were for. “My mom turned on CNN and that’s when we realized that Biden had 284 electoral votes,” she added. “And that’s when we realized it was over.”

Paula, Betsy, and Ellen, Upper West Siders and Rag readers, were walking to the large rally at Columbus Circle, signs in hand, but paused at 71st Street and joined the smaller multitude. “New York is not a ghost town, New York is a celebration,” Ellen said. “When I ever think of leaving here,” she said, gesturing to the jubilation around her, “this is one of the reasons I stay.” The women acknowledged gravely that Biden’s triumph was not the end of the struggle. “We defeated him, now we have to defeat Trumpism,” Betsy said. “We have a lot of work to do. Today we celebrate, tomorrow we work.”

The aforementioned Columbus Circle event had the trappings of the many previous protests for racial and economic justice that have taken place there— police barricades outside Trump Tower, protest monitors from the NYCLU in brightly colored vests — but on Saturday, it felt more like a party.

There was no central location or coordinated speaker program; the crowd was diffuse across nearly the entire circumference of the traffic circle, with some cheering and dancing, others handing out leaflets and anti-Trump stickers. Representatives from myriad community political organizations, including the local UAW and 32BJ SEIU union chapters, New York Communities for Change, New York Immigration Coalition, Refuse Fascism, and Jews For Racial and Economic Justice, helped protect attendees from traffic or addressed groups of supporters. “Today means that we must come together and continue to get involved in the struggle,” a speaker from the Party for Socialism & Liberation said to a small crowd.

Most people the Rag spoke to had simply happened upon the joyous throngs and joined in.

NEWS | 29 comments | permalink
    1. Danielle Remp says:

      I’m overjoyed too, but I have nightmarish thoughts about how all these celebrations (some extending even to countries outside the U.S.) will impact our rates of covid, our medical professionals, and our hospital capacities.

      If there’s a Thanksgiving dinner, will our parents still be there to be Zoomed in?

      • Deri says:

        At least in NYC, I think the celebrations will have as much impact as all the protests last spring. That is, little or none at all. Because 1) Everyone was outdoors; 2) everyone was masked up.

        • Uws_tonya says:

          everyone was not masked up, including our senator in many pictures and videos. People were removing their masks to drink out of the same champagne bottles… I’m a Democrat and am beyond disgusted at the hypocrisy of thousands gathering and dancing in the streets, our mayor included, while telling us we shouldn’t celebrate the holidays with our families and warning of the coming second wave. He won’t be the one out of work again when it does come and I doubt he’ll have the humility to thank the soon to be former president if he has to send help again it gets this vaccine distributed to our at risk and first responders. I don’t like trump either, but my party is losing it’s mine screaming hate while acting like fools. I’m done with it.

          • UWSider says:

            Agreed.

          • Dissident says:

            Thank you, Uws_tonya, for an excellent comment.

            It should be noted that on the other side, as well, plenty of those who voted for Trump and Republicans did so not out of any love for the candidate but merely on account of finding him the better (or even least bad) of the choices available. And, of course, hypocrisy, while more salient at any given time among certain entities than others, is hardly exclusive to any particular party or ideology, but endemic to the human condition. Plenty of examples on the Right– as the mainstream media never ceases to remind us.

        • Dissident says:

          @ Deri:
          1.) Your second assertion is refuted by numerous photos and videos in which many among the masses of celebrants can clearly be seen not wearing masks. See, for example:
          https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/07/nyregion/nyc-reaction-biden-win.html

          2.) On what basis do you assert that the “Mostly Peaceful Protests” that we witnessed throughout the summer and into the fall did not result in any significant increase in the spread of Coronavirus? Are there any published studies you could cite?

    2. William Pearlman says:

      I guess the pandemic is now over

      • Charly says:

        Everyone in each of the pictures is wearing a mask. Would it better if they stood father apart? Yes, but these are outdoor pictures and the occasion was historic. There has been no evidence that any of the Black Lives Matters-related marches increased positivities rates anywhere in the country. Can’t say the same for the WH super-spreader event announcing Barrett as Supreme Court nominee or the equally reckless indoor/outdoor Trump rallies. Seems like the positivity rate for people working with Trump is at least 50 percent. But hard to say because they try to hide or lie about the results. Right Mark Meadows?

        • Dissident says:

          @Charly: So then if all of the events you cited were entirely outdoors and everyone in attendance wore a mask, you would have no problem (from a public health perspective, at least) with any of them?

    3. brandonsos says:

      All politics is ultimately local. While Gale Brewer was opposed to Trump’s Muslim ban, she told City & State that James Oddo, who supported profiling Muslims and was hostile to mosques being opened, is “a first rate human being” and a “first rate public servant” who should be NYC Deputy Mayor. These are NOT Upper West Side values and Gale Brewer should answer for that and the city council candidates running should denounce this.

      • Bob Lamm says:

        This is a wonderful example of the worst comments on blogs (not just the West Side Rag). The person who blasted Gale Brewer doesn’t have the integrity to use a real name. There is no date provided for what allegedly happened. There is no source for this alleged misdeed. The person who blasted Gale Brewer doesn’t even tell readers who James Oddo is. (Does everyone know? I highly doubt that.) Why is a post like this allowed on the West Side Rag? Gale Brewer and anyone trashed in this way deserves better.

        • brandonsos says:

          Here is the link to the article.

          https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/personality/interviews-profiles/jimmy-oddos-midlife-crisis.html

          Gale Brewer’s sentiment about Jimmy Oddo, a man that likely thinks of Muslims as less American than he is because of 9/11, is hurtful to Muslims. Trump racism and bigotry is wrong, but Gale Brewer praising a man that supports profiling Muslims is okay? Upper West Siders are supposed to open their hearts for the homeless, but not good and hard working Muslims?

          • Bob Lamm says:

            Thanks for posting the article. Now I’m waiting for the rest. Let’s see exactly what James Oddo has said about Muslims. (I assure you that I’m against all Islamophobia. And as a Democrat I have no reason to defend Oddo.) Most important, let’s see your full, real name. If you’re going to trash someone using THEIR real name, have the integrity to use YOURS.

            • brandonsos says:

              Who I am isn’t relevant, what is relevant is that Gale Brewer is an elected official who signed up to be a public official who know that whatever they say will be scrutinized. What I also find wrong is that when a progressive darling like Gale Brewer is called out, instead of Gale Brewer apologizing and vowing to be more respectful of Muslims, we have to hear from people like Bob Lamm who’s intent is to troll people upset at anti-Muslim bias. As a public official in a progressive community, the least Gale Brewer owes the Muslim community is an apology.

            • Dissident says:

              “If you’re going to trash someone using THEIR real name, have the integrity to use YOURS.”

              Anonymity when criticizing a public figure can be perfectly valid.
              (Of course, criticism and certainly any type of accusation or charge of any individual should only be made publicly if based upon sound facts and logic. I offer no comment upon any of the claims and charges that have been made concerning Ms. Brewer.)

              Additionally, as Rob G. alluded-to in his comment, it is all too easy for those whose views place them at no risk of falling victim to the present cancel culture to deny anonymity to those for whom it may be critical.

        • Rob G. says:

          ‘Why?’ Bob Lamm? Because Gale Brewer has done everything she can to slide the Upper West Side backwards with her “progressive” pandering. As constituents and tax-payers, those who disagree with her policies have every right to condemn them.

          Oh, and by the way, until the West Side Rag changes its policy on anonymous posts, you’ll just have to deal with it whether you like it or not. Some of us have jobs and children that we just might not jeopardized by a public opinion that radicals might not agree with.

    4. Anne Bard says:

      Great to see another photo by Stephen Harmon
      on this wonderful day!

    5. nemo paradise says:

      “Today means that we must come together and continue to get involved in the struggle,” a speaker from the Party for Socialism & Liberation said to a small crowd.”

      Like an eclipse means we all have to bang pots and pans together to scare away the dragons. Socialism was as welcome in this election as a de Blasio endorsement.

      And then, there’s Daniela C., “another local and college student,” who said “Donald Trump is a man who ensues hate and violence.”

      Daniella, this sentence dosn’t mean anything. I know what you are trying to say, but by the time you get to college, you’re supposed to be able to say what you mean without wandering into gibberish.

    6. John says:

      If you look at tax policy under Biden NYC residents will pay a 60 percent over all tax rate 90 percent of people who make 170 k will be paying this over all rate and only 75 percent of people making more then 400 k will be paying at this rate . ( rate includes state and local and federal taxes) nothing to cheer about here

      • nycityny says:

        Nonsensical math in a run-on sentence.

        Trump sharply lowered the state tax deduction for many middle-class New Yorkers, thus raising our federal taxes. So I wouldn’t say more of him would be good for us.

        The chances of Biden passing a plan exactly as hashed out in the heat of a political campaign are zero to nil. And he “promises” not to raise taxes of those making under $400K so you either take him at his word or you make up your own fiction of what he will do. The fact is, nobody knows.

      • EdNY says:

        You’re talking marginal rates, not overall rates. And that would be for anyone earning >$400K after deductions.

        • Ll says:

          Individual or household?

          • EdNY says:

            Individual. Joint or head of household would probably have a higher threshhold. But nothing is certain at this point, obviously. In addition, if Biden did get his tax proposal passed, the marginal federal rate would go back to 39%; the maximum combined NYS&NYC rates are about 13%. That would be 52% maximum combined marginal rates. Again, if you made >$400K after deductions, your effective tax rate would be much lower. You would only be taxed at the marginal rate for income >$400K.

    7. Janet Wasserman says:

      The best sign I saw was based on the popular Biden-Harris campaign sign.

      It was at WEA and W. 97th Street: It read “BY[E]DON.” My sentiments exactly.

    8. Me says:

      Guess super spreader accusations ended Saturday. A miracle happened!

    9. Leslie Rupert says:

      Days like this make me soooooo grateful and proud to be a New Yorker!!!!

    10. Shame says:

      I voted whole heartedly for Bieden. I also Voted for Hilary and Obama. But this picture of these woman is bad. You should never gloat. You celebrate the victory, you do not celebrate the downfall of the opponent and I don’t care at all if Trump himself or his supporters would do the same. If the Yankees beat the Dodgers in the WS you celebrate the Yankees win, you do not slam the Dodgers. These woman are disgraceful and lack class and integrity. They don’t deserve to be part of the liberal movement.

      • Dissident says:

        [To replace previous TWO. Sorry]

        “You celebrate the victory, you do not celebrate the downfall of the opponent”

        I would add that even if one does not consider a particular candidate worthy of such courtesy, one should at least consider his many voters. (Perhaps even his family, too, especially any children.) To deem at least 72 million Americans beneath such courtesy? The not-insignificant problems I have with President Trump are eclipsed by my aversion to his opponents. But to exclude as much as 77 million-plus of my countrymen, including some of my dearest relatives, as evil or worthy of contempt?

      • Shame says:

        I have to say a little more about this. they said “We defeated him, now we have to defeat Trumpism”. It sounds like they are going to war with someone! This makes them no better than the people they want to “defeat”. We are all Americans and all human beings. We need to work together and in find common ground. The people that live in the rural parts of our country have different needs and priorities than people in the cities. This does not make them bad or inferior. A real leader can find solutions that work for everyone. No one should be trying to “defeat” anyone! Try to find peaceful solutions for all.