[Tuesday 4th November]
Another day in the New York office in the daytime. Lots of meetings and presentations today, another nice lunch, but other than that nothing of any real significance when compared with the evening's events.
It was a sheer coincidence that I'd ended up in the US for the week of the presidential election, and I have to admit until today I hadn't really given it a huge amount of thought.
In the daytime no-one really seemed to talk much about it, but as the evening approached it seemed very much to be on everybody's mind.
To start off with I followed a few colleagues on their quest to find a good bar in which to watch the proceedings, however, after a quick drink at the dive bar near the office we'd been to the previous day, it was mutually decided that this was probably not the best venue. A large group of people gathered in one of the corporate apartments we were all staying in, but somehow I wasn't satisfied with this either.
So I was rather pleased when a colleague from the London office suggested we should actually just go to the centre of the action - Times Square - and witness history unfolding from there. So off we went.
We arrived some time around 10, initially fearing it may have already been all over, but fortunately there was still a good hour or two of it to go from then.
I hope it doesn't sound like too much of a literary cop out, but it is hard to put into words what the atmosphere was like on that amazing night in Times Square. The sense of excitement, optimism, jubilation and just sheer elation was so palpable. Being New York I'm pretty sure everyone in the crowd was an Obama supporter (if they weren't they were wisely keeping very quiet about it), and they were all making that fact very well known indeed - chanting, cheering, even singing - he sure is a popular guy in New York.
It was fairly tense to start with though - when we arrived in Times Square Obama was already well in the lead, but a number of states hadn't yet declared - most significantly Florida.
I may very well be over exaggerating here, but I think I actually announced to New York that Obama had won. There were several screens surrounding the square, but no actual audio, and so with everything that was going on it was hard to get an absolutely clear picture of the current status (particularly as the screens were for different news networks which had conflicting numbers). Following a series of gains for Obama, each followed by loud cheers, the crowd had actually fallen fairly quiet at one point, and then I noticed the number on one of the screens had suddenly shot up to 274 - which I think put Obama over the number of seats he needed to win. I fairly quietly pointed this out to my Australian colleague, and the people standing around us heard this and started shouting about it - this rippled outwards and a few seconds later the whole square was screaming.
I think this may have actually been a projected result - it wasn't until a few minutes later that the networks actually declared it, but it didn't seem to matter - the cheering basically didn't stop from that point on.