Home NEWS New Yorkers on the Inauguration Festivities

New Yorkers on the Inauguration Festivities


Weather: Mixed sun and clouds. High in the low 40s, but a stiff breeze will make it feel a lot colder.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until Feb. 11 (Lunar New Year’s Eve).


The performance of the national anthem. The swearing-in of the vice president. And an appearance at the evening celebrations.

As President Biden took his oath of office as the nation’s 46th president on Tuesday, New Yorkers played several roles in the ceremonies, from providing security at the United States Capitol to the main events.

One state official whom viewers might have expected to see was absent. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Wednesday that he had chosen to forgo the trip out of concern about potential protests in Albany, which did not materialize.

“I’m very excited about the president and the change for this nation,” Mr. Cuomo said. “He’s been a great friend to me personally.”

Here’s how other New Yorkers participated in Inauguration Day:

Before Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath of office, Lady Gaga performed the national anthem. She is well-known for her roots in New York City and wrote her first album in a walk-up apartment near Tompkins Square Park.

Minutes later, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who grew up in the Soundview neighborhood of the Bronx, swore in Ms. Harris. A designer who lives in SoHo, Christopher John Rogers, helped create the purple outfit Ms. Harris wore.

Jennifer Lopez, who is also from the Bronx, sang “This Land Is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful,” reciting the final words of the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish toward the end of her performance.

In the lead-up to the inauguration at the Capitol, where a mob of rioters disrupted the certification of the Electoral College results this month, roughly 200 New York City police officers traveled to Washington to help with security.

Hundreds of members of the state’s National Guard joined them.

Several other New Yorkers attended the event, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, the former president and secretary of state, who live in Westchester County. Father Leo J. O’Donovan, a priest from Manhattan, delivered the invocation.

Ella Emhoff, the stepdaughter of Ms. Harris and a student at the Parsons School of Design, trended on social media for her bejeweled tweed coat.

And Sandra Lindsay, a nurse in Queens and the first person in the country to be vaccinated for the coronavirus, was among those highlighted in an evening program after the inauguration.


The film opens with a Black music instructor in Queens leading a group of middle school students in a carpeted classroom filled with posters and portraits of musicians.

The rest of the Pixar’s new feature “Soul” largely takes place outside of New York City. But the first scenes and the protagonist, Joe Gardner, were both shaped by Peter Archer, a band teacher from the borough.

The classroom, for example, was modeled after Mr. Archer’s at Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74 in Bayside. Joe’s dilemma in the film — whether to choose a teaching job or a jazz career — closely mirrors a quandary in Mr. Archer’s own life. And just as Joe’s mother helps him decide which path to pursue, Mr. Archer’s mother guided his choice.

A Pixar spokeswoman said the animation studio first reached out to Mr. Archer in May 2018, hoping to bring him on as a consultant for the film. He initially missed the email.

“And then I got a phone call because I didn’t respond,” said Mr. Archer, 54. “They eventually came to observe my classroom and went over my story. The parallelism was so overwhelming.”

Upon graduating from the music program at Queens College, a young Mr. Archer aspired to join a symphony orchestra — but was offered a teaching internship instead. He was “upset,” he said, but took the job and would teach in Bayside for 34 years.

In their partnership with Mr. Archer, the animation studio took measurements and photos of his classroom and brought him out to its headquarters in California to offer ideas. He even suggested a different conclusion to the film that showed up in the final product.

“Initially the ending didn’t reconnect to the kids, and that concerned me,” he said. “With the entire thing, I thought about my own life experience and goals. And how those evolved. It was just amazing to see it show up.”

It’s Thursday — follow your passion.


Dear Diary:

Sometime in the late 1960s, I had lunch with a co-worker at a vegetarian restaurant near Union Square. This was a unique experience for me because there were very few restaurants of this kind in the city at the time.

Having never encountered an all-vegetable menu, we ordered what seemed familiar to us. Our selections turned out to be just ho-hum.

The two women at the next table, which was quite close to ours, seemed to be knowledgeable about the menu and chose some interesting-looking dishes that they appeared to be enjoying. We didn’t talk to them, but we listened closely as they happily discussed their choices.

At some point, I got so carried away by the obvious delight they were feeling that I leaned over impulsively and stuck my fork into the plate of the woman who was seated nearest to me.

“What are you doing?” she exclaimed, clearly shocked by what I had done.

I was equally taken aback.

“I don’t know,” I murmured.

— Ronnie Kelleher


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