The End of the Beginning

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The leading ladies. Photo: Jarrett Baker/Getty Images

As President-elect Obama addressed the nation from the shores of Lake Michigan, New York erupted in celebration. Joyous citizens took to the streets in Harlem, Times Square, the East Village, Fort Greene, and Williamsburg — where cops cracked down on those having a little too much fun. The city’s proudest Election Day achievement may have been maintaining calm through long waits to vote; Tim Robbins, temporarily disenfranchised by a paperwork screwup, provided diversionary entertainment by losing his cool at the 14th Street Y. Newspapers heralding the New New Deal sold out before dawn, spurring the Times to restart its presses.

New York’s Democrats took three House seats from Republicans; the Empire State’s congressional delegation is now 26 blue, three red. After seizing control of both chambers in Albany for the first time in 73 years, Dems celebrated by bickering over whether Malcolm Smith of Queens could serve as Senate majority leader. New York’s would-be unofficial third senator, SNL alum Al Franken, appeared headed for a weeks-long recount after a virtual tie in Minnesota. Jersey governor Jon Corzine’s name was floated for Treasury secretary, and federal prosecutors gave Eliot Spitzer a win, announcing they won’t charge Client 9 with any crime.

Mayor Bloomberg warned of “unpleasant and painful” fiscal tightening to come, including 3,000 job cuts and the elimination of homeowners’ property-tax rebates. Carl Pavano and Jason Giambi likely waved good-bye to pinstripes after the Yankees declined to pick up expensive contract options. The Knicks pretended that benchwarmer Stephon Marbury was invisible, hoping he’d go away. Some 37,899 runners took the scenic route from Staten Island, finishing the 39th New York City Marathon. And Royal Caribbean released plans for a Gotham-inspired supership complete with loft suites, Coney Island rides, and a tree-lined Central Park.