Between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. in North Brooklyn on this Election Day, young artists and professionals managed to carry themselves out of bed a tad bit early, and hit the voting booths, in some cases for the first time.
"What do you think, man?" asked Matthew Achterberg, a 25-year-old video producer outside of P.S. 017 on North Fifth Street in Williamsburg. "It’s all about fucking Barack Obama over here."
Mr. Achterberg wore a beanie and a hoodie. He was holding a cup from Oslo, the popular Williamsburg coffee shop, and a copy of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.
"I’ve been waiting for this ever since the Democratic primary ended," he said.
He just finished voting, and he was going to spend some time later at the Bowery Hotel making phone calls for Obama. He’s going to spend Election Night at 3rd Ward in Bushwick, which is planning a very big party.
"I don’t know if I’m a political junkie, you know?" he said. "I’m more like a political novice—a political amateur."
"I’ve been following it more than ever before!" said Lara Bandler, a 32-year-old PR manager for Vitamin Water. It was 9 a.m., and she had just finished casting her vote for Obama-Biden outside P.S. 126 on Leonard Street in Greenpoint. "Just last night, I was texting and emailing with friends and we were talking about it. It’s like how it feels before a big event—well it isa big event."
She said she had never really been engaged in politics before, and only barely voted. But since North Brooklyn is like a big "college campus," she said, it inspired her to get out.
"This election feels like it was aimed toward me and my generation," she said.
"This is huge, this is really, really big," said Chris Burnside, a 35-year-old artist who works in a gallery in Chelsea. Mr. Burnside has been voting for years off an absentee ballot out of Washington state. This year, however, he finally registered in Greenpoint.
Mr. Burnside said he watched one of the presidential debates this year at Matchless, a Greenpoint bar on the edge of McCarren park.
"It was stuffed!" he said. Compare that to 2004, he said, when he watched one of the debates in Enid’s, a bar and restaurant directly across the street, and it was completely empty.
"I watched one of the debates at t.b.d.," said Justin Bilicki, a 29-year-old cartoonist, referring to a popular Greenpoint bar on Franklin Avenue. "It was packed there and nobody talked! I have a small pug, and she whimpered at one point. She wanted to hang out with everybody! But it was like a library in there and everyone looked at me! I felt bad!"
"It’s just so different this year," he continued. "It’s a validating to see the younger base out there. I’ve seen people up and down the street talking Obama."
"I’ve never seen this neighborhood care before," said T.J. Stacy, a 39-year-old art director who was sipping a coffee outside Oslo and has been a Williamsburg resident since 1992. "But Obama really has the younger voters in the neighborhood excited."
And inside Oslo, which is across the street from P.S. 017, the lines were heavy and packed for a cup of coffee.
"It’s been crazy busy today, man," said Eddie Cedeno, a barista there. "Traffic is definitely up cause of the election. There was a line outside the door before we even opened—they were waiting for us to open."
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