Obama's Harlem Fans Already Looking to Reelection

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Harlem residents wait for President Obama's arrival at the Red Rooster restaurant, where he is headlining a $30,800-a-plate fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee. (Anna Sale/WNYC)

Hours before Obama's scheduled arrival at a $30,800-a-plate fundraiser at the Red Rooster restaurant, neighborhood residents still gathered early in hopes of catching a glimpse of the president.

"It's about time for him to come back and see us," said Olivia Brand, a retired Harlem resident who recounted standing in the long lines at the polls to cast her vote for Obama. But she wasn't holding any grudges. "I heard it on the news, I took a shower, got dressed, and said, 'I'm going to come see the man of the hour.'"

"My first time ever voting is when Obama was on the ticket," echoed Jamal Harris, a 32 year-old neighborhood resident.

Harris has since lost his job as a teen counselor and he rests credit for his extra 13 weeks of unemployment benefits squarely on Obama's shoulders. "I can't find a job, and he allowed me to continuously pay my bills and take care of myself."

Florence Middleton stood nearby in the blustery spring wind wrapped up in a scarf, hat, and winter coat with an Obama pin on the lapel. "He's my president, and I love him," the 50-year resident of the neighborhood said. "He can't do any wrong, that's how I feel " she added with a laugh.

One after another, the people milling around the police barricades waiting expressed unequivocal support for Obama, and campaign readiness for the next go around.

"I like the president. He's done good by us," said Luz Feliciano, a lifelong Harlem resident who works at a senior center in The Bronx. She and her mother had come to wait. Feliciano pointed to Harlem's improved economy and crime rate as evidence of Obama's success, and unprompted, she jumped ahead to 2012. "And I'll vote for him again."

She wasn't the only one who volunteered thoughts on Obama's political fortunes.

"The Republicans downgrade him, and stuff like that. But he's doing the best he can." James Bell said. "I don't know whether he'll get elected next year, because the white folks don't want him, but he'll be all right."

That other president famous for his Harlem outpost seemed a distant memory. When asked, no one seemed bothered by President Bill Clinton's recent decision to move most of his Clinton Global Initiative offices out of the neighborhood.

"Maybe our rent will go down, right?" Brand laughed.

The Red Rooster, owned by Top Chef alum Marcus Samuelsson, was closed in preparation for the fundaiser.
"It's about time," said Olivia Brand of Obama's return to Harlem.
Harlem resident Luz Feliciano waited with her mother, Marianne Colon.
"I get unemployment, so I want to tell him thank you for them extra weeks," said 32 year-old Jamal Harris.

Florence Middleton, a resident of Harlem for more than 50 years, also talked about her changing neighborhood. "We'll die out, and the young ones will have to be educated, so they can afford to stay here," she said.


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Comments [4]


To Shelly from NY. You are without a doubt a massive display of pure ignorance. People like you should be disallowed to speak EVER!!!

Mar. 30 2011 11:35 PM
Robert from Miami

I cosign alot of what youre saying here but you drifted into ridiculousness when you said:
"because you allowed the corrupt system to become so entrenched due to being so apathetic all your lives!"

Its not Black peoples fault that John Kerry ran a horrible campaign and got swiftboated away??
It's not Black peoples fault that Walter Mondale was lame and Gore was a stiff? Explain line of thinking here shelly. Because mines is that Obama seemed like he cared about regular people. Clinton was the same way, both came across as regular guys. Heck even Carter was a normal guy.

Mar. 30 2011 12:07 AM
Terri from USA

DEMOCRAT BARACK OBAMA BY THE NUMBERS - On March 29th Obama attends a $30,000 plate dinner in the gentrified up-scale Red Rooster. Harlem’s annual median income is $25,000 less than the $30,000 plate dinner for one night. Nearly 50% of Black men in NYC are jobless. A cruise missile cost $1 million each. 126 cruise missiles were fired the first day on Libya!

Mar. 29 2011 07:45 PM
shelly from NY

First off, Red Rooster is is terrible. Below average fried chicken with low quality meat? a dish where you get 4 tiny meatballs and that is dinner? Please. Second of all, true, there are "white folks" that won't vote for Obama as the interviewee pointed out but it shows just how dumb some people are because guess what? Those same white folks didn't vote for him the first time around either so let us not hear that excuse. The nutter tea party people were never interesed in Obama because yes, they are complete racists. So now we have the person commenting that the first time she voted was when obama ran. THAT is why Obama won't win again, because half these morons never voted and a lot will not show up the second time for the same reason they never did before, sheer laziness. If the black community had been voting we might have been Bush and there would be 1.5 million Iraqis that are dead, alive. So thanks lazy as8holes, you only vote when it is "my president" meaning a black man. You are disgusting and short-sighted and because of that "your pres" will not get re-elected because you allowed the corrupt system to become so entrenched due to being so apathetic all your lives! So look in the mirror black folk when Obama goes downm the crapper come 2012. I voted for him first time around and have always voted Dem. But I will NOT vote for him again because no one backed him and that includes you lazy jerks who just think a black man on tv makes all the problems go away and without backing which includes pressure to follow through and make changes, he did wahtever the corporations and wall st wanted and killed more people in Afghanistan than bush, continues the Iraq massacre, invaded Libya and bombs Pakistan daily. He also orders bombings in Yemen and threaens Iran consistently. For actual real reasons, for being a war criminal , murdering piece of cr*p I will vote independent. Now if we add up the tea party psychos, all the lazy black people, the disappointed "liberals" and then people like me who actually are aware of the issues, those are all votes taken away from Obama in one way or another. So say good-bye to "your president" and you can be sure the white man will use the collasal failure known as obama as an excuse of why we can't have another black pres for YEARS, DECADES to come. Way to go people. And to hell with you house negro bast*rd. Oh, and all those passes black soldiers got in war, those days are over because you have proven you are no better than the white man. You just didnt have any power before but look how evil and wicked you are when you do get power. WORSE than the white man. MUCH WORSE.

Mar. 29 2011 07:38 PM

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