Tagged : United States

christmas tree at rockefeller center new york city

Merry Christmas!

If you want to know why New York City is like magic during the Holidays, just look at the photo above. It’s the famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree (the photo is from 2008).

Merry Christmas to you all!

1 Obama on poster

November 4, 2008

November 4, 2008. The day America elected Barack Obama as their 44th president. I was lucky being in the United States on this very special day. Today it’s November 4, 2011. It’s exactly three years after these historic elections, which gives me a reason to share some of my photos.

Election Day 2008. My day started like any other day. In the morning I went to Rietveld Architects for ‘just another day at the office’. For me, Election Day started at 3PM. Together with two colleagues I went to Rockefeller Center.

NBC News turned Rockefeller Center into Election Plaza.

As you can see on this picture (above), preparations are almost done.

I didn’t go to Rockefeller to see these preparations at Election Plaza. A Dutch news show would broadcast live from the Rockefeller Center for their election coverage. I was part of the audience (which was really fun because my family in the Netherlands watched it live). They started broadcasting at 4PM (10PM in the Netherlands). Election night began!

Several hours later, the sun already set, I took a photo of this incredible view of St. Patricks Cathedral (photo is taken from the news studio in Rockefeller Center). It was time to go downstairs and visit Election Plaza.

Wow! To my surprise the Rockefeller Center turned red and blue for NBC’s broadcasting. Also the skyscraper featured a running electoral count (you can see the number 270, which is the number of delegates each candidate needs to win the elections).

At the building two carts were pulled up. One for Obama and one for McCain. The carts ended at 270 at which stage the next president would be known.

After Obama won three delegates, I together with several other people decided to go somewhere else. We figured it would be more interesting to experience the elections in Harlem, which is where we went.

We visited an Obama campaign office in Harlem. It’s the same office where I watched several of the presidential debates.

Not much later, we found out thousands of people gathered in front of the Bill Clinton Office (which is situated in Harlem). We decided to go there. On the photo above, you’ll see many camera crews from news networks all around the world. Quickly it became clear our gathering would be broadcasted live in many countries!

Together with thousands of people we watched CNN, who projected Obama as winner in Ohio (which was one of the crucial states).

Shortly after I snapped this photograph, I was interviewed by this guy. I didn’t know who he was. Moments later he gave a speech from the podium, so I figured he must be famous. Several days after the elections I found out he’s famous indeed. He’s a well known comedian and has its own show on CNN. And… his interview with me was broadcasted on CNN! (“Even the Dutch are excited”)

It wouldn’t take long until “Yes We Can” became “Yes We Did”.

NBC projected Obama as winner of the elections. Everyone went crazy!

CNN also projected Obama as winner. John Mc Cain was defeated. Barack Obama would be the 44th president of the United States.

Just look at the woman in the lower left of this photo. Need I say more?

The atmosphere was euphoric for a very, very long time.

The governor of New York gave an emotional speech.

To conclude these historic elections, Obama gave his victory speech. During his speech, almost everyone was silent (except for some people shouting “Yes We Can”).

After his speech, crowds got bigger. “O-bam-A” and “Yes We Can” echoed everywhere. People were laughing, hugging and cheering. At 125th Street, crowds were pouring in from all directions. Cars cruised slowly east and west, their windows rolled down, passengers hanging out, waving and shouting. After several hours I went back to my apartment in Lower Manhattan. It was an historic night, and I had been part of it.

Blue Angels

Last weekend I was at Leeuwarden Air Base. This base is one of the three military airbases which organizes the annual public open days of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, consisting of an air show and static exhibits. As you might guessed, this year it was Leeuwarden’s turn to organize this massive event.

Five years ago (2006) was the last time I went to the open days. That year the world famous Blue Angels presented themselves in the Netherlands. It was a massive show to be sure. This team is arguably the best flying aerobatic team in the world. It consists of six pilots flying the F/A-18 Hornet. I had to think of this show when I went to this years open days. There were no Blue Angels, still… it was great!

I did not make any pictures of this years air show. However, I did film a bit but could not find time to edit a OneMinute video yet. That is why I decided to post some pictures of the Blue Angels air show of 2006.

9/11

Today, ten years ago, two hijacked planes were driven into the towers of the World Trade Center. Killing thousands of people and changing the lives of so many more. Todays remembrance made me think of three years ago.

Back then, my apartment was located on a 10 minutes walk from downtown Manhattan. On the morning of 9/11 2008 I walked to Ground Zero. The thing I remember most is the silence. It was respectfully quiet. Although it had been seven years since the attacks, I could still see tears and despair in the eyes of many people.

In the evening, hours later, I encountered the opposite of despair. I went to Columbia University to see Barack Obama the at the 9/11 Presidential Forum. He was still a candidate back then. By seeing him, sitting in the front seat of his SUV (I wasn’t allowed inside), I realized hope returned for many New Yorkers. Less than two months later, he won the US Presidential Elections which changed the lives of so many ordinary Americans.

Photo description: This is a photo I snapped several hours after I saw Obama. It’s called Tribute in Light. This is an art installation of 88 searchlights placed next to the site of the World Trade Center to create two vertical columns of light in remembrance of the September 11 attacks.

Donald Trump

Most sports have breaks. With football there’s half-time, which is a 15 minute break. NBA basketball has four quarters which gives us two breaks of two, and a halftime break of 15 minutes. On TV, these breaks are filled with commercials. Obviously, when you’re in the stadium, you won’t see any tv commercials. So what do organizers of large sport events do to entertain the public during those minutes?

Three years ago I went to a baseball match of the NY Mets. During (commercial) breaks several cameras scanned the crowd for young couples. One of those couples would get broadcasted in the stadium. The moment they found out they’re visible for the entire stadium, a text appears on the screens, saying “Kiss your girlfriend!” After the kiss, the director puts a new couple on the screen. And on and on. Until the break is over. This kept the entire stadium engaged.

But there’re more ways to entertain. How about clowns during the rodeo or a show by the U.S. Olympic Trampoline team during the halftime break of a basketball match?! (btw, it was a great show!).

The how-to-fill-up-a-break-without-commercials I remember best was during the quarter finals of the 2008 US Open (tennis). Novac Djokovic played against Andy Roddick. During one of the breaks a very familiar tune starts playing in the Artur Ashe Stadium. I know this tune, For the love of money, as the theme to the reality television show The Apprentice. I quickly figured there must be a reason to play this song during a break in the stadium. Maybe The Donald is in the stadium? My heart jumped a bit. Would I really see Donald Trump? Thé Donald Trump?!

My eyes moved towards the large screen in the stadium. At the same time, the stadium speaker introduced “the guy everyone associates with this tune”. And there he was, in full screen, visible for everyone in the stadium. Donald “You’re Fired” Trump. The entire audience started to cheer while The Donald smiled to the camera. My eyes quickly scanned the stadium. Where would he be sitting? I pointed my photo camera to a vip-box in front of me and zoomed in quite a bit. And there he was! To me, the quarter finals of the US Open changed from great to unique.