The widespread sound of cheering, honking, pot-banging and more erupted in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, Minneapolis and other largely Democratic cities Trump has disparaged. Some rejoiced at the imminent departure of Trump from the White House, while others touted the historic ascendancy of Biden’s running mate, Kamala D. Harris, who will become the nation’s first Black and first Asian American woman vice president.
“No more years! No more years!” a crowd of hundreds chanted in Philadelphia.
Frankie Rowles, 32, was in a downtown Philadelphia food hall when the news broke. He ran into the streets and joined a growing crowd of celebrators across the street from the city’s convention center, where votes were tallied this week.
He immediately drew his cellphone and started live-streaming himself jumping up and down.
“Yeah we did it, Philadelphia! Aaaagh!”
He crouched down for a minute, gathering his thoughts. “I’m so proud of us,” he said.
A pro-Trump camp was set up across the street, blaring country music from a loudspeaker. Biden supporters danced to the music, strangers hugged, everyone cheered.
Adrienne Trice, 55, hugged her 11-year-old daughter Laila Williamson and swayed to the tunes.
A tear streamed down Laila’s cheek. As a young Black girl, she said she was heartened to see a Black woman take such a powerful seat.
“It’s about time,” she said.
Across the street, the mood was somber. “This is fraud, we know it’s fraud,” said a Trump supporter who declined to give his name. “We’re going to take it to the mat."
A growing crowd of Biden supporters — about 100 at noon — chanted: “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye!”
In the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, people rushed into one intersection shortly after 1 p.m., hoisting American flags and bursting out loud with laughter. Marie Norman, 55, was among those celebrating.
“I’ve been waiting four years for this,” she said. “It’s been misery for four years, and people can finally feel relief.”
Ivan Frank, 81, said he had made 2,800 phone calls to rally voters to support Biden. He beamed at the corner of Murray and Forbes avenues as people danced around him and dashed into the center of the intersection, American flags flying.
“How about it?” he said. “We did it!”
In New York, the show of support was especially reminiscent of the early days of the pandemic, when residents poured out of their apartments nightly to applaud hospital workers and first responders risking their lives to treat coronavirus patients. Shouting and music could be heard from rooftops across the city.
By the afternoon, a sea of people congregated in Times Square celebrating the Biden victory — a startling scene in a tourist hub that has been largely empty since the start of the pandemic. Broadway theaters have been dark since March and are not slated to reopen until late next year. A performer in head-to-toe tie-dye blared “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead” from “The Wizard of Oz” from a speaker fixed to his bicycle.
Jason Olson and Sarah Young, 44 and 32, a couple from Harlem, left their house in pajamas to join a celebration in their neighborhood that began almost immediately after news organizations called the race.
“When we left there was a group of people opening champagne in the street,” Young said. The widespread display of joy reminded the couple of an event they witnessed when they used to live in California: the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series.
Young, a stage director whose career as been affected by the pandemic and who never left the city during the height of the coronavirus spread, said Trump “utterly failed us and the rest of the country."
Outside of Trump International Hotel in Columbus Circle, a large crowd waved signs and cheered as drivers in traffic pounded their horns and raised their fists.
A woman wearing a T-shirt that read “Nasty Woman,” a throwback to Trump’s famous Hillary Clinton insult, danced with a pink feather boa atop a parked black SUV. While drivers honked, passengers hung out car windows, some with “Biden/Harris” signs and others shouting obscenities aimed at Trump.
Some cars blared the rap song “FDT,” an acronym for an expletive and the president’s name. People throughout the city had looks of joy, evident even with most faces covered by masks.
The results came a week after people in the city waited in line for as long as five hours to submit ballots during an overwhelmed early voting period, the first in the state during any presidential contest.
In Washington, the sounds of honking and cheering echoed across the Mall, where the merriment over Trump’s displacement could be heard near the White House. Revelers near the Capitol banged on pots with wooden spoons, cheering. “Kamala!” some joggers shouted to them, raising their fists in the air.
At one point, a group of two dozen bicyclists cruised down East Capitol Street NE, blasting Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration.”
In the afternoon, as Trump’s motorcade returned to the White House from his golf course in Sterling, Va., where he had spent the morning, crowds celebrating Biden and Harris’s win booed loudly.
As the orange glow of the sun began to fade to darkness above the Washington Monument, a man with a Biden flag ran back and forth as hundreds of revelers clinking glasses and eating in small clusters on the grass cheered him on.
A jogger paused to point at the White House.
“Joe Biden is going to live in that house,” he announced to no one and everyone at once. “We did that!”
In Minneapolis, a coalition of progressive groups had organized a march Saturday morning that was intended to focus on demanding that every vote be counted. The gathering took on a festive atmosphere when news of the race being called for Biden spread among the crowd.
An Aztec dance group in full traditional regalia and a robust drum section led the group of about 1,000 people in a march that started near the remains of what was once the Minneapolis 3rd Precinct police station — which had been burned down in the unrest following the killing of George Floyd — and proceeded to Powderhorn Park. A DJ played sets from a stage set up on the back of a truck.
“Today it feels really good, it feels like spring,” said Aurin Chowdhury, 23, of Minneapolis. “I’ve been so stressed out this whole year, especially this month. It feels relieving, like I’m taking a breath of fresh air.”
Juwaria Jarma, 16, filmed the celebrations with her phone. She said the march reflected the demands progressive groups would have of a Biden administration moving forward.
“People are energized, people want to do the work and are invested in it,” said Jarma, who showed up to represent the group Minneapolis Youth Climate Strike.
Susana De León, an immigration lawyer, said she had seen firsthand the pain caused by the Trump administration’s immigration policies. She noted that it was important her group was there to represent indigenous culture as the event was occurring on what was once Dakota land.
“We came here to demand our votes be counted, but now we are here to celebrate,” she said.
In Chicago late Saturday afternoon, hundreds of people gathered along Wacker Drive to celebrate. The crowd stretched from Michigan Avenue in front of Trump Tower and across all of the Chicago River bridges.
People played drums, sang, waved flags, and otherwise enjoyed the almost summerlike temperatures. Many sang the Queen song “We Are the Champions” in front of Trump’s hotel and condo development.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters Saturday that she hoped Trump would concede soon.
“He will get there. I certainly hope he will get there, whether he says those words or not. The time has come for the transition to start,” she said.
Lightfoot said she considered Harris’s win “historic” and that it showed young people of color that “in America truly so many things are possible.”
“The news of the finality of this electoral process opens up boundless of possibilities of science, the rule of law, respect for civil rights, and respect for our most vulnerable residents and communities,” she said. “There is a reason people all over world breathed huge sigh of relief today. Make no mistake, America is back.”