By Sabina Mollot
While some recent news stories have indicated tickets to the presidential inauguration, set to take place on Friday, have been getting scooped up rather slowly, the event is still sure to be what most Americans will be tuning into on television. For Republicans, it’s an opportunity go out to a local bar and celebrate with likeminded people, watching the president get sworn in on a big screen while raising big mugs. For Democrats too, drinking is likely to be involved, with voters drowning their sorrows any time the president says “huge” or accuses a news report of being fake.
This week, Town & Village asked around in the community to see who planned on watching the ceremony.
Asked if he’d be watching, Frank Scala, a Stuyvesant Town resident and president of the Albano Republican Club, said he would be.
He’d actually been invited to see the inauguration live, but won’t be able to make it. Reached at the Fifth Avenue barber shop he owns and operates, Scala explained he’ll be working that day and needs to stay open late.
So instead, he’ll be watching the event at home. Scala also admitted he’s a little concerned about how Trump will present himself as president on the big day. During the race, the Albano Club shifted from Manhattan GOP by not endorsing Trump or any other candidate.
“I wish he’d talk a little different,” Scala, a native of Sicily, said, of Trump. “In his speeches he insults a lot of people, Spanish, immigrants. This country’s built with immigrants. Immigrants do all the work. I’m one of them.”
Meanwhile, another political club leader, Greg Patric Martello, president of Tilden Democrats, said he actually planned to attend. And, he added, he considers himself lucky to be able to do so.
He explained that he was “outraged” when Republicans boycotted President Obama’s inauguration and then refused to help him implement his agenda.
“I am an American first and a Democrat second,” said Martello. “Either we believe in democracy or we don’t. We cannot believe in it only when our side won. By not going to the inauguration you are boycotting the very necessary institutions that bind us through good times and bad.” Martello said he’s been noticing “nonparticipation” as a tactic more often these days in politics, due to “hyper-partisanship, and I find it to be a very troubling trend.”
One Trump supporter, a senior who asked to remain anonymous, said he absolutely would be watching, as he and a pal sat together at the Stuyvesant Town Community Center.
“I think Trump’s going to do a good job,” said the man, who works in real estate lending. “Look what he’s done already as far as getting the car companies to stay here instead of shipping outside the country. People are so liberal, they don’t understand that Italy’s broke. Portugal is broke. Greece is broke. Germany is on its way. Socialism’s broke. Ninety percent of the people here are Democrats so I fight with everyone.” The man then corrected himself. “No I don’t fight. I agree to disagree.”
One of the people he agrees to disagree with on politics was sitting next to him.
That man, Joe Lacedonia, said he would be watching the inauguration at the Lighthouse, a center in midtown for people who are visually impaired. However, he then admitted the place doesn’t have a television. But, Lacedonia said, he was sure he’d watch at home, comparing the event to the New Year’s Eve ball drop.
“I watched New Year’s Eve because what else is on?” he asked.
He added that he’d voted for Hillary Clinton. “But (Trump) won fair and square. I hope he does a good job.”
That’s when his friend chimed in again about Trump. “He’s a pompous ass,” he said. “He tells everyone off. He’s a hard man but that’s what we need. Everyone was giving everything away. My income has gone down to 20 percent of what it was when (President Obama) was in office.”
Another man at the center then peered over the newspaper he was reading to say he wouldn’t be tuning in to the swearing in.
“I find them to be a waste; I don’t need to watch any inauguration,” said Woody Haswell. “They’re boring and expensive, a waste of money. They cost millions of dollars (to put on).”
When asked for his thoughts, Keith Powers, a Peter Cooper Village resident and Democratic City Council candidate, told Town & Village he does intend to watch. Begrudgingly that is.
“I am going to watch because it will affect our city,” he said, adding, “It won’t be a day of celebration for me.”
State Senator Brad Hoylman, however, told T&V he has other plans. Specifically, he’ll be too busy at various protests of the new administration to watch the inauguration. On Sunday he’d already gotten started by attending the Writers Resist demonstration to defend free expression that day at the New York Public Library. He said he also plans to attend the protest against Trump at the Trump International Hotel at Columbus Circle at 6 p.m. on Thursday evening and the Women’s March being held in New York City on Saturday. That event will begin at the United Nations at 11 a.m. and march up Fifth Avenue to Trump Tower.
“A lot of New Yorkers will be on the streets this weekend and I plan to join them,” Hoylman said.