Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inaugural Crowd Estimated to be 1.5 Million

Crowd-counting is always an inaccurate science, but the San Jose Mercury News is reporting that 1.5 million were estimated to have been on the Mall for the inauguration.

I talked to many attendees while on a bus returning to New York on Tuesday night. The general consensus was happiness at having attended, but some frustration with how D.C. handled the shuttle service to the charter bus parking lot at RFK stadium and the security for ticket-holders--tickets were checked after security lines, so many non-ticket holders held up security lines, only to be turned back.

Overall, people were elated and happy to say they were part of such a historical event.

I recently wrote a piece on D.C. shop owners capitalizing on the crowds. Here's the intro:

The Whole Foods on P Street had stocked more champagne for inaugural weekend than it had for New Year’s Eve.

The upscale grocer was also carrying special beers in honor of (then) President-elect Barack Obama’s home states, including 312 wheat ale from Chicago’s Goose Island brewery and Pipeline Porter coffee beer from Hawaii’s Kona Brewing Company. The store also stocked up on Heileman’s Old Style beer.

“Obama’s known to drink it,” said Whole Food’s specialty team member Scott Witzlsteiner.

Continue reading this article

Obama's inauguration: Record crowd gathers on Mall to celebrate 'achievement for the nation' [San Jose Mercury News]
Obama Fever Grips DC Shop Owners (story and slideshow) [NYU Livewire]

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