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Just Another Day In Hyde Park

Just walking along the street today, minding my own business, going to a dance rehearsal . . . 51st Street is blocked off again, because the President and the First Lady are home for Valentine's Day . . . hmmm. There are lots of people standing around on the corners, and there are cops all up and down Woodlawn. Since I'm heading down Woodlawn to the Hillel building anyway, I pause to hang out at 55th Street.

It turns out that the President's motorcade is due to be cruising up Woodlawn any moment now, presumably carrying the Obamas back from church. The cross streets are closed down, and people are congregating on the sidewalk. It's as good an excuse to be late to rehearsal as any -- the President of the United States! -- and there's a lot of friendly chitchat. One of the cops allows as how this is his favorite duty. Someone asks him what his least favorite duty is, and he says it's patrolling the Taste of Chicago. We wonder how he'd feel if Obama decided to attend the Taste, but we don't find out, because his walkie-talkie crackles.

The motorcade has turned onto Woodlawn at 59th Street. The cop who doesn't like the Taste tells us all to move back from the curb, so as not to freak out the Secret Service. Heads all turn toward the south. After a few minutes, we see headlights, and then vroom! Cop cars and shiny black SUVs and a van and an ambulance and a few more SUVs and a few more cop cars, both marked and unmarked, whoosh by the Starbucks, the St. Thomas Catholic school, the Augustana Lutheran Church. I got a quick picture, which doesn't quite capture the scale of things, but which does prove at least that the shiny black SUV portion of the motorcade went by my camera:

And then, in about fifteen seconds, it's gone. Everybody nods, satisfied. We've seen The President (or at least, his motorcade), and he is Back Home. Lovely entertainment, and we've all had a chance to chat and can now return to our normal lives.

Somehow, I still think it's really cool to be living in a simple urban neighborhood where, every now and then, the President's motorcade cruises through.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 15th, 2009 10:25 pm (UTC)
I like it that they still regard that area as 'home', not the White House. You've got interesting neighbours!

Feb. 15th, 2009 11:04 pm (UTC)
Well, to be fair, they only moved to DC a month ago. And one of the perks of the Presidency has to be the ability to take your job with you -- if you want to head back to a favorite Chicago restaurant for Valentine's Day, you hop on Air Force One (which Obama thinks is a "spiffy ride") and go, and whatever work you need to do will come with you. I bet that kind of makes up for the responsibility of being the Leader Of The Free World™.
Feb. 15th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)
Somehow, I still think it's really cool to be living in a simple urban neighborhood where, every now and then, the President's motorcade cruises through.

LOL - I definitely can't remember the last time a presidential motorcade rolled past my house.

Where did they eat dinner last night?
Feb. 15th, 2009 11:07 pm (UTC)
They were at Table 52, a restaurant on Elm St., which is not in Hyde Park. Which makes sense. There's really only one restaurant in Hyde Park that's fancy enough for The President And The First Lady on Valentine's Day, and that's La Petite Folie, which is French, whereas Table 52 serves Southern cooking.

I definitely can't remember the last time a presidential motorcade rolled past my house.

Gee, it was just a couple of months ago for me!
Feb. 16th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
I don't think the food is that great at La Petite Folie. Too stodgy. But the service is impeccable, and that would be important for a presidential romantic evening.
Feb. 16th, 2009 11:18 pm (UTC)
I've never eaten at La Petite Folie, since it's far too expensive for me. But it seems that other restaurants in Hyde Park are just as good, and cheaper, too.
Feb. 15th, 2009 11:06 pm (UTC)
Cool! This guy really gets around! Must be fun.
Feb. 15th, 2009 11:08 pm (UTC)
It is a nice little entertainment break in the middle of the day! Go outside for a stroll, get some fresh air, catch up with the neighbors, see the President . . .
Feb. 15th, 2009 11:52 pm (UTC)
I love it! He's out with the real people!
Feb. 16th, 2009 03:15 am (UTC)
I like it that he goes back to his old church when he's in Chicago. It must give the Secret Service conniption fits, but I think it's good for the country to have a President who does stuff like that.
Feb. 16th, 2009 03:26 am (UTC)
Exciting. Pres. Obama was near here in Williamsburg recently, but he was talking to a closed meeting of Democrats. I suppose there must have been a motorcade from the airport to wherever the meeting was. An extra for the tourists??
Feb. 16th, 2009 01:46 pm (UTC)
If any tourists knew the route from the airport to the meeting site.

The thing is, when Obama comes to Chicago, he just can't hide. There will be people watching for his motorcade, because it'll be right in the middle of the neighborhood. No closed meetings in Hyde Park!
Feb. 17th, 2009 03:36 am (UTC)
Yeah, kind of used to presidents going to a ranch or camp or island or the like. Just plopping down in Chicago is a bit different. Especially with someone giving me eye-witness accounts.
Feb. 17th, 2009 05:16 am (UTC)
We're all going to have to get used to the idea of a modern urban presidency, I think.
Feb. 16th, 2009 11:30 am (UTC)
Well, wow! That's so cool.

And yeah, stop freaking out the Secret Service, FP! LOL.
Feb. 16th, 2009 01:47 pm (UTC)
And yeah, stop freaking out the Secret Service, FP!

I've just got to stop doing that. Chinese New Year's Resolution!
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
where the president was coming from that day
Not church, but playing basketball at U of C Lab School.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
Re: where the president was coming from that day
That's even more awesome.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )