Crowds swell at City Hall for inauguration viewing
About 1,000 people packed into City Hall this morning, jostling for seats to watch Barack Obama's inauguration on large screen TVs set up throughout the building.
Lines began forming well before the building opened to the public at 9:30 and those who showed up late were turned away, with city officials providing lists of other spots nearby where public viewing parties are being held.
Several people said they had never seen anything like it, as school children camped out on the first floor of the rotunda and overflow crowds milled around the second floor outside the council chambers, where chairs were set up to watch the festivities.
"It's a very historic event," said Preetha Chakravarti, of Brooklyn, a teacher at the all-grils Urban Assembly School for Criminal Justice, who brought 130 students to watch the inaugural. "We have a lot of children of immigrants who can relate to Barack Obama's background."
In addition to the council chambers, TVs were set up in the council committee room, the Red Room on the first floor and in the rotunda.
"It would have been nice to be in D.C. but this is the next best thing," said Calvin Patterson, 43, of Brooklyn.