A legion of fans camped out for hours Thursday to say goodbye to Jon Stewart.
They arrived outside “The Daily Show” midtown studio as early as 7 a.m. for the 6:30 p.m. taping, with folding chairs, picnic baskets and plenty of reading material to pass the time.
They came from New Haven, Connecticut, Chicago and other relatively far-flung locales.
Expectations for the farewell were high and emotions were strong. “It breaks my heart, it really does,” said Rick Melli, 54, of Parsippany, New Jersey, before the final show.
So what did the faithful who saw Stewart off in person have to say about the curtain call?
“You could really feel the emotions of all the cast and the crew, especially when all the correspondents came out,” said Ari Ole, 31, who traveled from Chicago for the show. “He was the voice of our generation, and he’s going to be missed a lot.”
Stewart’s last waltz on Thursday was notable because it capped off his successful TV career and provided a coming-of-age moment for so many viewers who grew up with his political commentary.
“It was the best show finale I’ve ever seen,” said David Prince, 25, of Queens. “People will remember this ending to this show forever.”
Charlotte Buck, 20, of Manhattan, called the finale “heartbreaking,” yet she also sounded a more optimistic note. “But it doesn’t entirely feel like an ending, because the show’s not ending and [new host] Trevor Noah is going to do a great job,” Buck said.