New Yorkers took to the streets Sunday night, rising up in a passionate chorus of patriotic pride over news that America’s most wanted man was dead.
People crowded into Times Square and in the streets around Ground Zero, fists pumping and flags waving.
Spontaneous choruses of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” filled the clear night air.
“It feels like a culmination of a very long journey,” said Firefighter Patrice McLeod, 36, one of several members of New York’s Bravest who were dancing on top of a fire truck in Times Square.
“It brings a lot of closure for a tragic part of our history. … We lost a lot of firefighters [during 9/11]. I am sure the families have a big sense of satisfaction right now.”
James Quinn, 44, a bartender who lives on the upper West Side, was watching “Seinfeld” when the news broke.
He switched off the TV and headed down to Ground Zero – and was shocked by the ever-swelling crowd.
“I think there is justice in the world,” he said after President Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden was dead. “Sometimes there is not, but today there is.”
“I came here to pay my respects to the site,” said Luis Rivera. “After so much war, finally, an achievement. We said on day one we would get Bin Laden, and it’s finally happened.”
Frank Franchi, 19, of the lower East Side, waved a small American flag mounted on a stick, and chanted the words that echoed through the city’s streets.
“U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!”
“We finally got Osama,” he said. “It’s a very exciting time. You have to be happy because we finally got one of the main people responsible for that day.”
Jeff Rodriguez, 20, a flag-waving Queens resident, thought of friends who died in the 9/11 bombings.
“It’s been so many years of pain and suffering on the part of all Americans,” he said.
“The death of Osama Bin Laden is history.”
Back in Times Square, actor Rob Lowe was among those who poured into the streets.
“I’m just happy for the families [of the 9/11 victims],” Lowe said. “I am happy for the country. I am hoping we can move into a brighter part of our future now.”
Alex Aizenberg, 28, of Park Slope, Brooklyn, said he hopes the victory means a brighter – and safer – future.
“I have a 5-month-old, and I think the world is a little bit safer for him and his generation,” he said, cautioning that people shouldn’t think the war on terror is over.
“I think it’s a very big step, but I don’t think it is over.”