President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama made their first, joint trip to NYC a "personal" one—it was date night for the First Couple. The President released a statement explaining, "I am taking my wife to New York City because I promised her during the campaign that I would take her to a Broadway show after it was all finished."
The Post has a map and timeline of the Obama's date night: They arrived at JFK Airport and took a helicopter to the Wall Street heliport. From there, they were driven to Blue Hill, the intimate Greenwich Village restaurant where chef Dan Barber works with locally grown and produced food (he also operates Blue Hill Stone Barms in the Hudson Valley and Blue Hill Farm in Massachusetts). According to the Post, "The Obamas were tucked into an out-of-the- way corner table where they enjoyed a multi- course feast specially prepared by the chef. They washed down the fine fare with wine, said a fellow diner, who also noticed Michelle relaxing with a couple of martinis."
After dinner, the motorcade headed to Midtown for their evening entertainment: Joe Turner's Come and Gone, the Tony-nominated and critically acclaimed play by August Wilson, at the Belasco Theater. People lined the streets, cheering and waving at the motorcade. And the Obamas' fellow theater goers were equally excited, not even minding the 45-minute delay due to security. The NY Times reports that utility worker and student Kecia McCowen, who bought tickets a few days ago, only to discover the Obamas were also attending; she said, "I thought I was dreaming. I was like, stop playing!"
Once the First Couple arrived, they received a standing ovation. Maisha McGill told the Daily News, "We had no idea he was going to be here. We were really lucky to come tonight. People were standing on top of their chairs clapping for him." And one man told the Post, "I couldn't think for the first 10 minutes of the show because the president was sitting right to me." Actor Ernie Hudson, who plays Seth Holly in the play, was proud to perform in front of the President and his wife, "We just do our best job every day. It's an amazing play about African-American migration at the turn of the century. It's a very powerful play." Upon their departure from the theater, they waved the crowd and shook Police Commissioner Ray Kelly's hand.
The Post broke down some cost of the trip—Taxpayers would have to pay for "a total of at least $24,000 for the three aircraft used to ferry the Obamas, aides and reporters to New York and back. Dinner costs and orchestra seat tickets -- at $96.50 apiece -- were paid by the Obamas." The Republican National Committee took a swipe at the President, stating, "As President Obama prepares to wing into Manhattan's theater district on Air Force One to take in a Broadway show, GM is preparing to file bankruptcy and families across America continue to struggle to pay their bills. Have a great Saturday evening -- even if you're not jetting off somewhere at taxpayer expense." Well, we personally hope their visit is a boon to Joe Turner, which, according to the latest details, is playing at 65% capacity.