After Joe Biden was declared the victor in the 2020 presidential election, Khari Battle decided to head to Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan wearing a Biden-Harris T-shirt to celebrate Donald Trump’s defeat.

“Finally we showed love over hate,” said Mr Battle, a New York resident who voted by mail in North Carolina. “This era is still not the post-racism era, but it is the chance to vote for someone who does not incite racist division in the country.”

Mr Battle was not alone. Crowds gathered near the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 57th Street, in the shadow of Mr Trump’s most famous property, to chant “you are fired” as many more screamed and passing cars honked.

Asked if he had seen any Trump supporters around the building in the hours after the race was declared, a police officer said: “No, I have not.”

The celebrations across Manhattan and Brooklyn, where Mr Trump’s father grew the family property development business after the second world war, were emblematic of the tensions between the president and his hometown during his four years in the White House.

By the end, the contempt was mutual. Mr Trump, in the fading days of the campaign, chided New York as a hollowed-out city brought low by the ravages of coronavirus and mismanagement. The president last year changed his official residency to Florida, home to his Mar-a-Lago estate, where he voted last week.

In return, Manhattan voted 85 per cent for his Democratic opponent.

Perhaps nowhere were the celebrations more enthusiastic than in Harlem, where crowds gathered across the historically African-American neighbourhood in upper Manhattan to honk car horns, bang pots and pans, and shout: “Trump is out”.

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Across the country, African-American turnout in cities like Atlanta, Detroit and Philadelphia helped flip a handful of key states to Mr Biden, and Brian Benjamin, state senator for Harlem, stood next to the 125th Street statue of Adam Clayton Powell, once one of New York’s most powerful black politicians, to thank the crowd for “sending him home”.

“I’m proud of all of us who came out and voted and did not let anyone tell us otherwise. And made this happen,” said Mr Benjamin.

Amina Diop, who was jumping and chanting with scores of others who gathered spontaneously at the Powell statue, said she was “overjoyed”.

“My whole family was worried,” said Ms Diop, a 20-year New York resident originally from Somalia. “I’m so happy for my children and everyone’s children who can now grow in a better country.”

Kyloe Chancellor and Jay Ellis found out about Mr Biden’s victory thanks to the cacophony in the streets after US television networks called the election for the former vice-president just before midday.

“I was playing Fortnite, with the 24-hour news in the background, and then we heard that it was official,” said Mr Ellis. 

“We put an American flag around our dog’s neck and we just came out to release the tension and celebrate with everyone,” said his partner, Mr Chancellor. “We’re ecstatic.”

Several in the neighbourhood said their celebrations were made all the more profound because of Kamala Harris, whose father was a Jamaican-American academic, becoming the first woman of colour to become vice-president.

And then there had been the long wait for a result, forcing emotional swings over the course of a long, four-day tabulation of results from Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada.

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“On Tuesday I was so sad, I started crying,” said Sade Tametria, who joined the spontaneous street part with her boyfriend and fellow artist Gary Gulman. 

“We had PTSD from 2016 when Hillary Clinton lost . . . it’s the end of a nightmare,” said Mr Gulman.

Not all Manhattanites were as pleased. After a female cyclist coasted into Central Park, arms out stretched, crying “freedom”, two men replied: “Shut the f**k up.” But such discordant notes appeared to be few and far between.

In Brooklyn, which saw 74 per cent of the vote go for Mr Biden despite the Trump family’s long roots in the borough, the champagne flowed in neighbourhoods that lean to the left.

In an eatery on Brooklyn’s Vanderbilt Avenue, a couple bought champagne for the entire restaurant to toast the president-elect, while a man walking by chanted: “No more Tweets! No more Tweets!”

In McCarren Park, near the borough’s northernmost tip, more champagne was popped, spouting their contents high into the sky, as a man with a stadium speaker strapped to his chest like a bass drum blasted techno beats to a masked crowd dancing, whistling, and clanging pots and pans.

Additional reporting by Emily Goldberg and Francesca Friday

Via Financial Times