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BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | It was Monday afternoon and President Obama was due in the Village for another high-powered fundraiser at movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s home.
Around 3:20, The Villager — noticing that police had closed off the westbound lanes of Canal St. that feed onto the West Side Highway — started keeping an eye out for the motorcade.
Police who had put out blue sawhorses along West St. wouldn’t say which way POTUS was coming, from the north or south, but one did acknowledge that he would be coming soon.
Construction workers from the Department of Sanitation megagarage wandered over in their fluorescent green safety vests and hardhats, hoping to get a glimpse of the commander in chief.
Hudson Square residents Karen Azoulay and her daughter, Ava, 5 — actually, “5 and a quarter,” Ava stressed — also came by, Karen having just picked up Ava at the Barrow St. Nursery School. They were accompanied by Winston, their little pooch with an appropriate “top dog”-like name for the occasion. Years ago, Ava had seen Obama’s first big New York fundraising convoy go by. Well, at least she had been there.
“I was a baby!” she said, her mom having held her up back then as the president roared past. Asked if she supported Obama, Karen offered a qualified, “Sometimes.”
The hard hats said a police officer had informed them Obama’s motorcade would be coming down from the 30th St. West Side Heliport. But they had it wrong.
Sometime between 3:45 p.m. and 4 p.m., led by a phalanx of police motorcycles in formation with their front red lights all ablaze, the motorcade came streaming up the northbound side of the cleared highway from further Downtown, with Obama presumably riding in “The Beast,” the presidential limo flying flags on its front fenders. But it turned out there were two “Beasts,” so who knew which one he was in?
That time of the first big fundraising convoy, Karen said, she had actually seen Obama, but this time, it all went by in a blur. But, still — hey, at least they had been there.
“High-five!” she said to an obliging Ava. “He passed us. We waved to him.”
Then Ava did some jump-roping over Winston’s leash, and then the construction workers went back to the worksite.
Meanwhile, a bit farther north in the Village, Justin Timberlake and his wife, Jessica Biel, the latter reportedly wearing “hipster glasses,” were among the 60 or so guests at the home of Weinstein and his wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman.
In his remarks, according to the press pool report, the president said he’s hoping for greater cooperation from Republicans, especially now since he has been re-elected.
“There’s a desire,” he said, “to get outside of the constant squabbling and bickering and positioning and gamesmanship and get to the business of figuring out how do we make sure that the next generation does better than this generation.”
The president later attended a Tribeca fundraiser at the home of Alexandra Stanton, a former Clinton administration aide, and Sam Natapoff, of the Empire State Development Corporation. He addressed the issue of Middle East turmoil in Syria.
“Obviously, all of us are deeply concerned about what’s happening in Syria,” he said, “and our administration’s worked with international partners to mobilize humanitarian aid, non-lethal assistance to the opposition, isolating Assad and continuing to press for a political transition that ends the slaughter and brings about an end to the Assad regime.”
Finally, he addressed Israel.
“For all the difficulties, for all the setbacks, for all the false starts,” he said, “deep down there’s still this incredible desire for peace. It exists in Israel. It exists among the Palestinians. And the question is can we bring a framework in which to actually finally deliver on that promise, particularly because the window of opportunity is growing smaller by the day.”