WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Excitement for President Obama’s visit reached a fever pitch at the Westchester County Airport on Friday afternoon, as locals and out-of-towners crammed into the observation deck to watch Air Force One land.
Obama landed shortly before 2 p.m. on Friday in Westchester, where he attended fundraisers in New Rochelle and Purchase before jetting to Rhode Island for another one at around 5 p.m. He will return Saturday to attend his personal chef’s wedding.
At the airport, more than three dozen people – led by a group of enthusiastic youngsters - jammed into the observation deck to watch the president’s personal plane touch down on the tarmac before his motorcade took off for New Rochelle minutes later.
“We were lucky, our plane got here on time, the pilot told us that if we were a few minutes later, we would have had to circle in the air for 45 minutes,” Yonkers resident Grace Stephens said about her return trip from Orlando.
All air traffic was completely halted for approximately an hour at the airport, with the first flight, a JetBlue charter, landing at around 2:20 p.m. Portions of several interstates and many local roads were intermittently shut down on Friday to accommodate the president’s motorcade and police escort.
“We were really worried about traffic from this and missing our flight, but we didn’t really hit any and now we’ve got a two hour wait,” Putnam native Caroline Galway mused. “Still, it isn’t a bad thing. We have our two kids (whose faces were pressed to the window) and they’re really excited to see the president come in.”
With secret service helicopters still circling the airport, Obama’s motorcade took off for New Rochelle shortly after 2 p.m., where he was reportedly going to a roundtable fundraiser at the home of Camilo A. Patrignani, the CEO of Greenwood Energy.
He then took off for Purchase, where he attended a holiday barbecue at Wall Street maven Robert Wolf’s estate.