Election Night: Gansevoort Hotel Rooftop Party

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Tim Elfrink
Sarah Palin sheds a single tear, then melts away forever.

11:04 p.m.

The TV's may have had electoral maps instead of ESPN, but it was just another South Beach party atop the swank Gansevoort Hotel until 11 p.m. -- bass thumped from the speakers, beautiful people lounged in white-curtained cabanas, $9 beers passed across the bar.

Then it hits like a tidal wave. Heads whip around down the length of the rooftop, from the jam-packed bar to the fringes leaning on glass walls and looking down at the ocean.

Barack Obama's face fills a huge projection screen at the front of the room. And there's no denying the text beneath: "CNN Projects: Barack Obama Wins the Presidency."

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Tim Elfrink
The beautiful people love Obama.

Feet stomped against the wooden planks on the floor like fans at a football game. Wild cheers rose into the night. A group of four young black men linked arms like school-kids and danced in a circle.

The party was technically non-partisan, but the McCain supporters must have smelled defeat in the air and stayed home. As McCain gave his concession speech, the party was definitely on -- one young partier wrapped his head in red-white-and-blue tape and danced around the bar, another group started chants of "Obama!" and "Yes We Can!"

With the techno finally turned down and McCain's speech filling the bar's speakers, another chant picked up steam and eventually drowned out the Arizona senator's last words as a candidate: "Ay-hey-hey ... Goooodbyeeee ..."

-- Tim Elfrink

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