A once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon we’ll go ahead and call OBAMABRAMOVIĆ occurred near the intersection of Bowery and Houston last night. Allow us to explain.
Shortly after 7 p.m., about 400 people were queued up to see Marina Abramović’s “Future Feminism” performance at The Hole.
The line wrapped around the Bowery and onto Houston…
…where it nearly met a cluster of folks lurking across the street from Estela, where the Obamas were dining.
But before we get to that, here’s our fascinating footage of Obama’s motorcade rolling to the restaurant.
It wasn’t the first time we’ve seen POTUS barrel through the East Village on his way to dinner. But this time instead of eating at a stalwart like Gotham Bar and Grill, he dined at Estela, aka that place above Botanica.
Only a couple dozens onlookers were gathered across the street, behind police tape — a pittance compared to the mob at The Hole. But keep in mind Obama’s presence was just a rumor. “Do you really think the President of the U.S. would eat somewhere not famous, bro?” said a passerby who seemed barely old enough to vote.
While others echoed that sentiment, the dinner pick wasn’t exactly random – Bon Appétit just named the place the #3 best new restaurant in America and owner Thomas Carter is a vet of Blue Hill, where Obama has supped in the past. (Carter said he couldn’t comment on what the President ate, but the dining ticket Estela posted to Instagram should give you an idea).
At some point Lolo Manso — owner of the excellent Socarrat and La Churreria, around the corner — came over to watch. No one was being let onto his block, though about 20 White House correspondents had, at least, holed up in his restaurant. He clearly wished Obama had woken up in the mood for paella.
Finally, around 10 p.m., camera flashes went off inside of Estela (though at least one person didn’t bother waiting till then) and it was clear the Obamas were making their way out. The crowd gave them a cheer as they ducked into their limo.
As for Marina Abramović, we didn’t get to see her performance, though we did spot Kembra Pfahler at the t-shirt table outside, where Andy Golub and his body-painted naked people were also keeping things weird.