President Barack Obama returned to New York City on Thursday night for a trip that was part fundraising cash grab and part World Trade Center tour. The President arrived at the Ground Zero site at 6 p.m., accompanied by Michelle Obama, to tour One World Trade Center.
The President and the First Lady signed their names to one of the final steel beams to be added to the tower, which is nearly completed. They were accompanied by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as well as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
One World Trade Center, its construction delayed for years, is on track to be the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. When finished, the tower will soar to a symbolic 1,776 feet, from the sidewalk to the top of its antenna.
After the World Trade Center tour, the President and the First Lady were expected to attend a fundraising bash at the West Village brownstone of Sarah Jessica Parker.
The event, which cost $40,000-per-person to attend, was co-hosted by Vogue editrix Anna Wintour. Meryl Streep and Aretha Franklin were rumored to be attending.
One lucky winner who donated as little as $3 online to Obama's re-election campaign was also in attendance. Parker's staff was in overdrive Thursday afternoon, leaving no detail to chance. Workers were spotted hauling in large rugs, stacks of chairs, fresh flowers and even a piano.
After the reception at Parker's home, the Obamas then headed to a fundraising dinner at The Plaza hotel, which featured a performance by Mariah Carey.
Together the fundraisers were expected to rake in $4.5 million for Obama's re-election bid in November.