It was well after midnight, and America was more than an hour into the Obama era when 02138 erupted in a series of spontaneous, ravelike street parties. In Harvard Yard, revelers dressed up the sedate, seated bronze John Harvard in a cloud of red, white, and blue balloons, and propped on his still chest an Obama/Biden placard. A hodge-podge band — a tuba, snare drums, and a scatter of tootling brass — launched into the national anthem.
Along Massachusetts Avenue, traffic was a cacophony of honking, with peeping bike horns chiming in. Behind the Holyoke Center, Mount Auburn Street was choked with dancing, running celebrants who squeezed around passing cars until police shut down traffic from JFK Street on.
Yards away, down the corridor of Holyoke Street, a wash of hooting partiers poured onto Massachusetts Avenue, which became a gauntlet of revelers that narrowed traffic to a slow, horn-blaring stream. Flashing blue lights from parked police cars lit up the scene. Bicyclists streamed through, one hand for the handlebars and the other for cameras held aloft.