Scenes around D.C. on Inauguration Day

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The sights and sounds of President Obama's second inauguration were limited to the west side of the Capitol or the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route.

A Jumbotron without a view

Thousands of visitors who couldn't see President Obama take the oath of office Monday were corralled around a Jumbotron down near the Washington Monument so they could at least watch him on TV. It didn't help.

The picture and sound started cutting out shortly after the ceremony began and just got worse as the event wore on.

"We're the most technologically advanced nation in the world, yet we can't get this one thing right," said Al Bullock, of Aberdeen, Md. "They've had all this time to prepare, and yet this happens."

Pedicab business not so brisk

Monday's inaugural events were spread out all along the National Mall, and pedicab drivers from as far away as New York descended on D.C. in hopes of doing a brisk business. But some of those drivers are leaving Washington a little disappointed. Crowds were smaller than they had been in 2009, and people found other ways to get around.

"There's 50 percent of the people and 10 percent of the excitement from 2009," said driver Johnny T. Sollitto, who'd come down from New York City to transport people. "There's no business here, and there hasn't been since Thursday, when I arrived."

Obama condoms a brisk seller

Vendors looking to profit from inaugural activities turned out in droves, selling just about anything that could fit the face of President Obama on it. Buttons, bookmarks, lanyards and T-shirts were some of the more popular items sold, but at least one New York business was reporting record sales of something else: Obama condoms.

The 2012 "Erection Election Collection," as vendor Benjamin Sherman calls it, was sold by a 40-person team scattered throughout D.C.

For $5, people could buy a condom that was "as thin as [Sarah Palin's] resume," or one known as "the ultimate stimulus package" or, for Republicans, one that "won't break as easily as [Obama's] promises."

So many Starbucks cups, so few trash cans

The majority of trash cans throughout the District reached their capacity -- mostly because of the dozens upon dozens of Starbucks cups dumped into them -- well before 10 a.m. But that didn't deter Monday's crowd from taking out the trash.

Along 17th Street, people facing an already overflowing trash bin simply started lining up their empty cups on the sidewalk, creating a cardboard line from the trash can to the street, where they remained throughout the day.

Obama rides again -- or possibly for the first time

There were a few protestors in the streets Monday, including a group denouncing U.S. use of drone strikes that temporarily closed part of 16th Street.

A more common sight was people carrying signs in support of President Obama and mementos that put his presidency in the most favorable light. Among those was a portrait of Obama surrounded by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other prominent African-Americans ranging from boxer Muhammad Ali to rapper Tupac Shakur. Each figure was depicted riding on a horse.

A conspiracy of crowds

Michigan resident Deartriss Richardson was surprised to find huge crowds and long lines at the escalator at Federal Center SW on Monday morning.

"The news said it wasn't going to be that many people here," she said, "but they lied."

Some trips easier than others

Not everyone had a hard time getting to downtown Washington on Monday.

Suzie Colbert, of Arlington, rode her bike, leaving home at 5:50 a.m. The ride took just 40 minutes including the time it took to snap pictures of the Lincoln Memorial.

"I was shocked how few people were out," she said. "I could not believe how easy it was to get in."

tholland@washingtonexaminer.com

Examiner staff writer Liz Essley contributed to this report.

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Taylor Holland

Staff writer
The Washington Examiner