Obama spends day in Big Apple with daughters

Mr Obama with daughters Sasha (second from left), Malia (right) and their friends in New York's Central Park on Friday.
Mr Obama with daughters Sasha (second from left), Malia (right) and their friends in New York's Central Park on Friday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • United States President Barack Obama took some time out of his busy schedule this weekend to focus on his job as dad-in-chief, taking his teenage daughters out for a New York visit.

Mr Obama arrived in the Big Apple late on Friday with Sasha, 14, and two of her friends for the weekend getaway. Malia, 17, is believed to be interning on the set of the HBO TV series Girls in the city.

He first took care of presidential business, attending a small fund-raiser for the Democratic National Committee. Some 30 supporters paid up to US$33,400 (S$45,700) a ticket.

Mr Obama then turned to his girls, taking them to upscale retro Italian restaurant Carbone.

The presidential motorcade whisked them next to the Whitney Museum, where they enjoyed a private after-hours tour.

With Malia already touring colleges, Mr Obama has spoken of the sadness he will feel when his daughters leave the nest.

"I'm already dreading that empty seat at the table when Malia goes off to school next fall," he wrote in a Father's Day essay for women's lifestyle magazine More.

"For as long as possible, I'm going to enjoy every minute of finally having us all together under one roof."

On Saturday, the President and his daughters were joined by Mr Obama's sister Maya Soetoro-Ng and her husband Konrad Ng for a stroll in Central Park. People took pictures as Mr Obama waved.

The Obamas then hit Broadway for an afternoon performance of hip-hop musical Hamilton. Large crowds gathered along 42nd Street, from Times Square to FDR Drive. Most of the onlookers waved and many held up their cellphones.

Mr Obama then headed in his motorcade to Marine One, boarding the presidential helicopter from Lower Manhattan to the airport for the return flight to Washington.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2015, with the headline 'Obama spends day in Big Apple with daughters'. Print Edition | Subscribe