Hundreds of grinning, anxious people lined up along Main Street in East Hampton on Saturday for the chance to exchange a few words with a woman many said they hoped would be the next president: former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Clinton was at BookHampton, a bookstore in East Hampton, signing copies of her new memoir, "Hard Choices." More than 1,100 people bought tickets to the event, and their line stretched down Main Street and around a corner, into a parking lot. Some lined up before noon for the 5 p.m. event.
Clinton, seated behind a desk and wearing a blue blazer, greeted fans enthusiastically with exclamations of "Hi! Nice to meet you!" or "Great to see you!" and asked many personal questions before aides hurried them along.
"How are you getting along?" she asked a woman using a walker. "I broke my elbow a few years ago." To a woman in a wheelchair, she said, "Bless your heart."
Clinton's presence added to the usual tumult of East Hampton Village on a Saturday in August. The crowd gabbed and laughed as they waited. Secret Service and East Hampton Village Police tried to keep the sidewalks clear, and stood watch around the brick building.
Clinton, a regular summer visitor to the Hamptons, posed briefly for photos with singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, who stopped in for a moment, and kissed the cheek of her friend Patti Kenner, an East Hampton resident who stopped by. Clinton's longtime aide Huma Abedin tapped on a phone nearby.
"I got chills," said Susan Rossi, 59, of Brooklyn and East Hampton, who said she would volunteer for Clinton's campaign if she ran for president. "This is a woman we admire tremendously." Like almost everyone else in line, Rossi wore an "I'm ready for Hillary!" sticker on her shirt.
"She was just wonderful and warm and appreciative, because everyone was thanking her," said Joan Falcetta, 52, of Manhattan and East Hampton. "She's so present for everybody. She'll be a fantastic, fantastic president."
Kevin Caldwell, 28, of Brooklyn, said he happened to hear of the event while in East Hampton for work, and managed to get a ticket. The meeting proved overwhelming, he said afterward.
"It's like when your heart is beating so fast, you blackout for a second," he said. "Now I have a book in my hand."