a (work) week later. we wrap up.
read up on previous installements here: reasons 1 to 120
august 2007 officially marks a decade of my life nested in thenation’s capital. so on the near-eve of our tenth anniversary, i’d
like to offer up the biggest reasons for my love:
1. with its lower-than-the-capitol-dome profile, dc leaves plenty of room for sunbeams, sky scenes, and miles of sidewalks lined with trees. cross into the city from the roosevelt bridge (passing the island park) and you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled on someplace european, someplace old-world charming and open-arms approachable. walk through the neighborhoods and you’ll notice every architectural detail of every century-plus row home. stand in the middle of rock creek and you won’t even remember you’re in a major city. there’s a bit of buzz in the air, everybody moving in their own direction at
once. but there’s also a hint of zen.
2. free art and free music and free learning opportunities. fort reno, the smithsonian, art after hours at the hirschhorn, the zoo, movies at the library of congress, talks and trick-or-treating at the embassies,lectures at politics and prose and busboys and poets, speaking events at the national press club, music at the millennium stage… the list goes on and on and on.
3. power and politics.
there are many cities where you’ll get this mix, but not with the intensity as strong as it is in dc. here we
march in protests and watch big wigs in fancy limousines parade thestreets with their flashing motorcades. here is where lincoln lived and healed the country in its younger state, and where martin luther king, jr. delivered some of the greatest words in american history. here is where the heat in the public schools doesn’t always work and
the roofs are prone to leaking. many call dc the capital of the world.and yet in dc, the people have no vote in congress. dc, in and of itself, is a democratic work in progress filled with haves and have-nots, dones and have-yet-to-dos.
4. the dichotomy of change and more of the same. dc is a perennial college town, people skipping in and out every couple years to take or leave college degrees and congressional seats. so there is, in some way, always an air of newness. but then there are the people who’ve stayed on to take up work, families that have moved in from other countries to plant new seeds, and yet others who have grown their family trees for generations. every fourth of july, from the top of meridian hill park with all the neighborhood folks together in one place, we watch the fireworks show, knowing that the scene is new andold at once.
5. tough love. so much for waxing poetic. as I was busy crafting this love note, dc decided to put a boot on my car and then charge me $415 to remove it. deep breath… you can give all your tests to my love, dc.
i won’t take a word of this back. you may spurn me, but i love you still
5. XM Radio. XM’s unlikely presence in DC allows me to feed myself, wear ironic t-shirts to work, spend my days finding good new music, and play it to people all over the US. They said this was only possible in New York and LA. Ha!
4. My mom. Cheesy, I know, but she’s cool. I have a cool mom. Not cool like she’s a hippie or something (she’s not — at all), but cool like she’s dedicated her life to her art. She randomly decided to fly to China, and since her return, she’s seriously taken up Mandarin. She’s charming, insightful, and the strongest person I know.
3. Columbia Heights. There’s no place I’d rather live right now. I’m waiting for spring for the return of all those Columbia Heights house parties. I actually didn’t choose to move here — the guy who pulled the fire alarm at my old place in Mt. Pleasant at my 23rd birthday party made that choice for me. I know who you are. But you know what, if I ever met him again in person, I’d shake his hand and buy him a drink. Though my landlord refused to renew my contract after that event, she felt so bad that she gave me an extra $250 in cash for my troubles. I saved $100/mo in rent, shortened my work commute by a mile, whittled down my Wonderland commute to just over a block, and met a lot of great people in the process. Thanks, fire-alarm-pulling-guy.
2. Bikes. While the Metro remains painfully deficient for in-city transit, DC is easy to travel by bike. It’s small enough that you can pretty much get anywhere you want to by bike within half an hour, and not so crowded that you would feel that your life is at risk by doing so. Bikes are also a great way to judge the quality of a crowded house party before having to wade in — if there are no bikes parked outside, it sucks. 10 or more, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be good.
1. Fort Reno.
1.FDR Memorial – majestic (waterfalls!), episodic (the four terms), peaceful (the still pond), pithy observations (the only thing to fear is fear itself).
2.Sledding in Battery-Kemble Park – best qualities in a sledding hill: steep enough to be fast and fun, crowded enough to be scary, some room to glide at the bottom of the hill, and the slush pit just before the trees to slow that saucer down and avoid a crash.
3. Nearness to MD – okay, don’t be pissy about this entry. Yes I’m from Maryland, and yes I love Maryland, but I chose to move to DC knowing that I wouldn’t be too far away from good roads, the ride-on bus system, a real state with congressional voting rights (and therefore some power in congress), and my dad. If we can’t become our own state then I hope we get adopted by Maryland. I will get shit for this but I’m prepared to take it.
4.Pop – best cool/cute clothes in town. I dare you to wear their clothes and not be adorable.
5. Georgetown on Saturday morning – the only time of the week when Georgetown doesn’t suck. Plenty of parking, the shops are open and not that crowded, leaving me so relaxed that I can meander about and enjoy the beauty and history of the place
Le Mansion De Bell –
While in a city setting, high rise apartments and classical architecture in abundance, possibly in overload, the serene setting at “Le Mansion De Bell” takes you away (as far as you want) from the city feeling, allowing one to completely relax inside and out. Whether lounging by the black tiled pool allowing ones self to feel as though it bottomless, or sitting in the great room having discussions about nothing… Le Mansion De Bell takes you away from the City while allowing you to be almost in the center of it. Those of you who know it. Love it… Those of you who do not… Well… What can I say… But, find you own boss who gives you his house, car keys, and dog for weeks out the year…
California Street N.W. – Muggers
While this may not make the list of anyone else… It makes mine. I have not been mugged that often (only twice) but, in DC was I not only able to keep everything that i wanted… the muggers were up for trading… (well, I was trading for my stuff with my stuff) but that is not the point. I walked away only loosing $20.00… Keeping a watch that dose not work (but it looks really cool and they do not make it anymore), my wallet that was worth more than my watch, and my cell phone (which they were not willing to take as trade for anything). And after the mugging, they wished me a good night and sent me on my way to 7-11 to which i was originally headed for a delicious Hot Dog with button cheese and chili topping.
My Walk to Work
While I could take public transportation or purchase my own mode of transportation, I prefer to walk. Walking down through Kalarama Heights to Florida Ave. and then turning across P Street Bridge leading me towards GeorgeTown, cutting through Rose Park and winding my way through the historic streets until I reach my office located in a converted towhouse overlooking the streets Georgetown. The simple pleasures that arise from walking the same way to work each day… Seeing the same woman walk her two Bull Mastifs each morning and evening… Having to run away from a ball that was hit too hard during one of the Softball games… Simple pleasures… not the commotions of the traffic and the constant honking if your do not react quickly enough when the light turns green… The Simple Pleasure of Walking..
So’s Your Mom on Columbia Road.
Cash only, she compliments my spiked hair every time I go in, and told me like my spikes better than my flat hair… and they have a barrel full of pickles… and I mean really… Who doesn’t love a Pickle???
Well, Juanita went out of business and is now replaced by De Vino’s… But, when she was here… She was perfect… Allowing for me to open up charge accounts just because she didn’t want to get off the phone so that her credit machine would work, knowing that i am lush and drink everyday… she knew I would back… and then i came back to pay my tab…
Juanita is gone.
five random things i heart:
1. tacos y pepitos II (and the plethora of mexican & salvadorean food in the 10 block radius)
2. best addresses: washington’s distinguished apartment house architecture)
3. car-less living (sold mine in september. best idea ever.)
4. it’s small enough to start your own dj night, fashion event, band, blog, etc. and have people actually participate
5. i secretly love it when the presidential motorcade buzzes down the street.
THING i love about DC: minor threat.
So I was instructed to write a love letter with my top five reasons that I love you.
First of all, I cannot deal with the pressure of these sort of lists. I would be re-arranging #3 with #5 with #2 with #1 all freakin’ day long.
So, I’ll just get to the point.
This is the way I feel about you as a city:
Yeah, you’ve got some clubs, some bars, some music and some restaurants – but so does New York. Chicago. Boston. So does Denver, for god’s sake.
But on the other hand, I’ve never been happier than I’ve been in the past few years.
(Okay, so my job is kind of eh too – but whatevs. Your job is not your life man.)
It has been in the DC that I’ve had the greatest experiences, the greatest apartments, the greatest furniture, the greatest lovers, the greatest parties and the greatest friends.
Well – so far.
I know there are many, many, many other fabulous things to come – and I’ll always remember you fondly as my stepping stone to bigger and better things.
(Because life should always be getting bigger and better everyday, shouldn’t it?)
And who knows? Maybe one day I’ll come back and shack up with Gillian as my wife like we’ve always dreamed. Ha.
But mostly, thank you, DC – for putting me in touch with people that I love and will love forever.
Svetlana, Rebekah, Gill, Allie, Rich, Tiya, Laurie, Johnny, Haley, KC… (I could rank them as my 1-5, etc., – but then we’d be in myspace territory, and like in middle school, this would be a way to send passive aggressive signs about who is in my good graces this week and who is on their way. Out. Ha)
Point being – no matter what city is next on my list, I will always be grateful for the people you held in your city streets – and I’ll take them with me wherever I go.
(1) GYPSY EYES RECORDS AND DC MUSIC:
Working with the highest idealism, the new rock troubadours; artists who in today’s fickle times, see a
future in their craft. Believing in artist development, loyalty, and big dreams… we’re talking about beauty, undefined borders, life, love, death, the universal, the best, the heaviest music there is to be heard. Representing Revival, Shortstack, Brandon Butler, Vandaveer, John Bustine, and Mikal Evans but also pushing friends (Benjy Ferree, the Federal Reserve, Pagoda, Mary Timony, The Child Ballads, Georgie James, Dust Galaxy, Kitty Hawk, These United States, Owls and Crows, Wooly
Mammoth, City Goats, [Sounds of] Kaleidoscope, The Whips, Weird War, The Apes, Darkest Hour, French Toast, Lovitt, Dischord, ESL, DeSoto, Ruffian, Exotic Fever, Sockets, and WAY MANY others), DC music stays on the map.
This little exhibition space on P St. is the pre-eminent DC arts organization advocating for emergent expression in the
visual arts through the support of promising, new artists. Every exhibition is mind blowing and worth visiting.
(3) DESSERTS AT CAFE SAINT-EX:
Made by pastry chef Lizzy Evelyn. Try the Goat Cheese Cheese Cake or the Bread Pudding or anything. This is coming from a guy who doesn’t have a sweet tooth.
(4) GRAHAM CALDWELL: DC’s most exciting artist making unique glass you either want to touch, hide from, steal, destroy, or make love to. Trees, bulbs, mirrors, sea creatures, tentacles, creatures from another place, full of movement and intricacy. Come to the opening reception at G Fine Art on Saturday, February 17th 6:30 â€“ 8:30.
(5) TIE FOR THE FIVE SPOT: Radio CPR, Meeps, Scott Verrastro and Clavius Productions, Civilian Arts Project, Pharmacy Bar, Mt. Pleasant and the art of Iona Rozeal Brown and Nilay Lawson.
I was planning to avoid doing this (because, you know, this whole site is basically one giant love letter to DC and the people in it) but I got all misty eyes reading everyone’s submissions and ended up wanting to do this. Because, dammit, I can.
These are 5 things (maybe small, maybe random, maybe nowhere near as significant to you) that make me happy in DC NO MATTER what day/season/time:
1. Interpretative dancing to the jukebox at the Black Cat.
You never know what will come up on it, but I play only 2 songs: “Be my baby” by the Ronnettes and “God Only KNows” by the Beach Boys. And depending on my mood or who I am with or how many jack and diets I had I:
ballet dance to it, ballroom dance to it, do the secret move to it, and inevitably try to make people join in.
Occasionally they do. Jetes and ALL.
2. Taco club.
Everyone needs and institution and Taco (‘s AND Holly and Rebekah) is mine. 75 cent tacos at Asylum, 2 dollar miller high lifes (with lemon), Sometimes the waffle fries. With cheese on top. And 17 chairs where only 4 would fit. Mostly on Tuesdays from 6 till we fall over. Guests are welcome to step into our office at any time, and this includes, stray pets, people we ran into on the bus, parents and anyone and everyone carrying a present of communist fake hair.
3. Joel’s garden, Holly’s old pool, my parent’s rooftop,Chuck’s old 405 back yard, any and EVERY OUTDOOR GATHERING LOCATION.
Whether we are talking about koi fish, anger diving, rooftops to shoot fireworks off of, sprinkler run throughs or topless tanning sessions during sick days in the summer, DC is blessed with many and many a wonderful urban playground for you to be naked, drunk, dizzy with happiness at. You just need to find yours.
4. The Bar Pilar Photobooth
It is our only one and it works hard for its money. If we have been in it together that means our friendship is sealed in ink (much better than blood). Also: The best place to kiss someone for the 1st time (preferably eskimo style while the flash is on and slightly more messily in between shots) or the 100th time. (and yes that IS cheese melting off your screen as you read this) It fits many girls, your tops off, your tots while they still had them, and provides the most flattering photos ever. (and you know EVERYONE loves a flattering photo, no matter what they say)Also, bonus points for making you run out at 3 am from some 14th street locale and doing a hit-and-photo-run right before going to Manny and Olga’s for that much craved jumbo something.
5. The incestuousness of it all.
I know, I know, I complain about it ALL THE TIME. ALL THE TIME. But lets face it: I love it.(you love it too, admit it, admit it). I love knowing everyone’s name, hugging 75 people on my way into the bar and 95 on my way OUT OF IT,doing six degrees of ten block radius separation, knowing everyone’s bizzniss and them knowing mine.This is why we go to the cat. This is why the morning afters are fun. This is why no one can stay mad at anyone for too long of a time. And no one wants to stay mad at anyone ever really.
It feels like a village, and it is great.
Because it is our village.
6. This one gets split up and down and equally parted:
best girls (and boys), the bartending staff at the Black Cat, apple crumble pie with cinnamon ice cream at Kramer’s (They stop serving dessert at 3 am so….plan wisely), the Grand Hall of the National Building Museum, Sunday Brunches, Couch enchiladas, The trees, Swann street, The Millenium stage programs, ANY and every all-you-can-eat-all-you-can-drink concept, tea parties with jameson, and jameson parties with tea, metro (but not the buses), walking everywhere, dog parks, themed parties, 18th street at 8 am, mass book shopping at Second Story Books, branching out, but always coming back, Toledo Lounge lighting, free boxes on street corners (books, german flash cards, THE WORLD), embassy row architecture (it is the closest we have to Disneyland) and anyone and everyone that has EVER HAD ANYTHING TO DO OR WILL HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH BYT.
LIFE. IS GOOD. DON’T EVEN TRY TO DENY IT.
(and as a side note: we think you’re pretty. really.)