Park View

high styleOne of the highlights of Kent Boese’s walking tour of the Park View neighborhood was the fancy architectural detailing on the 10th Precinct Police Station. The building was built in 1901; the architects were A. B. Mullet & Co.

I volunteered to assist on two tours this year for WalkingTown DC. Farley Earhart led the other, a nice loop around Tenleytown, a village centered on a crossroads that predates the federal city.

Waders gonna wade

Tim Krepp has an interesting take on the way that the World War II Memorial is being received by the public. It turns out that the gradual steps down into the pool are too inviting: on a hot day, people want to kick off their shoes and go wading. The Park Service has attempted to maintain the solemnity of the space by posting a little NPS-brown “No Wading” sign, but as Krepp points out,

Years ago when I was in the Navy, my captain had a saying: “Every sign is a failure of leadership.” For example, if you need a sign saying “no smoking,” it’s because you didn’t properly train your sailors not to smoke in that space.

That axiom doesn’t always hold outside the closed ecosystem of a ship, but I think it pertains here. If we need a sign saying “no wading,” it’s because the design has failed to discourage wading.

Personally, I think the ring of columns owes more to Albert Speer than to paddling on the beach at Cornwall, but horses for courses.

I’d go with Freedman’s Village Hwy

Eric Green wonders why major thoroughfares in the Commonwealth are named for traitors to their country:

It’s been suggested that Jefferson Davis Highway should be called the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial Highway (for obvious reasons) or Freedman’s Village Highway, to honor a camp, established in South Arlington during the Civil War, where African Americans fled to escape slavery in the South.

I’ll sweeten the deal: find new names for Jeff Davis Highway and Lee Highway and I’ll stop referring to DCA (officially Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport) as Strikebreaker Airport.

Greater Greater Washington

Passings: 1

another one down: 1another one down: 2The ticky-tacky souvenir shops on F Street and in Chinatown give the neighborhood some lowrise, grotty street cred. One by one, however, they get redeveloped. Here’s the latest casualty, just up the block from Ford’s Theatre. Time was, the tourists stacked up outside the place were always a commuting obstacle, and made me resolve to stick to E Street.

Yet more shoebox emptying

The first project that I set for myself on the web was a series of photographs to be made along Interstate 66, which runs from an interchange with I-81 in the vicinity of Strasburg, Va. and follows an eastbound track through the exurbs and suburbs into the West End of Washington. (Wow, it looks like I didn’t preserve that project online in the course of my ISP migrations.) In 1997 and therebouts, I took hard photos, printed from film, and scanned them.

prestonMost of what I have in the shoebox is so-so, but there are a few snaps that are worth rescanning and uploading. I like the contrast between the sharp focus and the motion blur in this picture from the neighborhood of Thorofare Gap in Prince William County.

East Falls Church in the rainthistlesTwo images from the East Falls Church Metro station. Notice that the lead car of the train is one of the old cars with a non-illuminated line designation sign; rather, it’s one of the old school cars sporting a cardboard sign in the window.

Custis TrailI was impressed that there are sections of the Martha Custis Trail that run right next to 66, with nothing but a wire fence separating bikes and cars. I’m still impressed.

I-66 rampI-66’s final interchange in the District was originally built to tie the expressway into the (unbuilt) North Leg of the Inner Loop Freeway and (unbuilt) I-266. The ramp was demolished and the interchange reconfigured a few years after I took the picture.

I-66 entranceThe outbound access to I-66 hasn’t changed much in 17 years. Drivers leaving the Kennedy Center still have an awkward left turn across Virginia Avenue, N.W. into a rump section of I St., N.W. to get to the onramp.

Changes- Changes- Changes: 2

Sometimes your vote really does count. In the commonwealth-wide elections of 2013, 907 votes decided the attorney general’s race; the gubernatorial election was determined by a slightly wider margin (56 thousand votes out of 2.2 million). The happy result: newly-elected Governor McAuliffe and A-G Mark Herring chose not to defend indefensible law, and today, less than a year later, same-sex marriages are legal in Virginia. This is a change that I knew would happen eventually, but I am almost (pleasantly) shocked at how quickly it has come to pass.

In the most recent development, gay and lesbian couples are free to adopt in the Commonwealth. Our friends J. and L., who left the area some years ago so that they could start a family, are now welcome. Well, Virginia is for lovers.


Good advice (i.e., advice I agree with) accompanied by useful local lore and an extra helping of snark: Washington City Paper‘s manual of style and usage.

M is uppercase, but feel free to grumble about it.

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Penn Quarter
Neighborhood south and west of Chinatown defined better by the overconcentration of José Andrés restaurants than by definitive boundaries.

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Not theatre, except as part of a proper noun. We don’t know how the obsession with French spelling arose, but we’re not playing along. Studio Theatre, you’re doing it wrong. Howard Theatre, WTF? Signature Theatre, just stop. You’re making our spellcheck misfire and our copy editors gnash their already worn-down teeth. Take a hint from our star pupil, Arena Stage’s Mead Center for American Theater, or we may start calling you thee-AT-ruhs.