the chorister's c

Washington detours



last update: Monday, 22 November 2004

last link check: Monday 31 March 2003

You have several good choices. Amtrak's Union Station has been rescued from the travesty of the Bicentennial-era National Visitors Center, and is now quite attractive, with a short shopping-mall run of shops and a bustling food court downstairs. Not far from the Capitol building, the station exterior retains its neoclassical grandeur. There is a direct connection to Metrorail's redRed Line.

Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) is anonymous and competent, but somewhat far from D.C. Use this one to visit our friends to the north in Charm City.

The airport that was once simply called Washington National Airport (DCA) is absurdly convenient to the middle of town. Served by Metrorail's blueyellowBlue and Yellow Lines, it has historically been very crowded and hard to get around in. The new terminal building and other renovations, opened a couple of years ago, have improved matters greatly. Some vestiges of the original 40's architecture remain.

The jewel is Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). Eero Saarinen's soaring main terminal building evokes the original glamour of air travel. It is a building from a more optimistic, romantic time, and it summons a feeling that a friend of mine calls "archi-lust." Alas, with the explosive growth of the western suburbs, the airport has had to grow as well, adding two drab mid-field terminals. The experimental mobile lounges -- jetways on wheels, really -- are now relegated to shuttling between the two terminals. Nevertheless, this is one of the very few airports that makes you really feel like flying.

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