DC

DC

Monday, August 10, 2015

Capital Improvements

I spent this weekend Staycationing in D.C. . . . Watching baseball.  Being a tourist.  I was struck by how much the city has changed in the 15+ years I've lived here.  

I moved to D.C. in 1995, and spent three years at law school at George Washington University in "Foggy Bottom."  I lived in a studio apartment about 4 blocks from campus (interestingly, in a building across the street from my current office).  Back then, when one crossed Pennsylvania Avenue after, say, 7:00 pm, heading up New Hampshire towards the residential areas of the city, the streets were empty.  I could walk home from the library at night and barely see another soul.  I remember going out to the local bars on Thursday night (Buffalo Billiards . . . The Front Page, et cetera).  We had a friend -- we'll call him Eric (because, like, that was his name).  He lived on 15th and K Street.  When we left the bars late a night, he'd throw on his backpack and literally RUN the three blocks or so to his place, on the theory that no one would put the effort in to mugging him if they had to chase and catch him first.  And, god forbid you walked easterly down Pennsylvania avenue towards the capital.  At night, and especially on the weekends, anything east of, say, 15th street was a giant homeless shelter.  A good place to get hit over the head.  I can remember walking to the Macy's at Metro Center on the weekends and being virtually alone with the vagrants.  And Chinatown was no place for a reputable person to spend time.  And the area south of the capital, along the Anacostia river, was a barren and scary land.

Fast forward to 2015.  I feel like the entire city has pretty much transformed.  Eric would look like a fool running home from the bars to 15th/K Street nowadays.  Hell, the entire Mass Ave corridor has gentrified nearly down to Union Station.  And Chinatown is Disney Land, thanks, largely, to the Verizon Center which brought professional sports from Landover, Maryland to the center of the city, and, along with it, residences, businesses, restaurants, bars and everything else.  I grabbed dinner at around midnight, Saturday night, at a joint in the area, and walked back to the hotel afterwards without a care in the world.  That walk would have been a non-starter 15 years ago.  And the area south of the Capital, along the waterfront . . . thanks to National's park, the same type of redevelopment that transformed Chinatown is happening along the river.  What use to be industrial warehouses, dilapidated row homes and homeless is now new restaurants, $800,000 one-bedroom condos and parents pushing kids in strollers.   What use to be closed businesses and empty streets on the weekends is now bustling with sidewalks full of tourists and residents.   In short, this is not the same city I moved to in '95.

Anyway, I'll leave you with some photos of my weekend:

Friday Night Game


The W Hotel - my home base for the weekend

  
Doors of the Justice Department


National Gallery

Sculpture Garden


National Mall from afternoon run





Suprem Court from Capital Grounds


'86 World Series Hero (Ray Knight)


Rockies warming up


Great Night for a Ball Game


16 comments:

  1. id have to see for myself before id ever believe any area in DC is safe to walk around in

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    1. Well, true enough, there are MANY, MANY black people. And they walk around like normal folks. Most, however, I find quite tame and civilized. Some I've even spoken to (having been surprised, at first, that we shared the native tongue). I sat next to a couple during dinner Saturday night. I was able to get out of the restaurant without incident, so I guess I was lucky.

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    2. Tone-loc, if you look closely at the second picture -- the one of the Hotel -- there is a black guy standing on the sidewalk. I can only assume he is the pimp of the two white girls on the left side of the picture.

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  2. Nice weekend! You shoulda come out Friday night - the tables were really good!

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    1. I'm starting to get itchy. Next weekend I'm heading up for the O's games Saturday/Sunday, so I'll likely play some hands. Hell, I need to pick up my Horseshoe Diamond Jacket Saturday. God, I'm gonna look all boss-n-degen walking around town in that thing this fall!

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    2. Don't sit next to me if you're itchy. Last thing we need is another blogger scratching off skin at the tables.

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  3. Inner city gentrification. Same thing has happened in London over the last 20 years. Areas I lived in as a student were no go areas for "normal people" during the dark hours. However now they are some of the most sought after areas for housing.

    I'd take a guess in the dark that about 40 years ago these areas in DC were thriving "working class" areas until the people became a bit wealthier and moved to the suburbs, which then ran down the areas they left, which are now on the up and so the cycle begins again.
    Great pics. Most get over there sometime. When does the MGM open again ?

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    1. Summer 2016. Can't wait. Will likely be switching my action from Horseshoe Baltimore (Caesars) to MGM

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    2. Yeah the casinos keep getting closer to me here in NC. I look forward to the MGM. Nice pics. I especially like the ones last month while you were at the Mets/Nats game. I hope to make it to Baltimore next Tues or Wed to see a Mets/O's game. Spare any tips on navigating Camden Yards? Thx

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    3. Place is so small and intimate, not sure what tips would be helpful. Seats are relatively cheap -- grab some field levels and enjoy! And, walk over to the Shoe for some poker afterwards! Have fun and #LGM!

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  4. Yea, that's the plan. Can you recommend a good hotel between the Shoe and Camden Yards? $125-150.00

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    1. No hotels between the Yard and the Shoe. There is a holiday inn express directly next to the Shoe (I've never stayed there, so can't speak to quality). I normally stay at the Hilton, Sheraton or Hyatt. Not sure any of those are in that price range, though. I'd recommend trying Hotwire -- you can sometimes get 4-star hotels (which include those mentioned above) for <$150.

      If you plan to be sober enough to drive, you can get hotels in that price range out by BWI, a 10 minute drive or so right off BWI Parkway . . .

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  5. Thanks, I booked the Holiday Inn Express. I plan on not being sober enough to drive. LGM!

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  6. J! E! T! S! JETS!!! JETS!!! JETS!!!

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