Monday, February 28, 2011

Not Technically the District Daily Photo

This is the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. Thanks to Dan Brown, et al., pretty much everyone knows that George Washington was a Mason, and Washington, DC is full of Masonic temples, symbols, and conspiracies. I moved to DC not long before The Lost Symbol came out, and I can tell you that Washington wasn't very excited about Dan-Brownian tourists' assumptions and misinformation. It was like living near Paris when The Da Vinci Code came out; everyone hated Dan Brown. And I just now realized that he always releases a book about a place not long after I move there. Coincidence? hmm... Anyway, the Masonic Lodge in Alexandria was named for George Washington because he was a member there. And while it's not technically in the District, it is in the Washington Metro area, or as locals call it, the DMV--DC, Maryland, Virginia.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Signs of Decay

My compulsion for punning got the best of me. There are a few old buildings in the District that still have their original signs hanging. This one is a landmark, not just because of its age and location (pretty close to downtown DC, around popular bars, etc.), but also for its origins. Thomas Walker Furniture is infamous in law school courses and economics classes all over the United States because of its unfair contractual negotiations.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


To continue with the street art theme...This is "Grandfather," a street art project by Gaia--who has pasted hundreds of these all over the world. This one is on New York Ave. and actually had a cameo appearance in a previous post.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Canvas Walls

I went out early this morning--in the rain, no less--to get a picture of a brilliant example of the street art that's appearing all over the city. Sadly, someone didn't like the subtle irony of its politics, and now all you can see is a faint outline. So I decided to share something a little different. It is street art, yes, but it's commissioned street art. That kinda-sorta defeats the purpose, but I still like this mural from the side of a liquor store.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

So Much for Patios

I actually took this shot a few weeks ago because I thought...hoped...that it would be the last snow of the season. A few days later, I was sitting on a patio. Alas, this is also what I woke up to on Tuesday morning. Even if the snow misses us, the forecast doesn't hold out much hope for melting, and even less for patios.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Other Big Guy.

Lincoln may be bigger, but George is a better dresser. Every year for George Washington's birthday, the DC university named in his honor has a party; so of course George gets dressed up for the special occasion. There's a bonfire, s'mores, cupcakes, and sometimes even a fife and drum corps. This statue, which stands in University Yard, has an identical twin that stands outside of the National Gallery in London. When that statue was sent to London, it was shipped along with a crate of dirt so that Washington would always be standing on Virginia soil. To my knowledge, it did not arrive with a feather boa.

See more here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

War and Peace, Cocktails and Activism

Chances are high that the longer I blog, the more shots of Busboys and Poets will appear. Busboys and Poets, though only a few years old, is already an institution in DC. Owner Andy Shallal & co. serve up delicious meals that are--unlike most food in DC--reasonably priced. But Busboys--which is named in honor of Langston Hughes--is more than just an eatery--or series of eateries really since there are now 3 locations in the area--it's a community center. At the 14th and V site, there's a bookstore specializing in politics, environmental issues, international affairs, current events, and civil rights. The 5th and K location has a smaller selection of books, but it features a gift shop full of fair trade and sustainable products from around the world. All of the locations, including the newest one in Shirlington, VA, have open mic poetry slams, local bands, documentary screenings, round-table discussions, and some of the best food in the District. They have a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan options, as well as some great burgers for us carnivores. And, don't miss their murky signature cocktail, DC Tapwater. I took the image above at the 5th and K location and was pleased that it was used on their website for a while.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Well Now It's Old Post Office

At 315 feet, the Old Post Office is one of the tallest buildings in DC. Opened in 1899, it's not really that old, even by DC standards. But it has always been surrounded with local legend and lore. The day the building opened, the Postmaster of the District of Columbia fell to his death down an elevator shaft. After that auspicious start, it didn't serve as a post office for very long. In 1914, the main post office was relocated, and, at only 15 years of age, it was suddenly the Old Post Office. As the building fell to disuse and disrepair, it was scheduled for demolition. At least one good thing came of the Great Depression--Congress didn't have the money to tear it down. It was used for federal offices for a while, then scheduled for demolition again in the early 70s, when a campaign of local citizens managed to save, restore, and get the building listed on the historic registry. And in 1976, when Great Britain gave replicas of the Westminster Bells to Congress to mark the bicentennial, they were installed in the tower. Now you can visit The Old Post Office museum, tour it's tower, and even eat in perhaps the worst food court in DC.

Happy President's Day!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sundays at Eastern Market

I seem to start every post with "One of the things I love about DC..." To add to that list, I love DC's markets. Somewhere in the city there is a fresh food market nearly every day. Eastern Market is probably the most famous one in the city. It's the one I knew about before I moved to DC because of its frequent appearance on The Travel Channel. There are venders selling produce, cheese, flowers, meats, fresh pasta, baked goods, jams and preserves, and pretty much anything else you could want. What makes Eastern Market so different is the weekend flea market where you can find everything from antique ceiling tiles, furniture, and clothes, to arts and crafts, like funky jewelry or purses made out of old book covers. As (almost) always, you can find my surplus shots over there.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Why wouldn't she be on my blog? She's everywhere else. Frankly, I'm surprised she's not on your blog.

I came across the picture the other night while reorganizing my photo archive. Admittedly, it's a little old now. I took it in front of the Capitol at the National Equality March in October of '09, but it's particularly topical because DC is all a-frenzy with the return of Gaga. Tickets to next Thursday's sold out show at the Verizon Center are still available on Stub Hub for anywhere from $210 to $8225.00 per ticket. No, that's not a typo.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Happy Patio Cocktail Season!

The last couple of days have been unseasonably warm, and tomorrow is supposed to be even better. The weatherpeople keep warning us that it's too soon to celebrate, but who listens to them when there's an open patio? This cocktail is a cherry blossom vodka martini from Elephant & Castle Pub. Cherry blossoms are a big deal in DC, and the return of all things cherry-flavored is a irrefutable harbinger of spring.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Once I built a tower.

Despite the economic turmoil of the last few years, DC continues its building boom. Of course, with any construction, there must also be destruction. DC's traditional styles of architecture are being overshadowed, then consumed entirely, by the high-rise residential buildings like these. The good news with all of this gentrification is lower crime rates; the bad news is skyrocketing rents, and, of course, the loss of so many beautiful buildings like the one in the middle. But it's not just the buildings we're losing, it's also the expanse of open sky above. Click here for a closer view of the smaller building on the left (or here if you'd like to hear the old song the title references).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mercury Rising

It's finally getting warmer in the District! As winters go, this one actually hasn't been so bad for DC. The blizzards that hit us over and over last year headed to New York City instead, I guess. When it's cold outside, though, it's a great time to head indoors to the museums. There aren't as many tourists in the winter, and you have the place pretty much to yourself. The photo above is of Mercury, rising, no less, atop of Wind's breath. This fountain is in the rotunda (to continue with yesterday's theme) of the West Building of the National Gallery of Art.

Click here for a few more shots from the NGA.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

On the Inside

I love taking pictures of the US Capitol Building. It's so intricately detailed that it's gorgeous in any lighting. It was a marvel of modern architecture and, of course, still is an icon in international politics. It also helps that it's conveniently located.

The inside of the massive dome is just as stunning. In the center of the great rotunda is "The Apotheosis of Washington," which is literally about the deification of George Washington, the first President of the United States. I think the fresco epitomizes the intersection between Enlightenment ideals and the government, a tradition that is often overlooked by those that argue for Christianity as the basis of government. Right there, in the very core of our democracy, is a symbolic image of pagan idolatry.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Morning Brew at Azi's

There are quite a few really great independent coffeeshops in my neighborhood. If you stick around, you'll probably eventually see pictures from all of them. This mocha is from Azi's Cafe at 9th and O, near the Mt. Vernon Sq./Convention Center stop. It's a great place to go on Sundays when a lot of the other shops and cafes in the neighborhood are closed.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Big Guy.

In honor of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, here's a total touristy shot. Lincoln's birthday was actually yesterday, but Saturday's post was preempted by Egypt. It seems kind of appropriate; after all, Lincoln has already had 202 birthdays, and since he did dedicate his life to ending oppression, I'm sure he doesn't mind belated wishes

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Revolution, as Seen from a Distance

As word was spreading that Mubarak had stepped down, bloggers, tweeters, and news agencies started arriving at the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt to document the jubilant celebration. For many hours, however, there was nobody celebrating. We just stood around talking to each other. As odd as it was that crowds weren't assembling, the silence at the embassy was just as eerie. As quiet as it was outside, it must have been very tense inside. Finally, I noticed these guys just hanging around. We talked for a little while, and they generously agreed to pose for a few pictures so that we could all say, for what it was worth, we had been there, and in a tiny, comparatively meaningless way, we participated, we celebrated.

Read more here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

American Red Cross Headquarters

This monument "To Those We Serve" is outside the International Headquarters of the American Red Cross, on the corner of E and 20th NW. For more images of the monument, you can visit my personal blog.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The O St. Market

The roof of the O St. Market (near O & 7th NW) collapsed a few years ago. Now there's just a shell, looking like some urban picturesque ruin. It's surrounded by a construction fence for the past few weeks and is scheduled for demolition.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Meet the Press Secretaries

One of the great things about living in DC is that there are always public events going on that allow citizens to feel like they're part of the process on an international level. On Monday night, The George Washington University hosted an event called "Live from the White House: Making and Shaping the News." The roundtable-like discussion featured from left to right, Mike McCurry (Clinton 94-98), Dana Perino (Bush 2007-2009), Frank Sesno (former CNN White House correspondent, later CNN Washington Bureau Chief, now Director of GW's School of Media and Public Affairs), Ari Fleischer (Bush 2001-2003), and Dee Dee Myers (Clinton 1993-1994, basis for CJ Craig). The event, held at Lisner Auditorium, is part of GW's ongoing Conversation Series.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

District Nightly Photo

Welcome to District Daily Photo! What could be more appropriate for the inaugural post than the US Capitol Building?