Aug 13, 2006

Wandering in Georgetown

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M Street in Georgetown Left: M Street in DC's Georgetown neighborhood

(Washington, DC) I passed up a journalism opportunity covering the peace protest at Lafayette Park in favor of a couple of hours strolling around the Georgetown area.

Frankly, after refinancing my house, the $100 or so I could have scraped up filing a story just didn't have as much appeal as it would have before we closed. I hope that the thirty thousand protesters will forgive me, but it was just too nice of a day to raise a fist against the war machine.

Georgetown was incorporated as a town in 1751, and was originally part of the British Province of Maryland. There are quite a few buildings in the area that predate the American Revolution.

The Old Stone HouseLeft: The Old Stone House

Built by Christopher and Rachel Layman in 1765, the Old Stone House has weathered the political and meteorological storms that have passed through the area. Featuring stone walls that range from two to three feet thick and a beautifully manicured garden, the Old Stone House stands defiantly against commercial sprawl.

After periods of decline following its annexation by Washington DC in 1871, Georgetown has now become an enclave of wealthy elites. The large number of upscale boutiques and interior decoration establishments are testaments to the fact that Georgetown is now big money.

Live jazz with Project NataleLeft: Live jazz by Project Natale at Georgetown Park

Sitting in the shade, sipping a strawberry-kiwi smoothie, and kicking back listening to cool jazz was pleasureable. Even hearing clichéd crowd pleasers such as "Girl from Ipanema" did not break my relaxed mood (I might normally run from that song), and Project Natale delivered a sublime, lyrical rendition that was recognizable by everyone while providing enough improvisation to keep jazz purists entertained.

Farmers and Mechanics Branch building in GeorgetownLeft: PNC Bank now occupies the Farmers and Mechanics Branch building of Riggs National Bank

An example of Georgetown's ability to maintain its historic past while accommodating the present is the PNC Bank branch at Wisconsin and M Streets. Formerly a division of Riggs National Bank, the building was remodeled in 1989 to restore the facility to its former architectural glory.

Homeless man in GeorgetownLeft: Sleeping homeless man near Georgetown Park

And what trip to any DC site would be complete without seeing dozens of homeless people? This man was attempting to sleep on the sidewalk as tourists and the well-to-do tried to ignore him.

This scene is typical of the contrasting extremes in the American capital, a disparity that persists despite well-intentioned efforts to bring change.

1 comment:

Hooda Thunkit said...

Mike,

"...well-intentioned efforts to bring change."

Yes, but often well-intentioned efforts are nothing more than "feel good" efforts, further enabling, rather than improving the situation.