From Scott Leibowitz. Find Scott on Twitter @Lebodome. Email him at scott[AT]borderstan.com.
As the weather begins its turn from delightfully warm to overwhelmingly balmy, the move of city folk to outdoor space is easy to spot as the green areas such as Dupont Circle, Meridian Hill Park and the National Mall get a little crowded. Frankly, it’s a bit of a limited selection when looking for green space in our concrete jungle. Thankfully, the National Park Service exists to maintain our pristine and beautiful landscape around us, like the Chesapeake Bay and the waters that run into it. With that in mind, I encourage everyone in Borderstan at some point this spring or summer to visit Great Falls in Virginia.
If you read my space regularly, you will have noticed the trend of day trips on the weekends to get out of the city. I am a huge fan of taking a day, getting past the Beltway, and seeing where you can go and what’s out there. Now of course I understand that I have the luxury of my car, but if you live in this town and either don’t have/know someone with a ZipCar account or a car itself, you are not good at friending for benefits. It makes living in this city good to great so get on it if you haven’t already (I mean I know some people are nice to me just for my Ford Taurus, I don’t mind).
Great Falls is just serene. It is an easy 30-minute drive, $5 dollar parking, and then the activities are up to you. Running, picnicking, rafting, bird watching, this place has got it all. Many people go there for the extensive and varied hiking trails that lead in all different directions. Here are just some of the highlights:
Oh, The People You Will See: Now here in Borderstan there are plenty of great places for people watching. Great Falls has all that and more. My girlfriend and I must have spent an easy hour sitting quietly on a bench enjoying the fresh air, seeing a pretty great sampling of the American experience. Favorite thing: people who dress up formally for the outdoors; it is totally okay to wear shorts, people.
Rapid Watching: There is something peaceful about watching water move. Maybe it’s the forces of nature right before your eyes, but I could watch the Potomac River hit massive boulders for hours. There are also brave souls who kayak these waters and watching them navigate is quite a scene.
Picnic Heaven: Massive amount of picnic space. Public grills that only require your own bag of charcoal. No alcohol as it’s a national park, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grill some dogs and enjoy the crisp clean air.
So the next time the city has you boxed in, the Red Line has maintenance, or you want to avoid large clumps of tourists taking pictures of monuments, take a drive to Great Falls and go hike.
This Week’s Thought
If you aren’t watching the NHL playoffs, you are missing out. This year has turned into one of the most physical and violent playoffs I have ever seen. Tune in for the mayhem.
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
- Our local Washington Nationals are doing so well, even the New York Times is writing about them.
- John Kerry and huge Obama face cut-out. Funny.
- I am saying it here. The implications and possible snowball effect of 3-D Tupac is extremely worrisome.
- Woman have a hard enough time breaking into professional sports. Here is another step backwards. Credit here goes to a new blogger and old friend. Read her stuff; it’s original and on point.
On Saturday, the U.S. Park Police went through the Occupy DC tents in McPherson, removing those that were serving as homes for the protesters. Campaign/sleeping is prohibited in the park. The huge majority of the tents were removed and McPherson Square on Sunday was mostly barren, except for some tents around the edges of the park.
However, tents dedicated to the “political goals” were left in place — for now. Earth-moving equipment was also being used to grade the park’s surface. Teams of National Park Service (NPS) employees were standing at the edge of McPherson Square in white jumpsuits with a distinctively “biohazard cleanup” look to them. Several Park Police officers were on horseback, overseeing the rest of the NPS work on Sunday.
A spokesman for Occupy DC told Borderstan on Sunday afternoon that “more tents would be going up tonight, ones that will be dedicated to the political aims of the movement.” Another Occupy DC member said that “occupying the National Mall” was next.
The status of Occupy DC in McPherson Square is probably not resolved. Dcist has a good writeup on what may come next, including legal actions planned by Occupy DC. Lydia DePillis at Washington City Paper has a good story on what exactly happened in McPherson Square on Saturday — and figures it’s probably time for the Occupy DC to figure out what do next.
The Occupy DC sprang up after similar Occupy movements took hold in large U.S. cities. The broad political goals are to draw attention to income inequality in the United States, financial institution regulation and unemployment. The movement started in New York as Occupy Wall Street in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. Another major Occupy movement was in Oakland, California.
McPherson Square is just south of the Logan Circle neighborhood and the park is actually located inside the boundaries of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2F.
Occupy DC was still in place at McPherson Square Monday evening (and this morning) following the January 30 deadline to leave. For now it appears that the National Park Service (NPS) will allow the protesters to stay, but they will not be allowed to “camp” there — meaning they cannot sleep in their tents at night. There are regulations against camping in the park. It remains to be seen whether the group will be evicted from the park, which is the domain of the NPS, not the DC government.
WTOP has an update from this morning: “The protesters spent the night awake, in what one protester calls the “tent of dreams” draped over the statue of General McPherson. It’s what the protester tells WTOP’s Neal Augenstein is a final act of defiance.”
- Guest Column: Occupy DC, Let Us Have Our Park Back (January 30)
Were you here? See the photos on Flickr.
On Sundays, the regularity of workday life takes a backseat and Meridian Hill Park turns into a wonderful community park that is full of life. Filled with people and activities, a Sunday afternoon stroll on the large common area will liven up your senses and connect you with creativity. The normal takes a rest and the offbeat thrives.
Sundays are a totally different experience from weekdays, or even Saturdays. Guitar players strum away, groups of people practice yoga and jugglers do their routines. Other people simply sit and read the newspaper, listen to music or eat a picnic lunch. Many people simply rest.