When a city makes you happy to live there...

10.11.2015

 

If only our cities and towns were more bike- and pedestrian-friendly, our health would improve, we'd be more connected to ourselves and our neighbors, and also our communities.

All the better when where we live is designed with our sense of humanity and wonder in mind, not someone's quick profit: How often do strip malls make you marvel at their craft? 

 

Washington, DC's wide streets, modeled after Parisisian boulevards from the late 1800's, are graceful and lined with elegant buildings. Although I travel frequently and so am often not in this, my adopted hometown, I am inspired to explore it whenever possible. 

 

Today, it was by bike: a ride down Massachucetts Ave.'s Embassy Row, then to DuPont Circle where I came upon a Farmers Market with pancake breakfasts and cool cats busking their bebop and later era jazz. I snapped some photos (below) of the joy and color all around me, and hopefully captured some of the sense that it was a good day to be a city dweller.

 

The Fresh Farm Market at DuPont Circle is year-round, although I would imagine that it is now, during the traditional harvest time, that the colors, smells, and textures of the fruits and vegetables--as well as the blooms--are their most redolent; Nature's trick into goading us to think there is a reason to carry on, despite knowing we will soon, at least in colder climes, be wishing for Spring.

 

Amusingly, while the city's designer and chief architect, Frenchman Pierre L'Enfant was wonderful at making one wonder, for me at least, he was horrible at making sense: another reason I like to explore the city is so I can actually know where I am going when I need to get somewhere for an assignment.

 

Good luck not getting lost in this town if you're not native to it, Parisian, or Dutch and thus, accustomed to the circuitous streets that wend around the canals of Amsterdam. In DC, the streets ray out like sunshine. Pretty, but not necessarily practical.

 

Manhattan's grid pattern of streets and avenues better accommodates my need for organization, while DC challenges my ability to memorize which avenues run diagonally, which streets have numbers (Does DC there actually a First Street? I have never seen one, but there are plenty of streets in the 20s and 30s!), and which of the 50 states are honored with an eponymous street sign.

 

No matter. It's just the question of having a map or the willingness to pull out one's phone with the GPS app. Instead, I decided to navigate like a bird, and seeing the jets in the west, figured that must be where Reagan National was, and thus the Potomac, and hey, since I knew there is a path along it, that seemed a good choice. So it was west to Georgetown, where I picked up the Chesapeake & Ohio canal path, and continued north(ish) to Bethesda and then south again, home.

 

(Thank you to everyone who happily consented to be photographed, including Goose, the black Goldendoodle.)

 

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