Crystal City Ghost Town

I found myself with an hour and a half to kill last night and decided to wander down to the Crystal City shops, which I had never had occasion to visit before. A quick clarifying question – is it a nicer place when stores are actually open? The whole place seemed dreary and I suspect it might even be so during business hours.

Everything except the restaurants seems to close around seven o’clock, which left me with nothing to do or see except the occasional person walking purposefully through the hall, no doubt residents of one of the high-rise apartment buildings nearby. Why else would someone be there after dark?

After a few minutes the night security guard started to eye me suspiciously, probably because there are few legitimate reasons to go there at night and even fewer to wander around while killing time. As I left I wondered if there was a legitimate reason to go there during the day or if it is simply another place that caters mainly to the area lunch crowd.

My biggest source of curiosity was that the restaurants seemed to be doing good business at that late hour of eight o’clock but that the stores were closed, despite people going there. Perhaps I am not a retail genius but wouldn’t it usually makes sense to be open when customers are around? I understand the shoeshine place, leather repair or some other service like that being closed, but isn’t there a whole mess of opportunity being passed over by the clothing stores, coffee shops and other such smaller places?

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

Carl Weaver is a writer and brewer for and has been making beer and wine for more than 20 years. He is also an avid photographer and writer and just finished his first book, about a trip he took to Thailand to live in Buddhist monasteries. He considers himself the last of the Renaissance men and the luckiest darned guy in the world. Follow him on Twitter.

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