Why I Love DC: Max

Capitol Dawn

Capitol Dawn by andertho

Oh, DC. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways (in no particular order)…

The Metro. I seriously love our subway system. I have a lot of friends who prefer not to use it because they’re either germaphobes or afraid of being swallowed by the center of the earth, but I think it’s the best way of getting around town. Sure you have to wait for twenty minutes sometimes, step over the occasional drunk guy, and deal with the mass of tourists (and locals) who can’t comprehend ‘stand on the right’, but the architecture of the stations never ceases to impress me and it beats looking for parking. “Doors closing. Please step to the center of the train.”

Metro Center

Metro Nap

Metro photos by krisetya and rsplatpc

The Monuments and Memorials. Of course. The monuments and memorials. One of the biggest tourist draws of our city. I think they’re downright beautiful, and every time I walk up to them or drive by them on my way to work, I feel a little flutter in my stomach. They’re amazing structures on their own, but they represent our founding fathers and the beliefs that our country was built on. Now whether those beliefs are still as clean and shiny today as they were back then…that’s up for debate. As a photographer, seeing new and exciting angles of our monuments and memorials is always a pleasure.

Lincoln Memorial

What Do You See?

Lincoln’s View by gattoraffa, What Do You See? (FDR Memorial) by clownish

The Local Art Scene. Holy cow do I love me some art! Especially when a small time amateur photographer like myself can participate in some shows. Whether it’s going to Dupont’s First Friday, going to openings at the 14th street galleries (Randall Scott, Irvine Contemporary, Transformer, etc.), or local talent showcases like DCist Exposed, I love it. I’m partial to photography exhibits, but I’ll take a good dose of paintings and sculptures as much as the next guy. Oh, and throw in some free Yellow Tail in a plastic cup or a Heineken? Maybe some cubes of cheddar cheese or some pretzels? I’m so there.

H&F Photography Show

DCist Exposed 2008

Photo of DCist Exposed (and her sold photo – Yay!) by c00lmarie

Our Big Time Art Galleries and Museums. I’m talkin’ big time, as in the National Gallery of Art, the Corcoran Museum, and the Hirshhorn. Aside from the Corcoran where you have to pay to see their exhibits (well worth it), how many other cities just let you walk into a museum or gallery without paying a dime? And the artists on display? Oh, just people like Hopper, Cezanne, Homer, Matisse, and Picasso. No big deal. I’ll never forget when I attended the press preview for the Annie Leibovitz exhibit at the Corcoran. Being able to hear her, a master of photography, describe her own work. What an honor. Oh, and I loved her crazy blue shoes.

Annie Liebovitz

Annie Leibovitz by me

The Accessibility to Nature. Want to go for a hike? Walk on over to Rock Creek Park, or if you’re more ambitious, drive out to Skyline Drive for a stroll along Old Rag. Want something more leisurely? Head over to the National Arboretum and throw some fish food at the Koi. Want to see a slew of crazy plants and flowers? The National Botanic Gardens is the place to be. Want to go camping? Don’t ask me. I’m deathly afraid of being eaten alive by hundreds of ticks. Ew.


Aceh Butterfly by mangiwau

Our Sports Teams. Go Nats! No? Go Redskins! Still no? Go Wizards! Not a chance? Well I give up, but I know you’ll have a good time no matter who your team is. With a football team who sneaks into the playoffs somehow, a basketball team who has a killer season and then loses in the first round of the playoffs, and a baseball team with a brand new stadium that serves Ben’s chili dogs, you’ve got plenty of options. That’s not even counting hockey, Roller Derby, and um…a tennis team?


Nationals by Scott Ableman

The Local Music Scene. There is a concert venue for everyone in this town, and I love that. Whether it’s the Black Cat, 9:30 Club, Rock and Roll Hotel, Red and Black, Chief Ikes, and sometimes even Wonderland, you’re guaranteed to see some kickass bands.

30 Club

Massive Attack @ 9:30 Club by Reza Vaziri

Celebrity Spottings. I used to live in LA, so I was used to seeing stars on the studio lot, or at the local 7 Eleven for that matter. But DC has its fair share of celebrities due to it being a great place to shoot movies, and also because they like to speak their minds to congress from time to time. I’ll admit, I’m star struck, so if you ever see Angelina walking down the street (or towards my house), call me.

Jack Bauer

Kiefer Sutherland (Jack Bauer) by kmf164

The National Zoo. Have I mentioned that I love free stuff? I mean who doesn’t? Our zoo is another one of the great free things in our town and I sort of crack a smile every time I just strooooll through the front gates. Here I go, off to see the elephants, pandas, gorillas, and zebras. For free. All I have to do is tune out the screaming babies in their strollers and I’m a happy camper.


Flamingo by tnt.dc

The Cherry Blossoms. As many of the other authors here at WLDC have mentioned, the cherry blossoms bring out gushy love in everyone. I didn’t just say that. What I meant to say was that the cherry blossoms down at the tidal basin are frickin’ cool man! And super pretty. And pink. And fluffy. And have tourists vacuum packed in between them.

Tidal Basin

HDR Sunrise in Full Bloom by prsphoto

Living in Dupont Circle. No, no, no. Not because of that. I love living in Dupont because it’s so central to everything else and packed full of great restaurants and shops. I can walk to Adams Morgan in 10 minutes, U Street in 5, down to the Mall in 20, or walk to the Metro to go anywhere else. There was a time when I was thinking of selling my place to cash in on the hot market, but a friend said, “Are you crazy? Your location is perfect. Stay where you’re at.” And so I did. And here I am.

Absolutely Fabulous by cornflakegirl

The Fall Colors. When I get sick of the summer heat (as I already am), I can’t wait for the fall. The leaves turn from a dark green to a pallet of yellows, oranges, and reds. The temperature starts to drop. I can open my windows at night and hear the sirens roar by. The interns leave. Oh, but yeah, I love the fall colors and make a point to drive out to Skyline Drive every year with camera gear in tow.


Autumnal Reflection by Eye Captain

Ben’s Chili Bowl. Whether my ears are still ringing from a show at the 9:30 Club or I’m just plain in the mood for some chili goodness, Ben’s never lets me down. I love the terrible fluorescent lighting, especially at 1 in the morning. I love the cooking surfaces that have caked on – stuff. I love looking at the dreary eyed people who can’t wait to stuff their faces and soak up the liquor sloshing around inside of them. And I love being begged for money every time I go in or out of the front door. Love it. Yum.

Ben's Chili Bowl

Turbo Toast by IntangibleArts

Patriotism. Being born on the 4th of July, I’m a tad more patriotic than your average person. Whether you live here or you’re a tourist, when you see our monuments, get lost in your thoughts at the war memorials, or feel the Rolling Thunder roar by, you think to yourself, “Damn straight. I’m an American.” And then you walk by the White House and think, “How many more days?”


One for One by mlancaster3361

Our Crazy Mess of Roads. Many people in this town survive without a vehicle of some sort. I was one of them for a while, but finally broke down and bought a car and didn’t look back. I love being able to cruise out to the burbs to by something (guns), or eat something (Taco Bell), or just to go for a drive. But it takes time to figure out how to get from point A to point B in this town. I still have a hell of a time figuring out how to get from Dupont to Capital Hill. But you know what? I love it. It’s like one big maze. And Rock Creek Parkway is like my own little autobahn. Shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone.


Tunnel Tracer by yospyn

And last but not least, Lauriol Plaza. I love it. If my body could process them fast enough, I’d drink pitcher after pitcher of their delicious margaritas. I’ll take some of their gooey enchiladas any time. Put some queso dip and chips in front of me and watch me demolish them like a vegan on their death bed. I don’t care what people say. The food is good, the drinks are better, and I rarely have to wait more than 10 minutes for a table. Loooooove it.

Lauriol Plaza

Photo of LP by our very own Tom Bridge

As time goes on, I may have to sneak in a post or two about what I hate about DC, but for now it’s all roses and bunny rabbits. And margaritas.

Hailing from the Mile High City, Max has also lived in Tinsel Town, the Emerald City, as well as the City of Brotherly Love. Now a District resident, he likes to write about cool photos by local photographers, the DC restaurant and bar scene, or anything else that pops into his mind.

7 thoughts on “Why I Love DC: Max

  1. Thank you, Max, for this awesome photo-essay of DC. There’s a lot of beauty here, and I think you’ve just shown us most of it :)

  2. You sure do love dc in many ways. I know I take some of these things for granted because I grew up here.

  3. Max, your words are beguiling. My hearts a flutter and were DC a woman, I’d make love to her every other day.

  4. Love this list! I know that you’re in Dupont, hence the affinity for Lauriol Plaza. However, have to say the only thing I would change about this list is switching it out for its sister up north, Cactus Cantina. Same awesome ritas, more outdoor seating, bigger bar, less wait…what’s not to love?

  5. This was a lovely post. But alas, I do not understand my peers’ ongoing love affair with Lauriol Plaza. I was so very, very disappointed after going there, and I’m a sucker for anything wrapped in a tortilla. Maybe I caught them on a day when they were out of seasoning? Maybe the food tastes good after a couple of margaritas? :)