All the authors here at We Love DC have written essays on why they love DC. As one of the newbie authors, I was asked to follow in the same tradition. So here it is, why I love DC.
Post-college all my art school and college friends headed for New York. I, instead, decided on DC. People always asked, “Why DC, what is it about DC?” and I always would respond “Well, because it’s not New York.” Which, still, to this day, works as a great reason to love DC. I would argue that we have as many fabulous museums here, as many great free cultural things to do, yet DC is decidedly NOT New York.
New York makes me claustrophobic. The streets are so busy, the sky so crowded with buildings, the hustle and bustle more hustle than bustle. I get overwhelmed there, sensory overload, too much, too fast. I like New York in small doses, but never in long, extended stays. It hits you hard, and doesn’t stop. That is fine for my college friends, but not for me.
DC, on the other hand, is far more manageable. It has sky; you are never without seeing the sky. Blue, expansive, gorgeous sky. I never feel walled in here; you can always see up, out, and over. The streets are always crowded, but I can usually reach my arms out and spin in a circle without hitting someone. I can maintain my personal space bubble at almost all times, Metro excluded. I also love reminders that big things are happening here, every day, all day.
I remember the first day that my roommate drove me to my very first job on K street. We took Key Bridge across the Potomac, it was a bright, sunny, September day. Georgetown, Roosevelt Island, the Kennedy Center, and the Monument all lay out before me, shining in early morning light. Every morning, be it rainy, foggy, sunny or snowy, I adored that view. I’d gotten to expect watching the Georgetown and GW rowing teams beginning practice, and come to love watching the river wake up.I made a silent promise to myself not to take that view for granted, or ever forget how lucky I am to see it every morning. And although I don’t cross the Key Bridge on my way to work every day any more, I’ve kept faithful to my promise, and marvel at my city every time I cross that bridge. It reminds me of who I was when I first came to DC, and who I’ve become here.
There are other striking views of our city that cause a swell of affection in me. I love going on a run through Iwo Jima, next to Arlington Cemetery, up across the bridge and to Lincoln Memorial. That run is epic, from start to finish.There’s no other word to describe it. People come from oceans away to see what I get to see on my daily run.
And then there’s the people this city attracts. Boy, are they terrible drivers, but they sure are smart. My friends are witty, interesting, and always up for doing something new. Our city attracts thinkers, people with causes, people with big ideas.
And oh, the food. DC has a wonderful collection of chefs, and food from everywhere. So much food that I can’t keep up, every time I think I’ve got a handle on it, I talk to someone who suggests a brand new place for me to try. I can’t ever conquer DC, it’s always changing and growing. I think that’s really why I love DC, because of the possibilities. I can check so much off my list, but in the process of checking things off my list, my list grows. Even my own neighborhood is constantly changing and adding things.
So until one day, a long time from now, I feel as if I’ve done all there is I can do here, or something else takes me away, I’ll be right here, adding to my to-do list.
Photos courtesy of Flickr user Needlessspaces.