In the spirit of wrapping up the year with a nice little bow on it, welcome to a roundup of our favorite myths over the past year. There are so many myths about the transportation, history, and culture of the District that we’ve dug into this year. So here are our favorites, all in one place! Read this through and you’ll know more about the District than most people out there.
Whether you love or hate Metro, you’ve got to admit it’s a fascinating system. Many of the most popular Mythbusting features concerned the Metro system, like why Metro can’t post “Stand to the Right” signs, how the bus routes were named, or why there’s no Georgetown Metro station. Oh, and while we’re at it– the Metro map isn’t to scale, so that’s why it takes so long to get from Rosslyn to Court House compared to Court House to Clarendon.
We’ve got a crazy set of streets here in the District, too. There’s no J Street, but it’s not because the planner of DC hated John Jay. The network of streets is so confusing that some people think that they were designed that way to repel armies and protect the city (it’s not true, but the myth just won’t die– I hear this one at least once a week on average!).
There are plenty of bike myths out there too. How bike-friendly is DC? Pretty bike-friendly. It’s getting easier and easier to get around the city on two wheels. But when you’re riding around in the bike lane, watch out– plenty of other vehicles are allowed in the city’s bike lanes too.
The District is a pretty amazing city with centuries of really cool stories behind it. Was the city laid out on a swamp? Nope. But was it planned by Pierre L’Enfant, who then died penniless and alone because someone essentially stole his plans? Yup.
There are lots of amazing monuments and memorials out there commemorating important historical figures. The Lincoln Memorial has a whole host of stories about it (nope, that’s not Robert E. Lee’s face in Lincoln’s hair), but there are plenty of obscure monuments and memorials you’ve probably never even heard of. And you know the Hoof Code of statues– the theory that the number of horses hooves on the ground correspond to how the statue’s subject died?– totally a myth.
There are all sorts of things you pick up about the city just by living here for a little while. But so much of what you hear is wrong! It’s not true that no one is from DC, DC doesn’t have more non-English speakers than other comparable cities (but it does have an international vibe), and not all the jobs in DC are based around the Federal government.
But there are some truths out there too. It’s true that more than twice as many people work here than live here, and it’s overwhelmingly Democratic-leaning. It’s also true that you’re worth about $4,500 for just filling out your Census form.
There’s so much culture and history here in the District that people come from all across the country just to see it. Here’s what they all need to learn before setting foot inside our (originally) ten-mile square.
There you have it– the rundown of DC-related myths from 2010. Stay tuned next year for even more Mythbusting! And if you have a DC myth you’ve always wondered about, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.