Neighborhood Nomads
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Tag: 4th of July DC

Monuments at Night

monuments at night, dc

July 3, 2014, Washington, DC: An old friend I hadn’t seen in about ten years visited Washington for the first time last summer with his family. After a pizza dinner at Matchbox, his young daughter implored us see the “mommy mints” at night.

It was the evening before a DC fourth of July and Neil Diamond was rehearsing for the next day’s Independence Day concert over the loudspeakers around the Capitol. As we walked across the east plaza, our new little friend stopped in her tracks and insisted we join hands to spin around in a circle to the music. Moments later, a fireworks display erupted over at Nationals Park. We watched the colors burst into the sky behind the Cannon Building, and I stood there in awe of all that was happening in my beautiful neighborhood.

One night before the big show, this little celebration was entirely ours.

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Staying Put for the 4th

Washington, DCJuly 4, 2013, Washington, DC: We’re back home in Washington now for a good stretch, just as many of our neighbors clear out of town for the July 4th holiday and the hot days of mid-summer. I always like being in town for these first few days of July to watch the strange ebb and flow of Washington. On Monday, the officer at the neighborhood police station shows me his pages of requests for visitor parking passes as residents leave and visitors arrive. On Tuesday, my bike route home in front of the Capitol shuts down in preparation for the televised Independence Day concert. Multiple groups of tourists ask me for directions to Union Station or the Metro. Each year, it’s as if we inhabit a movie set before the 4th arrives. We see the band practicing its march by the Capitol reflecting pool and hear the sound checks as we pedal home across a national stage and we wonder if a single local soul will be left in town by morning.

There are, of course, plenty of us who stick around. We smelled their grills last night and heard their backyard chatter as they welcomed friends into their homes from out-of-town. We’ll run into them this morning at the neighborhood parade and at our little fireworks display just far enough off the beaten path that those in town for the big shows won’t even notice.

It’s becoming tradition to stay home for the 4th of July.

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