Sunday, January 18, 2009

All Is Kind of Quiet on the D.C. Front

Though two million people are expected to descend on D.C. for the Inauguration, things seem fairly quiet so far. I arrived in town on Friday night via the Bolt Bus-- a cheap bus that runs between D.C. and NYC, that has both electrical outlets and wireless internet. There were no traffic problems-- we made the trip in just four hours and fifteen minutes, including a rest stop.

As I walked through the city, the cold streets were quiet and fairly empty. I spotted this desolate and seemingly desperate sign offering inauguration rentals. That market has gone bust. Thousands of Craigslist ads are still offering weekend housing and "last-minute inauguration deals."

My friends and I ventured out to "Liberation Dance Party"-- a regular Friday night event at DC9--in the hopping U Street area. It was the same level of "hopping" as I remember from my many years in D.C.

I spent Saturday wandering around the Logan Circle area. Though the brunch places on P Street seemed to have more out-of-towners than usual, they were not excessively crowded. We sat down immediately at Busboys and Poets on 14th Street at 10:30 a.m. in the morning. P Street's The Commissary, an inexpensive and popular brunch place among DCites, had a 30-minute wait at one p.m.

My assessment: no evidence of the two million visitors yet. I expect they will take over the city on Monday. Honestly, I feel badly for all of the people coming. I think many are on charter bus tours that bring them into the city on Monday, and depart Tuesday. I would argue that the best events are on Sunday (the Lincoln Memorial concert) and Tuesday evening (the Inaugural Balls). Most visitors will miss these events, and spend most of their time in D.C. fighting for a cold spot along Pennsylvania Avenue Tuesday morning to catch a glimpse of the presidential motorcade.

For those not here, here are some atmospheric photos. Choc-Obama bars:

Carl's Barber Shop on P Street:

Obama "O" Cupcakes at ACKC Chocolate on 14th Street:

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