Returning to the nation’s Capital after 15 years was like retracing the footsteps of my youth. After graduate school in Connecticut, I moved to the Washington, DC area where I spent ten years growing up and learning how to navigate the world and survive a city. Recently, my 25-year reunion had been canceled at Gettysburg College, but some of us decided to still return to DC. While I came to revisit my past, I revisited America’s history.
Upon landing, immediately memories flooded back as an old college friend in town from London picked me up in the evening and whizzed us by the Washington Monument obelisk, shrouded in surreal smoke like a Munsch painting. The west coast fires had followed me. A longstanding Washingtonian, she always took pride in showing me the Nation’s monuments and reminded me as we passed a statue of Reagan that locals call the airport just “National.” As we approached Upper Northwest, the once familiar scene of rows of historic Victorian homes looked just as I remembered with the National Cathedral glimmering like Chartres in France.
“It is sometimes called the City of Magnificent Distances, but it might with greater propriety be termed the City of Magnificent Intentions.” – Charles Dickens
As we crossed the city to K Street I checked into the new Hotel Eaton, a second property after a Hong Kong location conceived by Katherine Lo, a filmmaker and anthropologist. A recording studio greeted me in the lobby adorned with records of black artists. Just past check-in, video art related to white privilege caught my eye while a “fugitive broadcast” ran positive black images. Off the lobby, a “radical library” stuffed with hundreds of books focused on race and inclusive narratives while the ceiling decked with a black and white newspaper art installation represented the last 40 years of the DC music scene – from punk to gogo to hip hop to rap.
Read the rest of the article on LA Travel Magazine – Holiday 2021 Edition.