Tuesday, February 28, 2017

All Aboard

Working out in Central Park. 3:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017. After a cold windy Sunday night, Monday was sunny and mild and the temperatures  in the high 50s. The forecasters are starting to admit that Spring will be early (or already is).

Coincidentally JH was in our nation’s capital over the weekend visiting family and friends, and reported that it was rainy down there on Saturday and “warm” and sunny on Sunday where he witnessed the cherry blossoms starting to bloom. On Saturday he had drinks and dinner with our former Washington Social Diarist, Carol Joynt, where he caught up on the latest news. He also made some visits to some of the sites and museums and with his camera in hand. And this is what he saw and noted (putting politics aside):
On the train trip from New York, a road I rarely travel, I was surprised to see the various views through the lens of Amtrak depict graphic scenes of urban and industrial decay.
Union Station, Washington, D.C.
The view of Capitol Hill upon exiting Union Station.
A pit stop at the Rosewood Washington, D.C. before heading out for a quick walk around Old Georgetown.
Looking west along the C&O Canal in Georgetown. The National Park Service is in the process of revitalizing the Canal, hence the absence of water.
Looking east along the Canal.
Dining al fresco along 31st St.
Looking west along M Street.
Georgetown traffic.

5 Congress at Oak Alley in Old Georgetown. The building, now occupied by a florist, dates to the late 1700s and reputedly was constructed from Brick which had been used as ballast in a ship from England.
A short walk around Old Georgetown, which showed signs of early spring.
Preparing a cigar before the deluge.
Back at the hotel, the rains came.
Rooftop views with the Washington Monument in the distance. That's the Watergate at Foggy Bottom on the right.
Looking south towards the Potomac River and Theodore Roosevelt Island.
A visit with Carol Joynt, our ex-Washington Social Diarist, now Guest Producer for Hardball with Chris Matthews. Here she is posing at home with her 8-year-old parrot Ozzie. The leopard runner on her stairs is from Stark and a homage to CZ Guest, "where the leopard was everywhere."
On our way to The George Town Club, we ran into Carol's neighbor, JT Taylor, who was on his way home from running a few errands. JT serves as Senior Policy Analyst at Hedgeye Potomac Research. He previously served in government as Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative Sue Myrick (R-NC), and senior aide to Secretary Jack Kemp during both the 1996 presidential campaign and during his tenure as Housing Secretary under President George H.W. Bush. There's not enough room here to do the rest of his resume justice, so let's just add biking enthusiast to the list.
Taking in the sunset on our walk over to The George Town Club.
The front entrance to The George Town Club.
Gatekeeper Joseph with members of the staff greet us at the front door.
The view of Wisconsin Street from the second floor of The George Town Club.
The upstairs dining room where Carol conducts "The Q & A Cafe." Carol recently interviewed Andrew Sullivan in this room.
DPC, whether he knows it or not, will be a guest on "The Q & A Cafe" in May. Date to come.
A romantic corner table in the dining room.
We snuck into another room of the club and were very much taken with an illuminated Roman soldier. For more back story on The George Town Club, read Carol's Washington Social Diary from 2013.
Then it was on to dinner at one of Carol's favorite restaurants in town, Chez Billy Sud. It is owned by brothers Ian and Eric Hilton who have created a bit of a night-life empire in DC.
The dining room at Chez Billy Sud, which was packed a few minutes after this photo was taken. We ate early.
My main course: Herb crusted tuna, white bean tapenade, orange, picholine olive, fennel.
Carol's fries (she couldn't wait; can you blame her?) We forgot to photograph the rest of the meal as the food was not on the table long enough (my onion soup and Carol's mussels). Executive Chef Brendan L'Etoile stopped by to say hello and when we told him how good (and authentic) the food was, he was lovely and effusive.
We continued the night at Bar à Vin, the wine bar next door (also owned by the Hiltons) connected by a dining patio.
A view out the front window of Bar à Vin. According to Carol, JFK kept one of his mistresses in one of the town houses across the street.
The view towards the bar.
It's all top shelf at Bar à Vin.
JH's vodka martini and CJ's vodka with a splash of grapefruit juice.
We met Nam who keeps things running smoothly (while keeping the vibe very cool) at Bar à Vin.
Nam reserved a space for us in front of the wood burning fireplace. He even kindled the fire for us.
JH and Carol sitting by the fire, photographed by Nam.
CJ back at home. Time for bed. Ozzie saw me out.
Back into the night for me.
Awoke on Sunday to sunny skies. Here's M Street again ...
And a couple sunny views along the canal.
Another quick look around old Georgetown to capture a few early spring vistas in sunlight.
Next stop: The National Air and Space Museum.
I went specifically to see the "1903 Wright Flyer," pictured above, and the Spirit of St. Louis.
This is the actual plane built and flown by the Wright Brothers in 1903. The fabric covering was replaced in 1985, hence the newer appearance. The flyer made four flights, the best covering 852 feet in 59 seconds.
The Spirit of St. Louis.
On May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh completed the first solo transatlantic flight in history, flying his Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis 3,610 miles between Roosevelt Field on Long Island and Paris, in 33 hours, 30 minutes.
When Lindbergh landed at Le Bourget Field in Paris, he became a world hero who would remain in the public eye for decades.
The cockpit of Spirit of St. Louis. Lindbergh's subsequent U.S. and Central and South American tours in the Spirit demonstrated the potential of the airplane as a safe, reliable mode of transportation. Notice that there is NO front windshield so visibility was limited to the side windows!
Not until the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969 was the entire world again as enthusiastic about an aviation event as it was when Lindbergh landed his little Ryan monoplane in Paris.
The West Building of the National Gallery of Art, directly across the National Mall.
The Capitol Building.
The Washington Monument. There are dozens of food trucks surrounding the National Mall.
Multiple generations enjoying the Mall.
The National Archives Building from a distance.
David Smith, Cubi XXVI, 1965, at The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden.
Roxy Paine's Graft. In 2011, Roxy exhibited three stainless steel sculptures in Madison Square Park.
Tony Smith, Moondog.
House I, Roy Lichtenstein.
The Ice Rink at the National Gallery of Art with the National Archives Building behind.
Looking towards the Washington Monument and the National Museum of Natural History.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture.
A walk along the Georgetown waterfront.
Looking north towards Water Street, under the elevated Whitehurst Freeway.
Sitting along the Potomac.
Geese, ducks, and sparrows waiting to be fed.
Potomac Seagulls sweep in.
Walking along Washington Harbour.
A quick stop at the wonderful Phillips Collection in Dupont Circle.
Taking in the Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party.
The Rothko Room, which holds four paintings, reflects Rothko's preference for exhibiting his art "in a scale of normal living."
There's a wonderful Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition, which opened recently, with an extraordinary collection of iconic and rare prints and posters from practically the entire period of Toulouse-Lautrec's lithographic career.
I also popped into Arlene Shechet: From Here On Now. Shechet's sculptures in ceramic, porcelain, and paper are exhibited across five galleries.
Upon leaving The Phillips Collection I noticed a few more magnolias and cherry blossoms about to explode along Embassy Row.
Embassy Row was eerily quiet.
Back on Amtrak, homeward bound.

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