Friday, June 01, 2007

A Tale of Two Cities

Although every city has diversity of areas and populations, I remember reading that Washington, DC is the tale two of two cities. We have a bigger income gap than any other state (richest fifth is 27x as wealthy poorest fifth, whereas nationwide the richest fifth is 10x as wealthy). And while half of the population here has a college degree (whereas only a fourth of the general population has a college degree), DC is also infamous for its struggling education system.

The events that I've been these past two nights do a good job symbolizing these two sides of our nation's capital city.

At the Nationals game with the DC Bruins, I remember David saying that RFK stadium represented every negative generalization about DC: Run-down, old, slow, and bureaucratic. Though the company I was with was enjoyable, the stadium itself was horrible-- especially after going to Camden Yards. Not in the best part of town, RFK stadium is dilapidated and neglected. The will-call office had an absurd time figuring out how to distribute our tickets, giving tickets to the wrong people and losing the tickets of people who already paid. Once in the stadium, ATM machines were rare even though none of the food stands took card. I spent a good 20 minutes standing in line trying to get cash, while at least 3 people infront of me couldn't get the machine to work. On the bright-side for DC, the Nationals beat the Dodgers despite being shut out the previous two nights.

Today was a different experience. After work, some people from law school met up at the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden for a free outdoor jazz concert. Everyone was out dipping their feet into the fountain, picnicking on fine food and drinking Sangria. The other side of DC: brainy, young, lively, and full of free cultural offerings. I don't know another city in the US, or world even, that has as many free museums, concerts, screens on the green, and even a free zoo with a panda baby.

This summer I'm giving myself permission to be a tourist and explore all parts of DC. I have to do something to fill in all the hours when I'm usually stuck in my apartment reading cases.

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