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What the Thunder Said January 25, 2006

Posted by KG in DC.

Has Rosslyn ever been nice, something other than a conglomeration of bland silver highrises, bad-to-mediocre restaurants, and commuters?  There’s really nothing redeeming about it other than Ray’s the Steaks and our regular A100 happy hour.  It’s just an awful edge-city like mass that rises suddenly ahead of you as you walk down Wilson and disappears just as quickly.  

Like most masses of corporate hell, Rosslyn does have its share of mysteries.  Take, for example, the Spectrum: has anyone ever actually been there?  It’s got one of those great-in-an-awful-way 80’s logos, but unless the preceding picture was taken quite recently it seems “Defending the Caveman” has been playing there since the title was literal.  And how does that one Afghan restaurant stay open, not to mention the horrendously overpriced Tivoli and the random New Orleans restaurant I have literally never heard anything about?  The location alone means that their rents should, by all rights, be astronomical.  And who planned the random public art works? The Iwo Jima, the Netherlands Carillon, the arrow sculpture, and so on don’t beautify the landscape as much as they emphasize the sterility of the area, its lack of soul.  

People have long argued that DC in general is a blank slate of a city, soulless and bland.  I’ll be the first to disagree: there are plenty of spaces in the city with personality to spare (sometimes the local residents will lend you some personality.  Just remember that in some local slang “personality” means “holes in your chest”).  But on minutes of crossing the Potomac into NoVa, you hit Rosslyn: the closest thing DC has architecturally to the modern skyscraper masses of most major cities, but still the emptiest part of the area.   Interesting, how the city loses its soul once you leave.

(and yes, much of the same can be said in a similar way for Bethesda… but Rosslyn is just so, so much worse.)


1. the G. - January 25, 2006

confession: i have not only been to the Spectrum, it was to see this:


Weird on so many different levels, I know.

2. tom - January 25, 2006

I donno. Rosslyn is mostly bleak, but there are enough exceptions that I don’t think it wins the title — plus it’s within walking distance of actually livable neighborhood.

Crystal City is about as bad as it gets in NoVa, if you ask me.

3. Kanishka - January 25, 2006

Yeah, Crystal City is rather dire as well — but I can’t judge since I haven’t spent as much time there as I have in Rosslyn. And really, we’re splitting hairs — they both exemplify what not to love about NoVa.

And yes, I am tacitly acknowledging that there is something to love *shudder*.

4. apples and oranges - February 9, 2006

Drive south down the GW parkway instead of going West into the skyscrapers – first view DC monuments, then once you are past the blip of the airport and Alexandria, the parkway is much less soul sucking than the skyscrapers to the north, and George’s Mount Vernon at the end of it to boot. South of Alexandria the parkway is one of the prettiest places to drive in the spring time around here…

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