Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Taking to the Streets
No, not in the sense of causing a riot, but more just to witness how much quieter Washington has become since yesterday (it's amazing how quickly 2 million people can just fade away). During my lunch hour today, I took our intern and went walking down around the White House (conveniently located just three blocks from the office) so that she could see it for the first time -- and so that I could see what was going on with the man on the street.
Heading down to Pennsylvania Avenue and cutting across by the reviewing stand, I was amazed to find the crowd of folks mingling around the home was still pretty sizable -- even though the most exciting thing to watch was the crews already hard at work tearing apart the stand, the media platform, and all of the bleachers. The view of the north front of the White House was difficult to see because of everything blocking the view, but there were still a few points at the gates to the drive where you could slide up to the fence and peer through. I think a lot of the folks were hoping for a glimpse of the new First Couple, and who knows: maybe they would have gotten one later on. For the team being, they were still just reveling in the moment.
The walk took us down 15th Street and around to the South Lawn, where there was also a good number of people angling for the souvenir photographs with the White House as the backdrop. Unlike other visits, though, where folks have tended to be a bit pushy in trying to get to the fence, everyone was exceptionally polite and accommodating. And all of them were still glowing over the events that brought them to the city to begin with, and several were just lingering in the area, taking photo after photo -- seemingly afraid to stop for fear that everything would end up being a dream.