The Countertop Chronicles

"Run by a gun zealot who's too blinded by the NRA" - Sam Penney of

Monday, March 29, 2004

Cherry Blossom Time Is Here

As I stated earlier, today was absolutely gorgeous. Defiantly another one of the ten best days of the year. At lunch time it was clear and sunny, in the upper 60 to low 70s, with just the slightest of breezes. Tired from a hectic morning, I decided to take a stroll across town and check in on the action at the White House (where the new NATO members were being introduced) as well as checking out the Cherry Blossoms. I left the office, dressed in my suit but without the jacket, and armed only with my digital point and shoot camera, took these pictures.

This is at the corner of 16th St, N.W. and H. St. This fully bloomed cherry tree is in the front yard of the Hay Adam's hotel. The Hay Adam's is one of the more famous hotels in Washington, hosting foreign dignitaries and leaders of industry since the early 1900s. That's St. Johns Church in the background. It was built in 1816 by Benjamin Latrobe who also designed the White House. Every President since Madison has worshipped here, and I work with a women recently elected to the vestry who tells me she sees the President (and the previous Bush) quite often at Sunday Service. Lafayette Park and the White House are just across the street to the right.

On one side of Lafayette Square are various executive offices such as the Council on Environmental Quality, Office of Faith Based Initiatives, and the Office of AIDS policy. The block also houses the Renwick Gallery and Blair House. The other side houses the red brick building of the Court of Federal Claims and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. I spent an inordinate amount of my time in private law practice in this building. Its the most unique, and I think civilized, bar in D.C. and maybe the Country (I am not a member of the Supreme Court yet, so i can't compare to that).

LaFayette Park itself was very nice.

I mentioned earlier that President Bush welcomed the new members of NATO to the White House. Of course, whenever there is any event at the White House there is someone to protest it. These guys are Albanians ticked off at Fatos Nano,the current Albanian "leader for life" who led Albania out of the civil war the followed the fall of communism. Of course, according to them, he did so with his fist and by suppressing Albanians freedom of speech, and apparently freedom of photography as well. In any case, they were some of the better behaved protesters in D.C. this week.

Cherry Blossom time is also the official start of the tourist season. I was thrilled to see my first D.C. Duck Truck of the summer today. My son's 2nd birthday is in a couple of weeks and along with a trip to the zoo (which we do rain or shine), if the weather is nice were going to take him on a D.C. Duck ride. Sshh, don't tell him, its a surprise.

Of course, summer time and tourist season also means hordes of school kids, bad dressers, tour buses, incredibly bad dressers, and tour buses. Ask any Washingtonian what they dislike most about D.C. and the tourists are bound to be at the top of their list. I myself don't dislike them, and am thrilled that people from all over the country can so easily travel to the seat of their government and petition it for change or simply look at the national treasures we all own. In recent years, D.C. has emerged as a world class destination city, along with Paris, London, Rome, New York, and L.A. The mix of visitors from all over the world gives it a vibrant feel and for that I am thankful. What I don't like though, are the vendors hawking overpriced tourist trap crap and the really bad dressers. D.C. has enough bad dressers on its own, we don't need anyone else wearing sneakers, knee high socks, dumb and loud t-shirts, or obnoxious flower patterns.

The actual cherry blossoms are gorgeous.

The Tidal Basin

There were a large number of people out on paddle boats in the Tidal Basin. I've always wanted to kayak into there during the peak (and on the 4th of July), but I guess I will have to wait till next year.

Not a lot of people have seen this yet. Its the new World War II monument. Its set to open Memorial Day weekend. At this point, I was running behind and didn't have time to get closer shots. If its nice later this week, I'll try to post some. I wasn't happy when they started construction of this memorial. Like many others I had my doubts about the location and its impact on Lefant's grand design. However, from what I have seen, they really have created a fitting monument.