20 Oct Washington DC Chronicles (10-10-15)
As a DJ many people only look to me for inspiration on the dance floor but as a conscious Black Man in America I find myself in a position to act when i see injustices happening. This was the reason that over a hundred thousand people met enthusiastically in Washington DC to discuss the path we need to take for Justice and liberation. That being stated this blog entry is NOT a detail of the things discussed but just the account of my traveling to the capital and the explorations I had. Ya dig?
I and two of my close friends decided to drive to DC instead of flying as it would save money(my friend drives a Prius) and allow us to talk and bond as brothers. Great idea except what was supposed to be a 14 hour drive from Miami to DC ultimately became a 19 hour drive due to flooding that had knocked out I-95 in South Carolina. After a long night and day of driving we made it to DC at about 7:30PM, just in time to catch the end of the Thursday night Happy Hour at a local pub called The Front Page. Woooooo! They had Coronas(not my favorite beer) for $2 and all their appetizers for $3.50. Since happy hour ended at 8 we took the gentlemen’s approach and after finding a table, each of us went to the bar a secured a round(9 beers total) and order several appetizers for us to share. I gotta admit, the food came out fast and we did quite a bit of damage in 30 minutes.
After the massacre of food and drink we decided to do a lil night time exploring and went by the White House(not as big as I thought), China Town and another spot(unnamed) where we had some drinks and I whooped my homeboys ass in giant connect 4. We were pretty much beat from being on the road so long so after a lil more loitering downtown we headed to JP’s brothers’ crib to crash for the night.
I wanted to do some exploring so after having my morning beer and eating breakfast the gang headed to take in some sights. We first stopped at Howard University and toured the campus. As an HBCU alum I always look forward to checking out other Historically Black Colleges and seeing one of the oldest(established 1867) has always been on my bucket list. After a 30 min walking tour of the campus we also hit up the bookstore and grabbed some nalia to prove our visit was legit.
Afterwards we headed to see some of the monuments. The Lincoln Memorial, and Korean War Memorial were cool but the most important to me was the Martin Luther King Monument that was completed only 4 years prior. Carved from a single stone it stands 30 feet tall and is the first African American monument erected near the National Mall. It was truly beautiful and humbling to not only look up at the statue but to see the droves of Black families out there with the parents explaining its significance to their kids. Unfortunately the rain caught up with us shortly after arriving at the MLK memorial and we had to high tail it to the car to find some grub. Satisfied with last nights initial meal we headed back to Front Page for a few drinks and some more pub grub!
After heading home and changing clothes we went out to see the town and kick it with the locals. We had a reservation at a low key speakeasy called The Gibson where we grabbed a quick drink before meeting up with some friends at another spot called Sotto near 14th Street and Corcoran where we were treated to a dope DJ and had great conversation with a group of people we met. The bartender was a world class mixoligist and made my first ever Sazerac. At the end of the night I got a great surprise as we stopped at a diamond in the rough restaurant called The Fast Gourmet, inconspicuously located inside a Valero gas station on the corner of 14th and W Street. Upon entering the gas station we were transported to a 5 star restaurant / neighborhood club, complete with blaring music and women scantly dressed as if they had just left the actual club(I’m sure many had). Boasting a huge variety of salads as well as several delectable looking deli sandwiches, this place is a culinary gem that sure to pop up on the list for any foodie traveling to DC. I left completely satisfied for less than $15 with extras to be heated up in the morning.
This is the day we anticipated so we hopped on the train from Silver Springs MD where we were staying and headed to The Capital Building. There are many accounts about the massiveness of the crowd and the gravity of the speeches but I’ll just say personally it was an empowering and educational day filled with a sense of shared brotherhood and a common connection with the thousands of people who journeyed from all parts of the globe. I meet people from other countries and discussed motivations and ideas for improving not only living conditions but also the consciousness of the Black community. It was truly one of the most enlightening days of my life!
Post march we needed some grub so one of my friend John took us to a spot downtown called The Hamilton on 14th Street that he used to frequent when he lived in DC. It’s famous for having high profile government officials and celebrities as guests as well as live music in a lounge called The Loft. We were too early for a show but the food was nothing short of immaculate. The servers here are all about the details and do everything in their power to ensure each guest enjoys their experience. I can’t wait to go back to DC so I can check out one of their critically acclaimed shows. I hear it makes an excellent date night.
Later we headed out to absorb a bit more of the city (U Street in particular) but this time every place we tried to get in was packed to capacity! Finding a parking spot was almost impossible and when we finally got a spot it was a long walk from the area we were headed to. We walked around and took in some of the vibrant nightlife but the oddly cold temperature wasn’t an ideal setting for walking outside so we called it a night early and headed home around 1am. Of course a late night meal was necessary so we ventured back to Fast Gourmet for one last rendezvous with world class food at fast food prices. Seriously, I can’t say enough about this place.
Washing DC was full of surprises and had a lot to offer since I last visited when I marched in the 1993 Presidential Inauguration Parade with TSU. This time around I had plenty of time to truly take in the history and architecture that makes DC a beautiful. I’m planning another trip so I can tour The Smithsonian, specifically The National Museum of African American History and Culture, set to open in 2016.! Should be interesting. What was your favorite part about DC when you visited? Comment below if you think I missed any attractions and I’ll be sure to include them on my next visit.