Monday, May 7, 2007

Touristy-Type Tips


If you're coming to D.C., do not miss this statue of Albert Einstein. It's my favorite one in town. In a city of formal statuary, it's the most informal of monuments, and wholly true to the spirit of the man it's dedicated to.

The statue is in the garden of the National Academy of Sciences. The picture above does not do it justice.

After you've visited the Lincoln Memorial and the Viet Nam Veteran's Memorial, it's directly across Constitution Avenue, but if you aren't looking for it, you probably wouldn't see it.

He looks so grandfatherly that you almost always find a kid (or adult) sitting in his lap, once you get there.

When you visit in person, he's sitting amidst all sorts of greenery. The platform his statue is on is full of various sized metal studs. Their positions on the platform represent the stars in the sky on the date the statue was dedicated.

Rumpled sweater, sandals, a sketchpad with E=MC(squared) (sorry, I don't know how to do superscripts in in HTML), everything about this statue is right.

It's was done by the sculptor Robert Berks, the same artist who executed the bust of JFK at the Kennedy Center.

Speaking of which, don't miss the Kennedy Center either. To really appreciate it fully, you should see a show in one of the building's six public performance spaces. Even if it's just one of the free concerts given on the Center's Millennium stage at 6:00 p.m. each evening, it helps make the place a real living memorial to President Kennedy, and not just a huge marble building that looks like a Kleenex box or a tiered wedding cake. (No, Edward Durrell Stone IS NOT one of my favorite architects.)

Unlike the Einstein statue, tho, it's not near much of anything else, so you have to plan to include it in your visit. It's worth it.

It IS across the street from the Watergate, but the Watergate is just a complex of office buildings, condos, a hotel and a bit of retail shopping, so it's kind of anti-climactic for anyone expecting to see something associated with the Nixon-era scandal that bears its name.

I've been here since I came for college in 1980, so I've got a lot of experience showing folks around my adopted hometown.

If you're coming to town, just ask; I'm full of touristy-type tips. (Go ahead, try saying touristy-type tips three times fast.)

Peace out.

7 comments:

mielikki said...

great timing on this post, I'll be in town Wednesday hee hee. I'll be glad to check out Einstein, and the giang kleenex box. (You do know thats how I'm going to refer to it,too.)
Thanks!

evil-e said...

I was last in DC in about 1998. Me and my friends purposely tried to find the hotel room where crack-master Berry was busted.

I will have to keep an eye out for the Albert Einstein statue the next time in DC. I was an art major in college and I do recognize the name Robert Berks.

David in DC said...

Mielikki: I was hopin' I'd get this up before you came. I remembered your mentioning you were coming in May.

E-e: Regrettably, Former Mayor- for-Life Marion Barry's career has followed the sad narrative arc of of noble to heroic to tragic to farcical.

I don't think it's still called the Vista hotel.

I'l keep postin' touristy type tips now and again.

Babybull40 said...

Great post.. If I ever decide to go to DC.. then I will be sure to check these places out..

ANON1 said...

WE WANT TED!

David in DC said...

BabyBull: Thank you. Like I said, I'll keep posting DC-area Touristy Type Tips from time to time.

Steak sauce: Got new stills of Ted and NEW VIDEO as well.

Just havin' trouble finding time to get em' downloaded from camera to puter and then video to YouTube.

Monkeyboy is my technical support consultant in these things and a nine year old has a very busy schedule.

dmarks said...

David, it's pretty clear that there is a demand for more Ted that needs to be met. Given your location, perhaps you can go over to the Department of Teducation and get a nice $500,000 grant so you and Monkeyboy can build the state-of-the-art studio you need.