[NTLK] [OT] Bull Run, D.C. memories...

From: MKow1234_at_aol.com
Date: Thu Dec 16 2004 - 04:59:18 PST

Hello Ed and Laurent,
Mere mention of the Smithsonian and Bull Run rekindled some memories for me:

I spent the summer of '91 living in Centerville, VA, while serving a research
internship at the Smithsonian (NMAH) and the Library of Congress. The 'Mall'
was always crowded with summer tourists. You couldn't beat the price, free
museum admission, courtesy of America's taxpayers. Everybody seemed to always
hit the Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of American History, and
of course, the Air and Space Museum, but some of the other attractions were
less crowded: Hirshorn Art Museum, National Aquarium, etc.

I conducted research and served as a communications liaison with various
government agencies, the results of which were used to help create the "Science in
American Life Curriculum Project". It would have been nice if it would have
led to a full-time job, but the East Coast Establishment proved a tough nut to
crack. It's just as well, because it was a very PC environment to work in;
they seemed to regard people from the Midwest -- even large cities, as a bunch
of oat farming hicks! The people at the Library of Congress were much cooler
(never thought I'd think a librarian was cool). One nice aspect was receiving
security clearance to roam the off-limits floors in search of specific
scientific and historical research materials. All of this research required lots of
walking around town (even back then, parking was enormously expensive) and
getting the hang of the Metro subway system took some effort. The Metro trip from
the last stop on the line to the Smithsonian Mall took nearly an hour each
way. I filled lots of notebooks and read the Post to pass the time. A Newton
would have been invaluable. A folding mountain bike, too! Sigh...

The very muddy looking Bull Run Creek flowed near my rented flat. In my
spare time, I did a great deal of cycling (foolishly, I brought a road bike with
me and left the mountain bikes home). I remember the traffic volume and the
nearly complete absence of pedestrian pathways made this area EXTREMELY
DANGEROUS! Trying to avoid car-death, I looked for places to ride 'safely'. I
discovered there were dirt paths along Bull Run, and I used my ancient Schwinn road
bike as a cyclocross vehicle. Looking back, I guess I was lucky not to go over
the handlebars and break my neck. I can still picture in my mind homeless
people sitting in ratty overstuffed arm chairs underneath an overpass/bridge,
fishing for carp and catfish along my cyclocross trail route. The whole crappy
pedestrian access experience had a strong impact on me, and I now write proposals
and work with municipal officials in the Detroit area, to create new urban
recreational resources.
Thanks for letting me share.

Warmest regards,

Matt K.

"Laurent, you and me both...I'm always saying I'm going
to go, but...oh well...Heck, I haven't been to the
Smithsonian museums since highschool either!
Washington Monument? nope, Bull Run Park? uh-uh...I
haven't even been to Getty'sburg either!
I got a lot of living I've got to do!
web/gadget guru"

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