I'll never forget my first impression of Washington, DC. When I moved here the first time I flew into Baltimore-Washington International Airport and we took the BW Parkway into the city... as we cut across NE and NW to get to Alexandria, Virginia, where I lived initially, the first thing I noticed was how urban... how old... and how colorful the city was. It seemed every other row house was painted some obscene bright color... none of the colors would have made it past the suburban homeowners association, I was use to. This was the second year of Mayor Anthony Williams 8 year reign. On a daily basis I passed the White House and the US Capitol and never gave either of them much thought. I looked at the monuments as tourist traps that were preventing me from getting to where I needed to go. Other than on September 11 or the time I planned an event in the US Capitol rotunda... DC was just another city.
But this second time around is different. Every day on my way to and from work I pass the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House... and many other landmarks. Each time I take in the beauty of what this city has to offer. The city has definitely changed since 2000... thanks to Mayor Williams the city has gentrified and new condos and retail outlets are popping up everywhere, replacing those colorful homes and their colorful residents. The city is now a mix of old row homes, repurposed factories and schools, and new contemporary condos. DC is definitely one of the most eclectic and unique cities in the US... and I am glad to be back in DC and appreciate it this time around.