I have been lucky to have lived at intervals for some 7 years in Washington, D.C., or at any rate within the boundaries of the diamond-shaped District of Columbia before the part south of the Potomac (in yellow in figure 1) was returned to Virginia in 1847 to become Arlington county and the city of Alexandria.

Figure 1. Map showing the original boundaries of the District of Columbia. Library of Congress (District of Columbia and part of Maryland and Virginia
. [Washington?: s.n., ?, 1915] Map. https://www.loc.gov/item/80695242/.). Public domain.

Although I like some other places such as the OBX and Carmel-By-The-Sea, California, better for vacations, I think I enjoy Washington more than any place I’ve lived in the United States.

Figure 2. L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station in B/W. Washington, D.C. Photo: author.

An opportunity for what amounted to approximately a day trip from Scranton to Washington presented itself last week, and despite bitter cold (even by Scranton standards) I got out a little to see some favorite parts of the city (and something new, as well). I found myself in L’Enfant Plaza Metro station (figure 2) en route to Gallery Place and captured this image of the great cross-vaulted space that reflects the crossing of two lines.

There weren’t many people around, so the station was quiet, and the coffers in the vaults further damped the sound. I’ve always thought of the brilliant design of the Washington Metro stations with their crunchy 1970s brutalist goodness as evoking secular cathedrals. The underlit coffers heighten this effect.

Lucky for me, I only rode in and saw the old, humane Breda cars with their dark stripe at the level of the windows and occasional vestiges of colorful carpet that have escaped refurbishment projects—the floors are now all vinyl or something like it. The new Kawasaki cars, while cool in the summer and usefully supplied with electronic subway maps in the car, are all silver and glass and tonally cold and (if I may say so) horrible.

Anyway, I felt close to whatever roots I have last week, and the time spent in the Metro stations was among the best of it. The image I captured (figure 2) was my train, coming into the station and slowing down.

Nikon Z 7ii with Nikkor Z 24-200 mm f/4-6.3 lens.

Figure 2 = 2a. 24 mm, f/8, ISO 400, 1/8 s.

Edited with Luminar AI.

Bonus: original image with corrected white balance (figure 2a).

Figure 2a. L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station in color. Washington, D.C. Photo: author.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Scranton, PA

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