We have had a tumultuous relationship, filled with ups and downs, highs and lows. I scoff at your dysfunctional city government and woefully outdated metro system, and wonder if I will ever find a good bagel on a Sunday morning.
I didn’t want to love you; and yet, here we are.
It turns out you are so much more than your reputation for political gridlock and petty power games. Complex, quirky and sometimes confusing, you meld the stature and significance of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln with urban renewal and a modern cultural renaissance. You are a melting pot of rich and poor, local and carpetbagger, Yankee and southerner, liberal and conservative, all of whom have descended upon the capital city to revel in your power and pursue large-scale change.
There is no denying the significance of where we stand – our politicians may embarrass us, our Congress may be ineffective, but there is no denying your importance. We, the people of the District, know too well that the backroom deals and happy hour wheeling and dealing are, in fact, the center of the world stage. And that’s why we embrace the good, the bad and the ugly, knowing you don’t always take yourself so seriously.
You’ve become a hipster haven, complete with craft cocktails, DIY pop-ups and handlebar mustaches. Still without the edge of New York or the innovation of San Francisco, you have grown into your own personality. You embrace your stately architecture, passionate citizens and political significance while pushing the limits of creativity through art, food and music. What was once a land of transient politicians has become a place filled with hidden gems and secret coolness, one for cozying up with world class coffee; showing off both high-end and edgy, new art for free and a trendy DIY vibe; and scavenging for hip décor and fashion finds, all while walking in the footsteps of our most important leaders, activists and artists.
D.C., you continue to surprise us all. Perhaps clean up the political messes, but otherwise don’t change. Or better yet, continue to change the way you do and come into your own. Though, legitimate bagels would really be a welcome addition to all this positive change.
About the author: Nicole Cavino is an aspiring globetrotter who has lived in California, Europe, Haiti and New York. A government worker bee by day, her time outside the office is spent traveling, writing, gardening and exploring the District’s hidden gems. She resides in Washington, DC with her husband and daughter.