After the 1968 riots, 14th Street made a slow recovery. But in the past decade, it has really taken off. The flight to the suburbs that damaged city life for decades has slowed down. Younger people today, most raised in boring suburbs, want city life. They want to be where "it's happening." And 14th Street is it.
Twenty years ago when there was something BIG to celebrate (like a Redskins Superbowl victory), everyone would head for the intersection of Wisconsin and M Streets in Georgetown. On election night in 2012, the mob of mostly young people celebrating Obama's reelection assembled at the intersection of U and 14th Streets . . . not in Georgetown.
The 14th Street corridor has become a mecca for up-and-coming furniture shops, trendy restaurants, and clothing boutiques. Every few months there's an announcement of plans for construction of a new condo building.
So ,let's take a walk down today's ever-changing 14th Street.
Busboys and Poet's
In her remarks at the dedication, Liz paid tribute to the gay couple standing next to her on the podium. The actor/activist said that their financial contribution to the clinic had "made me look like a piker." Years later, I read that the older (and wealthier) of the two had been killed by his younger partner when he tried to end the relationship.
When Jim Graham became executive director of Whitman-Walker in 1984, my great pal Dusty Cunningham succeeded him as president of the board. The two of them worked (and fought) together to transform Whitman-Walker into one of the nation's premier organizations in the fight against AIDS.
Earlier this year, I wrote a tribute to Dusty who died of AIDS in 1988.
The man at the podium is Jeff Ackman who back then was president of the Whitman-Walker Clinic's board of directors. Dr. Ackman recently was named dean of the George Washington Hospital's School of Medicine.
Back to my walk.... I headed down 14th Street, looking forward to my lunch entree at Le Diplomate. They aren't open for lunch on weekdays. At least I got to take a picture of this bust of a fellow -- I was told -- who was the first winner of the Tour de France. I guess in those days they biked in suit and tie.
Lili stayed at the Thomas Circle residences for only a few months before she died. But, being Lili, she had tried many of the 14th Street restaurants, and Pearl Dive Oyster Palace was her favorite.
Here it is. But as you might guess from its empty sidewalk cafe, it wasn't open for weekday lunch, either.
Fortunately right next door is Rice, a good Thai restaurant I've been to several times . . . and it's open for lunch. Luckily, I got there just before the kitchen closed at 3pm.
After this late lunch and -- for me -- long walk, I hailed a cab. Half an hour later, I was in bed for my afternoon nap.
I enjoyed the lunchtime walk. I'll no doubt do it again in another neighborhood.