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BUILDING A BETTER CITY...BY DESIGN
MAY 4, 2007 12:59 PM

In case you are like me and had now idea that D.C. was one of those designed capitals (like Brasilia), then you probably don't know who Pierre Charles L'Enfant was. Long story short, dude was French but loooved America, became a "General" and was aked by George Washington to design a the new federal district.

Today, L'Enfant is best know as the namesake for tourist's and government employee's favorite metro stop on account of it being the main transfer station to get to the Smithsonian from Virginia and all the government offices located above the stop at L'enfant Plaza.

One exit of the metro stop let's you out near the national mall. There is another that takes you out into this underground mall and giant food court. This place is pretty much solely intended to meet the needs of the thousands of people that work in the nearby offices, as there is really nothing in the way food except for nasty hot dog carts and a few museum cafes on the national mall.

I met my friend there for lunch today* and we ate on what I think must be the actual plaza part of L'Enfant Plaza.


I had never seen the plaza before, which is kind of funny given that there is a huge glass pyramid in the middle. The plaza simultaneously reminded me of Robert Hughes' chapter on Utopia in Shock of the New, and the big patch of grass at GVSU's downtown campus.



On the way home I stopped and tried to take a picture of L'Enfant's grand design from one of the best viewing points in the city, but my camera work doesn't really do the view justice.


*I didn't get in until early this morning so I am backdating this entry


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