Archive for the ‘DC’ Category
“Looking into the Past,” by area photographer Jason Powell.
For this set, Powell found 53 old photographs of places in and around DC, printed them, then held each in front of its modern day vista to contrast life then and now. He also used Shorpy, a vintage photo site, to give some of the photos historical context. Thanks to Shorpy, we know, for instance, that the folks in this photo were looking at this.
There are so many things to note about these images. The lost style and grandeur of downtown DC. That hog callers used to hog-yodel on the Hill. The incredible historical moments born in this town. That Newsies really did exist. And that people used to walk their rabbits on leashes (?).
It’s amazing how close I feel to these old images because of how familiar I am with these places. Yet there is much I will never, ever know. Somewhere, too, I feel a sense of disquietude. I hope we’re doing you right, DC.
I saw him this morning descending a five-stair stoop on 17th Street, smiling big. He recognized me, but lowered his head and closed his eyes, thinking hard.
“Wyyy,” he began. “Wee … waahh … no, no, Weiss! Yes, Weiss.”
“That’s right!” I laughed. “Jessica. That’s amazing.”
The sun was strong and Paul had a job before him, but he sauntered over to me, laid down his bag and leaned on a stranger’s gate. He was eager to chat.
“You’re in … wait, I know … number nine over there, on 16th St. Yeah, that’s it,” he recalled.
I’d met him only once, about a year ago, when I was sick and home from work. Hands down the friendliest man I’ve encountered in the neighborhood. That day a year ago, we chatted for 20 or so minutes, as he inquired about my job, my interests and what ailed me. He told me he’d just celebrated his 61st birthday, and was feeling as good and strong as ever. I remember regretting that I wasn’t home during the day more often to chat with my sweet mailman.
“So I know Kocourek … um … Tara, doesn’t live with you anymore,” he said. “But how is ah … Davenport … yes, Candice Davenport!?”
I knew for a fact Paul had never before met Tara or Candice, my former or current roommate, and I was impressed beyond belief that he remembered their names from reading their mail.
Turns out Paul knows, off the top of his head, every single name and address of the 850 people whose apartments are “his responsibility.” And he tries his absolute best to meet everyone so he can know their faces, too. (He did concede he was just assigned a new block, so he’s got some learning to do.)
“It’s my job,” he said, with a guffaw. “I better know them!”
Can someone give this guy a medal or something?
He asked me if I’d graduated from Georgetown yet (!!) and when I told him that I had and that I was going to be a professional journalist, he gave me the low-down on the “famous” journalists and political folk who live within blocks of my apartment. CNN’s Peter Bergen, the first journalist ever to interview Osama Bin Laden, lives less than a block from me! Obama’s speech-writer lives next-door. Oh and now I know who the fancy shmancy lady who drives the black Lexus behind my apartment building is, too!
Paul was intensely gratified by how cool and amazing I found all of this.
“Yep, you know all this stuff when you deliver the mail,” he said. ”It keeps the mind sharp.”