yours, tiramisu

memorial day weekend in dc

Before moving to NYC I looked forward to being (relatively) close to other major Northeast cities, like Philadelphia, DC, and Boston. And I'm happy to say that I took advantage of this proximity by visiting DC this Memorial Day Weekend with a few friends. I was right in that DC isn't far from NYC, but getting here wasn't the cheap train ride I imagined it would be. Amtrak fares vary wildly but seem to average around 100,soweoptedtotakeaMegabushere(30?, 4.5 hrs) and take Amtrak back ($80, 3.5 hrs).

I first visited DC more than a decade ago, but I remember so little of it this might as well be my first time. I'm struck by how green the city is, especially coming from New York. There's trees and green spaces everywhere, and all the greenery relaxes. The calmer pace of the city helps too—I expected it to be way busier this weekend for Memorial Day but so far it's just been lively and not crowded at all.

To me, it seems like DC is a city best seen on bicycle. The cycling infrastructure is some of the best I've seen, with protected bike lanes everywhere. The pedestrian infrastructure isn't bad either, but things can be kind of far from each other and the subway did not go where we needed it to go. We've walked more than 20,000 steps (around 8 miles) each day we've been here, despite our best efforts to reduce that with subway and Uber. The good news is that Uber here is cheap; we have taken a few 3-5 mile Ubers for $10-20.

The architecture here is diverse and easy on the eyes; residential areas teem with gorgeous colorful brownstones. Like in New Orleans or Charleston, I could spend days walking around neighborhoods here and looking at houses.

NYC does do some things better than DC, though. Other than the convenient public transit, I also miss NYC's straightforward grid system. The road system here consist of diagonal streets and avenues, with a naming system that is not nearly as easy to learn. The streets seem way nicer to drive on than in NYC, but it makes it harder to figure out where you're going.

I also miss NYC's hole-in-the-wall eateries. Maybe NYC has spoiled me, but DC feels like a food desert in comparison. What good options exist here are quite expensive and not very diverse, and the majority of places to eat downtown seem more gentrified and less authentic than their NYC counterparts.

As I've gotten older I've tried harder to plan more artfully for vacations, by researching the necessary logistical details ahead of time but leaving enough in the air to allow for serendipity. Instead of planning out everything I want to see and do beforehand, I try to ask and listen to locals' recommendations more. And Saturday night I got a lovely reminder why. We wandered into Old City Market and Oven (522 K St NE, Washington, DC 20002) after our Airbnb hosts recommended it as "the best takeout pizza in the area". I had my doubts, since pictures of their pizzas on Maps didn't look the most appetizing, but I'm glad we took a chance—their artisan pies made from scratch were delicious! As if that weren't enough, the basement of the store had an upright piano, electric organ (both free to use, believe it or not), and tons of vinyl records.

Objectively, I am having a great time here in DC. There's not been much to complain about other than some rain. But even though I'm on vacation I feel like I can't escape the deep unhappiness inside me and the stress from work. I used to be able to take up Pascal's famed challenge and sit quietly in a room alone (and enjoy it, too), but that superpower has deserted me in the past few weeks. Perhaps if it was so easy for me to lose, I never really had it anyway.

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I got some "fan mail" recently! This email really made my day. Blogging can feel like shouting into the void sometimes, and hearing from readers is always a pleasant surprise. Thank you so much to everyone who's reached out, really—you all help keep me going.

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Food

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Attractions

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