Nice Washington DC photos

April 3rd, 2012

Some cool Washington DC images:

Kuya George (Washington DC)
Washington DC
Image by ~MVI~ /broken camera 🙁
Hiding in the shadows of the Washington National Cathedral is a statue of George Washington. It was dark and I’m finding it hard to take a shot until one of the ushers came. "You should come back at 9 am," he said with a twinkle in his eye. I did and took this photo as light from from the glass stained windows fell on the American nation’s father. Somehow, a brother got to know another even in the dark…

FDR Memorial – Washington DC – 00037 – 2012-03-15
Washington DC
Image by dctim1
Looking west at the waterfall in the third "room" of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C., on March 15, 2012.

Just visible to the right (the lighter-colored panel in the wall) is the inscription "I have seen war. … I hate war." — which comes from Roosevelt’s public speech in Chautauqua, New York, on August 14, 1936.

The memorial was designed landscape architect Lawrence Halprin and dedicated on on May 2, 1997, by President Bill Clinton. It’s spread over 7.5 acres (3.0 hectares) of West Potomac Park. (Roosevelt was an avid conservationist. Fittingly, West Potomac Park is made up of silt dredged from the bottom of the Potomac River from 1880 to 1911.) The main entrance is at the north end, although just as many people enter from the south end (walking along the Tidal Basin from the Jefferson Memorial).

The memorial consists of four roofless, outdoor "rooms" created by gigantic blocks of rough red South Dakota granite. Each "room" represents one of Roosevelt’s terms in office, and each room has a waterfall, inscriptions, and sculpture. The first room’s walls are more smoothed and the blocks of stone aligned, and the waterfall is small, smooth, and quiet. The subsequent rooms express the increasing complexity of Roosevelt’s presidency as depression and war intruded. The stone becomes less smooth, some blocks of stone are misaligned or jut from the walls; in the third room, massive stones actually lie in the center of the space, tumbled on top of one another. The waterfalls become larger, more complex, more chaotic.

Interestingly, the waterfalls were designed to be played in. But the National Park Service, deeply worried that someone would slip and fall on the algae-covered rocks, quickly banned people from doing so.

Out of respect for Roosevelt’s own disability, the entire memorial is wheelchair accessible. All the sculptures are meant to be touched, and the second "room" contains a huge wall "quilt" of images — an artwork known as "Social Programs" — that depicts the people Roosevelt helped (with Braille inscriptions describing each one next to the panels).

Stonecarver John Benson did the granite inscriptions seen throughout the memorial. Here’s a list of the sculptures in the memorial, along with their creators:

* "Prologue" – By Robert Graham, this is the life-size sculpture of Roosevelt in his wheelchair which stands in front of the main entrance to the memorial.

* "Presidential Seal, 1932" – By Tom Hardy, this is in the "first room" and depicts the Great Seal of the President of the United States as it existed in 1932 at the time of Roosevelt’s first inauguration.

* "First Inaugural" – By Robert Graham, this bas-relief panel in the "first room" depicts an image inspired by film footage taken during the first inaugural parade.

* "The Fireside Chat" – By George C. Segal, this sculpture in the "first room" depicts a man seated in a chair, listening to one of Roosevelt’s radio addresses (the "fireside chats").

* "Farm Couple" – By George C. Segal, this life-size sculpture in the "second room" depicts a farmer standing next to his wife (seated in a chair) in front of a barn door (with the upper half of the door open). It symbolizes Roosevelt’s commitment to saving American agriculture.

* "Depression Bread Line" – By George C. Segal, this sculpture in the "second room" depicts six life-size male figures stand in a line to get free bread. The men face west, and it is just a few feet west of "Farm Couple."

* "Social Programs" – By Robert Graham, these 54 bronze panels on a wall and four pillars in the "second room" depict the social programs Roosevelt enacted.

* "Funeral Cortege" – By Leonard Baskin, this bas-relief bronze panel in the "fourth room" depicts the funeral of Roosevelt in 1945.

* "Eleanor Roosevelt" – By Neil Estern, this life-size statue of the First Lady stands between the "third" and "fourth" rooms. Placed in a niche, it depicts her later in life in a cloth coat, the Seal of the United Nations behind her and to her left. It is the only depiction of a First Lady at a national memorial.

* "Fala and Franklin D. Roosevelt" – By Neil Estern, this slightly larger-than-life statue in the "fourth room" is based on depictions of an aging, sick Roosevelt at the Yalta Conference. His cloak masks the chair in which he sits. (If you look closely at the back of the statue, you can see that the chair has wheels, although it is not a wheelchair.) Roosevelt’s faithful Scottish Terrier dog, Fala, stands beside him.

In the "third room" — the room dedicated to the war years — is a massive tumble of granite blocks. Inscribed on a block tilted against another are the words "I Hate"; the block on which this is tilted contains the word "War." This sculpture (for that is what it is) is the "I Hate War" piece. Its placement and design was by Halprin, and Benson carved the words. It was inspired by Roosevelt’s 1936 "I Hate War" speech, given in Chautauqua, New York. A longer inscription from the speech is on the stone wall next to the waterfall.

It should be noted that the Estern sculpture, as originally planned, more prominently featured Roosevelt in a wheelchair. But this was changed because various project overseers said Roosevelt had not been depicted in a wheelchair in public.

Disability advocates strongly criticized this decision when the memorial opened and there was no image of Roosevelt in a wheelchair. The National Park Service permitted disability advocates to add a sculpture near the memorial’s entrance, which is the "Prologue" statue by Robert Graham.

Memorial designer Lawrence Halprin applauded the move. He said that Roosevelt loved debate and discussion, and rarely made decisions himself but rather ordered his subordinates to "hash it out" and come to a decision. Halprin said adding the sculpture is a true memorial to Roosevelt, for it exemplified people of good will coming together in disagreement but forging a compromise that will allow everyone to move ahead.

Washington DC
Washington DC
Image by citron_smurf
The bridge connecting Foggy Bottom to Georgetown

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