After nearly a month of rain, the sun is shining in Washington, D.C. and the humidity is high. This is more normal weather for mid-summer in this area. Georgetown in Washington, D.C. was buzzing with visitors and university students this afternoon. This is a part of the city I’ve come to know well since I first arrived here to attend the university many years ago. It’s always nice to see the townhouses of Georgetown with their interesting and sometimes quirky architectural details, ornate backyards surrounded by tall brick walls, the mature trees shading the streets, the great colors, and the tracks of the abandoned streetcars. There are memories everywhere in this area.
Later, after a bit of walking and shopping, it was time to duck into an air conditioned place–the market house of Dean & DeLuca–and have an iced coffee and sketch with some fellow weekend artists, while others nearby read a book or chatted with friends.
This historic red-brick building dates back to 1865 when it was constructed on top of the foundations of an even earlier 1796 structure – Washington’s oldest market, according to Architect of the Capital blog.
Running alongside it, on a passageway between M Street and the C&O Canal, is a dramatic green metal arcade covering a brick patio space where one can sit at any of the many tables. (One can see from the black-and-white photo of the market as it appeared in 1937 that this arcade structure did not exist then and is an addition to the market.)
It’s a great people-watching spot, and many of the sketchers today drew other people, either from real life or from their extremely rich imaginations. It’s always fun to see the artwork other people produce on these occasions, and to hear what they are thinking about art and the work that they do. The stories they tell are reminders, as if one needed any, that the times are very different today for many people than they were even a few years ago. Issues raised included the cost of a university education, living in Washington, D.C., and the contrasts with countries abroad that consider education and health care public goods and thus ensure that they are affordable. All in all, there was much “food for thought” after an afternoon spent sketching in a food market.