With Claire Danes on the red carpet at our afterparty for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
A friend of mine who has lived in Washington for 20 years recently recounted a pivotal moment in his life—one that took place when he was a new transplant to the District. He came to DC to work as a young intern on the Hill, filled with gusto and an eagerness to change the world. His soon-to-retire boss, jaded and exhausted, scoffed at his idealism and hunger, offering up this snarky forecast: "If you work in Washington for more than three years," he said, "you’ll end up hating the job you came here for, but you’ll stay in DC for life."
This curmudgeon proved to be the Nostradamus of the Potomac; my friend quit his post after four years of service to a crazed congressman, but he had fallen in love with Washington and has since become one of its staunchest champions—a regular cheerleader for all things DC.
Our capital city is filled with a million stories just like this one. That’s because one thing rings true from K Street to the Hart Senate Office Building to the streets of Georgetown: Despite the pointed intensity that pervades—and, perhaps, maddens—many of the folks who work within the District's halls of power, Washington as a place of residence retains a certain charm that pulls people in and keeps them here. This phenomenon has become more pronounced in recent years as our city has developed into a world-class metropolis people are proud to call home.
What for years was a transient city has transformed into a welcoming place of neighborhoods and tight-knit communities; people are putting down roots and staying here to raise children and enjoy retirement, with the excitement of DC surrounding them. When I was a child growing up in and around Washington, the District was a commuter or tourist destination; people did business or visited monuments during the day, then quickly left as the clock ticked 6 PM. As an adult, I am happy to bear witness to Washington's modern renaissance—between the bustling restaurants, nightlife, and arts scenes, it is a much more lively place even after the sun goes down.
I encourage you to make like a tourist and explore a little. Washington has so much to offer year-round, and the long summer days mean more time to plan a little fun in the sun.
Follow me on Twitter at @sarischaff
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIEL SWARTZ/HADDAD MEDIA (NICHOLLS)
Celebrating the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner at Carnegie Library.