Carfree Day in DC: Sept. 18

Florida c. 1976 © Stephen Crowley

Florida c. 1976 © Stephen Crowley

On Tuesday, September 18th, we will celebrate the first ever DC Car Free Day, unanimously endorsed by the DC City Council. This is an opportunity to reconnect with the city, exploring new neighborhoods, and taking advantage of transportation choices. Going carfree on September 18th will give you the opportunity to join your neighbors from all over the city as well as the metropolitan area who are signing up to leave their cars at home and travel to work by train, bus, bicycle, walking, roller-blading, etc. Use this time to time to read the paper, think about all of the money you could save not owning a car, get some exercise, and feel the wind in your hair on your way to work. Take a look around at the city where you live and work, instead of the annoying bumper stickers on that car in front of you.

Saturday, September 22 is World Carfree Day which will be celebrated in over 1500 cities around the world, including many in the United States. Join us for events on 17th St NW and let us know what you’d like to see happen on this day. Dynamic, creative, funky ideas will not be disregarded. See what we’re planning so far here, and let us know what you’d like to see in this space by Sharing Your Plans. If you have some time to spare, contact us and let us know what you can do to help!

BTW, our new Mayor Adrian Fenty rocks. In addition to ditching his security detail, he chose to solve the problem of how to get to the press conference announcing car-free day by hopping on my old line the #52 metrobus to Cardozo High School. His administration is modeled in part on the Bloomberg administration in NY. One difference? While both Mayors Fenty and Bloomberg take the metro and subway system, Mayor Fenty does not have his private town car drive him the few blocks from domicile to subway station.

Also interesting, the District is second only to New York in the percentage of residents who use public transport and leads in the percentage of citizens who walk to work.

So now is the time to walk the walk, literally. No cars next week! Maybe now you can even use that extra square of toilet paper without guilt.

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Quotable: Brooks Jensen and Edith Wharton

An unlikely couple I know, but one can find nuggets of wisdom everywhere. Brooks Jensen of Lenswork has really interesting podcasts that I enjoy listening too while I’m bludgeoning myself working on the computer. In his May 14 podcast he muses on instant artists, citing Bonnie Raitt’s Grammy acceptance speeches, “I’m a thirty-year overnight success.” Brooke’s admits his old-school preferences, he quotes, “Instant coffee is a punishment for people who won’t take the time to learn how to make coffee properly. Instant artists are the same sort of punishment on society. There are of course exceptions, but as a rule I find I’m generally more interested in people who have earned their success.

This from Edith Wharton’s forward to her autobiography, A Backward Glance: “In spite of illness, in spite even of the arch-enemy of sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways.” She basically says all you need to know in that sentence so you can skip the rest of the book.

So, when you are berating your lackluster career, just remember: slow start, long hang time, strong finish . . . Brooks will respect you more for it, if not the curators of the Whitney biennial, and Edith has given you something to chew on so you can bask in your glory with sentience and without disintegration.

Save the Date: Photographer talk Sept. 29

© George O. Jackson de Llanos

George O. Jackson de Llano a Mexican American photographer whose snapshots of long-held festivals in Mexico will open in a large show at the National Museum of Natural History. Jackson de Llano will stop by to discuss his journeys and discoveries over the decade-plus that he shot the indigenous communities. The show of his work opens Sept. 26. The talk is Sept. 29, at 2:20 pm in the Baird Auditorium, 10th and Constitution Avenue NW. 202-633-1000. And it’s free!