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Spending Twenty Minutes at Union Row

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D.C. is filled with architecturally interesting public spaces. To get an idea of how people are using these spaces, Curbed writers are spending twenty minutes in a given location and taking note. Want to nominate a place for this series? Hit up our tipline. Here's what happened last night between 2:35-2:55 p.m. today at Union Row.

2:35 p.m. — The fun actually begins on this visit before entering the Union Row walkway, because a man in a wheelchair is explaining the following, "That's like giving me half a drink! And I'm an alcoholic. I want a whole damn drink, I don't want a half drink!"
2:36 p.m. — A man looks in the window at Crossroads He looks at a jacket and says, "$650?"
2:36 p.m. — Ah, the entrance into Union Row. Nobody is on the walkway leading away from 14th Street and the UPS man is the only one who looks like he's headed there. The Yes! Organic Market appears to be empty as the only thing staring from the windows are multi-colored bottles of liquid organic soap.

2:39 p.m. — The temperature drops about ten degrees only five feet underneath the shady overhang. There are two colors of bricks on the ground and a third on the walls of the (comparatively) high rise apartments. The sound of the traffic has also dropped a couple of decibels. Lights hang on wires that pass across the brick walkway and a glass bridge passes overhead. What an interesting little urban oasis.
2:41 p.m. — Well, the sounds of 14th Street aren't completely blocked out at only five feet in. I visually impaired woman carrying a white cane is arm in arm with a friend of hers. She's apparently the variety of visually impaired that allows for some degree of sight because as a man with a dog heads in the other direction she says to her friend, "That's Balto! Go steal her!" Her friend responds incredulously, "It's a DOG."
2:43 p.m. — There's a plaque on the wall of the apartment building saying that it was dedicated in 2007. A concierge stares inquisitively out of the glass window. A resident buzzes his way in.

2:46 p.m. — Beyond an alley leading from V to W is another brick walkway with individual entrances to smaller buildings and yellow doors. There are also two signs that say "Curb Your Dog."
2:47 p.m. — This door is seriously yellow.
2:48 p.m. — There are grated doors next to every two or three yellow doors. Looking through them, it's clear that they lead to parking spots behind the homes.
2:50 p.m. — Some sort of marble pointy nosed dinosaur sculpture is visible inside one of the windows. It's kind of creepy.
2:51 p.m. — The Row's resident gardener has been spotted! There are nine potted plants outside on the steps. Two thirds of those plants are dead. It's February, so it's more surprising that three thirds of the plants aren't dead.
2:52 p.m. — At the farthest end of the walkway is a gray asymmetrical pool with light fixtures on the bottom. The pool is empty, but it's probably a really cool water feature in the summer. The ivy on the wall behind it is probably also more exciting in warmer weather.
2:53 p.m. — There are still window decorations shaped like Santa Claus and a snowman on one of the windows. Again, it's February.
2:55 p.m. — A dog barks at me from one of the homes. Okay dog, you win. Time to go.


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