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 of what they see. Want to nominate a place for this series? Hit up our tipline. Here's what happened today between 11:30-11:50 a.m. by the Friendship Archway in Chinatown.
11:20 a.m. — The beautiful light based artwork above the exit to the Chinatown metro has always been intriguing. The orange, red and blue lights always half feels like it should be at the Metro Center station. The red glowing dot at the center looks like an omniscient red eye in some sci-fi movie.
11:21 a.m. — The plaque on the wall says that the art is called Glory of the Chinese Descendents. It's now more apparent that this is a fan. Good to know. A future Hidden Memorial subject?
11:24 a.m. — There's loud classical music playing on the street level. It's really unclear from whence it's coming. The gym? The restaurant? There aren't any street performers out and that's not what they would be playing.
11:25 a.m. — There's a scattered crowd of people ostensibly waiting for the bus. At least, they're all staring at 7th street but none of the six of them are near each other or the street.
11:26 a.m. — It wouldn't be an extended time downtown without a siren. In this case, it's an EMS vehicle. Three people pass by speaking in French.
11:27 a.m. — Two people pass by speaking in English this time. They're probably in their mid-twenties. The man tells the woman, "It feels too early for me to be here." Meanwhile a guy with teal headphones walks around the corner with four dogs. Four.
11:28 a.m. — The colorful jumbotrons above the station exit are part of what has earned this area the criticism for trying to be Times Square. There's a voice emanating from the jumbotrons. The ad is for Fundrise.
11:29 a.m. — a group of three people stand by the Friendship Archway with two stands full of pamphlets that say "What Has God Done For You."
11:30 a.m. — Church bells ring. Weird that this would happen on the half hour. There's a church at 8th and H Street NW, so it's probably from there.
11:31 a.m. — Three soldiers in dress blues and a man in the suit walk to the corner and look around aimlessly. A man in a red Downtown DC jacket asks if he can help them. They admit that they don't know what they're looking for other than perhaps a place to eat. The guide confirms that yes, the Potbelly that used to be around is gone. The man in the suit says, "Well, this is Chinatown. Where's the Chinese food?" The guide gives several options on H Street heading toward 6th. The man in the suit is particularly amused by the name Wok & Roll.
11:32 a.m. — Shockingly, no one has taken a photo of the Archway yet. Let's fix that.
11:35 a.m. — There's a bus parked that still has its destination as Anacostia Station. Interesting as it's pointed west. It must be about to turn around.
11:36 a.m. — Nope. It starts moving and it's still heading west. What a weird route.
11:38 a.m. — I hear "Please walk faster" coming from the street. A very large group of older elementary or young junior high school children are crossing the street with chaperones in a single file line.
11:39 a.m. — They made it across right as the red hand stops flashing. That's legitimately surprising considering the number of people in that group.
11:40 a.m. — A couple speaking in a language that I did not recognize (Tagalog, maybe?) ask me to take their picture in front of the Friendship Archway. They tell me that they're visiting from Orlando.