An article in Monday's Washington Post has been annoying Marnie to the point where I have to write about it. Actually, Marnie hasn't even read it. But she's listened to me get worked up about it to the point that the article has begun to irritate her.
The story is about the slew of residential high-rise buildings that have begun to line Massachusetts Ave. between Dupont Circle and Union Station. The article describes the buildings as being "block-fillers and often very drab" with "bland exteriors" that "feel as if they could just as well be in Ballston or South Florida."
Author Philip Kennicott writes that "building fast has generally trumped building beautiful," adding that "many of the buildings pay a bare minimal homage to the residential style of old neighborhoods in Washington."
(Full disclosure: I live in one of these Massachusetts Ave. corridor buildings.)
(And this may be one of those no-one-beats-up-my-little-brother-but-me things, since I too have been known to call my building ugly.)
Kennicott's story makes me angry because it sets an impossible standard for these buildings. He says that they have an "inexorable thrust upward," as if that removes the residents from the neighborhood itself. But indeed it has the opposite effect; high-rise buildings bring so many residents to the neighborhood that their mere presence gives nearby streets a vibe not seen in years.
He wants Massachusetts Ave. to be lined with a few cute little row-houses instead? As if real estate prices aren't high enough, single-family homes would have to cost zillions of dollars to bring in the same income these high-rise buildings generate.
Okay, Marnie. We can talk about something else now.