Saturday, August 28, 2010

Just Where Is The Lincoln Memorial, Anyhow?

Air Transportation ExhibitImage by pvera via Flickr
Slashdot Politics Story | Just Where Is The Lincoln Memorial, Anyhow?: "'Searching Google Maps for the Lincoln Memorial is returning the location of the FDR Memorial instead. Conservative bloggers smell a conspiracy since Glen Beck is holding his 'Restoring Honor' gathering at the Lincoln Memorial tomorrow (August 28). Notes for the map listing on Google state 'This place has unverified edits'; so, did someone claim the listing and edit the location?'"
Let me tell you the extent to which this is simple, pure, unmitigated bullshit: you simply can't get lost looking for the Lincoln Memorial.

Here's Pedro's Guide to Not Getting Lost in DC:

  • Think of the DC Mall as a kite.
  • The kite's long axis is East/West
  • The center of the kite is the Washington Monument, you can't miss the thing, it is the tallest structure in the area.
  • The left corner of the kite is the Lincoln Memorial.
  • The line between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument has the Reflecting Pool and the WWII Memorial.
  • North of the center line, very close to the Lincoln Memorial, is the Vietnam Wall.
  • South of this line, relatively close to the Memorial, is the Korean War Memorial.
  • That big pool of water south of that line is the Tidal Basin, that big round thing by the Tidal Basin is the Jefferson Memorial. That is the South corner of the kite. 
  • Those trees around the Tidal Basin are the cherry trees. During Spring everyone goes batshit because they blossom and the whole thing is covered in white flowers. 
  • Somewhere between the East and South corners of the kite is the FDR Memorial.
  • The North corner of the kite is the White House.
  • The Right corner of the kite is the US Capitol.
  • Most of the important/coolest museums line the Mall between the Washington Monument and the Capitol:
    • If you are a nerd, your best bet is the National Air and Space Museum. It is on the South side of the Mall, pretty close to the Capitol. That's only half of the museum (and just a fraction of their insanely huge collection), you'll have to drive to the Dulles Airport here in North Virginia to see the rest. 
    • The red castle-like structure to the right of the Air & Space is the Smithsonian Castle.
    • The round thing between the Air & Space and the Castle is the Hirshhorn Museum. 
    • If you stay on the South side and keep walking towards the Capitol you'll eventually run into the United States Botanic Garden.
    • There's a ton of cool stuff on the North edge of the Mall, but I am always drawn to Air & Space, I just can't help it. 
  • Keep going past the Capitol and you'll find the Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress. Don't walk past that :-)
There's just an insane amount of stuff to watch. It helps if you like to walk, you are fit and you have hours to burn. Metro rail is not very helpful but it gets you to the strategic portions of the kite. For example, you can get off the train relatively close to the White House, which gives you a mildly downhill walk at least until the Washington Memorial. The Smithsonian station is very convenient to those of us addicted to the Air & Space. 

The most important thing to remember is the kite. If you remember the kite, and what lies at each of the four corners and the center, you'll always know where you are.