White House-DC

The Capital

Before visiting the capital for the first time in five years, I spent some time in Fredericksburg to the south via Amtrak. The small city is home to some who want proximity to DC but a more intimate sense of community. Riding Amtrak on one of the busiest rail corridors in the world I passed through Union Station in DC multiple times. Compared to New York Penn or Chicago Union which have been relegated to basements DC still has a grand station with pristine architecture and vibrance. Old Town Alexandria, just south of the capital, is another example of historical preservation.

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Metro

The Washington Metro is a relatively modern rapid transportation system, state of the art when it debuted in the mid-70s but starting to show its age now. The original railcars, well-known for their safety issues, are still in use. Growing up with this system I was able to enjoy it in its heyday when it was only 15 years old. It is definitely a system geared towards suburbanites, with lines snaking out into the suburbs and connecting to large lots and garages. The concerns about crime were thankfully not strong enough to prevent such a system for coexisting with the city. The large federal workforce of Washington has kept the system quite saturated with passengers. Like London and Paris, the Washington Metro is something a lot of tourists experience so it should endeavour to remain top-notch.
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The City That Never Sleeps

My first visit to New York in over 10 years, and was quite surprised by the changes that Manhattan has undergone. Times Square is a much friendlier place for pedestrians with the car free streets, a logical step considering the competition between people and cars. The subway was the main attraction I came to see, in order to research for school. The previous trip to New York had consisted of slogging through Midtown on a charter bus. Now I was zipping (relatively) through the city. Thanks to New York's population density I never had to walk far to find a subway entrance.
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Transit New York

After experiencing the CTA for six years and the Los Angeles Metro it was nice to head back east and ride the biggest subway in the country. New York is actually a mix of elevated and subway, which I was admittedly ignorant of at first (just like Chicago when I didn't realize there was a subway). The New York City Subway stands out in terms of how it is constant changing. The whole network is one giant web where trains go from one line to the next. The distinction between "Service" and "Line" is an important one in New York City. Anyone who says they're taking the Lexington Avenue line is going to be met with a blank stare unless they have intimate knowledge of the track infrastructure.

For whom the bell tolls

Bellingham is a city of 81,000 situated between the two great cities of the Pacific Northwest, Vancouver and Seattle. Though it is small, it certainly feels like a big city with a vibrant downtown, an active shipyard and large marina (rivaling Chicago, a much larger city), and access to the Pacific Ocean. It is quite cultured as well, and very in touch with the environment despite hosting a pulp mill in the past (arguably good riddance and an improvement to the waterfront when it left). Bellingham, like many cities, started as a collection of smaller towns that were eventually absorbed into one. Fairhaven on the south side has its own historic downtown with a plethora of amenities. Why some wanted to drop a steel frame and glass clad boating center in this area during a project of mine is still lost on me.

Two Whom the Bell Tolls

A day spent on Bellingham Bay and the beach, exploring this small yet active bay. After doing a plethora of research on the maritime industry, it was pleasant to see the new floating dry dock and shipyard at work. Bellingham is perfectly fine with keeping industry around while cultivating an environmentally responsible image; America can keep it clean without removing all heavy industry.