One of the best transformations of D.C. over recent years has been the revitalization of the waterfront areas, including a park along the Potomac River in Georgetown. Georgetown was founded as a port in 1751, and by the 20th century the waterfront had become an industrial site. In the 1980’s, a group of citizens started advocating for the D.C. government to donate the land to the Federal government, in exchange for the National Park Service creating a park there. The waterfront park was completed in 2011.
Standing on the riverfront, you can see the Kennedy Center and the Washington Monument in one direction, and Rosslyn and Key Bridge in the other direction.
You can often see people dancing or performing along the riverwalk:
There are all the usual water birds – gulls and geese and ducks:
Recently, we’ve been seeing a pure white domestic mallard:
If you leave your food unattended, the starlings will find it:
There’s a purple martin house right by the river, and it is fascinating to watch the martins fly at high speed along the Potomac and swoop into their house:
Lush bushes have been planted along the river, which are a favorite for a variety of birds:
The People and the Birds
Wherever there are a lot of birds, there are a lot of people who feed and interact with them:
The waterfront trail is a great place to run or stroll:
Boating crews are out most early mornings and late afternoons practicing along the river by the park.
There’s a large area of fountains, which are turned on it warmer months:
There’s a skating rink right by the river:
When the rink is not being used for skating, there are decorative fountains:
On the side nearest to Key Bridge, there’s a contemplative labyrinth to walk around:
There are several restaurants right along the waterfront. One of the notable restaurants is Fiola Mare (the Bidens dined there with the Macrons when the French President came to D.C. a few months ago). The restaurant has set up dining igloos by the waterfront path.
The Flood Walls
You may have noticed the columns as you walk along the riverfront, which appear to be purely decorative. They are actually a sophisticated flood wall system, where flood walls can be raised up from the pavement to protect the flood-prone stretch along the lowest elevation. It’s easy to predict when the walls need to be raised, because any flooding potential is first noticed much further up the river. There was one spectacular failure in 2011, where the property management company in charge of raising the walls failed to do so, causing massive flood damage to the restaurants and office buildings in back of the wall.