Monday, July 05, 2004

JULY FOURTH: Rain Doesn't Cancel Fireworks, Encourages Drinking

While Sunday's intense rain cancelled the traditional grand parade on Constitution Avenue, things dried up enough for the fireworks to go off without a hitch last night. While thousands poured onto the Mall to take up prime viewing spots near the launching site, I was out near Fort Meyer, on the grounds of the Netherlands Carillon, which, along with the Iwo Jima memorial, provides an impressive vista of the city.

There were numerous parties on Meade Street, across from the memorials. There was even a giant beer pong table set up in front of one apartment complex, as if the approach to the Iwo Jima memorial was fraternity row in College Park. But the drinking and tailgating on Meade Street wasn't in preparation for a Hokie football game, it was to celebrate the nation's 228th birthday.

An overzealous Senate staff assistant on a unwarranted power trip yelled at partygoers to leave the premises to proceed to the fireworks a half hour in advance. Unfazed by the demands, we stayed to enjoy some more drinks. At 9:08, we walked through security and took a prime position with ease, as the first shots went up.

No Problems With Metro. I was pleasantly surprised as to how efficient the subway was last night. During large events, riding the subway can be equated to sending cattle to the stockyards. I even transferred at Metro Center twice with ease, and had seats on my entire journey.

But there was one Metro transit police officer at Metro Center on the Glenmont-bound platform who was yelling at passengers as if they were Marine inductees at Parris Island. That's not good for WMATA's cheery public image, especially for visitors to the city.


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