Much of Washington D.C. was quiet this weekend. One Smithsonian employee said that the tourists have been sparse this year because of the pandemic and that most have gone home in recent weeks because of school starting.
Traffic headed into the city was light while there appeared to be a mass exodus going in the other direction. It was like everyone else left so we could have a private tour of the city nearly all weekend.
Chinatown seems like a place that should be bustling on a normal Friday night but even this area was relatively quiet in some ways. While there was a line outside a new sushi place, Nichola’s favorite family owned restaurant was empty when we went in.
The food and service were excellent so it was worrisome to see how little business they had aside from some takeout orders. I hope that this isn’t the trend for them these days especially since Nichola remembers a time when you could hardly get a table.
Washington’s Chinatown was historically much larger and more densely populated but today amounts to just a few hundred residents. The surrounding area is gentrified with a number of restaurants, high end stores and museums. It has the feel of a neighborhood that is struggling to hold its place in an ever changing world.
Yet, it is powerfully colorful and vibrant in its own way. I admire the shapes and colors found here as well as all the signs and the Chinese Gate built across the street. Incidentally, it’s called the Friendship Gateway, a collaboration between D.C. government and their sister city Beijing. We were there for just one evening and consequently missed all the little shops. We agreed that we’ll have to visit again and spend some time perusing their wares.
The neighborhood has a metro station, making it affordable and easy to access from nearly anywhere in the city. It’s well worth a stop if you’re in town.