Dupont in Detail: All Roads Lead to the Phillips

Washington, D.C., has always been a great city for walkers–rich with monuments, parks and circles, streets wending gracefully from one vibrant neighborhood to the next. It should come as no surprise that in 2011, Washington was ranked in the top ten most walkable cities in the United States, (seventh), with the Dupont Circle neighborhood coming in as its most walkable neighborhood. For countless people, both in and out of Washington, The Phillips Collection is one of Dupont Circle’s highlights, and for many of us who work at the Phillips, the walk to work through the manifold seasons of the year is a beautiful way to start the day. The walks are varied, both in topography and timbre, provenance and pace.

My days begin with the sun illuminating the tall chimney of Garnet-Patterson Middle School and glancing off the windows of Duffy’s Irish Tavern below. At this time of year, the new cold air paints the sky in morning’s amaranthine waves. I walk the first block down Vermont Avenue and turn right onto U Street, where art abounds in many forms.

Photos: Martín Paddack

Photos: Martín Paddack

The U Street neighborhood is nearly as alive in the morning as it is at night. Duke Ellington grew up here, and I often think of him along this walk and how everyone’s syncopated footfalls, strides, and toe-taps at the corners could play counterpoint to his music. There is a nice mural of Duke Ellington by Byron Peck on the west face of the True Reformer building on U Street, where Duke Ellington had his first paid performance. Across the street, I pass Ben’s Chili Bowl, already filling with customers at the early hour and sometimes snap a picture or two for a tourist. Then it’s past the famed Lincoln Theater to the corner of 13th and U. Here I always glance to the right to admire the peaked rooftops of the old Victorian homes that colorfully line 13th Street.

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Dance in Dupont

A couple of weeks ago, we revealed that the Degas + Dupont mystery involved an opening day dance with our friends at The Washington Ballet, Urban Artistry, and members of the public who learned choreography through online videos and joined in spontaneously. Now you can relive the experience (without the drizzly weather) with the Dance in Dupont video:

A Degas Mystery, Solved

Adrianna helps get the crowd excited for Dance in Dupont. Photo: Brooke Rosenblatt

What happens when you add Degas’s dancers to Dupont Circle? Dance in Dupont! On Saturday, the Phillips, The Washington Ballet, and Urban Artistry celebrated the opening day of the Phillips’s fall exhibition Degas’s Dancers at the Barre: Point and Counterpoint and the ballet’s season opener The Great Gatsby with original choreography performed by Washington School of Ballet students and members of the public who learned the dance from videos online. Phillips blogger Brooke Rosenblatt caught some of the performance on tape.