A Tale of Two Statues

This weekend I visited two statues in the District I’ve been meaning to see for a long time now.  Sometimes it takes an out-of-town visitor to make it happen, and luckily I had a great one – my friend and former co-worker Heather, who was visiting from Johannesburg.

There she’s known better as 2Summers, which is a fantastic blog about life in South Africa – but particularly about the under-appreciated city of Johannesburg. She calls herself a destination advocate, which is how I feel about D.C.

One of our destinations on this trip was Meridian Hill Park (also known as Malcolm X), for a photography session with some of the park’s eclectic statues. The one she was particularly interested in learning more about is almost hidden in the northwest part of the park, and is called Serenity.

It looks like a weathered, marble Greek goddess from antiquity, but it turns out she’s much younger – only the years have not been kind to her. And neither have Washingtonians.

2Summers communing with the Serenity statue in Meridian Hill Park.
2Summers communes with the Serenity statue in Meridian Hill Park. (Photo: Historic District)

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Searching for Swampoodle

What is Swampoodle?

That’s the question posed by Irish playwright Tom Swift and his director (and wife) Jo Mangan in their play of the same name, which premieres tomorrow night in Northeast D.C. at the old Uline Arena.

Beatles Poster
A poster from the Beatles’ D.C. performance

One might also ask, “Where is Swampoodle?”

That was the question posed this week by a colleague of mine when she coincidentally found the unfamiliar name listed on a map of D.C.

I’ve been intrigued by Swampoodle for months now, after a friend told me he would be acting in a play about a vanished D.C. neighborhood with a rather improbable name.

I was even more interested when he told me it would be performed in a now defunct coliseum that had once featured the Beatles, Malcolm X, and a host of other historic visitors to the District.

I sat down with Swift a few weeks ago to talk about how a pair of Dubliners became obsessed with a little-remembered Irish quarter thousands of miles away in our nation’s capital.

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