Tag Archives: southwest

An Understated Tribute to Sacrifice: the Women’s Titanic Memorial

D.C. is home to dozens of memorials, many bursting with grandeur and stateliness.  But some of the most poignant moments that our city offers are found in the lesser-known memorials that are more off the beaten path.

One of these is the Women’s Titanic Memorial, located along the southwest waterfront at approximately 4th and P SW.  It was erected by the female survivors of the sinking of the Titanic, to pay tribute to the men who lost their lives in order to save women and children.

The monument is comprised of a figure wrapped in a billowing shroud, with arms up and out (not unlike Kate Winslet’s iconic pose in the movie “Titanic.”)  The inscription notes that the statue is erected by the “Women of America,” and movingly, the back reads “To the young and the old/the rich and the poor/the ignorant and the learned/all who gave their lives nobly/to save women and children.”  Almost all of the 1,514 people who lost their lives in the ship’s sinking were men (1,352 altogether).

Originally located at the southern end of Rock Creek Park, it was funded and built by the Women’s Titanic Memorial Association in 1931.  It was moved to its current location in 1968 to make way for the Kennedy Center, and is one of dozens of memorials across the world to pay tribute to those killed in the disaster of the Titanic.

One of the best things about this memorial is its location.  It is located at the end of the waterfront pathway—technically the Southwest Waterfront Park—which ends just as Fort McNair begins.  It is a quiet, contemplative spot, framed by rows of trees planted when the waterfront was at its heyday as a bustling commercial center.  And the view is across an arm of the Potomac of the green and lovely Hains Point.

Although it was a British liner, the Titanic was carrying many emigrants seeking to call America their new home.  And thus, while a quiet tribute, the Titanic Memorial fits in well with the ethos of our historic city, one that honors and remembers those who helped our nation become what it is today.

To visit:  A 10-minute walk from the Waterfront metro stop, or the red line of the Circulator stops nearby.

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Catch of the Day at the Maine Avenue Fish Market

The Maine Avenue Fish Market, a collection of seafood joints located on barges in the Potomac River, is a grimy, fun, hidden gem that features some of the most authentic food and people-watching in the District.  Open continuously since the early 1800s, the market is located under I-395 on approximately 12th and G SW.

A half-dozen vendors make up the market, such as Captain White’s, Jessie Taylor Seafood, and Evans Brothers for dessert.  The main attraction is the wholesale seafood, displayed on ice in copious quantities.  Chesapeake Bay blue crabs (of all sizes and genders) are ubiquitous, and it’s not hard to spot faves like rainbow trout, swordfish, and octopus.  More exotic catches, like gigantic freshwater shrimp and shark, can also be seen.  Be aware that only some of the seafood is local, the remainer being shipped from various other locations across the country and the world—just ask the employees, who are friendly and willing to talk your ear off about fish.

Also entertaining about the market is the fact that you can order up anything to eat right there on the harbor.  Oysters and clams on the half shell are only $1 each, or you can select crabs to be freshly steamed.  A healthy selection of sides are available to suit the non-pescetarian vegetarians amongst us, such as French fries and hush puppies.  And as would fit a true Maryland attraction, there is a comprehensive set of condiments for the seafood that includes large jars of Old Bay.  The price is right, making the market the source of some of the cheapest seafood in the area.

The Maine Avenue Fish Market, which was razed in the 1960s and nearly discontinued, is crowded and smelly, but it’s downright local.  As a friend of mine said, “it’s like Seattle’s Pike Place Market  before it was gentrified.”All different sorts of folks end up at Maine Avenue, with large families in tow on the weekends, and that diversity is the best thing about the place.

To get there:  Smithsonian or L’Enfant Plaza metros, or SW Waterfront Circulator.  Hours unclear, but generally dawn ‘til dusk.

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