Phillip Hong
August 4, 2006
Many cities have a "Union Station". Toronto, for example, has its own Union Station. Not that copyright infringement or possible confusion mattered back in the day when these Union Stations were built, but each of these stations are unique.
Washington definitely presents a very different commuter centre than I would expect up north. In Toronto, Union Station was built for functionality. For Washington, their Union Station doubles as a tourist attraction. Great use of money, by the way.
Several levels of contradiction.
I can't help but wonder how Union Station could be seen in such a contradictory light. Whilst I looked up at the most beautiful sculptures near the ceiling, I then looked down to see a record store selling punk music. Opposites attract.
Should I be in awe about its spectacular ceiling, or its interesting selection of restaurants that include the North American favourites (McDonalds, Starbucks Coffee)? What I did was on the subtle side, a little troubling. I decided to sit at the rail lobby to watch the passengers go by.
It was then and there when I saw the Amtrak name in my own eyes. There was a ticket counter full of confused passengers. A lobby of people anxiously awaited to be called to their train. A signboard spoke volumes about the destinations these droves of people were heading to. It really makes me feel anxious honestly, though I certainly wasn't travelling by rail.
Observations and Conclusions
Whoever came up with the concept of a union station should give themselves a pad in the back. Of course, if they have already deceased, I give full apologies for not realising that.
It really is quite unusual to speak of a transportation hub as a tourist attraction. But for some reason, down in the capital of the United States, it can be. This won't certainly change my stance on how Americans view life and society, but it was quite an eye opener to see a mall, tourist attraction, and transport hub under one roof. That is most interesting.
Even when I look back to my trip down to Washington, I feel quite satisfied seeing one of the city's more flowery and optimistic places to hang out. Those teenagers in D.C. must appreciate their surroundings more.
For me, I came home with a happier man.
Briefcase Briefs features interesting places experienced first hand that are suggested for a quick visit.
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