In the Metro

U Street Metro station
Canon PowerShot S95

There is some disagreement over whether the Metro stations in Washington, DC, are Brutalist in design. But it’s hard to disagree that they are distinctive.

On our recent vacation in DC, we stayed in Maryland (because hotels in DC are stupid expensive) and rode the Metro everywhere. It worked out great. The trains were clean (though well worn) and on time.

Photography, Travel

single frame: U Street Metro station



17 thoughts on “single frame: U Street Metro station

  1. reminded me of some of the modern Moscow underground stations.
    I also tried the Washington DC metro when I was there in 2007, and I remember I wasn’t impressed, can’t tell why though. It’s functional and that’s what it was built for.

  2. Andy Umbo says:

    U Street! I hope you went to Ben’s Chili Bowl near the Lincoln Theater, a Saturday lunch stop for me when I lived in DC.

    I have to laugh at Ivan’s comment above, he must not have much experience in mass-trans culture in the United States! Washington DC is about as good as it gets and I rode it every day when I lived there (Portland Oregon is pretty good too). I just completed a move back to Milwaukee from Indianapolis, partially because they have over 35 bus lines that run 15-20 minutes apart “on peak”; I have two within a block of my apartment and one runs right downtown and up the lakefront to UWM! I’ve already met people in my building that haven’t owned a car for more than a few years…Indianapolis was a mass-trans disaster, mostly because people don’t want to get out of their cars and fund “real” mass-trans, so the buses are sporadic and very few actually routes (altho they ‘claim’ multiple routes because they’ll have extensions on either end of a line that run off and on based on time, so they’ll claim one route is actually three). The “over-an-hour” wait time between buses doesn’t help either…

    Anyway, I was listening to a national radio show where someone was saying the number one identifier for getting people out of poverty was mass-trans; and yet many U.S. cities continue to under-fund it and seem to have no problem with poor people driving barely safe, falling apart cars with no car insurance to get to their 9 dollar an hour jobs!

    I remember when a city person felt that unless they had a viable mass-trans option, it really wasn’t a city! I grew up on the north-side of Chicago one black in each direction from bus lines, and three blocks in each direction from two different “el” lines.

  3. Dan Cluley says:

    I’m curious what you would call that if not Brutalist? That certainly would have been my pick.

    It’s a nice photo, and shows one of the strengths of digital cameras. My most recent visits to DC were pre-digital and my Metro photos are either kind of grainy high speed B/W or murky color.

    • I call it Brutalist to be sure, but as I did a little light research on these stations I learned that some claim this isn’t pure Brutalism. And yes — digital really does give us good photographic options that film just couldn’t. My Canon S95 goes to high-ish ISOs with minimal noise.

  4. DougD says:

    Neat shot, love the texture and perspective.

    Might need to pick your brain on DC someday. We’ve done NYC, Philadelphia and Boston, but DC is still on the list.

    • Oh, I’m no expert. I’ve done all the touristy things. The Mall and the sights/museums around it are great and you can spend a few days just doing those things.

    • Dan Cluley says:

      As Jim says, you could fill most of a week just doing the standard attractions around the Mall.

      My two standard tips are:

      Plan at least one evening on the mall. The monuments after dark are a totally different experience.

      Everybody goes to the same places (with good reason) but hit at least one thing that isn’t on the A list. I recommend a tour of the Library of Congress (a fabulous restored historic building) or a visit to the US Botanic Gardens. Both of these are within a block or two of the Capitol, but not on most people’s radar.

      • Andy Umbo says:

        Here’s another tip, we always went to the art museum on the mall late on Sunday because no one is there, try a few hours before closing….also impossible for me NOT to go to the portrait gallery, it’s off the mall, but as a photographer, one of my favorite museums. I would go all the time when I lived there…

  5. SilverFox says:

    Great shot Jim, I do like the stations on the DC subway (only visited once though). Regarding Ivan and Andy’s comments; if you want an appalling transport system just come to LA :D

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.