The Bricks And Mortar Of Urban Voyeurism

In Washington, D.C., "siteseeing" has proved increasingly alluring as construction projects abound.
April 12, 2006, 12pm PDT | David Gest
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"...a large poster promises that after the [building] crusher is done pulling apart the slabs, a 'New Class A Office Building' will rise and bring 'value and eleganceâ€"a rare combination.'

'Value and elegance' have come to all four quadrants [of Washington, D.C.], invariably preceded by a deep hole in the ground. Some of the sites are ringed by high fences. Some have Jersey barriers and have taken over sidewalks. Most are lorded over by clusters of men in hard hats. All of them tug at our inner rubberneck. That’s why the flaps cut within nylon inevitably turn into a series of peepholes. The sidewalk becomes damn good orchestra seating. And the crane becomes just another monument on the skyline.

Most of us will never pick up a piece of rebar. Most of us will never mix concrete for a subterranean parking lot. Most of us will never enter these 'Class A' office buildings or luxury condos. These sites could be our only chance to glimpse their interiors."

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Published on Friday, April 7, 2006 in Washington City Paper
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