photo compliments of The Washington Post
I went to sleep late last night and couldn't believe all of the damn firetrucks racing around last night, sirens blaring on and off for perhaps an hour. Then it hit me as I walked down 8th St. towards the Eastern Market metro stop and there it was, the Eastern Market building suffered a tragic fire.
Eastern Market was what people talk about when they get all misty about the possibilities of a city. It was a place where people came not merely to gather necessities or shop for frills, but rather a place where people came to see and be among each other.
Walking back late tonight from work, the smell of charred wood and smoke greeted me as up I reached the top of the escalators at the Eastern Market metro stop. Taking a slight detour away from 8th, I wanted to see the damage up close. With the cops having roped off the streets around the building Market, the firetrucks and various pickup trucks loaded with burnt debris lined 7th street and it was a somber setting. Those having a late-night bite at Tunnincliff's (Tunny's for Capital Hill locals) outdoor tables, opposite the building, were carrying on their conversations but with faces of disbelief.
The title of this post comes from one of the commenters on Mark's piece. I couldn't agree more, Eastern Market is the primary reason I enjoy living in Capital Hill so much. The actual market (yes, that's where I bought the turkey for ubiquitous turkey sandwiches) and what the market represented for the community, a gathering place, will be sorely missed for the immediate future. We can only hope that reconstruction of Eastern Market ramps up fast and that the food vendors and artists that create the community of Eastern Market can return to the canopy area or to a closed-off 7th Street outside the building.
Do your part by donating to the Capital Hill Community Foundation and supporting the vendors and artists as soon as they return. And let's visit Eastern Market this weekend to show our support.