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Saturday, May 2, 2009

North Bethesda, Maryland Panorama

(click image for bigger)

On the extreme left, the building with the vertical brown and white stripes is The Forum, a high-rise condo which has been there since about 1970. For a very long time, it was the only one of its kind in this area. Suddenly the last few years have spawned lots more. The building to its immediate right is one of the new ones.

Further right is a huge gray building in the distance, trying to hide behind a small sign. That one's not a condo. It's part of the federal government's Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS. The federal government has a large presence in Montgomery County, which helps to recession-proof the local economy. Circuit City can fail, but the business of government must go on. In this area, it employs many doctors, accountants, researchers, lawyers, academics, etc. Nice work if you can get it.

On the other side of the stairwell is another new condo, irredeemably beige. It sits on top of a 24-hour Harris Teeter grocery store, with its own pharmacy and Starbucks. The treetops to its right hide a whole bunch of single-family homes. I live back there somewhere.

The large white building in the center is a bus garage belonging to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, or WMATA. It's pronounced "Metro", but I have heard WMATA employees on the station intercom using "Wuhmatta". It makes me want to say, "I dunno. Wassamatta you?"

To the right of this building you can see a new road being built. It opens Huff Court all the way from White Flint Mall to Old Georgetown Road. This helps to make the area more grid-like, relieving traffic on Rockville Pike, AKA Route 355.

Right of that is a low-rise condominium called Strathmore Court. Behind it are cranes erecting an office/shopping complex on Rockville Pike where a motel called Park Inn stood until a few years ago. The large gray and silver building to the right of the cranes contains the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as does the building next to it that looks like a tall black-headed robot. Between them you can see the NRC flag on a flagpole. It was a very windy day.

Between the NRC buildings you can also see parts of a couple of high-rise condos. The wide street is Marinelli Road, which connects Rockville Pike to Nebel Street without a stop light or stop sign the whole way. When I see this road, I think "Let's play Grand Theft Auto." Look at how wide the sidewalk is. You can definitely fit a car in there. If that's not enough, around the corner on Huff Court there's a "road closed" sign to smash through.

The white stuff on the pavement of the parking garage are from salt applied after a recent snowstorm. (I shot this on March 9, 2009.) In the background you can see three more high-rise condos.

You can see a famous local landmark, the Mormon Temple, from here-- just barely. Behind the bus garage, look for a pale yellow blob with a blue thing to its left. The blue thing is the front of a Home Goods store. Above it and a little to the left you can see temple's spires on the horizon.

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Reading List

  • Man Is Wolf to Man, by Janusz Bardach
  • Don't Swallow Your Gum! by Aaron Carroll & Rachel Vreeman
  • Instant Replay, by Jerry Kramer and Dick Schaap
  • New York, by Edward Rutherford
  • The Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson

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