This not very large as for DC building houses the most powerful American Federal institution which administers more grant dollars than all other federal agencies combined. Its budget exceeds $580 billions (58 and 10 x 0) that is more than GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of, say, Russia, Netherlands, Switzerland or Belgium. Only in top 14 countries the total value of final goods and services produced in a year (GDP) exceeds budget of this single Federal institution.
FBI? No, it costs only $4.3 billion.
CIA? No, it's $26.7 billion (well, in 1998).
The Department of Defense? No, it's 437.111 billion (2004).
It's the United States Department of Health and Human Resources, let me quote "the government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves." The USA is the only among developed countries where the health insurance is not compulsory which has many advantages (people feel more resposible for their health ---> healthy lifestyle) and disadvantages (15.7 % people has no health insurance coverage, does HSS = Federal tax payers pay for them? In emergency only?).
HSS runs over 300 programms including the too most known:
- Medicare (health insurance for elderly and disabled Americans)
- Medicaid (health insurance for low-income people).
I know their two agencies as well:
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) - the world's premier medical research organization, supporting over 38,000 research projects nationwide
- Food and Drug Administration -- (FDA, next building southwards} which try to assure the safety of foods and cosmetics, and the safety and efficacy of pharmaceuticals, biological products, and medical devices - products which represent almost 25 cents out of every dollar in U.S. consumer spending; these guys caused removal of Viox from the market in 2004.
There are two huge buildings along both sides of Independance Avenue connected by monumental cement passage, with no windows, hang over the busy street. They are impressive exclusively by size. If I had wanted to walk around them I would have wasted not less than half an hour. But what for? There is nothing to do there for a visitor except to think about what they house: the United States Department of Agriculture.
American agriculture although gives work for only 0.7% of US population can produce food for far more people than the rest 99.3%. The USA is a top producer of, among other crops, corn, soy beans, and wheat; and a net exporter of food. Looking at this huge complex of buildings I remembered that my first contact with American culture had a lot of common with USDA.
I was lucky to grow up in Krakow, Poland where there was a library in US Consulate. The magazines and newspapers there looked unbelievable colorful and attractive for me, as a youth, in times of total censorship and grey, boring magazines. I and my friend were too young to borrow any books but we could use their reading room. The very nice librarian gave me two brochures in English on exhibitions which had taken place in the Consulate: one titled the West in Art and the second one on American agriculture was issued by USDA . At home, I tried to read the brochures with flushed cheeks. I remember my unbelievable surprise when I had read that only 3% people in the USA had worked in agriculture. For reasons I couldn't understand that time, both my and my friend's parents didn't support our visits to US Consulate library in any way. Mine told me: "you would better do homework" or something those lines. So, by the time, we preferred not to say them about our visits there. Now, I know. Polish KGB (called UB) had a secret room in a house opposite to the Consulate entrance and took pictures everyone coming in. I guess, they have more pics of young matcrazy1 than I myself unless they burnt them all after 1989.
At the corner of 15th and Pennsylvannia in Downtown Washington sits the Hotel Washington. A pleasant old hotel, few people may know that they have an excellent rooftop terrace that overlooks the White House and the Washington Monument. The Views are incredible.
During the day it is a great stop to get some lemonade or ice-cream and in the evening it offers a wondeful view of Washington at night over a cocktail.
This is also a great hotel to stay at with modest prices and clean rooms.
I didn't like the exteriors of all, monumental, numerous federal office building I saw in the USA capital. They were mostly built between, say, 1870 - 1940 in monumental style which I personally don't like. Additionally these buildings have no frontyards due to lack of space. But at least the one edifice, the Mary Switzer Building was partly hidden behind beautifully set up garden. It's was nothing very special but refreshing after looking at so many rather ugly buildings..
Mary E. Switzer (1900-1971) was involved in establishing the World Health Organization, was director of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, and was administrator of the Social and Rehabilitation Service at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The facility named after her has been renovated recently and it is currently occupied by the Social Security Administration, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and the United States Information Service.
john t. ford built ford's theater in 1863. this small theater became famous on april 14th 1865 when president abraham lincoln was shot here by john wilkes booth. after lincoln's assassination people stopped patronizing the theater and ford was forced to sell the building to the federal government. the building fell into decay and was renovated and opened to the public in the 1960's. it is now part of the national park service. open to the public.
the petersen house is located directly across the street from ford's theater. abraham lincoln died here after being shot by john wilkes booth. the petersen house is now a museum and is open to the public.
This is the Navy Memorial, in the middle is a square with the world and the oceans, very impressed. Beside there are small walls with i think the countries where the Us Navy has fight. But i dont know for sure.
There is no set rule to take when visiting DC. Just take your time, and try and suck in everything as you go... This place doesn't really hit you until you see the Washington Monument standing high in the air.. Then you realise you are there.
This a very quiet city. You can almost hear all the political minds working. Apart from all of the nasty things you hear about DC, I found it a place that appealed to my tastes.. I could honestly live there...
While waiting to go on my tour of the White House, I went to a bar that is across the road from the Treasury Building.. I got to talking to the barmaid, and as normal asked if I was Australian. After talking, she was rambling on about how unhappy she was and that she hated her job. I just said, well, just remember, you are about 200 feet from the most famouse house in the world... And that doesn't get any better. I then said, that you might be sick of seeing it, but many people come from around the world to see it just once. Just to look at their smiles would be enough for me!
Here you can see a Government Building.
The Old Executive Office Building.(next to White House).This building is where offices for the President's advisers and staff workers.
This beautiful building,It is in French Style Architecture.
In late June, Safeway hosts this annual event, held on Pennsylvania Avenue, downtown. Judges decide which barbecue (that's BBQ if you're from Texas) is the best. Of course, Kansas City, Memphis, and many other heartland cities are famed for barbecue. But only Washington has a national-level contest of this size.
Live music is also on the menu. You can browse the kiosks for recipes, sauces, accessories, and more. Check the website for tickets and hours.
If you haven't seen the monuments at night, I would recommend it. The monuments are lit up at night, and have a look and feel that is totally different from seeing them in the daytime. Unfortunately, only the monuments themselves are lit, not the pathways to get to them. So, instead of bumbling around in the dark, which is relatively dangerous, I would suggest taking a night tour. You can arrange for a guided bus tour that takes you between the different monuments and drops you off for awhile to see each one. The tours leave from Union Station, and you need to purchase tickets in order to go.