Friday, August 13, 2010

The Red Line

I’m sure many a Caps fan can attest to riding the Metro into Gallery Place/Chinatown/Verizon Center station on a game day and coming up the Chinatown escalator into a sea of chaos that would rival a hundred loitering Penguins fans. Kids handing out, preachers on megaphones, office workers hurriedly rushing to catch a train. It’s a bit overwhelming at times (especially when I have my 7 month old son strapped to me).

An interesting article in today’s Washington Post describes the scene around the Gallery Place/Chinatown/Verizon Center on the heels of last week’s Metro brawl and accurately hits on one slightly aggrivating aspect of the area: the large number of teens who congregate there. There’s a reason they’re there.
Why Gallery Place? Fowler isn't entirely sure but offers this theory: It's at the intersection of the Red and Green lines, allowing kids from all over to converge; there are hipster clothing stores; and there's the Regal theater, which became the city's main teen cineplex hangout after the movie houses at Union Station closed last fall.
The article goes on to talk about thefts of cell phones, fights, and the generally annoying tendencies of some of the various groups that hang out around the Gallery Place area. While I’ve never seen a fight in the area, I’ve heard the teasing of passersby and have a friend who had to chase down a thief to get her iPhone back during the Frozen Four (she and the DCPD caught the guy).

But on a Caps game day, the Sea of Red is the dominant gang in town. Caps fans stick up for each other. We walk with a presence that says ‘I will Unleash the Fury tonight’. I have never been scared of anything other than tripping or slipping on a sewer grate while in the Gallery Place area. The kids hanging out on the steps of the National Portrait Gallery are even pushed aside when busloads of Penguins and Rangers fans decide take over. Hockey owns the area on a game day/night.

Sure, the crime and taunting still go on during hockey season. It's unavoidable. But when there’s a Caps game, it somehow feels different. It’s comforting to be around 18,000 of your closest friends.

The article ends with a slightly ominous line:

They'll be back. Even in the winter, Johnson says. "We'll be down here in our peacoats."
Well we’ll be down here too, ESPECIALLY in the winter. We’ll be the ones in Red.

1 comment:

  1. My dad mentioned this to me the other day. If I can fight through the snowpocalypse to get to Verizon Center TWICE in one weekend, I can handle some rowdy kids.