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The Hains Point Hand: Stealing Away A Public Treasure

The wealthy developer who bought the hugely popular sculpture that lures thousands of visitors to Hains Point at the southern tip of the District says he is trying to be provocative by moving "The Awakening" to his new shopping mall and hotel complex in Maryland. He's succeeding.

Milt Peterson wants his decision to dig up and remove the 70 feet of aluminum body parts that now poke up from the ground where the Potomac and Anacostia rivers converge to cause a ruckus and win him some publicity for his National Harbor project.

Ok, I'll bite.

"The Awakening," by J. Seward Johnson, is a big-deal tourist attraction and a special favorite of parents and children, who are terrific at coming up with all manner of fabulous tales about how this guy came to be buried and frozen beneath the turf of the nation's capital.

The sculpture, which Johnson made in 1980, has been in danger of losing its home for some years, thanks to a bone-headed decision by the National Park Service to transform "The Awakening's" home into a dull and meaningless "National Peace Garden," approved by Congress in 1987 and consisting of a bunch of trees, an open plaza and a pool. Luckily, the Peace Garden foundation was never able to raise the money for its project, so that idea is now dormant. But the bureaucracy works in strange ways and the mere existence of the Peace Garden concept prompted the owner of the Johnson piece, The Sculpture Foundation, to decide to sell it.

That's where Peterson comes in. As he told The Post's Anita Huslin, he was looking for something controversial and provocative to entice visitors to check out his National Harbor project, a mix of hotels, retail, offices and residential development that is to open next year in Prince George's County, across the water and a bit downriver from Hains Point. So Peterson bought the sculpture for $750,000 and plans to move it off Park Service land in the next few months.

Since the sculpture is privately owned and always has been, there's nothing to stop Peterson from going through with his plan--except that The Awakening has become a beloved piece of Washington, a mainstay of the artistic and touristic landscape that fits beautifully in a wind-swept, riverfront park setting. Putting it in a shopping center would render it just one more piece of clutter. Context matters; indeed, sometimes, as Gene Weingarten's masterful piece on putting a world-class violinist in a Metro station showed a couple of weeks ago, context is sometimes the master of our perceptions.

National Harbor may have a spectacular setting and may even boast attractive architecture--the plans really don't show enough detail to draw any fair conclusions--but if the list of eateries included in the project is any indication, the complex may turn out to be as bland as most malls across the land. The restaurants Peterson has signed up are of the huge, corporate type (Sequoia, Gallagher's, McCormick & Schmick) where predictability and convenience crowd out creativity and intimacy. (The project also includes lower-end mall standards, such as Johnny Rockets, Auntie Annie's and the like.)

Putting "The Awakening" in that kind of setting promises to steal much of its power. If Peterson is looking to win goodwill and big crowds, he'd be far better off donating the sculpture to the Park Service (though they don't want it) and devoting some of his riverfront to the kind of people magnet that Georgetown has long craved, but never achieved: An extensive riverwalk where people can stroll, take a boat ride, or nurse a drink without being in a cookie-cutter outdoor shopping mall.

For anyone who has taken kids to scamper in and around "The Awakening," this is a sad and disappointing turn of events.

By Marc Fisher |  April 24, 2007; 7:17 AM ET
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The flipside is that more people will see it. I've tried telling friends (fellow residents & visitors alike) to visit the Awakening, but no one ever does. Few of my friends even knew what I was talking about until the sculpture was used in a movie -- in a suicide scene.

I see it regularly because the park is part of my cycling route. There seems to be the same weekend park visitors (locals, very few tourists), but weekdays are dead -- except for the occasional busload of schoolchildren brought in for picnics.

Hains Point actually saddens me. It could be a beautiful park, if it were fixed up and maintained a little. I also wish local users would clean up their messes. Mondays come with trash littered everywhere, plus smelly piles of gutted fish parts. Please clean your fish at home.

Although a more dignified home could be found in this town, the Awakening might be a little better off if moved.

Posted by: HainsVisitor | April 24, 2007 8:05 AM

I used to cycle and run out to Hains Point and seeing the Awakening was a huge highlight of the trip for me. I am sad it will be moving. I think the Marine Corps marathoners will be very sad too. It's a great boost when you're out there fighting the wind. Context does matter and a mall is just not going to cut it.

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | April 24, 2007 8:26 AM

I was shocked that this fixture on the Hains Point landscape is privately owned because, as Anita Huslin reported, the Park Service doesn't accept the donation of site-specific art. If the sculpture is site-specific, how is it that it is being moved from its longtime home?

This is another sad example of the pillaging of a DC treasure for the benefit of some rich developer and the upscale customers he wants to lure to his project.

Posted by: ArtC | April 24, 2007 8:53 AM

I'm a DC area native, and I grew up with the sculpture, seeing it every year when I go to see the Cherry Blossoms. The news that the developer plans to relocate the sculpture to a shopping mall just saddens me.

Posted by: Mike | April 24, 2007 9:09 AM

The park setting is an integral part of the sculpture. Coming upon the waking giant while walking in the park or cruising the river evokes a strong sense of wonder. While we do not know the conditions of the sculptor's contract with Peterson, I doubt this setting can be replicated in a commercial setting.

If you feel the same, why not contact the Sculpture Foundation and the Peterson Companies and describe, say, taking your children to Hains Point for the first time. Be nice.

The Sculpture Foundation - info@tfsmail.com

The Peterson Companies -

James W. Todd, President - jtodd@petersoncos.com

Peter Hackett, Design & Construction - phackett@petersoncos.com

Kathy Smith, Marketing Director --
ksmith@petersoncos.com

According to Dana Hedgpeth, CEO Milt Peterson is likely to be out driving a silver Mercedes, a bulldozer, or a backhoe, or he may be at the Tower Club at Tysons or up at the summer place in Maine, but try emailing mpeterson@petersoncos.com anyway. Milt is a Dad, too.


Posted by: Mike Licht | April 24, 2007 9:18 AM

I agree that this is sad. But it is private property. And this guy bought it. It sucks to have such a fine piece trucked away from such a perfect setting.

Posted by: Hillman | April 24, 2007 9:24 AM

Big sigh. Private property. If you believe in keeping that sculpture there so much, either buy it yourself or convince the government to spend our tax dollars (either directly or through *gulp* eminent domain).

If you do want the government to spend the money, you should also write a column excoriating yourself for taking money away from education and other human services.

Posted by: ers | April 24, 2007 9:28 AM

I remember going to see that as a kid, I haven't been down there recently, but given this news perhaps I should, before it becomes yet another piece of background noise in some mall complex. Ick. It won't be so much an Awakening as an Entrapment, and I think it will undercut the message of the mall by having this giant trapped there instead of coming out of the earth. Or it'll look like the giant is trying to flee after being built on top of -- but then could you blame him?

The guy has the right to move it as it's privately owned and sold -- the next question, however, is *should* he exercise this right, and on that I'm honestly not so sure as it seems that the new setting will detract from the piece.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 9:32 AM

This is extremely sad, and Marc column does a good job at capturing all the reasons why.

I'll just add that when I first moved from NoVA to DC, The Awakening very much played a part- at least as big a part as the Cherry Blossoms- in my personal awakening to what a great place DC is. That a little spit of land would house something so awe inspiring encouraged me to explore DC further.

The Awakening should stay right where it is, so that my child can enjoy it, the park, and the river that surrounds it all.

Posted by: Mark | April 24, 2007 9:37 AM

Let The Awakening rest where it is. Moving it to a shopping plaza not only cheapens it as art, but will rob many a cyclist and runner of inspiration as they round Hains Point and head back upriver into a vicious headwind.

Posted by: Michael Klise | April 24, 2007 9:41 AM

Correct about the Awakening and the MCM. It was great to be able to celebrate finishing half of the Hains Point stretch by high-fiving the statue's hand (er, just his finger).... not least since there's not too many live human spectators on that portion of the marathon.

Posted by: Arlington runner | April 24, 2007 9:50 AM

But isn't The Awakening the ultimate example of Junior High sophomoric art? I remember staring in awe at it as a kid, but as an adult it's really somewhat limited in artistic scope. It's homey and goofy and it's ours, but really, it's not great art.

Posted by: DCer | April 24, 2007 9:51 AM

I always remember a photo from a big DC flood (1985? after Hurricane Gloria? or spring of 1986?). The Post had a front-page photo of "The Awakening" surrounded by water and partially submerged -- which was even more stunning visually than it usually is.

Moving it to just another corporate shopping mall? Oh well -- the owner can, unfortunately, do what he wants. But if few go to see it where it is now, I doubt it will lure anyone to the waterfront complex that isn't already going there. I don't need to cross the river to eat at Johnny Rockets or shop at a branch of some store that has three branches within 10 miles of me already.

Posted by: Jayne | April 24, 2007 9:54 AM

To be truly emblematic of DC, the hand should be holding a gun. Maybe they can add that when it moves to PG.

Posted by: Stick | April 24, 2007 9:55 AM

"The Awakening", privately or publicly owned, has become over time an iconic piece of interactive art enjoyed by thousands of children and adults. It is different than the memorials scattered throughout DC because it begs to be touched, climbed on, mocked, satirized - thoroughly enjoyed, no strings attached. Moving it from Haines Point will eliminate this, as well as the primary reason many school trips bother to go to Haines Point at all. Context is everything, and if it is moved to a location that is not on the list of sight-seeing or field trip-friendly destinations then it will revert to being just another curious, hands-off piece of art owned by a rich developer. I wish for once the National Park Service would do the right thing.

Posted by: Tom | April 24, 2007 9:57 AM

I am sad to see The Awakening shuffled off to the latest malltopia. If there were a fund to get this out of Peterson*s hands and keep it at Hains Point, I would contribute.

Posted by: petacque | April 24, 2007 10:04 AM

We are very proud of the "Awakening" and always take our visiting friends and relatives to see it. Yes, it is a bit homey, but after all the pomp and circumstance of official Washington, it is a refreshing change. It is saddening to hear that this sculpture is moving to a place that will be harder to get to, especially for people with disabilities that affect their mobility. Bet Peterson never considered that. He plans to move it to the banks of the Potomac, where you have to walk down a flight of stairs to see it. Will no longer be truly accessible, the way it is now.

Posted by: Outspoken | April 24, 2007 10:05 AM

The owner bought it - he can move it. I think there are better uses for the $750,000 that it cost. That money should be put into making the project the best that it can be - I am not sure adding this art really adds that much to the project - perhaps it is intended as a draw for parents to bring their kids to climb on it and thus spend some money at the mall.
Stick - your comment really doesn't add anything to a positive course of discussion - your comments only serve to perpetuate a view of PG County that is, at times, unfair and misplaced. While I do not think the mall is the end-all-and-be-all that the county council thinks it will be, it will help - but only if the developer gets the right stores - that is key and I don't think there is enough focus on this aspect.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 10:06 AM

This thing always looked like shopping-mall art to me, so maybe it is winding up in its appropriate place.

Posted by: gitarre | April 24, 2007 10:23 AM

WOW!!! Who would've thought this scenario possible? I am heart broken about this.

Posted by: Bonzai Buckaroo | April 24, 2007 10:26 AM

in the early 1980s we would occasionally have a softball game scheduled at Hanes Point, with bases lined up so that the Awakening was in home run territory. As the center fielder, I vivdly recall chasing balls (we had a lousy pitcher!) that caroomed off the giant's kneecap or elbow. More recently while escorting a visitor to the site, I took a photo of a little kid, silhouetted from behind, as he shimmied up the giant's calf. At least the rich developer won't be able to buy these memories from me -- not that I would sell them to him.

Posted by: ralph | April 24, 2007 11:08 AM

It maight actually be in better hands now. At least the petetrsen folkd should do a betetr job of keeping people from using it as a slide. It's a sculpture, not a piece of playground equipment. Hains point really should look alot better than it does. Maybe this will finally get the Park Service to see it as something other than bus parking.

Posted by: EricS | April 24, 2007 11:19 AM

One of the best things about the sculpture is that it's successful both as a piece of art and as playground equipment. It makes Haines Point one of the best parks in the city, even if it is a bit out of the way. I think the Mayor and the Council should explore ways of buying it. Does anyone know if that spit of land is part of the transfer deal being considered between NPS and DC?

Posted by: Mark | April 24, 2007 12:03 PM

Who knew that the sculpture WASN'T National Park Service property? I sure didn't. Of course, Petersen bought it so he can do what he wants. But instead of being a great piece of "pop" art, it will now be just another cheap trinket in a shopping plaza, alongside a fake stonehenge and perhaps a chair to take photos with the Easter bunny.

Posted by: hoos30 | April 24, 2007 12:40 PM

What strikes me as similar in this case to Weingarten's experiment with Joshua Bell is the amazing closed-mindedness of the bureaucrats who could have done something good but were hung up on rigidly following rules. Weingarten, in his chat, gave the details of his failed attempt to get Metro to agree to the experiment on their property--Bell was actually on privately owned space.

A sociologist friend of mine told me that there's a great deal of work that has shown that putting people in positions with lots of responsibility and little power creates personalities that we associate with uncreative, mindless bureaucrats. The jobs create the personalities more than they draw certain personality types. Which is perhaps also why so many people just walked by Bell.

Posted by: thm | April 24, 2007 12:42 PM

Maybe Milt Peterson should let residents of DC know how he really feels and modify the hand to have only one upstretched finger.

Posted by: SoMD | April 24, 2007 12:57 PM

I read a lot of comments that NPS should do something more. But really, their hands are tied by Congress. Blame the politicians, not the rangers.

I agree that it is sad to see something that has become iconic to Haines Point and DC leave. Change sucks. But it's the decision (however misguided) of the new owner to move it where he pleases.

Posted by: Hannah | April 24, 2007 12:57 PM

I'm with the vast majority, who think this is really sad. The worst part about it is that he's moving it to gain publicity. It's working, but at what price? I think removing a cherished object from a neighborhood for your own profit is ethically wrong. For the amount of money he's spending to dig up, restore, and transplant the piece to its new location, he could just as easily commission a similar, or even larger, sculpture to be built at the harbor. Perhaps a sculpture that could work in tandem with the current Hains Point piece. But no, instead he's using the publicity to bring attention to the harbor project. That seems incredibly selfish.

Posted by: TR | April 24, 2007 12:59 PM

You all must not be paying attention to the horrible conditions facing Prince George's County. I applaud this real estate developer for putting together something so pretty. I have been in the DC area for almost 26 years and know people who have been here for 50+ years and the fact of the matter is none of these people ever visit Prince George's County.

Now with the National Harbor there finally will be something to draw in visitors. And something pretty enough to bring in some decent businesses.

Posted by: give me a break | April 24, 2007 1:01 PM

Hey Marc, I love the way you characterized National Harbor as a shopping mall with a hotel and some stuffy predictable restaurants. You're just amazing ... as usual.

Posted by: unbelievable | April 24, 2007 1:05 PM

This is a shocking story. My family loves the Awakening.

I encourage everyone to call our representative, Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and ask for his assistance in saving this valuable DC landmark.

Seems like another example of what happens when we don't have representation in Congress. Rep. Gohmert can be reached at 202-225-3035.

Posted by: JH | April 24, 2007 1:28 PM

A Public Treasure? Isn't that stretching it a bit?

Posted by: John Paul | April 24, 2007 1:54 PM

Hains Point is possibly the most boring place in DC, and The Awakening is th sole highlight. There's someing about that sculpture, in that spot, which is especially moving. It's even been encorporated into a national ad campaign for running shoes. Moving it to a mecca of chain restaurants and gift shops catering to conventioneers would be a huge mistake.

Posted by: jw | April 24, 2007 2:32 PM

The owner can do what he wants with his new property, but we as individuals can do what we want with our disposable income, and I for one will not be going to the national harbor development unless I get dragged for some event that I must attend. By the way, I am a native Washingtonian that never has had a problem going to PG County; I don't blame the county now. However, I sure wish the Post had done it's job better- the info that this sculpture was privately owned and that it was for sale- now that's news I would have valued greatly!!!

Posted by: kmm88 | April 24, 2007 2:41 PM

Has anyone been to any of the Peterson projects? Fairfax Corner, Fair Lakes, downtown Silver Spring. Their projects are planned, developed and built with great care. They are clean and well maintained. Fair Lakes is a perfect example of how planning works for the good of the community ... mature trees, lakes, walking paths, shopping. National Harbor will be more than a "shopping mall". To pre-judge what will become without history of the Peterson company is small minded. Moving the sculpture may not please many people, but it will be well maintained and those who really love the sculpture will go down the Potomac a little to see it at its new home.

Posted by: been there | April 24, 2007 2:49 PM

Marc Fisher never misses an opportunity to slam Prince George's County does he? Admits he hasn't seen the full design while simultaneously asserting that it is unworthy of the statue. Even managed to work in a plug for a new Georgetown Waterfront. Because as we all know, the citizens of Georgetown are too often neglected. Marc, Marc, Marc. You used to be so much better at diguising bias.

Posted by: Charirman X | April 24, 2007 2:53 PM

I visit Hains Point every year and I love seeing the Awakening. What a shame.

Posted by: DR | April 24, 2007 3:09 PM

Sad.

Posted by: MW | April 24, 2007 3:26 PM

After Peterson moves The Awakening to the middle of his National harbor shopping mall, I think that it should be retitled Get Me Outta Here!!!!

Those who characterize The Awakening as kitsch have apparently never looked in the direction of the new Air Force Memorial.

Posted by: Mister Methane | April 24, 2007 3:48 PM

"Marc Fisher never misses an opportunity to slam Prince George's County does he? Admits he hasn't seen the full design while simultaneously asserting that it is unworthy of the statue. Even managed to work in a plug for a new Georgetown Waterfront. Because as we all know, the citizens of Georgetown are too often neglected. Marc, Marc, Marc. You used to be so much better at diguising bias."

He isn't slamming Prince Georges County. He's slamming an awful, out of place, environmentally harmful development. Who thinks that putting this much development nowhere near any mass transit is a good idea? And frankly, it's in any Washingtonian's interest to be against the project: it's in direct competition with the Washington Convention Center, a project we've invested a lot of public money into, and any dollar spent there is not being spent here.

And moreover, he wasn't plugging Georgetown's waterfront. He was using it as an example of how not to develop a waterfront. It would be like saying "Government A is competent and relatively corruption free, unlike Prince Georges County, which is rank with incompetent and corrupt politicians all the way to the top."

Posted by: Reid | April 24, 2007 5:03 PM

..."those who really love the sculpture will go down the Potomac a little to see it at its new home."

This is just laughably false. Resentment of this ill conceived action will limit his market among those who appreciate the sculpture in synergy with its current magnificent setting, surrounded by public park and water.

Regardless of how good a developer the man is, he will have difficulty meeting, let alone besting, that existing and much loved synergy.

It's a tragedy for us, and a huge mistake for him. Better, as someone else mentioned, to create a new piece similar in spirit to The Awakening.

Posted by: Mark | April 24, 2007 10:23 PM

I thought the NPS had it commissioned. Oh well. The people at the top of the NPS don't necessarily have to be art lovers, outdoors people, or even park lovers - they have a 9 to 5 with a good salary and look at it as less maintenance cost. They've probably never seen it in person anyway.
Do they still have the swing set there - maybe I can get that.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2007 1:36 AM

Another article, supported by the usual whiners and crybabies, slamming the suburbs. Exactly where is it carved in stone that ALL development must be in the city and "mass transit-oriented"?

To these people, anything located out of the city limits that someone can reach by themself instead on some subsidized train, is "sprawl". And any development they don't like is "environmentally harmful".

I don't remember anyone from Alexandria coming over to PG County to ask our opinion while they were building up Alexandria. I do, however, remember environmentalists and Alexanria residents coming over to pack our community hearings and try to tell us in PG County what we shouldn't build. Suddendly, they were so "concerned" about "environmental damage" when their REAL concern was that their scenic view was being disturbed.
when they were building up Alexandria.

And DC certainly hasn't asked for PG County's input while DC has been gentrifying and dumping its poor people and their social problems in our front yard. Thanks in part to decisions by DC's "leaders", PG County Hospital is broke and teetering on the edge. Why, then, should we in PG County give a hoot about how DC residents feel about "direct competition with the Washington Convention Center"?

If DC residents are so concerned about competition with their convention center, they can start with getting their "leaders" to drop the silly policy that everyone coming into downtown must "Take Metro!" and start improving road access and parking around the Convention Center site. DC has a long tradition of building large venues near Metro stations, refusing to improve nearby roads, not providing parking for the general public, then crowing that the venue is "convenient to Metro".

Thank goodness, people in the region will FINALLY be able to have an easy drive to a large venue and park somewhere other than some raggedy privately-owned lot several blocks away. It's about time. If DC can't or won't see the light, it's not PG County's problem. Face it. People drive. Deal with it.

Don't like the National Harbor Project? Then don't come over. It's that simple.

Posted by: CEEAF | April 25, 2007 9:50 AM

National Harbor will be no more of a "cookie-cutter outdoor shopping mall" than what's gone up around the Verizon Arena, Bethesda, or Silver Spring.

I don't remember Mark complaining about the chain restaurants around the Arena being "huge, corporate type where predictability and convenience crowd out creativity and intimacy". Those resturants are a cut below what will be offered at the National Harbor.

As for the Georgetown waterfront, I remember reading about opposition from local residents to just about anything ever tried in Georgetown. They didn't even want a Metro station.

Posted by: CEEAF | April 25, 2007 10:09 AM

Milt Peterson, meet your target market: CEEAF.

Posted by: haha | April 25, 2007 10:18 AM

Every jurisdiction is seen as a direct competitor by every other jurisdiction. Sometimes you win, sometimes, you lose. In the grand scheme of things, how far is this statue being moved? Two linear miles? Give me a break? Perspective, people. Oooh, it crossed some imaginary dotted line on a map - who cares? It will get far, far more visitors now. What's the point of art? To have it be appreciated, right?

Posted by: news flash | April 25, 2007 10:51 AM

Peterson has so much respect and love for the sculpture that he has named him 'Charlie'. I wonder if he gives names to all of his lavish purchases?

Posted by: Charlie | April 25, 2007 11:02 AM

"To these people, anything located out of the city limits that someone can reach by themself instead on some subsidized train, is "sprawl". And any development they don't like is "environmentally harmful"."

I'm sorry, do you pay a toll to drive on your road? Will you pay a toll to drive to the National Harbor? Now explain to me how driving on roads built completely with public money which don't charge any user fees are less of a "subsidized" form of travel than Metro?

There are no rules written in stone than development must be mass-transit oriented, it's just a rule that those that are not create way more pollution and traffic congestion.

Posted by: Reid | April 25, 2007 11:09 AM

For all you pro-urban sprawl, pro-development types here, the debate is NOT about the PG shopping mall / convention center. The discussion is about uprooting a piece of art that has symbolism and meaning to so many of us. I wish you could understand that. And for those of us that truly appreciate this secluded piece in its proper natural environment, we simply are having a difficult time imagining the sculpture in a different context. The discussion is not about real estate so much as it is about a deeply rooted, Washingtonian icon that has been bought by a real estate magnate who wants to draw attention to his lofty patriotic Disney World by placing this art amongst steel eagles and sculptures abound. Context is everything. And the sculpture who wanted to donate 'The Awakening' to the Park Service after the 1980 festival must have thought the same thing. Hains Point is a perfect setting for this sculpture, an intimate and somewhat out of touch place. Other than the annual blossoms, this sculpture is the main attraction.

Posted by: Peter | April 25, 2007 11:28 AM

Peter, sometimes things CHANGE. It's that simple.

Posted by: CEEAF | April 25, 2007 11:37 AM

"I'm sorry, do you pay a toll to drive on your road? Will you pay a toll to drive to the National Harbor? Now explain to me how driving on roads built completely with public money which don't charge any user fees are less of a "subsidized" form of travel than Metro?".

I may not pay a toll (at this time), but I do pay fuel taxes (the largest single funding source for highways), along with registration fees, taxable insurance premiums, etc., IN ADDITION to the taxes I pay to help subsidize Metro.

Quick lesson in 8th-grade civics: Highways (we're not talking about city streets) are funded mainly by those who use them. If you don't drive much, you're not paying much to "sudsidize" highways.

On the other hand, you're paying a little less than 30 per cent of the cost of your Metro ride. The rest is subsidized by EVERYONE, whether they use it or not.

You really don't want go down this path of discussion.


Posted by: CEEAF | April 25, 2007 11:46 AM

For those who may be unaware, approximately two-thirds of the price of a gallon of gas consists of Federal and state taxes.

Posted by: CEEAF | April 25, 2007 11:51 AM

For those who may be unaware, approximately two-thirds of the price of a gallon of gas consists of Federal and state taxes. Those who don't drive hardly pay anything to "subsidize driving" in the form of paying for highways.

Local streets are another matter. And before the non-drivers begrudge what they are taxed for to build maintain local streets, they should remember that if they should ever need an ambulance, or a fire truck, or the police, help isn't going to come on mass transit.

Posted by: CEEAF | April 25, 2007 11:56 AM

CEEAF says, "Peter, sometimes things CHANGE. It's that simple."

Change? Like your posts? Which seem to be attempting to change the subject . . .

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2007 12:39 PM

Like all of seward Johnson's work, it is a piece of kitsch. Good ridance. Maybe we can convice the developer to also take that other huge blot on the landscape, the Iwo Jima memorial.

Posted by: LEX Park | April 25, 2007 1:10 PM

and please take the Air Force Memorial - the most misplaced piece of aluminum on the planet.

Posted by: anon | April 25, 2007 2:01 PM

"Change? Like your posts? Which seem to be attempting to change the subject . ."

"Attempting to change the subject"?

Mark himself called the National Harbor project a "bland...suburban strip mall" with "predictable" restaurants. I offered a rebuttal.

An earlier poster called the project "environmentally damaging" and complained that it was not convenient enough to mass transit for his liking. I offered a rebuttal.

The same poster also complained that the National Harbor would compete with the DC Convention Center. Again, I offered a rebuttal.

I then took it one step further and made the observation that the DC convention Center could possibly gain a competitive advantage if it were more conveniently accessible to motorists. The poster countered with an OFF-TOPIC and INCORRECT statement about how roads are funded. Again, I offered a rebuttal and a bit of information about how highways are actually funded.

If you gather that I "attempted to change the subject" by responding to content in Mark's column and people who posted PRIOR to my saying a word, then I can very well understand why you didn't have the nerve to post your name: you have a reading comprehension deficiency.

I suggest you read Mark's column and the earlier posts slowly and thoroughly before you continue down this path.

And if have anything else to say to me, state your name.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2007 10:06 PM

Looks like I need to follow my own suggestion:

"Change? Like your posts? Which seem to be attempting to change the subject . ."

"Attempting to change the subject"?

Mark himself called the National Harbor project a "bland...suburban strip mall" with "predictable" restaurants. I offered a rebuttal.

An earlier poster called the project "environmentally damaging" and complained that it was not convenient enough to mass transit for his liking. I offered a rebuttal.

The same poster also complained that the National Harbor would compete with the DC Convention Center. Again, I offered a rebuttal.

I then took it one step further and made the observation that the DC convention Center could possibly gain a competitive advantage if it were more conveniently accessible to motorists. The poster countered with an OFF-TOPIC and INCORRECT statement about how roads are funded. Again, I offered a rebuttal and a bit of information about how highways are actually funded.

If you gather that I "attempted to change the subject" by responding to content in Mark's column and to people who posted PRIOR to my saying a word, then I can very well understand why you didn't have the nerve to post your name: you have a reading comprehension deficiency.

I suggest you read Mark's column and the earlier posts slowly and thoroughly before you continue down this path.

And if you have anything else to say to me, state your name.

Posted by: CEEAF | April 25, 2007 10:08 PM

I hope National Harbor succeeds. PG certainly needs something like this. (Actually, it needs bottom-up, neighborhood-centric development, not this kind of top-down mega project, but it does need something, and it's long overdue.) I live way cross town and Peterson's project doesn't sound like my kind of place, but I applaud that he wants artwork there. But why-oh-why does he have to pillage a beloved piece of artwork from a place where it clearly belongs? Suggestion, Mr. Peterson: get your money back, or user your friends on Capitol Hill to persuade the Park Service to accept your (tax deductible gift) of The Awakening, and commission a site-specific artwork by a local, PG County artist for your development. You'll get props and tons of publicity -- GOOD publicity, in this case.

Posted by: ArtC | April 25, 2007 10:48 PM

ArtC, that is the best suggestion I've read in this entire thread.

Posted by: HD | April 26, 2007 10:49 AM

"The Awakening" is in the perfect spot & it saddens me to know that it will be relocated to National Harbor. I have nothing against the harbor project but moving the sculpture should not be a part of the plan. I have been going to Hains Point for over 40 years and marvel at what an oasis it is. When the sculpture was placed there (over 25 years ago) it was a welcomed addition, bringing more families to the area. My fear is that once the "The Awakening" goes, it will only be a matter of time before memorials are placed along the river banks of East Potomac Park. This area is a place where urbanites can now go to relax and to fish, walk, picnic, watch planes land and take off, ride a bike or snooze in the sun with their dog. It is often a spot of reprieve for those who don't have a second home at the beach or in the mountains. True, there are times when it needs a clean up and times when you need to make a call to complain about trash and high grass, but it still is a treasure for local residents and out of towners alike, and "The Awakening" only adds to the experience.

Posted by: Jeanie K | April 26, 2007 3:12 PM

I think it's ridiculous to take something like that away from the park. Can't they commission something else for the mall? They should leave The Awakening where it is and put some more time and money into Hains Point.

Posted by: Michele | April 30, 2007 3:56 PM

Move the sculpture to the American University campus in NorthWest DC. The University recently opened a new building, the Katzen Arts Center, on Ward Circle and is improving other campus land around the Circle. The sculpture is incredible, and would be a beautiful addition to the landscape in front of the Kay Spiritual Center - accessible to all and even seen by passing motorists. Peterson could sell the piece to the Katzens, who are tremendous patrons of the arts, or he could donate the piece to the University and get a nice tax break. Keep the piece in DC as a long-standing public favorite and complement AU's renewed commitment to the arts.

Colin Uckert

Posted by: Colin Uckert | May 3, 2007 11:13 AM

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