I’m a city baby. I grew up right in downtown Paris. I got my undergraduate and graduate degrees on the urban campuses of McGill University in Montreal and The George Washington University here in D.C. I now live in the city, and have nightmares about suburbia 😉 But everyone keeps telling us the same thing: “when you have a family, you’ll feel differently. Kids need a backyard.” I disagree. Kids are not trees, they don’t need grass to “grow.” I grew up in an apartment and yes, I’m pretty short, so I may not be the best example, but I think I “grew up” just fine. I had an amazing city as my playground and the Place des Vosges as my unofficial backyard. And I want my children to have a similar urban upbringing, with the Smithsonian Institutions and National Mall.
Since I live very close to the National Mall, I’m there all the time. To jog. For strolls with the husband. And for special occasions: to fly kites, have pillow fights, watch a movie or for one of the great festival hosted there, like the Folklife and Book Festivals. Occasionally, I’m even there for really really big historical events… you know, like presidential inaugurations 😉 Like a lot of Washingtonians, I probably take the mall for granted. It’s there for us to enjoy yes, but America’s front yard (and my unofficial backyard) needs to be taken care of too and that’s why I’m a big supporter of the work of the Trust for the National Mall.
The Trust for the National Mall is the official non-profit partner of the National Park Service* dedicated to preserving and restoring D.C.’s most monumental national park: the National Mall. The Mall receives some 25 million visitors every year and is in dire need of
One of the most fun way I can think of to celebrate AND help restore the National Mall is the Trust for the National Mall’s annual Ball on the Mall. It’s a fabulous and exclusive black-tie gala, hosted in a spectacular tent with the monuments and the moonlight as backdrops. The event this year is just a few days away, on Saturday May 4th and you can still purchase tickets (here.) You can chose between the VIP experience, which includes a cocktail reception, a dinner buffet provided by some of the best DC chefs like and dancing ($350) or the Ball experience with dancing, open bar and buffets ($175). It’s pricey, yes, but you can also make a tax deductible contribution to the Trust in any amount that you can. I know if I had to put a dollar amount on the time I’ve spent on the National Mall in the past few years though, it would run pretty high!
* The National Park Service oversees 23 national parks in Washington and a lot more across the country.