To visit The Yards Park has been on my "to do" list for quite some time. Yes, I go to Nats games, but when I do it's strictly to the stadium and then back home. The other day my colleague and friend, Denise Wills, talked up The Yards Park and the fun she and her husband had there with their daughter. It jumped to the top of my list and I'm glad. My friend Christopher DePaola and I visited on Sunday. Here are some of the photos. It's important to note that we went on a Sunday morning, with no baseball game happening at that hour, and thus finding a parking space was possible. I'd made an attempt once before, two full hours before a game, and it was pointless -- unless I wanted to pay $20 for a surface lot.
Apart from having to find a parking space, it was an interesting exploration of another well developed part of the city. We were so enthused we then went and explored the H Street corridor, the DC "neighborhood of the future." What that means is most of the people who live and work there now will move to PG or Montgomery Counties and H Street will become "the new 14th Street." I have no political opinion about that, because I'm a big fan of what's been done to 14th Street, especially in the vicinity of Logan Circle.
It's easy in Georgetown to feel park-satisfied, because The Georgetown Waterfront Park is exceptional. The Yards Park is, too. Hooray for DC and the National Park Service (and the others who were involved) for getting this done, though it took almost 30 years to see the Georgetown park to fuition. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the Nationals Park stadium development was an impetus to get the Anacostia project done faster. The Yards Park runs to and from the stadium.
Given that the park adjoins the actual Navy Yards there is a lot of nautical atmosphere. Old docks, now home to Ospreys, Seagulls and Herons; lots of handsome chain and rope. There is the Navy ship, the Barry (not named after the former Mayor), no longer in service except for tours and events, but which once plied the waters off Korea and Vietnam. There is a Swift boat (dedicated, no kidding, by John Kerry), and there's the Navy barracks (home to the Navy band).
What I like best about The Yards Park are the walkable spaces, the greenery, the exposure to waterfront, and the history. There are some beautiful old buildings there that I hope get preserved and transformed into something useful. Near the Department of Transportation, along the so-called "transporation walk," a vast retail development is underway.
With The Yards Park, and the eventual renovation of the Southwest waterfront, we're nearly at a time when it will be possible to walk, bike or run from Key Bridge to the Douglass Bridge. Bravo.