joy magnetism: Of sound mind

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Of sound mind

Magnet #126 - Smithsonian Institution

My sister and I are constantly debating the merits of her town (Washington, D.C.) and my town (New York City).

Usually, it's arguing back and forth about how the NYC subway system is pretty dirty and is always crowded and has no padded seats or carpeting, and most important, has no air conditioning in the stations. Versus the DC Metro with its shiny clean air conditioned stations, its fancy padded seats and carpeting, and the handy signs (and even-more-handy blinking lights) that tell you when the next train is approaching.

The biggest qualm I have about the DC Metro, is that it's form over function. What good's a train, when you have to walk a million miles to get to the nearest station.

Any. Way.

The one thing I will concede, is that Washington has a veritable treasure trove of free museums. I mean, how cool is it, that you can just walk into any of the Smithsonians for free! You guys haven't a clue how lucky ya'll are - versus paying $20 for the Met or the Moma or the Natural History Museum. Between the Smithsonian and the memorials, you could spend days in town without having to drop a cent.

Funnily enough, you have a Brit scientist to thank. On June 27, 1829, James Smithson passed away, and left an endowment "to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men."

Some thought he was a little weird, since he didn't know anyone in America.

My theory? I think he either met some silly American and wanted us to be better educated. Or, he thought that if the colonies were going to last, we'd better get some knowledge increased and diffused asap.

Pip-pip, cheerio and all that rot, Mr. Smithson!
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jen said...

NYC drools, DC rules. Heh.

Erika said...

NYC...where everything is exactly where you need it to be. Now that's a city!

joy said...

Well. Except the fact that there are no Targets in Manhattan.

DON'T even get me started on that one.

jen said...

See, at least we have a Target now. Heh.