Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
Thanks to the enterprising young guitarist who successfully sued the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority in 2014, we might be living in the golden age of busking in the District. When buskers busk, there’s not much anyone can do to stop them—even noise-averse lawyers like the ones at Skadden, Arps, who tried to negotiate with the Spread Love Band, asking the group to play somewhere other than near its office. (Among its backup plans: hiring a string quartet to arrive at the busking spot earlier.) I found myself feeling similar angst and accompanying regret when I worked above the south entrance to the Dupont Circle Metro station—so loud were the buskers, and so thin were my office’s windows, that my generally pro-chaos stance toward city life nearly wilted into sonic NIMBYism. Gotta give it credit, though: If busking is what you want to experience, the location’s abundant Panera seating, choice 19th Street acoustics, and diverse musician lineup makes it the best busking venue in the District. So here’s to you, a cappella gospel guy who greeted the terminus of my morning commute. Here’s to you, monotone Sinatra impersonator. Here’s to you, Hendrix wailer—I still appreciate that time you played the bulk of Curtis Mayfield’s Super Fly
soundtrack. I’m glad I no longer have to hear you every day, but I’m also glad you’re there. May you clang ever onward.