Wednesday, October 13

Le Grand Strand? - UMd architecture professor and regional planning gadfly Roger K. Lewis unveiled his plan for an artificial beach on the Anacostia River in a recent WaPo op-ed. Lewis takes inspiration from a seasonal Parisian celebration in which the right bank of the Seine is transformed annually by trucking in in 3,000 tons of sand to create a "beach" atop the paving:

Enhancing the beach ambience were potted palm trees, flowers, beach furniture, hammocks, a heated swimming pool, a concert stage, wooden decks and grassed areas, multiple pétanque (a French bowling game) courts and numerous temporary cafes. Paris-Plage reportedly drew 200,000 daily visitors, seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to midnight. The effort required months of planning but cost the city only a little over $ 700,000, with another $ 1.7 million paid by corporate sponsors.

It certainly is one of the more unusual ideas floating around the redevelopment of "near Southeast." If that francophile Kerry is elected, we may just get the green light. (But would topless female sunbathing be allowed?)