Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Closed

Even if I had a tripod permit, it wouldn't matter.
At least, not until after January 2009.


A few weeks ago, the U.S. Capitol Police closed off the grounds of the Capitol on the west side of the building. Preparations are now underway for the 2009 Presidential Inauguration. In a little over three months, we will swear in a new president and vice president! In the meantime, this is as close as you can get to the Capitol. Getting a tripod permit seems like a moot point for the time being.

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 10/08

17 comments:

Virginia said...

Aahh yes, that pesty tripod permit. I have resorted to using mine a few time and I swear it's like wrestling with a bear every time. I need to practice at home I guess.

So no tours or anything at the Capitol? That's a bummer for folks there on vacation.

minerva mouse said...

does seem a bit early to be closing off such a large area to prepare for the inauguration! I wonder if there is another story??

D.C. Confidential said...

VJ: No, you can still take tours of the inside and the new visitor's center will be opening in November, so the building itself isn't closed off. Just the grounds. Which is too bad, because there's some good picture-taking on the grounds.


Minerva: Not much more of a story to tell. The entire west facade becomes a system of scaffolding and raised platform for the event. Ergo, it's a construction zone and there's security set up that takes place, along with thousands of chairs and scaffolding that go up for the event. If I can, I go down again in a few weeks and take some more pictures so you can see what's going up.

Eric Salsbery said...

It seems to me that after a couple of hundred years of electing new presidents and inaugurating their terms that they would have a permanent location built and set aside for these events.
How much does one of these events cost the taxpayer? Just curious.
Nice info and photo DCC, thanks

D.C. Confidential said...

Oh, Eric. You've asked the hot button question, buddy. Not only is there the cost to the American taxpayer, in general, there's the cost to the citizens of the District, in particular. We end up footing the bill for the use of our police department as part of the security detail for inaugural events. And not just on the day of. Our DOT has to weld shut manhole covers and remove all of the stoplights on Penn. Ave. between the Capitol and the White House. Then there's the riot fencing and parade scaffolding that goes up for the parade from the Capitol to the White House. The list goes on. I think for the last Bush inaugural in 2005, the District of Columbia footed $16 million and that was just us. The entire event cost $42 million. Here's a breakdown for you.

D.C. Confidential said...

P.S. The permanent location is the Capitol. When Washington was sworn-in, it was at the Capitol--which, at the time, was in NYC. It's been that way ever since. The event use to be staged on the east side of the Capitol, but when Reagan was elected, he requested it move to the west side. It was all for symbolic reasons. He felt the new president should be looking westward toward America, not eastward toward Russian. Droll, no?

marley said...

I'm surprised they are starting the preperations so soon.

Mo said...

A tripod permit? You need a permit to photograph a public building?

D.C. Confidential said...

Marley: I was too. I thought they wouldn't start until after Thanksgiving (Nov. 27), but alas.


Mo: If I want to get up close or use a tripod for night photography, I have to get a permit for this particular building. It's a real pain in the ass! The Capitol Police's reasoning is that tripods are a traffic and tripping hazard, so they're not allowed without a permit. In truth, we have the news media to thank. They're notorious for parking and leaving a tripod. As a result, there are now rules. Sucks really for those of us who just want to take timed exposures in the morning or at night.

Maya said...

Tripod? You don't need no stinkin' tripod! Sorry, I'm getting a little punchy.

I was hoping you might have a shot of the "pink" white house!

D.C. Confidential said...

Maya: Well, not for shots like the one in the picture, but it comes in handy for night photography and timed exposures.

As for the pinkification of the White House, I totally missed that! I live in this stinking town and that's three events now that I've missed in the last month. Sheesh. Obviously, I need to get out more or read the city paper or something... Pitiful.

Maya said...

The media parks and leaves their tripods?? Can you pick one up for me next time you see it left behind?

D.C. Confidential said...

Maya: They've been known to. Hence, the rule. At least, that's what the lovely sergeant at the USCP told me when I called about a permit.

Professor said...

Intellectually I understand why they need the time, but it's so sad that local and visitors won't be able to see such a beautiful building more closely.

And I think the B&W makes it seem even more sad, somehow.

D.C. Confidential said...

Prof: It is sort of an unfortunate necessary. In truth, access to the outer part of the building is much more restricted than it use to be. We have bin Laden to thank for that. Hopefully, with the opening on the new visitor's center in November, that will change.

Glad you like the B&W, though you're right: it does make the picture a little sadder than normal.

USelaine said...

It does seem early to start, but I suppose turf is easy to replace with fresh new rolls afterward. What a circus our country is these days...

D.C. Confidential said...

USElaine: It does seem a tad early. I wish I could ask the Capitol Police why, but I know the answer I'd get: "We're sorry ma'am. We can't answer that for security reasons." Definitely a nutty world we're living in right now.