The 52nd annual Palisades July 4th Parade and Picnic celebrated America’s IndependenceDay with a spirited waving of hands and flags among paraders and spectators on MacArthur Boulevard.
On hand were politicians — Mayor Muriel Bowser and District Council members Mary Cheh, Jack Evans and Vincent Gray — along with African American cowboys and cowgirlsfrom the United Horsemen’s Association, Inca dancers from Alma Boliviana Fraternity, bagpipers, scouts, firefighters and boatsmen (white guys in captain’s hats in an old convertible). Some in the parade, per tradition, tossed candy to the children.
Though the day simmered, with highs in the 90s — it’s always hot for the parade, they say— many went to the picnic afterwards to enjoy lemonade, watermelon and hot dogs at Sherier Place, where the mayor cut the ribbon to open the new Palisades Recreation Center, modernized at a cost of $9.5 million.
The parade is put on by the Palisades Citizens’ Association, which spends the rest of theyear supporting and advocating for one of Washington’s happiest and best hometown neighborhoods.
The group isn’t shy about touting its special place in D.C. “The Palisades area is located in Northwest Washington along the Potomac River, between Key Bridge and Chain Bridge,”the PCA says. “Hugging the Potomac River with its high bluffs and breathtaking sunsets, the Palisades is a treasure of green spaces in the nation’s capital. Our area is laced with winding parks where dappled light filters through canopies of old trees. It’s filled with quiet streets and dotted with houses all of varying styles, from a loving home originally
built as a late 19th century dance hall to detailed Victorian designs to the more modernhomes.”
Not that all is peaches and cream. Some concerns remain at the end of the day, such as airplane noise, the bane of backyard barbecues, outdoor meetings and proper sleep.
The Palisades Citizens’ Association — with the Citizens Association of Georgetown and Georgetown University, among others — had its petition against the Federal Aviation Administration dismissed. Nonetheless, the D.C. Fair Skies Coalition has filed for a rehearing and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton has gotten involved as co-chair of the Quiet Skies Caucus and a senior member of the House Transportation and InfrastructureCommittee’s Aviation Subcommittee.
Other matters before the PCA include: renovating Carolina Park, located between Macomb Street, Manning Place, Sherier Place and Potomac Avenue; revitalizing the Glen Echo Trolley right-of-way, an unused grass strip that was once land for the public trolley, extending from near Georgetown to Glen Echo, Maryland; and replacing the Arizona Pedestrian Bridge, which is too low and does not meet current standards. The D.C. government has proposed a new steel truss bridge that will partially preserve the original stonework.
“Taken together, the modernization of the Palisades Recreation Center and the proposed reconstruction of the pedestrian bridge along with the adjoining trolley trail enhancements represent the biggest changes to public space in the Palisades in a generation,” wrote PCAPresident Avi Green. “Like the city as a whole, the Palisades is growing and evolving.”
Despite its growth, the neighborhood continues to feel like a slice of Americana in an urban setting. The Palisades Farmers Market is held on Sunday mornings year-round. Families with children look forward to annual events including the Easter egg hunt, the Hoedown and Family Night at the Fire Station, with a firefighters’ barbecue.
“Ask anyone why we consider this a small town in a big city,” says the PCA, “and you’re likely to get the same answer: the people who live here. They are some of the friendliest in Washington.”
Neighbors near the Palisades — in Georgetown, for instance — would no doubt agree. Like many other Washington residents, Georgetowners often drop by to see friends and visit businesses, making sure on the Fourth of July to claim a good spot for viewing the MacArthur Boulevard parade.
PALISADES CITIZENS’ ASSOCIATION
P.O. Box 40603/5152
Fulton St. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Avi Green, President
Shoshana Rosenbaum, First Vice President
Ellen Maxwell, Second Vice President
Ken Buckley, Treasurer
Mary Ann Floto, Secretary