Watergate Memories

With all the Deep Throat hub-bub going on around town, I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic for my days when I lived up the street from the Watergate building.

I remember getting my very first apartment at 23rd and G st (which has since been torn-down) and wondering where in the world I was going to buy groceries. Some kind soul told me about the Safeway in the basement of the Watergate building. I thought it was cool to go grocery shopping under this historic site. I remember impressing all the folks back home in South Jersey with my man-of-the-world-ness.

Of course after a few trips the novelty wore off and a trip to the grocery store became just another routine thing.

I remember being drunk once and trying to infiltrate the Watergate building to see where the break-in went down. I entered the lobby walking closely to a group of entering residents. Made it on to the elevator, up to the third or fourth floor, when I realized that I had no clue where in the building the break-in actually took place. So I wandered the halls of whatever floor I was on for awhile, got bored, and left via the stairs because I was sure someone was coming up the elevator to kick me out.

Another time, many years and apartments later, I remember when my girlfriend’s (now my wife) car broke-down and we pushed it to the gas station right there in front of the Watergate. I remember waiting with her for AAA and staring at the Watergate. It really is quite a cool (ugly) old building. Like a 60’s envisioned building of the future. It always makes me think of some giant lumbering space-cruiser breaking apart or something like that.

In the 12 years I have lived in DC, this landmark building has made the transition from an exciting DC locale, to a place where I bought groceries, to a building I enjoyed staring at, to finally being just another building I drive past when I’m heading up into Rock Creek Park.

While the identity of Deep Throat has sent reporters and historians into a retrospective frenzy, the effects it has had on me is to treat me to a similar more personal round of memories. Isn’t it great to live in this city? To be surrounded by historic sites to the point where they become everyday parts of your life, hardly worth noticing most days but oh so impressive when we first move here. I am glad for this whole Deep Throat deal if only because it has made me stop to think about all the interesting events and locations that surround us everyday here in our nation’s Capital.

Maybe I’ll go have a slice of pizza at the Watergate courtyard for lunch today.

3 Comments so far

  1. ~dana (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2005 @ 1:18 pm

    Wow that’s pretty funny–I told pretty much the same story, the “I used to go grocery shopping in the basement of the Watergate when I lived at 23rd and G” story to a bunch of people here in NYC last night. It really DOES impress those out-of-towners. And it totally impressed me too back in the day. But alas there is no way grocery shopping can really sustain that kind of allure for long, no matter where you do it!


  2. KOB (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2005 @ 7:11 pm

    Nice write-up. The Watergate safeway is my neighborhood store, although a little walk; although I believe a trader joe’s is suppose to open soon in the ruins of the old Columbia Womens Hospital. Nice piece.


  3. Derek (unregistered) on June 3rd, 2005 @ 8:18 am

    My only memory of the Watergate is visiting the courtyard and buying a chocolate milk from that Safeway. As I was chatting with a friend at one of the tables, Ben Stein walked by. I wanted to say hi but was to worried that I’d annoy him or something. It turns out he bought a condo there for his father.



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