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Springtime in Parkfairfax
By Starling Root
Once upon a time President Franklin Roosevelt complained that there wasn't enough housing near the Pentagon--and this is why my walk to work seems like a picture out of a storybook about smart suburbia.
You see, FDR's Lefty whining (hey, not knocking it) led to the creation of Parkfairfax in Alexandria, Virginia. This neighborhood chock-a-block with brick garden-style condos is not only listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register; it's also full of flowers right now. Nothing exotic, just run of the mill Mid-Atlantic flowers, but beautiful in that East Coast/deciduous forest kind of way.
Anyway, back to the mini history lesson: The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of New York jumped at FDR's request and built over 200 buildings on 132 acres, making 1,684 condo apartments available to federal workers and whoever else felt like living just close enough to Washington, D.C. without actually being there. And so Parkfairfax (which interestingly is NOT located in nearby Fairfax County) was born in 1941. The neighborhood lies 3 miles from the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and about 6.5 miles from D.C.'s popular Chinatown.
Here's how Parkfairfax first looked:
Here's how it looks today:
And this is why I'm a happy pedestrian commuter: