Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

D.C.'S Best View of Fireworks Is off Limits

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

D.C.'S Best View of Fireworks Is off Limits

Article excerpt

The Cairo stands 14 stories high. By the standards of more vertical cities, that's not especially impressive. Here, however, it makes it the tallest residential building in all of Washington.

It also means that come the Fourth of July, the Cairo's planked rooftop deck - which spans the length of the building's south- facing facade and wraps part way around its western side - is an especially coveted spot from which to watch fireworks as they're launched over the National Mall.

"I think we probably have the best view around - aside from actually being on top of the Washington Monument," says one resident, returning home from work on a recent Wednesday, his striped tie flung over his left shoulder.

And it's not just the government-sanctioned show that's visible. "It truly is insane," says Vicky Hallett, a reporter for The Washington Post who has lived in the Cairo since 2003. "Because it's a 360-degree view, you can see fireworks in other suburbs and illegal fireworks. It's incredible." By one account, as many as 30 pyrotechnic displays light up the horizons.

The spectacular vantage point became so popular that management implemented a residents-only policy for July 4. So it may be hard to believe - especially for the 100,000 tourists the D.C. Convention and Tourism Corp. is expecting to eagerly converge on their nation's capital - that even with the holiday falling midweek, this year, as in past years, some Cairo residents are making plans to decamp. They are part of a larger exodus: Locals leaving behind dense, swampy air and flag-waving tourists in favor of cooler climes and less exuberant celebrants.

Rehoboth Beach in Delaware is one popular destination for the Cairo defectors. A deeply tanned woman in sunglasses and a red blazer, pausing ever so briefly beneath the building's elaborately carved Romanesque Revival arch, says wearily of the Mall fireworks, "You can only see them so many times. …

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