Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr Memorial: Photos

Yesterday, the National Park Service opened the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial one day ahead of schedule. The memorial is quite unique; it is the first major memorial on the National Mall to honor an African-American, one of the few that feature a non-President and at 30 feet, it's the tallest statuette on the Mall.

The layout is simple; two long, curving inscription walls, an "entrance way" made of two large mountain-like stones and the carved stone statue of King. Outside the footprint and landscaping of the memorial is the rangers' station and bookstore. From what I understand the memorial will be open to the public until 10pm each day until Thursday. It will close all day Friday and Saturday and reopen for the ticketed dedication on Sunday morning. After the festivities it will be open 24 hours/day like other monuments on the mall.

As far as DC residents getting a first look, well, that opportunity seems to have passed. The only mention I've heard since the announcement is that Mayor Gray is inviting DC residents down to the memorial today, August 23 from 8am-10pm. So, pretty much the same opportunity afforded everyone else, at this point. According to the city, the Mayor and other city leaders will be at the memorial to welcome visitors. At what time, I don't know. Sorry about that. Also, the MLK Jr DC Public Library is actively programming around the unveiling and a schedule can be found here.

FYI, getting there: I took the Metro to Smithsonian station and walked along Independence Ave to the memorial. I've seen all sorts of recommendations, from Farragut to Foggy Bottom to Arlington Cemetery stations. The Independence Ave walk is not suited for people in wheelchairs or large groups, but otherwise seems to be the fastest walking route from a Metro station.

Here are a few photos from yesterday: