Interesting alleys: South of East Capitol


This quaint alley is a great cut-through, has little traffic and offers excellent views of the myriad styles of architecture in Capitol Hill.

This quaint alley is a great cut-through, has little traffic and offers excellent views of the myriad styles of architecture in Capitol Hill.

Fourth in a series

There are only two entrances to the East Capitol alley.

There are only two entrances to the East Capitol alley.

Unlike Gessford Court, F Street Terrace and Kings Court, this unnamed alley seems to be neither historically nor economically notable. In fact, I can’t even identify a name for it. We’ll go with East Capitol alley for now.

What makes this route intriguing is that it is basically built for the pedestrian, in effect a winding, almost Euro path located in the center of a metropolis. It isn’t a useful shortcut for cars, portions are extremely thin and curved; drivers must exit caution, and the drivers here are all residents. I have used this route dozens of times, and have encountered automobiles fewer than 10 times.

Just ahead is the lush spread of Lincoln Park.

Just ahead is the lush spread of Lincoln Park.

This alley is for walking. It begins on a fairly nondescript residential block on the east side, winding past the backyards, patios and garages of a church, condos and houses, then opening up spectacularly to a view of Lincoln Park, which on a nice day is an energetic oasis for city dwellers, dovetailing nicely with the nostalgia of such a funky little road.

It is the quiet and solitude available here — tucked away from the multiple bordering busy roads — that make this alley alluring.

Like many of the things that make Washington so eye-catching, little gems like the East Capitol alley make me think: “They don’t make ’em like this anymore.” Houses, parks, alleys and statues, the history of the city is all around us, being remade each day, leaving only traces of what once was behind.

The prices at the adjoining Park Cafe should bring you back to Earth if you find yourself dreamy after a stroll down this way.

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One Response to Interesting alleys: South of East Capitol

  1. Molly W. says:

    My husband and I speculate the Park Cafe is a money-laundering operation …

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