July 22 – Alley Behind P St NW @20th Street NW (ONP #203)

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 Alley Dive!  I haven’t done an alley dive in several weeks, so I was long overdue.

I love the secret life of alleys. Besides the usual stuff (dumpsters, rat traps, parking spots, back patios), each alley has its own quirks and personality—like the skinny little foot passage in this L-shaped alley that sneaked between buildings mid-block, making for a secret short-cut. There was also a funky pentagonal roof patio that overlooked a crumbling wall below.

The years and the history in these 100-year row houses seem so much more visceral in the alleys, where they aren’t all gussied up with paint and trim. It’s like seeing the painted old ladies without their make-up.