As the man said, let us count the ways. We all love Washington, right? But what do we love about it? Can we come up with a list of our favorite quirks, sights, places and people?
Kathy Stobie of Arlington has provided a hefty nudge in the right direction. She enclosed a copy of an article that appeared in 1976 in The New York Times. Its headline: "101 Things to Love about New York City."
Many of the 101 are a bit parochial for my taste. Take Reason 91: "The apostrophe missing from DONT WALK."
If the author had ever ventured west of the Hudson or south of Bayonne, he might have noticed that DONT WALK signs in other cities, including ours, suffer the same, apostropheless fate.
Reason 24, "A broken parking meter," was a little puzzling. What's to love?
And Reason 23 is pure peevishness. "Its distance from Washington," says the Times story.
Hey, Gotham: we're as far from you as you are from us. Sticks and stones can break our bones, and all that. Or as they say in Brooklyn, same to you, fella.
All right, all right, I'll restrain my competitiveness. Let's be cheerily chauvinistic and incredibly incisive about the city we call home. Let's put together "101 Things to Love about Washington."
Kathy kicks us off with:
* The bust of George Washington at the Foggy Bottom Metro, particularly when George is wearing a red Santa Claus hat around Christmas.
* The grace-before-meals cards at Sholl's Cafeteria.
* Bob's Famous Ice Cream.
I would humbly add these 20:
* The chess players in Dupont Circle.
* Softball on summer Sundays in West Potomac Park.
* Streetcar tracks still embedded in main streets a generation after streetcars have disappeared.
* The caterpillar-like tour buses on the Mall, and the never-flagging interest on the faces of the tourists riding in them.
* Harden and Weaver.
* The view of the city looking south from Cardozo High School.
* The patches worn by Metrobus drivers that tell how many years they've driven safely.
* Out of season, but fervently: The Hogs.
* The bike path through Rock Creek Park.
* The way the Kennedy Center hangs over Rock Creek Parkway, like a protective iceberg.
* The Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, my vote for Most Striking Building in a city full of them.
* Metro's BONG-bong, just before the doors close.
* Eastern Market.
* The "In Search Of" personals in Washingtonian Magazine.
* The barbecued chicken at Giant Food Stores.
* The midnight changing of shifts at the main post office on Massachusetts Avenue. Instant traffic jam.
* The way the Yellow Cab dispatcher pronounces "Eckington," a neighborhood in Northwest, "Ackata."
* Gordon Peterson, still warm and witty after all these years.
* DeMatha vs. St. John's for all the marbles.
* Rock Creek Ginger Ale.
Surely you readers have more. We have 78 slots open. If you'd like to make a nomination, send it to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. 20071.