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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Best shortcut: Firehouse alley

Lily Speredelozzi | Assistant Photo Editor
The brick-lined walls on both sides of the firehouse create a sense of linear uncanniness, creating the illusion that the alley is much longer and narrower than it actually is.

Location: 2119 G St.

Readers’ pick: Firehouse alley

As students experience the task of traversing GW’s urban campus, the alley by the firehouse behind Kogan Plaza serves as the best shortcut and timesaver for an every day commute.

This narrow alleyway is snugly situated between the psychology department building and the Engine Company No. 23 fire station of the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services. It effectively creates a path from the south end of Kogan Plaza to G Street, optimally situated to meet a crosswalk that connects to another walkway across Square 80 leading to F Street.

While there is wider walkway on the other side of the firehouse, it’s sometimes blocked off with a closed gate or obstructed by parked cars. The narrower one adjacent to the psychology building is less crowded with fewer obstacles, making it a quick and easy shortcut to classes.

The fire station was built in 1910 and remains in operation to this day, serving as the smallest D.C. firehouse. Its traditional architecture, ornate roof trim and limestone facade ornament GW’s campus, reminding students of the institution’s long history in Foggy Bottom.

Whether paved or not, the shortcut is an incredibly persistent and personal aspect of students’ everyday lives. It exists beyond the superficiality of a time saver. The paths we take become ingrained in our everyday lives, influencing who we run into and even our fate.

The brick-lined walls on both sides create a sense of linear uncanniness, creating the illusion that the alley is much longer and narrower than it actually is. It evokes a feeling of an area that somehow transcends both time and space. It’s easy to lose touch with reality as your peripherals are blocked and you are forced to reconcile with this tunnel vision.

Once you enter, you’re oddly trapped – there is nowhere to go but forward or backward. While this feeling may sound claustrophobic, it is rather comforting. In small spaces like this, there is an inherent sense of coziness and a semblance of protection and shelter. As reality shifts and perception becomes transcendental, we are in touch with the universe and shed materialistic observations. Our internal monologue goes quiet and thoughts slow down, becoming one with our very consciousness.

The alley also exposes us to our fate. If you’re lucky – or unlucky – enough to run into someone you know, you must sit with the discomfort after acknowledging and before passing each other. You are forced to make eye contact with your acquaintance, and because of how narrow the alley is, you even run the risk of physically colliding.

If you want to cut off some time from your commute and momentarily dissociate from reality, take the road less traveled and walk down the alley next to the firehouse.

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