A statue goes up as the masks come down
'Little Lady Liberty' unveiling at the French residence is the latest example of D.C.'s diplomatic circuit coming back to life
No serious political post today (that’s coming tomorrow as I break down the progressive pitfalls that could derail Biden’s agenda).
For now, it’s just some photos from two events that, while vastly different, are further proof of the new post-pandemic party norm in the nation’s capital.
While embassies have already begun in-person receptions (the Brits seem to be leading the pack), they’ve tended to be on the smaller side.
But on July 14 — Bastille Day — the French revived the traditional diplomatic confab with their unveiling of “Little Lady Liberty,” a miniature (albeit 1,000-pound miniature) replica of the Statue of Liberty in New York.
The nine-foot-tall bronze statue was crafted from the original 1878 plaster model that French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi used in his designs for the Statue of Liberty.
It made its debut at French Ambassador Philippe Étienne’s residence in Kalorama to a VIP crowd that included Secretary of State Antony Blinken; French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian; NASA Administrator Bill Nelson; D.C. Secretary of State Kimberly Bassett; and a number of European ambassadors.
Among the senators in attendance were Chris Coons, Amy Klobuchar, Sheldon Whitehouse and Ed Markey. Journalists included Andrea Mitchell, Steve Clemons, Suzanne Kianpour and Mark Leibovich, among others.
In a first that I’ve encountered, the embassy required proof of vaccination or a recent COVID test to enter. That would never fly in most American venues, but perhaps more embassies will adopt the requirement, which everyone I spoke to at the crowded event said they appreciated.
And perhaps it was also a not-so-subtle reminder that the French prize vaccination — and therefore should be allowed back into the U.S. if the administration would loosen its COVID travel restrictions (something that ambassadors like Étienne have been lobbying hard for).
For full coverage of Little Lady Liberty’s journey from Paris to the front lawn of the French Residence in D.C. (where it will stay for the next decade), check out my article here.
Meanwhile, far from the stately, leafy confines of Kalorama, Kimpton’s new YOTEL Hotel in Capitol Hill was showing off its swanky new Deck 11 rooftop pool and lounge.
Rooftop decks — let alone pools and resort-style cabanas — are still a rarity in D.C., which is a shame because our low height restrictions allow for relatively unobstructed city views.
And at 8,000 square feet, Deck 11 is one of the largest roof decks in the city.
So after you’re done taking a look at Little Lady Liberty in front of the French residence and you’ve worked up a sweat, head over to YOTEL’s Deck 11 to cool off and enjoy the view.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian are mobbed by fans and the media in front of Little Lady Liberty at the French Residence. (Photo: © Hugo Menguy)
Little Lady Liberty weighs 1,000 pounds and is nine feet tall. (Photo: Anna Gawel)
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of the District of Columbia Kimberly Basset and French Ambassador Philippe Étienne clap at the unveiling of Little Lady Liberty. (Photo: Anna Gawel)
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce and former Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce attend the inauguration of Little Lady Liberty. (Photo: Anna Gawel)
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Heather Podesta attend the inauguration of Little Lady Liberty at the French ambassador’s residence. (Photo: Anna Gawel)
Enjoying an excuse to finally dress up and show off my new purse at the YOTEL’s Deck 11 rooftop and lounge.
A stylish Thomas Coleman.
The always-stylish Kate Michael.