Things to Do

A Quick Guide to What’s Essential and Nonessential on the Mall Today (Photos)

A look at what’s closed for business and what’s business as usual on the Mall right now.

The National Gallery of Art: not as essential as cops, congresspeople, and $22 valets. Photographs by Sophie Gilbert.

Welcome to the first day of the Great Government Shutdown of 2013. Your nonessential federal employees are probably rewatching all of Breaking Bad from the comfort of their couches while wondering if they’ll ever be paid again. Meanwhile, all free museums are closed, for the most part. Here, in photos, is a quick glimpse of what was essential and nonessential on the National Mall this morning.

Essential: Cops standing around chatting.
Not essential: The National Museum of the American Indian. 
Not essential: The National Gallery of Art. Sorry sad art students sketching landscapes on the front steps because you can’t get inside to our national art repository.
Not essential: The Smithsonian carousel.
Not essential: The Library of Congress. No book-learning today.
Not essential: The Bartholdi Fountain, or the United States Botanic Garden. Water costs money, clearly. Or maybe the guy who knows how to turn it on was just not essential enough.
Essential: The (non-governmental) trolley tours telling sad tourists about all the cool things they might be able to do if only the museums were open.
Essential: Local camera crews filming people pretending to try to open the door to a closed museum.
Essential: The $22 valet guy outside the National Republican Club. Because there may not be a government, but heavens forbid those guys have to suffer through street parking like the rest of us.