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Metro Brief: Union Square under new management

District of Columbia

On January 29, 2012

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), spent the past two weeks meeting separately with stakeholders about the transfer of Union Square from the National Park Service to the Architect of the Capitol in an effort to maintain existing polices and practices for permitting commercial photography and filming at Union Square for 90 days, while working "toward making these practices permanent under the new jurisdictional arrangement." Union Square, the area immediately beneath the west Capitol grounds between 1st and 3rd Streets and Pennsylvania and Maryland Avenues – including the Capitol reflecting pool – and the only area around the Capitol that currently allows commercial filming and photography, was transferred to the Architect of the Capitol from the National Park Service in the 2012 omnibus spending bill.

   " … The continuity of policy signals the understanding of the Board about the importance to the nation and the world of this vista," Norton said. "However, as I said at the meetings, I also believe that the Board should use the transfer as an opportunity to engage in a thorough review that could allow permits for commercial photography and filmmaking at a number of areas outside the Capitol buildings, such as near Independence Avenue on the House side, and Constitution Avenue on the Senate side. The vista of the U.S. Capitol is among America's most iconic. Limiting commercial films and photography, an important vehicle for telling the nation's story, does an unintended disservice."

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