Of all the original characters who are now gone from the streets of Washington, my most memorable was the Queen of Connecticut Avenue.

The Queen reigned from her spot in front of the Mayflower Hotel on Connecticut Avenue in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Tall, regal, and royal in her vibrant turbans and dresses, she reached out to greet her subjects with loud enthusiasm.



Queens can be intimidating, and I was intimidated. The first time I saw her, I practically ran past for fear I’d be singled out for her greeting and embarrassed if I didn’t find a dollar or two to out in the vase that sat on the sidewalk beside her. But the Queen gave you her greeting whether you paid homage or not, and I started looking forward to seeing her.

And what greetings they were! She called out in voice that was melodious, mellifluous, and animated, “Ohhhh, Honey. That outfit – I know it’s new – it works (with the word drawn out to last 4 beats) on you.”

“Ooooh, Sweetheart, that look is good on you! I hope you’re doing something special tonight.”

“Yes Sir, you are looking sharp today! Walking tall! Looking like you can take on the world and all.”

As long as the Queen was there, we had someone to notice new hair styles and fashions. We had someone to care about our feelings. “You look sad. Is the world beating up on you.?”

We had someone to care if we were there, to notice when we were gone, and make us feel that we were missed. “Well, there you are. Where have you been? I hope it’s somewhere warm and fun. I’ve been missing you.”

One of the recruiters in the staffing firm where I worked approached the Queen with the offer of a receptionist job. The salary was around $40,000 / year. “Honey, you are so sweet to think of me, but I couldn’t afford to take that big a cut in pay. Besides, I won’t be here but a couple of months. I plan to spend the winter in Florida.”