A lot of things happened in the summer and the fall of 2004. What sticks out most is the night in August I stood with three of my closest friends at the entrance of a new parking garage in downtown Silver Spring, yet to open, daring each other to go in.
The concrete was still clean and smooth as we strode up the big ramp, our voices bouncing around seven empty floors as we ascended. At the top of the garage, we walked out onto the sun setting over the then- brand new development called Downtown Silver Spring: a 20-screen movie theatre, a Whole Foods, a hotel, a brightly-colored tile plaza with a fountain.
It felt especially surreal for the 16-year-old me, having lived in little-D downtown Silver Spring, land of boarded-up buildings and empty storefronts, until 5th grade. Now there were signs saying “Silver SprUng” (as in, Silver Spring had “sprung”) and even a TV commercial.