The atmosphere on Capitol Hill’s brick sidewalks stays frosty year round as the power-walking professionals rush along in suits of wool-blend armor, their earphones in place, smartphones loaded and eyes focused dead ahead.
But things change at the corner of Second Street and Massachusetts Avenue NE. That’s where streams of pedestrians converge near Union Station, U.S. Senate office buildings, the Federal Judiciary Center, the Heritage Foundation and other buildings packed with prestige and power.
For the past decade, this was where the late Peter Bis kept his office, sitting on a blue plastic crate under an oak tree, sharing cigarettes, coffee and conspiracy theories with whoever passed by, greeting most of them by name. He was the friendly homeless man with his own website, business cards and a life story that ”” even when warped by schizophrenia ”” touched thousands.