Bill Nye is back in D.C. after years away. He chatted with us about some of his favorite memories growing up in the District and where his famous bow tie comes from.
What's your favorite D.C. memory?
“Maybe seeing Carl Yastrzemski steal a home run at the ‘69 All-Star game. Or seeing the Beatles at DC Stadium (now RFK Stadium) when I was nine … I also went to Rock Creek Park continually, because it was at the end of the block. I grew up near the north corner of D.C. so you'd go one direction, you'd be in Maryland, the other direction you'd be in Rock Creek Park. That changed my life. Back then, it snowed quite a bit, so we would go sledding in Rock Creek Park. That was a highlight of winter.”
What’s an underrated monument or museum that you think more people should visit?
“The John Ericsson Memorial on the river side of the Lincoln Memorial! John Ericsson invented the screw propeller. Can you imagine a world without propellers? Think of all the propellers in your life. Your dishwasher has propellers, motorboats have propellers, ships run on propellers, airplanes have propellers. It's amazing. I'm a mechanical engineer, so I'm not very objective about this.”
Where does your bow tie come from?
“In high school, the girls had an athletic banquet and the boys were always the waiters. Full disclosure, I was hoping that this one girl would talk to me and I figured if I served her, maybe she would interact with me for a few sentences. So, my dad showed me how to tie a bow tie. Then later in life when I was doing standup comedy, I would wear a bow tie to set myself apart from the other guys. And then what happened? It just has become a thing. Now I just gotta wear a bow tie.”
There are lots more gems where this came from. Hear more from Bill about his life in D.C.