Brood X

17 Years Ago: This Is How DC Looked the Last Time Cicadas Emerged

Usher topped the Billboard charts and the NoMa Metro station wasn't open yet when the Brood X cicadas emerged in 2004

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Seventeen years ago, billions of cicadas crawled from underground in D.C., Maryland and Virginia and began a weeks long period of cacophonous mating.

This spring, the cycle is repeating, but life looks different.

How much has our life changed? Take a look back at how the D.C. area looked in May 2004.

DC Landmarks

World War II Memorial

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The popular World War II Memorial was opened in the spring of 2004. The dedication ceremony was attended by thousands of veterans who had served in World War II.

One tour guide with a particular fear of cicadas even asked a group of two dozen veterans to protect her from the insects — which, of course, they did, the Washington Post reported.


Michaela Yurick

Anthony Williams was mayor of Washington, D.C.; George W. Bush was president and Barack Obama was a U.S. Senator from Illinois — not yet a household name.


The Nationals

Getty Images

In 2004, the Nationals were still in Montreal and known as the Expos. They had missed the cicada explosion by the time the team officially moved to D.C. and became the Nationals. Ryan Zimmerman barely missed playing in Montreal as the Nationals drafted him in 2005 for their inaugural season.


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Matt Le Blanc as Joey Tribbiani, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green and Courteney Cox as Monica Geller on NBC's "Friends."

Television & Film

The milestone NBC sitcom "Friends" said goodbye and aired its final episode as the cicadas were hatching. And 17 years later, the same sitcom is streaming a reunion on HBO Max.

In the movie theaters, sequels to blockbusters like "Shrek 2" and "Spider-Man 2" were on the big screen.


Usher's "Burn" and "Yeah!" featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris were topping the Billboard charts in May 2004 along with Hoobastank's "The Reason," Mario Winans' "I Don't Wanna Know" and Beyoncé's "Naughty Girl."


amedved | iStock | Getty Images
Historic row houses in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington D.C.


Single-family home sales broke a record-high in the District in 2004, and the median sale price hit $372,000 (about $520,000 in 2021 dollars), according to the Urban Institute.

The median price of a single-family home in D.C. surpassed $1 million last year, WTOP reported.


The price of fuel was about $1.88 per gallon ($2.66 in today's dollars). Now, it's about $3.04 per gallon.


Motorola Razr
Motorola Razr

FaceTime and iMessage did not exist, as Apple had not yet released the iPhone. Instead, the hottest phone to carry was the slick, thin Motorola Razr V3. Another popular cell phone was the Nokia 2600.

To listen music on the go, music lovers carried an iPod instead of just their phone.

Social Media

Facebook logo at HQ in London

Facebook already existed, but it was limited to college students.

Social media users were instead spending hours personalizing their MySpace page and connecting with new people on Hi5.

What do you remember from the last time the cicadas emerged in spring 2004? Tag NBC Washington in your throwback pictures on Twitter and Instagram.

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