In honor of DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels’ 25th anniversary of their chocolate chip cookie, they’ll be giving out free cookies from 10 am to 6 pm at Union Station. The Cookie CAREavan from the hotel is making a stop in DC as part of their 10-week, 10,000-mile and 50-city tour and will be giving out the same cookies they give to every guest who checks in to one of their hotels.
The Cookie CAREavan tour is hopping on the food truck bandwagon and is also a sponsor of the Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race.
So head over to Union Station today for a little sugar boost in your day.
I was in Union Station this morning, waiting for a train and zoning off, when I noticed a striking difference between the Acela’s DC, Philly, NYC and Boston overhead posters. While all the posters feature a stylized Acela train speeding through each city’s unique skyline and all hang from the rafters in very similar positions, the New York City poster was the only one covered in bird poop, especially towards the bottom of the poster.
Upon noticing this difference, I began looking for some simple explanation for this avian vandalism. Perhaps the NYC poster was simply, and unfortunately, hanging in an already popular bird hang out? No. No birds insight. Perhaps the NYC poster featured some sort of bird attracting color? Nope. Posters were all fairly similar in color scheme.
After surveying the poster scene, I could come to no other conclusion then that the Union station pigeons, sparrows and starling clearly dislike Amtrak’s NYC Acela poster, and NY by association, and they have decided to express their 2nd amendment rights by strategically bombarding it with their poop. Case solved.
I have to believe that one of the worst locations to open a restaurant right now is on the south side of H St. NE. If it wasn’t hard enough to establish yourself, try doing it from behind chain link fencing and the giant crater that will hopefully be a street car track one day. I have a hard enough time figuring out where to cross the street that most of the time I just give up and end up at Sticky Rice. I was determined the other night though, so I made it through the war zone that is the construction barricades and finally found myself at Smith Commons, the newest restaurant/lounge to open on H St.
To promote the relaunch of their magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek is offering free shoe shines at Union Station. That’s right, on Monday May 10th and May 17th from 7 to 11am, you can get your shoes shined for free – a $9 value! While your wingtips are being waxed, read the magazine’s launch issue which “includes expanded content, new sections, and a completely retooled and enhanced navigation”.
Don’t worry, there won’t be any clowns there.
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3547/3361920161_8be7bd5a7d_m.jpg includes expanded content, new sections, and a completely retooled and enhanced navigation.
Via Shorpy, here’s an old photo of Union Station when it was new, as seen from the side of the rails. Besides the old steam locomotives, notice anything glaringly different from how this scene looks now, 104 years later?
Welcome to a holiday edition of Mythbusting! This week we’ll be figuring out exactly what is going on with the Christmas trees in DC. How many National Christmas Trees are there? There’s the one outside the Capitol and the one outside the White House, but are there more “official” Christmas trees in our federal city?
Yes, there are! There are three official national trees in our fair city: the Capitol Christmas Tree in front of the Capitol. the National Christmas Tree near the ellipse at the White House, and the White House Christmas Tree inside the Blue Room of the White House. Read on to find out the difference between these trees, where they came from this year, and which one is a DC native!
Despite the history, the sculptures, the uniqueness, it’s still kind of hard to wax poetic about Union Station. You see, when Union Station was built, residents lauded the civic project for finally bringing an impressive and worthy gateway for visitors into the nation’s capital. But today, people run in and out of Union Station faster than… well, faster than a speeding train.
Union Station Bike Center (AKA “BikeStation”) looks pretty much done at this point — outside, at least. The construction fences and tarps are gone, and the parking garage driveway to 1st St NE has been open now for a few weeks. Station-area bicyclists should soon have a nice, sheltered, secure spot to store their bikes here.
I have mixed feelings about Union Station. It’s gorgeous, yet it’s grubby. It’s full of good stores, yet it has nothing really that interesting. It’s got good hustle and bustle, yet I hate the lost souls. Seriously, it’s love/hate. I love it but I really hate it. But mostly I think about Union Station and how much space is wasted with bad food. I recently had a discussion on Twitter with my tweeple (I’m getting addicted. We knew this would happen, didn’t we?) about Union Station and the lack of decent food inside.
We settled on Corner Bakery actually being the best option. And that’s fine, I like Corner Bakery (not as much as I love Potbellys!) but isn’t it sad that our epicenter of transportation doesn’t have good uniquely-DC food inside? There’s a decent Gyro to be had downstairs, and I don’t hate Cafe Renee, but ya’ll, it’s basically a food-void, in my opinion. This is distressing to me. So I ask you… Am I missing something? Is there a hidden gem in there that I just don’t know about? Or is Union Station just the way I see it – a black hole of mediocrity?
The first step to healing, is admitting you have a problem, right? Well, people, here is my admission: I am addicted to Taqueria Nacional. Its draw to me is more powerful than Potbelly’s was when I used to work near 17th & L (best Potbelly’s location ever) and those of you who know me know that I adore Potbelly’s. I will forgo any lunch I’ve brought to work faster than you can say “Hey Katie, wanna go to Taqui…” I’ll dash out of conference calls, I’ll leave my boss in a lurch, I’ll do pretty much anything for a pork taco from Taqueria Nacional in the middle of the day. So this We Love Food? This one is personal, cause I’m a regular. A regular with an addiction.
Taqueria Nacional opened in 2007 amidst a flurry of rumors (it’s in an alley, it’s only a takeout window, it only has tacos) in the foodie scene. Clearly we did not have Twitter to quickly spread the truth, and it took a while for everyone to get on the same page – but here it is: Taqueria Nacional is tucked away behind Johnny’s the Half Shell, in the corner of the courtyard of the CSPAN building. It hides as a little standing-room-only takeout shop with a line that usually reaches halfway across the courtyard. Ann Cashion and John Fulchino are behind this little taco place, which bodes well for the new Mexican fare at H Street Country Club (Cashion’s new venture), and the standards are high. The tacos are five bites of heaven, the salads are fresh with high quality lettuce, the agua frescas are creative, and my stomach cheers at the thought of the fried yucca. Continue reading →
Calling all trainiacs! This Saturday is National Train Day, and lucky you– DC is home to one of the biggest events to celebrate it! From 10 AM to 3 PM, head over to Union Station to meet American Idol’s Randy Jackson (not sure how he’s related to trains, but that’s cool), listen to some live music, or check out some train equipment, including the train car that President Obama rode in to the inauguration. There will also be exhibits all day that explore how trains are related to economic development, the green aspects of rail travel, and photos showing the connection between the national landscape and trains. Think Joe Biden will stop by?
With most of Union Station’s Grand Hall reserved for tonight’s inaugural ball, and the Metro station and rail concourse already packed to capacity, the crowd entering Union Station had to be divided into Metro, Amtrak, and MARC/VRE riders. Confusion reigned outside as the Columbus Circle road was closed off, forcing people to circle around sidewalks and fences and clumps of National Guard and MPD personnel.
The Obama Express has arrived! Union Station was a circus tonight — thousands of people clogging the Grand Hall and concourse hoping to catch a glimpse of the president-elect at the end of his whistle-stop tour, with memorabilia vendors hawking their wares at every corner. Sadly, as indicated on Union Station’s website, the arrival was not meant to be a public event. The president-elect and all his travelling companions boarded their motorcade directly from the platform area, skipping over the concourse and heading straight for Blair House.
Heading home from Union Station, I unwittingly fell in step with a group of security personnel, only noticing when their leader addressed them, “She’s over there,” gesturing towards the Postal Museum Building, where an Amtrak motorized cart was negotiating a crosswalk. On board, an older woman accompanied two younger girls. My eyes met briefly with those of the long-haired girl, and I nodded noncommittally before walking on, not recognizing her. She looked very worried.
Suddenly a small gang of wild paparazzi appeared as if out of nowhere, a boorish, swarming mob of shoving, yelling, fanny-packed photographers, circling the cart and clicking away. The girls covered their faces, one of the paps yelled mockingly, “I love you, Lindsay!”, and the security team pushed him and the others aside. It took me about another minute to realize which “Lindsay” the photographer had been yelling at.
So I guess I have a nodding acquaintance with Lindsay Lohan now. I got some quick fuzzy video (above) as the cart retreated towards Union Station with the paparazzi in tow, but she’s barely visible. I felt so bad for her being chased by that repulsive swarm that I decided not to go after her for clearer video. No use turning into one of them.
Today (Sat 4 Oct 2008) marks the 100th anniversary of DC’s Union Station, and also the 20th year since its reopening as a mixed retail and transport hub. Union Station and Amtrak will be celebrating with exhibits, memorabilia, and tours of historic train cars and locomotives.
The Union Station driveway by 1st St NE (directly above the Metro station) has been fenced off and is ready to be dug up for the upcoming Union Station Bicycle Center, a futuristic-looking glass-and-steel dome beside the Metro with secure bike racks, changing rooms, and storage lockers for DC bicyclists. DDOT expects to have the Center finished by next spring. Continue reading →
From left: David Ball, USRC; Bryant Chambers, Jones Lang LaSalle, Inc., and Daniel Levy, Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation, as captured by Erin M
Some days our elected yet non-voting Representative does me proud. Yesterday, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) took on Union Station’s non-policy on photography with a good grilling of David Ball, President of USRC, Daniel Levy of Ashkenazy Acquisition, and Bryan Chambers of Jones Lang LaSalle. (Norton’s meeting recap.)
Before you get confused, Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC)is the federally chartered nonprofit that is redeveloping Union Station, which leases the non-Amtrack portion of the station to Ashkenazy Acquisition, which subleases retail areas (and maybe security) to Jones Lang LaSalle.
Why do these fools matter? Because the security guards are harassing photographers in Union Station despite it being a public space – in action and maybe still in legal parlance. And as DC area photographers know from Free Our Streets, photography is a First Amendment right in public space, even if its leased to a private corporation.