She/He Loves DC is a series highlighting the people who love this city just as much as we do.
Jason Mendelson is an explorer. Mendelson first made his way from Tampa, Florida to DC with his wife nearly three years ago. Since then, Mendelson’s embarked upon a unique and time-consuming project — writing a song for each and every Metro station in the WMATA system. Along side his band, The Open Doors, Mendelson has released four volumes worth of what he calls “Metro Songs.”
When he’s not working on Metro Songs, Mendelson is an avid supporter and member of the DC-area music community. Whether he’s playing bass in a band one night, singing lead for The Open Doors on another, organizing (and executing) a “Classic Albums” concert, recording in his home studio, or out on the town catching a show, Mendelson’s devotion to making and listening to music is a physical display of genuine passion.
What is it about DC that makes it home to you?
The things that brought my wife and I here are not necessarily the same things that make it home for us now. After living our whole lives through 2010 in and around Tampa, Florida, we wanted a change and narrowed the selections down to D.C. for its superior job market and Alexandria specifically for safety and accessibility. The things that make it home to us now are all the wonderful friends and connections we’ve made, and all the great things to do in the area. We frequently visit museums and parks and attend arts events here that eclipse their sunshine state counterparts.
courtesy of Glyn Lowe Photoworks
Describe your perfect day in DC. Where would you go and what would you do?
A perfect day in D.C. would have to include most of the following:
1. An excellent weather forecast
2. Our cats letting us sleep in
3. Breakfast at one of our favorite diners in Alexandria or Arlington
4. Great Falls National Park on either the Maryland or Virginia side, since both are unique and excellent for their own special reasons
5. A late morning movie in Shirlington or on E Street
6. A visit to the American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery
7. Cultural Tourism’s Passport DC annual spring embassy tours
8. The daily free 6pm Kennedy Center Millennium Stage show
9. Getting to play music with my band or any of the other great musicians I’m fortunate enough to play with on a regular basis at an original music venue I frequent, like IOTA Club and Cafe or Wonderland Ballroom. Bonus points if I don’t have to lug my own guitar amp there.
10. NO single tracking!
What’s your favorite hidden gem of a location in DC? How did you find it and why do you love it?
Theodore Roosevelt Island is my favorite of the presidential monuments and a very nice place to walk and enjoy nature. As a member of Tampa’s Rough Riders krewe and a Spanish-American War enthusiast, it was one of the first places I wanted to see when we got here. Despite three years of regular visits, I haven’t tired of it. It’s never crowded, and only foot traffic is allowed.
Who’s your favorite DC personality and why?
The anonymous author of the blog Unsuck DC Metro is my favorite local personality for their excellent coverage of the beleaguered rapid transit system. I rarely waste time reading the unnecessarily negative public response comments below each article, but I appreciate the complete coverage Unsuck is able to provide, unfettered by the cozy relationships that surely exist between WMATA and certain large corporate publications.
What’s your favorite Metro Station and/or Line and why?
My favorite Metro station for a long time was Braddock Road, since it was the most convenient place to park the car on the weekend and ride into the city. It is very close to the King Street station but lacks the congestion. Having recently moved, the nearest station is now Van Dorn Street, which I’m not nearly as enamored with. A station worth mentioning is Wheaton, which boasts the second longest escalator in the world.
Florida is full of self centered con artists who either failed out of society or were run out of town in some other part of the country. They come down here planning to “reinvent” themselves, but all the bring is a bunch of stories of how their lousy hometown was to backward and ignorant to appreciate true renaissance men like themselves. Jason’s departure was one rare occasions where Florida gets to return the favor.