History, The Daily Feed, The District, The Hill, The Mall

Tourist Season Projected to Last for Next 25 Years

Photo courtesy of
‘see no evil’
courtesy of ‘spiggycat’

Just when we thought tourist season was winding down, this week Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, is releasing his latest book The Lost Symbol, a fictional novel about Masonic symbolism in Washington, DC.

While Freemasonry is a fascinating part of DC’s history, Brown’s typical mention of imagined artifacts is expected to majorly increase traffic at the local historical sites that he describes in the book. Their names have not yet been released, but a few, like the Masonic Temple in Alexandria, can obviously see it coming. I wonder if he used the mini map of the city at Freedom Plaza? Continue reading

The Daily Feed, The Mall

Changes coming to National Mall?

Photo courtesy of
‘From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial’
courtesy of ‘brianmka’

The National Mall may soon be getting a nice, new concrete facelift. As of Thursday, plans are in the final stages to rehabilitate and to integrate security elements into certain areas of the National Park around the Lincoln Memorial.

The Reflecting Pool will be rehabilitated to include concreate pathways on both sides. Elm Walks, the elm-lined pedestrian walkways and bike paths running along the north and south sides of the Reflecting Pool, would be refurbished with new lighting, benches, and trash receptacles. And the famous stairs up to the Lincoln Memorial will be kept in tact while there will be two new ADA accessible curved paths on either side connecting the Lincoln Memorial Circle with the Reflecting Pool.

A little extra walking room for all sounds like a good plan.

Read the full story on the National Capital Planning Commission’s site.

Downtown, History, Monumental, Penn Quarter, The Mall

Monumental: Freedom Plaza

Photo courtesy of
‘Freedom Plaza’s Mini Scale’
courtesy of ‘CathyLovesDC’

“Put yourself in the map”. That’s what I always tell my friends when they’re feeling turned around and lost. But not everyone has the appreciation for maps that I do, which is why I was so excited that I could literally put myself in the map at Freedom Plaza, and maybe take a friend or two with me to show them how it’s done.

Located just east of the White House at 14th and Penn between the Ronald Reagan building and the National Theatre, Freedom Plaza is one of those places in DC that you’ve probably already been to and never really noticed. The first time I was there was for the “Light the Night” walk for blood cancers which used the plaza as the basecamp for the start of the walk. It was dark out, and I had that feeling of: “This is probably somehow important – I mean it IS in the heart of Washington – but I can’t really tell in the dark.”

Different colored stones and brass inlays create a smooth, flat, and rectangular depiction of L’Enfant’s plan. The layout, the inscriptions, and the history are subtle and easily missed – unless you know why you’re there. Similarly, ironically shaped patches of grass stand out as awkward additions to the plaza until you realize they symbolize the National Mall.

Continue reading

The Daily Feed, The Mall

Smithsonian’s Carousel

Photo courtesy of
‘Carousel Dragon’
courtesy of ‘Kevin H.’

No, the staff of the Smithsonian isn’t performing the famous Rogers & Hammerstein musical on the Mall (though, that would, honestly, kick more ass than Chuck Norris in a room full of hippies), but they are writing about the history of the carousel on the Mall. If you’ve ever been down to see this wonderful delight in the midst of the city, you owe it to yourself to know a bit more about how it got there.

Fun & Games, Media, The Daily Feed, The Great Outdoors, The Mall

Last Screen on the Green of the Summer

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

Well, Screen on the Green is set to retire for another season.  Let’s hope that it comes back again next year.  Tonight’s showing will be the James Dean classic “Rebel Without a Cause.” If you haven’t been out to SCOTG yet, definitely brave the balmy evening and join the cool kids on the mall.  In my opinion, “On the Waterfront” was this year’s best cinematic offering from our friends at HBO and WB, but “Rebel Without a Cause” is a close second. Get there.

Downtown, Entertainment, Essential DC, Fun & Games, Media, The Daily Feed, The Great Outdoors, The Mall

Screen on the Green: On the Waterfront

Photo courtesy of
‘Screen on the Green – 7-14-08’
courtesy of ‘mosley.brian’

For the third movie in its ressurection run, Screen on the Green will feature On the Waterfront this evening. For those of you not in the loop, On the Waterfront is arguably one of the greatest movies of all time. It won 8 Academy Awards and features Marlon Brando in his prime (ladies). The weather is supposed to be beautiful tonight and I highly recommend that you get to the mall to enjoy this film with a thousand of your closest friends. The feature should start around 8:30.

Downtown, Entertainment, Essential DC, Media, Special Events, The Daily Feed, The Mall

Screen on the Green Returns Tonight!

Photo courtesy of
‘Screen on the Green’
courtesy of ‘InspirationDC’

In case you didn’t already have this marked down on your calendar, Screen on the Green makes its triumphant return tonight with a showing of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” The screen will be set up on the Mall between 4th and 7th streets (you can’t miss it) and the showing will start at sunset. There is a 30% chance of rain, so pray that it holds off till after the movie.

Downtown, Entertainment, News, The Daily Feed, The Mall, WMATA

A Record Setting 4th for Metro

Photo courtesy of
‘Metro, Orange Line train to Vienna’
courtesy of ‘GogonaÅ?’

The Business Journal reports that riders on Saturday set a new record for July 4th commuting.  Metro reported 631,206 trips on their system, an increase of over 32,000 from 2008 ridership.  If the masses of humanity that I saw are any indication, every last one of these trips went through L’Enfant Plaza station. What a mess.

The Daily Feed, The Mall

Have You Seen This Bird?

Parakeet Staring

This here is Pickles, a green and very talkative rose-ringed parakeet last seen in a tree in the Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle. Pickles’ owner Scott likes to take the bird on his shoulder, pirate-style, for walks around the National Mall on weekends, and on nice days, perch Pickles on tree branches in the Gardens to let him get some nature.

Yesterday, Pickles disappeared. Continue reading

Downtown, Food and Drink, History, Night Life, The Features, The Mall

First Look: W Hotel Washington

Washington Monument from POV, W Hotel Washington

"Washington Monument from POV, W Hotel Washington" by Jenn Larsen, on Flickr

Yesterday I got a sneak peek at the W Hotel Washington, due to soft open next Wednesday. I’m so sorry I wasn’t allowed to photograph the interior for you. Because really, it’s absolutely gorgeous. I hope my words will give you a taste of what to expect on July 8.

First off, it’s impossible to tell what kind of vibe the W will actually have when its public spaces are filled with people. Will it deliver on the promise of some seriously stunning interior design and incredible libation talent? Or will it devolve into a pretentious hive? I can’t answer that now, but I do know that designer Dianna Wong’s wry elegant touches set the stage for a crazy scene.

I was happy to see the original architecture has been renovated, not gutted, melding the cool classicisim of the old hotel with the arch sensuality of the W style. Empress Josephine, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Lily Allen would all be at home in the grand Living Room, with its blacks and reds and pinstripes in a riff on the idea of “lingerie as a power suit.” The chandeliers are all lit for changing moods and clever little details abound, like the George and Martha Washington silhouettes flirting on the elevators.

My favorite part of this large room is tucked into a corner – the old registration desk with its imposing brass and marble is used as a private alcove with purple banquette seating. It’s the perfect example of how the W went about merging the historic with the new. Continue reading

The Daily Feed, The Mall

Hirshhorn After Hours Tickets Available!

Photo courtesy of
‘Hirshhorn Museum’
courtesy of ‘InspirationDC’

Don’t miss out! $18 gets you in to Hirshhorn After Hours, with a cash bar, guided tours, awesome DJs, and of course, the Museum’s extensive modern art and sculpture collection. This is one of DC’s hottest tickets and it always, always, always sells out, so mark your calendar for July 24th from 8pm to midnight, and get your ticket. Thanks much to DC Concierge for reminding us of this one over Twitter.

Entertainment, The Daily Feed, The Mall

Celebrity Sweat on the Mall

Reese Witherspoon by UltimateGraphics

This just in!  Some website I’ve never heard of is reporting that Reese Witherspoon, a lucky member of my top 10 20 list, was spotted being all hot and sweaty on the Mall yesterday.  As you may or may not know, she’s in town filming How Do You Know with Owen Wilson who was nowhere to be seen.  It appears they have their product placement covered with her wearing a Nike top and Under Armour shorts (and I can only imagine what else).  Sources on the scene say that Reese was actually sprinting to my house.  How do I know?  She’s running north, that’s how.

If you spot Reese or any other celebs around town, be sure to let us know!  Or, you know, send them to my house.

News, The Features, The Mall, WTF?!

Breaking: Shooting at the Holocaust Museum

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘e_tothe_ipi’

A spate of gunfire erupted at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum this afternoon, with two men injured and transported to area hospitals. The shooter is reported to be James W. Von Brunn, a white supremacist. Both Von Brunn and a member of the USHMM Security Force were taken to George Washington University Hospital in critical condition.

14th Street has been shuttered in the area (between Constitution and D St SW), leading to major traffic snarls around the artery (link to Traffic Camera at 14th & E) as police response and investigations continue. A third man has been taken to the hospital, according to WTOP, after being injured from flying glass.

Update 23 [5:10p] We’re going to wrap our live coverage at this time. We’ll pick up additional updates in a new entry later this evening.

Update 22 [4:42p] The US Holocaust Memorial Museum is confirming the death of Officer Johns, a six-year veteran of the Security Force at the USHMM. The museum will be closed tomorrow in honor of Officer Johns. In addition, flags will be flown at half-staff at the Museum.

Update 21 [4:40p] The Washington Post has republished the 1983 article about Von Brunn’s sentencing, with some details about the attempted kidnapping of the Federal Reserve Board.

Update 20 [4:32p] WUSA9 identifies the security guard as Stephan Tyrone Johns. He was fatally wounded at the Holocaust Memorial Museum this afternoon just a bit before 1pm.

Update 19 [4:22p] Many thanks to Karen, who pointed us at Von Brunn’s Wikipedia User Page biography, which largely mirrors the site from earlier today.

Update 18 [4:18p] Former Secretary Cohen and his wife Janet Langhart are on CNN now. They’re talking with him about his viewing. He was right out front of the Museum when it happened. He was 30-40 feet away when the incident occurred.

Update 17 [4:05p] WUSA 9 is reporting that the Security Guard at the Holocaust Museum has died, due to his injuries sustained at the scene. CNN has confirmed this as well.

Update 16 [3:25p] Clinton Administration Defense Secretary William Cohen was in the entry to the museum when the incident occured. His wife Janet Langhart was to have performed her one-act play, an imagined conversation between Anne Frank and Emmett Till, this evening at the Museum. Continue reading

Life in the Capital, The Daily Feed, The Mall

National Museum of American History opens new Maritime Exhibit


The National Museum of American History has a beautiful new exhibit ready just in time for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. “On The Water” is an exhibit surrounding the American Maritime culture, dating back to the first explorations of the Americas, through to modern day. We’ll have a big feature on the exhibit this weekend, but the festivities start up tomorrow first thing. They’ll be opening at 11, and going til 4, with special music from the Washington Revels, as well as an opportunity to sail a small boat near the Smithsonian.

Get on out, see the cool museum, or wait until tomorrow and the whole big photo gallery will make it clear why!

Talkin' Transit, The Features, The Mall, We Green DC, WMATA

Talkin’ Transit: Loose Ends

Photo courtesy of
‘Three-Wheeled Taxi’ courtesy of ‘M.V. Jantzen’

A couple of updates to tie up on the transit scene – and then I need your help!

Pedicabs on the Mall: You all remember our report on the harassment of the pedicabs by the Park Police? Well, I’m happy to report that since then, there’s been no further incidents, according to Ben Morris of National Pedicabs. So go and enjoy the ride around the Mall! I’ve also gotten word that a new pedicab company is starting business this weekend as well, so please support this great eco-friendly way to enjoy the Mall. (The grass could use the break, frankly…)

DC, Metro and money: WTOP reported this morning that the District has racked up a tab of a whopping $1.2 million in unpaid expenses to Metro, all centered around the Southeastern bus garage located a block from Nationals stadium. The District had said it would cover the cost to move all the Metrobuses out of that garage and operate them from other facilities. (This is known as “deadheading costs.”) The city’s cost is $400,000 a month, and the deal stretches back to the fall of 2007. Continue reading

News, Talkin' Transit, The Features, The Mall, We Green DC, WTF?!

Talkin’ Transit: The Great Pedicab Predicament

Photo courtesy of
‘Pedicab’ courtesy of ‘afagen’

Yesterday, we received a late-day heads-up from a reader that there was an issue brewing with the pedicabs that offer rides to tourists and residents along the National Mall.

The entire issue seemed odd, as pedicabs have been operating on the Mall for a couple years now and haven’t had any issues up until yesterday, when they were told they would be arrested and their bikes impounded for soliciting and servicing customers on Madison and Jefferson streets, the two main boundary avenues of the Mall.

If the Park Police was correct, the Mall was going to lose a 100% eco-friendly form of transportation that serves hundreds of riders each week. The cabs provide jobs for the area and a friendly ‘green’ option for people to utilize. Taking away the Mall from them would kill a sizeable portion of the pedicab business.

So I set out to contact Ben Morris, the owner of National Pedicabs (and the company affected by this), and his DC operations manager, Danny Cochrane, as well as Sgt. David Schlosser, the National Park Service’s Public Information Officer, to find out just what the heck was going on.

Continue reading

Downtown, Life in the Capital, Monumental, News, The Daily Feed, The Mall

$78M for Mall Monument Renewal

Photo courtesy of
‘DC WWI Memorial Inscription’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

The Post has the news this morning that the Department of the Interior will be spending almost $80M on DC-area monuments and memorials to bring them back to their former glory. I’m most pleased to see that the DC War Memorial will be picking up $7.6M for a badly-needed rejuvenation project. The last one was back in the 1980’s, so it’s about due.

Also on the list is the Seawall at the Jefferson Memorial, and Rock Creek Park’s infrastructure, as well as a bunch of money for the C&O Canal in Georgetown.

Life in the Capital, News, The Features, The Hill, The Mall

A Conversation with Eleanor Holmes Norton

IMG_2874Eleanor Holmes Norton, courtesy of Tom Bridge

This weekend, DC bloggers from DCist, Greater Greater Washington and We Love DC, amongst others, got a chance to sit down with DC’s Delegate to the Congress Eleanor Holmes Norton this past weekend and talk about DC Voting Rights, the recent support for Gay Marriage among the DC Council, and the sorry state of Park Service Parks in the District of Columbia, and about federal funding for transit in the city. Read on for the notes from our conversation with the Congresswoman1 Continue reading

The Daily Feed, The Mall

Meet Our Latest Museum

Photo courtesy of afagen
Freelon Adjaye Bond 2, courtesy of afagen

Earlier today, WaPo broke the news regarding the newest – and last – Smithsonian museum to be built on the National Mall. The winning design (see the above photo) for the new National Museum of African American History and Culture belongs to the architectural team from Freelon Adjaye Bond / Smith Group. The group is also designing the new DC public library in Anacostia and has worked on several other Smithsonian projects, including the (in my opinion) outstanding National Museum of the American Indian.

The six finalists have been on display at the Smithsonian Castle since March 27; the winning design was announced this morning.

The new museum is expected to be finished in 2015 at a cost of $500 million and will be built on Constitution between 14th and 15th streets NW, near the Monument. Currently, the museum is in a private phase of fundraising, and half the cost will be funded by Congress.

Technology, The Daily Feed, The Mall

Mars Vehicle on the Mall!

Picture 3.png

I have no idea how I missed this. But, yesterday, you might’ve seen the Mars Capsule, the Orion, on the Mall over near Air & Space. It’s pretty similar to some of the gear we’ve seen before now, specifically dating back to the Apollo era, but it’s still pretty freaking cool. It seats six, or double what the old era stuff carried.