City Desk

The Needle: Turkey Dance

Happy Thanksgiving!: Have a great Thanksgiving, D.C.! May everyone have safe travels and peaceful family time. See you on Monday! +7  

A Very Barry Celebration: Three days of memorial services and celebrations have been planned for Marion Barry. +3

Read more The Needle: Turkey Dance

Chatter: People Who Need People

cover-issue1825-lgWhat you said about what we said last week

In a special issue that featured commentary on politics, policy, gentrification, and the arts, one topic generated the most controversy: dinner reservations.

Yes, the refusal of Rose’s Luxury chef Aaron Silverman to take reservations at the magma-hot restaurant is still, a full year after opening, vexing readers and even one of Silverman’s fellow People Issue subjects, Bread Furst’s Mark Furstenberg. In his Q&A with Jessica Sidman, Furstenberg smacked Silverman and Johnny Monis, chef at Komi and Little Serow, for not taking reservations. “Why would they then make it hard for people to go to their restaurants?” he asked. “I don’t really know either of them personally, but I find it unpleasant, and I think it’s kind of a Washington thing…That’s not really what somebody would do in San Francisco where people don’t take themselves quite so seriously.” The Red Hen drew Furstenberg’s praise for being “accessible” and a “pleasant place to be.”

The bread-making curmudgeon drew support and derision on Twitter. “I refuse to stand in line!” @katanders declared. “Take reservations!!!” But @AndyLeDC questioned the bread man’s facts and his notion of fairness: “Furstenberg is wrong. Lots of SF restaurants don’t take reservation and IMO, queuing is more democratic.”

@drgitlin also took aim at Furstenberg, writing, “Ironically, it’s way easier to get a table at Komi than it is at Red Hen. Not sure I understand his complaint.”

Elsewhere in the People Issue, Mayor-Elect Muriel Bowser avoided controversy in her interview but drew some scrutiny for striking a pose that appeared to some to invoke Tyra Banks’ signature facial expression. Tweeted @DeniseDSLu: “#that #bowser #smize #tho.”

Perhaps the strongest reaction to the People Issue came from cover photo subject Nikki Peele, who was, to say the least, pleased to make the cover. “OMG! This is not flipping happening right now! OMG OMG!” read the first of many, many ecstatic tweets. Later: “I have got to stop crying and pull myself together.” “My mom is kind of losing her mind right now. Her use of emoticons means this is a big deal.” “I just got 30 copies! I cleaned out the Congress Heights metro stop! Lol.” “Thanks to Aaron Wiener and WCP for making my ex-boyfriends green with envy today! lol.”

And lastly, a bit of unexpected recognition: “Too funny, the guys who are delivering my new fridge just recognized me from my WCP cover!”

Doc and Roll

Punks and punk-appreciators did not mince words in answering the question posed in Maxwell Tani’s piece on two dueling D.C. punk-rock documentaries—does D.C. really need two more punk retrospectives? @PTRQ responded thusly on Twitter: “Stop this shit.”

Department of Corrections

Due to a reporting error, Andrew Lapin’s review of The Two Noble Kinsmen mistakenly referred to the character of Pirithous as played by Zach Roberts. Lapin meant to refer to Willem Krumich as Palamon.

Buy D.C.: Old Town

Each week, Buy D.C. will highlight shops and items you can only find in the D.C. area, curated by Kaarin Vembar, owner of personal shopping and wardrobe editing service Closet Caucus.

The Murder Capital, Remembered


FBI agent John David Kuchta and his wife Leni marveled at the shiny new apartment buildings, condos, offices, and restaurants as they strolled through the NoMa neighborhood last Thursday night with their daughter, Alexandra, 18.

Twenty years ago, Kuchta wouldn't have allowed Leni, an attorney, to go by herself to NoMa or dozens of other D.C. neighborhoods which had become drug crew combat zones. Now the Kuchtas were amazed at the transformation.

The agent recalled the family stroll the following day, when he spoke at a memorial service for the victims of one of the most notorious criminal assaults in D.C. history, the Nov. 22, 1994 shootout inside the cold case office at D.C. police headquarters. That day, a gangster armed with a machine gun walked into the office, where an FBI/Metropolitan Police Department task force worked, and gunned down two of Kuchta’s bureau colleagues, Martha Dixon Martinez and Michael John Miller, and a veteran D.C. police homicide investigator, Sgt. Henry “Hank” Daly. From a distance of six feet, Kuchta, armed with a 9-mm Cobra handgun, desperately traded shots with the killer. He suffered several grave wounds, lost consciousness, and was rescued by D.C. police officers and emergency workers.

“As I walked the streets last night with my family, I knew that Martha, Mike and Hank live on,” Kuchta said at the service. “The Washington, D.C., of today is much like the Washington, D.C., envisioned by Martha, Mike, and Hank.”

He spoke in front of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on 4th Street NW, a short walk from police headquarters. It was a bright, cold day with temperatures in the low 40s, much like the day of the slayings 20 years earlier.

Before Kuchta’s speech, a series of relatives and law enforcement colleagues of  Dixon-Martinez, Miller, and Daly remembered them, the attack, and the violent crack era during a 90-minute service at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church downtown, which was nearly filled by about 500 current and former police officers, FBI agents, family members of the fallen, and friends.

Read more The Murder Capital, Remembered

District Line Daily: Marion Barry Jr., 1936-2014

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from Washington City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to

Sign up: To get District Line Daily—or any of our other email newsletters—sent straight to your mailbox, click here.

Our double coverage package this week features Mayor-for-Life Marion Barry and his complicated legacy in the District. Check out City Paper photographer Darrow Montgomery's incredible archive of Barry photos and read essays on the city's most recognizable political figure from past writers,  our current editor, one of the mayor's foes from the 1980s, and more.

Also, on the cover is our annual "Give it Up, D.C." guide, produced by the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington—a list of 54 local nonprofit organizations that are worth your time and money.


  • Two D.C. Council committees approved legislation that would pave the way for the D.C. United stadium deal. The legislation would allow the city to keep the Reeves Center. [Washington Post]
  • A juvenile was shot Tuesday evening in the 5000 block of Call Place SE. [News4]
  • A look at Marion Barry's complicated, and not-so-inspiring legacy as a D.C. councilmember. [Loose Lips]
  • Montgomery County wants to ban e-cigarettes in the same places that regular cigarettes are banned. [WAMU]


Read more District Line Daily: Marion Barry Jr., 1936-2014

The Needle: Weathering the Storm

Thanksgiving Nightmare: This winter storm could make traveling a nightmare on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving—aka the busiest travel day of the year. In D.C and Baltimore, accumulations are likely to reach a coating up to 2 inches. -5

Cosby Quandary: There is a large amount of people that are still OK with seeing a mural of Bill Cosby's face on the outside of Ben's Chili Bowl on U Street NW. -5 Read more The Needle: Weathering the Storm

Gear Prudence: Should I Bring My Bike Home for the Holidays?


Gear Prudence: My wife and I are visiting my parents for the holidays, and I want to bring my bike with me. I’m really excited to ride my bike in a different part of the country, but I don’t think my wife is happy about it—she’s worried I’m going to abandon her to go on long rides. I told her to bring her bike, too, but she doesn’t seem enthusiastic. What should I do? —Do I Velocipede Or Rightfully Continue Evading Discussion?

Dear DIVORCED: To recap: You plan to abandon your wife with her in-laws for hours while you joyously ride your bike, and you think she might not like this, but you’re going ahead with this plan anyway? I’m not sure what you’re asking for here. Are you looking for my blessing for this cockamamie idea? “But Gear Prudence says it’s cool!” isn’t going to get you out of a ticket for rolling a stop sign, much less marital strife.

If she does finds the plan as objectionable as you suspect, you can “surprise” your parents on another weekend (when your wife is otherwise occupied) with an impromptu visit and bring the bike then, assuming they’d be OK with your using their house as a B&B (bike and breakfast). But for this weekend, leave the bike at home. —GP

Read more Gear Prudence: Should I Bring My Bike Home for the Holidays?

Group of D.C. School Kids Join Ferguson Protests Downtown


The 23 students of the Potomac Preparatory Charter School's Gentlemen's Association were handing out blankets to those in need in Franklin Square this afternoon when they spotting a roving group of protesters across the street on the corner of 14th and I streets NW.

Organized by the Black Youth Project 100, the group was protesting the St. Louis County grand jury decision last night to bring no criminal charges against Darren Wilson—the white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in Ferguson, Mo. in August—in front of the D.C. Office of Police Complaints.

The teachers of the nearly two dozen Potomac Preparatory students decided to bring their kids—all black boys in grades three through eight—across the street to join the protest. The students participated in the group chants calling for justice for Brown and telling the nation that black lives matter.

Read more Group of D.C. School Kids Join Ferguson Protests Downtown

A Turkey Giveaway Without Marion Barry? “It Ain’t Fun”


Sandra Brown, 50, says this year's Ward 8 turkey giveaway was a lot quieter than previous ones. There was no singing, no joke-telling, and no shaking. There was no Marion Barry.

The Thanksgiving turkey giveaway was a mainstay of Barry's tenure as Ward 8 councilmember. And this year was no different. Barry arranged to give out 3,000 turkeys and—for the first time ever this year—40,000 pounds of vegetables to Ward 8 residents. Days before he died, Barry tweeted out a reminder to his constituents to come out Tuesday morning.

But, as Brown put it, this year's long wait in line for a free turkey at Union Temple Baptist Church near the Anacostia Metro station simply wasn't as fun without Barry.

"It ain't fun, there's no joy," says Brown, who got her first job as a teen through Barry's youth summer job training program in 1983. "It was more fun with him because he made jokes. Every individual got to shake his hand. He made everyone feel special."

Some people arrived to the church to receive their turkey as early as 4:30 a.m., forming a line around the church that, by 10 a.m., was two blocks long. Barry's Council staff started handing out the turkeys and veggies at 9 a.m, checking IDs to ensure that those in line actually lived in Ward 8. Barry's godson, Dennis Harvey, who was helping to man the line, said he'd seen people with IDs from Maryland, Virginia, and other parts of D.C. trying to get Thanksgiving fixings. Whole Foods and Capital Area Food Bank donated some of the food. Read more A Turkey Giveaway Without Marion Barry? “It Ain’t Fun”

District Line Daily: D.C. Rallies With Ferguson

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from Washington City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to

Sign up: To get District Line Daily—or any of our other email newsletters—sent straight to your mailbox, click here.

D.C. joined protests across the nation after a St. Louis County, Mo., grand jury decided not to bring any criminal charges against Darren Wilson, the white police officer who killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August. A slate of additional protests is scheduled for today.


  • Marion Barry's memorial is still being planned and likely won't be held until December. [Washington Post]
  • Barry's condolence book is now open to the public. People can head to the Wilson Building on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. to sign it. [News4]
  • D.C. officials have put a bill that would increase the number of wheelchair-accessible taxicabs on hold until next year. [WAMU]
  • Washington City Paper photographer Darrow Montgomery shares his collection of Marion Barry photographs—a collection that spans 25 years. [WCP]


Read more District Line Daily: D.C. Rallies With Ferguson

More Ferguson Protests Scheduled in D.C. Today

Students at Howard University hold a vigil for Michael Brown in August

A St. Louis County grand jury decided last night to bring no criminal charges against Darren Wilson—the white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in August in Ferguson, Mo.—prompting protests from outraged people throughout the country who see the killing as yet another example of racially motivated police brutality.

In Ferguson, protests turned violent. In D.C, things were more peaceful, as hundreds of people marched from the African-American Civil War Memorial on U Street NW to the White House, with more rallies scheduled for today.

Here's a look at what's happening today from Black Youth Project 100, an activist organization of young black people "dedicated to creating freedom and justice for all Black people."  The group has planned "28 Hours for Mike Brown"—a reference to a 2012 study showing that a police officer, security guard, or vigilante kills a black person once every 28 hours.

8:28 a.m.: D.C. Police Headquarters, 300 Indiana Ave NW

12:28 p.m.: Office of Police Complaints, 14th and I streets NW

2:28 p.m.: D.C. City Council, 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW

5:28 p.m.: New mayor's transition office, 441 4th Street NW

7 p.m.: #DCFergusonRally, Mount Vernon Square

Post-Rally: Surprise Action!

Wednesday, Nov. 26: Teach-in at NAACP, 1816 12th Street NW

Read more More Ferguson Protests Scheduled in D.C. Today

The Needle: Gortatsburg Address

Baberaham Lincoln: The Wizards' best Polish comedian Marcin Gortat dressed up as a President Abraham Lincoln and did a take on the Gettysburg Address to rally local fans. The video aired during halftime of Friday's game. It's fantastic. Watch it here+5

It's a Wash: Washington Dulles International Airport is the third worst airport in the U.S. and Canada, according to Bloomberg's Airport Frustration Index. That same survey ranked Reagan National Airport as one of the least frustrating airports. +/-0

Read more The Needle: Gortatsburg Address

On Marion Barry’s Last Night, the Mayor-for-Life Was Still Making Friends

Byron Coleman and Marion Barry

Byron Coleman and Marion Barry

When he was 14, Ward 8 native Byron Coleman got his first job at D.C.'s Arthur Capper Recreation Center through the Summer Youth Employment Program that Marion Barry had started. Twelve years later, the 26-year-old Anacostia resident works at the after-school program at Stanton Elementary School in Skyland and is in the process of becoming an elementary school aide.

He says he has Barry to thank for his now-focused career path. So maybe it's fitting that Coleman was one of the last people to speak with Barry before the former D.C. mayor and Ward 8 stalwart passed away early Sunday morning. Coleman was leaving Uniontown Bar & Grill around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, when he saw Barry being escorted into the establishment.

Barry sat down on a bar stool, and since there was no one sitting next to him, Coleman plopped down beside him and started chatting. Coleman had met Barry as a teen a couple times, but he says this was the most significant encounter he'd ever had with the former mayor.

"I asked him how he was doing, and he said he was doing fine," Coleman says. "And that was as personal as we got. Everything else was about me and my endeavors as an educator."

Read more On Marion Barry’s Last Night, the Mayor-for-Life Was Still Making Friends

District Line Daily: Remembering Marion Barry

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from Washington City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to

Sign up: To get District Line Daily—or any of our other email newsletters—sent straight to your mailbox, click here.

Marion Barry, D.C.'s mayor for life and Ward 8 councilmember, passed away late Saturday night at the age of 78. Here's a look back at the life of the city's most recognizable political figure and a round-up of Washington City Paper features of the beloved and often-controversial man over the past few decades.


  • The Washington Post obituary of Marion Barry [Post]
  • Former Washington City Paper editor—and current New York Times reporter—David Carr reflects on Barry, who Carr says was all too human. [Washingtonian]
  • Official memorial plans for Barry are still undecided, but a spokeswoman promises it's going to be big. [Loose Lips] 
  • The mayor-for-life's legacy is built on his enduring summer jobs program. [Washington Post]
  • How Barry's legacy will be felt in a changing D.C. [Housing Complex]


Read more District Line Daily: Remembering Marion Barry

The Needle: Manic Monday

A Monday to Get Excited About: The weekend will be on the chilly side, but we can expect a "spring-like warm surge" on Monday. +5

A Fall Christmas: D.C.'s fifth-most listened to radio station, WASH-FM 97.1, turned over to all Christmas music today. Let's wait until at least after Thanksgiving for such drastic measures, DJs. -2

Read more The Needle: Manic Monday