City Desk

The Needle: Counting One Crow

The Birds: This nightmarish headline says it all while leaving questions that are best left unanswered: "[Pigskins] Fan holds crow for reasons that remain completely unclear." -3

Here We Go Again: The New York Times tackles covering D.C. as an actual city and not just the nation's capital. The paper of record finds that the city has a booming restaurant scene in actual neighborhoods, and describes Adams Morgan as "once-dicey Adams Morgan." -4

Read more The Needle: Counting One Crow

New Capitol Hill-Area News Site Debuts Today—a Capitol Hill offshoot of—made its official debut in the blogosphere today.

The website will serve as a hyperlocal news site for Capitol Hill and other neighborhoods in Ward 6, including H Street NE and Navy Yard. Local News Now, the publisher of the site, is also behind,, and

Andrea Swalec, who formerly worked for New York City's hyperlocal DNAinfo, is running the site. She also wrote for Voice of the Hill, the no-shuttered monthly paper that covered Capitol Hill. Freelancers will also contribute to the site.

Although makes its official debut today, it has already posted a number of articles this month, including news stories on crime, a Q&A with a Council staffer who lives in Capitol Hill, and an ANC vote to protest the expansion of the Ugly Mug expansion.

Scott Brodbeck, the founder of Local News Now who is also contributing articles to the new operation, told City Desk in June that there's a hunger for this type of fast, local coverage in these Ward 6 neighborhoods. 

"What I have been hearing from people in the area is that there is a void—there's not a daily news source that covers that area and it's a very dynamic and civically engaged neighborhood," Brodbeck told City Desk. 

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Top Rabbinical Organization Says It Received Concerning Allegations Against Georgetown Rabbi in 2012

A top Modern Orthodox rabbinical association says it knew since 2012 of concerning allegations against the Georgetown rabbi charged last week with voyeurism, though the allegations were not sexual in nature.

Rabbi Barry Freundel, the rabbi of Kesher Israel synagogue, pleaded not guilty to six counts of voyeurism last week for allegedly filming naked women without their knowledge in his congregation while they were preparing for a mikveh—a ritual cleansing bath. A mikveh is used for a variety of religious purposes, including as part of the conversion process.

The Rabbinical Council of America says in a statement that in 2012, some conversion candidates reported they felt pressure to perform clerical work at Freundel's home—the synagogue does not have an office—and to give money to the synagogue. He was also the co-signer on a checking account with a conversion candidate. The council investigated the allegations and confronted Freundel about them. He assured the council the practices would stop.

At the time of the allegations, Freundel served as the chair of the council's Geirus Protocol and Standards conversion system—a network of rabbis that works to establish uniform standards to ensure the validity of all conversions. He served in the position from 2006 to 2013.

Freundel's attorney, Jeffrey Harris, didn't immediately return a call for comment.

Read more Top Rabbinical Organization Says It Received Concerning Allegations Against Georgetown Rabbi in 2012

District Line Daily: Start Voting for Mayor Today

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.

Early voting in D.C. kicks off today at 8:30 a.m. at One Judiciary Square NW. Eight additional early voting polling locations will open Saturday.


  • The attorney general candidates wouldn't actually have the legal power to fulfill many of their campaign promises. [Post] 
  • Police are looking for a suspect in a Monday morning shooting that left one person dead and another injured around 8th and Jefferson streets NW. [News4]
  • At a time when the city needs housing the most, landlords and property managers are forced to choose whether to raise their rent and kick out longtime tenants, or keep the rent the same and take a financial hit. [Post]
    A federal judge denied the District's request to reconsider his ruling overturning the city's total public ban on carrying a gun in public. [City Desk]


Read more District Line Daily: Start Voting for Mayor Today

The Needle: Breaking Zen

Closing Time: CityZen, the restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental hotel, will close its doors Dec. 6. It was once considered one of the best restaurants in the city, and its shuttering is a loss for the dining scene. The good news is that its chef is opening his own restaurant in Mount Vernon Triangle. -3

Milk and Cookies: Catholic University originally postponed a campus screening of the film Milk because the student-planned event may have been one of advocacy instead of education. The university has now approved the program, which has been rescheduled. +4

Read more The Needle: Breaking Zen

Don’t Freak Out When Terrorists Attack D.C. This Weekend

Before Walter Reed can be redeveloped into this, it'll have to withstand an IED attack.

Before Walter Reed can be redeveloped into this, it'll have to withstand an IED attack.

At approximately 9 p.m. on Sunday, an improvised explosive device will explode at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Shortly thereafter, a gunman will attack the Navy Yard. Wounded residents will be rushed to George Washington University Hospital.

But don't worry, it's all fake.

D.C.'s first responders are carrying out a multilocation exercise Sunday night into Monday morning to simulate terror attacks and practice responding to them. The party kicks off at Walter Reed—the currently vacant site between Georgia Avenue and 16th Street NW that will soon be redeveloped into a mixed-use community—around 9 p.m. with an IED explosion, followed by an an active-shooter simulation at the Navy Yard, home to an actual shooting last year where 13 people were killed. Then the action will move to GW Hospital for a medical response.

"We’re going to have fake casualties and fake injured people," says Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Robyn Johnson. "We have volunteers in that role."

Read more Don’t Freak Out When Terrorists Attack D.C. This Weekend

Judge Denies District’s Request to Reconsider Handgun Ruling

A judge's order to overturn the District's total ban on carrying guns place will stay in place for now.

U.S. District Senior Judge Frederick Sullin Jr. denied today the District's request for the court to reconsider his July ruling declaring the city's concealed carry ban unconstitutional, the Legal Times reported.

A District lawyer argued, in part, that the second amendment just guarantees the right to own a gun, not to carry that gun in public. Ultimately, according to the Legal Times, the judge called the District's arguments "somewhat disingenuous" and questioned whether the lawyers had thoroughly read through his decision.

The city recently passed emergency legislation that, in light of Sullin's original ruling, defines who can obtain a permit to carry a gun in public. City officials says that this legislation meets Sullin's findings and will protect residents. But the party that originally questioned the constitutionality of the District's concealed carry ban says the legislation goes too far and filed suit saying it violates the second amendment. The city is expected to respond to that next week and court hearings will occur next month.

The city has still not decided whether it will formally appeal the judge's decision, according to the Legal Times. 

Read more Judge Denies District’s Request to Reconsider Handgun Ruling

Buy D.C.: Pumpkin Party

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.

Police: Georgetown Rabbi’s Voyeurism Not Limited to Ritual Shower Area

New court documents reveal that the scope of the investigation into the Georgetown rabbi extends far beyond the six misdemeanor counts of voyeurism the rabbi was charged and pleaded not guilty to on Wednesday.

Barry Freundel, the now-suspended rabbi at the modern Orthodox Kesher Israel synagogue in Georgetown, is accused of secretly filming women while they showered in preparation for a mikveh, a ritual cleansing bath in Judaism. Police say videos show Freundel setting up the camera attached to a clock radio, which captured at least six partially naked or naked women in the shower area.

In a newly released affidavit and search warrant for the synagogue and Freundel's home, the Metropolitan Police Department says it found that the recording device had more than 100 deleted files in it dating back to February. Some of the files are labeled under the first names of the women. In the preliminary investigation, "numerous" other women, according to the affidavit, told officials they believe they were also recorded changing in the shower area or mikveh room itself.

The acts of voyeurism were likely not limited to the mikveh area, and police say in the documents that evidence shows Freundel has been engaging in the activity with "several devices and over a period of time." Police seized a similar recording device from Freundel's home and found a manual for another hidden camera disguised as a fan.

At his house, police also seized 20 memory cards, seven laptops, six external hard drives, 11 flash drives, three cameras, and five desktop computers.

He is scheduled to appear in court again Nov. 12.

Read the documents below:

Chatter: Style Wars

cover-issue1819-lgWhat you said about what we said last week

Like all publications, Washington City Paper has a very special group of readers—the ones who storm the comments section to correct our typos, argue with our grammar, dispute our colloquialisms, quibble with our commas, and debate neighborhood boundaries till they can no longer say Swampoodle. For these readers, last week’s cover story, “The D.C. Manual of Style and Usage,” which covered everything from the proper spelling of “bama” to the correct use of “Grahamstanding,” was a bonanza.

And they had plenty to say about it. Along with some predictable griping about our refusal to print the name of the local football team, the comments section produced some thoughtful critiques. “ERRATA,” (that’s the plural of erratum, meaning an error in printing for those of you not versed in Latin) declared reader randy a weiss of our declaration that there is no J Street. “You are not technically correct about J Street. There is indeed as J Street NE, albeit no J Street NW or SW nor SE. Much of J Street NE is in Ward 7 (Deanwood).” Others refused to acknowledge the City Paper creation of the U Street Taco, which earned a mention in our guide. “Please stop trying to make the U Street Taco into a thing,” wrote reader Dave. “It never will be.”

At least one entry provoked debate among writer types on Twitter: the serial comma. Huffington Post writer Jason Linkins tweeted the entry with this explanation: “My favorite and @akmattos’ least favorite part of the @wcp style manual.” Local copywriter Amanda Mattos replied, “I don’t even have to click to know what that says. Grumblegrumblegrumble.” We all have our sore spots, Amanda.

And as is often the case when discussing language precision, a seemingly small detail became a matter of strenuous objection. Responding to our entry for “acronyms,” in which we used DDOT, MPD, DMPED, and WMATA in our examples of proper acronym use, reader Mike L took the time to twice comment that MPD and DMPED are not acronyms. He was echoed by ish, who wrote that our acronym entry is plain wrong. “DDOT is an INITIALISM, not an acronym. Using acronym as a blanket for all abbreviations is a common mistake, especially in D.C. (which is an initialism too).” We thank you for the gentle corrections, readers.

Some responded with support for our editorial decisions, particularly the admonishment to refer to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport as “Reagan National Airport” or simply “National”—let’s not go overboard. “It will always be National Airport to me,” wrote commenter DE. “No damn congressperson from Georgia or wherever is going to make it otherwise.” And for reader Dan, our distinguishing of “theater” and “theatre” proved to be cathartic. “In ninth grade, my English teacher took a point off my paper on Shakespeare for using “the Globe Theatre” as a proper noun and “theater” as the generic,” wrote Dan. “Thirty-odd years later I still resent it, and I’m glad to see City Paper is on my side.”

Department of Corrections

Due to a reporting error, Tricia Olszewski’s review of Fishing Without Nets incorrectly credited the film’s screenplay writers. In addition to Sam Cohan, the movie was co-written by Cutter Hodierne, John Hibey, and David Burkman. And due to an editing error, last week’s review of Laughing Man’s Be Baby Black EP failed to add a photograph credit to an image of the band. It was taken by Victoria Milko.

District Line Daily: Bowser Wins Ward 8 Straw Poll

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.

Mayoral candidate Muriel Bowser won the festive Ward 8 straw poll last night with 169 votes, or 70 percent of the ballots cast.


  • As it turns out, the Elections Board did not purposefully print the D.C. flag upside down on its election guides as a way to engage voters. It was, as initially suspected, a mistake. [Washingtonian]
  • Can the man behind the 11th Street Bridge Park over the Anacostia River pull off the ambitious and pricey project? [City Lab]
  • The final mayoral debate was pure raucous last night. [Post]
  • The Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola while carrying for the first Ebola patient in Dallas has been transferred to NIH in Maryland. [News4] 


Read more District Line Daily: Bowser Wins Ward 8 Straw Poll

D.C. Health Dept. Launches Ebola Preparedness Web Page


The head of the District's Department of Health says the city is taking all precautions to make sure it's prepared for any possible Ebola case.

Director and Chief Medical Office Joxel Garcia wrote on the city's newly launched Ebola website Thursday that D.C. is "on the frontline in protecting the health and well-being of District of Columbia residents as well as those who work and play in our city." 

Garcia told WAMU that D.C. has an aggressive plan in place and is prepared for any possible outbreak of Ebola. Garcia thinks all hospitals should be prepared for the virus and doesn't want just one designated Ebola hospital in the area.

The nurse in Dallas who contracted Ebola while caring for the nation's first Ebola patient was just transferred to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. Other than that, there are no diagnosed cases of the Ebola in the area. Dulles International Airport is now screening passengers traveling from West Africa, particularly countries where the deadly virus has hit hardest like Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.

The Department of Health website contains general information about the virus and resources for the public and doctors. Anyone with questions about Ebola is asked to call (202) 442-8141

A reminder: Don't panic, folks. Julie Fischer, an associate research professor at George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health, told City Desk earlier this month that being cautious is important, but there's no need for a freak out. "The good news in this country is that we have really good resources and training on infection prevention control," she says.

Panic, the New Yorker's Michael Specter warned, moves faster than any virus.

Image via CDC

The Needle: Marcin Gortat’s Fish is Still Swimming

Money Swims: What's the first thing the Wizards' Marcin Gortat purchased after he signed his $60 million contract? A  $150 lion fish. "It's funny, a lot of people told me it’s going to die in the next two months, but it’s still alive," he told the Post+5

Maybe It's A Sign: People can't figure how to make the DC 2024 Olympics Unity hand symbol sign. Is that a sign that maybe we shouldn't have the Olympics here? +2

Read more The Needle: Marcin Gortat’s Fish is Still Swimming

The District Gets Its 200th Capital Bikeshare Station

Capital Bikeshare is officially an old-aged toddler. The bikeshare program is celebrating its fourth birthday tomorrow and Mayor Vince Gray will cut the ribbon the District's 200th bikeshare station at McKinley Street and Connecticut Avenue NW.

In all, there are 340 Capital Bikeshare stations in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Users have clocked more than 8.4 million rides since the system's launch in 2010. And since 2011, the District's Department of Transportation has installed 19 miles of bike lanes and three miles of protected bike lanes throughout the city, according to a press release from the mayor.

For the big bikeshare—or mayoral—fans that want to see the ribbon cut in person, Gray will officiate the ceremony tomorrow at 11 a.m.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

White House Fence Jumper Hit With Additional Charges

The Texas man who jumped the White House fence and ran into the building with a folding knife on Sept. 19 was indicted on additional charges relating to the incident today, the  U.S. Attorney's Office for D.C. announced.

Omar Gonzalez, 42, was initially indicted on Sept. 30 and handed three charges, including the federal offense of illegally entering a restricted building while carrying a dangerous weapon. He was also charged with allegedly violating D.C. law by carrying a dangerous weapon outside a home or place of business and unlawful possession of ammunition. Upon his arrest at the White House, officials searched his nearby car on Constitution Avenue NW and found hundreds of rounds of ammunition in it.

Today, he was slapped with two additional federal counts of assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers or employees and one D.C. count of unlawful possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device.

Gonzalez climbed over the north fence of the White House and ran through the north entrance of the building. Once inside, he allegedly assaulted or resisted two U.S. Secret Service officers, which is the reason for the additional federal charges. Officials recovered gun magazines that held more than 10 rounds.

Gonzalez has been in custody since his arrest and is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 21.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery