City Desk

District Line Daily: Disservice Journalism

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

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The recent Gothamist piece on reasons to "actually" visit D.C. was strangely preoccupied with one hotel in Dupont. It turns out the writer was on a paid-for media junket that the hotel hosted.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • On budget, Muriel Bowser and Phil Mendelson can't agree to disagree. [Loose Lips]
  • Casa Ruby is a 'chosen family' for trans people who need a home. [WAMU]
  • Metro's planned purchase of rail cars is at risk. [Post]
  • Five animal cameras at the National Zoo are going offline. [NBC4]

RECENT CITY PAPER STORIES TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF YOUR DAY:

Sit Down, Stock Up: At CityCenterDC's newest addition, you can have an Italian meal or shop for groceries.

Ground Control: In some parts of D.C., standing on the sidewalk can get you arrested.

Imbalanced Breakfast: Why is weekday breakfast so weak in D.C.?

Read more District Line Daily: Disservice Journalism

Gothamist Writer Goes on Media Junket, Distills D.C. to a Few Blocks in Dupont

dupont_darrow

Dupont, y'all!

D.C. has gotten used to the New York Times discovering—seemingly for the first time, every time—that D.C. is home to more than just sharp-elbowed lobbyists and crack-smoking mayors. (If we're doing our job, D.C. has also gotten used to City Paper giving the Grey Lady the bird.)

Yesterday morning, it looked like Gothamist, a New York-based news website, had fallen into the Times' well-worn trap. "5 Reasons You Should Actually Spend A Weekend In D.C." is a shallow, condescending ("After surveying a few friends, it seems shunning the capital isn’t abnormal") listicle that reduces D.C. to a few blocks around Dupont Circle and, despite its breathless revelation that "there’s legitimately a lot going on" outside of politics and the monuments in this metropolis, manages to cram in two House of Cards references.

You don't have to be a journalist to recognize that Kara Cutruzzula relies on stereotypes more than research in her, uh, reporting of this piece. She claims that D.C. has a "dearth of rooftop anything," but anyone who's walked a neighborhood or two in the District on a nice day could find nearly as many rooftop bars, concerts, prix fixe restaurant gardens, yoga classes, and dog agility courses as there are roofs. "[D.C. is] Home to Underground Artists," one of the article's subheads reads, only to qualify, "Well, sort of." No qualification required—there are scores of independent artists doing imaginative, highly skilled work in the District, and if you want to get literal with the underground thing, there are plenty making art in basements, too.

But the fishier part of Cutruzzula's piece is its preoccupation with the Embassy Row Hotel, where she suggests travelers stay, and its environs. The (gasp!) rooftop venue she recommends is a not-yet-opened bar atop the hotel. One of two food options mentioned is the hotel's small-plates restaurant; the other, Union Kitchen, partners with the hotel to source local food vendors. Dupont Underground, another listed attraction that's not yet open to the public, is one of the hotel's promotional partners. In fact, out of five reasons to "actually" visit D.C., the only one not connected to the Embassy Row Hotel, as far as I can tell, is the Phillips Collection. Where's that, by the way? "Right around the corner from the Embassy Row Hotel."

Turns out, Cutruzzula attended a paid-for media junket that the hotel hosted last month after its extensive renovation. According to Sarah Vining, Embassy Row Hotel's comms director and “Chief Culture Engineer,” the hotel paid for journalists' travel, lodging, and other expenses.

Read more Gothamist Writer Goes on Media Junket, Distills D.C. to a Few Blocks in Dupont

District Line Daily: A Violent Weekend

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

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

At least seven people were shot and wounded in D.C. over the Memorial Day weekend. Four homicides were reported, including a fatal stabbing near the H Street NE corridor and a fatal shooting in Shaw.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • In some parts of D.C., standing on the sidewalk is a crime. [City Paper]
  • Can D.C. musicians survive as the city gets more expensive? [WAMU]
  • Our Lady of the Vanishing Arts may make an appearance on Artisphere's closing day. [ARLNow]
  • Why are area foxes stealing newspapers? [Post]

RECENT CITY PAPER STORIES TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF YOUR DAY:

Parting Plot: Aaron Wiener shares his not-so-modest proposals for a better D.C.

Cheese and Thank You: Which breakfast sandwich is right for you? Consult our matrix.

Pop Psychology: What the summer film series in Golden Triangle, Navy Yard, and Dupont Circle say about the neighborhoods.

PhotosYoung Rapids and Pleasure Curses played a show City Paper hosted at the American Art Museum.

Read more District Line Daily: A Violent Weekend

Photo: Stagecoach

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600 Block of Madison Drive, NW, May 25th.  © 2015 Matt Dunn

District Line Daily: Quadruple Murder Suspect Captured

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

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

Police captured Daron Dylon Wint, 34, in Northeast D.C. Thursday night, and authorities have charged him with first-degree murder in connection to the deaths of four people, including a 10-year old child, at a Woodland Normanstone home.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • Wint is scheduled to make an appearance in court Friday afternoon. [NBC Washington]
  • The Savopoulos family released a statement: "While [the arrest] does not abate our pain, we hope that it begins to restore a sense of calm and security to our neighborhood and to our city." [WUSA9]
  • "Six months on the trail of Shy Glizzy," rap superstar. [Washington Post]
  • Rolling Thunder comes to the District this weekend. [Washington Times]

RECENT CITY PAPER STORIES TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF YOUR DAY:

Shawed Out: On her walking tour of Shaw, Mayor Muriel Bowser warns the D.C. Council that without tax hikes, service cuts are likely.

Art + Rock: City Paper is having a concert tonight! Come see Pleasure Curses and Young Rapids.

Standing Room: Smoking outside your front door can get you arrested.

Read more District Line Daily: Quadruple Murder Suspect Captured

Buy D.C.: Navy Yard

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.


Quadruple Murder Suspect in Brooklyn, Police Believe

wintPolice believe that the suspect allegedly behind last week's gruesome arson and quadruple homicide in Northwest is on the run in Brooklyn, NY.

Police suspect that Daron Dylon Wint, 34,  killed Savvas Savopolos, wife Amy Savopoulos, son Philip Savopoulos, and housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa last Thursday, then burned down the Savopoulos' house on the 3200 block of Woodlawn Drive. Wint once worked at American Iron Works, Savvas Savapolous' construction company, according to Metropolitan Police Department chief Cathy Lanier.

“Right now, you have just about everything law enforcement officer in the country looking for him," Lanier said at an afternoon press conference at MPD headquarters. Lanier said Wint's family wants him to turn himself in.

Lanier wouldn't comment on evidence in the case, but the Post reported yesterday that Wint's DNA was found on the crust of a pizza delivered to the house the night before the fire. Savapolos' assistant reportedly also delivered $40,000 to the house the day of the fire.

Read more Quadruple Murder Suspect in Brooklyn, Police Believe

Chatter: The Summer Win

cover-issue1850-lgWhat you said about what we said last week

Last week’s Washington City Paper was devoted to the 2015 Summer Arts and Entertainment Guide, a collection of book, comedy, dance, film, gallery, museum, and music recommendations guaranteed to make the next few hellaciously hot months of your life a little cooler. As former City Paper Editor Mike Madden put it on Twitter, “Here’s what you’re doing this summer, D.C.” The guide, which features listings through mid-September, is no longer in newspaper boxes, but you can get a copy by visiting City Paper’s HQ.

Booze You Can Use

The evolution of distillery laws in D.C., including a new regulation permitting on-site consumption, was the subject of Jessica Sidman’s Young & Hungry column. As TheBottomlessMimosa (@TheBoMimo) accurately tweeted, “Liquor laws are more complicated and old-fashioned than I thought!” Reader Dave B picked up on a particularly strange part of the new law that requires at least half of the spirits in cocktails served at distilleries to be made on-site: “Re: Number of spirits in a cocktail. How does that legislation actually read? Are they just counting the number of alcoholic ingredients? That would be stupid. In that case, you cant have a Negroni, but you can have a shot of whiskey with one drop of Gin. It should be based on the amount of alcohol contributed to the cocktail. In that case you can have the Negroni but not the 99.99% whiskey. Gin is about 40% alcohol. Campari and vermouth are about half that (for purposes of this argument). X volume at 40% is equal to 2X volume at 20%.”

Sidman explained that the law is based on volume, to which Dave B replied, “It should be based on volume*ABV. Math is hard though. Maybe you could boil off some of the water in the vermouth and Campari to reduce the volume. Then add the water back in as a non-alcohol beverage. This seems like a lot of effort.” For a cocktail? Ain’t no mountain high enough.

Helmet Dread

Finally, our bike columnist, Gear Prudence, tackled the age-old question: Why is that cyclist’s helmet on his handlebars and not on his head? While GP had a simple answer (it’s the heat, not the stupidity), our commenters had other ideas. mldickens wrote, “Helmet on handlebars – it’s because their mom makes them take it, but they don’t want to wear it because that’s uncool. Gotta keep it around so you can put it on just before you get home!”

Department of Corrections

The Summer Arts and Entertainment Guide erroneously featured a photo of the metal band Death next to an entry about the protopunk band Death. Thank you to the many readers who pointed this out.

This Week’s Page Three Photo

1300 Block of G Street NW, May 20

Page three photos are also in this gallery.

District Line Daily: Ground Control

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

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

This week's cover story: Just standing outside can get you arrested in some parts of the District. Activists and the people arrested say a law against blocking the sidewalk is used to harass black men, the homeless, and protesters.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • Why is D.C.'s breakfast scene so weak? [Young & Hungry]
  • In his final City Paper column, Aaron Wiener offers his not-so-modest proposals for improving D.C. [Housing Complex]
  • The go-go website TMOTTGoGo.com prepares to mark its 20th anniversary. [Arts Desk]
  • Poll: Residents support Muriel Bowser's proposed sales tax increase. [Post]

RECENT CITY PAPER STORIES TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF YOUR DAY:

Gear Prudence: I'm about to bike over shards of glass. Slow down or speed up?

Go East: Glen's Garden Market will open a second location.

Slate Set: Here's the lineup for this year's AFI DOCS.

Read more District Line Daily: Ground Control

Gear Prudence: Should I Speed Over Broken Glass? Slow Down?

gearprudence

Gear Prudence: While biking home yesterday, I rolled over broken glass at various locations. Fortunately, my tires were OK, but it got me wondering: If broken glass is unavoidable (say on a narrow trail or in a bike lane with parked cars on one side and heavy traffic on the other) is it better to slow down as much as possible or to maintain speed over the glass? My friend said slowing down and trying to avoid the worst spots was her strategy. I thought that going as fast as possible would give the glass less of a chance to stick. Which of us is right? —Speed Helps Avoid Random Punctures?

Dear SHARP: When faced with the fate of flats, is it a fait accompli? Or can you outrun your destiny, perhaps by speeding up or, ironically, slowing down? But before addressing strategy, it’s important to first assess the unavoidability of the unavoidable. In many cases, a bicyclist can scan the road ahead with an eye toward the glinty glass splinters that might provoke a puncture and takes steps well in advance to avoid them. Or, you could hire a team of off-season curlers to run ahead of your ride and clear the way of potentially harmful debris. Ideally, you’ll never want to be in the position of taking last-second evasive maneuvers to avoid glass—you could be trading a potential puncture for a far worse outcome.

In the case where the broken glass truly is unavoidable, would riding faster through the hazard, perhaps while invoking the David Farragut (the namesake of the downtown square) strategy, by damning the torpedoes and speeding fully ahead, lessen the likelihood of puncture? GP has his doubts. Puncture flats happen when an object gets through the tire and pokes a hole in the tube, thereby allowing air to escape. Whether you ride over something sharp enough to do this really fast or really slowly, if it gets through it gets through. Speed is not your succor.

But all is not lost if you have had the misfortune to ride over broken glass. Keeping your tires inflated to proper air pressure is a key flat prevention technique. Beyond that, some cyclists employ puncture-resistant tires, typically made of thicker material, or put a Kevlar strip between the tire and the tube. Beyond these options, it’s also a good idea, especially if you know you’ve just ridden over some bad stuff, to inspect your tires and rub away or pull out any small objects stuck in your tires that could over time damage the tube.

Ultimately though, it’s best to be sanguine about these kinds of things. Flats happen when they happen. —GP

Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who blogs at talesfromthesharrows.blogspot.com and tweets at @sharrowsdc. Got a question about bicycling? Email gearprudence@washingtoncitypaper.com.

District Line Daily: Lead at D.C. General

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

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

Two young children at the troubled D.C. General homeless shelter tested positive for high levels of lead.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • The lineup for the 2015 AFI DOCS film festival was announced. [Arts Desk]
  • The cleanup of the Anacostia River has a long way to go. [Post]
  • D.C.'s faux speakeasy fad isn't done. [Young & Hungry]
  • D.C. is ranked the third-best city for parks in the country. [Post]

RECENT CITY PAPER STORIES TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF YOUR DAY:

Peak Luxury Condo: A condo building hired a "sommelier in residence."

New Franken-Dessert: This D.C. muffin purveyor knows what the muffin-top joint on Seinfeld was missing: ice cream.

How to Start a Weekend: Come to our music showcase on Friday with Pleasure Curses and Young Rapids! There'll be free beer.

Read more District Line Daily: Lead at D.C. General

District Line Daily: The Phone Booth’s Demise

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

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

Verizon doesn't plan to renew its sponsorship of the Verizon Center, whose naming rights the company has owned since the building opened in 1997 as the MCI Center.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • Judge strikes down heart of D.C. gun law. [WAMU]
  • Vincent Orange got outplayed by three freshmen on his own committee. [Loose Lips]
  • ANC votes to end liquor license moratorium in west Dupont Circle. [Barred in DC]
  • DCPS' biggest challenge, in one chart. [Housing Complex]

RECENT CITY PAPER STORIES TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF YOUR DAY:

Fact Check: How accurate is Pitch Perfect? We asked D.C.-area a cappella singers.

Signing Off: Outgoing City Paper reporter Aaron Wiener says goodbye to his readers.

I Know What You'll Do This Summer: Find out in the 2015 Summer Arts & Entertainment Guide.

Read more District Line Daily: The Phone Booth’s Demise

District Line Daily: New Weed Order

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

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

The legalization of pot possession has already changed the landscape for dealers in D.C. and influenced attitudes toward the drug.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • Marion C. Barry to plead guilty in bank outburst case. [Loose Lips]
  • In her first budget, is the mayor winning the battle with the D.C. Council but losing the war? [Post]
  • Neighbors push for speedy response on safety measures for Maryland Avenue NE. [WAMU]
  • DDOT began installing new barriers to protect cyclists on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. [City Desk]

RECENT CITY PAPER STORIES TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF YOUR DAY:

Q&A: D.C.'s new housing chief talks affordable housing, homelessness, and much more.

Our Nightly Bread: A new evening farmers market launched in D.C.

Your Summer Plans: Our 2015 Summer Arts & Entertainment Guide is here.

Read more District Line Daily: New Weed Order

On Bike to Work Day, New Protections, Same Ol’ Crashes

Today is Bike to Work Day, a feel-good event when cyclists, advocates, and public officials gather to celebrate commuting by bike. It's also a day when there are more cyclists on the area's roads than probably any other day of the year. More than 16,800 people registered for the event in 2014; that number grew to 17,500 this year, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

Bike to Work Day started out with some long-awaited good news: After installing so-called "zebras" on a small portion of the Pennsylvania Avenue NW cycletrack in 2013 and additional barriers the following year, the D.C. Department of Transportation today began installing more barriers to prevent vehicles from making illegal U-turns across the bike lanes. The rubber "wheel-stop" barriers, which are 6-inches high, 6-inches wide, and 6-feet long, will be placed along the majority of the cycletrack. 

Work began today on the 1100 block, according to a DDOT spokeswoman, and crews will install the barriers eastward before returning to the 1200 block to replace the zebras. According to the spokeswoman, there will be approximately 9-feet of space between the edges of the barriers, while the zebras were placed about 13 feet apart. When asked if the barriers would be placed in the 1300 and 1400 blocks as well, the spokeswoman replied, "Right now, DDOT’s focus is on the blocks we’re focusing on, and ensuring they are completed swiftly and effectively."

The new barriers can't come soon enough. U-turns are an ongoing problem along Pennsylvania Avenue, as local cyclists have been documenting using the Twitter hashtag #StopUTurnsOnPenn. Drivers making illegal U-turns recently struck two cyclists, WAMU reported.

Of course, cyclist collisions aren't exclusive Pennsylvania Avenue. At least two cyclists were struck today, one near the U Street NW corridor and the other in Bellevue. Here's to a safer evening commute.

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