City Desk

The Needle: Call Waiting

Generation Doom: This guy camped outside of the Clarendon Apple store for 36 hours to buy the new iPhone 6. 36! And in you case feel like you missed out, the Post has nicely chronicled the best local iPhone wait moments for your viewing pleasure. -2

Balls Out: There is a D.C. Testicle Festival this weekend. Eat up!+1

Read more The Needle: Call Waiting

Photo: From the Series: Lunch Hour


L Street NW, September 16 


Who’s Going to Pay for Extra Metro Service During the Nationals’ Playoff Games?

The first time the Washington Nationals made it to the Major League Baseball playoffs, in 2012, the team quickly turned into the Greedy Nats, refusing to foot the bill to keep the Metro open later if games ran past the subway system's usual midnight closing time during the week.

Because some playoff games start later than run-0f-the-mill regular season games, someone would have needed to put down about $30,000 to keep Metro running for each extra hour in case it was needed. Metro would then have returned some of that deposit depending on how many people rode during that hour. The Capitals, Wizards, and the Washington football team all pay for late Metro use when needed (like it will be next Thursday, when there's a home football game at FedEx Field). But the Nats—the team that landed its sweet publicly financed stadium after the city took out $535 million in bonds to pay for it—said it wasn't their problem and that someone else would have to pay. 

Eventually LivingSocial—then flush and full of tech-boom swaggerswooped in and said it would pay for any necessary after-hours service. That turned out to be a good PR move on the company's part; the bill ultimately amounted to $0.

But now that the Nationals are once again the NL East champions, who will pay for late-night October baseball Metro costs this year if needed?

Read more Who’s Going to Pay for Extra Metro Service During the Nationals’ Playoff Games?

Why Some D.C. Parking Spots Have Astroturf and Cafe Tables Today


There are about 20 fewer parking spots than usual in the District today. The District Department of Transportation is hosting its annual PARK(ing) Day, for which residents and businesses get to rethink how public spaces are used by transforming a parking spot into a pop-up park.

They'll only be up until 3 p.m. today, so grab your lunch and eat it at one of the following temporary parks:

  • Zipcar: 2221 I Street NW
  • Baked & Wired: 1050 Thomas Jefferson St. NW
  • Gensler: 2020 K Street NW
  • Urbanful: 1723 K Street NW
  • Georgetown BID: 1211 Potomac Street NW
  • Georgetown BID: 1034 33rd Street NW
  • Office of the State Superintendent of Education: 810 1st Street NE
  • goDCgo: 1201 G Street NW
  • DC Department of Parks and Recreation: 1250 U Street NW
  • Golden Triangle BID: 1730 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
  • DC Water: 1227 Wisconsin Avenue NW
  • ACE Hardware: 1055 5th Street NW
  • Alba Osteria: 425 I Street NW
  • NoMa Bid: 1st Street NE & Pierce Street NE
  • BicycleSPACE: 1019 7th Street NW
  • NoMa BID: 1100 1st Street NE
  • Council of the District Columbia: 1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW
  • Oculus: 1440 P Street NW
  • RTKL Associates and USGBC: M Street & New Hampshire Avenue NW

Photo via DDOT

Chatter: Smoked Salmon

cover-issue1815-lgWhat you said about what we said last week

Should you play chicken with a salmon? In the last week’s Gear Prudence, bicycling-etiquette columnist Brian McEntee suggested a very genteel approach for dealing with scofflaw riders traveling the wrong way down a bike lane: just exit the lane, and possibly give them a harsh look. Some readers, though, prefer more aggressive tactics: “I definitely hold my line with a determined (not angry) look,” wrote ultrarunnergirl. “The salmon can go into traffic or within inches of parked car doors. On the streets it usually happens, there are always cars driving alongside me.” IMGoph was even more draconian: “The salmoner should go into traffic. They can see if cars are coming toward them and better judge their safety level. If there *is* a car coming? Oh well. One less salmoner. ;)”

Bobby Booshay got more detailed: “Uh, if this is one of our one-road lanes, one bike-lane streets, like Q or R NW, this advice is ludicrous. So I’m going the correct way and you expect me to quickly turn my head—to make sure, you know, there’s no car speeding up to smush me—taking my eyes off the lazy yutz and then enter the roadway. Seems simple enough until when you are checking to see it’s safe, said yutz also veers into the road and you both collide or nearly so. No, no, no, no ,no. My approach is much more simpler and effective. Provided I have time, I slow my speed and yell loudly and clearly, ‘I AIN”T FUCKIN MOVING!’ The salmon’s look of horror at you assert your rights is one of life’s simple pleasures. Sure I usually get a ‘dick!’ or ‘fuck you!’ but I’m not risking injury because you’re too lazy to ride to the appropriate block. YOU veer into traffic; you’re the one creating the havoc; not to mention you can actually see the car traffic.”

LALA pushed back: “If you are going in the direction of traffic, you can proceed in the lane and the potential traffic behind you can slow down yet still continue in the same direction, just like if you were in a street with no bike lane. The salmon would force the oncoming traffic to stop. You can still call the salmon an asshole as you go by (this is very important) but it removes all confusion if you just take the first step and move in the street. This is just another reason why bike lanes shouldn’t exist in the first place and bikes should just occupy the whole lane.”

To reader scotterj2003, the column offered a solution in need of a problem: “I’ve personally never witnessed, or even heard of, a collision like the one described in the column. Even someone who is salmoning is going to take steps to minimize their risk of personal harm...they’re selfish, are they not? So they’ll move out of the way when the time comes.”

But is salmoning occasionally permissible? Reader Nathan identified 15th Street between W and Euclid streets NW as a possible exception: “I find the two bike lanes in the same direction completely unnecessary, so I just take the one on the west side as a south-bound lane.” It’s your life, Nathan!

Marrow Reading

One reader was appalled by last week’s Are You Gonna Eat That? column, for which Laura Hayes tasted the beef marrow with sea urchin, antler mustard, and ink toast at Gypsy Soul in Fairfax. “What is this garbage?” wrote Maru. “In Latin America we feed this crap to pigs.”

District Line Daily: Bowser and Catania Face-Off

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.

Leading mayoral candidates Muriel Bowser and David Catania kicked off the debate season at American University last night with the expected mixture of petty bickering and legislative jabs.


  • A judge rejected D.C.'s request to extend the 90-day stay delaying when the order overturning the city's total ban on carrying a gun in public goes into effect until the city files an appeal of the ruling. [WAMU]
  • The $18 million Southeast Tennis and Learning Center will officially open its doors following a Nov. 7 gala featuring Venus and Serena Williams, who helped sponsor the renovations. [News4]
  • Virginia Republicans rejected a deal to expand Medicaid in the state. [Washington Post]
  • The first Nats playoffs games are expected to fall on Yom Kippur. Area Jews are struggling. [Washington Post]


Read more District Line Daily: Bowser and Catania Face-Off

D.C. Cabs Could See 10 Percent Drop in Ridership This Year, Says Cab Commission

Earlier this week, the Washington Post's Emily Badger wrote about how Uber and other ride-share companies are cutting into the taxicab industry's business in San Francisco. In March 2012—before UberX and Lyft launched in the city—each cab averaged around 1,400 trips per month. In July 2014, that number is around 500 trips per month. Oof.

So how would those numbers look in D.C.?

The D.C. Taxicab Commission is in the process of implementing a Taxicab Information System that would allow the commission to collect trip data for each vehicle. For now, early estimates show that the number of rides has dropped from 20 million in 2013 to a projected 18 million in 2014, a 10 percent dip.

The commission draws the data when it collects a 25 cent passenger surcharge from each cab ride in the city's fleet of approximately 5,700 active cabs. Each cab, according to DCTC spokesman Neville Waters, averages about nine to 10 rides per shift.

Read more D.C. Cabs Could See 10 Percent Drop in Ridership This Year, Says Cab Commission

The Needle: Straight (V)edge

More Appropriate Porn: After Satellite Room named a full-on meat burger in honor of noted vegan Ian MacKaye, the D.C. blogger behind Pornburger concocted an all-veggie burger for the musician called "Straight (V)edge." It looks straight-up delicious+4

Bad Commute: What's worse than getting stuck on the Metro? Getting stuck in a Metro elevator. About a dozen commuters were trapped in the Rosslyn station elevator for about 20 minutes today. -3

Read more The Needle: Straight (V)edge

D.C.’s Scottish Residents Gather to Watch Soccer, Briefly Talk About Independence


Al Wigmore III of Scotland watches Celtic at a Bethesda bar.

Amid all the talk of the big vote in Scotland today, another moment of Scottish import might have gotten lost: Glasgow soccer team Celtic F.C. faced off against Austria's FC Red Bull Salzburg this afternoon in the Europa League.

But D.C.'s biggest Celtic fans didn't forget about the game.

Six of them, all paying members of the Washington DC Celtic Supporters Club, gathered today at Flanagan's Harp & Fiddle, an Irish pub in Bethesda and one of the closest things the D.C. area has to an actual Scottish bar. The 20-plus members of the club have all chipped in so that the bar can get the satellite channel that plays Celtic matches.

The few members who showed up in the middle of the workday today didn't let Scotland's independence vote distract them. The topic came up just once.

"Do you think Scotland will vote for independence?" asked a man from Northern Ireland and a staunch supporter of independence.

"If it goes yes, Celtic never goes into the English league," lamented Ross Gray, a 34-year-old Scot who moved to D.C. nine years ago. (Celtic F.C. play in the Scottish Premiership, not the bigger and more prominent—and lucrative—English Premiere League. He says it's unlikely that Celtic will ever switch, but if the country votes for independence, it definitely won't happen.) Read more D.C.’s Scottish Residents Gather to Watch Soccer, Briefly Talk About Independence

District Line Daily: Haven Is for Real

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 latest cover story takes a historical look at how D.C. churches defied the Reagan administration and helped Central American refugees flee repression in the '80s. 


  • Commercial strips far from Metro stations along Rhode Island Avenue NE are struggling. Could "transitional retail" be the answer? [Housing Complex]
  • In response to a federal court ruling overturning D.C.'s total ban on carrying guns in public, city officials have proposed legislation that would define who could carry a gun in public. [City Desk]
  • Muriel Bowser has a big double digit lead over David Catania, according to a new NBC/Post poll. [Loose Lips]
  • Get ready, the first mayoral debate of the season is tonight at American University. [News4]


Read more District Line Daily: Haven Is for Real

The Needle: Fall, Fall, Glorious Fall

Mr. Autumn Man: This perfect weather isn't straying all that far from perfection in the immediate future. There will be another glorious night tonight, and while tomorrow will bring a cold front tomorrow, on the whole it should be partly cloudy in the 70s. All in all, it seems like prime time to reintroduce yourself to Mr. Autumn Man. +5

And You Thought D.C. Was Expensive: Robert De Niro pays $125,000 a month in rent for a bedroom in a Logan Circle group house. Just kidding, it's for a fancy apartment near Central Park. It's unclear whether he puts any of his spare bedrooms up for rent on Craigslist. +2

Read more The Needle: Fall, Fall, Glorious Fall

Proposed Legislation Would Allow Some to Carry Guns in D.C.


A federal judge ruled in July that the District's ban on carrying guns in public was unconstitutional, subsequently overturning a key component of the city's strict gun laws. The ruling briefly meant that pretty much anyone could carry a gun most places they wanted in the District, until a judge issued a 90-day stay on the ruling a few days later.

When that stay lapses on Oct. 22 and the judge's ruling officially goes into effect, the District now has a plan to ensure the city isn't a firearm free-for-all.

Today, city officials announced emergency legislation that would more narrowly define who would be allowed to obtain a concealed-carry license. (Open-carry is still illegal in the District.) Mayor Vince Gray said at a press conference this afternoon that he is confident the proposed regulations, assuming the D.C. Council passes them, would meet both constitutional muster and the safety needs of the city. The bill would require residents to prove they have a "legitimate need" to carry a gun a public.

People who say they need a license because they live in high-crime neighborhoods or because they simply love guns, for instance, would likely not qualify for a permit. A person who has a stalker, however, would be a candidate for the permit. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson says the city still has some work to do in defining what kind of personal threats would qualify for a permit. Applicants with a recent history of a dangerous mental illness would not be allowed to get a permit.

Those who have a permit will still be prohibited from carrying their guns in government buildings, on public transportation, anywhere alcohol is served, schools and universities, and places or events where "protection of public officials, visiting dignitaries, and demonstrators is paramount." Non-District residents are subject to the same application provisions as residents.

Anyone who violates any of these rules would be subject to criminal and civil penalties.

Read more Proposed Legislation Would Allow Some to Carry Guns in D.C.

Gear Prudence: I’m a Driver. Can I Give Bicyclists a Friendly Honk?


Gear Prudence: I don’t ride a bike, but I’m generally sympathetic to those who do. On occasion, when I drive near cyclists and especially on narrow roads, I feel the urge to honk to let them know that I’m coming. I’m not trying to be mean; I just want them to be aware. Is it ever OK to do this? —Honking Only Reasonably Near You

Dear HORNY: While your consideration is appreciated, it’s unnecessary. Rare is the cyclist who thinks she is riding on some paradisiacal road blissfully devoid of cars. People on bikes expect drivers and more likely than not, they’ve heard your engine or whatever NPR program is thumping from your subwoofers as you near. Car Talk would be unironic.

A car horn is a bit like Hodor: useful in an emergency, but not exactly eloquent. (Hodor.) It lacks the nuance to convey more than one message, and too often that message is “get the hell out of my way.” If that’s not what you want to say, instead of honking, slow down and pass with plenty of room. Three feet is the legal minimum in most places, including D.C., but more is always welcome. As you pass, cyclists will nod approvingly at the “Fuck Robert Moses” sticker on your bumper. —GP

Read more Gear Prudence: I’m a Driver. Can I Give Bicyclists a Friendly Honk?

Nationals Magic Number: 0

nats0Nationals Magic Number provides daily updates as the Washington Nationals try to win their division. Today's magic number for the Nats to clinch the N.L. East: 0

What else is 0: That's officially the percentage chance that the Braves will win the N.L. East division this year. Doesn't that sound nice? Same goes for the Marlins, Mets, and Phillies. Zero is also the number of playoff appearances Nats pitcher Stephen Strasburg has made in his career—a number we'll get to see rise next month. Zero is how many Nats players were selected for the All-Star Game this year above the minimum (even the worst teams get one representative), an omission that is getting more glaring as this season goes on. Zero is the pitiful number of runs the Braves scored in a home game that was their last opportunity to stay in the division race. But let's not get too excited about just winning the division: Zero is also the number of playoff series that the Nats have won in their history so far.

Read more Nationals Magic Number: 0

District Line Daily: Bowser’s Council Record

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 and Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser has been the primary author on hundreds of bills, but she has not pushed any bold initiatives. In an interview with the Postshe declined to name bills that have defined her tenure on the Council, saying she has already done that "a thousand times." So is Bowser an effective leader who simply isn't try to steal the spotlight, or do voters have a reason to be concerned about her legislative record?


  • Sen. Maria Cantwell says she will introduce legislation to strip the NFL of its tax exempt status if it does not take action on the Washington football team name. [City Desk]
  • Stimulated H Street NE streetcar service is slated to begin Sept. 29. [WAMU]
  • A Georgetown student died this week after contracting meningitis. [News4]
  • Under new ownership, WJLA—Washington's ABC affiliate—is taking a slight turn to the right. [Post]


Read more District Line Daily: Bowser’s Council Record