City Desk

The Needle: It’s All At the Mall Edition

Mall Rats: Complaining about the state of the National Mall is part of the birthright of Washingtonians; the only reason we don't grumble about it more than we do is because there's not much reason to go there unless you're doing touristy things. Theoretically, that'll change, under a new plan announced with much fanfare today. The grass would be improved, the views cleaned up, better paths put in, and cafés and restaurants installed. Just in time, hopefully, for 200,000 Jon Stewart fans to mess it all up again! +3

Circulation Improving: The name may not be that thrilling, but for reliable, cheap bus service, it's tough to beat the D.C. Circulator. Which is why news that District Department of Transportation officials want to add new lines and expand existing ones is pretty welcome. A bus running from Tenleytown to Brookland by way of Petworth and Columbia Heights? Another running from Adams Morgan to H Street NE by way of U Street? Yes, please. Of course, there's no actual money put aside for these wild new bus routes, but so what? A commuter can dream. +4

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday: Buying liquor in Montgomery County isn't easy—as the presence of large, and busy, shops near Western Avenue in the District along both Connecticut Avenue NW and Georgia Avenue NW should tell you. It may soon get a little easier, though, as county officials want to allow sales on Sundays, for at least a six-month test period. Prediction: Sales improve as the Redskins' record worsens. (And D.C. residents no longer have to fight Marylanders for parking spaces when they want to stock their own bars up.) +2

You Ain't Got No Alibi: Congratulations—you live in a city where the residents are marginally better looking than in Anchorage, Ak., Baltimore, Philadelphia, or Memphis. Or at least so declares Travel + Leisure, in its annual ranking of "America's least and most attractive people." The District comes in 6th ugliest, which is better than last year. So look on the bright side—some good-looking folks must have moved in! Go find 'em! +1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 36 Today's score: +10 Today's Needle rating: 46

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