City Desk

The Needle: I Am From the American CIA Edition

Gauguin is Evil: The great mystery of the day was why a woman had allegedly attacked Paul Gauguin's "Two Tahitian Women," on loan from the Met to the National Gallery, over the weekend. The answer she gave investigators didn't entirely clear things up: "I feel that Gauguin is evil. He has nudity and is bad for the children. He has two women in the painting and it's very homosexual. I was trying to remove it. I think it should be burned. I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you." It will not surprise you to learn that the next step in court proceedings against the alleged attacker, Susan Burns, involves a mental health evaluation. No word on whether the Met will ever lend art out to the National Gallery again. -1

Bikes R Us: Turns out all those bike lanes installed around the city (and debated in the last mayoral election) actually do something. New Census stats, as analyzed by the League of American Bicyclists, show an 86 percent increase in D.C. residents who commute to work by bike between 2000 and 2009; the total is now 2.2 percent of the population. (Including, apparently, Kevin Spacey.) Safe bet: The story reporting this stat will soon become a hub for angry comments about how bikes are a plague. +2

Subway Cinema: Besides working escalators, reliable trains, schedules that bear some resemblance to reality, and fewer unexplained breakdowns, the main thing Metro could use to improve the riding experience is, apparently, movies. Or so seems to be the rationale behind the recent announcement that DVD rental kiosks will be installed in 10 stations. The stations, along with a trolley ticket vending machine in the Smithsonian stop, will bring in $110,000 for the cash-strapped system each year. Just don't expect to find Kontrol available for rental, lest it inspire riders to run along the tracks. +1

Everybody's Heading to the Center of the City: The tract of land between 11th Street NW, 9th Street NW, New York Avenue, and H Street NW has been all sorts of things since the old convention center was blown up six years ago—temporary tennis stadium, Cirque du Soleil staging ground, bus stop, and most often, parking lot. Its next incarnation will be as massive mixed-use development; ground was officially broken today for CityCenter DC, which will, once completed, include 520,000 square feet of offices, 185,000 square feet of retail, 700 new apartments and condominiums, and eventually a hotel. No word on whether Quebecois contortionists will lease any of the space. +1

Friday's Needle rating: 61 Today's score: +3 Today's Needle rating: 64

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