City Desk

Chatter: Leader of the Pachyderms

What you said about what we said last week

Does any animal invite more high-pitched emotions than the hippopotamus? The impassioned responses to Will Sommer’s case for the oft-dismissed creature suggest we might be do our Web numbers a favor by launching an animals column. Reacting to Sommer’s argument that the National Zoo is worse for having removed its last hippo while building a luxurious home for a certain other large mammal, MS25 wrote, “Bah! Elephants are better than hippos. GET OVER IT.”

Reader EP Sato, though, lamented not only the zoo’s lack of hippos, but also its lack of giraffes and a circular walkway, with the latter deficiency making “it one of the least pedestrian-friendly tourist locations in the world!” Do go on: “Seriously, the Olmstead walk is pathetic. ONE MILE from the entrance to Amazonia and on the way back it’s uphill?!?”

Still, the zoo has its defenders, including a reader who took issue with Sommer’s characterization of the Small Mammal House as “already skippable.” Cuthbert B wrote: “The SMH has the greatest creature of all, the golden lion tamarin (GLT), the light of the animal kingdom and the future of the race. Ban the GLT and you ban the world. Want to skip something? Skip the Washington City Paper, the last refuge of anti-Simianism.”

Avenue Cue

Darrow Montgomery’s photo essay on the changing streetscape of Georgia Avenue inspired instant sentimentality on Twitter—“When I show these to my daughter in 10 yrs she will be stunned,” wrote Washington Post real estate reporter Jonathan O’Connell. Aaron Wiener’s accompanying essay provoked this response: “POOR OL’ GEORGIA AVE DESERVED A LIL MORE THAN 6 MEASLY PEASLY GRAPHS! WHAT THA FUCK DUDE?” wrote frequent scold Noodlez. “YOU COULD HAVE TOUCHED ON A LOT OF THE CHANGES TO GEO AVE GOOD AND BAD TO EDUMACATE ALL THOSE LIL TWITTY’S & OL TIMERS WHO HAVE TO COEXIST ON THE DC’S CAROTID ARTERY.” How about the snaps, Noodlez? “DARROW GREAT PICS AS USUAL!” he wrote. “ONE CITY.”

Off the Renovation

Wiener’s Housing Complex column on the regulation of so-called residential pop-ups also yielded heated comments. Reader Quality railed against one argument for pop-ups like a three-story addition to a rowhouse on V Street NW—they increase density in popular neighborhoods: “There is an implicit assumption in this article that if a lot of people want to live someplace, they should be accommodated, even if it lowers the quality of life for people already living there. I disagree. I can see the benefits of density, but this is a case in which the appeal of a neighborhood is seriously damaged to accommodate two more families. That’s just nuts.”

Urbanism blogger Richard Layman had a wonkier take. “The problem with popups is twofold,” he wrote. “One results from the difference in what zoning allows vs. building practice when neighborhoods were typically constructed pre-1940. By changing zoning rules to require a special exception for popups, making them not matter of right as they are now, would add a level of review not currently available within regulations. The other is design and quality. Obviously, you did ‘unearth’ the reason why so many pop-ups are shit. Because to do quality costs more.”

Department of Corrections

Due to a reporting error, a recent article on D.C.’s restrictive medical marijuana regulations (“Weed Certified,” May 3) incorrectly described multiple sclerosis as one of four conditions that would qualify patients for pot. In fact, MS is listed in the rules as one example of an unspecified number of conditions causing severe muscle spasms, any of which could qualify.

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