From Michelle Lancaster
We all know that our neighborhood is the hippest in the city, given our plethora of amazing shops, bars, restaurants, galleries and music venues. But somewhere in the hazy moments after an opening, followed by too many cocktails at a bar and late night half-smokes, we may forget what makes the neighborhood truly spectacular â€“ the really fascinating people living here!
In this new ongoing series on Interesting Borderstanis (got a better title?), weâ€™ll profile some of the unique, inspiring and downright interesting folks that are all around you.
Meet Julie Mason
Meet Julie! You may have read her coverage of the White House when she worked for the Houston Chronicle or locally at the Washington Examiner. Maybe you know her for her lovely scented doggy bags or perhaps, like me, you are simply dying to feed her a steady stream of cava cocktails until she spills the beans on state secrets and hanging out with Ian MacKaye.
Hereâ€™s Julie in her own words.
When and why did you first move to D.C?
I went to AU in the 80s â€“ the best time for music in DC, during the old hardcore days â€“ and I left in 1988 to work in Texas but always had it in my head to move back. I finally got the chance in early 2001 when my newspaper transferred me to the Washington bureau.
Tell us about your day job.
I am the White House correspondent for the Washington Examiner. I came to Washington for the Houston Chronicle, and got downsized about two years ago. Working for a tabloid is a gas, and the other Examiner reporters are really hard-working and diligent. I love covering the White House â€“ it’s very stimulating and funnier than you’d think.
Whatâ€™s the most interesting story you’ve covered while in DC? What about the one you wish you could have covered?
I covered 9/11 in DC and New York; it was unlike any other story, in every way you could imagine. I’ve been really lucky to travel a lot with two presidents and cover all kinds of stories â€“ the one I am regretting right now is missing out on covering Obama’s vacation in Hawaii.
What brought you to Borderstan?
I’ve lived in Borderstan for 10 years now and I cannot believe how it has transformed from hot-tranny-pusherland into New Clarendon. Hilariously, I came to the nabe for the somewhat affordable rent (pre-Whole Foods) and the general ambience.Â Back in my college days, we never ventured east of 16th Street. When I moved back to D.C., I couldn’t believe all the changes, especially on 14th Street.
Favorite and least favorite thing about living in the neighborhood?
Love the neighbors most, and the architecture and beautiful side streets like Swann and Corcoran. I really loved looking at the Christmas decorations around Borderstan this year. I love the independent businesses and knowing people’s names. Don’t love huge waits for everything, yoga zombies, or dog owners who leave poop around. I haven’t fully made up my mind yet about the bike lanes on 15th Street â€“ they seem really cool, but traffic has definitely gotten worse.Â Lately, I love the cops enforcing crosswalk safety. Â I heard one yelling at an errant UPS driver, saying he deserved to get hit in a crosswalk by a FedEx driver.
Ok, letâ€™s talk specifics about the â€˜hood â€“ recommendations from a 10 year resident! It’s a cold, rainy night. You have to order some takeout â€“ where is it from?
I like that still-newish, Homemade Pizza place on 14th, also Meiwah for Chinese and Cafe Istanbul for kabobs.
You’re celebrating! Where are you headed?
The delicious cava cocktails at Estadio are definitely beckoning, but for a special dinner out my all-time fave is Tabard Inn.
Favorite way to spend time in the neighborhood?
Walking â€“ I have an Australian cattle dog named Gomez who needs a lot of exercise. Ask me for an ocean-scented poop bag! They’re biodegradable.
Letâ€™s end it with a big hypothetical. You’re mayor of DC for one day and you get to make one rule that sticks â€“ what is it?
I realize this is way outside of the mayor’s powers but… statehood!