For several months Borderstan residents have heard the buzz of low-flying helicopters on regular patrol in the neighborhood. One occasionally hears police choppers in the area, of course, especially when the DC Police are pursuing a criminal.
Two sources with the DC Police confirmed to Borderstan over the weekend that the police choppers have been part of a regular series of patrols. The reason? The “demonstrations downtown” related to Occupy DC, according to the police. The helicopters are on a flight pattern that often extends north — after all, it’s only a short walk to McPherson Square, site of the main Occupy DC site.
As one reader wrote to Borderstan:
“Have you guys noticed over the past few months that there seems to be a helicopter constantly circling the area? I’ve been seeing it — and hearing it — as early as 6 am and as late as midnight. It seems like it’s policing something. But I haven’t been able to find any info about it on the web. I’d like to know what’s going on because it often flies so low and close that it wakes up my baby and wife while they’re getting much-needed sleep.”
If you have lived in DC at the time of September 11, 2011, terrorist attacks, you quickly learn to differentiate the difference between police and military helicopters — the military choppers are much larger and noisier. The first couple of years after 9-11, military choppers made regular patrols along 16th Street NW.
On Saturday, the U.S. Park Police went through the Occupy DC tents in McPherson, removing those that were serving as homes for the protesters. Campaign/sleeping is prohibited in the park. The huge majority of the tents were removed and McPherson Square on Sunday was mostly barren, except for some tents around the edges of the park.
However, tents dedicated to the “political goals” were left in place — for now. Earth-moving equipment was also being used to grade the park’s surface. Teams of National Park Service (NPS) employees were standing at the edge of McPherson Square in white jumpsuits with a distinctively “biohazard cleanup” look to them. Several Park Police officers were on horseback, overseeing the rest of the NPS work on Sunday.
A spokesman for Occupy DC told Borderstan on Sunday afternoon that “more tents would be going up tonight, ones that will be dedicated to the political aims of the movement.” Another Occupy DC member said that “occupying the National Mall” was next.
The status of Occupy DC in McPherson Square is probably not resolved. Dcist has a good writeup on what may come next, including legal actions planned by Occupy DC. Lydia DePillis at Washington City Paper has a good story on what exactly happened in McPherson Square on Saturday — and figures it’s probably time for the Occupy DC to figure out what do next.
The Occupy DC sprang up after similar Occupy movements took hold in large U.S. cities. The broad political goals are to draw attention to income inequality in the United States, financial institution regulation and unemployment. The movement started in New York as Occupy Wall Street in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. Another major Occupy movement was in Oakland, California.
McPherson Square is just south of the Logan Circle neighborhood and the park is actually located inside the boundaries of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2F.
Occupy DC was still in place at McPherson Square Monday evening (and this morning) following the January 30 deadline to leave. For now it appears that the National Park Service (NPS) will allow the protesters to stay, but they will not be allowed to “camp” there — meaning they cannot sleep in their tents at night. There are regulations against camping in the park. It remains to be seen whether the group will be evicted from the park, which is the domain of the NPS, not the DC government.
WTOP has an update from this morning: “The protesters spent the night awake, in what one protester calls the “tent of dreams” draped over the statue of General McPherson. It’s what the protester tells WTOP’s Neal Augenstein is a final act of defiance.”
- Guest Column: Occupy DC, Let Us Have Our Park Back (January 30)
Progression Place Up for Sale
The new mixed-use development still under construction in Shaw is up for sale, as the developers would like to free up some capital for other developments. UrbanTurf reports the construction could be complete by October of this year. The starting price tag to become a real estate mogul and own the complex is estimated to be $130 million.
Strip Malls Transforming to Urban
That may be a stretch, but this piece by Greater Greater Washington indicates that big box retailers are eyeing urban areas as their next playground. With their big, enclosed mall models struggling in the wake of economic change and the desire for ‘town centers’ that are more walkable, urban areas near Metro stations are being touted as the future of retail. Tyson’s isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but the Silver Spring model — retail, dining, bars and entertainment near a Metro stop — has taken off in Clarendon, Bethesda and the further out ‘burbs of Virginia, where people still love their cars.
Are we the beneficiaries of this evolution, or will the influx of Target, Wal-Mart and their ilk make vibrant city areas into beige spaces prone to playing Michael Bolton’s greatest hits on a tinny PA system? (Note: before you get all up in arms and protest me, I am aware and also agree this is a serious issue affecting our local small business owners and neighborhoods. But it’s Friday, and when else do I get to make jokes about otherwise depressing crap?)
Hunger Strikes for DC Voting Rights
Have you heard about the Occupy DC’ers that decided to fast in the name of DC self-government? Probably. If you assumed they finally ate, you’d be correct. But not after going a lot farther than anyone had planned, reports the Washington City Paper. It’s worth a read, even if you hate the Occupiers. Expect to feel sort of sorry for them — I can’t help it — for the bungling of the timing… seems striking until there is Congressional action is a poor idea when Congress is in recess.
I admire their moxie (this word should be used more often), as well as the commitment to an issue most people talk about and do jack about in reality. I really do, but as the City Paper wondered politely, “it still wasn’t clear how much D.C. would benefit from having as its champion an emaciated artist best known for having once publicly circumcised himself as part of a performance.” What they said.
Hard at work or hardly working? This one’s for you – the few of you toiling away in quiet buildings with no co-workers, questionable heat and no real motivation.
Borderstan Well Represented in ‘Top Standbys’
That may not sound too fancy, to be the best staid and true standby restaurant. But the list compiled by Eater DC yields something a bit better than your mom’s meatloaf. It includes Estadio, Hank’s Oyster Bar, Cafe Saint Ex, Bar Pilar and many other places that you’d be all too happy to make your Thursday dinner staple. May I recommend trying most of them this week, while crowds are typically smaller than average?
The non-stop rain finally slacked off around quitting time yesterday, prompting a flood of Facebook and Twitter pics of the rainbow that popped out all too briefly at 5pm. It was a pretty impressive display. A few of our favorite can be seen here (snapped at the airport) and here.
What’s Up with the Bike Lanes?
Greater Greater Washington invokes the ‘paralysis by analysis’ line to query what is taking so damn long with the city’s bike lanes. Is the Mayor, they wonder, commissioning so many studies to avoid making a decision or taking some action on additional bike lane striping. With L and M Streets stuck waiting for the conclusion of the Pennsylvania Avenue and 15th Street study, it’s hard not to wonder what is going on here, especially since the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has already done a study on these lanes. Politics taking a long time in DC? Color me shocked.
Lauryn Hill at Warner Theater
Readers of a certain age will remember a time when Lauryn Hill was on top of the world and tossing rhymes as the frontwoman for the Fugees. Well, despite her prowess behind the mike, life has taken some twists and turns for Hill. Notably, a bad dip at a Ram’s Head show that the Baltimore Sun brings up as way of introducing her new gig. The show is February 29 and tickets go on sale December 30.
Occupy DC Tent Makeover
The Washington Blade sent out their ‘Gaylarious’ crew to make (ostensibly) someone’s holiday wish come true. They went down to McPherson Square to make over an Occupy DC tent. Hilarity sort of ensues. It’s at least entertaining enough to kill five minutes of your day, as you try to bill eight hours for Minesweeper, making coffee and shredding some paper.
Eataly in Town
Ever heard of Eataly, the massive Italian food emporium in Manhattan? In case you haven’t, think a giant farmers’ market, but all Italian food and inside. Well rumors have started spinning about where it’s going to be when it comes to DC in the near future and Eater has these ideas captured for us. It might be at the City Center downtown, in the Georgetown mall, at the old Borders space near Farragut square or the former ESPN zone space — or somewhere else entirely.
Cab Fares Going Up
Brace yourselves if you take cabs around the city. The The Washington Post tells us that the taxicab commission approved an increase in the fares coming soon to a District near you. Under the proposal, while the base $3 rate will stay the same, the per-mile rate will jump from $1.50 to $2.16. Ouch. Silver lining: you should be able to pay by credit card by fall 2012 (hooray?).
Charge it to the Fed
The District has been spending a fair amount of money on the Occupy DC situation. Because of the way the city is organized, the land that the protestors are on is actually federal land and it’s the National Park Service that is allowing them to say. According to WTOP, Mayor Gray has asked the Fed to jump in and cover some of these costs, rather than assigning all of it just to DC taxpayers. This isn’t actually out of the norm, since apparently DC frequently gets reimbursed for various marches and protests. We’ll see what happens on that one.
Smithsonian: Seriously Amazing
Quick: when you think of the Smithsonian, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? As the Post says, apparently they feel like their image has become “the nation’s attic” and they’d like that to not be the case. After extensive research, the famous Institution will be rebranding itself with the tagline of “Seriously Amazing.” Seriously? Amazing.
Thanksgiving? No, Christmas. Apparently
Thanksgiving is this Thursday? Yes, that’s correct — better hurry to get your turkey. You didn’t miss it, so don’t get freaked out by the Christmas trees lining the Whole Foods on P Street… or the white lights in the tree in front of Bar 9 across the street (Logan Hardware is also brimming with Christmas decorations for sale). Of course the Christmas season starts well before Thanksgiving, and I am pretty sure that I saw Christmas stuff on sale somewhere in the neighborhood before we ever reached Halloween. Someone told me recently that in the days before the Internet, the Christmas season never got underway before Thanksgiving. How quaint.
Strap on Your Skates
It’s time! After a wonderful season of Jazz in the Sculpture Garden, it’s time to put your musical affinities aside and start warming up for those triple axels in the Sculpture Garden Ice Rink. This past weekend marked the opening of the season and you’ll be able to skate all winter long through the middle of March. In case you haven’t been before, yes, you can rent skates there — and I promise it’s fun, even if you have to clutch the sides the whole time like I do.
There’s a Day For That?
I’m aware that we create national days for pretty much whatever we want, but who knew that we missed National Adoption Day? The big day was held this past Saturday and WJLA has a really nice story about adoptions in the District. Your warm and fuzzy moment of the day: ‘”I’m just excited… that finally I got somebody to play with and I’m just excited that I’m getting adopted,” said 10-year-old Joshua.’
Occupy DC Occupies Franklin School
You guessed it — it’s another post about the infamous Occupy DC. Yesterday at 2 pm, the group took over the historic Franklin School at 13th and K Streets NW, according to Washington City Paper. They say they did so to protest the 2008 closure of a homeless shelter in the building. The building has remained vacant ever since. Oy.
Occupy DC Marches on Key Bridge
DCist reports the 200 -person strong march to the Key Bridge and back went off without a hitch. That may not be your view, if you were attempting to navigate traffic in that general area. But there were no arrests and no violent episodes, which is a marked difference between Occupy DC and Occupy groups in other cities.
I thought it was interesting that police met with marchers in advance to explain their role as “referees” and seemed to work somewhat collaboratively with the group. As NYPD clashes with the larger Occupy Wall Street, it’s worth noting the difference… and also that DC police were in regular uniforms while Virginia police were decked out in riot gear. Any ideas on what’s different here?
We’re All Drunk!
Based on the report from USA Today, I tend to believe at least half of you are hungover at work this morning, and the rest of you are planning happy hour with a vengeance. Consumption of booze was at a 25 year high. The economy, a ‘cocktail culture’ and any number of other reasons are cited for the uptick. DC is proudly holding down a wet patch in the otherwise mostly dry Mid-Atlantic but is somehow trailing New Hampshire in consumption. I know the long, cold winter and presidential primary are drivers, but in a town with 50 receptions a night, how did we lose? And yes, I am viewing this as a loss.
Silicone Butt Implants
That’s all you really need. Apparently, a woman was recently arrested at the otherwise stately JW Marriott on 14th Street NW for giving women silicone butt implants. The Washington Examiner seems to be as amused by this story as I am. But perhaps I shouldn’t be; there are serious health risks associated with the procedure, not to mention the safety issues of meeting a stranger with a needle in a hotel room. Two baffling things: one, women were also asking for injections in their hips. I cannot process wanting to increase the size of your hips. Two, have we failed a generation by not teaching them that packing much back is only one man’s opinion? Maybe two, if you count 2 Live Crew as a single person.
Best Thing on the Internet I Found This Week
Y’all know I love my snark. I love getting when you get into it too, especially in the comments, too (shout out to my girl Mandy, and I would close the Metro for you!) So imagine my delight when I found a tumblr that takes on the persona (imagined, of course) of Suri Cruise judging her celebrity kid competition. Check it out at Suri’s Burn Book (also on Twitter). I know it sounds silly, but it is solid entertainment while you are nursing your hangover while humming “Baby Got Back.” I’d apologize, but you like it and I’m not even a little bit sorry.
They’re Here to Stay… for Now
DCist (snarkily) confirms that the good folks at Occupy DC are not planning on seceding from the District or the Union at this point. Yes, they have a “declaration of grievances,” but they have not yet written up a constitution, as the Daily Caller portrayed it.
We Just Call It “Seeing”
The Japanese tradition of Otsukimi, or moon viewing, happens on the night of the autumn full moon. Typically, it also includes food offerings to give thanks for the harvest. This year, the Japanese-America society of Washington, DC, put on an event to showcase this custom at The Textile Museum in Dupont earlier this week, drawing a crowd of around 125 people. We Love DC has the full coverage.
Hemp Be Gone!
It’s been a bad week if you were planning on trick-or-treating at stores that sell drug paraphernalia. Earlier in the week, DCist reported that Capitol Hemp’s two locations, in Adams Morgan and in Chinatown, were simultaneously raided by MPD. They later came back and let us know that two more Adams Morgan shops were raided in what police are calling an “ongoing investigation.” Time to put the pipes and bongs away…
Whatever You Do, Save the Books!
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial library currently resides at 9th and G Streets NW in a building that is apparently quite expensive to maintain, in part because the original design called for hard-to-find windows. The The Washington Post gives a little bit of background on other ideas about what to do about the library — where to move it to, for instance — but nothing has been decided yet. I’m not giving up the hope that they’ll move it a little north and into Borderstan!
Culture or Condo?
In an ongoing trend, another historic building is in danger of being turned into — what else — a condo building. Greater Greater Washington gives a great back story on the Ontario Theatre at 17th Street NW and Columbia Road NW, discussing its heyday and its decline. Should the building be restored? Torn down so something else can brighten the neighborhood? The Historic Preservation Board will have its say when they discuss potential landmark status in November.
Occupy DC: Inside the Park
The Georgetown Voice goes inside the Occupy DC encampment and uncovers some interesting info about the food situation (spoilage and waste is a bigger issue than not having enough), trash and the grass everyone cares about so much. Apparently, the protesters are moving tents and re-seeding the grass during their time in the park, so there you go. It’s worth the read (it’s a little long) if you are at all curious as to what the protesters are protesting and how they’re spending their time. Note: a lot of these people are educated and employed and wear shoes, so stop stereotyping already.
Howard U to March in Support of Occupy DC
Howard University students, faculty and alumni are planning a march today to “bring more racial diversity” to the protests. They will start at the Campus and end at the Chamber of Commerce and have coordinated with the two occupation groups encamped in DC. The Washington Post has a quick blurb recopied from the AP that outlines their plans, so look for more coverage as the event unfolds.
Capitol Hemp Raided
Both locations of Capitol Hemp were raided on Wednesday night, a move the owner said was politically motivated. DCist has the updates in this unfolding story, but several employees (and a customer) were arrested and thousands of dollars of merch were seized. The laws seem awfully fuzzy about what is allowed and what is illegal regarding drug paraphernalia in DC. The political motivation the owner is referring to, by the way, is not about drugs but his opposition to a boutique hotel that he says has turned neighborhood folks against him.
Bummer. The dog joint will be closing its doors on November 11. U Street Girl broke the news, and noted it was likely inevitable given all the construction around the area. Did you ever get a hot dog there? I thought they were pretty decent, and as much as I love taquitos from 7-11 it was nice to have an alternative late-night stumble home snack.
More photos from today’s demonstration are on Borderstan’s Facebook Page.
On Saturday morning a group of some 50 people from Occupy DC demonstrated in front of the Wells Fargo Bank branch at 1447 P Street NW. The group chanting and invited passersby to be a part of the movement. One person from the Occupy DC group went inside the Wells Fargo office on 1447 P Street NW and spoke to the manager in charge. DC Police were guarding the bank while the group was outside. The demonstration lasted some 45 minutes.
Borderstan has a reader poll asking, “Will You Join the Occupy DC Protests?” The poll is still open–be sure to vote. At this point, the results show about an even split among readers.
“Occupy DC” is a local version of the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York. DC protesters have been in two places — McPherson Square (just south of our neighborhood) and Freedom Plaza. The general goals of the rolling protests are changes to the U.S. financial and economic system.
Unless you’ve tuned out all forms of communication you now know about the “Occupy Wall Street” protests and their various offshoots across the country. There are now hundreds of similar rolling protests in cities across the country. Their general theme is reform of the financial sector and help for the struggling U.S. economy. “We are the 99%” is the rallying cry — a reference to wealthiest 1% of Americans whom the protesters believe should pay more in taxes.
So, how do you feel about the protests here in DC? Will you join them?