Last week we presented you with Part 1 of the ultimate love letter we do every year: the one to Washington DC. And since the city has been so good to us, not just any letter would do. So-we asked for some pro-DC-lovin’ help:
- We rounded up: artists, musicians, architects, designers gallery owners, non-profit folk, musicians, local heroes, chefs and more all of whom make DC, in their own way, a city we’re pretty jazzed about right now.
- We asked them to submit a list of 5 things/people/places/food plates/drinks/anything really that they LOVE (all caps, boldnened) about Washington
- and hey-they kindly obliged
TODAY, we have our second 50 reasons, courtesy of 10 very hard working men and women. Read, feel the butterflies in your stomach and don’t forget to comment with your lists/check our PART 1 HERE.
Bob Boilen, NPR’s All Songs Considered,
Creator and Host
- Boozy shakes aside, it’s the veggie pot pie at the Satellite Room that keeps me coming back.
- I miss Josh at the 9:30 Club, but this town is filled with the kindest ticket takers, bartenders and club managers on the planet. Go there enough (and I do) and it feels like family without the arguments.
- The crowds at clubs, ok, I’m mostly talking about the ones not too distant from the stage, the ones that come for the music. There is a dedication and commitment that is unexpected in such a transient town. It’s also welcoming to newcomers, making strangers feel at home.
Ed Bailey – TOWN Danceboutique and Number Nine, owner
- Eastern Market on a Sunday morning. Vintage finds, brunch, and everyone walking their dogs.
- Discovering the abandoned Glen Echo Amusement Park as a kid on my bike….creepy and inspiringly architectural. It’s still there…kind of, OK not really, but I still ride past it just for the memories.
- Pick up basketball at DC’s playgrounds…quintessential Washington. I grew up spending every weekend looking for great games from Anacostia to Sligo Creek to Jellef Boys Club to Stead Park.
- Peggy’s Special Sub from Wisemiller’s Deli in Georgetown, umm hello, spicy turkey, peppers, and cheese, grilled and served hot (hold the onions).
- The FDR Memorial. Not just calming and comfortable to visit, but it sort of makes you feel smart – like you are doing something intellectual for a change.
Katie Alice Greer – Priests
I love my crippling debt, shrinking employment opportunities, and the generally uninteresting wealthy white people who have moved into DC in flux in the past decade. I am white and moved to DC in the past decade. I benefit off white privilege on a daily basis. I am not yet wealthy, however I do strive to remain only as interesting to others as I need to be. So having these unpleasant realities glare me in the face every single day makes my efforts to remain as angry and emotionally frustrated as possible very attainable! I love it here! The inequality spits in your face at every turn! Never takes a day off! I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Angela Peoples, Stein Democrats President,
Advocate for Equality and Justice.
- Fierce social justice organization holding the Mayor and City Council accountable and working on behalf of low income, and underserved communities.
- Empower DC, TransLaw DC, and Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) are just a few examples.
- Fish market. Tasty, shell fish and fantastic people watching.
- The fact that I can literally run my errands. A grocery store, dry cleaners, or coffee shop are just a quick jog away. I love any opportunity to multitask!
- Peach Pit 90s dance party. What could be better than a bunch of 80s baby’s dancing and singing their hearts out to CeCe Peniston, Janet Jackson and Bell Biv Devo?
- Driving down Rock Creek Parkway. Its easy to get lost in thought among the foliage….it’s also easy to just get lost so be careful.
Michael Babin – Neighborhood Restaurant Group, owner
(Birch & Barley, Churchkey, Bluejacket, GBD etc)
- The food & drink scene and the people in it – DC has become an amazing food city, and we’re excited and energized to be a part of it.
- The foodshed – The Mid-Atlantic is one of the country’s truly great foodsheds, but it doesn’t get nearly the recognition that other regions do. From the Chesapeake and the Eastern Shore to the Piedmont and Amish country, there is a diversity of food tradition, climate, and topography that is hard to beat.
- The brains – DC is probably the most educated city in the nation, and people generally bring a lot of passion to their work. It gives the city’s social scene an intellectually stimulating edge.
- Embassy Row – Beautiful, interesting buildings, plus the fact that you can (legally) take yourself to dozens of other nations just by stepping off a sidewalk. Also a good opportunity to quiz the kids on flag knowledge.
- The Politics and the Federal Government– I know, I know, it’s the part everyone loves to hate, and I hate the recent dysfunction like everyone else, but it’s what brought me to the city in the first place, its work is vital, and it employs some of the most talented and committed people you could find anywhere. The recent shutdown and the negative consequences around the country and beyond was a reminder of the scope, scale, and significance of this unique institution.
Elahe Izadi – National Journal Reporter, Stand Up Comic
- Moby Dick – This is my soul food. This is my Cheers. The folks at this Persian kabob joint know my order by heart and it may or may not include three types of yogurt.
- Comedy scene – You can find free or cheap standup every night of the week. The city is also home to really funny and talented people who are just a ton of fun to be around. In what other city will you see an all-comic Electric Slide performed to Cameo? OK this may have happened in Arlington but close enough.
- Edgewood – I’ve spent a good chunk of time over the years in this Northeast neighborhood with some amazing adults and young people. They are working on bettering themselves and their community, and I’m lucky I’ve gotten to be around for it.
- Local news personalities – I am a fan of Kojo Nnamdi and Pat Collins’ snow stick.
- Summer – Heat and humidity makes me feel alive. Death to winter. Long live summer.
Tommy McFLY – The Tommy Show on 94.7 FRESH FM
- CITY CENTER! It’s like the suspense of the first season of L.O.S.T. I find myself thinking about what stores are coming in, consulting the internet for conspiracy theories about the coming restaurants, trying to make a friend that has a condo there to play on the rooftop green spaces. Plus finally getting to drive on 10th street still feels like a guilty pleasure.
- All the goings on at Capitol Riverfront. Can’t wait for it to be warm enough to enjoy the outdoors and day drink on the patios of Agua 301 and Osteria.
- Chinatown Coffee. Wandered in their after the whole ‘Disloyalty hullabahloo’ and loved it!
- Brunch at NoPa in Penn Quarter. Brulee Grapefruit was the reason I bought my own kitchen blowtorch. Admittedly I’m too chicken to use it for fear of burning the kitchen down.
- Arcuri in Glover Park. Great pizzas and pastas, easy for the “there’s no way in hell I’m cooking” nights.
Pussy Noir – Performance Artist, Entertainer, Fashion Apostle,
“every sidewalk is his runway, every venue is his stage”
- Drag Bingo @ Mellow Mushroom along with my friend Heidi Glum Voted Best Drag Show by The Washington Blade. Featuring two queens as well Jessica Spaulding Deverreoux and Rene PorcelainDahl, we turn it up every second Wednesday of the Month.
- Shopping is a past time ad as a native Washingtonian I have seen it evolve over the last 20 years. However, Buffalo Exchange on 14th St, DC’s newest addition, is the best place to explore your style. They turned me onto dresses for men!
- I drink coffee like water and frankly I can’t get enough of The Coffee Bar on 12th and S. How many places can you go, grab a fabulous cup and see and be seen on any given afternoon.
- Number Nine! They have the best drinks, the hottest bartenders, the perfect layout, mirrors everywhere, and it’s my Cheers. I particularly drink my special “Visitor or Pussy Noir” champagne and blood orange created for me one party night when I had a mimosa craving
- As bougie as I can be I LOVE a good pizza. Now its down the street from my house; &Pizza! Ladies and gentlemen I give you the perfect mix of indulgence and taste, and the staff always seems really chill and nice.
Richie Brandenburg – Edens
Director of Culinary Strategy (Union Market, Mosaic District etc)
- Community- Neighborhoods are being revitalized and it is making an impact on the city as a whole. Watching neighborhoods develop their own personalities, from Columbia Heights, Shaw, to Union Market, DC is becoming a city with character.
- Pride- People here are proud, not just of DC but of who they are and what they are doing. That is why our food cultures are so strong from pickles to cocktails, people take the time to pay attention to the details and are proud of what they produce.
- Personality- This city attracts some of the most intelligent and innovative people from across the country and around the world. There are so many opportunities to meet fascinating people and learn new things.
- Art, Culture, and History- There is always something to do in DC and always a new exhibit or show to go see.
- Home- I grew up here and this city holds a special place in my heart. Being a part of its transformation and having the opportunity to meet so many of the talented DC-ites makes me love DC!!!!
Mark Thorp – Jimmy Valentine’s Lonely Hearts Club
and Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar, owner
- At one point I worried my life experience was short-changed because this is the only place I’ve lived, then music took me to every corner of the country and I identified DC’s crucial quirks that make it an awesome home. I’ve lived here 43 years, and by 2003 I knew the city so well that I was wise enough to invest in Trinidad real estate. Conversely, by 2010 I was so buried trying to keep two bars operating that I now need a guide to my own city. There’s much about DC to which I’m no longer hip, but there’s still a book of relevant reasons for which I love this village:
- The Height of Buildings Act of 1910, which limits construction to a max 130 feet tall (w/ a few exceptions) and much shorter in most areas. Not only does this dictate DC’s unique aesthetics, such as a skyline with distinct Federal buildings and monuments, it also drives development all over the city. Whereas taller buildings would condense living space in fewer neighborhoods, DC’s continuing urban growth now has new residents making homes in every last corner of the city. More neighborhoods create different communities with more small businesses, all of which further distinguishes DC from other cities.
- DC is green- like, literally green- w/ trees rising above our short buildings. 19% of our town is public parkland, which is the second highest percentage in U.S. cities. When foliage is dense from early spring til late autumn, one can drive north/south right through the very center of DC on Rock Creek Parkway with no visible evidence that this is the 7th largest market in the United States. That’s extraordinary.
- DC is the most color blind city in this country. Before everyone bristles with outrage as they recall whatever social injustice(s) they have witnessed or suffered here, please consider: where else in America does one go out to any given social setting- be it a restaurant or local bar, sporting event or shopping district, theatre or fast food joint, etc…- and witness an unblinking melting pot of folks from every different background? DC may have pockets of ethnic groups that might appear to keep to themselves, but interaction between races and ethnicities here is remarkably fast and fluid, and certainly in comparison to the rest of the country. This mix of different peoples keeps us learning and changing.
- I love Marion Barry. He’s “that guy” in DC politics, a symbol of incompetence for the rest of the world to laugh at while we’re supposed to duck our heads in shame. Well I don’t duck, I claim him. He’s a fact of our history who permanently shaped this city, for better or for worse. Civil rights activist and leader, drug abuser, progressive intellectual, womanizer, mayor, felon… We’re all acutely aware of the bureaucratic inefficiencies still marking the wake of his leadership, but perhaps we would not be so integrated without the forceful attention he brought to racial inequalities here.
Victoria Reis – Transformer,
Executive & Artistic Director
I LOVE DC! Living for the past 20+ years in the nation’s capital city, combined with the incredible experiences and partnerships I’ve had the great pleasure and honor of building and pursuing via Transformer has generated a loooong list of things I love about DC. BUT – for the purposes of this request from BYT, I’m going with 5(ish) things about DC I love as inspired by driving around doing errands in town this week:
- The bridges! My favs:
– Taft Bridge: it’s incredible. I love driving over it and underneath it. Amazing. I also love the brilliant DC residents who put wreaths on the Taft Bridge Perry Lions every year over the winter holidays. Thank you!! I love that there are lions guarding the entrances to this bridge! They are so noble. The eagle lamp-posts are also fantastic.
– 16th Street Bridge over Piney Branch Parkway: this is the bridge that takes me to my house so I love it for that reason, but really – it’s all about the TIGERS! I love seeing those Proctor tigers. Proctor also sculpted the bisons of Dumbarton bridge which are incredible.
- Eastern Market! My first real home in DC was an apartment above Mott’s Market in SE. I lived there from spring 1993 – fall 2002. It’s where I launched my curatorial practice with apartment exhibitions via Mott’s Market Art. I walked to Eastern Market every day for my groceries. I furnished my entire first home with furniture and art purchased from the Market’s outdoor weekend vendors. I’ve lived in Petworth since 2002 and don’t make it over to Eastern Market as much as I’d like anymore, but the place always makes me happy when I go. I drove over there this week craving a fish sandwich from Market Lunch (YUUUM!), and went home with amazing sausage from the Canales’ for dinner (I love that Mr. Canales still recognizes me and says “Hello Ms. Victoria”), some great sharp cheese from Bowers, a black & white cookie from the Fine Sweet Shop, and some gorgeous red tulips from Blue Iris Flowers.
- Rock Creek Park! I’ve heard it described as DC’s Swiss army knife. I love RCP’s many off shoot pathways and roads. It’s beautiful to walk through, drive through, and bike through. I love summer picnics there, but this week I particularly love that it gets me home from points all over DC in about 8-9 minutes. I also love seeing deer families, the occasional fox, and other critters so close to where I live.
- Dischord Records! Some of my favorite bands were launched and are still represented by this incredible independent record label. So many great people have been involved with Dischord Records over the years, and have influenced and shaped DC’s contemporary cultural landscape, and have/continue to inspire me in my work and life. The Make-Up, DagNasty, and The Evens have been my soundtrack while in the car doing errands this week. Pow! To the People.
- Vace Pizza! I grew up on the Jersey Shore and enjoyed THE BEST PIZZA in the world as a kid. I had culture shock when I first moved here in the early 90s and found that the delicious pizza of my youth did not exist in any way, shape or form in DC . Then I discovered Vace Pizza. It’s not a Jersey slice, but it’s got a perfect thin crispy crust, and I like their sauce. And it’s not too cheesy. I love that I can get a delicious slice on the fly while dropping off dry cleaning a few doors down. Vace’s stuffed shells and meatballs are also pretty fantastic.
LET US KNOW YOUR FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT DC IN THE COMMENTS AND ALSO, CHECK IN ON PART 1 for reference too.