A Reputation Lingers

GM was at the Apple Store last week bringing his laptop in for repair. As the discussion about the fact that they don’t have the right part and GM would have to come back was wrapping up, GM gazed back at the light-filled rear of the store and casually mentioned that there were supposed to be trees back there.

There were, check it out:

It would have looked great. But they didn’t go through with it when they built the store for some reason. Oh well.

Anyway, back to the disappointing Genius Bar appointment. The titular Genius responded to GM that, yeah, he had heard that too. But then he blamed Georgetown residents for squashing the plans. He described them as “big fish, small pond”.

To describe Georgetown as a “small pond” seems a bit odd (GM would’ve gone with “mini tyrants”). But everything else about the explanation was patently wrong. No outside body had anything to do with Apple’s decision to not put trees in. There is absolutely nothing about that decision that is subject to any sort of historical or zoning review. Apple could plant the trees tomorrow and nobody could say whoop about it.

Moreover, even if you want to discuss the unrelated question of what influence “the neighbors” had on the design of the facade, it’s still a misguided point. The proposals for the design were being rejected by the Old Georgetown Board, which isn’t remotely the same thing as “the neighbors”. The Old Georgetown Board is a group of architects appointed to handle the Commission of Fine Arts’ Georgetown projects. They don’t necessarily live or even work in Georgetown. At the time of the Apple Store saga, the majority of the Board members were not Georgetown residents.

And yet to this day, the Myth of the Apple Store persists. Like the apocryphal Georgetowners who stopped Metro from building in Georgetown, now Georgetowners get blamed for the decisions of an appointed board of mostly non-Georgetown residents who make decisions that don’t even necessarily apply to the matter at hand. So it goes.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “A Reputation Lingers

  1. And wait until Apple gets it hands on the 1903 Carnegie Library!

  2. Incidentally, they have trees inside the building in their renderings for Carnegie too. I’m confident that EventsDC won’t even look at any precedent, or much care what Apple does once they’ve signed. It’s all about a “W” for EventsDC, opportunity costs be damned.

  3. The Apple Store in Georgetown is, and has always been, totally out of place for this historic community.

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