Category Archives: Celebrations

2009 – A Georgetown Year in Review

2009 was the first full year of the Georgetown Metropolitan’s existence (except, of course, for it’s earlier existence as a genuine newspaper). While there were certainly some nights when GM has to stretch for content, overall Georgetown provided plenty of stories this year to fill these pages. So before we ring in 2010, GM wants to take one more look back at the year that was in Georgetown.

A Bad Apple Turned Good

2009 started off with a bang in Georgetown as Apple had four different designs rejected for its proposed store at 1220 Wisconsin Ave. While the decisions to reject the designs weren’t being made by “Georgetown,” there were howls of complaints from commentators who should know better lamenting about the monied-elite squashing their dreams of a District-based Apple Store.

The fact is that Apple simply made several bad decisions, perhaps out of pique, before they finally realized what they were up against. The first design was rejected based on the mild complaint that the wall of glass along the sidewalk was too monotonous:

Rather than actually address those concerns they went off the deep end and proposed these two successive designs, which may have their own merit but which are completely inappropriate for Georgetown:

Two designs later, Apple finally got a design approved by simply going back to the first design and making the glass wall slightly less monotonous. You know, like the Old Georgetown Board was asking for from the beginning. Continue reading

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12.24.09

Have a safe and warm holiday!

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Guess Who’s One: The Most Popular Post

To celebrate its one year anniversary, the Georgetown Metropolitan is counting down its most popular posts. Today the most popular post, by a long shot: JFK House For Sale.

It’s a bit ironic that this is the most popular post from last year because it was one that took nearly the least amount of effort to write. From walking by, GM had noticed that the house was for sale, knew its history and its current tenant, and one Sunday night couldn’t think of anything else to write about. It goes to show that anytime you put the words JFK and Georgetown together, you’re going to get people interested.

The post was so popular because Politico picked it up (via Citypaper). More titillating was the fact that the house came under contract the exact same day. GM started to wonder whether he had something to do with closing the deal. He got in touch with agent Nancy Taylor Bubes to verify whether his post inspired some Kennedy-lover to jump at the chance for a piece of JFK-lore.

Turns out the deal was pretty much done already. Oh well.

JFK’s first house in Georgetown is currently for sale. From 1947 to 1949, then Congressman John Kennedy lived at 1528 31st. St. with his sister Eunice Kennedy.

Most recently it has been the home of Republican Whip Roy Blunt. He has announced that he’s running for Senate in Missouri next year, so perhaps this sale is part of that effort. It is listed for $1.595 million by neighbor Nancy Taylor Bubes of Washington Fine Properties.

Update: It looks like the house is under contract and has been pulled from Redfin. It’s still here on WFP’s website though. Behold the power of the Georgetown Metropolitan to move real estate.

After the jump, some pictures from inside: Continue reading

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Guess Who’s One?: The Second Most Popular Post

This week the Georgetown Metropolitan is celebrating its one year anniversary by counting down the top five most popular posts from the prior year. Today is a post from January 4th, What’s In Store for Social Safeway?

Social Safeway Mark II

Sometime this year, the Social Safeway at 1855 Wisconsin Ave. will shut its doors and be torn down. The mid-century suburban style grocery store will eventually be replaced by a brand new “lifestyle center” grocery store.

What does that mean? As the competition among city grocery stores has heated up over the years, old standbys like Safeway have had to respond to the Whole Foods and Yes! Organic Groceries of the world with a new style of grocery store. Most recently Safeway opened up the first example of this new model in Mount Vernon Triangle called the City Vista Safeway.  These new “lifestyle center” grocery stores are characterized by offering more fresh and organic food, as well as brighter less institutional looking layouts. In other words, they’re pursuing a if-you-can’t-beat-them-imitate-them approach. Continue reading

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Guess Who’s One Year Old?: The Third Most Popular Post

This week, in celebration of turning one year old, the Georgetown Metropolitan is looking back at the five most popular posts from its first year. Today we head back to February 3rd for The Approved Apple Designs. This was a post from the middle of the Apple Store saga. As you can see below, it captured those few days between ANC approval of the fourth design put forward by Apple and the rejection by the Old Georgetown Board of the same.

The construction at 1229 Wisconsin Ave. should tell you that that wasn’t the end of the story for the Apple store. One month later Apple was back with a slightly modified design, and finally obtained approval from the Old Georgetown Board.

By the way, one online source says that Apple has posted for jobs for a May 2010 grand opening of the store…

While Vox Populi may have gotten the DCist link love it’s the Georgetown Metropolitan that has the actual approved most recently rejected* designs for the new Apple store at 1229 Wisconsin Ave. Check them out:
The Approved Apple Store Design
As described in GM’s ANC round up, the approved design fits in with the 19th century buildings around it. The roofline matches the building housing Nine West and is decorated by dentil mouldings, echoing its neighbors. Hopefully the actual structure won’t be the blinding white light that the designs make them out to be. Continue reading

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Guess Who’s One?: Fourth Most Popular Post

In celebration of the Georgetown Metropolitan’s one year anniversary, GM is taking a look back at the top five most popular articles from last year. Today: Where Would a Metro Stop Go Anyway?

While it is now little more than a glimmer in transit nerds’ eyes, the likelihood of a Georgetown metro station getting built is larger than you may realize. On the right is a map that appeared in the Washington Post in 2001. It described long term plans that WMATA was considering for the expansion of the Metrorail system. Those plans called for a splitting of the Orange and Blue lines. The new Blue line would split off from the Orange line at Rosslyn and travel parallel to the Orange line through downtown, finally meeting up with it again at Stadium-Armory. In building this separate Blue line, WMATA would have the chance to remedy the mistake it made decades ago and finally build a Georgetown station. In an act of enormous cart-before-the-horseing, GM wonders: where exactly would this station go anyway? But before we get to that, we need to go back to the 1960’s first.

History

The first thing to address if you’re going to start talking about the history of Metro and Georgetown is the old canard about why Georgetown doesn’t have a station in the first place. The story goes that in the 1960’s a bunch of rich Georgetowners didn’t want hordes of minorities coming into their neighborhood on the Metro so they successfully petitioned WMATA to nix any plans for a stop. This telling of this story chugs along year-after-year because it fits in with the negative stereotype of a Georgetown resident: rich, racist, and well-connected. Unfortunately for the storytellers, it’s fiction.

George Mason professor Zachary Schrag tracked down the true story of why there’s no Georgetown stop. In his definitive history of the building of the Metro “The Great Society Subway“, Schrag writes that while there was some opposition to the building of metro stop in Georgetown from the residents, the engineers never seriously considered building one there. The grade from the Potomac up to M St. was too steep. Moreover, plenty of neighborhoods across the city were not too excited about a metro stop coming into their neighborhood, but it wasn’t out of racism or xenophobia. It was out of a fear of the disruption to business that construction would bring. Indeed many stores in areas like U St. and Clarendonwere knocked out of business due to Metro construction.

Remedying a Mistake

So that’s why we don’t have a Georgetown station, but was that our only shot? WMATA doesn’t think so. In 2001 WMATA recognized that it could not indefinitely send both the Orange and the Blue lines through the same tunnel between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom. A new crossing would be required to handle the increase in traffic expected over the next couple decades (particularly with the addition of the Silver Line to Dulles and Loundon County). In building a new Blue line parralel and north of the Orange line, we would be afforded an opportunity to finally build a Georgetown station. The Post wrote back in 2001:

The suggested 22-mile leg, which is being called the new Blue Line, could include room for 11 new stations. Among them would be a stop in Georgetown — at M Street NW and Wisconsin Avenue — where the idea of a Metro station was shunned a generation ago but is now welcomed as a tonic for parking and traffic problems.

[It doesn’t help in stopping the urban legend when even the Washington Post keeps repeating it].

What happened to those plans you ask? Money. The new line would cost $6.3 billion to build and WMATA was already running a $5.2 billion shortfall. So the plans simply faded away. That is until last year.

Last August WMATA staff gave a proposal to the WMATA Board of Directors addressing the long term structural needs of the system. In those plans was a revived proposal of a split Blue line, including a Georgetown stop. David Alpert at GGW has written extensively about this.

But Where?

But where exactly would that stop specifically be? In 2001 WMATA suggested M and Wisconsin, and frankly that seems like the most likely possibility. But where would it even fit? GM thought it over and can think of a couple possible locations from Metro exits. They are:

Next To PNC Bank:

Option 1

Right now this is parking lot. There seems like there would be adequate room to build an escalator exit here. While no location around here would be without serious complications, this one seems the least complicated.

Next to the Canal

Option 2

The modern canopy is unlikely under any situation, by GM threw it in here just for consideration. As for the space itself, there seems to be a decent amount of room for an escalator here, but there may be a lot of complications trying to build so close to the canal.

A Bump Out

Option 3

This plan would take out some of the parking spots and perhaps a lane on Wisconsin just south of M. in GM’s opinion, this would probably be a decent trade-off. There is never a ton of traffic coming up Wisconsin from K, and it is hoped that with a Metro there’d be a significant drop in driving anyway.

These are just brainstorms. But it does seem that nobody has thought too hard about the location question more specifically than just “M and Wisconsin”. What do you think? Where would you put the entrances? Anywhere else you’d put the station? Maybe down closer to Key Bridge? How about the other direction towards downtown?

GM would love to be able to say we’ve made progress on working towards a split Blue line and that we’ve got to scout locations for an exit. But while we’ve had an exciting announcement on streetcars since this post, we’ve heard nothing on the metrorail front. One can still dream…

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Guess Who’s One Year Old?

It was exactly one year ago yesterday when the Georgetown Metropolitan emerged from its 171 year slumber and restarted publication. 636 articles later, it’s still going strong.

This week in honor of its one year anniversary, the Georgetown Metropolitan will republish the top five most popular posts from the previous year with commentary on the story and what happened afterwards.

Number Five: Details on How to Get Free Safeway Deliveries Continue reading

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