It’s that time of year, when we take a look at the year that’s gone by. 2013 was an eventful one in the city– with quite a few changes that could affect our lives for many years to come. Let’s take a look at my Top 10 for the District. This list became surprisingly difficult to cut down to only ten. So here are the rest: Panda gives birth to Bao Bao; NPR opens in NoMa, 14th Street NW’s boom; Government Shutdown; 50th Anniversary of March on Washington; D.C. United stadium plan. Now to my picks.
June 5th was an awful afternoon for an establishment that had become part of Capitol Hill’s fabric. That place was one of the few locations in which federal and local Washington came together in the same place in the name of household items. They’re rebuilding now, with a decent amount of success. To think, when it was established, a couple guys names Calvin Coolidge and Franklin Roosevelt were running against each other on the presidential election ticket.
To many, this might feel like just another building trading hands. Technically, Trump International is leasing it from the GSA, but after he turns it into a luxury hotel, that building will never be the same quirky piece of history with a glorious clock tower view. Now, it’s a kitsch food court that used to actually be a venue for people to entertain. But after the Trump treatment, I doubt I’ll ever walk through the doors, again.
Of course, they happen every four years, but this one was different. Why? One word: Beyonce. She graced the country with her rendition of the national anthem, which left everyone at the bar I watched it from completely speechless. It later set off debate about whether or not a lip-synched song is really a song, to which I say: ‘stop it’. The song that played was a song that SHE recorded, so it makes no difference either way.
Some people think that turning a grand memorial to nothing more than a construction site is gauche, but I happen to think it’s fantastic. The scaffolding around the obelisk gave it a more structured, artsy-designed look, that also happened to look extremely elegant when lit correctly. Of course, it was all up to repair the problems that came with the earthquake of 2011. It’s now down partially, which I’ll admit, does look strange.
To cap off a series of events that saw various Councilmembers busted for wrongdoing, Michael A. Brown’s took the cake. After former Councilmember Kwame Brown was caught falsifying information on bank loan documents and his colleague Harry Thomas pleaded guilty to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars meant for city youth programs, Michael Brown took a simpler route. The FBI released photos of him accepting straight up cash payouts during a meeting at The Hamilton downtown. That picture will likely be his legacy.
The big box store finally landed in the city with two stores this month, after a struggle that included legislation that nearly created a living wage bill that sharply divided the D.C. Council. There are more to come, but for now, it seems the two locations already here are quite popular with those looking for falling low prices.
For eons, Washington’s affluent have been whining that the cash-only system that the city’s taxicabs were operating by was archaic and borderline insulting. The idea being that if you can’t use you credit card, you might as well not have cabs at all, as you know, it’s 2013. That all changed this year when the city mandated the installation of card readers in all cabs. That’s not to say that the rollout has been a smooth one, but, baby steps, folks.
The District made the bold move of opening dispensaries right in Congress’ backyard, allowing for the production and sale of medical marijuana within city limits. As of right now, with such strict rules for who can be given a license, combined with doctors who don’t feel comfortable handing out prescriptions, it hasn’t quite taken off. But, given time, it’s a considerable step for a city that often butts heads with the feds.
A tragedy took the lives of 13 people in September, a tragedy that shook the region in a way I’ve not seen in a long time. The man who did it, a civilian contractor and U.S. Navy sailor, was killed in a gunfight with police. I happened to be on vacation at the time, and watching it from afar was bizarre. The incident, the second-largest mass killing to ever take place on an American military base is something that nobody from this area will ever forget.
If this seems self-serving, pardon me. But regardless of my job, this would be the story of the year. The day the sale was announced surely was a hectic one in the newsroom, but from a media landscape standpoint, for the man who revolutionized retail sales in this country to buy one of the most storied newspapers in the U.S. is pretty colossal. We’ll see what the future holds.