It was the day of the dueling windows.
Raleighs on Connecticut Avenue saluted the Power Lunch. Woodward & Lothrop, across town, celebrated Sun Days. Both did it in live tableaux behind plate glass.
First Raleighs, which might as well have been saluting the Long Lunch. Or the Free Lunch.
Maybe the Out-to-Lunch.
Mayor Marion Barry, magazine publisher William Regardie, former senator Vance Hartke (D-Ind.) and other noteworthies were dining in the window display. Beyond the heavy panes, a dozen followers of Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. were marching around the sidewalk and shouting slogans. And hundreds of passersby were stopping to gawk at the goings-on.
"I just like to see prominent people, isn't that awful? That's my weakness," said Gertrude Wisotzky, who rode the Metro from Rosslyn to watch them eat.
"It gives me a chance to go out for lunch," said restaurateur Mel Krupin, one of the watched.
"Africa's starving at your feet, Mayor Barry, while you eat!" chanted the LaRouche followers.
"I like this. It's very cool in here and the food is delicious," said the mayor, who smiled and waved.
With his window flanked by two plainclothesmen, he gamely ignored the commotion on the sidewalk, where a woman apparently unconnected with LaRouche ("I'm a free lance," she said) shrieked "Marion Barry makes me sick!" and made a retching noise, punctuated by the splat of water surging from a plastic tube in her collar.
"I don't know what they're protesting," mused the mayor, who could see but not hear through his layer of glass. "Maybe they're just trying to capitalize on the publicity."
"From our standpoint," said Raleighs president Neal J. Fox, "I think everyone involved is having a good time with it -- the public, too."
It was Fox's idea to celebrate the pageant of power-lunching at such power restaurants as the Palm, Le Pavillon, the Monocle, Gary's, Mel Krupin's and the Prime Rib.
Yesterday's lunchers, invited by the restaurateurs, included Sonia Adler of Washington Dossier magazine, WJLA-TV personality Paul Berry and Washington Capitals hockey star Bobby Carpenter, subbing for last-minute cancelee Pamela Harriman, who apparently doesn't do windows. They were waited upon by discreet-looking chaps in tuxedos and, as only seemed fair, an outside caterer supplied the food, which featured antipasto, breaded veal, a quiche-like substance, white wine and -- in Bill Regardie's window, at least -- a chilled bottle of Dom Perignon.
"It's not 1976, it's 1978, which was also a decent year," said Regardie, whose shirt, unbuttoned to just above the navel, didn't hide a silvery bush of chest hair. When not chatting with the Palm's Ray Jacomo, he caressed two rubber ducks, rewrote his place card to read "Don Graham" and held up notes to the glass ("HI MOM. I PROMISE TO CALL"). During a bout of dessert-time table-hopping, Regardie handed fellow diners packages of panty hose.
After the protesters departed, perhaps to have lunch, David Nellis of Raleighs attempted to bring matters to a close. He climbed into the window display to thank everyone for coming, but returned to the sidewalk with a look of wonder on his face.
"I can't get them out of there," he marveled. "I can't get the mayor out of the window."
In the end, the mayor and everyone else did leave, each having received a $100 Raleighs gift certificate, described by Nellis as "a thank-you gift, not a payment." His security force in tow, Barry headed for the tie counter and perused the clips and chains.
"Let me see a gold one," said the mayor.
And is that how he intended to use his gift certificate?
"You pay me so well, I can use money," Barry said, and pulled a wad of $100 bills out of his wallet.
At Woodies, a crowd stood on the corner of F and 11th streets staring at the shuttered show windows. People passed in front of the watchers, then turned to see what they could be looking at. It was mainly their own reflections.
Just after noon the shutters rolled up and there in the showcase stood male model Joyce Parker in white tie and tails. One by one he brought on the women in their bathing suits and they draped themselves around a hot tub and some beach chairs. They smiled. "Let's hear it for the girls!" someone yelled. Everybody clapped.
The amplifier was amplifying "Surfer Joe."
Shern Barnhart and Gardenia York, one in yellow suit and black picture hat, the other in black suit and yellow bandanna, struck poses and stared out through the display window. The crowd stared back, still seeing mostly itself.
Then Parker introduced Diane Yslas and Janet Bishop, both contestants for Miss D.C. 1985, and finally Desire'e Keating, the current Miss D.C.
"Whooo!" the crowd said.
Everyone behind the window smiled.
"Ride Ride Ride the Wild Surf," roared the amplifier, and a couple of men started to dance. Two youths stood on a Pride waste can. Four people took photographs. The group waiting for the F Street bus gaped through the glass wall of their shelter. A passing car honked.
"Come on out here, baby!" called one man. The models smiled.
Slowly, elegantly, Parker stripped off one immaculate white glove and rubbed sun-tan oil on a bare arm here, a bare back there. Slowly, elegantly, he lifted Keating into the hot tub, where she smiled.
"Hey, can I get in with y'all?" the man called.
"Woodies' 1985 style: the choices are endless," crooned the amplifier, calling attention to the Sand Wave stereo Janet Bishop was wearing: "sandproof, waterproof, it plays anywhere you do, exclusively at Woodies. And it floats!"
The amplifier broke into "Wish They All Could Be California Girls" while the models sipped on drinks in plastic bubble glasses.
"It's awful in there. Hot. It's the lights," murmured a publicity person on the sidewalk.
Shern Barnhart drifted backstage and returned in a different bathing suit.
"Whooo!" said the crowd.