"They're taking the fun out of Georgetown," Washington resident Walter Smith said as he watched a parade of tow trucks pulling cars along Wisconsin Avenue in the heart of Georgetown's popular nightlife section .
Smith's comment captured the feelings of many in response to the city's stepped-up campaign against crime and rowdiness in the area.
While the Georgetown regulars -- tourists, punkers, Yuppies, preppies and the D.C. go-go crew -- strolled the streets, bar-hopped and cruised, D.C. police officers wrote jaywalking tickets, traffic citations and parking tickets.
On streets where carloads of teen-agers usually honked their horns and yelled to passers-by, police sirens blared and patrol cars sped by.
Alcohol and Beverage Control investigators joined the campaign, checking bars and restaurants for underage drinkers, and investigators from the District's Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs inspected restaurants for health violations.
Two restaurants -- Friends of Georgetown, 3033 M St. NW, and Nathan's, 3150 M St. NW -- were closed by inspectors who found sanitation deficiencies, according to Ben Johnson, administrator for the Business Regulation Administration.
Both businesses reopened yesterday after they called for reinspections and inspectors found that most of the violations were corrected, Johnson said.
Although the overall cleanup campaign is six weeks old, the weekend parking ban along parts of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street NW apparently caught many persons off guard.
When the Friday night-early Saturday operation was over, police said, l85 illegally parked cars had been towed and 154 tickets issued to pedestrians. During the same period, officers arrested 20 persons for various misdemeanor offenses, and issued 201 parking tickets and 40 tickets for moving violations.
Wendy Hicks and her friend Richard Jones, licking fresh ice cream cones as they strolled down Wisconsin Avenue from Swensen's, looked up and saw Jones' gold Cadillac being towed past them.
Jones ran after the car while a baffled Hicks looked on. "This is ridiculous," she said. "I'm so confused I don't even know where I can cross the street now. I don't want a jaywalking ticket."
Even the police seemed confused. On one corner an officer issued jaywalking tickets for $5, while at another corner an officer told violators the fine was $15. A third officer was writing even more expensive tickets at $25.
"It doesn't matter what we say," one officer explained. "When they get downtown, they'll tell them the real cost."
A long line of patrons waited outside Annie's on M Street for a chance to dance or catch the latest videos. A small crowd waited for the regular midnight showing of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" at the Key Theatre.
Reaction to the campaign was mixed. "I think it's great! Super!" said Bob Doherty of Chicago, clutching a bouquet of daisies and his wife's hand. "Last October I was here and it was a little wild."
Walter (Kid Hypo) Knox, a breakdancer with the "War Path Breakers," was waiting for the rest of his group. Having been run off the main streets, Knox said, "We breakdance up in the cut, over by the pizza place on M Street."
A large police trailer on the parking lot of Riggs National Bank, serving as a temporary police station, was the scene of a minidrama every few minutes. George Fenzel, 18, of Fork Union Military Academy near Charlottesville, waited outside the trailer for a friend detained because he was drinking in a bar and is under legal drinking age.
"The ABC man asked my friend for ID. He ran because he's 17," and he was arrested, Fenzel said.
"My friend is not the criminal element. He's stupid, but he shouldn't be arrested for s--- like that."
An hour later, Fenzel's father, an immaculately uniformed Navy captain, came to fetch his son's friend.
Nearby, Phyllis and Seymour Kaplan and their daughter, Joannie, who were visiting Washington for one day from Danbury, Conn., received their first jaywalking tickets.
"Show me a sign that says no jaywalking," Phyllis Kaplan demanded.
"I think this is totally insane," said Joannie Kaplan. "I don't believe it."
"I want to see your superior," Seymour Kaplan told the officer.
Despite their arguments, the Kaplans walked away with $75 worth of tickets.
"We just left my daughter's house in Georgetown," said Phyllis Kaplan. "She said, 'It's safe in Georgetown. Nothing to worry about. There are police all over the place.' "