Downtowner News Briefs, Dec. 13

TikTok Signs Lease Near Union Market 

The popular social media platform TikTok is opening an outpost in the District. According to Bisnow, TikTok’s China-based parent company ByteDance signed a lease near Union Market in Northeast D.C. TikTok announced earlier this year that they have passed one billion monthly users. No announcement of the address of their new offices has been made, but one is expected soon.   

The TikTok icon from the company’s Facebook page.

Metro Rail Wheel Defect Sparks Safety Alert from NTSB 

An investigative agency released a preliminary report of its examination of the Oct. 12 D.C. Metro derailment. The probe ruled out factors like speed and prompted a safety alert to subways and commuter rails over the problem. The NTSB said that the flaw is “not easily identifiable,” and in the alert it was stated that “a derailment due to wheel movement could be catastrophic.”  

Photo of D.C. Metro cars in station from WMATA Wikipedia page.

Climate Change is Affecting the Smithsonian 

According to a story in the New York Times, the Smithsonian Institution’s priceless collections are vulnerable to ongoing climate change. The report mentioned collections vulnerable to flooding with some buildings having the potential to become completely submerged eventually. The Smithsonian said the American History Museum is its most threatened museum, followed by the Natural History Museum. Staff at the American History Museum are currently testing ways to combat the water damage.   

Enrollment Declines at D.C. Public Schools 

Enrollment at DCPS declined by nearly 1,000 students this year. Alternatively, charter schools and homeschooling saw increases. The decline follows a nationwide trend as families opt for alternative options during the global pandemic. The State Superintendent of Education reported just over 49,035 students attending the DCPS school system. This number is down from 49,890. Schools reached an all-time high a few years ago at 51,037 — it has since decreased about two percent each year.  

American Girl Introduces Three D.C.-Based Dolls 

If you were a child of the ‘90s or perhaps a parent of a child from the ‘90s, you may remember American Girl Dolls. Makena Williams, Evette Peeters and Maritza Ochoa are three girls who attend the same middle school. In the 35 years of American Girls, only one other doll has been DC-based. The three dolls are part of the new collection called “World by Us” that calls attention to issues like racism and immigration.  

Photo from

Man Dies of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound Near Lincoln Memorial 

Kenneth Omar Santiago, 31, was found critically injured in November from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His body was discovered near the Reflecting Pool and Lincoln Memorial. Santiago was flown to a local hospital around 7:30 p.m. but died of his injuries six hours later. Santiago lived in SE DC but there are other public records that have him in Maryland, the Washington Post reported.  





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