Downtowner News Briefs, Jan. 31

Offensive Graffiti at Union Station 

A 34-year-old man was arrested in late January for defacing private and public property at Union Station and three other buildings in the city. The graffiti at Union Station included spray-painted swastikas on columns at the train station. The man, who was homeless, committed the crime on January 28, the day after Holocaust Remembrance Day. 

GW Welcomes New Interim President 

Thomas LeBlanc’s four-year term as president of George Washington University ended earlier this year. The often-rocky term (he dealt with coronavirus, allegations of racism and disapproval of his leadership style) ushered the university into its third century. LeBlanc’s tenure was the shortest of any president of the school in the last 50 years. The school’s new interim leader, Mark Wrighton, was installed January 1. Wrighton was former chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis. 

Knickerbocker Theatre Disaster Memorialized 

One hundred years ago, over two feet of snow had fallen in the city on January 28, 1922. Those who lived within walking distance of the popular Adams Morgan Knickerbocker Theatre ventured out for some warmth. A silent film was showing that evening (with a live accompanying orchestra.) At around 9 p.m. a crack opened in the ceiling and chunks of plaster began to fall on the audience and the still-playing orchestra. Soon, the roof of theater caved in entirely, killing nearly 100 and injuring 133. The city memorialized the victims on the 100-year anniversary on Friday January 28 and Saturday January 29. The commemoration was held in the Adams Morgan public plaza across the street from where the Knickerbocker once stood. Now, a SunTrust Bank is in its place. 

One hundred years ago this January the District’s deadliest theater disaster occurred during a blizzard at The Knickerbocker Theatre. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Commander the Puppy Gets a Feline Friend 

President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden have given their four-month-old German Shepherd puppy Commander a new friend. After their oldest dog Champ died and other dog Major was re-homed due to difficulties in adjusting to White House life (and a few biting incidents), the White House’s residential quarters were just a bit too quiet. Commander now has a feline sister named Willow, who made a big impression on the First Lady. The gray shorthair tabby cat jumped on stage during the First Lady’s remarks at a speech at a Pennsylvania farm. Their bond was immediate, and Dr. Biden ended up naming Willow after her hometown of Willow Grove, PA. Willow is the first feline in decades to be at the White House, the last being President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura’s black cat named India. 

The Bidens have finally adopted a cat, Willow, for the White House. Photo by Erin Scott.

BetMGM Opens at Nationals Park 

The first retail sportsbook connected to an MLB stadium is open—and it just happens to be at Nationals Park. BetMGM will be a year-round venue and will include 40 big-screen televisions with live odds boards and is accessible via N St. SE (next to the Center Field gate). Those interested can place wages with either cashiers at betting windows or electronic kiosks. A bar and dining area is featured as well. 

NBC-4 Anchor Arrested, Charged with DUI 

Leon Harris, who anchors the NBC-4 weekday evening news, was arrested late last month in Montgomery County. Harris was charged with driving under the influence when his car driving along River Road struck another vehicle. Harris will not be on air during the investigation. Harris has not commented on the arrest. 

































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