Capital One Café Opens in Georgetown

Besides the brews and sweets provided by its partner, Peet’s Coffee, the corner spot has desks, couches, private nooks, meeting rooms and a conference table with a television and screen projector.

D.C. Renaming Proposals Scrutinized

In its analysis, the DCFACES Working Group "reviewed the namesake legacy of 153 assets, including schools, residential housing, streets, neighborhoods, parks, recreation centers, libraries and monuments."

My Georgetown: Madeleine Albright

Georgetown has long been home to many public figures. But for all their fame, or notoriety, they all have one thing in common: Georgetown...

The Decline and Fall of Georgetown Park

In September 1981, the Shops at Georgetown Park opened to much fanfare: 100 stores (including 128 condominiums), such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Garfinckel's, Ann Taylor, Scan Furniture, Conran's, Davisons of Bermuda, Mark Cross and Godiva Chocolatier. With such memories, any longtime local walking through the 30-year-old place in 2012 is saddened by its fall. Today, none of those stores remains. Indeed, few remain in the 317,000-square-foot shopping complex at 3222 M St., N.W. Leases have expired, and others are set to expire Jan. 31. Consumers' reaction to the now-disliked concept of an enclosed urban shopping mall are to blame, just as are a few of Georgetown Park's business decisions through the years. A slow economy seems a minor factor here, but a legal fight between developers Herb Miller, whose Western Development Corp. created Georgetown Park, and Anthony Lanier of Eastbanc over the property do not help, either. Not even angels could save it. A la Charlie's, the Georgetown Angels -- owners Heidi Kallett of the Dandelion Patch, Stephanie Fornash Kennedy of Fornash Designs and Kassie Rempel of Simply Soles -- held events and launched promotions to gain exposure for the shopping center. They will be soon gone, too, as the mall is emptied to be prepared for renovation. The new landlord of the property, Vornado Realty Trust is vague about its bigger plans, because it is still finalizing new arrangements. A Bloomingdale's store coming? Heard about that often, but do not know. Hmm, how about a Target? Perhaps, New York's hip food shop Eataly showing up here? Mere speculation. Advisory neighborhood commissioner Bill Starrels, whose district includes the shopping complex, sums it up: "We are all hoping that these persons from New York will not just restore Georgetown Park but also bring it into the 21st century." "They took something wonderful and destroyed it," says Alex Shirazi, vice president of Rush Hour Printing & Graphics, a Georgetown Park tenant, whose lease extends through March. A sales rep visiting him Jan. 12 said she was shaken by the sound of the fall of a panel onto the canal-level tiled floor, according to Shirazi. Janitors quickly cleaned up any mess. No one was hurt; no one else was there. Also, on the canal level, the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles still operates its Georgetown branch, but it has put out a request to lease new space elsewhere. With entrances on M Street, J. Crew, Sisley and Intermix have locked their back doors to the mall, even as the original Clyde's Restaurant leaves open its back entrance to the M Street level. In a bit of irony or carelessness, Georgetown Park's website incorrectly lists many stores as they existed a year ago or more and are now gone. Meanwhile, life goes on as usual in Georgetown Park's condos. And for all its collapsed empire of retail, a kind of renaissance -- indeed, a redesign and reconstruction -- is anticipated for the Shops at Georgetown Park. The neighborhood's merchant space remains a gold mine. [gallery ids="100459,115482,115469,115476" nav="thumbs"]

Rev. Moon’s Lasting Legacy in D.C.: the Washington Times

The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Korean religious leader, businessman and founder of the Unification Church died Sept. 3 in South Korea. He was 92. Moon considered himself the second coming of Jesus Christ, an idea directly heretical to mainstream Christianity. In the popular mind, his Unification Church provoked images of mass marriages performed by Moon and his wife -- the "True Parents" -- and of young promoters who sold flowers at the airport or on the streets. And his Moonies, a word church members do not like, have been accused of being part of a religious cult. His attendant business interests ranged widely from media and automobiles to supplying fresh fish to local restaurants, namely, sushi. But the powerful ambitions and personality of Moon sought more: he wanted influence throughout the world, East to West. Where was the best place to set up his own version of a heaven-on-earth lobbying firm? In America. And the best place there? Of course, the nation's capital, Washington, D.C. Beside his religious activities, the fiercely anti-communist Moon become known in the United States for strongly supporting then-enbattled President Richard Nixon, who later resigned. He led a huge rally at the National Mall, complete with fireworks, in the late 1970s. People here took notice, even as a few young Unification Church missionaries spoke casually with Georgetown University students in the lobby of Lauinger Library. (A new religion which unites the peoples and churches of Christianity can sound fresh, pure and worthy to a young mind.) Moon's church and businesses continued to grow, and he was ready to stake his claim as a major Washington influencer by establishing the Washington Times in 1982. While it was during the administration of President Ronald Reagan, it came along before many other popular media outlets which trumpeted conservative issues. I got the opportunity to work as an editor at the Washington Times during the 1990s -- the Bill Clinton years -- working in special sections. We wrote and edited varied features, anything from travel, history, dining, real estate, jobs to specials on inaugurations, Martin Luther King, Jr., Apollo XI and World War II. Our bailiwick did not involve any ideological comments, specifically speaking, although we were aware of the preferences of the editor at the time, Wesley Pruden. Just being in the newsroom, it was instructive for a centrist Democrat like myself to learn a bit of the thinking from the conservative -- and increasingly Republican -- playbook. Now, the Washington Times newsroom is off the beaten path, as far as media offices go. While the Washington Post -- and the Washington Star (many staffers went to the Times when it folded) in its heyday -- chose downtown D.C., the Times is in Northeast D.C. on New York Avenue between the National Arboretum and the train tracks. There was that one day in the mid-90s when Rev. Moon, who would visit occasionally and go straight to the executive offices, walked around the voluminous newsroom meeting each editor and writer individually at his or her desk. One veteran writer, surprised at this never-before greeting, said that it was either really bad or really good. (The Times could wait for about another 15 years before things might go really bad.) Moon smiled as he joked about a top investigative reporter's weight and poked him in the belly, saying he liked to eat as much fish as Moon liked to. At least, that's what what the translator told the reporter who was not used to being messed with and who, I imagined, had to restrain himself as I also imagined steam coming out of his ears. Like most newsroom creatures, Times employees were skeptical of authority and would make a quip as easily as those on 15th Street. They called their paper "little scrappy," which did more with less and whose editors encouraged new hires to take chances. One said he was glad people believed in God, because he knew along with others that companies affiliated with the Unification Church had worked with News World Communications to spend more $1 billion over the years on the newspaper, which was one of the first to report regularly on religion, spirituality and, yes, God. Of course, that other newspaper on 15th Street -- "the OP" as Times editors said -- looked down at Moon's creation as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee vowed never to visit -- until a birthday party for Arnaud de Borchgrave, a former editor-in-chief of the Times. Bradlee had worked with de Borchgrave at Newsweek in Europe and was happy to go to the New York Avenue newsroom as the Times printing presses produced a Times parody version for de Borchgrave's party in the Arbor Ballroom; the banner headline aptly read: "A legend in his own mind." The Washington Times persevered in its quest to bring an alternative voice to the Washington and national scene, even as it sometimes beat the Post on local news stories. It was not afraid to make mistakes and offered many reporters who went on to bigger media groups a great start. Allow me to mention a few (mostly former) staffers who made the newspaper shine and had an impact for me, professionally and personally: Patrick Butters, Peter VanDevanter, Kevin Chaffee, Ann Geracimos, Tracy Woodward, Jim Brantley, Denise Barnes, John McCaslin, Lorraine Woellert, Tony Blankley, Deborah Simmons, Adrienne Washington, Cathryn Donohoe, Thom Loverro, Susan Ferrechio and Jerry Seper. After the Times fell victim to squabbles within the Moon family, its staff and sections were cut a few years ago -- and it looked like the end was near. But Moon did not want to lose face, as it were, and intervened two years ago and took the newspaper away from one of his sons who had controlled it. Today, the Times remains a strong conservative and journalistic voice amid the newer ones, such as the Washington Examiner, adding to a more dynamic media landscape. It is trying for a comeback. Whatever your opinion of its ideological bent, you know the Times kept D.C. from being a one-newspaper town. And you can thank its writers, editors, photographers, artists and pressmen -- and a self-proclaimed messiah -- for that bit of journalistic luck. [gallery ids="100969,130854" nav="thumbs"]

Salinger’s Accusations About TWA Flight 800 Resurface in New Documentary

A documentary which premiered this week about TWA Flight 800 on the 17th anniversary of the airplane disaster echoes some of Pierre Salinger's argument about the tragedy. He spoke and wrote about the 1996 mid-air explosion in several outlets, including the Georgetowner newspaper in 1999. Among his many accomplishments, Salinger is best known as President John F. Kennedy's press secretary. A World War II Navy veteran, Salinger was appointed a senator from California, serving for five months. Living in Europe, he also distinguished himself as a journalist for ABC News, winning an Emmy. Salinger is also known for his accusations that a missile took down TWA flight 800 off Long Island on July 17, 1996, killed all 230 persons on board. Despite first referring to an unsubstantiated document found on the Internet which caused some embarrassment, Salinger stood by his claim. On July 17, the premium TV network Epix premiered "TWA Flight 800," a documentary about the Boeing 747 that exploded just 12 minutes after taking off from JFK International Airport. It questions the conclusion by National Transportation Safety Board that the airplane's fuel tank exploded because of an electrical spark inside the plane and argues that a missile hit the aircraft. The documentary features interviews with key members of the original TWA 800 investigation team, including retired NTSB senior accident investigator Hank Hughes, retired chief accident investigator for TWA Bob Young and Air Line Pilot Association representative and investigator James Speer. Film co-producer and investigator Tom Stalcup along with Hughes filed a petition urging the NTSB to reopen the matter in June. The NTSB has reaffirmed its original conclusion which had come after four years of an investigation that used the resources of 19 federal agencies. A year after the accident, the FBI said no terrorism was involved. The NTSB went so far as to hold a press conference last month in Asburn, Va., to go over the evidence one more time. Salinger died in October 2004 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. A Salinger museum in Le Thor, France, is managed by his fourth wife Nicole "Poppy" Salinger Le Cesne at her bed-and-breakfast, La Bastide Rose. A large photo of Salinger in the Oval Office with President Kennedy, senior staffers and John Kennedy, Jr., hangs on the wall in the publisher's office at the Georgetowner in Washington, D.C. Pierre Salinger was a columnist for the Georgetowner from 1998 to 2001. During the 2000 presidential campaign between George Bush and Al Gore, Salinger famously wrote in his column, “If Bush wins, I’m going to leave the country and spend the rest of my life in France.” And he did. The following is an abridged May 27,1999, Georgetowner column by Pierre Salinger: TWA 800: The Truth Is Out There; Tell It It is very sad that almost three years after TWA flight 800 exploded over Long Island, the United States government has not come out with a final solution on what happened to that plane. I am also very sad about what happened to me. When I announced in November 1996 during a speech in Cannes in southern France that TWA 800 had been shot down accidentally by a U.S. Navy missile, my life was cut back by the FBI. The U.S. media said that I had told a lie and that I had lost my credibility. It is now clear that many people around the U.S. who are investigating TWA 800 have discovered that the plane was shot down by a missile. Both the FBI and the media had no right to attack me. At that time, Jim Kahlstrom, the FBI regional director who was leading the TWA 800 investigation, was still saying daily that it was possible a missile had shot down the plane. And, in retrospect, I think the media had no right to attack me because I have been an experienced journalist for 35 years, involved in the important stories of our times. I still do some journalism from time to time. But Kahlstrom had done some very wrong things. He had cut off 375 witnesses who said they had seen missiles going into the air when TWA 800 went down. He said there was no Navy ship in the area that could have shot down the plane. And yet, we have now a tape where he is talking to someone else and where he said there were three Navy ships in the area which could have shot down the plane. The most important thing that happened early last year was when former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Thomas Moorer came out with a statement on TWA 800. He was not covered by any of the important newspapers in the United States. This is what he said: “All evidence would point to a missile. All those witnesses who saw a streak that hit the airplane – you have to assume it was a missile. It absolutely deserves more investigation, a lot more.” He called for a new Congressional hearing into TWA 800. Late in 1998, Moorer ran a full-page ad in the New York Times, but that wasn’t covered by the press, either. A little more than two weeks ago, on May 10, the Senate formally investigated the matter. The senate judiciary subcommittee, chaired by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), released testimony that a bomb or missile had downed the plane. Grassley said that the FBI crash investigation was “a model of failure, not success.” Meanwhile, another important person, retired Navy commander William Donaldson has also come out with a new view: TWA 800 was shot down by a missile – fired not from a Navy ship but a terrorist group. What is interesting is that a majority of Americans and French believe that what I said was true. I am constantly congratulated for what I said about how TWA 800 was shot down… …Of course, the United States government has not yet come out with a solution to what happened to TWA 800. With the FBI no longer investigating, the National Transportation Safety Board continues to look into the case. In November 1997, it held a five-day conference in Baltimore, which looked into the possibility that it was a fuel tank explosion. There is a lot of information which refutes this hypothesis. The TWA pilot, who flew the aircraft in question from Athens to New York before TWA 800 started on its final flight from New York to Paris, had done an extensive test of the fuel tank and had concluded that it was in great shape and could not have exploded. [After speaking at a meeting in Atlanta regarding a future Olympics site] I learned that TWA 800 had crashed. I immediately went back to the hotel and watched television for five hours. Each of the TV shows was showing that it was a missile that had shot down TWA 800. Later, they did not again run those tapes they had shown—probably at the request of the FBI. Let us now arrive at a government solution, once and for all, so that the surviving family members of the 230 people who died on TWA 800 will finally get the truth. [gallery ids="101400,154118" nav="thumbs"]

‘Georgetown Karen’ Confronted by Street Protesters

On Saturday, about a dozen protesters with noisemakers faced off with police officers and the driver of a car that the youths claim tried to run them down. 

4 Skeletons Found on Q St.

City Archaeologist Ruth Trocolli told The Georgetowner that the remains appear to be from the 1830s, but a forensic investigation is ongoing.

Tudor Place to Honor the Late Elizabeth Powell

Powell, who lived on Dumbarton Street with her husband Jeffrey and two children, Eleanor and Charlie, died at the age of 39 in February of 2017 after a brief battle with cancer.

‘Hear Me Roar!’: 5th Women’s March Planned for Oct. 17 (photos)

Just 17 days before the election, the Women’s March organization plans a demonstration targeting President Donald Trump, in particular his move to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat.