Friday, February 29, 2008

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Free Ride's Greatest Hits

RECENTLY, I've been paging through Express' Free Ride archives for a trip down memory lane. From the time we launched the blog in April 2006 up to now, I've authored more then 4,000 blog posts. Though it isn't a definitive list, below, I've selected some of my greatest hits.

» "Rat Jumps Into Baby Stroller in Dupont Circle"
ON MOST DAYS of the week, Jim McGrath can be found taking a coffee break on the outer ring of benches in Dupont Circle. And while he says he tries to sit away from the "gigantic rat holes" in the section of the park opposite the Sun Trust Bank, it's not uncommon for some of the circle's rodent residents to make their presence known. [More ...]

» "Update: D.C. Rat Patrol Targets Dupont Circle Park"
IF THE RECENT COLD WEATHER hasn't been hostile enough to rats living in Dupont Circle's park, then recent visits by D.C.'s "Rat Patrol" might have been a more lethal threat. [More …]

» "Out & About: Clinton Makes Cameo, Bores Partiers"
WHEN HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of people cram into a crowded ballroom to hear Hillary Rodham Clinton speak at a major Democratic Party social function, be sure to guard your nasal passages. If you're sensitive to the interaction of perfumes and colognes wafting about in close quarters, then the gathering of party faithful at the West End's Park Hyatt last night might not have been your cup of tea. [More ...]

» "Taxi GPS Doesn't Eliminate Fare Zone Confusion"
WITH THE DISTRICT facing a deadline to act on taxicab reform this fall, some companies have been trumpeting their use of dashboard global positioning systems to navigate D.C.'s confusing jumble of taxicab fare zones. But as I found out on Saturday, even with GPS technology in cabs, it still takes one's human GPS to figure out when a cabbie is making a fare-calculation error — or just trying to scam you. [More …]

» "Around D.C., Mixed Reactions to Meter Decision"
AROUND NOON on Wednesday, one cab driver on M Street NW pulled up to the light at 16th Street, where another driver was stopped. Both of their windows were rolled down, and one shouted to the other that D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty could go ... well, you get the picture. [More …]

» "As Riders Sleep, Special Metro Cleaners Get to Work"
AFTER THE GATES of the Stadium-Armory station's Independence Avenue entrance were locked behind us and we walked past the empty station manager's kiosk, the sights and sounds of Metrorail after hours slowly emerged. The rattle of machinery grew louder as we approached the escalators leading down to the platform. [More …]

» "Fortunately, They Didn't Bring Down the Roof"
AFTER TWO NIGHTS of concerts at the 9:30 Club, this writer's ears are ringing, but during Tuesday night's Editors' show, they were still sharp enough to overhear a conversation that unnecessarily caused worry: "What would happen if the roof caved in?" one guy said to another. "Yeah, that'd be nuts," came the reply. For sure. [More …]

» "A 14-Mile District Alleywalk"
WE SPENT OUR MEMORIAL DAY walking through District alleyways. That may seem strange, but after reading Lyndsey Layton's article in Monday's edition of The Post about living in D.C.'s alleyway housing, we wanted to take a stab at listing and photographing our favorite District alleyways. It turned out to be a nearly 14-mile trek. (Only about two miles of the journey was by Metrobus.) We started at the Stadium-Armory Metrorail station in Southeast, walked across Capitol Hill, up through Shaw to Adams Morgan, Woodley Park, back through Adams Morgan to Dupont Circle and onward to Georgetown, ending our trip at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Observatory Lane in Glover Park. Our feet hurt and we're slightly sunburned. [More ...]

» "Out & About: At Palm Gala, Vanity Meets Revelry"
D.C MAYOR ADRIAN FENTY has finally made it in this town. Last night at The Palm's grand reopening party, cameras zoomed in on the all-grins mayor as he climbed to the far end of a "power booth" to sign his caricature, which has joined the hundreds of other boldface names, current or has-been, that grace the walls of the famed Dupont Circle steak house and place to be seen. [More …]

» "D.C. Diary: In the Words of Gore Vidal"
WHEN MY FATHER interviewed writer Gore Vidal in Los Angeles last year for a documentary project, the outspoken figure told him to relay some advice to me back in Washington: "Tell your son to keep writing, even if it's a suicide note." [More …]

» "D.C. Diary: Going Hungry at Hooters"
SOMETHING WENT TERRIBLY WRONG at Hooters on Saturday night. For restaurateurs in the bustling Gallery Place-Chinatown-Verizonville area, there's plenty of money to be made. And there's plenty of money to be lost. And the manager on duty at the 7th Street NW outpost of the national chain best known for its well-endowed wait staff and chicken wings wasn't having a good night. [More …]

» "Escalator Canopy Not Coming Brookland's Way"
FOR YEARS, the escalators at the Brookland Metrorail station have been regularly out-of-service. In fact, a 2005 investigation by The Post found that the station's escalators were among the most problematic in the system. [More ...]

» "Convention Center Needs an Anime Invasion"
THE WASHINGTON CONVENTION CENTER is hurting for business. As The Post's Dana Hedgpeth reported on Monday, "convention attendance is dropping, the surrounding neighborhood is yet to be transformed by the promised new development, and conventioneers are filling fewer hotel rooms than expected." So the massive convention center complex — which stretches from Mount Vernon Square to N Street NW — is sort of a white elephant, with no adjacent convention center hotel and little in the form of street-level retail, which was supposed to transform the 9th Street NW corridor in Shaw. [More …]

» "C-List Borat-Type Tricks Kids at Lincoln Mem'l"
OVER THE YEARS, the Lincoln Memorial's steps have been home to countless notable events, speeches and performances, from Marian Anderson to Martin Luther King Jr. to, eh, Ricky Martin (at President Bush's 2001 inaugural celebration). On Saturday, in the midst of cherry blossom festivities in the city's monumental core, another notable joined the esteemed ranks of those who have used Mr. Lincoln as their backdrop: Jamie Kennedy. [More …]

» "Poll Center: Who's Worst at Winter Clean-Up?"
A LARGE PIECE OF ROAD SALT hit this writer directly in the forehead last night at U and 17th streets NW. A D.C. Department of Transportation snow plow/salt truck was clearing the road when its salt distributor sent a large chunk of NaCl product at your faithful scribe, who was waiting for a No. 90 bus a bit after 11 p.m. [More …]

» "Poetry for Pakistan's President"
ON FRIDAY, the president of Pakistan, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, visited Washington, stopping by the White House for an East Room news conference with President Bush before his entourage went to an evening event at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel. The buzz that day for most of Washington that cared to notice was Musharraf's assertion in a "60 Minutes" interview that Richard Armitage, then the deputy secretary of state, had threated to bomb Pakistan "back to the Stone Age" following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks if Musharraf didn't step in line with the United States. [More …]

» "36 Hours: Washington D.C."
ON FRIDAY, some local bloggers — and certainly other D.C. denizens — objected to The New York Times' Escapes section's "36 Hours: Washington, D.C." feature, written by the esteemed political reporter Adam Nagourney. To sum up the commentary online, Nagourney's choices of local fare to highlight left critics underwhelmed. After all, does anyone really care if former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe "holds court from his regular table in the front right corner" of Cafe Milano's dining room? [More …]

» "D.C. Diary: A Morning at the Protests"
ON SATURDAY MORNING, this writer decided to check out the anti-war protests on the National Mall. The influx of thousands upon thousands of demonstrators who flooded into the nation's capital was a living, breathing example of American democracy in action — so we went along for the ride. [More …]

» "Memory & Myncis: Euros Childs"
WHEN TOLD ABOUT the recent closure of Dupont Circle's 40-year-old tavern and music club the Childe Harold, the soft-spoken, unassuming Welsh pop-folk rocker Euros Childs said endearingly: "Oh, that's sad." [More ...]

» "D.C. Diary: They Came, They Got Arrested"
AS HE WAS ARRESTED about an hour and a half ago on the steps of the Sudanese Embassy, Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., put on a wide-brimmed hat and was escorted away, as if we were going on a leisurely walk. But then he was put in a Secret Service paddy wagon, where Reps. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., on the left next to Lantos, John Olver, D-Mass., Alexandria's very own Jim Moran, D-Va., and other Darfur activists joined the ranking member of the House International Relations Committee. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, was put in the back of a Secret Service cruiser. [More …]

» "On the Case of the Mysterious Blue Splotches"
ON WEDNESDAY, a man walked into the Wilson Building downtown, threw a white substance at a security guard, and then ran off. The seat of the District's government was evacuated for about two hours. Authorities determined the substance was probably just harmless table salt. It was the kind of incident that has cropped up now and again after the anthrax attacks of 2001 made mysterious substances in office buildings something to fear. But what if someone throws a suspicious bright blue material, like the stuff pictured here, on the ground? Would that spark the same kind of reaction from authorities? [More ...]

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