Yesterday Washington City Paper released their annual Best of DC issue, a jam-packed compendium of the District’s top people, places, and things. We enjoy reading the staff picks every year and think they did another bang up job compiling DC superlatives. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t notable snubs. In an endeavor as broad as Best Ofs, it’s inevitable that some worthy awardees will slip through the cracks. Luckily we’re here to catch them.
These are 30 overlooked Best of DC awards, as chosen by the Stuck in DC staff:
Best Job Metro Does
Eradicating stickers and graffiti
Sure, Metro is a badly outdated death trap with a declining ridership. A region-wide embarrassment on almost every level. But let’s give credit where credit is due. There’s one (and probably only one) thing Metro does really well: remove graffiti and stickers from their stations. That is their core competency. They can’t prevent fires or violent crime, and they’re going to have to shut down a bunch of their stations, but if you put a sticker on a column (as I’ve tried), that thing is coming down within the hour. Their responsiveness is remarkable, given their complete lack thereof in every other regard. It’s pretty frustrating, because Metro stations would be the ideal places to announce that this is not new york.
Last September, a guy named Khalie Lawal committed our favorite crime of the year. From the Post:
A few minutes before 6 p.m., police said a man robbed a Dunkin’ Donuts in the 2600 block of Connecticut Avenue NW, near the Woodley Park-National Zoo Metro stop. Police said a man told the clerk, “This is a robbery.” The man, who did not display a weapon, took $7.50, according to police. Khalie Lawal, 29, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with robbery.
He was reportedly unable to post his $10 bail.
Best Urinals for Guys with Bad Aim
National Gallery of Art,
6th & Constitution Ave. NW
The National Gallery has the widest urinals in Washington, and it’s about time they got some recognition.
Best Posthumous Honor
ASS Law / ASSOL
The heretofore-named George Mason University School of Law, a bastion of conservatism, recently honored the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia (who should be remembered as a bigot) by renaming itself in his honor. With that they became the Antonin Scalia School of Law, better known as “ASS Law” or “ASSOL.” I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to such a huge asshole. After humiliating themselves, George Mason quickly altered the name to the Antonin Scalia Law School, but those assholes will always be ASS Law to me.
Best Business Sign
8040 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring
Dialysis centers usually don’t put much effort into the sign on their building, but DaVita in Silver Spring isn’t your granddad’s dialysis center. They know that a little sign design can go a long way towards crafting a positive image. At first I thought this place was a dance studio. The striding star and swooping V on the DaVita convey such movement and energy. It’s bright and inviting. And Vita invokes life and vitality. DaVita’s sign sends an inspiring message to potential patients: maybe renal failure can be fun.
Best Federal Agency
I could have kissed the OPM director this January. After giving the city the gift of unscheduled telework on the Friday when the big snowstorm started, the agency gave us the day off on the following Monday and Tuesday. Then they called three hour delays with the option for unscheduled telework for Wednesday and Thursday! It was the best seven day weekend ever, frolicking in the snow and trying to ration our supplies. Keep playing it safe, OPM. We love you for it.
Nightmare on M Street
The stars aligned last Halloween to produce a pub crawl clusterfuck the likes of which this town has never seen. Halloween fell on a warm Saturday night, there were three separate crawls in the same area, and a bunch of bars oversold their capacity. The result was thousands upon thousands of drunken, costumed revelers swarming the M Street area south of DuPont Circle, trash and vomit everywhere. Total lawlessness broke out, and ambulances were unable to reach the fallen. It took two days for the Golden Triangle to clean up the mess and it was such a disaster that night that police officers on horseback had to be called in to quell the crowds, a cavalry charge that unfortunately wasn’t more like the protest scene in Doctor Zhivago.
Best Place for a Tête-à-Tête
4441 Wisconsin Ave NW
When I want to have a serious conversation with a friend, I need an intimate setting where I can look them in the eyes and say what’s on my mind. So I take them to dinner at Masala Art in Tenleytown. It’s a great Indian place, but that’s beside the point. When it’s time to broach the subject, I tell them we need to have a talk and I lead them into the bathroom, lock the door, and really get down to business.
Best Use for Obsolete Paper Fare Cards
Approach a family from Nebraska in Metro Center and say: “Excuse me, I’m done riding the train and have some fare cards with money leftover. Do you want them?” They’ll eagerly accept. Give them the cards and watch from afar as they go to the gates and try to rub them on the Smartrip circles and search in vain for a slot to stick them in before finally asking the station manager for help. By the time they’re told paper fare cards aren’t accepted anymore, you’ll be out of sight, having confirmed their heartland suspicions that everyone in Washington is a bad person.
Best Symbolic Birds
Vultures on K Street
A pair of black vultures have joined the predator class on K Street, taking up residence in an empty building near 11th Avenue NW. Hopefully they’ll be picking the flesh off a fallen energy lobbyist’s ribs real soon.
Anti-rape culture protesters forcing Roosh V into a basement
In early February, prominent man’s rights activist, rapist, and festering piece of shit Roosh V had planned an “International Tribal Meetup Day” for his community of like-minded misogynists, including a gathering in DuPont Circle. But, thanks to an overwhelming backlash and a group of protesters, he was forced to cancel the event and instead held a pathetic little press conference in a hotel basement where he advocated for gender inequality and questioned the weightlifting ability of Ben Freed, delighting the local media set.
A Secret Service job
Washington is full of cushy, do-nothing jobs. But as far as sinecures go, nothing tops a gig with the Secret Service. You get status, good pay, great benefits, South American prostitutes, and your very own gun, all without ever having to lift a finger. You can show up to work completely blitzed and no one would be the wiser because you get to wear sunglasses and sit or stand around all day, waiting for something to happen that almost never does. Hell, you can even get loaded and crash a car into a White House barrier, and your supervisor will get you out of a breathalyzer and just send you home. Sweet!
There’s seemingly no limit to how many times you can fuck up and not get in trouble. There was the guy who jumped the fence and actually made it into the White House in 2014, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. From People:
Among the newly revealed security mishaps are one in 2014 in which a man posing as New Jersey Rep. Donald Payne Jr. walked unchecked past a distracted Secret Service agent and into a secure backstage area, where he talked to Obama; and another five days later in which a woman walked backstage without being properly screened at a gala dinner where Obama was a guest. One week later, an employee was allowed, without being screened, into a Los Angeles hotel where Obama and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett were staying.
In another incident in April 2013, four people went fishing on a lake in the backyard of Vice President Joe Biden’s Delaware home. Biden’s alarm system wasn’t working properly at the time and the fishing foursome weren’t discovered until neighbors called to report them to the Secret Service. In spring 2014, a Czech citizen with an expired visa entered the property of former president George H.W. Bush and stayed there unnoticed for an hour.
And that’s just a small sampling. Being in the Secret Service must be so great; it makes my nonprofit office job look demanding. How do I sign up?
If “standing up” and “fighting for her” is having an agenda, then “yeah, fuck yeah, I’ve got an agenda,” sings Hemlines guitarist Katie Park on Agenda, the blistering opening track of their excellent All Your Homes EP. With its release in September, the feminist punk four-piece established themselves as a leading voice in the local music scene. Their songs rail against the structural sexism women face in every walk of life, including the music world. Their rage is refreshing and cathartic; it feels great to sing along, screaming at the Patriarchy. You should try it! So yeah, fuck yeah, Hemlines has an agenda. It’s a righteous one.
Best Place to Jaywalk
Rhode Island Avenue between Showtime and Boundary Stone
On any given night there’s a near constant stream of bargoers hurrying across Rhode Island Avenue between Boundary Stone and Showtime Lounge. There’s a perfectly good crosswalk thirty feet away and the cars on Rhode Island whiz by in excess of forty miles per hour, but who gives a shit? You’re drunk, and you want those deviled eggs now, damnit.
Best Place to Twist Your Ankle
Rhode Island Avenue sidewalks in Bloomingdale
While it’s dangerous to jaywalk across Rhode Island Avenue, it may be even more perilous to walk on the sidewalks. When I stumble home from Showtime, it’s not because I’ve had too many cheap beer-bourbon shot combos. It’s because the preponderance of protuberant tree roots have had the effect of an earthquake, leaving the sidewalk broken and buckled, waiting to trip you up and twist your ankle. It’s also the single worst place in the city to walk dogs from the seat of a unicycle, but that doesn’t stop the next jerk on this list.
Best Darwin Award Candidate
The unicyclist dog walker in Bloomingdale
If you must court the forces of natural selection, do it solo. If you want to be the kind of twee, fourth-rate Portlandia joke who rides around town on a unicycle, that’s your business. But it’s stupid, dangerous, and criminally irresponsible to wobble along on one wheel with other people’s pets in tow. This evolutionary escapee is needlessly putting dogs in danger and setting himself up for a Darwin-Award-level accident. Here’s hoping he wins one so those poor dogs can get a real walker.
Best Call of a Bluff
Rachel Kurzius, DCist
In one of the strangest/most entertaining local stories of the year, DCist’s Rachel Kurzius spoke to Rich Trevor Dickey, the xenophobic owner of a local painting company who had texted “Death to Muslims” and “Get out of my country bitch” to a non-Muslim potential customer who decided to hire someone else. The conclusion to Kurzius’ awesome story:
Dickey told DCist not to publish anything about his exchange with Shah. “I don’t think there’s a story here unless you want to capitalize on the whole Muslim thing. I think if you do a story about this, we’ll get business from the people who aren’t fans of Muslims. There are a lot of people right now who don’t like Muslims, and they’ll probably be like, ‘Hell yeah, let me give you some business.'”
Dickey called DCist back about 20 minutes after the conversation ended, saying that he had looked me up (though he confused me with DCist’s Rachel Sadon), and wanted to know if there would be a story coming out.
“Well you can put this in the story: I’m going to find out everyone involved in DCist and do some research on you now,” he says. “Whatever future jobs you might want, they’re going to see some things on the internet. Eventually, it’s going to bite you in the butt.”
And then she did put it in the story! As the closing paragraph no less, a meta masterstroke that made Rich Trevor look like an even bigger Dickey than he already did.
Best Cover Up
Smear Leader covering up Bill Cosby
In October, prolific Washington street artist Smear Leader plastered one of his trademark Kim Jong-Un images over Bill Cosby’s sleazy smiling face on the side of Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street. The smiling North Korean dictator felt like a vast improvement over the smiling serial rapist, sending a clear message: take the fucking mural down, Ben’s.
Best Defense Against the Ever Present Communist Threat
Andy Harris voting against naming a post office for Maya Angelou
Maryland Republican Rep. Andy Harris, best known as the asshole who tried to prevent DC from legalizing marijuana and passing its own laws, made news again last month when he voted against naming a post office for the late poet and national treasure Maya Angelou. Post office naming votes are typically routine and unanimous, but Harris wasn’t about to let Communists gain a foothold in North Carolina. “She supported the Communist revolution in Cuba, and my parents escaped a communist country,” said Harris. “I’m not voting for someone who supported the communists.”
Way to go, Andy, that’ll show the Reds! Harris later added that he knows why the caged bird sings: because Commies locked it in there and it wants to proclaim the virtues of capitalism and democracy in defiance.
Best Forthcoming Schadenfreude
Andy Harris’ primary loss on April 26
According to the polls, Andy Harris is going to get destroyed in Maryland’s 1st District Republican primary on April 26, in large part because state’s-rights GOP voters disapprove of his meddling in the District’s affairs. Such great electoral karma. I cannot wait to read our gleeful local press devour him on April 27.
Best False Equivalency
In February, Wizards & Capitals owner Ted Leonsis called for free WiFi across DC, which is perfectly reasonable. But then he delivered by far the most tone-deaf analogy of the year when he compared the lack thereof to the lack of clean drinking water in Flint, Michigan. “Wireless connectivity has become like running water,” said Leonsis. “We see what’s happening in Flint, Michigan. They failed their populace because they don’t have clean running water and it’s the most fundamental deliverable of local government, and I’d like to see our government take a bigger role in providing [free WiFi] for everybody.” Aren’t multi-millionaires the greatest? Checking your email in public has become like drinking water to survive. Maybe we could declare a state of emergency and get the National Guard to bring us truckloads of WiFi.
Best Mid-Murder Meal
4539 Wisconsin Ave. NW
No murderer wants to tie up and torture a family and their housekeeper, kill them, and burn down the house on an empty stomach. So at some point during one of the most brutal murders in Washington memory last May, Daron Wint called the local Domino’s and had a pie delivered to the Savopolous’ Woodley Park home. The pizza was assuredly terrible, but it’s Washington’s best mid-murder meal because Wint was careless enough to leave behind an unfinished piece of crust, allowing investigators to recover his DNA and tie him to the crime.
Jessica Sidman’s Fig & Olive reporting
Fig & Olive president Greg Galy has nightmares about Jessica Sidman. City Paper would never give itself a Best Of, but she deserves one for her ceaseless coverage of infested Fig & Olive and its fallout. After she’d long since skewered the tony CityCenterDC restaurant for its September salmonella outbreak and subsequent lawsuits, she revealed in December that their kitchen relies on pre-made meal components from a commissary in New York. Just two days later, a relentless Sidman wrote about Fig & Olive increasing their prices after the salmonella outbreak. She’s been on top of their bullshit from day one.
Lady Parts Justice
Lady Parts Justice is a diverse network of women using comedy and digital media to speak frankly about abortion and the many political threats to reproductive rights. They’ve been active since 2012, but debuted in the District last September, when local activists held a packed abortion storytelling event at the Black Cat that was candid, funny, and destigmatizing. It was a resounding debut for a group that’s changing the way we talk about abortion.
Best Fake Neighborhood
“North End Shaw”
When developer JBG opened Atlantic Plumbing and The Shay in November, they didn’t just unveil Washington’s hottest new addresses for urban thirtysomethings with money. They tried to christen a whole new neighborhood: North End Shaw. The four blocks around the 9:30 Club were billed as a “bustling epicenter of creativity” ideal for “culture vultures and tastemakers alike.” “There’s no neighborhood brimming with as much DC flavor,” reads the Atlantic Plumbing website. Except there is. It’s just called Shaw, and we should keep it that way.
Best Way to Get Up and Down H Street
Honorable mention to running, biking, and driving a car.
Best Thing to Happen to Racist Redskins Fans
Kirk Cousins beating out RGIII
The region’s suburban, white football fans who have absolutely no problem with the name Redskins are still rejoicing that a clean cut, dopey white guy beat out the black guy for the starting quarterback job. “He’s a way smarter player than RGIII,” said racist fans who also think Stanford-educated millionaire Richard Sherman is a ‘thug.’ The kind of people who would be terrified to attend a game at RFK stadium added that Cousins was “a better leader” and “had more heart.”
Best Memorialized Irony
On the FDR Memorial, a quote from January 9, 1940 reads: “We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all our citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.”
Best Thing to Call The Worst
In what was stunningly not a work of satirical performance art, DC suffered through a social media-themed pop up restaurant called Top Nosh last year. It’s the worst, and it’s not close.
When people walk in, they’re handed a menu with hashtags to use.
Non-“influencer” attendees, however, will likely have to buy tickets, while “influencers” are invited for free.
NOOOOO MAKE IT STOP
Everything about the dinners is built for the optimal Instagram post. At the Downton Abbey dinner, there will be an “Instagram styling station” with a vintage vanity holding an antique brush, pearls, ribbon, and samples of the food.
GAHHH THE FUCKING WORST!
Best Reactionary NIMBYism
Flier opposing 10th & V homeless shelter
When Mayor Bowser announced plans to build a homeless shelter in every ward, it only took a few hours for this huffy NIMBY call to arms to start circulating around Ward 1, in opposition to a shelter at 10th & V NW. The flier lists four pressing issues “to name only a few.” The first is congestion, as if the homeless families are all going to drive to the shelter and muck up traffic in what’s already one of the busiest parts of the city. The next three–loitering, safety, and decreased property values–otherize the destitute and exhibit classic dog whistle racism, a NIMBY hallmark. How much do you want to bet that the white property owner who made this flier is a PoPville reader?