RSS

Tag Archives: DC

The New Chumph Disaster in DC

Trump is opening one of his dumps in DC. He somehow managed to win the bid to lease one of the most iconic and beautiful buildings in the city, the Old Post Office Building.

The problem here is there is no shortage of high-end Hotel space in the city. Places like the Hay Adams have been serving the city for over 100 years. The Willard, one of the historic hotels. Then there is The Jefferson. A small cut below, but wonderful are the Kimpton Donovan, Avery, Four Seasons, Mandarin, W, and St Regis… and two Ritz -Carletons…and the Rosewood

And then there are the Micro Hotels that folks seeking privacy and personal care love.

So the ugly elephant in the room (or lobby in this case) is WTF does anyone with that type of travel budget want to stay in a ticky-tacky wannabe?

I give it three years.Image result for old post office building DC

Donald Trump’s New D.C. Hotel Is Fancy, Expensive, and Probably Doomed

The GOP nominee is preparing to open Washington’s most expensive luxury hotel, but it might be doomed before the paint is even dry.

Donald Trump touts his supposed business acumen and his (self-proclaimed) reputation as a great “builder” as two of his greatest presidential qualifications. But in the heart of northwest Washington, D.C.—just a few blocks away from the White House he wishes to inhabit come January—it appears as though Trump has built himself one brand-new, luxuriously marbled flop.

On Monday afternoon, the real-estate mogul and Republican presidential nominee’s latest hotel finally enjoyed its soft opening (a quiet launch for invited guests that eschews all the pressures of an official grand opening) at the Old Post Office Pavilion.

The only celebrity spotted at the opening was, of all people, Oscar-nominated actor Randy Quaid (Independence Day, National Lampoon’s Vacationmovies, Brokeback Mountain), who has gone off the deep end and alleged that a Hollywood assassination squad was after him and his wife.

Asked why he was in D.C., Quaid simply pointed to Trump’s hotel and said “for this,” before jumping into a car and racing off.

The grand-opening ceremony for Trump International Hotel, Washington, D.C., will reportedly take place next month, weeks before election night.

In 2011, the Trump Organization beat out the competition to secure a 60-year lease from the federal government to renovate the iconic Old Post Office building. Trump broke ground on the project before officially jumping into the 2016 presidential fray last year, and he has repeatedly vowed to make his newest hotel property one of the very best in the world. Earlier this year, he used his presidential campaign to help promote and brag about the new Trump hotel.

Between now and the planned October grand opening, Trump’s D.C. venture has a way to go…

Every item of decor, from the turquoise and faux-gold armchairs to the candy dishes made out of fake dimes and nickels, was handpicked by Ivanka Trump with the help of design firm HBA. The overall aesthetic is somewhere between real, inoffensive luxury and a Red Roof Inn patron’s conception of what a stylish, upper-echelon hotel must be…

The hotel opens now with only one two-floor restaurant located in the lobby—BLT Prime, a chain steakhouse.

The bad news for Trump Hotels doesn’t stop there. Some industry estimates have reservations at Trump hotels down almost 60 percent since September of last year—and the word on the street is that Trump’s legal tiff with the two celebrity chefs has tanked his family and brand name in the eyes of the restaurant community.

“He’s clearly a racist and makes racist comments, and we have an industry that has always reached out to an immigrant population and built on the work of an immigrant population,” Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio, the owner of Craft who was reportedly approached by the Trump Organization after Andrés and Zakarian bailed, told Mother Jones magazine. (Colicchio is also a friend of Andrés.)

“I think that the remarks [Trump] makes would make it very difficult for anyone to stand up in front of their staff and want to be part of what he’s doing,” he continued.

But if none of this bothers you, and you’ve found yourself in Washington, D.C., and need a place to crash, just make sure the Trump International Hotel is in your price range.

For weeknights this fall, the hotel’s least expensive rooms will run you a minimum of $735 per night. For comparison, other luxury hotels that will compete with Trump for business ring in at $400 a night at The Jefferson for October (around the time of the opening of the Trump hotel), and roughly $300 at The Willard. Both are boutique and historic hotels in the District.

The room rates at Trump’s new establishment aren’t by simple design, but by necessity.

In a filing with the General Services Administration, lawyers for one of Trump’s competitors argued that for Trump’s hotel to stay afloat, it would have to charge some of the most exorbitant rates in the nation’s capital.

“A properly conducted price reasonableness analysis would have resulted in the conclusion that the minimum base lease proposed by Trump would require Trump to obtain hotel room revenues which are simply not obtainable in this location based on the concepts for the redevelopment,” the lawyers for the competing development team wrote.

Welcome to Trump’s D.C. hotel—perhaps a microcosm of the bigger, badder,and broke America that a President Trump could have in store.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 13, 2016 in The Clown Bus

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Smithsonian African-American Museum Opens

The National Museum of African American Culture and History has opened. Love the idea, but really am no fan of the building architecture, which is both decidedly visually unexciting, and unlike the Native American Museum seems to have no visual cultural clues as to it’s function.

National Museum of African American History and Culture; (NMAAHC) construction site - Conststution Avenue and 14 th Street image taken on Conststution site October 23, 2015.

 

Smithsonian’s National African-American Museum opens at last

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture was over a century in the making. In 1915, black Civil War veterans collected funds they later put toward creating a museum on the National Mall that would celebrate African-American achievement. In 1929, President Calvin Coolidge signed Public Resolution 107, establishing a commission to plan its construction, but the project went nowhere. It took a renewed effort by lawmakers and African-American leaders beginning in the 1960s, and then decades of planning and proposals, before President George W. Bush signed legislation in 2003 authorizing the museum, which is set to open September 24, steps from the Washington Monument.

“It’s one of those sites and projects that comes about only once in a generation,” says the lead designer of the building, David Adjaye. “It’s always magical to complete a project, but to complete this one on the National Mall, it’s very profound. It’s very humbling.”

Construction on the exterior of the building, a glass structure wrapped in a three-tiered bronze-colored scrim that’s meant to recall a motif in African sculpture (it looks like boxes stacked on a figure’s head), was completed in 2015. Curators are now filling the galleries with artifacts from a collection of some 34,000 items spanning centuries or longer. Museum Director Lonnie Bunch says the exhaustive preparation and organizing is “really almost like planning a military exercise.”

Larger artifacts already in place include a 1944 training plane used by the black military pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen; a once-segregated railway car and a guard tower from the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, both of which the museum lowered in place with cranes before constructing the roof; a 19th-century slave cabin from South Carolina; and Chuck Berry’s red Cadillac.

“When I walk through, I feel the weight of my ancestors,” Bunch says. “I feel an amazing sense of joy that we are close to giving to America, giving to the world, a gift. A gift of understanding who we are as a people in ways that we haven’t before.”

The museum’s nine floors contain three history galleries covering slavery through present day, including the #BlackLivesMatter movement; a theater named for donor Oprah Winfrey; culture galleries featuring African-American icons of music, theater, film and television; and a Contemplative Court, where visitors can reflect on what they’ve seen.

Adjaye has said “there’s triumph and there’s also incredible tragedy” in the history of the African-American experience. Bunch agrees: “You cannot tell stories of celebration and resistance without understanding the trials and travails.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 2, 2016 in Black History

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Obama’s New Digs

After the Presidency, the Obama’s will be moving to some really nice digs in DC’s Kalorama Section. Kalorama is one of several sections in the city which feature beautiful high-end, often stone faced homes in a wooded setting, bordered on two sides by Rock Creek Park and the Naval Observatory. The Obama’s will be renting, while they decide where they would like to ultimately locate. No hint on whether they will return to Chicago. At 8200 sf, I don’t think they will be cramped for space.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 27, 2016 in Giant Negros

 

Tags: , , ,

Anatomy of a Disaster

This is the BIG problem plaguing our subway system in DC. This one does not appear to be a failing power connector. If you look closely towards the bottom left there appears to be a bit of trash, possibly tin foil caught on the insulator holding the 3rd Rail, allowing it to arc to ground and the travelling rail. 700 Volts at 6,000 Amps makes a hell of a boom when it is shorted!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 6, 2016 in News, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Man “Busjacks” Metro Bus in DC

Washington DC’s Metro System converted to fare cards quite a while back. So there is little to no money on a Bus. So why someone would hijack a Bus is a bit of mystery. Looks like the hijacker may have been trying to blow the bus up by driving it over the gas pumps like in the movies.

Crazy people doing crazy things (with guns) everywhere!

Hijacked bus kills pedestrian in D.C.

Authorities say a man attacked a bus driver, stole the bus, then struck and killed a man after the bus jumped a curb at a gas station.

Police Chief Cathy Lanier said at a news conference Tuesday that the man with a weapon attacked the driver. She says passengers fled the bus and the driver hit the emergency button before getting off himself.

Lanier says the man drove off and as the bus pulled into a gas station it went over a curb and hit the man. She says the man was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Lanier says the man who stole the bus appeared distraught as officers took him into custody. CBS affiliate WUSA-TV reports the alleged hijacker was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 3, 2016 in Nawwwwww!

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Negative Press Spurs DC To Give 107 Year Old Woman Photo ID

Get enough people demanding answers and once in a while the politicians will respond…

ID problem resolved for 107-year-old woman who danced with Obamas

“Thank the lord!” 107-year-old Virginia McLaurin exclaimed Tuesday morning as Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser handed her a copy of a new government-issued photo ID.

Just days earlier, McLaurin revealed in an interview with The Washington Postthat after meeting and dancing with President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama in February, she had been invited to New York and Los Angeles for media interviews.

There was only one problem: McLaurin didn’t have the ID she’d need to travel by plane or train, and she didn’t have the appropriate documents to get one.

The Department of Motor Vehicles in D.C. said she would need documentation that proves her identity, such as a U.S. birth certificate, an unexpired passport or an unexpired military ID card, among other things. Now at the age of 107, McLaurin didn’t have any of the required documentation to get a D.C. photo ID. She once had one, but it was stolen awhile back, she told the Post. In order to obtain her birth certificate from South Carolina where where she was born, she discovered she would also need a government-issued photo ID.

Bowser heard about McLaurin’s ordeal and as a result, Washington, D.C. passed a new regulation on Monday that allows the city to make exceptions for elderly residents applying for a driver’s license or photo ID. Under the new regulation, D.C. officials will now have the discretion to make exceptions for federal requirements for any D.C. resident over the age of 70, whereby they can come up with other acceptable documents.

“Thank you. Thank the lord!” McLaurin said after they handed her the temporary version of the ID. She will receive the official version in the mail.

Asked how she was feeling, she said, “Great! I feel great!…I don’t feel like 107. I feel like I’m about 16.”

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 26, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

DC Metro May Shut Down Major Lines for 6 Months

The nation’s second busiest subway system may have to shut down service for 6 months in what could be a catastrophic outage for a system which carries 800,000 passengers a day. Once the nation’s crown jewel system, the problems that have brought Metro’ Subway System low are an accumulation of problems over years. About half of the blame rests with how the system is funded, the other half is based on gross incompetence at the middle and senior management level of the Authority.

Metro or the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority is an odd duck in terms of organization due to the fact that a significant portion of it’s budget comes from the Government. Which means Congressional oversight and piddling in the affairs of the company. The Company’s ownership is spread across the 7 jurisdictions it serves in the Washington Metropolitan area, including the Federal Government. The Federal Government is a player here because 53% of the passengers on the system are Federal Employees. As everything from fares to which communities are served is regulated, the company is designed never to make a profit (or even break even), and each served municipality pays a proportional part of the actual operating budget each year.

In function, the Transit Agency works like a Federal Government entity – meaning there is no motivation of the employees to either improve service, to make systems operate more efficiently, or to cut costs…Ergo the old $10,000 Toilet Seat issue. Massive cost overruns are the norm. Massive project failures are the norm. The recent Silver Line expansion ballooned from $1 billion to $3 billion, in large part due to project being managed by the corrupt Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority – a situation created because of lack of faith that Metro could manage such a large project. I mean when the Federal Government is going o take over your local transit authority – not only are things truly f’d up… But they are going to get a lot worse.

While, like any big dollar enterprise, there are incidents of corruption – even to the highest levels of the management structure, there is no evidence of any major corruption issue, or that corruption is the reason behind the Authority’s failure. It really boils down to incompetence within almost the entire senior management structure at the company’s headquarters. As such, confusion, lack of vision, lack of will, turf fights, nepotism, and duplicate organizational functions are the order of the day. And to clarify a point, very little of “the problem” has to do with the rank and file customer facing employees who in general believe in the mission of serving the community and often will go above board to make things right.

Accepting Federal money means the involvement of Congress. It also means Federal Agency Oversight, which in typical form tries to solve problems at the weed level instead of systemic. It means getting whipsawed by political trade winds in Congress, being victim to corruption at the Congressional Level, and dealing with Congressional fingers in the pie at any time. Ergo the Republicans want the system to operate without tax dollars or a fare hike (It’s the same magic which destroyed some of their own states), and the Democrats want the system to operate as a social good vehicle.

A major shutdown of the system could entail putting 500,000 cars onto the Washington area’s already gridlocked streets. It will cost the Federal Government and private businesses Billions of dollars in lost work and revenue. As a Management Consultant who has done rescues, turnarounds and restructurings of companies, and a former employee of Metro, I have a pretty good idea about what needs to be done…And it isn’t initially going to be pretty.

Lengthy Shutdowns in Washington, D.C., Metro System Are Possible

Repairs to Washington’s aging subway could require the closure of entire rail lines for months at a time, the system’s chairman, Jack Evans, said Wednesday. At the very least, Mr. Evans said, riders should expect the closure of segments of individual lines for extended periods.

His remarks were the latest indication that the system, known as Metro, will be facing significant service disruptions as its management confronts financial and safety problems.

“If we are going to fix the infrastructure, we can’t do it three hours at night,” Mr. Evans, who is also a member of the D.C. Council, said at a symposium marking Metro’s 40th anniversary.

“There may be decisions where we have to close down whole lines and repair them, which are going to be very unpopular,” Mr. Evans added. “But the only way that we are going to get this system fixed is to make unpopular decisions.”

Metro officials already closed the system for a day earlier this month for an emergency safety inspection.

Mr. Evans called the system “maybe safe, somewhat unreliable, and being complained about by everybody,” and said that its health long-term requires increased — and a permanent — source of financing, like a regional sales tax and annual federal contributions.

Paul J. Wiedefeld, Metro’s general manager, will announce a systemwide maintenance plan in four to six weeks, a Metro spokesman, Dan Stessel, said Wednesday.

Mr. Wiedefeld, in his own remarks at the Wednesday meeting, said the scale of the transit agency’s woes required drastic measures.

“What we have been doing has not been working,” he said. “We cannot Band-Aid, we cannot paper over some of these issues.”

Both men’s remarks were first reported by The Washington Post.

 

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: