GEORGETOWN BID's TOP 10 OF 2016
Slow clap to you, 2016. You got us good.
The first few months had some real bright spots. Mostly, Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar after approximately 52 years in the business, and we all felt at peace.
And then Prince died, and the rest of the year kind of followed suit.
And yet, for all the rough patches in the world (get it TOGETHER, Rory!), the Georgetown BID had so many wonderful moments. Moments with our residents, visitors, readers and BID members that deserve a second look.
In no particular order, we present, the Georgetown BID's Top 10 of 2016...
10. Those giant drink umbrellas.
This just in—we’re being told they were actually parasols. You may have seen them around this summer as part of our pilot ParasolShare program, aimed at improving the visitor experience and inviting customers to shop Georgetown and stay cool. The program encouraged shoppers to beat the heat by picking up a parasol at one of nearly 50 participating stores, restaurants, galleries and hotels across Georgetown’s commercial district before *returning* them on their way out. A few of those parasols grew legs and escaped Georgetown, later spotted in Dupont. ParasolShare 2.0 will be back this summer. Nancy Miyahira, our Vice President & Marketing Director, welcomes new ideas--as well as the return of parasols on the lam.
9. A Viking funeral.
OK, we didn’t light the Georgetown canal boat on fire, but we did send it off into the sunset. After many honorable years of service—aka many, many school field trips—the popular boat was pulled by mules one last time to make way for a brand new boat in 2018. The tow-out marked the official start of an 18-month restoration of the one-mile section of the C&O Canal that runs through Georgetown. Led by Georgetown Heritage and our Destination Manager, Maggie Downing, the restoration will also include repairs to Locks 3 and 4 and the development of a Master Plan to guide further revitalization. You can't get out of a historical trip down memory lane that easily, kids.
8. Cute old Italian men crossing the Potomac.
We (more specifically, CEO & President Joe Sternlieb) just want to clear it up ONE more time: That gondola you’ve heard so much about? It’s not the Venetian boat kind…it’s the aerial tram kind. As part of the Georgetown 2028 plan, this year the Georgetown and Rosslyn BIDs released a feasibility study for a gondola that would connect the Georgetown and Rosslyn commercial districts. As it turns out, the gondola is in fact feasible! It’s also Georgetown’s best shot at any sort of metro station for the next 40+ years. Still stuck on that Venetian fantasy? Our Transportation Director, Will Handsfield, will look into operators wearing striped shirts.
7. You get a croissant! You get a croissant!
That Oprah moment is the gift that keeps on giving. So, too, is the Georgetown French Market—which celebrated its 13th iteration in late April. The annual springtime open-air market expanded to a three-day festival in 2016, featuring more than 40 small businesses in the 1400-1600 blocks of Wisconsin Ave. From sidewalk sales, to French fare and live music in the charming Book Hill area of Georgetown, it was a weekend full of crepes, baguettes and croissants. OUI, please!
6. That E.T. photo opp.
You give someone a backdrop of the night sky, an E.T. doll in a bike basket and permission to climb on to take a picture, and you may as well have given them the world. We had such a fun summer hosting our second annual Sunset Cinema outdoor movie series featuring iconic movies filmed in and around national parks (happy 100th anniversary, NPS!), and one of our top moments was watching everyone line up to pose with America’s favorite alien. Never underestimate the power of 80s nostalgia (or the talent of our Events Director, Debbie Young).
5. Dancing on a lawn full of strangers.
We hosted a Silent Disco a few weeks ago outside of Grace Church and we have to say, it was one of the best BID moments of the year. It was below freezing and it didn’t even matter; as we looked around at the sea of glowing headsets and bobbing heads, the night felt pretty perfect. In fact, just about all of Georgetown GLOW has felt that way this year—our third annual run of the public outdoor light-art exhibition, which expanded to the full month of December with a grant from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities. Our Communications Director, Lauren Boston, is particularly thankful for the Frozen play on words she's run into the ground. She's just can't let it glow.
4. One coffee shop per square foot.
If we haven't already applied for 'Coffee and cupcake capital of the country,' we ought to look into it. 2016 brought even more caffeine and sugar to Georgetown, thanks to Grace Street Coffee and Peet's Coffee, plus the soon-to-open Blue Bottle Coffee, Laduree and Boulangerie Christophe. Remember to throw some carrots and broccoli in the mix every now and again. Of course, sweet treats were just the tip of the iceberg. We had so many new restaurants, small businesses and big names that made their 2016 debut. M still comes before U, you know--and not just in the alphabet.
3. A lottttt of spandex bike shorts.
We must remind ourselves this is a good thing. Some of the region's best trails converge in Georgetown, and this year we made it easier than ever to travel by bike. In 2016 we introduced a bike parking map, bike fixit repair station and more bike racks throughout the commercial district, in addition to sponsoring a Bike to Work Day pit stop in May. Listen, we know it's hard to find car parking in Georgetown, in the same way it's hard to find your soulmate. You search and search and search, and just when you're ready to give up, something appears. Why not save yourself the aggravation and just start biking? (The metaphor breaks down here...you probably still need to date.)
2. The end of Prohibition.
Well, it felt that way. The BID led the effort to end the 26-year-old liquor license moratorium in 2016, in partnership with the ANC and CAG. Restaurants can now get a liquor license in Georgetown the same as in any other neighborhood in DC. At least three restaurants have applied for--or are planning to apply for--a license, and we expect more to follow in the future. Cheers to the BID's Economic Development Manager, Jamie Scott, for his role in this! We raise our glasses to you.
1. An explosion of holiday cheer.
Santa's elves (aka John Wiebenson and company) toiled away to ensure 2016's holiday decor is better than ever, with wreaths on every lamp post and lights dotting the roof lines of most buildings. A special thanks to BID Board members Ed Solomon of Anthony's Tuxedos and Crystal Sullivan of Georgetown Suites for championing these efforts! We challenge any and all grinches to pass through Georgetown and not break a smile.