Riddles encountered on today’s travels around town

The view from the window at Windows Cafe

–How did Ledroit Park (or Bloomingdale, as some seem to call it) wind up developing? It’s compressed into a small area around 4th and T NW and is very isolated from other developments around town; I rode through there on my bike and thought I was in California for a second–and then whoosh, it was gone.

–What’s up with Ethiopian cafe owners? Seems like all the newish cafes in town are owned by Ethiopians: Cafe Sureia in Brookland, Windows Cafe on 1st and Rhode Island NW, Azi’s on 9th NW, Sidamo Coffee and Tea on H St NE, and I think I saw a new cafe on Georgia around Irving. Oh, and Columbia Heights Coffee was bought by an Ethiopian couple about a year ago. Not complaining, that’s for sure–just curious and impressed.

–What’s going on at the corner of V and 14th street, catty corner from Busboys and Poets? There’s often a big crowd there–mostly black folks, but not the glamorous hipster crowd that hangs out at B&P. I’ve seen that crowd many times but there’s no sign indicating anything interesting there.

–Does Metro have express trains now? And if so, why does the red line express skip the Bethesda station, of all places?

–Why do train operators tell passengers, while the train’s in motion, how many cars the train has (as in, “This is an 8 car train”), when it’s illegal to move between trains?

–Is owning a home really so much better than renting, when you add everything up? If the only affordable houses are so far off in the suburbs that riding metro–post-fare hike–costs up to $10/day, and driving and parking cost double that and climbing, can you really argue it’s so worth it?

4 Comments so far

  1. dctraveler on May 1st, 2008 @ 1:33 pm

    I think I can answer the train riddle. I have taken 4 car, 6 car, and 8 car trains. If I know the length of the train, then I know how far to stand so the train does not pass me by (leaving me to run to the last car). Or, in the specific case of the 4 car at rush hour (yes, they do exist), I can anticipate that it will be packed so I may want to wait for the 8 car. Maybe, there are other reasons?

  2. Carl Weaver (carlweaver) on May 1st, 2008 @ 2:29 pm

    What? You were on a train that skipped Bethesda? I come up here every day for work and never had such luck. Let me know when you get on and I will join you. At least then I would have an excuse for being late to work. But really when you look at all angles, there are only a few reasons to go to Bethesda and about 50 reasons not to, so you pretty much got the long end of that stick.

  3. amandaa on May 1st, 2008 @ 6:23 pm

    Hmm…about the first answer, regarding the cars, that does make sense when you’re waiting–but in this case the conductor kept repeating it as we were riding between stations. I’m just not clear on why that’s useful to those of us already on the train.

    And regarding Bethesda…the guy said, "This is an express train; we will not be stopping at Bethesda." We also skipped the Twinbrook stop, which was my stop, but he let us know at the stop right before it so we all got out and boarded the next train, which came in 2 minutes. Odd.

  4. acrover on May 2nd, 2008 @ 12:55 pm

    I have been on "Express" trains that have skipped stops. I had thought that they did that when they were running behind schedule. That is until the day the driver left the mic on by mistake. You could hear him talking about how he was due to be off 10 minutes earlier so he was skipping some stops. I wonder if this is encouraged by Metro?

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