13 Things We Like to Complain About That Are Actually Not All That Bad

Photo by PoPville flickr user ep_jhu

Finished off a bottle of tums while coming up with this list:

13. Hopslam/DC Brau/Craft Beer in general – yes it is more expensive than Budweiser but it is delicious.
12. The Washington Post – I don’t really get all the hate – I learn something new, interesting from them at least once a week if not once a day.
11. DC USA/Target – I like the ability to conveniently buy tube socks and toilet paper.
10. The Police Department – Like any organization there are good workers and bad workers – while some in the department are obviously an embarrassment, there are many many good hard working people doing very dangerous work to protect us.
9. Bike Lanes – The separation of bikes and cars is a good thing.
8. Hilton Brothers Restaurants/Bars (Marvin, Gibson, Chez Billy etc.) – These guys have taken over dilapidated spaces and transformed them into restaurants and bars that improve the blocks and neighborhoods in which they are located.
7. Pizza – the pizza really isn’t that bad these days. I’ll give you that the bagel scene still sucks, but I’m cool with the pizza.
6. Douglas Development – They’ve got a lot of historic properties. I get frustrated at how long it takes to develop some of them but I’m happy they are saved and not torn down.
5. Council Member Marion Barry – of today not the 90s – he represents many and reminds us that not everyone feels that the District is all roses and rainbows today.
4. Metro – As others have said too – whenever I visit my folks in NYC I come to seriously appreciate our metro despite its flaws.
3. Dunkin Donuts (and some other chains) – I love Dunkin Donuts what can I say. And I know a lot of others do too.
2. Real Estate – As we talked about last week, there are lots of good places to look, you may just have to go outside your comfort zone.
1. PoPville and our Commenters – Some of us, myself included, can be a serious pain in the ass (and worse) from time to time. Though the real pieces of work are not part of the community at all. They can be quite prolific but they are in no way representative of the real community. The real PoPville community that has slowly evolved over time are some of the most resourceful, helpful and supportive people I’ve ever read (even some and often especially some of the anonymous folks.)

92 Comment

  • Popville commenters are the worst! Ugh!

    • I’ve basically stopped reading DCist because of the commenters. PoPvilles at least generally engage on the issue, though I might disagree with some of their views or their passion for them. Over on DCist, it just seems like everyone is trying to make the wittiest joke without actually adding to the conversation. Feels like a Cool Kids Club I’m not cool enough to join.

  • Hugs, everyone!

  • binntp

    I’m glad to see someone else loves Dunkin’ Donuts 🙂

    • I love their coffee and Styrofoam cups, and I don’t care who knows it.

      • I love their coffee too! I spent a bit of time up in Boston for work and initially did not understand their love affair with DD. But I learned soon. I love the fact that I can walk to the one on 14th street now!

  • 14. Tourists. Yes, you drive me crazy. But your revenue is probably a good thing for DC. Just stand on the right of the escalator for the love of god.

    • Also, the tourists remind me of how lucky I am to live in a place that people will travel all over the world to see. I can WALK to see the WHITE HOUSE on my lunch break if I want! How amazing is that?! Seeing tourists all over just reinforces it for me. They keep me young 🙂

    • DC’s is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay cleaner and less crazy than NYC’s. I actually also like knowing when a train will arrive. Once we finally get rid of the carpeting on the Metro (which will not be on the new cars), we will be in arguably better.
      NYC does have 24 hour service, but the wait is usually 30 minutes late at night. I’m of the age where (1.) I’m not staying out that late regularly and (2.) if I am, I will just take a cab (I can afford it). So that’s a moot point. And yes, NYC’s does go more places. However, NYC is also 10x denser than DC, so it makes sense that they have a lot more stops and lines. As density grows in DC, we will also need to add more lines.

      • Oops, this was meant for the Anonymous below kvetching about DC’s metro.

      • NYC is not ’10x denser’ than DC. NYC has 10,600 people per square km, whereas the District has 4,000 people per square km.

        Therefore, NYC is 2.5 times more densely populated than DC, not 10 times more.

        • That might be the density for NYC as a whole, but Staten Island is large and largely empty. The density for Manhattan is 27,227 people per square mile, close to 7 times denser.

      • DC Metro is interesting (if you like brutalism) and clean. Other than that, it loses in every other respect to the NYC subway system.

        • Clean is nice. Air conditioning is nice. Seats in the stations that you actually want to sit down on are nice. Station managers and staff that will actually help you are nice. People might argue that last point, but I’ve needed help in DC and I’ve needed help in NYC. It’s a LOT easier to come by in DC. I LOVE the NYC train system, which, of course, has an advantage as being a much older system (i.e. What was the NYC train system like 35 years out?) but it hardly “loses on EVERY respect” compared to NYC.

          • I’ve also never seen any one defecate or openly masturbate on a Metro train in DC in my 5 years here. I experienced that a few times in the NYC subway.

  • I’m going to have to say that police are THAT BAD and the metro is awful, by design and made worse by its management and staff. How could you compare the DC metro to NYC’s! That is a real urban mass transit system, ours is a commuter rail.

    • Transit is soooo much cooler in NY.

    • I would trade a clean subway system for a comprehensive system any day of the week. I miss my express trains, 24 hour service, transfers all over the city, non hub-and-spoke system. DC metro is just #fail.

      • How much more would you pay for the convenience you desire?

        • Of course the NYC system has had a LOT longer than 35 years to build and perfect their system. Maybe when we’ve been around as long as they have they’ll meet your standards. I do wish we had 24 hour service though. That would be a huge plus for me.

          • Doesn’t this have to do with two track versus four track? I think they do some sorts of maintenance on tracks on all nights, so the multiple tracks enables 24/7

      • Perhaps you should try using the transit system somewhere like Baltimore — it might give you a somewhat different perspective. 🙂

      • Just about the only thing I miss about NYC is the subway. In NYC, I could get all the way uptown for a dr appointment, get a prescription filled, and eat lunch on my lunch hour. Here, I need to take half a day off when I have a dr appt. Yeah, the NYC subway is dirty and noisy, but it works. And Metro isn’t that clean anymore.

        I would gladly pay NYC prices if we had an equivalent transit system.

  • Thanks for sending us into the weekend on a positive note, PoP! I love these new Friday lists and I love the PoPville community.

  • Best list yet!

  • Good call on Metro. I generally love DC and its people (of all colors, incomes, and durations of residency), and the only time I feel myself agreeing with the sentiment that people in DC are spoiled and out of touch is when I hear them bitching about metro. It’s a pretty good system. Like every system, everywhere, for all of history, there’s room for improvement. But it’s still pretty good.
    Can’t get on board with your sentiments re: MPD, though. It’s The Worst.

  • I’m sorry, the Post’s local section is awful. Not only are articles on their website riddled (and in this case, I truly mean riddled) with typos, they have such few original stories, and everything is a day or two late after blogs like PoP etc report it. Forget about even trying to find any kind of crime stories in there. And don’t even get me started on the Going Out Guide, which today had an article on a Pakistani restaurant and then proceeded to label it as “Middle Eastern” cuisine. Does no one at the Post know how to tag properly, or do they need a map?

    • I wonder if anyone else on this free local news blog can figure out why the local newspaper’s metro coverage has deteriorated so badly?

      • The Metro section has sucked for ages. The reporters know zip about DC and hope to some more glamorous beat, like Woodward and Bernstein did. The Post often had weak feature sections and columns but its Op-Ed page is now a waxworks and, for a long time, the political coverage has been written by people obviously on GOP Hill staffer speed dial. DC has many good sources of local news–the Current and other traditional weeklies, CityPaper (despite its being gutted by out of town owners), specialized papers like the Blade. NY Times is superior for national and international coverage. The Post is just irrelevant.

        • “the political coverage has been written by people obviously on GOP Hill staffer speed dial.”

          Boy, there’s a Rashomon moment. IMO, the Post is almost of caricature of lame, identity-politics obsessed PC crusaders. All race and gender and class etc etc etc inequality, all the time. So strident, so tiresome.

          • Like Jennifer Rubin and chuckles Krauthammer and reports like Lori Montgomery who never found a Koch brothers men on health care she didn’t in a lede.

  • Re 5) Seriously though, if you’re not following Barry on twitter you’re missing out. It’s easy for newcomers (like me 5 yrs ago) to write him off as a joke but you once you read up on his history and read his tweets/public statements on poverty, development, class, race, etc., it’s not so hard to understand why he’s the Mayor for Life. Respect.

    Re 4) visit anywhere in N America and you’ll appreciate Metro. walking up escalators is not that big a deal

    • I Don’t do twitter – but I’ve lived in DC with Barry since 1985. I know that he was originally part of good things – but then he screwed up – a lot – and ultimately failed everyone. He helped set up a system of ultra low expectations, sinecures, sycophants and toadys that persists in crippling the govt. to this day.

  • Love these lists. I still think Marion Barry really is that bad, though. Ward 8 deserves someone who’s effective, competent, not a punch line, AND reminds us that not everyone is “all roses and rainbows”.

  • Douglas Jamal (Douglas Development) was indited by the US Attorney. And convicted of wire fraud.

    I am glad you like old pretty buildings but this man runs his company like the Mafia. He deserves the vitriol if not prison time.



  • Tell me more about this good pizza!!! (no really, I’m a lover, but I havent found wonderful pizza just yet)

  • Best bagels around that I have found are in Roslyn – Brooklyn Bagels. I drive from CH to Brooklyn Bagels on the weekends rather than eating the awful excuse for bagels found at Bagels and Baguettes. Wish BB would set up a shop in our hood. They are always packed.

    • THIS, 1000 times, THIS.

    • There is a pretty good jewish deli in Silver Spring, on Georgia Ave (or whatever it becomes) right before you get to 495. I don’t remember the name of it but it’s in a small strip mall on the left hand side of the street if you are headed North. They have excellent bagels.

      • Goldberg’s. Sadly, the only time I ever thought to try them, they were closed — on Saturday morning! Kosher bagel makers — who knew? I’m also partial to Georgetown Bagel Bakery, though only rarely in the mood to drive out to River Road in Chevy Chase.

      • What about Parkway? I’ve never had their bagels, but other things there — like the matzoh ball soup — are wonderful, so I’m guessing that they’d have high standards for the bagels.

    • is “CH” capitol hill, congress heights, or columbia heights?

    • Completely agree on both Brooklyn Bagel Bakery (which is in Court House, one Metro stop up from Rosslyn) and Goldberg’s. They are tied for best in the area.
      I used to live a block away from Brooklyn Bagel Bakery and still miss it so so much. Everything bagel with bacon, egg, and swiss, mmmmm.

    • Bagel Place in College Park has excellent bagels.

  • Agree with everything except for the Post. It has turned into a partisan echo chamber over the past few years. But glad to see they didn’t pay Ezra Klein is ridiculous fee.

    • You clearly haven’t read the Miami Herald. It’s a pathetic excuse for a newspaper, particularly one serving a large metropolitan area.

  • don’t get the hate on NYC subway. It’s so much more expansive than DC and runs around the clock. You have to got pretty far into the outburroughs to find underserved areas, unlike DC where you have whole relatively close-in neighboorhoods without a station within walking distance. Metro is cleaner and the elevators make it more accessible which is a big plus vs NYC subway. Single fare system (including transfers) is also a big edge.

    Neither have particularly good customer service.

    • Also, Metro has air conditioned stations. NYC’s stations during summer rush hours can get pretty uncomfortable pretty fast. That said, I “like” both systems.

  • Delivery pizza still sucks….at least on Capitol Hill.

  • 16. Mayor Gray. 😉

  • Cupcake shops. We know we all love a little gluttony.

  • My “Not All that Bad” list:

    1. Crime – I’ve lived in DC 20+ years and have been a victim of crime once, my car was broken into–in–gasp, Cleveland Park! Be alert, be care and be realistic.
    2. DC Government Employees including MPD – The current state is LIGHT YEARS better than it was in the 90s.
    3. Bagels – Really? Are the best ones even that good in comparisons to all the food stuff in the food universe? I can think of 1,000 food items better than the best bagel in the world.
    4. Real estate prices – They are what they are; deal with it.
    5. Retail in DC – Hello– the internet?? Order your crap online!
    6.Chinese and Mexican food – 99% of it is the same all over the country, including DC. (BBQ in DC, however, really does sux)
    7. Your job/your boss/your lack of career growth – You’re sitting in a cube goofing off half the day. Most of the world has it way worse than that.
    8. Suburbanites – The DC area is so compact, it’s silly to think there’s this huge cultural disconnect between urban and suburban. Heck, half of DC feels suburban.
    9. Grocery stores – There are dozens of choices. Shop where you like.
    10. Service at restaurants – It’s one meal, 2 hours out of your life. Give them a break for having a bad day.

  • Dunkin’ flavorless donuts w/o much body. KK just bad in a different way. Long gone Montgomery Donuts was much better.

  • Great list. Well, except for Dunkin Donuts–I don’t like donuts, and their coffee sucks. Otherwise spot on.

  • DC brau in the same breath as hopslam?

  • Not many people are going to agree with you on this one – DC Brau knows what they’re doing, and are highly rated by beer geeks and enthusiasts for good reason.

    • I agree with the comment. DCBrau is mediocre at best and I certainly have not found that “beer geeks” think highly of it at all. They are great marketers but only do-so brewers. Right Proper, on the other hand – Let’s see more places like that in DC.

    • Not sure which beer geeks you’re referring to, but the vast majority of the beer geeks I know think that DC Brau is middling.

      • Thank you for this. Overhop the shit out of everything does not a good beer make. Wings of Armageddon is the only rated beer. And yes, Right Proper and Three Stars are the only ones taking this discussion seriously these days. Well done for them. DCBrau is taking a corporate approach to their brewing before even barreling up. They are so market driven, they don’t give a crap about what they put out. They want to be the next Goose Island, but they won’t be bought out until they learn how to brew.

        • Agree. I hate that “craft beer” has in some cases become synonymous with hoppiness to the point of overdoing it.

      • Middling at best. The brewers freely admit to being in this business solely for the money, and it shows.

    • justinbc

      What you meant to say was that they’re highly plugged by the “beer geeks” in this area who happen to be friends with them. There are far better options in this city for local beer. DC Brau isn’t terrible, but falls somewhere in the middle, and they definitely have consistency issues.

  • Unfortunately, I have the pleasure of working for a DC government division that is still realing from the effects of Barry’s administration. The city doesn’t want to spend the money and deal with the legal hassles involved in turning it around, so it’s dying a slow, painful death. And having a negative impact on DC citizens. If you think Barry’s actions as mayor were benign and are not having a continued impact on DC think again.

    Oh, and Barry’s always done a spectacular job of orating on the problems of DC, but has never backed up that oratory with intelligent, sustainable actions.

  • It’s not everyday that I can entirely agree with something. Well said.

  • The Theatre scene….

    People complain about the art and Theatre scene in Washington. I lived in Chicago, which is known for theatre….and there WAS more theatre but of the scores of plays that my wife and i saw, there was only a few that we liked. To the contrary, i have always found the theatre in Washington to be high quality. Pricey but high quality.

    The art scene needs a bit more development however….

  • All of the local brews taste like Sierra Nevada. Nothing wrong with that (it’s one of my favorite beers) but I would rather have something different.

  • Agreed. DC Brau is not “middling.” It’s bad. A majority of the time, I would literally rather drink Bud Light than most of DC Brau’s brews. Bud Light has no flavor, which compared with DC Brau is a good thing.

    And honestly, who pays $12 for a six-pack of DC Brau when you can get just about any American microbrew of your choosing for that price?

    DC Brau would perhaps be better served by overhopping the shit out of their beers. They should really just do anything other than what they’re doing now.

  • I can agree to some degree with everything on this list except Marion Barry. He really is “all that bad.”

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