120 Comment

  • Keep DC weird? How original – way to rip off Austin’s slogan. I don’t understand the outrage, hardly anything has opened for years along that strip in Mt P. It’s not like the forthcoming Subway is displacing some cool, new hipster bar. Get over it.

    • Completely agree with this. Sure, I’d rather see something else there, but Subway is fine, will likely serve a need, and it will be nice to have something in that space. Every single storefront does not need to be some hipster nirvana setting to make a neighborhood or a city appealing.

    • I was just going to post something snarky about stealing Austin’s slogan, but you beat me to it. If you have to steal someone else’s slogan, you’ve lost.

    • my understanding is it coulda been something cool- but the owner if the building was holding out for a national chain

      • if you were a land lord or owner wouldn’t you hold out for the most money you can make? National chains bring money and proven success. I think subway food sucks but there are plenty of people in Mnt P who want super cheap food. Mnt P doesn’t have the demographics to support a Taylor (as an example). and you aren’t going to have that in that the future.

        • “Mnt P doesn’t have the demographics to support…” You’re joking, right? Tell me you’re joking.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Not joking. The types who live in MtP and eat at Taylor generally aren’t *in* MtP at the times when they’d like to eat at Taylor. MtP could probably handle another nice-ish dinner place, but as long as Taylor is the working example, I have to concur.

          • west_egg

            HaileUnlikely is correct. MtP does not have the population density or traffic to support a place like Taylor. DCUSA, on the other hand…

          • Population and density (which you’re using to really mean “foot traffic”) is different from demographics.
            If MtP could support a Pop’s Sea Bar, it could support a Taylor Gourmet. They’re the same demographic.

          • HaileUnlikely

            It’s more complicated than that. Yes they cater to the same demographic, but that demographic eats lunch downtown at Taylor and then goes to Pop’s in the evening. Taylor minus lunch crowd = nothing. Pop’s minus lunch crowd = Pop’s as you know it.

        • ercelia’s is cheap.

        • “Mt. Pleasant doesn’t have the demographics to support a Taylor’s …” are you high? Ya, the people gobbling up million dollar homes can’t support a higher end sub shop.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Subway, Tailor, and similar places do most of their business in the middle of the day, when those who live in MtP and are inclined to eat fancy expensive subs are out and about elsewhere. Neighbors with expensive homes don’t necessarily support high-end lunch options. See Cleveland Park for example.

          • “higher end sub shop” – weren’t we discussing Taylor? This statement might be accurate in 2009, but not anymore.

          • there are multiple reasons the commercial stripped has sucked for so long. yes the houses are a million dollars but its still not enough density at that SES level to make this a logan circle. For the most part, the higher density buildings are low income/latino, some of that is changing but not dramatically. The strip is quaint and tucked away so doesn’t generate a lot of random foot traffic. There is no real daytime employment (day laborers at 7-11 doesn’t count). Its why retail in Cleveland Park languished for so long, the residents were like “we are so rich why isn’t it better” it more than that. Subway needs either density, or a shit ton of day time traffic. Mnt P has neither. Not a value judgement, just a fact. I actually work in development and see this play out everywhere in neigbhorhoods that want better/different etc.

      • If by “national chain” you mean “as much money as possible,” then yes. The owner probably was. Just a guess but they were probably trying to figure out how to make money from their investment without regard to whether it would draw more hipsters

        • so they charge a higher rent for a national chain?

          • west_egg

            A national chain will not only pay a higher rent, but there’s also less risk of default and higher likelihood that the tenant will stick around for at least one renewal of a long-term lease.

          • it is hard to imagine the building owner is super suffering since the space has been empty for so long and they also own the best world and don juan’s storefronts.
            i am not overly subway opposed except i live very close and don’t like the smell- not a big deal. there are plenty of local businesses that aren’t hipster bars. i choose to support local businesses whenever possible- but also want other people to support whatever businesses they choose.
            either way the profane graffitti is uncool.

          • The owner was NOT holding out for a national chain, that’s simply not true. The old tenant was a local importer of Asian toys.

    • +1- instead of coming up with something original to protest this establishment with, they ripped off Austin. What a bunch of jabronis.

    • #keepdccasualduringnonworkinghours

    • Or Portlands. That is the thing, DC has never been weird. It’s a subway, seriously not a big deal.

      • As a native of Portland, I would like to point out keep Portland weird has been around since the 70s. Keep Austin weird was registered as a trademark in 2003 (and it strikes me as missing the point if you are going to register that as a trademark)

  • isn’t subway old and crappy enough to be embraced as retro and hip?

  • The attitude of “because if I don’t like it, no one should get to enjoy (benefit from, like, want, etc) it” is getting very old and annoying. Not just towards Subway, but towards everything in this town.

    • Agreed 100%. I’m glad the Wal-Marts have come into town, and actually would prefer some more fast food options in the main areas. 14th street did okay when the Subway/Dunkin came in and the McDonalds has held strong, but they’ve added too many hipster fancy restaurants on that strip. I was sad to see Pizza Hut go from Columbia Road in AdMo. I grew up on that stuff. Now we have to deal with condos!

    • This is definitely not unique to DC. It’s classic liberal NIMBYism, which is somehow okay if it’s an evil corporation that you’re trying to keep out of your neighborhood.

      • Hardly unique. I know people in a town of 500 that would put up a huge fuss about a Subway, or any chain fast food, moving in.

    • Agreed. Frankly, I often wish that I could get taco bell or something cheap rather than only having access to Chipotle/other ~$10/meal chains.

      • Yesss!! More Taco Bells in DC would be amazing

      • Not snark, but here’s what I do at Chipotle: skip the drink. Turn that $9.50 meal into a $7.50 meal. Carry your burrito out and drink water instead. You could also ask for a cup for water.

        It’s all high fructose corn syrup in those soda dispensers. You don’t need that.

        A Chipotle burrito or bowl is definitely worth $7.50. Skip the soda!

        • This is a good rule of thumb no matter where you’re dining – at Chipotle, a fancy-schmancy steakhouse, or at your own house.

        • Dude, that’s what EVERYONE does at Chipotle. I may have eaten one inside the restaurant one time in my life. This is not a life hack, it’s how everyone else does this

    • I’ve read a number of the replies to my comment, and I think I should clarify what I meant. My point wasn’t about the availability of fast food. It’s that people expect everyone to have the same opinions and preferences that they themselves have. If you don’t want to eat at Subway, don’t. If you don’t want to live in a condo, don’t. If you don’t want to shop at Whole Foods, don’t. But don’t try make me feel bad, or paint me as a jerk because I do(or don’t!) want to!

      • The problem is that it is a zero-sum game. As rents go up and space becomes scarcer, every Subway or Chipotle or TD Bank or whatever becomes one less potentially-interesting business. And eventually, you become Ballston. We’re well on our way already.

        • PDleftMtP

          The problem with this logic is that it assumes that if only you keep out the evil TD Bank branch, it magically turns into a viable funky little shop that everybody loves. There is zero evidence that blocking chains creates other businesses, and plenty of other spaces on Mt Pleasant and Columbia Road that have failed to transmogrify over the last several decades (or are still available should you happen to have a pocket full of pixie dust). And a run-down, low-density strip isn’t good for other new businesses either – it is not a zero-sum game in a world where there’s lots of un- or under-developed space.

          “Stop Subway” is not a development strategy for Mt. Pleasant Street.

  • I’m wondering how no one saw this as they were doing it? I don’t really get the outrage either and I live 2 blocks from here. I doubt the folks that did this even live in Mt. P haha

  • Yeah! Screw you, poors! No dining option for you! #keepdcweird! #andrichandwhite!

  • Has anyone, ever, in the history of DC described it as weird though? I mean, I love DC but we are about as straight laced as it gets.

    • I have never felt DC was ever “weird” so this version of a “protest” makes not real sense to me.

    • Exactly. Whenever I travel to any other American city (not just SF or Austin, but even Atlanta, Houston, etc) I’m struck by the rich diversity of weird folks totally lacking here, most outwardly visible in the prevalence of facial piercings and tattoos, and attire other than business suits.

      Perhaps by “weird” the tagger here was just lamenting potential loss of the decades-old urine and garbage in the alley next to this and all the other long-abandoned, completely wasted storefronts on Mt. P st.

      • you’re looking in the wrong neighborhoods if you’re not finding anyone with facial piercings and tattoos.

        • I don’t consider facial piercings and tattoos weird though. In fact, I’d say I know more people with tattoos than without, and in the schools where I work I’d say a majority of the female teachers have some sort of facial piercing. Maybe 10 or so years ago it was weird, but now it is the norm.

        • And ultra lame if you think tatoos & piercings are a symbol of individuality! They are now exactly the opposite.

      • But most of those weird folks are woefully under employed. I see a lot of bizarre types in DC, and some trying desperately to be, but most are working professionals who have to look normal to be successful.

        I guess weird piercings are fun to look at but probably not great as a foundation for a successful neighborhood. It’s all just facadez anyway.

    • Back in the day it was, and especially at night. So much of that has gone away, and people who moved in after the 90’s never got to see it.

      • Right but that was 20 years ago and I’m guessing anyone dumb enough to do this was not alive then :p

    • Agreed. DC was never weird. The only place more straight laced than DC is probably Salt Lake City.
      Also, nothing on 14th Street is for “hipsters.” It’s 100% wealthy, privileged yuppies. Real hipsters live in Brightwood and Takoma Park. And they wouldn’t be caught dead at a place on 14th (‘cuz they can’t afford it).

      • Salt Lake is incredibly bland, but so too is Atlanta, Minneapolis, Denver, and most all of L.A. not to mention most all suburbs as well as many other cities.

        I travel all over the country. I don’t get why people think DC is so bland. It’s really much funkier and livelier than all but a handful of mostly much larger cities.

        • You’re doing something wrong in LA then. And I say that as a norcal native who has no fondness for LA.

          • Ask anyone who lives there if you haven’t spent much time yourself – L.A. is almost entirely generic suburbs. There’s a little funk near the water but not a lot.

        • Minneapolis is usually ranked as one of the most hipster cities across the country. If you can’t find “weird” there you’re not looking very hard…

          • Hipsters are mostly just folks who grew up in bland suburbs and are rebelling. That’s not really weird.

            Everytime I’ve been to Minneapolis it’s been profoundly generic by east coast standards. Very boring downtown and pretty staid neighborhoods. Oh, and Mall of America, which kinda says it all.

          • PDleftMtP

            Agree. You’re in the wrong parts of Minneapolis. Downtown is irrelevant – that’s like saying “I went out on K Street last Saturday night, and man, was it dead.”

        • maxwell smart

          LA is bland? Yeah… okay. Did you perhaps never leave the confines of Santa Monica?

          • Tell me where. I’ve been all over L.A. It’s mostly malls and subdivisions and sitting in traffic.

      • Sorry you missed 1940-90’s!

    • Exactly. DC is like the hyper-professional student president. I mean keep DC Nerdy would be appropriate. Weird…not so much.

  • I’m quite certain that the “weird” these people are talking about isn’t the Austin cool weird, but creepy, unsettling weird.

  • And it’s not hard to figure out exactly who’s responsible for this so-called campaign. They should be held responsible for removing the graffiti.

  • When was DC ever weird? Mt. Pleasant is many things – weird isn’t one of them.

    • Mt. P is definitely a little weird, but not Austin weird.

      • Austin actually isn’t weird. Maybe by Texas standards but it’s a pretty genetic city with a music scene that peaked in the 90s. I’d say we have more funkiness going on in DC.

        • 30 years ago, definitely. But these days, DC has pretty much been whitewashed by real estate interests and overpriced, homogenous mini-chains of bars and restaurants. You’d have to go pretty deep into the suburbs to find any sort of “funkiness.”

          • For every chain that opens, there’s more than one local bar or retailer with good character in DC. It’s not becoming Tyson’s.

        • I travel to Austin monthly for work and its weirdness is being buried under truckloads of tech dollars. It’s a great city in a lot of ways but there’s a reason the slogan “keep Austin weird” exists – because the weirdness is going bye-bye.

          • For better or worse, Austin is the most bro-tastic place in the country right now in part because of the tech boom there. Despite being the hub of tech and having absurd market rate rents, SF has done a much better job of “keeping weird.”

      • PDleftMtP

        It was a little weird when I moved there 20 years ago and there were a lot more group houses. But only a little.

    • Seriously. DC is the polar opposite of Austin in just about every way.

    • Well according to every DC-related article by the NY Times, we had riots in 1968, and a mayor that was arrested for smoking crack. That pretty weird!!!

  • No excuse for graffiti. Shame on whoever did this.

  • I don’t get it. Subway is a good choice if you make minimum wage. Heck, it was our once a month treat when we were growing up. Splitting two foot-longs was all we could afford sometimes. We avoided “family owned” and “traditional latin places” b/c (i) they were never as good as home; (ii) expensive compared to subway; (iii) no consideration for health or other regulations. Now that I can afford small plates on 14th for almost every meal, should I choose to, I still go to subway once in a while to remember the good old days.

    buu to these haters.

    • This again? It’s fine if you want to eat at Subway, but pretending like it’s some sort of savior for “poor people” is ridiculous. The food is over processed and unhealthy, and isn’t that cheap compared to cooking your own food.

      • HaileUnlikely

        So we should protest its existence and graffiti their property? That sounds like an adult approach.

      • You really don’t know anything about being poor.
        “Being poor” means being able to afford a $5 footlong (which, btw, hits every food groups), but not being able to afford spending $20 on groceries to make a full proper meal.
        Poverty is a cycle of crappy compromises.

        • @HaileUnlikely- The graffiti is stupid. I do not support the graffiti.
          @Anonymous- Actually, being poor is not being able to afford to waste $5 on a footlong. I ate for $20 per week for several years and it never involved something as wasteful as a Subway sandwich. My crappy compromise was beans and rice. It sucked.

          • There is an important fundamental difference between being a “poor” single student or recent grad vs being a low-income working adult supporting a family.

          • You’re right, there is. But Subway, or cheap fast-food, isn’t the answer to poverty and food insecurity.

      • palisades

        I think this is the same person as last time. They have a weird, weird relationship with Subway.

      • Hi! *actual* poor person here! In hopes to educate you on what it’s like to be poor, let’s break this down, shall we? Let’s say I have $10 in my pocket until payday, which is tomorrow for argument’s sake, and I need to feed myself and my three kids dinner. I don’t get off work until 5pm, and since I commute (a mixture of walking and metro), I usually don’t get the kids from school until 6pm. My choices are limited; I can stop at Yes on the way to the bust stop with three tired, hungry kids and get a $6 bag of organic chicken tenders and maybe some of the cheap veggies (you know, the ones that are about to go off and are off to the side) which I can cook up for my kids when we get home around 6:30, hoping that the free supper they got is enough to tide them over and allow them to concentrate on homework; option two is the McDonalds, option three is the Subway. Now, both McDonald’s and Subway are going to be the front runners because I have been working all day and I am too tired to cook. McDonald’s is out because the grease content sets off my stress-related acid reflux. Subway becomes the healthy-ish alternative. I can feed my kids with the $10 in my pocket and a quarter I find on the street. They get a treat of eating out (small plates? our small plates are when dinner is served on salad plates instead of dinner plates to make it appear as if everyone is getting decent sized portions), I actually get to eat instead of making sure they eat first and going to bed hungry, and we get home in a decent time to do homework, take baths, etc and still get to bed at a decent time.
        This is reality. beans and Rice may be great for someone who is by themselves and ok with eating the same thing over and over; but Subway is really a savior of the poor for single mom and poor people who every now and then just want their kids to be able to feel normal.

        • Yep, I was an actual poor person until very, very recently. I get it, McDonald’s was my Subway growing up, and I also remember times during the month when money was too tight even for McDonald’s. Fast-food isn’t a solution for poverty, though, and we shouldn’t hail Subway as a means to fix food insecurity.

  • Affordable deli sandwiches make me so angry!

  • More than half of the storefronts in Mt. Pleasant are unappealing and desolate. There are a few gems but I never really venture over there and I live three blocks away. I would love to see some new businesses in Mt. Pleasant – chains or otherwise. If it looked as charming as the neighborhood, I might frequent it more often. Plus, I’d rather see a Subway there rather than graffitied swear words.

  • I think Adams Morgan down the street has shown you can have national changed mixed in with authentic local restaurants, retail, and bookstores without losing the character of the neighborhood.

    I mean, how many people even know there’s a Burger King in Adams Morgan, much less visit it?

  • There is a Subway in Takoma Park, for god’s sake. Nobody out-NIMBYS Takoma Park!

  • Hot take: This is too cheesy and obviously stupid to be real. Maybe this was perpetrated by Subway supporters in the hopes of garnering sympathy against the anti-Subway protests?

  • There an activist element in D.C. – primarily anarchists and anti-capitalists – that has an irrational, knee jerk reaction to any sort of profit-making enterprise in the city, ESP. if the enterprise has a corporate logo that we’ve seen before. No amount of logic is necessary. They protest and organize against capitalism because that’s what they enjoy doing. It doesn’t matter how absurdly pointless such protesting is.

  • I don’t get the fuss. Subway is better than 7-11, which has been a convenient place for bums to drink, piss in public, and hang in front of for 20+ years. Beyond that, WP reported that Subway is doing horrible these days anyway, so its not likely this one is going to be around long.

    • MtP has not attracted a lot of chains and a lot of people want to keep it that way. The neighborhood has the fortune/misfortune of being between Columbia Heights and Adams-Morgan which have much bigger concentrations of businesses and foot traffic, so MtP has not been an attractive place for chains. the population has remains fairly diverse in terms of income and race/ethnicity—the shops have tended to attract the less affluent and non-white/Anglo. It’s less pronounced than in the past but still rather true. Interesting businesses grow in environments where chains don’t want to go. The bourgeois sentiment here comes from people who want Mt Pleasant street to be more to their liking. Subway is far from upscale, but chains lead to jacked-up rents and drive out the laundromats, car repair places, etc. that cater to people’s everyday needs.

      • One could argue that the shops in MtP attract less affluent individuals because they don’t offer products that people with more money want. That Beau Thai is doing so well is a testament to the previously unsatisfied demand for higher-quality food options. There are a LOT of cheap places to eat on the strip.

      • PDleftMtP

        The “Mt Pleasant would be doing great if only the chains would leave it alone” point of view seems to be somewhat undermined by several decades of reality.

  • There was a recent article in the New Yorker about local businesses getting pushed out by rapidly increasing rents, and how the building owners preferred holding out for national chains. Though Subway is very different and less revenue-generating than a bank, it does show how someone may be willing to let their lot sit vacant. DC would have to really up its blight game in order to force owners to do something with vacant properties.


  • I love MTP. But seriously? If perhaps Subway got put in over a different option, maybe there’d be reason for all this. But it was an empty storefront. Yeah, the food might not be the best, but I can remember going there growing up as a “treat”. Now I can afford to eat at all the local places, and thoroughly enjoy the DC dining scene.

    But if anything, the new Subway speaks to the awesomeness of MTP. It’s such a diverse group of neighbors. Some will never step foot in the Subway… but you know what? Some will never step foot in Each Peach either.

    Serving 1 part of the community while ostracizing the other is boring. MTP is weird BECAUSE we’re diverse. Culturally, ethnically, economically. So good for the neighborhood. Just buy your chips at Best World… way cheaper! 😉

  • In fairness to the graffiti writer, the slogan “Keep Austin Weird” originated as part of an effort to encourage the growth of local businesses in Austin. While “Keep DC Weird” is unoriginal, it is in keeping with the theme of the original use.

  • I am neutral on this. but I wanted to point out that very least the Subway store front blends into the street escape of Mount Pleasant. What is more concerning is this:
    auto garage on Mount Pleasant’s main drag could be slated for redevelopment.

    Architect Richard Foster presented plans Tuesday night to ANC 1D on behalf of a client who is considering purchasing Mount Pleasant Auto Repair at 3054 Mount Pleasant Street NW (map), and developing the property into a six-unit condo project with ground-floor retail.

    The three-story condo section would sit back from the street and consist of three one-bedroom units and three duplexes. The project would have three parking spaces and there is the possibility that the building would have a roof deck.

    Foster presented the concept to ANC 1D to obtain feedback prior to filing for concept review with the Historic Preservation Review Board, which his client plans to do this week. While the presentation was informational, there were a few concerns from the audience about the design of the project. Foster told UrbanTurf earlier in the day that the team may change plans based on the reaction of the ANC.

  • I am stand neutral on this issue. But, I have to say that least the Subway storefront will blend in with the rest of the buildings on Mount Pleasant Street. I would be more concerned about the ugliness of this:

    auto garage on Mount Pleasant’s main drag could be slated for redevelopment.

    Architect Richard Foster presented plans Tuesday night to ANC 1D on behalf of a client who is considering purchasing Mount Pleasant Auto Repair at 3054 Mount Pleasant Street NW (map), and developing the property into a six-unit condo project with ground-floor retail.

    The three-story condo section would sit back from the street and consist of three one-bedroom units and three duplexes. The project would have three parking spaces and there is the possibility that the building would have a roof deck.

    Foster presented the concept to ANC 1D to obtain feedback prior to filing for concept review with the Historic Preservation Review Board, which his client plans to do this week. While the presentation was informational, there were a few concerns from the audience about the design of the project. Foster told UrbanTurf earlier in the day that the team may change plans based on the reaction of the ANC.

  • Subway doesn’t have a deep fryer or a grill, so there are less foul odors than other fast food restaurants.

  • The only thing weird about DC is the abnormal number of NIMBYs who think their preferences should dictate the direction of an entire neighborhood, despite the fact that they are generally not the majority. The sanctimony is fantastically, disturbingly weird. Slow clap, dillholes.

  • This guy is going to be pretty busy if he keeps this up. The largest Subway developer in the country recently bought up the development rights in the DC metro area and is planning to open several more: http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/top-shelf/2015/04/meet-the-new-face-of-subway-in-the-dmv.html
    If this Subway is anything like the one in our neighborhood, it will be empty most of the time so you won’t even have to worry about it generating litter. Seriously, I can’t imagine getting this worked up about a Subway. Even if you’ll never want to go in there, it’s pretty harmless and not worth this much energy.

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