“Dear PoPville,

What is the mysterious structure that they are currently building on the 625 T street, NW lot (facing the Howard Theatre) ? a few days ago, they fenced the lot and brought wood – some painted green and a few people are working on building something: since then they have been working on a mysterious structure.”

and @AlexMurray1 tweets us the photo below:

“@PoPville any ideas what they are building in front of Howard theater? I thought it was going to be a small park?”

Anyone know if this anyway related to the possible HR-57 development or more of a temporary unrelated pop up?



“Dear PoPville,

I have a mystery for the residents of D.C.

Currently, The now closed Latham Hotel and its adjoining restaurant, Michel Richard’s Citronelle, are liquidating all of their assets (they will be doing so for the next 3 weeks).
The location is in Georgetown and I think people will find the sale interesting. As they unload a hotel’s worth of items, some curious things are going up for sale. Amongst the silverware, artwork, furniture, and statuary there was this:

A 300 pound bronze-cast plaque.

It is being sold-off…One of the ladies suggested purchasing it for its scrap value…Still no one knows who the image depicts.
Aside from what is seen here, there are no maker’s marks at all on the front or the back. Can anyone identify this person?”

Ed. Note: Obviously, free PoPville t-shirt for the first one to get the identity right.

Latham Hotel at 3000 M Street, NW


“Dear PoPville,

I was sitting on my girlfriend’s balcony this morning on Clifton Street when a random rental truck pulled up with a man-lift in tow behind it. It was a big rental moving truck from Penske and the lift also seemed to be from a heavy equipment rental service. Two guys in plain work clothes jumped out and used the lift to go up to the city street light. Initially I thought they were contractors changing a bulb, but instead they attached this bizarre device to the top of the street light. It looks to be some kind of transmitter/receiver, but it seemed odd to me that if this was a sanctioned city job that the guys were not in a public works truck or uniform of some sort. They worked pretty fast- were on the move again in about 10 minutes (seems to efficient to be government- hah!). Do you have any idea what this device is?

It is a bit unnerving that anyone who wants to rent a truck and a lift could attach some kind of receiver to a street light and go mostly unnoticed. Someone with malicious intent and the correct know how could be intercepting calls/texts/emails or wifi signals in the neighborhood with something like this and no one would be the wiser.”

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 1.26.04 PM

Another reader sends an interesting sight also from Q Street in Logan:

“I somehow have never noticed these breezeways between the row houses on Q street before. You always seem to have the answers to odd architectural finds around town, any idea what the story is behind these?”

I always seem to have the questions not the answers :) I actually have posted this same question in the past but I have no idea what the answer was and can’t seem to find it in the archives. Anyone remember?

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 1.26.26 PM


On Friday @mikedeliso tweeted us the photo above and asks:

“@PoPville you have any idea what this balloon is? Shot from 20th and q at the DuPont north exit.”

And last night @chatelainedc tweets with an even eerier photo:

“I really want to know what the white circular thing w/ a suspended light floating in the sky over Dupont is. Anyone?”

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 10.33.32 AM

We first started spotting these balloons back in 2009 and learned they were from Air Photos Live, a “Digital Design & Imaging Service”. Then last May we noticed more balloons over and around the arboretum. At that time we learned from the DC Office of Planning:

PoPville: The balloon was launched by Digital Design and Imaging Inc. to take aerial photos of the District’s skyline as part of the joint Height Master Plan the DC Office of Planning and the National Capital Planning Commission are conducting in response to a Congressional request. The Mayor issued a press release yesterday announcing the consultant teams working with the District on this study. DDIS is one of our consultants for the Height Master Plan modeling analysis. For more information on the study, please visit http://www.ncpc.gov/heightstudy. The Mayor’s press release about the consultants is here: http://mayor.dc.gov/release/mayor-vincent-c-gray-announces-districts-consultant-teams-study-citys-building-heights

–Tanya Stern, Chief of Staff, DC Office of Planning

This morning @chatelainedc updates us with the latest from Digital Design and Imaging Inc.

“email I got from DDI “It was a unmanned aerostat balloon, shooting L’Enfants layout of streets in the crisp wintery air”

So it’s not the aliens, for now…