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“details on the city’s first ParasolShare program”

by Prince Of Petworth June 16, 2016 at 11:20 am 57 Comments

Umm – umm. Ahhh. Let me see here. Hmmmm. Uhhhh. Let me just share (pun absolutely not intended) the details…

From a press release:

“The Georgetown Business Improvement District is pleased to announce Georgetown ParasolShare, a courtesy program aimed at improving the visitor experience and inviting customers to “Shop Georgetown and Stay Cool,” beginning June 17. The program, the first of its kind, embraces the ever-growing sharing economy and welcomes visitors to use and ‘share’ a custom-branded nylon parasol as they shop, then return it to a participating location as they leave Georgetown. Close to 50 participating stores, restaurants, galleries and hotels across the commercial district from M Street to Wisconsin Avenue, side streets, and along K Street, are participating.

“There’s no doubt about it: in Georgetown, we love our shoppers,” said Joe Sternlieb, Georgetown BID CEO. “By coupling the ParasolShare program with other shopper amenities such as the M Street weekend sidewalk widenings and free weekend Circulator rides, we hope the visitor experience will be as comfortable as possible. This has been a really fun and creative idea for our organization to develop and to bring our community of both local, homegrown merchants and national retailers together. If it’s embraced by the public, we’d love to bring it back next season.”

With D.C.’s reliably hot and humid weather during the summer months, the parasols are intended to provide a more comfortable pedestrian experience, by offering protection from the sun. Visitors and shoppers are encouraged to pick up, use, and then drop off a parasol at participating businesses from June 17th through August.

A full list of participating ParasolShare locations is on the next page, as well as on the BID’s website at www.georgetowndc.com/parasolshare. Be sure to join in the conversation by following @OfficialGeorgetownDC on Instagram, @georgetowndc on Twitter, and use the hashtags #GeorgetownParasolShare and #BeatTheHeat.”

  • Anonymous

    This is the perfect solution for when I need something to whack other pedestrians in the head with for an hour or so, but I don’t want to carry it around with me all day.

  • JohnH

    It gets really hot driving in your air conditioned car, walking 50 feet to stores pumping air conditioning and then returning to your air conditioned car. The struggle.

  • ha


  • Hill Denizen

    This is the most Georgetown thing I’ve ever seen.

    • Truxton Thomas


  • Nathan

    Oh great. As if navigating the sidewalks of Georgetown wasn’t difficult enough, now they’re going to be blocked with people obliviously using parasols.

    • mcd

      I hate when it rains downtown because for some reason people don’t know how to use an umbrella without whacking everyone around them, and being a taller guy it is right about face/eye level for me.

      • AntiAlias

        mcd: Sorry. Sincerely, short guy with an umbrella

        • mcd

          Haha. Apology accepted- but please, when wielding an umbrella, think of the tall people.

      • [rrrrr]

        Same boat. Though I cannot hate people oblivious to the tall more than people with umbrellas who take up all the space under awnings, and don’t move out of the way for people without umbrellas.

        • victoria

          Maybe they can get Mary Poppins parasols and everyone will just float around.

  • emvee

    Nice hyperlink and tag, Prince. I say this with nothing but sincerity.

  • textdoc

    This sounds all right (if a bit odd), but how are they going to make sure that people don’t walk off with the parasols?

    • Anonymous

      They’re probably not. This is a BID marketing campaign, not a sustainable resource-sharing program. I’m sure they assume that some of the parasols will walk; they’ll also probably be cheap and flimsy (and ugly) enough that most people won’t actually want to steal them.

  • Brentwood

    These are like, umbrellas, right? I mean, they work functionally as an umbrella? Because that makes sense, if misguided branding (you don’t want to advertise summer rainstorms), with the ‘unexpected’ rainstorms every afternoon all summer. (I say unexpected because I had a friend who would say things like ‘oh, I heard there might be thunderstorms this afternoon, I don’t want to go out’ and I’d be all ‘It’s August in DC, there’s basically a thunderstorm every afternoon, and then it clears up and you go about your day…’).

    • Anonymous

      Parasols are designed for shade rather than rain protection, so they’re not necessarily made from a waterproof material. Who knows what these are going to be made out of, but I would guess they’ll keep you dry in a light rain but not in a classic August DC thunderstorm.

      • Anon

        The press release says they’re made out of ” a custom-branded nylon.” So, pretty much an umbrella, but I would guess they’re not designed to withstand any actual weather

  • Anon

    Adding trees to M street and widening the sidewalk would make that whole area a lot more pleasant for everyone. Cooler, more pedestrian friendly..

  • ke

    Dude, Georgetown…. I haven’t been over there in ages. With the exception of a few newer restaurants (e.g. Chez Billy Sud), is there much exciting going on in that part of town? I’m guessing it’s big for tourists and immediate locals, but do people outside of that vicinity go over there regularly?

    • Pixie

      I used to live in Georgetown and I go back often because it’s a great location for outdoor activities. It’s accessible to numerous bike trails, the C&O canal, kayaking spots, Roosevelt Island across the Key Bridge, Rock Creek park and Glover Park hiking trails. It’s the one thing I miss about living there – being so close to all the beautiful outdoor spaces. Plus Baked & Wired.

      • ke

        Ah, those are good points! Thanks for the reminders.

      • dcgator

        Don’t forget Stachowki’s. Best Deli I’ve ever been to in DC.

        • artemis

          +1. Sometimes I walk to Georgetown just to buy their thick cut bacon.

    • stacksp

      We go to Georgetown for the Waterfront, movie theater and to go shopping.

      • stacksp

        oh and cupcakes….

    • dcd

      I work in Georgetown, and there is very little to recommend it. Some decent restaurants (the aforementioned Chez Billy Sud, Stachowskis, The Grill Room, Sundevich is coming soon, the occasional food truck), Baked ‘n Wired, the Apple Store, a decent liquor store, some high end clothing stores (that I don’t frequent, but ymmv) . . . and that’s about it. All this in exchange for incredibly narrow sidewalks, no metrorail, and clueless tourists and frat bros. And now, parasols on demand. Yippee!

      • The waterfront is quite pleasant. Gypsy Sally’s is great. Much more. But different strokes for different folks that’s for sure. Though I remain anti-parasol it does not color the many positive elements found in Georgetown. And just wait for the gondola…

        • dcd

          Did Gypsy Sally’s used to be the River Club, or something like that? It’s been probably 20 years since I’ve been there.
          And I forgot about the Sovereign – good beer, decent food.

    • badad9

      The only reasons why I go to Georgetown: Martin’s Tavern brunch, people watching at the Waterfront, Sephora (as soon as it opens at 10AM) and TJ Maxx.

      I went to the Sovereign after the French market. LOVED it. Granted I am getting a little bored with the recent DC wave of Prohibition-style bars but the drinks were great and our server/bartender was a sweetheart.

    • JR

      The Sovereign has opened up too over there if you like beer.

  • CBay

    I’m really confused by this. Is this real? It kind of seemed like an Onion article. Am I missing something?

  • K

    I do not mean this to be snarky. I wish sunburns were the only real issue facing the other 7 wards in DC. Everywhere else in the District keeping out of the sun is so far down on the list that it would never even get brought up by a BID.

  • Well if people weren’t coming to Georgetown before this is surely going to sway them!

  • Whet

    I don’t understand anything about this. Therefore, I’m going to assume they aren’t speaking to me, but to a different type of soul that would find this amazing and oh so necessary.

    • On Capital Heels


  • blue peter

    when i was student at UW, the U village had an umbrella sharing program – bright yellow, big “u village” logo emblazened on it & nice wooden handle. still my favorite umbrella for the DC rainy season…

    • Idontgetit

      So you stole one?

    • Anon

      I remember those!! I definitely didn’t steal a few of them… Little did U Village know, it could have launched the “sharing economy” model and made a big PR deal about it. Instead, all they did was stick them in a can in all of the storefronts.

  • siz

    i mean, i don’t really see anything WRONG with this, it’s kinda cute. i can’t imagine utilizing it but…i will say that the last time my grandparents were in town, we took them to the dumbarton oaks museum, which they really loved, and then we wanted to walk somewhere to get lunch. but! they are quite old! and it was very warm! so they got pretty hot and had to rest a lot, and i dunno, maybe a parasol would have been nice? this really might be aimed at your 50+ crowd, and that is the demo for a lot of those little shops as you head farther up wisconsin.

    • LittleBluePenguin

      also likely a bonus in the eyes of the many tourists who come here from China, Japan, and Korea…

  • goaldigger

    So you want me to use something that an untold number of sweaty people have had in their hands? Yeah, no thanks.

    • LittleBluePenguin

      keep that in mind the next time you grab a pole or handle on the metro….

      • Anonymous

        Or any doorknob or handle in any office or store.

  • ANC

    How is this not called Share-a-sol? Do I have to do everything?!

    • Erica

      YOU GET IT

    • timmyp

      Ridiculous idea, great name. Nice work.

    • badad9

      Bahahahaa! You win!

  • Anonymous

    This is actually pretty common in some parts of Switzerland. Most hotels and office buildings have buckets of umbrellas you can take, with the intent that you return them on the honor system. It’s pretty awesome to leave the office, see rain, and have an umbrella right there to use without having to lug it to/from the office everyday.
    This program, however, will be a disaster because DC.

    • timmyp

      They aren’t umbrellas. They are parasols which are meant to shade from the sun. Regardless, this is not a great idea. It’s pretty embarrassing I think.

      • Truxton Thomas

        You’re missing the point: this person is big in Switzerland.

        • Anonymous

          Big in Japan, too.

          • Gee

            Anyone quoting Tom Waits wins the day. Or maybe the week

  • SparklyKittyTacos

    I told my mom (who carries a parasol with her everywhere she goes) about this and she was delighted that DC is going to have a “parasol culture” and she won’t feel weird using hers anymore. lol So there is a market for it, apparently.

    • LittleBluePenguin

      yeah, since I carry an umbrella with me pretty much all the time in the summer in DC, I’ve been known to pop it up on blisteringly sunny days if i haven’t previously slathered myself in sunblock and/or I’m somewhere with no shade. I don’t even care if I look like a weirdo. I’d rather look weird than get sun poisoning again!

  • This is Awkward

    I can’t handle this.

  • victoria

    Now if they were offering those crazy umbrella hats I would totally get behind this – and also go to Georgetown just to watch!


  • GeorgetownFan

    If this was expanded north of Wisconsin near the smaller shops it would be much more successful. Would love to see the storefronts in the Glover Park part of Wisconsin merge with the Georgetown part of Wisconsin instead of seeing the empty storefronts currently in the middle. The BID should expand their footprint.


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