Nights in Washington

Nights in Washington are different. I don’t know exactly why and how, but I don’t feel the same need as in Berlin to be outside. Why is it that restaurants are so loud that you can barely talk? Don’t they check on the acoustic at all? It seems that the louder, the hipper the place. That’s why the German beergarden on 14th St is one of my favorite places in DC so far. You can actually hear what your friends are saying.

But I actually just wanted to write about how great it is to have some friends over, plug in my Berlin-made Pokketmixer, connect the varios iPhones, blackberries and computers, and enjoy the evening, and well, the night.

From Caribou’s Melody Day to Funkstörung and M.I.A., Disrupt and Hot Chip’s Boy from School, Rock the Casbah and Joy Division, switching to some classic Alan Vega (from this great ZE Records compilation), Los Lobos, and a song about a Venezuelan in New York, some Bill Withers, Sexy Eyes and Abracadabra, the Steve Miller Band, to even more classic Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.

A great night to the sound of the city.

(I loved the idea of my friend Codru who posted his week in YouTube videos!)

Bike to Work Day or biking in Washington DC

Friday is Bike to Work Day in Washington. Pretty cool, although I am not really interested in getting a shirt saying “I Bike to Work”. People will be able to tell when I’ll arrive all sweaty at work…

It might also mean that I won’t get a bike that day. Because until my boxes – and my bike – arrive (I have been fighting with the moving company over when they are supposed to deliver the shipment finally, after arriving in New York last month already), I am a happy user of the Capital Bikeshare programme. It’s a great scheme with bikes all over the place, fairly inexpensive (75 US$) a year.

Only problem: It is so good that it has become too successful. With the weather getting nicer, it is becoming more difficult to get a bike. Why do you think I am getting at work at 8:30 am in the morning? Right, if I get out of the house later then, say, 8:10am, no bikes. And vice versa, if I leave too late, nowhere to park them. I know Capital Bikeshare is working hard on it, but it is getting a bit frustrating. Difficult to manage commuters, especially in the area North of Dupont and Adam’s Morgan and Downtown.

Here’s a great map that shows the real time data of the programme on where there’s happy riding, and where the racks are empty.

Here’s a nice map from the Washington Post a couple of weeks ago

And a cool graph on usage from this blog.

But I definitely like the fact of more people using bikes to get to work. More bike lanes, and a greener environment. Cars seem to slowly get used to bikers on the street. I actually don’t feel too overlooked by car drivers, thought I feel I have to be more careful around buses. Oh, and another good thing, getting to work is mostly downhill, and generally, if you don’t have to do the Mount Pleasant, Georgetown or Columbia Heights hill, the terrain is relatively flat. Definitely faster than a bus.

So here’s a picture of a stand with a lot of bikes, and the funny bunny that I come across when leaving the bikes just around the corner of my workplace. Nothing to do with biking, too late to qualify as an Easter post, but I love it. So here it is…

Station 14th and U Street.