News & Politics

On the Horizon: Metro Makeover

Plus more happenings, announcements, and rumors to know about.

Photograph of Metro car by Larry Levine/WMATA.

That New-Car Smell?

Metro shifts to a fresher look when new rail cars (pending testing) debut later this year. The 7000 series (pictured above) features more comfortable seats, wider aisles, and digital display telling riders how many stations they are from their destinations. Better still, the fleet ditches gunk-prone carpeting in favor of no-slip rubber floors. By 2018, half of Metro’s fleet will be new.

Degas Times Two

Art inspires a different kind of art at the Kennedy Center in October, when Little Dancer has its world premiere. The musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime) is based on Edgar Degas’s sculpture “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen” and is set backstage at the Paris Opera Ballet, where a teenager named Marie attempts to conquer the dance world. Tony Award winner Susan Stroman directs.

Degas devotees don’t have to wait till October, though: In May, the National Gallery of Art unveils “Degas/Cassatt,” a potential blockbuster exhibit exploring how the French painter and American impressionist Mary Cassatt influenced each other. The National Gallery is the only venue worldwide to host the show, overseen by the museum’s associate curator of French paintings, Kimberly A. Jones.

Kate and Her Neighbors

As the first phase of CityCenterDC inches toward completion, the megadevelopment north of Metro Center finally has a retail outlet open: the luggage purveyor Tumi. Rumors abound about other stores that may or may not be opening (see ya never, Apple Store and Topshop), but a permit recently issued for a Kate Spade branch at 825 Tenth Street, Northwest, seems promising.

Split Those Eights!

In December, MGM Resorts won a contentious bidding war for the right to build Maryland’s sixth casino. The company’s plan for a $925-million, Vegas-style resort at National Harbor features 3,600 slot machines, 140 table games, and a 300-suite, 18-story hotel overlooking the Potomac. The downside: Maryland gaming law prohibits comped drinks.

Sweet Deal for a Bitter Pill

When Time published Steven Brill’s article “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us” last March, the 24,000-word dissection of the American health-care system became the longest story by an individual writer ever published in the newsweekly. Now it’s getting longer: Random House is publishing a book spinoff later this year.

Olé, José!

For five years, a sign on DC’s Seventh Street, Northwest, announced that Wagamama, the inexpensive Japanese noodle chain from Britain, was “coming soon.” Never mind: In 2014, the space finally gets a restaurant—José Andrés’s China Chilcano, offering Chinese-Peruvian fusion dishes such as ceviche, dim sum, and maybe even noodles.

Photograph of Little Dancer poster by Fraver; Photograph of Bags courtesy of Tumi; Photograph of MGM Resort rendering courtesy of MGM National Harbor; Photograph of Andrés by Aaron Clamage .

This article appears in the February 2014 issue of Washingtonian.