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Washingtonian’s Best Longreads of 2018

11 great feature stories published in Washingtonian this year that are worth another read

Inside Jeff Bezos’s DC Life

Photo-Illustration By C.J. Burton.
It seems like an eon ago now, but at the beginning of 2018, much of Washington was wondering one thing: Was the richest man in the world going to put his new Amazon headquarters here? We wondered that, too, of course, but what we really wanted to know was: What exactly does Jeff Bezos do when he’s in town? 100 calls later, Ben Wofford found out.
Photograph by Jacquelyn Marti/AP Images.
A few months after her major social-media faux pas, Steve Mnuchin’s wife—known to some of his underlings as “the First Lady of the Treasury”—opened up to Elaina Plott about her buuuuumpy introduction to Washington. Read it, hate-read it, read it!

The Definitive Oral History of the Bobbitt Case, 25 Years Later

Photographs by Darrow Montgomery.
This past summer was the 25th anniversary of that wait—she did what? drama between John Wayne and Lorena Bobbitt. Marisa M. Kashino got the exes to re-live what happened and reflect on how it felt to be a national laugh line. Even if you remember the saga like it was two years rather than two decades ago, the story takes on a whole new relevance in the age of #MeToo.

A Heartwrenching Story About Why Teachers Are Leaving DC in Droves

Photograph by Joshua Cogan.
DC Public Schools continued to be plagued by scandal this past year, yet despite the abundance of depressing headlines, it was hard to know what it’s really like inside a city school. Sarah Stodder immersed in one. Like our headline says, she came away with a heart-wrenching chronicle that became our second-most popular longread of 2018.

The Rats Are Taking Over DC!

Photo-illustrations by Eddie Guy. Rat trap photograph by Jeff Elkins.
This one’s the opposite—a romp by Patrick Hruby about the most hated creature in Washington, rattus norvegicus, replete with stupefying stats about their sex lives and just the right number of horror stories. Pure fun.

Why Isn’t Sy Hersh Covering President Trump?

Photograph by Alamy.
I feel pretty confident in betting that Ben Wofford set a record here for the number of f-bombs ever published in one story in Washingtonian. And he was quoting America’s foremost investigative journalist! Come for the trippy lede, stay for the fascinating deep-dive into the head of Sy Hersh right now.

These Twenty-Somethings Got Heart Transplants on the Very Same Day. And Then They Fell in Love.

Photograph by April Greer.
Such an improbable tale, and such a sophisticated telling by Susan Baer. This story is joyful—and how often can you say that these days?

The Reinvention of 14th Street: A History

Photographs (Left to Right, Top to Bottom) by Darrell C. Crain. Photograph reprinted with Permission of DC Public Library/Star Collection/Washington Post Photograph by Burt Glinn/Magnum Photos Photograph by Darrell C. Crain. Photograph by Jeff Elkins. Photograph by Flickr/Wumpiewoo Photograph by Jeff Elkins.
Fifty years ago, the 14th Street corridor burned. Today, for better or worse, it’s the crown jewel of a gilded age. No one knew it at the time, but the seeds of that change were planted while the rubble was still smoking. Marisa M. Kashino delivers not only a captivating but essential read for any city resident.

My Pleasant Suburb Is Going A Little Bit Crazy

Photograph by Dan Chung.
That feeling when a writer files a story and you find yourself laughing out loud at all the one-liners….so awesome and so rare. Andrew Beaujon‘s dispatch from Alexandria is just delightful.

The Terrifying Story of the Congressional Baseball Shooting

Photograph by Alex Wong/Getty Images.
This was a darker drama in Alexandria—a page-turner about what might have been the biggest massacre in American political history, were it not for the heroics of scores of Washingtonians and federal lawmakers on the diamond that day. Luke Mullins, a master of the definitive account, talked to nearly all of them. From the first draft to the final, I couldn’t put it down.

The Inside Story of Mike Isabella’s Fallen Empire

Photograph by Jeff Elkins. Photo-illustration by Phong Nguyen.
And finally, our most popular longread of the year—Jessica Sidman‘s and Anna Spiegel‘s behind-the-scenes look at why and how the celebrity chef Mike Isabella’s business imploded after a sexual-harassment scandal. Besides HQ2, it might have been the local story Washingtonians obsessed over the most this year. That’s the kind of story I always want to cover, as expertly as these two food writers did.

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Kristen Hinman
Articles Editor

Kristen Hinman has been editing Washingtonian’s features since 2014. She joined the magazine after editing politics & policy coverage for Bloomberg Businessweek and working as a staff writer for Voice Media Group/Riverfront Times.