News & Politics

Washingtonian Today: Peak Bloom Will Come Early

Photograph by Evy Mages

About Washingtonian Today

Washingtonian Today is not just another political news roundup. Instead, this daily morning brief provides local context on national news, catches you up on what’s happening at Washingtonian, points you toward super duper awesome things to do around town, and lets you in on some special events going on in-house. Sign up here to receive Washingtonian Today in your inbox every morning.

Petal Pusher: The cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin will reach peak bloom on April 1, the National Park Service announced on Twitter Tuesday. Originally, NPS predicted peak bloom would occur between April 3 through April 6, but early flowering from an indicator tree signaled that warmer temperatures could push the schedule forward. According to DCist, the indicator tree blooms a week earlier than most of the other cherry blossoms around the tidal basin (read more about how NPS makes its predictions). According to another tweet from the NPS, the remaining cherry trees are in the Peduncle Elongation stage, the second to last (and best) stage before peak bloom.

Swiping Right for Amtrak Joe: Men in the District of Columbia are trying to impress potential dates by putting a picture of former Vice President Joe Biden on their dating app profiles. According to a Washington Post article, men want to communicate fun-loving and free-wheeling personalities via Joe’s toothy grin. Is a Biden-selfie photo the new White House briefing room podium photo? I pray for our collective love lives.

Happy Wednesday. I’m your author, Brittany Shepherd. Email me at and follow me on Twitter. Adia Robinson ( contributed reporting today. Please subscribe to this newsletter.

Police, Force: Following increased attention to police brutality nationwide, DC police officers reported 20 percent more use-of-force incidents in 2018 than in 2017—an 83 percent increase since 2015, a report from the department’s Office of Police Complaints announced this month. The report also said that officers discharged their firearms at three people and six dogs in 2018, resulting in two fatalities. According to DCist, which first reported the findings, use of force can include everything from rough handcuffing to discharging a firearm. The report recommends that the police work to reverse the upward trend, label first strikes against officers correctly, update training, and make certain fields of the reporting forms mandatory

What’s on my mind: Alexander Hamilton biographer and White House Correspondents’ Dinner featured guest Ron Chernow is speaking at the George Washington University tonight about Hamilton the man and Hamilton the musical. This could be a good time for him to road-test some jokes for April’s upcoming dinner (which President Trump reportedly may now attend). With the nightlife around the event shrinking, pressure could mount around Chernow to deliver the speech of a lifetime. Or at least get journalists to buy that extra bottle of wine.

What we have cooking at Washingtonian:

  • Robert Mueller‘s probe may be over, but retailers still need someone to help them #resist. Who should merchandisers turn to now?
  • Plan your April fun now: Here are 16 of the best things to do around town next month.
  • While many residents say they’re fans of local news, few pay for it. Steal your ex’s Netflix password and use the money you saved to subscribe to a newspaper (or this magazine).
  • A new CityCenter seafood spot wants its food to be familiar but not “interesting.”
  • Say goodbye to the giant shark—Discovery’s office is getting a sizeable makeover.

Our pick for things to do around town:

BOOKS Former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards will speak about her New York Times bestseller, Make Trouble: Stand Up, Speak Out, and Find the Courage to Lead, at Sixth & I. Richards, daughter of former Texas Governor Ann Richards, will speak about the challenges of public life that are unique to women and give leadership advice to aspiring women. She will be in conversation with US Representative Lauren Underwood, the youngest African-American woman to serve in the House. $18 (ticket only) or $30 (ticket + pre-signed book), 7 PM.

Good reads:

John Hinkley is having trouble dating. (The Los Angeles Times)

Big events from Washingtonian:

Our food critic Ann Limpert chats with readers every Friday at 11 AM. It’s such a fun chat (read some highlights in this thread), and you can leave her questions in advance. Why don’t you do that right now?

Heads up: Do you really love the drip coffee from Swings? Adore the sweets at District Doughnut? Today is the last day to take our annual readers poll—fill it out and let us know your favorite things in Washington. You could win two tickets to our fabulous (and complementary cocktail-filled) Best of Washington party in June.

Staff Writer

Brittany Shepherd covers the societal and cultural scene in political Washington. Before joining Washingtonian as a staff writer in 2018, Brittany was a White House Correspondent for Independent Journal Review. While she has lived in DC for a number of years now, she still yearns for the fresh Long Island bagels of home. Find her on Twitter, often prattling on about Frasier.