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November 18, 2008

Stinkfest: Federal Hill vs. Adams Morgan

adams morganSome of the most diehard long-term Midnight Sunners will remember my post from waaay back about the Cross Street Stink.

In case you didn't read it (or are too lazy to click on the link), it's a gripe about the putrid mix of urine and vomit -- magnified by the summer sun.

Mmm.

Well, I wanna know something: Does Adams Morgan (pictured) generally smell better or worse than Cross Street?

I was in Adams Morgan on a recent Saturday night, and lemme tell ya -- it was naaaaasty.

 

This was a cold night, so the smell was not magnified by the summer sun. But there was a strong breeze blowing, which circulated the stink. Double eww.

I even saw what appeared to be the member of a bachelorette party siphoning her stomach into a sidewalk trash can. And it wasn't even that late! I think it was like midnight at that point. Maybe earlier. I was too nauseous to even think about Jumbo Slice.

Back when I was in college (about three or four years ago), I used to visit Adams Morgan more often to play music. And if it stunk that bad back then, I didn't notice it.

Has Adams Morgan gotten smellier? Or did I just go on a bad night?

(Baltimore Sun photo by Carla Correa)


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Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:35 AM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Comments

As a former Adams Morgan and current Federal Hill resident, this contest isn't even close. Adams Morgan smells way worse. Just ask all the giant rats of AM -- they seem to love it there.

Yeah Adams Morgan definitely has far more traffic, more bars, far more putrid stink. I was just down there pretty recently and it was horrendous.

How about this, as a Former Federal Hill resident and current DC resident, I concur with BA. Adams Morgan is way worse. It is putrid and nasty. My friends and I have stopped going there it is so bad. Besides being nasty, the crowds are much rowdier and agressive than Fed Hill as well.

But why? Is it just because Adams Morgan has more people? Or do they drink more? Or are they lightweights?

I NEED ANSWERS!

There is something decidedly lacking, if not wanton, that somewhere there is anyplace that is known for offensive, if not nauseating and repellant smell, much less a debate which on location is worse.
It is stupid and crude to drink until you vomit and/or urinate on the sidewalk in general, more so this is also where people live.
All this does is give the residents arguments more righteousness for putting the screws on the bars and lobbing for their closing. If I lived there, I’d join the neighbors in their protest and the bar owners be damned if they can’t or wont make efforts to prevent it from happening and clean up to some degree.

Cmon, GDA -- don't you want to live in a neighborhood like this? Steve Miller said it himself: We got to get down to Swing town!

GDA makes an honest point.

be that as it may, i really don't feel that the bars are at fault for their clientele's behavior. i mean would you seriously listen to a bartender, or the owner if they told you in front of your friends to behave yourself? The bars are no more responsible for puking, than the 9:30 Club, or that Grateful Dead cover were for Steve Lipski peeing on people the other week. That being said though, if it happens in their bar, it should be their prerogative to clean it up, but once those people get outside, could you really justify sending a bartender, or barback outside to clean up puke on a crowded Sat. night?

behave yourself, allan.

Allan,

"once those people get outside, could you really justify sending a bartender, or barback outside to clean up puke on a crowded Sat. night?"

If bars want be perceived as ugly or irresponible neighbors, I guess not,
BUT
It does make a better impression, as in curb appeal, to at least hose down the sidewalk ocassional during the night and definitely cleanup after hours if you want to maintain some goodwill of the neighbors. Especially, if they ever want to do anything in the future like renovations that need the neighbors to sign off on, if not challenge.

I dont think a bar has a legal obligation to clean up after its customers outside the bar. However, if the customers cause the neighborhood to stink as bad as Adam's Morgan or Cross Street, the area loses its appeal for people to live in and that causes a chain reaction with property values dropping, people not wanting to visit the area and eventually the bar's business will suffer. A bar needs to keep the neighborhood inhabitable in order to keep its business up.

Anonymous,

Actually, bars and restaurants do have a legal obligation to make a reasonable effort and show due diligence in that effort regarding trash removal, keeping orderly crowds, and being a 'good neighbor.'

You agree to these stipulations when applying for a new liquor license or accepting a transfer of an existing liquor license (in Maryland).

The exact legal language, however, is intentionally vague and subject to an array of legal interpretation.

Moreover, enforcement of said rules falls on an overburdened liquor board, and neighborhood associations whose tactics, in the past, have angered local businesses and created a monumental divide which shows no promise of being remedied in the near future. A lot has to do with politics. Take the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association, not only have they failed time-and-time again to regulate, much of that failure has to do with internal discord within the organization itself. Whereas the Mt Vernon-Belvedere association (arguably the most powerful in the city) has a much higher success rate in facilitating the revocation and suspension of licenses (you can get away with a lot more in Federal Hill than you can even dream of in Mt Vernon).

The liquor board's stated public position is to always give benefit of doubt to licensees. Absent of gross neglect in their duties, rarely does the board revoke or suspend licensees who fail to meet these obligations.

If bars want be perceived as ugly or irresponible neighbors, I guess not,
BUT
It does make a better impression, as in curb appeal, to at least hose down the sidewalk occasionally during the night and definitely cleanup after hours if you want to maintain some goodwill of the neighbors. Especially, if they ever want to do anything in the future like renovations that need the neighbors to sign off on, if not challenge.

oh totally. i agree that it does at least show a portion of goodwill in action. i guess a lot also has to do with what Mark Twain wrote above about the strict, or lack thereof regulations set by the community. if i were a bar owner, it'd probably be tougher to get me to hose puke off the sidewalk if i'd never had anyone actually rally against it before.

and i was totally behaving.

Adams Morgan smells not because of the spew, but because of the large amount of female ginko trees in the neighborhood. The fruit of the female ginko has a smell amazingly similar to puke, and it gets worse when you step on and break open the berries. You're probably more likely to step on them when drunk.

Occasionally, DC gets around to spraying the trees to control the fruit, but they have to do it at the exact right time and rarely do.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at erik.maza@baltsun.com. Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.
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