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Posted at 12:45 PM ET, 02/12/2011

Metro after Midnight: "No one wants to go out in Georgetown"

By Annys Shin

This weekend, Washington Post reporters fanned out through Metro's trains and platforms after midnight to capture the sights and sounds of the region's transit system in the wee hours--the time when the whole train system might shut down if Metro budget-cutters have their way. Watch for their reports Saturday and Sunday, and a full account in Monday's Post and here on washingtonpost.com, and add your own thoughts and experiences on our comment boards below.

It's hard to be cosmopolitan if you can't stay out past midnight.

So says Stuart Levy, who teaches tourism and hospitality management at George Washington University.

"What about D.C. wanting to be an international city?" he says. "D.C. is just changing its image. People think it's a boring town until they experience it. This is the old image we are going back to."

He fears that without late-night Metro service, Washington will go the way of the subway-challenged backwater he used to live in known as Miami. (Miami's Metrorail system encompasses a piddly 22 miles of rail, while Washington's Metro has 103 miles of track.)

He succeeds in riling up a few friends -- a clean-scrubbed crew of 20-somethings -- whom he runs into waiting on a Red Line platform at Gallery Place. They share Levy's fervor for Metro's extended weekend hours. Pretty soon, they're talking about going all Egypt on WMATA, should its board decide to curtail this most basic of freedoms -- the right to linger at a bar after attending Friday night services at the Sixth and I Synagogue, which is how they spent their evening.

"Yeah! We have a square here -- the Mall," one says, referring to the protests in Cairo.

"We have to have a rally," says Tammy, a dark-haired woman in a long black puffer coat who is parked on a bench. Tammy predicts ominously that an end to late-night weekend service would turn the rest of the city into -- Georgetown.

"Nobody likes to go out in Georgetown," she says.

But Tammy's commitment to the revolution is questionable.

"Let's be honest. The doors closing lady has an amazing voice," she says. "I'd be friends with her."

Another member of her posse tries to bring the discussion back to substance: "We need to take lessons from Canada," he says.

Tammy puts a hand up.

"Let's not go there," she says.

By Annys Shin  | February 12, 2011; 12:45 PM ET
Categories:  Metro after Midnight  
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Next: Metro after Midnight: When you have to go

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