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By now readers may have heard that the beloved bookstore-restaurant hybrid, Kramerbooks, is leaving its home of 44 years, Dupont Circle. The news was first reported by Washington Business Journal’s Alex Koma.

The exit is upsetting many of Kramerbooks’ patrons. “Worst news of the day,” tweeted one D.C. resident. “Kramers was the last ‘cool’ thing remaining in Dupont Circle,” noted another. Many immediately took to Twitter to share memories they had either behind a stack of books or in the back at the bar, perhaps a first date or first good date

The news also caught the attention of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s chief of staff, John Falcicchio, who said he contacted the Dupont Circle Business Improvement District to see what other options Kramerbooks might have in the neighborhood. (He also suggested the bookstore team up with Dupont Underground, an art space that is struggling with its own tenant problems.) 

Some might think Kramerbooks is closing, indefinitely. But that is not the case. The owner, Steve Salis, who bought the Dupont staple in 2017, has been thinking about leaving the neighborhood for some time. Salis, the co-founder of &pizza, has been feuding with his landlords—the building spans across three different properties—and he believes a recent court ruling will enable him to break his lease early and relocate.   

“I couldn’t be more optimistic and bullish about what the end of this is going to look like,” Salis told Koma. “Our business will be better and bigger than ever.”

Salis also said he doubts the future of retail in the neighborhood. He is far from the first to note the struggles of businesses there. In 2016, City Paper’s Laura Hayes wrote about how restaurants in the neighborhood count on a dying breed of regulars to survive. “As much as we love being where we are, unless people visit our area it will be tougher,” Scion Restaurant owner Joanne Liu told Hayes. The restaurant closed in 2018. In 2018, WAMU’s Ally Schweitzer wrote about efforts to make Dupont Circle cool again so crowds might return and be comparable to the neighborhood’s heyday in the 1980s and 1990s. You can find Salis complaining to Schweitzer about pricey rents and slow foot traffic even then. —Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • There is no mayoral press conference on COVID-19 today.

  • D.C. reported seven additional deaths, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths to 407. As of May 20, 7,551 of the 40,419 who tested for COVID-19 turned up positive results. D.C. saw a 10-day decrease in community spread—meaning, D.C. is inching closer to meeting a key metric to begin gradually reopening the economy. [EOM]

  • In reacting to the mayor’s FY2021 budget, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen floated tax increases for top earners and unions pushed back against pay increase freezes for government workers. [Post]

  • Police make arrest in connection with the murder of a person experiencing homelessness who was set on fire. The suspect may have suffered with a mental illness. [DCist, Twitter]  

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals(tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Ward 8 residents filed a lawsuit against the DC Board of Elections for coronavirus-related changes to voting procedures. [DCist]

  • Mayor Bowser’s budget proposes trade: tax abatements in exchange for affordable housing. [Urban Turf]

  • A hospital employee says she was fired for tweeting about a lack of protective equipment, according to a lawsuit. [Post]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • D.C. restaurants including Rose’s Luxury and Beuchert’s Saloon team up to sue their insurance company. [Post]

  • Should 18th Street NW in Adams Morgan become car free? [Washingtonian]

  • Commissaryis open again in Logan Circle. [PoPville]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra members did a concert for health workers, and donated money to provide them lunches. [Washingtonian]

  • A tablet determined to be stolen from Iraq, formerly displayed at the Museum of the Bible, is the subject of a newly filed civil action. [DCist]

  • This year’s Helen Hayes Awards will be virtual. [DC Theatre Scene]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • The Nats will host a virtual ring ceremony this Sunday at 7 p.m., after the airing of the team’s own two-part documentary of the 2019 season. [CBS Sports]

  • The NWSL has yet-to-be-finalized plans of having a month-long tournament this summer in Salt Lake City. But not all U.S. national team members are sold on the plan, sources told Steven Goff of the Post. [Post]

  • This month, the Mystics were supposed to finally get a victory parade, and play in front of soldout crowds as the defending WNBA champions. The pandemic has forced them, and everyone else, to wait. [WTOP]

CITY LIGHTS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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