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Hey, remember 2011?
That was some year. The economy sucked, the one-percenters romped, the iPhone learned to listen. Or so the historians may someday tell us. When the book—OK, the ebook—on this year is ultimately written, it will likely be a tale of grim economic charts, dysfunctional political systems, and explanations for our various global miseries that will look crystal clear after a decade or two of hindsight.
But what did people actually talk about on some average, ho-hum 2011 kind of day? Specifically, what was on the minds of Washingtonians as the year of the debt ceiling crisis and the Greek economic crisis and the Charlie Sheen crisis marched grimly by? Even after just a few months, it takes some work to make the memories surface. For the record, you were probably talking about things like Circulator buses and Wale and Sulaimon Brown and the hapless Wizards and the upgrading of H Street NE and the way all these bars suddenly started serving brewed-in-D.C. beer. Don’t count on tomorrow’s historians, though, to tell you what all of that stuff means.
City Paper‘s Annotated Guide to 2011 is our last-ditch effort to capture it all for posterity. Did 2011 really mark the end of Washington’s “Chocolate City” legacy? (No.) Was it the year when heretofore-beloved megamogul Ted Leonsis revealed his feet of clay? (Maybe.) And what was up with all of those overpriced Vietnamese sandwiches? (Attention culinary and economic historians: This was the year of the great bánh mì bubble.) Culled from a year’s worth of City Paper stories and blog posts, here’s 2011 as it really trended.
And actually, looking back, it’s not so bad after all. Now when some smarty-pants history Ph.D. tells you someday that the only thing about 2011 that mattered was that Generalissimo Rick Perry was wrongly laughed at and realized he needed to raise a rebel army to take power, you’ll remember the other stuff, too. You’re welcome.