Washingtonian’s best readings in 2021

This year ended with a plot twist, right? Time to sit down, pour yourself a cup of tea (or something stronger), and let any of these longreads transport you to a headspace that is not America in the last week of another pandemic year.

Trump Hotel employees reveal what it really was like to care for the right-wing elite

Photo by Jeff Elkins

In our print magazine, we headlined this story “The Biggest Pain in My Butt Was Giuliani,” which was just one of a bunch of scary gold nuggets that workers at the former president’s DC hotel served to author Jessica Sidman after the Donald Trump administration ended. . It’s the most read story we’ve ever published. That is all.

Inside DC’s secret Covid Morgue

Photo lent by the chief physician’s office.

When Covid first threatened Washington, district officials formulated a plan to deal with mass deaths in the most humane way possible. Body handling teams were assembled and a special Covid morgue was erected at an unmarked spot in the city. Incredibly, the entire operation was a closely guarded secret until Luke Mullins gained access to the incredible people behind it.

It was a wet hot Wax summer at Seacrets

Photo by Laurie Smoker.

Shot, hunter. Mimi Montgomery spent a weekend at Seacrets, the legendary 6-acre, 19-tiki-bar complex in Ocean City, to see how people shook off their first pandemic year. “Scientifically, you have not come out of living through a pandemic until a pair of breasts topped with glittering cakes have flashed just inches from your face. Seriously, ask the CDC,” she wrote. And it’s just led.

New York Energy Mogul Who’s Remaking An Eastern Shore Town

Photographed by Lauren Bulbin

Annie Spiegel portrayed Eastern Shore decadence of the opposite kind in her rich profile of Paul Prager. After Prague and his wife built a luxury summer resort in Easton, the wealthy New Yorker began assembling a delicious gourmet empire in the city filled with food he personally enjoys. Prague – which owned about 50 percent of Easton’s real estate in the city center when we published our story a year ago – had an impeccable timing, which helped make Easton a magnet for the urban population during the pandemic.

The true story of Jess Krug, the white professor who posed as black for years

Photo courtesy of YouTube.

Washington was shocked when GW professor Jessica Krug – a woman who had long posed as Black and Latina – published a post on Medium revealing that she had lived a double life for years. How could Krug (who once called himself “Jess la Bombalera”) engage in such gross cultural abuse for so long? And why did no one stop her? Let Marisa M. Kashino explain.

The mad, twisted story of the diplomat who became a troll

Photographs by Jeff Elkins

Another page turner: Britt Peterson’s captivating tale of a career man in the Foreign Service named Patrick Syring who threatened and threatened the staff of the think tank Arab American Institute so intensely that he was imprisoned – twice – for the same hate crime. The play explores how frustrating the laws surrounding hate speech can be for the all-too-common-now-traumatized victims of trolls.

Inside the Making of the Britney Spears Musical

Photo by Jeff Elkins

Who would have thought that in the biggest news year of the life of one of the world’s greatest music celebrities, Washingtonian would have an angle? And where. The Broadway musical, set to Britney Spears’ music, is slated to open in Manhattan next year – following its debut here, by all over the Shakespeare Theater Company. Rosa Cartagena got access to the creators, directors and actors behind the production and tells the story of how it all came together in the last years of the Britney Conservatory.

How Washington Mystics Point Guard Natasha Cloud became the WNBA’s (unofficial) Minister of Social Justice

Photo by Jeff Elkins

My favorite sports stories are the ones you do not have to be a sports fanatic to really get into. May I present Mike Wise’s profile of Natasha Cloud, a bad athlete and a silly human being. Wise caught up with Cloud at the end of the year, where she sat out the WNBA to focus on race justice efforts and found that the culture wars that cleaved Trump’s America split the family of the biracial athlete herself.

Inside the plan to make Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post the Everything Newspaper

Illustration by Arsh Raziuddin.

Trump’s America was a blessing in disguise Washington Post, at least from a traffic perspective. Between the crooked news cycle that was the 45th presidency and the seemingly limitless resources that the world’s second-richest man has poured into the company, Post spent the last few years on a tear so much that it has long since resembled the hometown newspaper it once was. Andrew Beaujon was piped Post’s state of mind, just as a new editor – the first female in the newspaper’s history – laid out her plans for the future.

More and more women are paying alimony to not launch ex-husbands. And they are really, really not happy about it.

Photo by The Voorhes.

The headline somehow makes it sound like it’s going to be furious – and well, if you’re an ex-wife who’s too familiar with the predicament it describes, it probably will be! But Jessica M. Goldstein also manages to tease some rage humor out of this who-knows-how story of alimony and the modern wrinkles of divorce in the female breadwinner era.

Kristen Hinman

Articles editor

Kristen Hinman edited Washingtonian‘s features since 2014. She joined the magazine after editing Politics & Policy Coverage for Bloomberg Businessweek and works as an employee writer for Voice Media Group /Riverfront Times.

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