The Washingtonian’s most read articles in 2021

It was the year many of us hoped life would get back to normal. A little bit of status quo for Washingtonian this year, from a web traffic perspective, there are always surprises about what people end up reading.

1. Trump Hotel Employees Reveal What It Was Really Like To Serve The Right-Wing Elite

Photograph by Jeff Elkins

Jessica Sidman snatched the most widely read story in Washington history from the waiters, chefs and various employees tasked with satisfying the bigwigs and thugs of the Trump administration: Hope Hicks received a free “dessert storm” afterwards that his food has taken too long; Rudy Giuliani was there so someone made a plaque for his favorite table; Trump expected waiters to follow a script when he dined, including a presentation of hand sanitizer and his diet Coke and Heinz mini-bottles of ketchup open in front of him. The Trump Hotel’s bizarre reign as a DC power hub came to an abrupt end in early 2021, and the building will be soon change hands. But we will always remember Tiffany Trump being away often after making reservations.

2. Mysterious New Bug Feasts on DC Area Residents Trying They Have Bed Bugs

Photo courtesy of the US Department of Agriculture.

In the pantheon of bad things that have happened over the past two years, oak mites – those ravenous little creatures that fell from trees on our skin last summer and began to feed – barely registered. But damn it, did their bites hurt and stay with us for weeks!

3. Magic mushrooms are decriminalized in DC from today

Photography via iStock.

The Theogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020 called on DC police to make natural psychedelics like ayahuasca and mescaline a very low priority for law enforcement. The measure was passed overwhelmingly in the fall of 2020 and came into effect on March 15.

4. Joe Manchin’s barge: 5 things

Joe Manchin talks to protesters in kayaks from his barge. Screenshot of Solar Light News on YouTube.

Every time the West Virginia senator hit the headlines, this quickly put together daytime blogging content once again pushed the charts up (thanks, Google). Facts about the Manchin barge Almost paradise, which we’ve called the “centrist navy flagship,” has been a hot ticket for much of 2021.

5. The Women’s March is back in October to rally around reproductive rights

The Women’s March 2017. Photograph by Evy Mages

Thousands of people gathered in Washington and other cities in October to protest for abortion rights after the effective abortion ban in Texas took effect.

6. Everything we know about Barack Obama’s 60th birthday party

Photograph by Pete Souza.

There was an espresso martini bar! President Biden was not there, but Tom Hanks was there! People partied without a mask outside! (Which is actually pretty sure, but it caused quite a bit of commotion nonetheless.) DC resident Barack Obama’s diamond birthday celebration in Martha’s Vineyard sure seems like it’s been a swell time.

7. CIA tries to recruit Gen Z and doesn’t care if they’re everywhere on social media

Photograph by wellesenterprises via iStock.

We have all understood stories on the embarrassment and career upheaval after discovering someone’s old inconsiderate social media posts. A place where it isn’t necessarily bad to have a past on social media? The Central Freakin ‘Intelligence Agency, Jessica M. Goldstein reported. Just don’t follow any of the agency’s social media accounts if you’re looking for a job there, that’s their own advice.

8. The real story of Jess Krug, the white professor who pretended to be black for years, until it all exploded last fall

Jessica “Jess La Bombalera” Krug, a professor at George Washington University, rose from being a promising scholar in African history to being a national punchline during a particularly crazy game of 2020. Marisa Kashino followed his bizarre story from Overland Park, Kansas, to DC (via the Bronx).

9. Photos: Washington is underwater

Photo of National Harbor courtesy of PRK Network on Twitter.

Remember that insanely crazy thing that happened two months ago? Ha, neither do I. Fortunately, we have photos to remind us how vulnerable this region is to flooding and extreme weather conditions.

10. Honey, we bought the exorcist’s house!

Photograph of Ben Rockey-Harris by Evy Mages

Danielle Witt and Ben Rockey-Harris checked just about everything when it came to buying a gorgeous three-bedroom bungalow in Cottage City, MD. Unless this was the location of events that inspired a hugely famous novel and film about demonic possession. Fortunately, Witt said Washingtonian, demons “do not transmit with the house”.

Amanda J. Marsh