This week’s broadcast of Peter Greenberg Worldwide comes from National Harbor in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, this planned community was constructed on the Potomac River roughly 10 miles away from Washington, D.C. Joining Peter are two McCartneys (not related). First, Scott McCartney, Travel Editor for The Wall Street Journal, analyzes Southwest Airlines and how it handled Flight 1380 including its decision to send each passenger a check for $5,000, no strings attached. Then it’s on to bad news for frequent hotel guests–and the decision made by a growing number of hotel brands to switch from tiny disposable bottles for amenities to bulk dispensers bolted into bathroom walls. Then Robert McCartney, Senior Regional Correspondent for The Washington Post, on the history of National Harbor and its impact on Prince George’s County as the first upscale development in the county in years. Juanita Moore Akida, from the historic Oxon Hill Manor/Billingsley House, explains how National Harbor changed tourism to this iconic facility (The original Oxon Hill Manor built in 1687 was destroyed by fire and reconstructed in 1895). And artist Cheryl Foster, walks us through her creative process and how she designed several large public art pieces in National Harbor. There’s all this and more as Peter Greenberg Worldwide broadcasts from National Harbor in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
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Jon Peterson, CEO of Peterson Companies, explains the development of National Harbor and the many companies that previously looked at developing the space, including Disney. He feels that this development incorporates the best aspects of all Peterson Companies properties. A few of those top aspects include an outdoor built-in movie screen, observation wheel and a center street reminiscent of Las Ramblas in Barcelona.
Cheryl Foster, a nationally recognized local artist, walks us through her creative process and how she designed several large public art pieces in National Harbor. She has been a part of National Harbor since its founding and has incorporated artwork that speaks to the history and soul of the area. She did extensive research for her works, including visiting canneries and meeting with people who worked there for years.
Doug Ridge, Area General Manager of Gaylord National Resort and AC Hotel National Harbor, talks about the nearly 2,000 rooms, and 110 suites at Gaylord National Resort and how the Gaylord Brand fits into the National Harbor concept. Unlike other Gaylord resorts, this property is located in an area where people can get out and do things. He also talks about the features that make Gaylord properties stand out, like providing everything a guest needs under one roof and referring to their employees as stars.
Robert McCartney, Senior Regional Correspondent for The Washington Post, speaks about how National Harbor is very welcome in Prince George’s County, where it hasn’t had a lot of upscale development in years. It is right next to 1-95 and has a casino which attracts a lot of people. Also, as the water taxi system develops further, it becomes an even more attractive area. According to McCartney, millennials want to live in cities, because they don’t have cars and want to take public transit.
Scott McCartney, Travel Editor for The Wall Street Journal, analyzes Southwest Airlines and how it handled Flight 1380 including its decision to send each passenger a check for $5,000, no strings attached. U.S. Airways did something similar when Flight 1549 went down in the Hudson River. Then, the conversation switches gears to more hotel brands and how there has been a transition from tiny disposable bottles for amenities to bulk dispensers. Many hotels are eliminating the tiny plastic bottles for both economical and environmental reasons. This change could reduce the waste of these single-use plastics by billions of bottles a year.
Jason Berry, Principal with KNEAD Hospitality + Design, shares how he knew about the area because he ran the Rosa Mexicana in National Harbor for years. His new restaurant, Succotash, was designed specifically for National Harbor to meet the need for a Southern comfort food option with a style that he knew would be popular with locals. Succotash is celebrity chef driven and run by Edward Lee, a Korean chef from Brooklyn who lived in Kentucky for over 10 years. Thanks to his Southern food with Korean influences, the restaurant has put some surprisingly popular items on its menu, including cornmeal crusted catfish.
Juanita Moore Akida, Facility Director of the Oxon Hill Manor/Billingsley House, explains how National Harbor changed tourism to its historic facility. The original Oxon Hill Manor built in 1687 was destroyed by fire and reconstructed in 1895. Before the development of National Harbor, Oxon Hill Manor was only known by locals and now it has become an international destination. It is now advertised and promoted to Chinese tourists specifically and has had a significant increase in visitors.
Captain John Lake, General Manager of Operations for the Potomac Riverboat Company, reveals that the company has 149 twin diesel engine passenger boats in its fleet. Most of the boats are high speed and low wake, running at top speeds of 22 knots per hour. These water taxis have been predominantly used by visitors to the area, but it’s the company’s hope that more locals will be encouraged to use the water as an option for their daily commute into D.C. and right across the river to Alexandria, Virginia.
David Feeley, Executive Director of Entertainment at MGM National Harbor, speaks about MGM’s approximately 3,000 seat theater and the noteworthy acts who have and will perform at its location. One of the big draws of the venue is its ability to get nationally recognized names, like Bruno Mars and Britney Spears, in a much more intimate setting than where the artists normally perform. It is also a flexible space that lends itself to diverse events. Outside of musical performances, MGM hosts events such as boxing and stand-up comedy.
By Darra Stone for PeterGreenberg.com