Earthquake Hits Union Station Cafe Hard | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Earthquake Hits Union Station Cafe Hard

Play associated audio
The Center Cafe's manager says this bottle of top-shelf cognac could've yielded more than $200 worth of shots. It broke during the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the East Coast Aug. 23.
David Schultz
The Center Cafe's manager says this bottle of top-shelf cognac could've yielded more than $200 worth of shots. It broke during the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the East Coast Aug. 23.

Many local businesses are still trying to determine the extent of the damage they incurred during yesterday's earthquake. Due to its location above most of the main level of Union Station, the Center Cafe there got hit harder than most.

The Center Cafe is located in Union Station's historic Main Hall. It's elevated, held up by a series of 10-foot wooden columns. That means, when an earthquake strikes, the Center Cafe is a very scary place to be.

"I was up here, and first I thought it was probably the trains," says Grace Showunmi, a bartender at the Center Cafe. "And this whole place is rocking and shaking really violently. Then I realized, 'Oh my God, we're having an earthquake.'"

At that point, her cafe turned into pandemonium.

"And it was wild. I was screaming, I had guests up and down ... and people carrying their babies. Everybody was screaming, it was so chaotic," she says.

It didn't seem like it was going to stop, she says. "So I got off, held onto a table, because this platform rocks really wildly," she says. "For a minute, I thought it might collapse to the bottom. That was how wild it was."

Eventually, though, the shaking did stop. Many of the cafe's guests had fled, leaving behind full plates of food. Behind the bar, the scene was ugly.

"All the bottles ... 90 percent of the liquor was lost," Showunmi says.

The job of cleaning up all the broken glass and spilled booze falls to the cafe's manager, Alex Lucero...

"I just finished putting everything back up that didn't break," says Lucero as he walks, crunching over the broken glass.

In an instant, Lucero lost potentially thousands of dollars in liquor, he says. A jagged shard is all that remains of a bottle of his top shelf cognac. It could've earned him more than 200 dollars in shots.

Lucero isn't sure if he has earthquake insurance. It's Washington D.C., why would he need it, he wonders.

But overall, he's not that upset. None of his guests or his employees were injured, and liquor bottles can be easily replaced.

NPR

In A Remarkable Feat, 'Boyhood' Makes Time Visible

Boyhood is about a boy in Texas whose parents have separated. Filmed over 12 years, audiences watch him grow up — and his worldview evolve. The cumulative power of the movie is tremendous.
NPR

Spread Of Palm Oil Production Into Africa Threatens Great Apes

Palm oil growers are setting their sights on Africa as they amp up production. More than half of the land that's been set aside for plantations in Africa overlaps with ape habitats, researchers say.
WAMU 88.5

Democrats Push To Overturn Hobby Lobby Ruling

Virginia's Tim Kaine and other Democrats are trying to overturn the ruling with legislation they say will protect female workers.
NPR

Friday Feline Fun: A Ranking Of The Most Famous Internet Cats

Forget the Forbes Celebrity 100. This is the Friskies 50 — the new definitive guide of the most influential cats on the Internet. The list is based on a measure of the cats' social media reach.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.