Washington DC Union Station

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Joined
Jun 3, 2015
Messages
7
I have been meaning to post this years before Covid came to the United States. I have traveled Amtrak often for many years, when Union Station DC was extremely busy with office workers and Amtrak passengers filled the food courts and the shops. The last few years I see not as many people using the food courts, yes I know there are not as many vendors there. Was the lack of vendors due to trying to reduce the amount of people in the dinning food court or has DC station seeing less people using the food court?
 

the_traveler

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
26,008
I have not gone down to the food court in a long time, but my own opinion is that it may also be due to less people waiting a long time. Since they have removed many of the seats in the waiting area, maybe many riders show up “at the last moment”.

I know on my last trip thru WAS, I wanted to spend as little time there as I could.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
1,984
When I was a commuter, I regularly had dinner at Union Station on the two nights a week I went to the gym after work. I sampled lots of places, both upstairs and downstairs. I generally got stuff at the fast food type places, and sometimes even at it on the train, as I usually wasn't there long enough to bother with table service. And as long as I kept my bag from Pret discretely closed up, I was never bothered about bringing it into the Club Acela while I waited. But maybe that was because I was a regular, and the attendant knew me by name (but she still scanned my AGR card every time I came in.)

I don't think there was much of a dropoff in patronage in the food court up to the time I retired (March 2019). There's been a lot of turnover of eateries, though, especially since the 2008 financial crisis. In my experience, one of the biggest groups of customers at certain times of the year are the school groups visiting Washington. I think that the charter buses can park upstairs in the garage/bus station and it seemed like the kids got some sort of meal coupons they could use at their choice of eateries. These trips usually happen during the spring, as is typical for school class trips in general. For some reason, the places upstairs (Pret a Manger, Cava, Chop't, Au Bon Pain, etc,) don't seem to appeal to middle school kids as much as the places downstairs.

I passed through about a week and a half ago (I'm going to write it up in the travelogue section), and maybe half the food places were open. All in all it was pretty quiet, but I was there in the middle of the day.
 

Manny T

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 7, 2015
Messages
485
This might be part of the answer:

Along with this, the removal of Central Cafe:

The culprit in both cases seems from the reporting to be Ashkenazy Acquistion Corporation, a NY real estate investment company:
 

Sauve850

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 9, 2014
Messages
510
I ate at Johnny Rockets in September for lunch before trip back to Florida awaiting the Silver Star. There were a few crazies in the food court that got my attention and generally there were less people than previous fall trips. Had I been waiting on the Meteor Id have eaten upstairs for an early dinner.
 

Seaboard92

Conductor
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
3,523
This might be part of the answer:

The culprit in both cases seems from the reporting to be Ashkenazy Acquistion Corporation, a NY real estate investment company:
A few years ago I served the person heading up the property for them on a private car parked in Union Station. I was not impressed with him at all. He was nice enough to me, but overall I wasn't impressed.

And in case anyone is wondering no I didn't voice my opinions on the overall situation of Union Station under their management, nor will I repeat what I overheard while serving.
 
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