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Posted at 1:13 PM ET, 12/13/2010

Caroling crowds on Metrorail

By Washington Post Editors

[This post will be updated]

5:20 p.m. Update: The Post's Ann Scott Tyson reports that about 30 people have gathered at Dupont Circle and have begun caroling. It's frigid out, too, which doesn't help. At last report, the group planned to board a train bound for Union Station. 

Original post: There's nothing unusual about crowds on the Red Line during the evening rush hour, but if they're singing carols, commuters are bound to sense something unusual is afoot.

Twitter users have been excitedly planning to descend on the subway Monday afternoon from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The news was first reported by The Washington Examiner, which says the effort was organized by Jason McCool, a 35-year-old actor and musician.

The carolers have been making their plans using #metrocarols on Twitter, with some users planning to stream the event on their smartphones.

"Let's give Metro Riders something to smile about!" tweeted @S_B_N_O_W.

Some participants were arguing about whether the effort was still a "flash mob," since the plan for the large group to gather to surprise commuters was gaining widespread coverage in the media.

"Actually I don't care if #MetroCarols is or is not "technically" a flashmob," @coolmcjazz tweeted. "The pt was to create unexpected smiles in an often dour city."

So is Metro worried about the impact of a crowd of carolers during evening rush?

"Our system is public. If a group enters a station and begins singing holiday songs, we are open to that," Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told The Washington Examiner. "At the same time, we encourage those who may be spreading that holiday cheer to please be mindful of everyone's safety and also to be mindful of their fellow riders who are using the system to travel."

Do you plan to attend the sing-along? Will this alter your plans if you are a regular user of the Red Line stations?



By Washington Post Editors  | December 13, 2010; 1:13 PM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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Comments

pretty obnoxious to harrass people in a confined space - it's one thing if its out in the open where people can move away from you if you they don't want to listen - it's the height of selfishness and egocentrism to just assume that by assaulting people in a confined space where they can't get away that all you're doing is giving people "something to smile about". It's a terrible idea - really.

Posted by: hohandy1 | December 13, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I get accused of being a curmudgeon sometimes, but hohandy1 wins hands down. Is there any way to turn him/her into hohohandy?

Posted by: bodypolitic1 | December 13, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Ugh, I can't stand people singing on the metro whether it's a big group caroling or a lone person singing along to their ipod. Also, no one's going to be smiling if they can't get on to a car because there's a group of carolers in the way.

Posted by: tink712 | December 13, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I agree, you want to carol in public then do so at the entrance to metro. Stay off the trains and platforms during rush hour because you are just going to cause issues in an already over crowded situation.

Posted by: Nosh1 | December 13, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I agree, you want to carol in public then do so at the entrance to metro. Stay off the trains and platforms during rush hour because you are just going to cause issues in an already over crowded situation.

Posted by: Nosh1 | December 13, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

got any response that actually addresses the substance of the post, bodypolitic1 - or are you just all about the personal attack?

Posted by: hohandy1 | December 13, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Wow. I'd heard rumors that anonymous online commenters could get pretty hateful, but this has gotta take the cake. Equating the singing of cheerful music to words like "assault" and "harrassment?"

Mercy.

Posted by: coolmc | December 13, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

It's an extremely inappropriate place for your publicity stunt McCool - pointing that out doesn't make me "hateful".

If I put my boombox loudspeaker on and went down into the Metro and caused a disruption during rush hour I'd be arrested (even though I thought I was only playing "cheerful music" and "making people smile"). Why should you and your friends be treated any different just because you're singing Christmas carols?

Posted by: hohandy1 | December 13, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse


If those carolers sing their stupid songs in a confined space, I hope someone flips out and physically goes beserk on them.

What right do they have imposing their idea of music on commuters?

Posted by: kenk33 | December 13, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

It's an extremely inappropriate place for your publicity stunt McCool - pointing that out doesn't make me "hateful".

If I put my boombox loudspeaker on and went down into the Metro and caused a disruption during rush hour I'd be arrested (even though I thought I was only playing "cheerful music" and "making people smile"). Why should you and your friends be treated any different just because you're singing Christmas carols?

Posted by: hohandy1 | December 13, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

You win, snarkers. The event's off.

Have a joyful holiday. :)

Posted by: coolmc | December 13, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

McCool - big on the name-calling, but you can't be bothered to address the substance of the criticism. Says a lot about you.

Posted by: hohandy1 | December 13, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Charging up the stun gun...

Posted by: CalmTruth | December 13, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Singing in the public spaces of Metro would be OK by me...but in the confined spaces of subway cars, it would be intrusive.

Sorry if this makes me a Grinch, but I enjoy reading on my subway ride home.

Posted by: sanderling5 | December 13, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Though responding to a bully is probably the least productive plan of action, since you asked, I will address the substance of the criticism.

You, sir, or ma'am, have absolutely no idea what our logistics were, and that we had a plan in place so that we specifically would NOT be in people's way. Also, we were going to be singing no more than one 2-3 minute song at a time. And not on the cars, and not anywhere where things would be too busy. So your case is entirely based on mistaken assumptions.

Also, you calling this a "publicity stunt" makes me... I don't know - sad? Perhaps in your life you don't feel the urge to do something nice and unexpected and outside-the-box for your neighbors, but I often do. As did the other 260+ who originally RSVP'd for this.

Yet the only hateful comments ("charging up the stun gun?" are you serious?) have come from internet commenters. Outside of that, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. And the legitimate concerns people presented us with - that we'd clog up the system - we had addressed in our plans. Which you knew nothing about.

So. Is that a good enough response? You can safely leave your stun-gun at home now.

And seriously, have a happy holiday season. :)

Posted by: coolmc | December 13, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Fa-la-la-la-OUCH!

Posted by: CalmTruth | December 13, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse


Good coolmc, take your moronic religious songs and shove them where the sun doesn't shine.

Posted by: kenk33 | December 13, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Push them onto the tracks.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | December 13, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

coolmc,
I know you meant well, but seriously, the Metro is tough enough as it is (I also know that's the point), but just because you found the idea charming doesn't mean everybody does. 260+ "tweeters" doesn't even constitute a quorum in DC at rush hour.

Posted by: skinswitabullet | December 13, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Metro delays: Track fire at Metro Center leads to lost work hours, widespread misery.

Thanks to a fire on the tracks near Metro Center, a commute that should take about 35 minutes door-to-door took well over an hour this morning. It was miserable...

http://www.tbd.com/blogs/tbd-on-foot/2010/12/metro-delays-fire-at-metro-center-leads-to-widespread-misery-lost-work-hours-5861.html

Posted by: skinswitabullet | December 13, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

To those who disagree with this, guess what? The First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech makes what they planned to do legal. If you don't like it, just as you suggest they get off (in some caese. get pushed off), you can just as easily wait until the next train comes. During "peak of the peak" service, you'll have to wait 3-4 minutes. Just enough time to get out all the "bah-humbugs" you'd like.

Posted by: ahs78graduate | December 13, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

such a bad idea

Posted by: gps1375 | December 13, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Why won't they sing on the green line?

Posted by: CalmTruth | December 13, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse


Why won't they sing on the green line?

--------------------------------------

Haha, so true!

Most would be shanked before they knew it.

Jingle bells, jingle b... (interrupted by a cries of pain/terror)

Posted by: kenk33 | December 13, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

>>To those who disagree with this, guess what? The First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech makes what they planned to do legal.

@ahs78graduate - do a Google on "time and place restrictions" - money quote from Wikipedia: Cox v. New Hampshire, 312 U.S. 569 (1941),[1] was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that, although the government cannot regulate the contents of speech, it can place reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on speech for the public safety

Posted by: hohandy1 | December 13, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

pretty obnoxious to harrass people in a confined space - it's one thing if its out in the open where people can move away from you if you they don't want to listen - it's the height of selfishness and egocentrism to just assume that by assaulting people in a confined space where they can't get away that all you're doing is giving people "something to smile about". It's a terrible idea - really.

Posted by: hohandy1 |


I bet you 10 bucks you dont even ride the subway you whiney wannabe.

Posted by: ged0386 | December 13, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Sing something different instead of the same old tired insipid stuff we hear at every store at this time of year.

How about "Merry F@^&ing Christmas" by Mr. Garrison. Seems to fit in well with the moods of your average DC-area residents, too!

Posted by: 1995hoo | December 13, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

hohandy1

You are on a web blog arguing about Christmas carolers who will be doing this for about a couple of hours for one day. I think you can get through it. Get a life man. Did you complain about the Thanksgiving parade too? Its worse things to be angry about Ebenezer. Why dont you go kick a homeless guy to feel better.

Posted by: ged0386 | December 13, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

@ged0386 - you maybe wanna say something about my mother too?

Posted by: hohandy1 | December 13, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

So since singing is allowed on the Metro my rap groups plans to invade the red line tonight and sing. We will do "I wish Mary had had an abortion", "Kill the baby jesus"
and Have yourself and effing little christmas"
Hope you all enjoy.

Posted by: alterego3 | December 14, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

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