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Billy Bulletin June 8-15: A Superplane Takes Flight, New York’s Bodega Made of Felt, and the Covfefe Will be Televised

The Billy Bulletin appears every Thursday with news about travel and the cities we cover, to help our readers and passengers navigate the week ahead.

Here’s what’s going on this week … 

Washington DC 

Breaking news! Reports say several bars have plans to air the Congressional testimony of James Comey live the morning of Thursday June 8, as if it’s the Super Bowl or something. Here’s one, for starters.

Meanwhile, in slower-breaking news, the venerable Ben’s Chili Bowl is in the process of painting a pantheon of prominent black Americans, who were chosen by its fans. Ben’s is a diner that all new visitors to Washington must visit for the chili dogs. The new mural, occupying a brick wall down the side of Ben’s facing the alleyway, already features roughed-in caricatures of Prince, the Obamas, Dave Chappelle, and … well, if you’re in town, go watch ’em paint it. 

Adam McDowell / Billy

Ben's Chili Bowl

Montreal

Residents of Montreal (and Toronto) take for granted the whole idea that downtown buildings are connected underground so you don’t have to go outside in dreadful weather. The downside, locals know, is that the underground layout can be disorienting – there’s no sun to guide you, for one thing. At last, Montreal Souterrain has produced a map to help everyone out, which seems to be widely available in paper form – which is a handy thing; WiFi can be patchy down there (here’s a link to the French-only official site).

Montréal Souterrain

Meanwhile, we like the look and sound of this new Japanese-inspired cocktail bar called Gokudo, set to open sometime this coming week(ish). In any event, we celebrate a possibly decent place to grab a drink opening in a really central spot in Montreal (otherwise it’s a city in which the more worthy spots tend to cluster just outside of downtown, but not in it).

Meanwhile, Vice Munchies gets an insider's view of the dinner Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama enjoyed together at Liverpool House. (They'll probably never be able to take the lobster spaghetti off the menu now.)

New York 

Do you love your favourite snack so much you could fall asleep snuggling it? At The Standard Hotel on the High Line, British artist Lucy Sparrow has recreated a bodega in felt, New York Magazine reports. It’s got everything from plush ketchup bottles to lemons to boxes of Brillo pads. Yes, the stuffy groceries are for sale, and if you can’t be in New York in time to buy something, head over to Sparrow’s site where you can buy your, er, groceries online.   

Courtesy Lucy Sparrow

Can you spot the Canadian content?

Ottawa

SuzyQ Donuts has croissants now. That is all.

Courtesy SuzyQ via Twitter

Boston

Mass MOCA’s new, cavernous exhibition space, Building 6 – or, more prosaically, “the Robert W. Wilson Building” – is a hit with visitors so far, notably ones equipped with Instagram accounts. The art on display includes works by a ton of heavy hitters, include Louise Bourgeois, Sol Lewitt, Robert Rauschenberg and, in a spectacular installation use of the space, James Turrell.

Aviation news!

Unless it concerns you how much billionaires are starting to act in the style of Bond villains, congratulations on the largest plane ever go to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. He created his company Stratolaunch Systems to make planes that will help lift rockets into space, and it wheeled the first gargantuan example out into the open last week. Right now, the ginormous aircraft – which boasts a 117-metre (385 foot) wingspan and is expected to weigh 590,000 kilograms (1.3 million pounds) all fuelled and cargoed up – is just being tested for weight balancing. But the Stratolaunch Systems told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer it plans the first launch demonstration for as soon as 2019.

Courtesy Stratolaunch Systems

Planes keep getting bigger while seats keep getting smaller

Published Thursday, June 8th 2017

Header image credit: Lucy Sparrow in her felt bodega. Courtesy Lucy Sparrow

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