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Do you know all these secret codes, insider tips and underground hangouts?

Can you crack the fourth panel?

Look closely at the yellow part of this info pavilion--it's got Morse code etched into it

The flags spell out "U-S-N-A-V-Y-M-E-M-O-R-I-A-L

Part of a Walt Whitman poem, etched in the Dupont Circle Metro entrance

Thomas Foolery, where a secret handshake gets you a free drink

It's the tenth anniversary of National Treasure (yeah, that movie with Nic Cage). But secret messages on the back of the Declaration of Independence are so passe. Check out these real secrets in and around D.C., then impress your friends.
“We’re going to steal the Declaration of Independence!”
Who could forget Nicolas Cage as a determined treasure-seeker traipsing around the country and D.C.—specifically, sneaking around the National Archives? Ten years ago--yes, ten--“National Treasure,” the tale of treasure-hunter Ben Gates’ mission to find a clue leading to hidden treasure on the Declaration of Independence, hit theaters and grossed more than $173 million in its first year of release.
Speculation about secret treasure, codes and maps in D.C. didn’t start in 2004 with the Disney hit, but it certainly re-ignited our curiosity in what’s hidden behind our city’s historical documents, government buildings and monuments.
In honor of the ten-year anniversary of “National Treasure,” here are seven hidden codes and secrets of D.C. We think Ben Gates would try his best to crack them all.
CIA "Kryptos" sculpture
Since its dedication in 1990, the Kryptos sculpture outside of the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia has been the source of much speculation. California computer scientist Jim Gillogly cracked three of its four codes in 1999, overshadowing CIA analyst Jim Stein’s 400-some hours of efforts to do the same. A CIA internal memo revealed his efforts years later, but according to a Wired article, the National Security Agency cracked the code long before both Stein and Gillogly, revealing their efforts in 1993 in response to a FOIA request. So what does it say? According to the document:
Part 1: “Between subtle shading and the absence of light lies the nuance of illusion.”
Click here to read all of the cracked code—only part 4 remains unsolved.
 Morse Code lyrics at Union Station
At the Union Station bus pavilion, renovated in 2013, there are Death Cab for Cutie lyrics etched into a structure in Morse Code, according to an article in Composites World, from the song “Soul Meets Body:”
“’Cause in my head there’s a Greyhound Station/Where I send my thoughts to far off destinations/So they may have a chance of finding a place/Where they’re far more suited than here”
Todd Ray, design principal for S27, the group who designed the remodeling, told Composite World that the lyrics represent the “sense of impermanence and transience that is a bus depot.”
U.S. Navy memorial flags 
Every day, the U.S. Navy Memorial flies flags that spell out “U.S. NAVY MEMORIAL,” but according to a report from the Wall Street Journal this summer, that might be a mistake. Robert Royer, a lawyer and yachtsman, told Navy officials that at sea, these letters would be read as code, not letters.
What’s the hidden message on the U-S-N-A-V-Y pole? Apparently "Nothing can be done! Navigation is closed! Icebergs have been reported!"
According to the WSJ, Carol Johnson, the spokeswoman for the National Mall and Memorial Parks, said officials “took Mr. Royer's concerns seriously,” but haven’t changed it.
"It is a memorial, it is not a ship," she said. "It's meant to be symbolic."
"Surrender Dorothy" graffiti on the Beltway before sight of the Mormon Church in Kensington, M.D.
Visible from a beltway overpass just outside the city, this throwback to “The Wizard of Oz” has reoccurred since the church was dedicated in 1974. A Washington Post columnist reported in 2011 that the etching was an annoyance to state highway workers, who said the graffiti was distracting drivers. In 2001, state highway spokesman David Buck told Mormon News, “We’ve fought an uphill battle for years with people putting graffiti on that bridge.” 
A temple administrator told Mormon News he’s only opposed to the graffiti because it poses a distraction to drivers. "When they don't know you, people seem to think you resemble Oz," he said. "That's why we have a visitor's center."
Speakeasy bars of D.C.
Unmarked bars hidden under or above restaurants are cropping up all over D.C., offering bar-hoppers exclusive experiences reminiscent of the prohibition era.
According to Jenna Golden, food blogger for EatMoreDrinkMore.com, speakeasies "became a thing to talk about" in the D.C. area only a few years ago with The Gibson on 14th St. NW. 
Golden says it was one of the first "hidden" bars to join the scene, with no signage and requiring a reservation for entry. 
"More recently came Harold Black in Eastern Market which is located above Acqua Al 2, and originally required a password in order to enter and enjoy," Golden said. "Harold Black was unique because the phone number was also hidden, and it was necessary to know someone in order to have access." (The bar eventually dropped the secret phone number concept and you can now make a reservation online.)
Golden points out that other spots like Living Social's 918 F Street have also tried out the speakeasy concept. 
"Speakeasies are not prevalent in Washington, but there is an appeal to the exclusive and private nature of them," Golden says. "Also, many offer custom craft cocktails which sets them apart from other regular bars in town."

 Walt Whitman poem etched into on Dupont Metro Station  
Have you ever ascended—or descended—the seemingly never-ending Dupont Metro Station escalator and craned your neck to read the pretty poem that circles the entrance, and wondered, “What is that doing there, and why?”
Here’s the whole poem, according to the Washington Post:
“Thus in silence in dreams’ projections, 
Returning, resuming, I thread my way through the hospitals; 
The hurt and wounded I pacify with soothing hand, 
I sit by the restless all the dark night — some are so young; 
Some suffer so much — I recall the experience sweet and sad . . .”
Washington Post’s Answer Man reports that the poem is from the Civil War era, written by Walt Whitman as he moved around Washington-area hospitals after finding his brother alive in Fredericksburg, visiting sick soldiers, reading to them and giving them small gifts, even sitting with them as they died.
“In 2006, D.C. Council member Jim Graham and others were looking for a way to honor the caregivers who had nursed the sick in the earliest days of the city’s HIV crisis,” the Post reports. “They found inspiration in Whitman’s Civil War-era poem.”
“That poem was inspired by his ministrations to the sick and the dying, and so that, of course, has a fitting connection to the early years of the AIDS epidemic,” Graham told Answer Man. “It has the benefit of that particular station’s very long escalator,” Graham said. “As you go down, you have time to read.”
Mr. Yogato and Thomas Foolery’s secret menus and handshakes
On this list, a frozen yogurt shop and bar have the most in common with Ben Gates, the treasure seeker himself. National Treasure is the “fifth-favorite movie” of Steve Davis, who owns Mr. Yogato and Thomas Foolery, both in Dupont Circle. The LLC for his businesses is named Goodspeed Gates, partly after Ben Gates, Davis told Elevation DC. When Davis first opened his businesses, he passed out business cards for Goodspeed Gates around the city and they even had a picture from National Treasure.
Mr. Yogato has a secret handshake to get free ice cream, and Thomas Foolery has one for free booze. Davis won’t divulge what they are. “If someone does something awesome, we give them the code,” he said.
But here’s an attainable goal—Davis said if anyone visits Mr. Yogato 30 days in a row, an ice cream flavor is named after that person. Customers that frequent Mr. Yogato have access to a secret menu, which includes toppings like “every cereal known to man,” avocado, nutella and cookie dough.
“No way would I give Nicholas Cage anything for free… he’d have to figure it out himself,” Davis said. “But I think he could pull it off.”

Read more articles by Ashley Gold.

Ashley Gold is currently the associate editor for FierceHealthIT in Washington, D.C., covering all things healthcare technology. She’s written for daily newspapers covering local news, higher education and crime, and is interested in music, urbanism, biking, her home city of Pittsburgh and quality coffee. She lives in Mt. Vernon Triangle and frequents the Taylor Gourmet nearby as often as she can.
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