Thursday, February 26, 2015

Two-hour snow delay: shovel or salt your walk!

Today, DC schools and the government have yet another delay due to the bad weather, and it's a good reminder to make sure to due your civic duty (and legal duty) to clear the sidewalk in front of your house, even if you're a renter. Shoveling and then putting down salt or ice melter is the best bet to keep it clear.

It's a nice thing to do as well as potentially keep you and your neighbors from falling and busting their butts -- and that isn't fun. You could also get a ticket if you don't do it.

DC also has a snowplow tracking map on their website, so you can see if your street was plowed or treated (and if not, you can call 311 or tweet at DDOT and DPW. More info here.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Whoa: small indie movie theater with bar planned for Mt. Pleasant


This sounds great: the Post reports that two guys in Mt. Pleasant are planning to open an indie movie theater at 3107 Mt. Pleasant Street NW. Called Suns Cinema, it's the brainchild of David Cabrera and Ryan Hunter Mitchell, who leased the former Simple Mobile cell phone store after hosting a number of movie screenings at their shared apartment. Mitchell also owns Eastern Confederate, a hair salon across the street.

They plan to have a 40-seat theater and show classics and eclectic movies, citing The Goonies and Alfred Hitchcock, and hope to get a liquor license to serve beer and cocktails as well as movie snacks. They hope to be open in the summer.

I have to say I'm pretty excited. It reminds me of Visions, a similar (though multi-screen) theater on Florida Avenue north of Dupont -- it showed older movies and cult hits, like Monty Python and Rocky Horror, and had a full bar. It closed in 2004 and was a great, super fun place, and the city has been missing something like it for quite some time. In fact, a movie theater has long been part of the "What We're Missing" series of posts on this very blog!

I hope this place works out! They're also planning on doing a Kickstarter, more on that when I hear about it. They also have a nascent Facebook page.

Here's me right now:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Get free boozy cupcakes with booze delivery from Klink on Valentine's Day (and get free shipping!)


A few months ago I wrote about all the new alcohol-delivery services popping up in our area, the idea of which I think is great!

Now one of them, Klink, has some deals for this Valentine's Day: if you order alcohol this Friday or Saturday, you'll get free boozy cupcakes from Crunkcakes, and you can get free shipping if you use the code "NCHBlog".

Here's more about the deal from them.
Klink partners with D.C.-based cupcakery for the Ultimate Valentine’s Day special

Customers will get boozy baked goods with all orders on Friday and Saturday

Starting this Friday at 5 p.m. and going through 10 p.m. on Saturday, two liquor-infused cupcakes will be included with every order placed through Klink in Washington D.C., courtesy of Crunkcakes.

Customers will receive two flavors of the liquor-infused cupcakes with their Klink orders. The Buttery Nipple consists of vanilla cake infused with butterscotch liqueur and Bailey's Irish Cream buttercream. The second flavor, the Cowboy Coffee, is a Guinness chocolate cupcake infused with Jameson and topped with Van Gogh Espresso Vodka fudge icing.

Last month Klink partnered with Kangaroo Boxing Club during the NFL championship games to bring customers perfectly paired BBQ sandwiches and beer. D.C. residents can expect more Klink experiences fueled by local partnerships, featuring the best the District has to offer.

Klink offers an app (iOS | Android) and website (klinkdelivery.com) through which customers can order beer, wine and spirits to their doorstep in less than an hour. Customers pay only $3.87 for delivery, with no markups and a $20 order minimum. Customers who use the promo code NCHBlog will receive free delivery this Friday and Saturday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cool new sign at Zeba Bar on 14th (and awesome happy hour)


So it's not breaking news, but I noticed the other day that Zeba Bar at 14th and Newton got a great looking new sign.

If you haven't been, it's a neat spot, and sort of two things in one: relaxed neighborhood bar and hookah spot with awesome happy hour deals, plus a big dance floor and back patio area with dancing and DJs and live music -- I've seen Black Marsala, a Balkan folk/punk band there, a few times, and it's a blast. Some other buddies are big fans of the various DJ nights and deals that go with them.

The happy hour deals are pretty awesome too: every day from 5-8, it's $5 drafts, $4 select cocktails, $3 Miller, Corona and Blue Moon  bottles, 1/2 price pizza, $4 wings and 50% off hookahs. That's a lot of stuff.

Zeba Bar is at 3423 14th Street NW.

Report: is DC (and Columbia Heights) one of the most gentrifying places in the country? What is it, anyway?


A few days ago, a series of reports came out about gentrification in the US that got a lot of press coverage: Governing magazine attempted to look at data to show where gentrification was happening and where it was highest. According to their analysis, DC was the second-most gentrifying city in the country, behind Portland, Oregon, and much of our area was considered to be gentrifying.

The G-Word is a big draw for articles and comments, and lots of places (like the Post) picked up on the article, adding some details but mostly summarizing the original report. Interestingly, the analysis uses a photo of 14th Street in Columbia Heights as its main photo -- the poster child, if it were.

For the article (and accompanying interactive maps), Governing defines gentrification using Census data, comparing 2000 to 2009-2013: tracts that were in the bottom 40% of median home value and median income in their metro area were "eligible" to gentrify, and were considered gentrified when median home values increased and the increase in the inflation-adjusted median home values and in percentage of adults with bachelors degrees were in the top third of their metro area. That is, places with low home values and low incomes that then had higher home values and big increases in home values and the number of college grads were considered to have been gentrified.

Confusing? Yeah, it is. Why is it lowest 40% and then highest third? I dunno. And why compare static values to a subset of changes in values, and then toss in a new variable, increase in college grads? It just seems like there could be a lot going on here that could be explained by other factors. Maybe more college students are moving to cities than they were in the past -- does that mean gentrification is occurring there?

To their credit, Governing includes their methodology, but doesn't talk a lot about why they chose what they chose: why not include race, for example, or more about education? As part of their explanation, they said this, though without quoting any research that supports their conclusions.
Some research examining gentrification has instead focused primarily on changes in household income. However, many of the first residents to “gentrify” a neighborhood are often artisans or young professionals who might not earn much more than their new neighbors. Such changes to a community are not reflected in income levels. For this reason, Governing instead measured changes in educational attainment, which strongly correlates with income. 
The racial makeup of a neighborhood was not a condition for gentrification to occur. Gentrifying Census tracts were, though, found to experience increases in the concentration of non-Hispanic white residents.
But is that true? Are artists and bohemians who don't have any more money than the people who already live there actually gentrifiers, or the precursors to gentrifiers? What is gentrification, anyway? And if education correlates with income, why even use it?

And then, as the City Commentary blog points out, Governing makes it more confusing with another article in the same series, which asks what gentrification is but doesn't really answer it. The answer seems to be their formula.

It's actually one of the many reasons why I try not to use the term "gentrification" on this blog, just like I try not to use the term "hipster," as they mean many things to many people. Does gentrification mean more wealthy people? Does it mean more college grads? More "millenials"? More white people? Fewer minorities? Displacement of poorer residents? Some of these? All of these?

As City Commentary points out, many of these supposedly gentrifying census tracts reported increases in poor residents as well as wealthier ones, so poor people may not actually be displaced.

And there are certainly many new and expensive condos and apartments in our area, which results in increasing average house prices -- but are those new expensive places resulting in higher rents in lower-income homes? Are people in the cheaper houses being forced to leave? Or is it just that that more expensive units = higher average cost and not a zero-sum calculation? I don't know. Many of these big condo buildings went up on empty lots, like those around 14th and Florida and Georgia and New Hampshire, but at the same time, we hear about townhouses being broken into multiple fancy condos. Another article in the series talks about increasing housing prices and rent control, but only in average terms.

It's confusing. Is Columbia Heights gentrifying? According to Governing, yes, it is -- their maps show most census tracts in our area, especially along Georgia Avenue, as gentrifying. I think most people would agree. But I think many people would disagree on what that means, or at least lack the data to prove it. What do you think?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Zombie Coffee and Donuts opening soon on Irving Street in DCUSA


Looks like another coffee and donuts option in the area, coming soon after the news of a Dunkin Donuts opening at Georgia and New Hampshire: Park View DC reports that Zombie Coffee & Donuts on the Irving Street side of DCUSA looks nearly ready to open. It's located next to Panda Express, in the space that used to be Tasti D-Lite, which closed after less than a year in business.

Zombie Coffee is the same company as Fro-Zen-Yo (you may remember their dual store on F Street downtown, now in Chinatown) and works a similar way to Fro-Zen-Yo -- you pour your own coffee then add things to it, in this case flavored syrups and cream rather than cereal, fruit, and nuts.

Of course, there's also a Dunkin' down the street at 14th and Girard, not to mention Starbucks, Coffy Cafe and Tynan's all within a block of Zombie.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Package theft victims post poster of their thief


I've written a fair amount about package thieves before -- in northern Columbia Heights, the area around 14th and Otis to Spring, there seem to be some thieves afoot, taking packages from people's stoops.

One victim seems to have gotten fed up, as there's a poster up around the area with a picture of an alleged thief. I spotted this one at 14th and Spring and friends saw some farther south too.

Maybe they put up a security camera or something -- I'm not sure as there's no other contact info. I hope it works out, I know a number of folks (me included) have been victims.

And make sure you call the police if your package was stolen, even if you don't think they can catch the crook. At least the police will know more about the patterns and similarities of the crimes. In fact, MPD has caught some in the past.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Brightest Young Things has a "what to do tonight in Columbia Heights" flowchart -- what do you think?


Something I forgot to post a few months ago, but was reminded about today when they tweeted about it, is nightlife website Brightest Young Things "What to do tonight in Columbia Heights" flowchart.

To me, it's a pretty clever idea. Basically you pick what you're feeling tonight and it directs you to a good option -- want some live music? Go to the Pinch. How about dancing? Zeba Bar. And so on. Though being published originally in October, it still has Mad Momo's, which has sadly closed.

It's also missing Bravo, which has a great happy hour (more of those here) and most of the Georgia Avenue spots, and I'd note that the draw of El Chucho isn't the tequila but the awesome food. That said, their $5 house margarita is great too.

What do you think? Missing any other good spots? A neat presentation, in any case. The full chart is below, click it for a bigger one (or on their site.)