Monday, June 30, 2008

Petition for Dog Park in the neighborhood

EDIT: I got my green spaces mixed up in the original post, please see below for the correct post.

Earlier I mentioned some people working to get a dog park at the southeast corner of 11th and Park, which is a little green space with some Metro vents. Now the folks working towards that have created an online petition to send to the city council. Check it out.

Seems like a good idea to me, why not use an underutilized space? Of course, there are some issues, such as getting neighbors to agree, seeing if there are space issues (it seems to be below the usual 5,000 square feet required), etc.

Anybody else have comments about the dog park idea?

Five Guys still not open

As you may have noticed, the Five Guys at 14th and Irving isn't open yet. Apparently the owners/operators/whoever gave some bad information about the opening. Hopefully it'll be this week, so stay tuned.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Barack Obama works out at Columbia Heights gym

No joke. Apparently Sen. Obama was at the Washington Sports Club in DC USA this morning to work out, and the staff didn't recognize him. Doh.

Usually he goes to the one in Gallery Place. I wonder if he stopped by Rita's afterwards, or if he's hitting Wonderland tonight.

Anybody see Obama or other famous types at the Sports Club?

Crummy photoshopping by me, Obama photo by roxannejomitchell

REI: "No plans" to open in Columbia Heights

In regards to the rumors in the past and a comment on the last post, I contacted REI, the outdoors and camping gear store, about opening a store in Columbia Heights. Here's their response, which I got earlier today:
Greetings Andrew,

Thank you for contacting REI regarding a store in the Washington, DC Columbia Heights neighborhood.

At this time, we have no plans to open a store in the area. Customer feedback is our best tool for improvement and we do appreciate your input and efforts in bringing this matter to our attention.

As a co-op, we approach our store openings slower than most national retailers, only opening seven to ten stores per year. This allows us to be very thoughtful and deliberate in our real estate selections.

To stay informed of our latest news and openings, please refer to the link below:
Of course, people could still contact REI and try to advocate for a store.

The plot thickens. As commenter Rex North noted below, there's a thread on the Columbia Heights News forum with an email from last week saying that REI is "closer to being reality than previously thought," which makes things complicated. Stay tuned!

Children's Place coming to DC USA

Speaking of kids, I just noticed a coming soon sign for Children's Place in DC USA. It's a kid's clothing store. I guess they're really trying to turn DC USA into a major suburban-type shopping center, which I am pretty much in favor of.

But that makes me think - what would I rather be there? I'd prefer a bookstore or CD store instead of a Vitamin Shoppe and Mattress Discounters, for one. And of course, a better grocery store, but that's supposedly in the works, with Ellwood Thompson's "hard at work."

Anything you'd like to see in DC USA?

Photo by edward DC

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Weekly Kids' Playgroup at Trolley Turnaround Park

Got kids?

As part of the effort to clean-up Trolley Turnaround Park (the park at 11th and Monroe), some folks have organized a playgroup for kids, where they get together and let the kids have fun. They did one last Wednesday and it was a success, so they're going to have them from now on every Wednesday and Friday at 8:30 am.

There's more on the group and the park at the park's Yahoo group.

Neighborhood Bits

Couple little things:

--Just got word that Jim Graham's traffic meeting today was cancelled. Doh.

--And still no Five Guys, though I did see what looked like a training session inside yesterday evening.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Today at about 9 am (don't tell boss) I was at the Columbia Heights Metro. And it smelled like cookies. Or maybe cake. It was strong too, as if Metro had a big oven filled with tasty sweets.

I looked around and didn't see any folks with foil covered trays or tupperware bowls full of cookies, so I have no idea. It almost smelled like it was coming from the vents. If this is some kind of anti-terrorist gas weapon, I am in favor of it.

Photo by athena, under Creative Commons license

No Five Guys yet, but Staples is open

I walked by Five Guys yesterday, and it's still getting some work done. However, the Staples on 14th (next to the DC USA entrance) is open, so there's something.

I wouldn't be too surprised if the store doesn't last long, however, since it's not really in a business district. I guess it depends on if the traffic to Target, Best Buy, etc spills over. Same with the Vitamin Shoppe.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Traffic meeting on Thursday

Councilman Jim Graham is holding a meeting about traffic in the neighborhood on Thursday, and he'll be joined by Department of Transportation and ANC folks. It's at 7pm at Harriet Tubman Elementary School - 13th and Irving.

Anybody have any problems with the traffic? I have a feeling this could be an interesting meeting.

UPDATE: This has been canceled.

Five Guys Opening This Week

Five Guys
Originally uploaded by squidpants
The Prince of Petworth has the scoop - Five Guys on Irving opens this week. It's right off the Metro in the Highland Park building, around the corner from the escalator.

I'll be stopping by and checking the progress this week and will let you know when it's open.

What do you think of Five Guys? Good, or overrated?

Here's PoP's post.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Religious folks congregate at the Metro

Yesterday at about 5 pm, a large group of people were at the Metro, singing and clapping and passing out cards. I spoke to one of the people handing out the cards, he said they were from an apostolic evangelical church and were there for an event at the National Baptist Memorial Church at 16th and Columbia (the big round one). As for why 14th and Irving, he said they wanted to show their support for the event so they decided to go out witnessing and singing.

I thought at first that they were out protesting something, but that wasn't the case. Just more random interesting stuff in the hood.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Eerie Houses

I saw these houses on Kenyon (I think) a few nights ago, and the light struck me as weird and eerie. Too bad it's not Halloween.

Have a good weekend.

Want to Advertise on New Columbia Heights?

Some other local blogs have ads, and I've been thinking about it for awhile. Since I'm not out to make money with this blog, here's the deal - I will accept ads for the sidebar for the price of one case of beer. That is, you give me 24 beers, you get an ad for a month. Not a bad deal either way! That's less than $30 for a month of local advertising for your business, house for sale, parking spot, or what have you. I would prefer good beer, but beggars can't be choosers.

The ads would be from local businesses, people selling stuff, parking, etc, and would be maybe 2 x 3 inches or so. You can give me an image file or just text and/or your logo. I reserve the right to say no to your ad, of course.

Contact me
if you're interested.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Kegs and Mini-kegs at D'Vines

If you've been to D'Vines on 14th lately, you've probably noticed the Rogue Dead Guy Ale kegs in the window. Store employees said those and kegs of pretty much any other beer they carry are available, but you have to order in advance - about a week. They provide the fanciest keg tap I've ever seen, but no trash can or bucket for ice.

They're not cheap either; I think the Rogue keg was something like $170 - which makes sense, considering this a good microbrew at 7.5% alcohol, not Bud Light or Busch or what have you. They also have log kegs (aka Cornelius kegs) in stock of Brooklyn and Rogue. The log kegs are about the size of an oxygen tank - they're normal kegs, just thinner.

In addition to those, they have mini-kegs (pictured) of Bell's Oberon Ale, a tasty wheat beer. It's $24 or so.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Five Guys making progress

Five Guys
Originally uploaded by squidpants
Looks like the Five Guys burger joint in the Highland Park building at 14th and Irving is pretty close to being complete inside.

That means the western side of the Columbia Heights Metro is now surrounded by food - Potbelly, Pete's, Five Guys, and soon to be Mocha Hut, Sake Club (sushi), Zinnia (Caribbean) and a British "gastropub" from the guys who own Hank's Oyster Bar.

The Heights Life also noted the Five Guys, and took almost the same photo as I did on the same day. Great minds think alike?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More on the Smashed Cars on 13th

Over at DCist, some folks have stories about the accident. One commenter said the car had Maryland plates, and the driver and his two passengers were injured and taken away in ambulances, followed by police cars - so they caught them, which is good.

Others have more of a play-by-play:
I can't say whether the guys were drunk or what, but witnesses said it seemed like the car exploded before it started plowing into other cars. The sounds was so a bomb. The guys in the car were completely effed up too. Seriously injured. It was crazy. The car that drove into everything was smoking.
One tire with its axle was lost from the offending vehicle itself after it smashed into the first couple cars (the Saturn lost a tire and axle, too), and then it skidded the rest of the block with sparks flying everywhere before it smashed into a line of parked cars. The impact was so severe that it pushed four cars far enough that he made himself a brand new, legal parking spot.
UPDATE: Flickr user fedward has more photos, taken today.

UPDATE 2: MPD confirms that the suspect was arrested, and has the case number if anybody needs it, while NBC4 has a brief item, saying it took 4 officers to restrain the driver.

Smashed Cars on 13th Street

Originally uploaded by squidpants
I hope nobody here parked on the southbound side of 13th between Fairmont and Clifton - you may be in for a crummy morning. Somebody (drunk, I assume?) crashed their car tonight on almost every car on the southbound side of 13th Street.

There were 5-10 cars smashed up from what I could see, with some missing wheels (pictured), front ends knocked off, crunched fenders, broken bumpers, etc. Pretty insane. Police were there, and I couldn't tell if they caught the person, but some bystanders said they thought the person ended up with their car in the back of another.

It's pretty amazing that they could get that far while causing so much damage, as they went a few blocks doing some pretty severe stuff.

A lot of police were on the scene at about 11:30 pm and they had sealed off 13th with police tape. Stay tuned for more.

UPDATE: I took some more photos at about 1 am, after the police left and they had towed at least one car away. Bigger versions are at my Flickr page. How much would that suck, to wake up and find that? It's been a bad week for cars on 13th Street.

Monday, June 16, 2008

El Rinconcito Café

By Robyn Mincher

We've all done it. Go to Columbia Heights Giant with plans for elaborate French dinner-everything homemade by you. Buy obscure, hard-to-pronounce ingredients. Walk out with blue bags filled with organic lettuce, some kind of pheasant and potent French cheese draped over each arm, and… decide to go out to eat.

Thankfully there's an authentic El Salvadorean café right across the Giant to go when hit with lack of motivation to cook, and its pretty damn good. A restaurant that includes pork with fried yucca root as well as above-standard burritos, tacos and fajitas, free chips and salsa, good guac, un-pretentious atmosphere, repeat-it-three-times-for-the-waitress ordering, semi-crowded but not no crowded, what else do you need to know (other than the fact that you don't have to cook it)?

Before the pricey French restaurants start to hit up the Columbia Heights scene, go to El Rinconcito Café for some authentic, cheap grub. Who likes pheasant anyway.

El Rinconcito
is at 1326 Park Rd NW, across from the Giant.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tree falls on 13th Street

Saw this Saturday afternoon, a big tree fell on 13th Street at Irving and crushed the back of a parked car. Yikes!

This may not be the reason, but the building where the tree was didn't have a retaining wall on the 13th Street side, so whenever it rained there would always be a big mud flow on the sidewalk. I guess that's why you should have retaining walls!

The street was blocked off by the police, but I'm guessing it's gone now, have to check later.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Pick-up Softball Starts this Sunday

The other day I saw a bulletin posted at Starbucks about pick-up softball on Sundays. It sounds pretty neat: folks meet up, they divide up teams, and everybody plays. It's free and starts this Sunday, and there's a Facebook group and a Meetup page. The game will be at the Banneker Rec Center at Georgia and Euclid.

Organizer Steve Weber told me "The plan is to briefly warm up then divide even teams at the field (I'm expecting about 20 people, more or less) and play from 1 to 3 on Sundays. If there's a big turnout we'll add shallow & deep outfielders to get as many people in the game as we can. Sitting out will be rotational down the batting order, everybody the same as need be."

Sounds like fun!

Cool Old Map

I just saw this on rockcreek's Flickr photostream - it's an interesting old map of Columbia Heights, Adams Morgan, Mt. Pleasant and surroundings. It looks like the yellow streets are the existing ones and the red are planned, although the plan is very different than what actually was built, with traffic circles, a California Avenue, different street names, and so on.

Click the map or here for a full size version.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Anybody notice all the interns at the Columbia Heights Metro these days? They're easy to spot - blue collared shirt, khakis, confused/excited look on their faces, and always talking with their new co-interns about how many more stops they have to go.

I guess the hood's group houses and such provide a less-expensive version of city life, but still close enough to the Hill or wherever. Plus there's the Target right there, so they can buy more blue shirts and milk crates and such.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Party Tonight at Tonic

Just got this email, Tonic over in Mt. Pleasant renovated their back room, and they're having a fiesta to show it off. Check it out. From them:
So after a couple of months of cramped conditions, limited bathroom space and major changes Tonic's back room is 99% finished. It just looks too good right now and we can't wait to show it off, so we're having a party tonight.

Join us as we celebrate the beautiful new back room at Tonic. This is a change that we're really proud of and we want to share it with the our friends and neighbors who have made it possible. So come join us tonight for a beer and check out the changes we've made, we'll be giving out prizes and celebrating in general all night.
Tonic is at 3155 Mount Pleasant St NW.

Awesome Car

I saw this on the street the other day. It says "el carro," which is "the car" in Spanish.

The Prince of Petworth saw it too, from the other side.

Weekend Good Stuff

Few things going on this weekend.

--Help make the neighborhood look better on Saturday at the Community Clean Up. Meet at the 11th Street Coffee Café at 10AM-11:30AM. The coffee shop is between Park and Morton Monroe on 11th.

--Farmer's Markets at 14th and U and Mt. Pleasant on Saturday

--Garage sale on Sunday from 10am-2pm at 2548 University Pl. NW (between Clifton and
Euclid, parallel to 15th). The funds go to buying a rain barrel water catching
system for the Ella Jo Baker Intentional Community's garden

--And Pfeiffer's Hardware at 3219 Mount Pleasant St NW in Mt. Pleasant is now selling Columbia Heights and Mt. Pleasant t-shirts for $7.99. Not bad!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

11th and Monroe Park Meeting Minutes

The minutes are up from yesterday's meeting about the park at 11th and Monroe, and it sounds like it was pretty interesting. They want to fix up the park, maybe put in a dog park, and things of that nature. They want to clean it up and city officials say they have the money.

There's also talk of having a park in the middle of the block bounded by 11th, Park, Sherman, and Lamont. Jeff from the North Columbia Heights Civic Association says it's used as an illegal dumping and parking area now.

In general, folks are in favor of fixing up the 11th and Monroe park, but it might be pricey. Folks also want to try a critical mass approach, getting lots of people to use the park, and for there to be more green, less concrete.

Here's my favorite part of the minutes, where they were summarizing what everybody said:

"Anonymous resident (self-described drunk who hangs out in the park): people in the park aren't that bad, come on into the park, we welcome kids, we welcome the church."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Neighborhood Bits

Some tidbits:

--Don't forget the meeting tonight about the park at 11th and Monroe. It's at 7:30 PM on Wednesday at the Mental Health Center at 1125 Spring Road NW

--New cleaners going in on 14th, next to the botox place

--Two cats available

--Have you voted for the DC quarter design yet?

Want a Mural?

Saw this on the Columbia Heights listserve, pretty cool - the Latin American Youth Center is offering to paint murals on houses and businesses, both to beautify the hood and to prevent graffiti. Ronald Chacon from LAYC told me there is no fee. Here's their message:
The LAYC Art+Media House seeks outdoor walls for its summer murals initiative. If you are tired of repainting a wall that is continuously tagged or vandalized in other ways, than your best bet is a mural. We know that walls with Murals not only beautify the neighborhood, but keep others from "tagging" or vandalizing.

We will provide all materials, supplies, youth workers, and a lead artist. Content of Mural will be pre determined and approved by both parties.

Only a few slots are available for the summer but more may become available in the fall. So if you or your business are interested, please write us a short one paragraph proposal. Good luck.
Chacon also told me via email "There is no fee. We cover all supplies and materials. We might need bathroom access or room to place a port-a-potty. There will be a lead artist, and assistant, and about 10 youth. All final designs will be approved in conjunction with the site owner.

Other assistance would be appreciated: Cold water, snacks, and a place to store paint and other supplies."

Interested folks can contact Ronald Chacon at LAYC, 202-319-7312 and

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Meeting on the park at 11th and Monroe on Wednesday

There's going to be a neighborhood meeting on the little park at 11th and Monroe Streets on Wednesday. Currently, the park, also called Trolley Turnaround Park, has a little playground and that's about it.

Here's the meeting flyer, which despite what one guy says on the Columbia Heights listserve, has been spread around.
There will be a meeting held on 4 June 2008 at 1125 Spring Road, NW (the Mental Health Center), at 7:30pm, About the park at 11th and Monroe Streets, NW.

The purpose of this meeting is to provide a public forum for all the residents, especially those from ANC 1A04 and 1A07, to address concerns or make suggestions about the park. Residents of other Single Member Districts in ANC 1A are also invited to participate.

Results of this meeting will give directions to ANC 1A in its disposition of a Resolution that has been presented to make the park a more “family-friendly” park.

Please attend this meeting if you can. It is your voice that determines what happens with the park.
Not really sure what the issues are, though the park's Yahoo group mentions removing tables and chess boards. Here's the park on Google Maps.

UPDATE: Folks in the comments say there are drunks hanging out there and it smells like booze and feces. So there's even more reason to go to the meeting.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Beer Run: Park Market

Park Market
Originally uploaded by squidpants
Today's Beer Run was to Park Market at the corner of 13th and Park Rd. It's not very large inside and had a small selection of beer, but a fair amount of wine. It wasn't much to look at, but it was bright at least.

The prices for some nicer six packs were a little high, $7.49 for Dos Equis, Red Hook, and Sierra Nevada, but Yuengling was a good deal, $5.29. Some of the coolers were fairly empty - not sure if they were just out or didn't have much, and they also had some forties and tall boys.

A decent place, and $5.29 for the Yuengling is good, even if it is a couple blocks from the Giant. It's at 3400 13th St NW.

Selection: 3 of 5 - not much, but a fair amount in a small spot
Price: 4 of 5 - for the Yuengling alone
Ambiance: 3 of 5 - nothing special, nothing objectionable