Friday, August 29, 2008

BloomBars on Youtube

Just found this, it's a video of one of the performances at BloomBars, the new art and community space on 11th Street just north of Wonderland (3222 11th Street NW). It's Kevin Sandbloom, who samples his voice and plays guitar.



They have a whole channel with other performances, and it looks like a neat venue. Anybody been?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Best sandwich in the neighborhood?

I'm kind of hungry and I like sandwiches. What's the best sandwich in Columbia Heights?

Potbelly is pretty good (I like "the wreck"), the grilled cheese at Wonderland is solid as are their sausages. The Heights also has some good ones at lunch time, like the tilapia BLT and shrimp po-boy. And of course, the breakfast sandwiches at Dunkin and Starbucks are excellent for certain purposes (such as the morning after a big night out). Mayorga seems to have some too, but I've never had them.

Anybody else have recommendations?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cool mural on Kenyon

If you've been down Kenyon near Wonderland, you've probably seen this cool mural. It was done by the Latin American Youth Center's Art + Media House, by a group of kids who took a class as part of DC's Summer Youth program. I spoke to one of the teachers a few weeks ago, he said the kids went around and asked people what they thought of the neighborhood, and they used their photos and quotes for the mural.

Pretty cool idea. DCist also used a photo of it as one of their Photos of the Day.

It's on Kenyon between 11th and 13th St NW around the Harriet Tubman Elementary School fields.

Howard U. football opens Sept. 6 vs. Georgetown

Howard University's football season opens September 6 versus cross-town rivals Georgetown at 1 pm - the first time ever the two schools have played.

The Bison play at Greene Stadium on 6th and Fairmont, and I think I might just go - I haven't been to college football in a long time, and it's only a few blocks away.

The team is part of the Division I Football Championship Subdivision, formerly called Division 1-AA, and they play in the MEAC. Why not check it out and support the neighborhood team? I bet it'll be a good time. Tickets are $15.

Here's Howard's full schedule.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Post on mom and pop retail in CH


Shops Along Park Rd NW
Originally uploaded by dipdewdog
Lots of Columbia Heights in the news lately. The Post reports on the mom and pop shops around 14th and Park Rd in Columbia Heights, and the challenges they face. Some groups, like the Latino Economic Development Corporation, are helping businesses, giving their stores facelifts and stuff. It's not a bad idea, some of the places on Park between 14th and 15th are not too inviting.

Another business owner, who runs a translation and notary service called Multi Servicios Latinos at 3541 14th St NW, says she'll be opening a bakery with shakes, tea, and other goodies, with a patio - that sounds like a cool addition.

Some other of those stores are interesting - Robyn (who wrote the reviews of El Rinconcito and Mayorga) wrote about the Park Road shops for The Onion a few months back. I also remember reading an article somewhere about the area being a bit of a Vietnamese shopping area, like the store pictured here.

Anybody have any experiences with the shops on Park?

Children's garden on Girard

I saw this on the Washington Times' website the other day, pretty interesting. I take issue with calling 14th and Girard a "dangerous and deadly stretch" of the neighborhood and one of the city's "most notorious crime areas," but the Times' writers and readers probably all live in burbs.

In any case, it's an interesting idea - maybe sprucing up the neighborhood would bring more people to the park, get residents involved, and make residents think more about their neighborhood and thus reduce crime. The organizer, amusingly named Lola Bloom, said "You have the ability to take ownership and change the community. The area has a completely different feel and attitude when people take charge and change it for the better." Other residents say more kids are there, which changes the dynamic of the park.

I think it's in this area.

Monday, August 25, 2008

SmartBike, bike racks coming to DCUSA

Looks like we'll be getting SmartBike DC and more bike racks at DC USA.

After the post about needing SmartBike, DC's new bike sharing program, at DC USA, I got in touch with councilman Jim Graham and DDOT's bike program manager, Jim Sebastian.

About a SmartBike DC location, Sebastian said "Yes. we will have one in that general area," but wasn't sure about when that might be, as they haven't reached an agreement about SmartBike's second phase.

He also said "we're working on it" when it comes to additional bike racks.

Jim Graham's office had more on bike racks. Here's the response of one of his staffers:
I walked through with DDOT and the developer and we identified additional locations where they plan to add racks.

At last check, they were awaiting a shipment of new racks, but I expect we'll see additions in the coming month or two. I'll try to get a timeline from dDOT.

The Deputy Mayor's office has refused to consider racks in the garage. I think this is something we should pursue further. This could potentially improve employee parking options which would free up spaces at the curb.

Adopt-a-block


Adopt-a-block
Originally uploaded by squidpants
I saw this the other day on Fairmont, and there's one on 13th too. Christ Church is the one at 13th and Irving, and I'm glad to see this. Maybe more local groups will get involved.

It mentions the city's Clean City initiative, cleancity.dc.gov

Friday, August 22, 2008

Weekend Bits

Some neighborhood stuff this weekend:

--Garage sale at 903 - 905 Euclid Street NW from 9am to noon Saturday

--Watch out for the police jaywalking sting at 14th and Irving!

--School starts on Monday. Want to volunteer to help spruce up local schools, like Bell, Tubman, or Cardozo?

Funny sign on 11th



I saw this last night around 11th and Otis Street NW, pretty funny. The top says "to the person" and the bottom has a box, and a big "Thanks!" that you can't see here. It would be even funnier if it works, though I'm sure that's not the idea.

Commonwealth is packed!

Some friends and I went by Commonwealth on Wednesday at about 8:45 pm, and it was packed! There was a 45 minute wait, and there were tons of people at the bar too. Good sign for that place, as well as the other new places coming, like Zinnia (Mediterranean Caribbean) and Sake Club (Sushi/Japanese).

I also emailed owner Jamie Leeds about being closed Mondays, here's her response:

"We plan on opening on Mondays in the future, but for a new restaurant opening it serves the staff best to have a day off."

Registering to vote at the Metro


Voting
Originally uploaded by squidpants
Saw this yesterday about 5:30 pm, a bunch of kids from American University were registering folks to vote. They said they'd been out there yesterday as well and are non-partisan.

Good to see, although it made me wonder why we don't see more stuff like this from Howard U. kids? The school is only 6 blocks away or so. Maybe they haven't started yet though.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Police ticketing for jaywalking at 14th and Irving!

I got this email from a few folks yesterday and today, and I saw it myself about 5 pm today - there are police standing around 14th and Irving trying to catch folks for jaywalking.

I gotta say, jaywalking isn't a good thing, but given the shootings and things here lately, this seems like kind of a waste.

In any case, beware of walking around there, don't want to get a fine.

Recap of the neighborhood meeting

Pretty good meeting, I must say. I counted about 50 neighbors, MPD chief Cathy Lanier, councilmember Jim Graham, other police from the Third District, Neicy Jones, the woman who manages the Faircliff, and the Fire Chief (who unfortunately they didn't get to).

The main thing I got from the meeting was confidence in Neicy Jones. She took over management in January of this year, and was very serious about what she was doing - "committed to getting the bad apples out," she said. She said they were doing a lot to stop crime in her facilities - there are three Faircliffs, west, which is at the NW corner of 14th and Fairmont, East, which is the SE corner of 14th and Fairmont, and one on Euclid/Clifton, not sure exactly. She talked about the security guards, who are always on patrol, and that they have cameras which are constantly being monitored.

She also said she's doing a lot to root out the bad folks. She said that since it's a HUD property, she can't just kick out people, she must go through a multiple strikes process, but said she's already kicked out three families. She's also working on eviction for another (the ones who attacked the police) and three or four more are on watch. She also said that whenever anyone renews their annual leases, she's running criminal background checks on them, and if they've done something in the last year, she won't renew their leases. She and the security guards (who are actually the ones who caught the shooter) meet with MPD regularly, and they have a bulletin board with photos of drug dealers for residents to call when they see them. She also said if anyone has concerns to contact her, ejones(at)eaglepointco.com. I was really impressed by her, and I think she's doing all she can.

The MPD chief spoke next, mainly about violent repeat offenders, and how it's hard to get rid of them - often they plea bargain down or get put out on the street by judges, she said "if I sound frustrated, I am." A couple ladies kind of went off on her, saying they witnessed MPD officers taking pictures of kids and cussing them out, and the chief got really mad when they were saying things like every MPD officer does that. She told them she'd talk to them afterwards. She also said she wanted to focus on mothers in the city as a way to stop crime, as they are often pretty important.

And another woman who lives in the Faircliffs said some of the crime comes from people who are hanging out there but don't live there, and that the good people are as fed up with it as the rest of the neighbors. She said they call security a lot about drug dealing and such.

The other MPD folks declined to give a lot of details on the shooting incident, other than it was "very targeted" at certain people, they caught the shooters and the people who attacked the police, and gave our their email addresses for people to contact them. They also said that although a big crowd assembled, only a few people attacked the police, and only one had a baseball bat - they were all arrested. They also said make sure to call 911 for anything, even people doing drugs in the alley. The 3D commander, George Kucik, said in response to a question that police may not show up to things like doing drugs because they have higher priorities (violent crime, robbery etc) but that they still get logged into the system, so it helps them see patterns. He also gave out some contact info for questions or concerns: he's george.kucik(at)dc.gov, the PSA lieutenant for roughly 16th to Georgia, Harvard to Florida is Deborah Pearce, deborah.pearce(at)dc.gov, and the drug person is christopher.avery(at)dc.gov. If you live elsewhere and want email addresses, let me know.

All in all, good meeting.

What We're Missing: Smartbikes at DCUSA

A DCist post on Smartbike, DC's bike sharing program, spawned some good comments - that DCUSA would be an ideal place for a Smartbike location.

I definitely agree, it'd be easy to go over to Adams Morgan or wherever for some errands and such, especially because cabs and buses can be somewhat hard to catch on 14th, and it can be tough to go east or west anyway.

I'll email DDOT and ask about it, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Don't forget: neighborhood meeting tonight at 7 pm

Anybody going?

It's the South Columbia Heights Neighborhood Association meeting, with councilmember Jim Graham and MPD Chief Cathy Lanier, as well as Neicy Jones, manager of the Faircliff buildings.

It's at the Josephine Butler Parks Center at 2437 15th St NW at 7pm.

Bands in the Neighborhood: DoS

The first band in the Bands in the Neighborhood series is DoS, a funk group with 2 of its 3 members living in Columbia Heights. I spoke to guitarist Glen Seidlitz the other day.

The band's name, DoS (as in two in Spanish) came from the original twosome of Nate Peek (drums) and Josh Nassar (bass). They've been played together since 1998 and Glen joined in 2000. Two of the band live in Columbia Heights, with Glen on Park and Nate on New Hampshire and Newton / Otis, and they frequently practice at Nate's place. The music often can be heard from the street. "We've had people yell at us from the street to turn it up," said Glen. "Never heard anyone ask us to turn it down!"

They've also played a lot at Wonderland, with Glen guessing that it's been at least 20 times. "Matt [the owner] likes our 70's porn style," he joked. Musically, it's not 70s porn but funk and soul that influences the band. "Josh is big into James Brown, Funkadelic, and all the old soul and Stax stars. I'm the sap of the group and bring a more mellow vibe with me. If we had vocals I'm sure it would be all sorts of gooey! And Nate, he's all about Rush, Yes and the Pointer Sisters."

The name of one of the band's mostly instrumental songs, "Lamont's Lament," comes from the street of the same name. "In an indirect way. When I lived up on Sherman Circle there was this group of feral cats that lived in the alley," said Glen. "I had named them all different street names that I liked. One day I was leaving for work to find Lamont laying in the alley dead. He lived the life of an alley cat, it's crush or be crushed. I thought he'd be the crusher - guess I was wrong."

The band hangs out in Columbia Heights too, with band meetings at Red Rocks, and they're playing Wonderland again on September 17th. Check them out.

And if they had to rename the band for something Columbia Heights-related, what would it be?

"I'm going to go with the 11th Street Players. DC USA would be a close second."

Faircliff management responds

The Faircliff Plaza East at 1350 Fairmont St NW, one of the complexes near Saturday's shootings, is often tagged as having violent residents and being poorly managed. Here's their management's statement on the shooting:
We have been consulting with our Security firm and with the police to get all the facts regarding the incident that happened this weekend. Thank you for your email. We are also copying Councilmember Graham. This is what we have been told by our guards and the police thus far:

Our Security Company guards were patrolling when they heard gunshots fired at 14th and Fairmont near the BP gas station—outside of our property line. They notified DCMP. They saw two armed men shooting at each other. One man was hit and the other man ran. We have been informed that the shooter went into 1401 Fairmont (this is not our property) and came back outside the building, when our guards pursued him as he went into the backside of 1375 Fairmont (The New Amsterdam, which is also not our property). They apprehended the suspect in the alley behind the New Amsterdam and took him to Faircliff where they met the police. Two arrests were made, neither of them residents of Faircliff Plaza East.

One of the two men was shot in the hand, we are told. When the DCMP and our guards tried to prevent the injured shooter from leaving, some members of a certain family who are residents of Faircliff started to confront the police and our guards. We know this family and currently they are under notice for eviction for other offenses. Our court date with them for this eviction is this Friday, August 22.

We couldn’t agree with you more that it is totally unacceptable to assault officers and guards. Our guards are to be commended for pursuing and apprehending shooters who were in the neighborhood, not on our property. Lt Pearce of DCMP says that she greatly appreciates our efforts in the community and that our security guards are of great help to her in her efforts. In fact, had it not been for the outstanding efforts of our security company guards, who risked their lives; the criminals would not have been caught.

We continue to coordinate our efforts on a daily basis with DCMP, management and our security; in addition we have a monthly meeting with representatives to re-enforce these efforts. Our officers work at least 48 hours per week on a nightly rotation. We have placed a security guard in a marked car at the entrance of Faircliff Plaza East who is there nightly. We have added an officer for additional patrol during the day.

I again appreciate your concern about the neighborhood and concern of our residents. We share the same concerns. We diligently pursue any resident who does not abide by the laws of D.C. or the rules of HUD for subsidized housing and we aggressively evict violators, whenever the courts allow us to do so.

Again thank you for all your support and efforts in ensuring that the community remains a place all can live, an interest we all share.

Together We Can,

Neicy

E. Neicy Jones, HCCP
District Manager
Eagle Point Management
So what do you think? Passing the buck, or an appropriate response?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What's the best band in Columbia Heights?

How about some non-shooting-related news? I've been curious to see if there are any bands based (or partially based) in the neighborhood - there have to be with all the folks, and all the instruments I hear coming out of windows. So I'm going to do a little contest/series on the best band in the hood, with the winner to get something - maybe beer, maybe free publicity - the Official Band of New Columbia Heights?

Basically, if you know of a band with at least one member living in Columbia Heights, let me know in the comments or via email. The more members in the neighborhood, the better. I'll do a little review of them, talk about them, and so on. Once I get enough, I'll choose a winner.

So help me find some Columbia Heights bands!

Neighborhood meeting tomorrow on the shooting, etc

A commenter posted this on Monday's post. The Faircliffs is the big building where a lot of trouble seems to be happening. I'll be there.
FYI: There's a meeting of the South Columbia Heights Neighborhood Association at the Josephine Butler Parks Center at 2437 15th St, NW on Wednesday 8/20 at 7pm, where this incident will be discussed. CM Jim Graham and Cathy Lanier will be there as will Neicy Jones, who is the regional manager of the Faircliffs. It'd would really be great if as many people as possible came.
The Prince of Petworth also posted a video showing the mob that formed afterwards, though it's hard to see really. I think this is when the guys jumped into the blue car and the police pulled them out and got in a fight. There's been speculation that the mob was to distract the police from whoever did the shooting. This video is showing Fairmont looking east from 14th.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Columbia Heights business survey from Howard U.

Just saw this on the Ward One listserve, the Howard University Center for Urban Progress is conducting a survey about businesses in Columbia Heights - what people would like to see, and what they think of what's here. Pretty cool, and I'm glad to see that Howard is getting more involved in Columbia Heights.

Here's the survey.

$2 bill at Dunkin Donuts

Kind of random, the other day I got a 2-dollar bill as change at the Dunkin Donuts on 14th Street. It took me a minute to figure out what it was.

Is this common at Dunkin, or was I just lucky?

And here's Wikipedia on the $2 bill.

More on Saturday's shooting

I heard a bit more about the shooting, via the commenter jeff d, who cites the South Columbia Heights Yahoo group (which you have to join to see). Here it is:
As you may have heard, last night there was a shooting near the corner of 14th and Fairmont Street NW. I heard at least a dozen shots fired as I was enjoying dinner with friends in their backyard. After hearing the shots, I ran out into the 1300 block of Fairmont Street NW and observed a small group of people running from 14th Street and onto the 1300 block of Fairmont Street. Additional people were pouring out of the Faircliff East Apartment complex and into Fairmont Street. As the police arrived, about 50 people (including many of the residents of the Faircliff East complex) confronted the officers.

This mob verbally and physically harassed and threatened these officers as they attempted to chase down one of the gunmen that ran into the alley between the 1300 block of Fairmont and Girard streets. One member of this mob even raised a bat to threaten the officers. Several people were eventually arrested, including at least two that are residents of Faircliff East Apartments. As I watched this all unfold, I realized that this mob appeared to be trying to distract the officers so that the shooter could escape from the police.
Pretty crazy. Here's MPD Chief Cathy Lanier's response:
As you stated, the officers and security were there when the shooting took place and apprehended the gunman and the guns used. You are correct in that the crowd did attack the officers and three additional people were arrested. We continue to add officers and enforce the laws as aggressively as we can. We will need all the community support we can get to keep these violent offenders off the street
The rest of the thread talks about other issues in that area, like vandalism and drug dealing, and MPD and Councilman Graham saying they're going to get more police, talk to apartment building managers, and so on. And at least they caught some people. Anybody have any personal experiences of the shooting?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Shooting at 14th and Fairmont

I was on the way to Dunkin about 30 minutes ago, when I ran into this. Police cars and vans, police tape, cops, and bystanders were everywhere.

I spoke to one girl who lived in one the buildings on the corner, and she said there were multiple shots fired, then lots of people ran away from the west corner of 14th and Fairmont. She said she saw one guy who was shot in the stomach area, and a few cars had bullet holes. She also said 4 guys had jumped into a blue car (which had one of the bullet holes), then police pulled them out and there was a big fight. I had also heard the police helicopter flying around earlier, without knowing what had happened.

Anybody else hear or see anything?

Friday, August 15, 2008

What We're Missing: A Post Office

I saw this on the Columbia Heights forum, it's an interesting idea. The nearest post offices are the one on Georgia and the one at 14th and R, and folks have had bad experiences with the Georgia Ave one.

It'd be nice to have a little one in DCUSA (or in any of the other various empty storefronts around). And who could be opposed to a post office?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What will Meridian Pint be like?

Owner John Andrade asked and answered this question on the Columbia Heights listserve:

Located at 11th & Park, The Pint, as I've come to nick name it, will be 2 levels. The street level will be very much restaurant/bar similar in casualness to Commonwealth Gastro Pub with an open style kitchen. We'll offer great food, a casual groove, 25 beers on draft and no bottles or cans, plentiful wines and yes, an outdoor seating area. Beers will be diverse including cask conditioned as well as the occasional gravity poured, firkin. There will be 2 "idiot boxes" since I do enjoy sports and I believe few things go better than quality beer while watching some football. Certainly not a sports bar, just some back ground.

The basement level will be equal in size and will have both a separate entrance and internal connection. The downstairs will have a more playful personality and will carry the name "The Joint Chiefs" while still serving the same food and beverages. There will be 4 8ft. billiard tables, to be rented by the hour, shuffle board, another bar and a spacious lounging area with the ability to section off for private party/receptions. A ping pong table top will be available for covering 1 billiard table for those interested.

Scheduled opening is based on 3DG's renovation of the building but for now I'm hoping for spring of '09.

That's it in a nut shell.
Sounds pretty awesome to me. I've wished Wonderland had TVs so I could watch games in the past. Anybody else have an opinion? Some people are opposed to the place.

Police raid, $2 billion lawsuit on Georgia Ave?

This is a pretty crazy story. Somebody (they're not sure if it was MPD or the DEA) raided a house on Georgia Ave at Harvard last month, supposedly for a drug raid. The raid was filmed by WJLA - a witness says it was a birthday party and that the police started hitting people.

The house is owned by MPD Captain Melvin Gresham, but he rents it to the city for subsidized housing. Gresham is suing MPD for another unrelated case and is a witness in a third. Gresham's suit against MPD is because he was accused of asking another officer to alter a report for a car crash he was involved with, and he's a witness in a case of another MPD officer who's suing the department over sexual assault and battery. It's a really weird situation. Gresham is threatening to sue MPD for $2 billion (yes, billion) over the raid, which he says was aimed at discrediting him.

Here's the news article, and here's the video.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bad experience at Rumberos

On Monday (after finding CommonWealth closed) some friends and I decided to check out Rumberos, the Latin restaurant on 14th Street. I hadn't been before and was curious to try it and sit outside. The food was decent, but the service was terrible.

We got some cocktails first, which were fine, although the people next to us didn't like theirs. Then a waiter arrived, different from the one who got our drinks. We should have known something was up, because when my friend asked how one of the dishes was, the waiter said "your guess is as good as mine." Not really a ringing endorsement.

Two of us got things from the Restaurant Week menu and the other guy got two tapas. The table next to us got bread and olive oil without asking, but we didn't have any. We had finished our drinks and water, and after a long enough wait that we were talking about it, we got the appetizers from our Restaurant Week menus, and my buddy got one of his two tapas, which were all pretty good. We finished those and waited some more.

At this point, the waiter hadn't checked on us at all, and my friend wanted some salt. When he tried to signal the waiter to come over, he brought us the check instead, which was annoying - before the entrees or anything, and he didn't seem to find that odd. The place wasn't busy or anything, there were maybe 5 other tables of people, and most of the time the waiter was just standing inside the restaurant (we were sitting outside). He took the check back and we put in drink orders and stuff - cue more waiting and confusion about what beer I ordered, as the first waiter came back and said they were out or something I hadn't ordered.

Eventually they brought out two of the entrees, which were OK. They still hadn't cleared any of the dishes or finished drinks, so the table was packed. My entree, pork with plantains and mojo sauce, was really sour. Maybe mojo sauce is supposed to be sour, but it wasn't appetizing and I couldn't get through it. And my friend's second tapa, steak, hadn't shown up. When he tried to get the waiter's attention by looking at him, the waiter did one of those "what's up" nods back, without coming over. Then my friend went to talk to the manager about the steak, and she was apologetic and brought it out soon enough. They also forgot one of the desserts, bringing out the check instead.

Needless to say, we were all pretty annoyed at this point, and the manager was very apologetic when we told her of all the waiter mishaps, she took some off our bill and gave us a gift certificate. It seemed like the two different waiters weren't communicating or something, and they forgot to put things in (the steak, the dessert), didn't check on us, and so on. At this point we'd been there about 2.5 hours. The people next to us were also pretty frustrated by slow service and no follow-ups, though they said the brunch there was very good. That may be, but I'm not going to find out.

Obviously this could have just been a random snafu, and the place looked nice, but this was a frustrating enough trip that I don't want to go back.

CommonWealth closed Mondays

On Monday night some friends and I decided to check out CommonWealth, the new British style "gastropub" at 14th and Irving. We went over... and the doors were locked. There wasn't a closed sign, but it was clearly not open. About 10 other people were there at the same time we were, trying to go in, looking in the windows, etc. They don't have their hours on their website, but the Post's review confirms it - Tuesday through Sunday.

I guess taking a day off makes sense, but we were disappointed.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Big sizes at Marshall's

The other day I was perusing Marshall's for shirts and shorts and stuff, and I noticed something: aside from being disorganized and kinda messy like Marshall's stores elsewhere are, they don't have many smaller sizes in shirts, at least for men.

There were lots of larges and extra larges and XXLs (and bigger) but very few mediums or smalls. Maybe it's all the ice cream stores in the neighborhood or something, but it kind of stinks.

Want to plant a tree at your house or business?

If so, DC nonprofit Casey Trees is offering a rebate that'll help you green your land. Here's their press release.
DC Tree Rebate Extended and Expanded for 2008-2009

To encourage tree planting on private property in the District during the 2008-2009 planting season, Casey Trees is offering rebates of up to $50. Effective September 1, the program is being expanded to include nearly all non-invasive trees. Recipients must plant the tree at a residence in DC and agree to water and care for the tree regularly. Rebate forms will be available online at www.caseytrees.org and at many area garden centers beginning September 1st.(...)

Fall is the best time to plant trees in DC. Casey Trees continues to encourage the planting of large-growing shade trees such as oaks, maples and American elms for their extraordinary environmental benefits. However, for those homes with smaller yards where large canopy shade trees are not feasible, Casey Trees has expanded this season’s rebate program to also include smaller flowering and ornamental trees, including dogwoods, cherries and crepe myrtles.
Go to their website for more info.

Photo by Mr. T in DC

Monday, August 11, 2008

Neighborhood Bits

--DCist reports on street food in Columbia Heights - mangoes, snow cones, etc. There's also a taco/enchilada vendor at the yard sale they have at the Sacred Heart Church on 16th.

--Man found in a car shot dead at Georgia and Newton. Yikes.

--Whole Foods recalled their ground beef. Did you buy any?

Target beer and wine held up by... Target

I just spoke to an official with DC's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration about Target's license for beer and wine - it turns out all the permits and such they need are done, and the ball is in Target's court. It's been that way for a few weeks, which is odd, because usually when I speak to Target people, they say they're waiting for the city. I'll see if I can find out more about it.

Good Samaritans

This morning I had a Good Samaritan run-in on 14th Street. I was running late and looking for a cab with no luck, they were either full or off-duty. Then while trying to hail one, I heard somebody yell "hey dude!" a couple times. I didn't think it was about me, but then I looked around and there was a kid across the street, maybe 14-16, pointing at a cab that stopped which I didn't see. I thought that was pretty cool of him, I waved back and got the cab. A good way to start the morning.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Big crane on 13th 14th Street


Saw this at about 9:30 am. Anybody know what it's doing? It's actually in 13th 14th Street at about Fairmont.

UPDATE: A commenter says he thinks it's his company putting a cell phone antenna up there. Can never have too much cell phone service. Anybody get bad reception in the hood?

New wall at 13th and Irving


Retaining wall
Originally uploaded by squidpants
Good to see, although too late for the guy whose car was smashed when a tree fell on it.

This yard didn't have a wall before and was slumping onto the sidewalk, until a big tree leaned too far (I guess) and fell onto a parked car. As MrTInDC noted, too bad it's not real stone, but at least there won't be mud on the sidewalk.

Neighborhood Bits

Some random things:

--Boot camp at Meridian Hill Park! A personal trainer is doing a "boot camp" there Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 and 7. Random enough that it's worth a mention. The first time is free.

--DC Government is offering solar panel grants, so you can buy one for your home or business and get some money back. Photovoltaic cells are included, and according to their note, the max award is $9000 for residential projects and $20000 for busineseses. If you're interested, email your complete contact information and the nature of your proposed project to emil.king@dc.gov. For more information call (202)673-6750. Might be a neat thing.

--And did you get your Columbia Heights Day t-shirt?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Happy hours today

If you like happy hours, today is your day. The Prince of Petworth is having one starting at 7 pm at the Red Derby at 14th and Spring, and there's the Columbia Heights Day fundraiser today at Wonderland, starting at 8 pm.

More on CommonWealth

DCist had a reporter visit CommonWealth, the new "gastropub" at 14th and Irving, the other day for a pre-opening thing, and it looks pretty tasty - lots of beer and hearty English food, including an English breakfast. I have a feeling this is going to be a good Saturday or Sunday morning recovery place. Check out DCist's post for lots of photos.

Anybody go Wednesday? I'm planning on hitting it this weekend or so.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The wine bar debate continues

The wine bar issue has kept simmering, and boiling in some cases. There's still debate over at the Columbia Heights Yahoo group, and a lot at the Prince of Petworth too.

But a commenter here made an interesting point - the people opposed may not be opposed to the wine bar, but to the people who would go to it - yuppies, fancy types, whatever you want to call them. It's almost like this is turning into a newcomers versus long time residents issue - people who are new are largely in favor, and people who are opposed seem to be those who have lived in the area for awhile. And this is the first real outright new versus old debate I can remember.

And maybe I'm biased, but I don't see anything wrong with empty storefronts getting filled, and I don't think there's an alcohol concentration either as some folks have expressed concerns about. There's even been some pro-active stuff by bar owners, as John Andrade, who owns what will be Meridian Pint at 11th and Park, posted a message and said he wants to create a local running group that will meet at his bar.

Your thoughts? Assuredly this blog has a bit of a self-selection, but I'm curious to hear what other people think.

Photo by Kayak the Rockies, used under Creative Commons license

Another power outage in the neighborhood

Got this via the Alert DC text message system - power and water are out around 13th and Harvard. Apparently a water main broke at 13th and Florida and flooded some electrical equipment. I'm convinced that Pepco has something against Columbia Heights.

Neighbors against the 11th and Lamont wine bar?

Just saw this one the Columbia Heights Yahoo! group - some neighbors are opposed to the new wine bar coming to 11th and Lamont, and plan to fight against the liquor license. Others argue in favor of the place.

Here's the whole discussion thread - the two opposed folks argue that it's going to be noisy, messy, and there will be drunks around. The folks in favor say it won't be, it'll be upscale, a nice place, and the owners have a good track record. I tend to agree with them - this place has $14 glasses of wine, not $2 shooters. The valid-ish point I see is from the other person opposed, who argues for a Boys and Girls Club or something for the kids. Of course, there's already one at 14th and Euclid, not that far away, but I kinda see what she's getting it.

Here's my take - it's a wine bar. People who frequent wine bars usually don't get crazy drunk, and the place is abandoned now. If someone wanted to raise money and put in a kids' center or something, there are tons of other empty storefronts around, and the wine bar hardly prevents that from happening. And I don't even drink wine.

Anybody else?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Friends don't let friends say "CoHi"

I really don't like "CoHi" as a short form of Columbia Heights. This isn't New York, and it sounds way too consciously hip and real-estate-agenty to me. So, please, sound like a normal person and say the whole thing. If you need to abbreviate it in an email or something, I think CH works and is not obnoxious.

Just a random pet peeve. Anybody else with me?

Columbia Heights Day fundraiser Thursday

Found out about this on Facebook - there's a Columbia Heights Day fundraiser Thursday at Wonderland, from 5 pm now 8 pm til whenever. It's a carnival theme, so they're selling spiked snow cones and such and there will be DJs and music. They're also selling the T-shirts for the event, which will be October 4, 2008. It's the second annual Columbia Heights Day, and hopefully it'll be a big, fun event.

Here's their website (which doesn't mention the event) and the Facebook invite for it.

Commonwealth opens Wednesday

Looks like Commonwealth, the "gastropub" owned by Hank's Oyster Bar's Jamie Leeds, is opening this Wednesday in the Highland Park building at 14th and Irving. The Washingtonian and the Washington Business Journal both have articles on it, and it sounds pretty solid - tasty sounding English pub food and a nice beer list. The Washingtonian piece has the menu and lots of photos. The entrees are a little pricey for me, but I bet they are quite good.

Here's their website. I'm looking forward to it. Stay tuned for a review once it opens.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Local Businesses: Nash's Sports


Nash's Sporting Goods
Originally uploaded by squidpants
I'm going to start covering local independent businesses more, and today it's Nash's Sports.

Nash's is a sporting goods store on 14th just north of the Tivoli with a good selection of sportswear. They have lots of shoes, athletic gear, and sports team clothes like caps, shirts, and jerseys, including the new DC United jerseys, one of which I bought when I was there.

They also have some sporting goods, like balls and socks and miscellaneous stuff - Nerf hoops, stickers, and so on. The staff is friendly and the prices are fair. I recommend the place, and if you haven't been, check it out. Their website has coupons too.

Nash's Sports is located at 3339 14th St NW, just north of Park Road and the Tivoli.

Kegs in the neighborhood

It's summer time, which means outdoor kegs. So where can you get kegs around here? Short answer: nowhere. There are literally no liquor stores in Columbia Heights and the surrounding area that have kegs - I called them all. However, D'Vines on 14th does have a few on hand, and can order them for you with enough notice - a few weeks. The last time I was there, they had a couple, but the manager said they don't have room to carry many, so they don't.

So where can you get kegs? The closest places I've found are Metro Wine and Spirits on Columbia Road near Ontario, which is reasonable - Yuengling with bucket and tap is about $75-80. A-B Liquors on Columbia just west of 18th has similar deals, as does Barrel House at 14th and P in Logan Circle. You could go farther afield, but those are the best I've found around.

Any other good spots I'm missing?


D'Vines: (202) 234-0044, 3103 14th St NW
Metro Wine & Spirit: (202) 265-5066, 1726 Columbia Rd NW
A B Liquor Co: (202) 234-5500, 1803 Columbia Rd NW
Barrel House: (202) 332-5999 , 1341 14th St NW

Amazing photo by Wikipedia user Kane5187. It's Dartmouth's mascot.

Friday, August 1, 2008

More snow cones on 14th


Snow Cones
Originally uploaded by squidpants
Saw this new snow cone stand today on 14th right near the Columbia Heights Metro east exit. The guy said they'd be there Monday-Saturday until about 6 pm, and if they aren't there, they'll be on Irving near 15th and Bell High School. I think I've seen them there before.