Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Columbia Heights Civic Plaza fountain up and running

Looks like the fountain at the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza is on! Some folks twittered that they saw it on today. This video is from the 28th.

Not sure how long it'll be on, but I hope to find out!

UPDATE: via DDOT's Twitter: "It should be staying on for a while, but I don't know the exact schedule. Eventually it will be run by DPR."

Tynan's Coffee Shop making progress?

The other day I noticed a new sign at Tynan's, the coffee shop going into the Highland Park building at 14th and Irving, and a reader noticed the same thing and snapped a photo! Not sure how close they are, but I like coffee. Would you visit?

The reader also mentioned the sports bar that was also in planning for the building -- I haven't heard anything about it since that first mention in the Washington Business Journal. Too bad, I'd love to have a place where I could go watch some football, have a beer and burger, and cry about my fantasy football teams. I'm checking around.

Photo by reader Adam

Abandoned House Watch: 1483 Newton St NW

A reader sent this one in. He said he saw the property and mentioned it to a relative who buys, renovates and sells old buildings. The relative called the number on a for sale sign, since removed, and was told a group of siblings in New York own the property but couldn't agree on terms to sell it.

That was about three months ago. The reader adds "It's a shame too because it's the only blight on a street that has seen a lot of improvement come in over the last year or two."

The property also appears on the city's vacant property list, though it's on the "exempt" list, which I think means they don't pay the higher tax rate: usually vacant properties pay 10 times the normal property tax rate.

Checking the property in the city's real property database, it's owned by someone in upper NW DC, and she apparently bought it in February. I got back in touch with the reader, who said that was a different person than his relative had talked to, so that's a good sign! Maybe they're going to fix it up.

Either way, let's keep an eye on the place. Owners of vacant properties are required to keep them "in good order." If it's dilapidated, DCRA says folks should call 202-442-9557 to report it.

Image from Google Street View

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Is cornhole the national game of Columbia Heights?

Lately I keep seeing people around the neighborhood playing cornhole, the game commonly seen at tailgate parties where you throw a bean bag into a hole in a wooden ramp. These folks were out on Saturday at 13th and Irving, and I've also seen people playing in the Tubman School playground. Commenters on my Flickr page have said they saw folks playing on the sidewalk on Monroe Street.

Could just be the same people, but if so, they sure like to travel. Plus I think the folks I saw at Tubman had red boards, so I think it's different players. Anybody else notice this game around? I played at the Bullpen bar outside the Nationals Ballpark the other day and it was pretty fun.

Have you been to the weekly Meridian Hill drum circle?

The past few weeks I've been over to Meridian Hill Park (aka Malcolm X Park) on Sundays, and it's a pretty good time.

The main event is a drum circle and people dancing, but there's a lot for non-drum enthusiasts as well: every time there's also lots of families out, people picnicking on the grass, kids playing ball, folks walking on ropes and more. It's very diverse and everybody has a good time. Two weekends ago they had a clothing swap, which was pretty cool.

It only happens during warm months, so it might be ending soon! Go take a look if you haven't been already. It happens every Sunday evening from about 3 until 9, weather permitting. Here's a ton of photos to give you an idea.

Photo by stevendamron, used under a Creative Commons license

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fenty dedicates the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza

After some delay, it happened -- the mayor and crew dedicated the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza at the triangle bordered by 14th, Park and Kenyon.

The Plaza is pretty nice, I was sitting out there on Sunday and there was a nice crowd -- some kids playing, couples sitting on the grass, families relaxing on the benches. I took a few more photos here.

I guess the solar panel things aren't getting the leaves after all, but I think they look pretty good. Much better once they were just metal poles and not the lumpy padding stuff they had before.

Looking for your stolen bike?

This is pretty cool -- MPD is having a recovered bike viewing on Wednesday the 30th from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm at the Second District headquarters at 3320 Idaho Ave NW, near the National Cathedral.

"If you are looking for a bike that has been stolen, please have proper identification (i.e. receipts, serial numbers, etc.) to claim your bike."

Email Officer Ronald Bell at or Officer Rhonda Hardy at for more info.

Pictured: not my bike

Snuggies at CVS

Need a Snuggie? Then get yourself to the CVS at 14th and Irving, they have lots of colors. I thought that one was camouflage, which would have been pretty funny, but nope, it's some kind of animal print.

And it looks like you can also pick up a giant calculator at the same time, maybe to figure out how much of a doofus you look like in a Snuggie.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Yard sale roundup

Not much on the old Craigslist or the local lampposts, just this one:

2535 13th St NW, Sat. September 26th from 9:00 - 1:00, or when everything is gone, whichever comes first. "General household items are for sale, books, kitchen items, some clothing, scrap-booking supplies (new). Price ranges from 25 cents to a few dollars." Here's the full ad.

Civic Plaza ribbon cutting delayed to next week

Per ANC commissioner William Jordan, the mayor and co. have pushed the ribbon cutting back. Not sure if it's because it's not done or if it's just crummy weather.

UPDATE: Monday at 10:30 am, according to DCist.

Neighborhood cleanup on Saturday

Do something good for your hood tomorrow! The North Columbia Heights Civic Association is hosting a cleanup, starting at 10 am at Columbia Heights Coffee (11th Street between Park and Monroe.) The cleanup winds down at about 11:30 am.

Jim Graham's chief of staff arrested on bribery charges

Yuh oh! Our city councilman's chief of staff, Teddy Loza, was arrested at home by federal agents yesterday on bribery charges. Allegedly someone had bribed and given trips to Loza, who lives on Columbia Road, to push for a bill that would benefit some taxicab industry people. Feds also searched the councilman's office. Graham isn't charged and has placed Loza on administrative leave. Graham says he's not involved and has no idea why someone would have bribed Loza and that Loza hadn't asked him to do anything involving taxis. Graham had introduced a taxicab bill, but told the City Paper it was a result of a task force.

In the above Post article, they say federal agents were looking for documents in the councilmember's office about "taxicab legislation, licenses, medallions, a taxi company called United Fleet Management and Fiesta D.C." Apparently the police used an informant with a wire to collect evidence on Loza. Loza's attorney says he has done nothing wrong.

The City Paper has a bit more:
Regarding the employment of Loza’s wife at the Fiesta D.C. nonprofit, Graham “categorically” denied that was connected to his practice of sending earmarked funds to the group through his committee. And he also addressed why, from 2002 to 2007, he held a one-percent interest in Loza’s condominium apartment: “When he first purchased the apartment, he wanted some assistance from me; I helped him a little bit.” When Loza refinanced, he says, he got his money back.
Here's Graham's statement:
I was deeply upset and deeply saddened to learn that Ted Loza was arrested yesterday by the FBI on charges of taking a bribe.

As my constituents, I want you to know --

I have not personally engaged in any illegal behavior or activity.

What Teddy allegedly did in no way influenced any action I took on legislation. Indeed, Teddy generally is not involved, nor is he consulted on legislative matters which are instead handled by myself and our committee staff.

As I said to FBI agents yesterday, I will fully cooperate with their investigation bringing forth all of the information relevant and needed.

I have placed Teddy on administrative leave effective yesterday, with pay, until there are further developments. Teddy--like all of us-is entitled to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

If you have concerns or questions, please let me know--as always--by using this direct email address for me.
Pretty wild! We'll see what happens.

UPDATE: Here's more from the City Paper on Loza and Fiesta DC.

Trash dumping in the alley at Kenyon and Georgia

The other day my buddy was talking about trash in the alley that runs behind his house -- apparently someone has been dumping old carpets, big trash bags with building supplies in them, construction waste, a toilet, and so on in the alley behind Kenyon just east of Georgia Ave.

He thinks one of the businesses on Kenyon might be doing it, but was wondering what do to do about it?

I suggested calling the Mayor's Citywide Call Center (311, or but that doesn't really get to the root of the problem. Any other suggestions?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

City Paper on the benches at 14th and Oak

The City Paper has an article today on the benches in the park at 14th and Oak, which I wrote about a few weeks ago. They were made by Sarah Tooley, a local artist, with statements from neighborhood residents about the park.

There were benches before, but they were removed after some neighbors complained about loitering. Then after the benches came back and local residents signed a petition in favor of them, they were allowed to remain.

However, they're going to be taken out again when the city redesigns the park, which will have some concrete stools instead of benches.

CH Civic Plaza ribbon cutting on Friday, sod going in

Looks like the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza at 14th/Kenyon/Park is almost done. A reader snapped this photo of some sod being laid around the circular fountain area, and ANC commissioner William Jordan reports that the ribbon cutting for the Plaza will be Friday at 10 am, with the mayor himself doing the cutting.

I'm not sure if everything is done yet, as the tree things don't seem to have the leaves that are in the plan's diagrams yet, but it must be close.

Then again, there was the ribbon cutting for the 14th and Girard Street Park, which closed the next day when it turned out the concrete was not done correctly.

Thanks to reader Adam for the photo

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No, seriously, Rumbero's really is closing

And I'm tired of writing about it. Apparently the Prince of Petworth spoke to somebody else who said yes, it really is closing, so he retracted his previous retraction. Next time I'm going to call them myself!

So what would you like to see take its place? How about a bookstore?

Magic Johnson speaking to Bell students on Friday

Pretty cool! Basketball great Magic Johnson will talk to Bell Multicultural High School students at 9:30 am about "entrepreneurship, community and leadership." Johnson owns Magic Johnson Enterprises, which runs theaters and other operations, and this talk is part of a partnership with Best Buy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Impromptu Caribbean concert on 14th this past Sunday

My pal told me about this -- there was some sort of Caribbean concert in front of the Radio Shack at 14th and Irving on Sunday evening. Some residents at the Kenyon Square building were not amused and were yelling out the windows for them to be quiet, and soon enough the police showed up. Too bad, it sounded pretty neat -- and apparently took place about 6 or 7 o'clock, so it's not like people were asleep.

Anybody see this on Sunday?

Rumbero's ISN'T closing

Oops. Looks like Prince of Petworth retracted his earlier post that Rumbero's is closing. It's not closing -- apparently there was a language problem with the first person he spoke to. They'll be open tomorrow, according to another person he spoke to.

Too bad, if you ask me. Let's hope they were temporarily closed to improve their service and food.

Rumbero's is closed

Via PoP, Latin restaurant Rumbero's on 14th Street is now closed. I say good riddance, as I had some of the worst service I've ever experienced, plus below-average and not cheap food. Some other folks seemed to like it, but I would never go back.

Hopefully some kind of chain bank or something doesn't replace it. How about a thrift store?

UPDATE: See above post. It's not closing.

More on Fiesta DC moving to Mt. Pleasant

Last week I wrote about how Fiesta DC, the Latin-American fest, had originally been planned for 14th Street but was moved to Mt. Pleasant Street. Got a couple of comments with more about it:
Fiesta DC couldn't get permits for the fiesta on 14th Street; Fire and Emergency Services wouldn't permit the closure of 14th close to their station at 14th and Newton. The shift of the Fiesta back to Mount Pleasant was a last-minute change to salvage this year's Fiesta.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Oktoberfest at Wonderland

Prost! Wonderland is hosting Oktoberfest specials until October 4! I was there yesterday and the outdoor area really does seem like a biergarten, what with the big tables. They also have pretzels for $1 (though there was some debate if that's always how much they are) and sausage deals, plus 2BloxDC reports a bring your own beer stein deal, which is pretty sweet.

They also have a bigger selection of German beers than usual, like various Spatens, Paulaners and Hofbraus, if memory serves. The crowd wasn't too big yesterday, and I met a couple of German dudes who said the place was the closest they've seen to a beer garden in D.C. Apparently they were singing drinking songs as well, but I missed that part. Sehr gut!

Kenyon Street closed between 13th and 14th for a few days

Speaking of construction, looks like Kenyon Street will be closed until Thursday, assuming there's no rain and things get done on time.

For those of you needing to drive on Kenyon hoping for no rain, here's a video.

Sidewalks under construction all over

Originally uploaded by squidpants
Looks like the Columbia Heights Streetscape Project has moved onto the sidewalks in the area too. I've seen construction on 14th Street and Kenyon so far, with other ones already done or in the works.

It seems like they're widening the sidewalks, though that might just be an optical illusion based on the new pavers and such, though the website doesn't say anything about widening (which would thus mean narrowing the streets).

But anyway, the new pavers look good. Your thoughts?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Donate books, CDs and DVDs for Bell and Lincoln schools

Just saw this from Jim Graham: Bell Multicultural High School and Lincoln Middle School are holding a book, DVD and CD sale to "improve the library, literacy programs and purchase LCD projectors." They're accepting donations (which are tax-deductible) until October 14th at the school office during the workday at the school office. The campus is at 3101 16th Street NW (16th and Irving.)

The sale will be held on Saturday, October 17th from 10am to 2pm in the Bell cafeteria.

Crazy metal tree things going into CH Civic Plaza

A few folks have mentioned the weird trees going into the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza at 14th/Kenyon/Park, mainly asking what in the world they are.

They kind of look like flowers or trees, and looking at the plan (below right) for the plaza, that appears to be what they are. Here's another view. However, the other plans don't seem to show them, instead having some kind of sail type thing.

Personally I'm going to reserve judgement on these until they get finished, but they are a bit weird. I hope they put in real trees also.

Here's the plan's website. It's supposed to be finished this summer.

UPDATE: A commenter says the designer told her the things are LED lights and solar panels, which will partially power the fountain. Pretty cool.

Top photo from the Justice & Sustainability Associates Facebook page

Neighborhood yard sale roundup

Looks like there's not much going on with yard sales in the hood this weekend, I could only find this one:

1209 Lamont St. NW, 12 to 4 PM this Sunday and next Sunday: "Furniture, kitchen stuff, bedding etc"

Know of any more? Post in the comments!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Man jumps in front of train at Columbia Heights Metro

Pretty crazy story, apparently a man tried to kill himself by jumping in front of a Metro train at the Columbia Heights Metro. The station is now closed, so you'd better check WMATA's website if you're using it soon.

Here's WMATA's press release and their status page.

UPDATE: This happened earlier today, so apologies if you're just clicking over now from Twitter, the thing that publishes is very slow. The station is now open.

UPDATE 2: WTOP reports that the victim was a student at Bell Multicultural High School at 16th and Irving and has died. Onlookers say he was involved in a game of chicken, which is very sad and frankly very messed up.

What We're Missing: a movie theater

Here's the latest in the What We're Missing series: a movie theater. A couple people mentioned it in other posts, and it's an interesting point. I'm thinking not a Gallery Place-style megaplex, I wouldn't want the traffic and such, but maybe something like the Uptown or even like Visions in Dupont.

Visions, which is now closed, used to show art movies, older movies, cult flicks, and stuff like that. They also used to have a $10 "drain the keg" night on weekends, where you'd watch a movie and drink beer from a keg. It was great place for a date or just something fun to do.

I think if this were to happen, it'd have to be off 14th Street, maybe towards Georgia Ave somewhere. There's a lot of empty buildings that way, so any entrepreneurs out there should get on it!

What do you think? Good idea or lame?

Photo from the Historical Society of a theater on 14th just south of Irving Street in 1950

Vote for Columbia Heights places in the Express' Best Of poll

The Washington Post's Express newspaper is having their Best Of poll, so vote for local spots! Some suggestions -- Wonderland, Pho 14, Pete's and Redrocks, Red Derby, Room 11, Sticky Fingers!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hendricks gin tasting at Room 11 tonight

Via their Twitter: "Room 11 and the No Rush Happy Hour present a Hendricks Gin tasting - Wednesday Sept 16 from 530 - 730. Come on by." Their website doesn't have much else, but that sounds cool for gin lovers.

South Columbia Heights neighborhood meeting tonight

Just saw this on the South Columbia Heights listserve, the South Columbia Heights Civic Association meeting is tonight, which also includes a report on the earlier ANC meeting and a report from MPD, plus guest speaker DC fire Chief Dennis Rubin.

The meeting is tonight (Wednesday) at 7 pm at the Josephine Butler Parks Center, 2437 15th Street NW

Fiesta DC no longer coming to Columbia Heights?

A few months ago various folks (ANC commissioners, neighborhood groups, etc) reported that Fiesta DC, a big Latin-American festival, would be taking place on 14th Street in Columbia Heights later this month.

However, checking their website, it says Mt. Pleasant Street on September 27. Not sure what happened since I first heard about it, so stay tuned! It might have something to do with the construction on 14th.

New show opening at Nevin Kelly gallery

The Nevin Kelly Gallery at 14th and Irving has a new show coming soon: Bethesda artist Ellyn Weiss has a show called "Dark Matter" opening on Thursday the 17th and going until October 17. There's a reception the same day from 6 to 9 pm.

According to the gallery's website
The images resulting from her interaction with tar-as-medium have an eerily organic quality to them, appearing to the artist like living things “swimming up from the primeval darkness.” They register with us at the most basic level of all, as if triggering a memory we carry in our DNA of the moment life began.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Meridian Pint coming early 2010

A couple of weeks ago I emailed John Andrade, owner of Asylum and the upcoming Meridian Pint bar and restaurant at 11th and Monroe Park, and he said things are moving forward. Their Twitter page (which only has one post, from August) says "We are awaiting delivery of the renovated building from the landlord within the next few weeks and hope to open by early 2010." Looks like the date has been pushed back, as I'd been hearing fall 2009 for awhile. Doh. I bet permits have part of the blame for the delay.

The bar will be an upscale neighborhood beer bar with contemporary American food and some TVs, so you can watch the game. Sounds good to me. Here's more on the place from the owner.

Look familiar? 14th and Irving in 1949

Found a pretty cool photo on Flickr, posted by immediatereaction and part of the D.C. Historical Society's collection. The photo was taken by John Wymer in 1949, and it looks like there's a Chinese restaurant and bar, an Esso gas station, a post office, and a used car dealership. Here's more info. The facade of the used car dealership was saved in DCUSA (see 2004 and 2008).

The collection has lots of awesome stuff, like this shot of the west side of 14th between Irving and Park, which was all gone long before DCUSA came in, and this one of a movie theater on 14th south of Irving. Here's where you can look things up.

What's interesting is that most of the shots contain something I wouldn't mind seeing -- a Chinese place with Chinese cocktails, a movie theater, a post office, etc.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Clothing donation in the neighborhood?

A reader emailed me asking if there are any places to donate clothes in the neighborhood -- anybody have suggestions? She mentioned Martha's Table at 14th and V, but they only take business-casual men's clothes or in-season clothes on hangars or folded in shopping bags or boxes. That could be useful for some folks, but it doesn't hurt to know of more places.

If you know of any place or group in the neighborhood, post it in the comments!

Bands in the Neighborhood: North of Canada

This installment of our Bands in the Neighborhood series features North of Canada, a indie/power pop band who play at the Velvet Lounge on October 1st. Here's what they had to say.

How did you all come up with the band name?
The members: The General on drums and tactical maneuvers, The Admiral on bass and tambourine, Robert France on guitar and vocals, The Corporate Drone on guitar and vocals

The names of the band members were arrived at organically and reflect either a personality trait or article of clothing of each member. Robert France and Drone are brothers and lived for a brief time on Baffin Island with their parents when they were kids. The name is a tribute to the hearty sould who inhabit such locations.

How did the band form?
Three of the members lived in proximity of each other rooting for the Fightin Phillies.

How many members live in Columbia Heights? Whereabouts?
The Admiral lives on Irving

Do you practice in CH? How about play any gigs in the neighborhood?
We'll occasionally hold an acoustic practice at The Admiral's home, but the full-fledged electric practices require the space and luxury of the suburbs. We played once at The Wonderland Ballroom on a rainy Wednesday night in April. I remember the service being excellent. We are slowly becoming regulars at Asylum in Adam's Morgan for their Friday night live gigs along with The Red and the Black, DC9, Rock and Roll Hotel, and a few other venues that have asked not to be mentioned.

What are your band's influences?
NoC has responded favorably to the likes of Supergrass, Blur, Graham Coxon, Albert Hammond, Johnny Headband, Electric 6 and far too many other local and national acts. The band sounds like a soothing blend of aromatic teas crossed with jalepenos would taste. We tend to write songs while sipping moderately priced vodka and pondering the great questions of our time. The General does not believe in contraception and therefore is not creatively influenced by it. The animal kingdom is a frequent muse for the band as songs are frequently written about or allude to various wild and domestic creatures.

Do you have any records out?
We have an EP out on iTunes entitled Every Seahorse Could Be Different. We have many more songs in various stages of recording. You haven't lived if you've never heard an album inspired completely and solely by the majestic creatures of the deep known as seahorses.

What’s your take on the local music scene, Columbia Heights and DC?
Columbia Heights is a great neighborhood if you enjoying combining the conveniences of suburban shopping with gang violence and party buses. In accordance with the recent WaPo article, the band still isn't sure what a 'hipster' is but we're relatively sure that we aren't it. We enjoy DC in principle but could do without the following items: cut-off jean shorts on males and wine bars.

And if you had to rename your band for something in Columbia Heights, what would it be?
South of Petworth

Here's their Myspace and Twitter

New public art at 14th and Oak

Neighborhood resident and artist Sarah Tooley just sent me an email about a public art project she did at at the triangle park at 14th, Oak and Ogden: Tooley interviewed local residents about the park and community safety and then painted benches with their responses -- kind of like the mural on 11th near Tubman School.

The project was partially financed by a grant from the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities, and Tooley and a group of volunteers painted the seven benches. The park will be renovated by the city at some point in the future. Before the project there had been no seating in the park.

Here's how she described it:
Through the physical manifestation of the text painted on the benches privately expressed opinions are launches into the public realm. The differing views and experiences expressed lay side by side to confront and co-exists with the assumptions, stereotypes and lived realities of the people who choose to spend time in the park, who steer clear of it, or those who have felt pushed out.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Howard U football opens tomorrow

The Bison of Howard University open their season tomorrow at Rutgers. The Bison were 1-10 last season, but their stadium is basically at 6th and Girard, easy walking distance from the neighborhood. Plus their band is pretty awesome.

The home opener is October 3 against Winston-Salem State at 1 pm, I think it'd be pretty fun to tailgate. Here's the full schedule -- only four home games!

Lots going on at BloomBars this weekend

BloomBars, the art and performance space at 11th and Kenyon (just north of Wonderland) has a lot of events this weekend, part of their "Dream Weekend." Here's the rundown:

Friday, September 11th starting at 8:00pm: Chrisstylez Bacon, Shane Evans, Barclay Martin

Saturday, September 12th at 8:00pm: Flo Anito, Jeremiah Abiah, Ayanna Gregory

Sunday, September 13th 7:30pm: Seed the Sound Sunday w/ Terrence Cunningham and The Right Nows

All events are a $5-$10 suggested donation. The BloomBars website is here, though it looks like it's down.

BloomBars is at 3222 11th St NW

Seen a stolen dirt bike?

Got this from a reader this morning, a motorcycle was stolen from behind their house on Park between 11th and 13th:
It's an old dirt bike, impossible to hot wire and the kick start is super temperamental making it almost impossible to start. So we figure that when whoever stole it realized that, they might have dumped it somewhere in the neighborhood. It's a Honda XR 600 and it's bright orange and blue, totally 80s and hard to miss.
Photo attached. If you hear anything, email psulick3(at)gmail(dot)com

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Adams Morgan Day is this Sunday

I usually don't like writing about stuff outside the neighborhood, but since it's a big deal I will -- our neighboring neighborhood is hosting the annual Adams Morgan Day on Sunday from noon to 7 pm. It's a huge fest with lots of arts and crafts and food and people. Check it out!

What internet provider is best in Columbia Heights?

Got an email from a new resident asking which internet provider is best for the neighborhood -- what do you think? We have a bundled Comcast internet and cable thing, which is ok. The router needs to be reset a lot, and occasionally On Demand goes down, but it's decent. How is Verizon? Unfortunately FiOS won't be here for awhile.

Save pizza from the suburbs! Vote RedRocks by noon today!

Looks like RedRocks pizza at 11th and Monroe needs our help -- California/Virginia chain Flippin' Pizza is rumored to be giving out deals at all their locations (even Calif. ones) in exchange for votes. From the Washingtonian's comments:
Hey Griff - Flippin has been sending emails for weeks telling all their Dough Club members in CA & VA that if they win, they’ll get a Free Pie. I know, I got them all. So don’t get stuck on stupid.
No fair! Vote before noon today! Get on it!

UPDATE: Here's the actual link that Flippin' Pizza is using. Lame!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pete's Apizza extends delivery hours

Who says Twitter isn't useful? I just saw on the Pete's feed that they're extending their delivery hours to 11am-11pm on Saturday and 11am-10pm on Sunday, starting this weekend. Here's the delivery area -- pretty big. There's a $3 fee per delivery and a $20 minimum.

J. Bell's Winghouse -- good stuff

A new wing place, J. Bell's Winghouse, opened up a few weeks ago at Euclid and Georgia and I paid them a visit last week. The verdict: good.

I went into the small yellow building (take-out and I believe delivery only) and the guy behind the counter was very helpful -- they have 8 different wing sauces and he said lots of folks have been getting a combination of the spicy sauce and the 24-KT honey mustard, and gave me a sample of the combo. I opted for the medium and the 24-KT and it was very tasty. They also have dinners that come with sides and bread, sandwiches (chicken, fish or pork), plus fried chicken & waffles, which sounds awesome.

I think the guy who runs it lives in the area, as I saw him the next day down the street and he asked if I were getting any wings today. Pretty friendly guy, and I'll definitely be getting the wings again. Their full menu is on their website.

J. Bell's Winghouse is at 715 Euclid Street NW

Photo from their website

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Photos of the Civic Plaza design

Got a couple emails this weekend about the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza at 14th and Kenyon/Park, which is looking pretty close to being done. A reader snapped the above photo of the fountain, and ReadySetDC snapped the rest.

I like it! What do you think? The plaza is supposed to be done "this summer." Here's the project's website.

Lots of development meetings coming up soon

Got an email from the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights, a non-profit community development group, who are hosting a number of community meetings about development for different areas, which are followups to the survey I mentioned earlier.

11th Street Focus Group
Date: September 8, 2009
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Red Rocks Pizzeria, 1036 Park Road NW

Park Road Focus Group
Date: September 9, 2009
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Los Hermanos Market, 1426 Park Road NW

14th Street Focus Group
Date: September 10, 2009
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: La Molienda Restaurant, 3568 14th Street NW

Should be interesting. Let me know if you go!

The outdoor pools are closed for the season

Too bad! Labor day was the end of the outdoor pool season. I took advantage of the Banneker pool many times, and hopefully you did too.

The indoor pools are still open, including one at Marie Reed Rec Center and one at 1301 New Jersey Ave NW. I also hear the Wilson Aquatic Center in Tenleytown is really nice. And thankfully, none of the pools are like this.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Pizza Poll finals! RedRocks vs Flippin'

The finals are set -- RedRocks beat Pete's Apizza and now faces Virginia and California chain Flippin' Pizza. I've never had Flippin', but a pizza place with 4 locations versus one with one? That doesn't seem fair!

What do you think? I've gotten lots of pro- and anti- RedRocks comments so far. The poll is open til noon on Thursday the 10th. Who will be the grand pizza champion?

Hot dog suits? The new thing to wear in Columbia Heights?

So on Saturday afternoon I saw a guy in a hot dog costume walking with two friends who were dressed normally. That was kind of weird, but I figured maybe it was for Columbia Heights Day or a party or something. Then today, a pal Twittered that she saw a guy in a hot dog suit driving a Geo Metro down 11th Street. This raises a lot of questions -- is it the same guy? If so, why is he always wearing a hot dog suit? Did he lose a bet?

And then if it's not the same guy, why are multiple people in the neighborhood wearing hot dogs suits? It's not Halloween! Or is it just a very weird coincidence?

Anyone else see this bizarre phenomenon?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

More on the Columbia Heights Heritage Trail

I wrote about the Columbia Heights Heritage Trail a few days ago, and here's more from Sarah Fairbrother of Cultural Tourism DC, which runs the program.
The signs talk about the first houses in the area (Holmead Manor, Belmont), early businesses in the area (Hot Shoppes, the Arcade, the Tivoli), the 1968 riots, the aftermath of the riots, the various communities that lived and still live in the neighborhood, Cardozo and the change from segregated to integrated schools, Boundary Street, the origins of Meridian Hill Park, social activism, literary superstars who lived in the neighborhood… in general, what has gone into making what Columbia Heights is today.
Sounds pretty cool! The signs will start going up in October for a launch on October 24. I'm looking forward to seeing the signs around.

Photo from here. Roanoke Street is now Euclid Street, I think.

Sheep on the loose! At CH Day!

Pretty funny -- there's a couple Youtube videos of a sheep on the run at Columbia Heights Day last Saturday -- thanks for NBC4 for the article.

Columbia Heights Pizza Showdown! Pete's vs RedRocks

It finally came to this, Pete's Apizza versus RedRocks in the Washingtonian's Pizza Pool Final Four. It'd be kind of like GW vs Georgetown or Mason vs Maryland in the NCAA Final Four, except more delicious. The other matchup is Ella's against Flippin' Pizza. I've never had Flippin', and had Ella's once and thought it was ok. I'm surprised Pizzeria Paradiso or Matchbox aren't up there.

Jim Graham's even gotten into the act, posting on the Ward One listserve about RedRocks: "Columbia Heights--Red Rocks Pizza: We must rally and vote"

Anyway, Vote now! You have til Thursday at noon. Which do you prefer?

Here's the full bracket.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

FiOS to Columbia Heights in 3 years?

Columbia Heights, Petworth and elsewhere will get Verizon FiOS, the fiber optic internet and cable service, in three years according to Fox is saying. It's supposed to be faster than regular internet, plus it's not run by Comcast, who drive some people crazy. Here's more on it.

Columbia Heights Day recap

The rain stayed away and a pretty big crowd came to Columbia Heights Day. I got there about 1 pm and saw lots of folks hula hooping, kids playing games, and lots of folks I knew, both from the neighborhood and from farther afield.

It was a good time. There was a yoga demonstration early, some booths (MPD, DC GOP, etc), lots of fun for kids (see this awesome photo), and a lot of varied bands, from reggae (locals Lucky Dub) to samba (Clube do Samba) to hard rock (Imperial China). The petting zoo is always a popular spot, with a camel, sheep, ducks, geese, and rabbits, and there was also a pet show and the cupcake eating contest. Unfortunately this year's contest didn't feature Jim Graham as emcee (he's on vacation) or other political types as eaters.

There was also a food tent, but unfortunately most of it was gone when I went there. I hear there were Scotch eggs from CommonWealth and pupusas, but I missed them. There were also some local artisan types, like t-shirt guys and others.

As for constructive criticism -- food was a big one, I would have liked there to be vendors and/or more free food. Of course, there were lots of deals in area restaurants, but sometimes you just want to eat while walking around. I also could have gone for more booths of craftspeople and organizations and such, it was kind of quick to see everything. But all in all, a good time in the neighborhood.

Did you go? What did you think?

Above photos by me. Lots more photos from me and reader Ken here.

Columbia Heights Farmers Market meeting Thursday night

Just got this from farmers market organizer and ANC commish William Jordan: there's a Columbia Heights Farmers Market & Civic Plaza Planning Meeting on Thursday at 6:30 at Change, Inc., which is at 1413 Park Rd NW. Both topics sound pretty interesting.

The last we heard, there was a poll about the farmers market, which is still open, so vote!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

First impressions of Social, the new restaurant

Some friends and I headed over to Social, the new restaurant at 14th and Meridian, on Saturday, which was their first day. It was a little strange, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt since it was so early. The place has a downstairs bar and a smallish upstairs dining room (pictured here).

The bartenders were friendly enough downstairs and some friends got food, though I got there late and didn't get to try any. They said the baby lamb lollipops (which have been mentioned a lot) were quite tasty, but the tuna was kind of odd -- it was supposed to come with sesame crackers, but it didn't, so it was just a lump of tuna. But I'll rack that up to first day kinks.

The upstairs, however, was kind of odd. For one, it kind of seemed like we were sitting in a furniture showroom, and there were lots of family portraits on one wall, which seemed kind of out of place. Then again, it was about 6 pm and still light out, so that could make any restaurant-lounge seem a little odd.

The mixed drinks were a mixed bag -- I got a variation of a Manhattan with grenadine, which was pretty good, though my friends' drinks were weird -- one had mango, pepper and cucumber, while the other was some kind of fruity thing with basil. Unfortunately the menu on the website is different from what we had. I don't know if what's on the website is new or old. Rail drinks were only $5, which is pretty good, though the cheapest beer was $5 Bud Light.

So it was a brief look, but I'll give it another go. Some folks commented on their experiences on the earlier post; anybody else go?

Volunteer opportunities this week

Got an email about this week, which is National Interfaith Service Week. One of the programs is helping with the Salvation Army and ML Resources Social Vision's Sherman Ave Feed Program, located at 3335 Sherman Ave NW. From their release:
Social Vision aims to bridge the gap between the West and Islamic World through the development of socially responsible partnerships and philanthropic projects. Social Vision is participating in this event as part of a call for people of all religious affiliations to join together and make a difference in the lives of others...

The Feeding Program serves about 30-40 people for lunch Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Volunteers are needed to assist with food preparation and serving on these days between 11:00am and 2:00pm.
Interested folks can email Here's their full press release. The Post article has more opportunities as well.