Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cate Blanchett spotted at the Columbia Heights Metro

Whoa! A Twitter user spotted Oscar winner Cate Blanchett at the CH Metro at about 2 pm. Blanchett's in town performing in A Streetcar Named Desire at the Kennedy Center. Pretty wild.

Looks like Columbia Heights is becoming the new cool spot for famous people to go, or something -- for example, Kal Penn the other day plus other famous folks who've been spotted in the neighborhood.

I wonder if she was going to CommonWealth? To be honest I'm surprised when I see famous folks in the hood -- are they getting tacos? Going to CommonWealth? Target? But it's still very cool that they come up.

Halloween party at Social

Just got a press release about a Halloween party tonight (the 31st) at Social, the new restaurant at 14th and Meridian. They're making Halloween-themed Jagermeister drinks, like the "Death Bomb" in the downstairs bar, and there's a costume contest at midnight for gift certificates. Another thing to do tonight!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Yard sale roundup: Slim pickings

Looks like not much is happening in the area yard-sale wise, perhaps due to the cold weather and costume-making. This is all I found on Craigslist.

I also heard about one on Fairmont between 13th and 14th (closer to 13th). Apparently they're out there every Saturday, so check it out.

If you know of any, post in the comments!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What is Columbia Heights Missing?

It's about time I did a new What We're Missing post, but honestly I can't think of anything, so I'm putting it out to you: what do you think the neighborhood is missing? Something cool, something fun, something handy?

So far I've thought we're missing a movie theater, a post office, a thrift store, and more. Here's the whole list.

MPD Citizens' Advisory Committee meeting tonight

Curious about how MPD is doing, or got questions for them? Stop by the meeting of the Citizens' Advisory Committee tonight at 7:30 at the 3rd District Police Headquarters, 1620 V Street, NW. The head of the district will give a presentation and there will be other business. Here's more on the 3D listserve -- it also mentions $5 dues.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Really nice photo of the Civic Plaza at night

The Columbia Heights Civic Plaza is a very photogenic place. Here's a great shot by my buddy of it at night.

Photo by easement

Wanna buy a hair salon?

Just saw this on Craigslist -- a place called Mary's Salon at 3919 14th St NW is for sale for a cool $39,000 (for just the business, not the building).

That actually seems pretty inexpensive, though I do not have a lot of experience buying hair salons.

Other treasures for sale on Craigslist lately: an iPod with a cracked screen From A Person Who Types Like This, a $2,000 massage chair, and Phish tickets for $200.

Lots of Halloween events in the hood

Lots of Halloween doings in the neighborhood coming up! Have a look:

Pumpkins on the Plaza at the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza, Saturday the 31st 11am-2pm: "Join us for free face painting, Halloween arts and crafts station, costume contest with a $100 Giant Gift Card for the winner, and pumpkins for sale." Sponsored by Giant and the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace Committee, which I assume is organizing the farmers market.

Halloween Party at Trolley Turnaround Park (11th and Monroe), Saturday the 31st and 4:30 pm. Come in costume, "we'll do a parade around the block and then a costume contest."

Another at the 14th and U Farmers Market, Saturday at noon: costume contest for kids and adults, and bake sale benefiting Martha's Table. "Prizes include certificates/gifts from: Saint Ex, Pulp, Cork Market, Mid City Caffe, Adventures in Shaw, Biaggio and more."

Know of any other neighborhood events? Post in the comments!

City doing a Fix-It today

The city is doing one of its Fixits, where city employees walk around and clean up bulk trash, look for alley issues, graffiti, and so on. They're going to the 1800 Block of Kenyon and Irving, 1100 Block of Kenyon and Lamont, 3500-3600 Blocks of 10th Street.

Hope that's one of your blocks!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's almost Halloween!

Originally uploaded by squidpants
Are you carving any pumpkins? Doing any decorating? To be honest I haven't seen too many jack o'lanterns or decorations on houses in the neighborhood, which is a shame. Any I should check out?

Pictured is a pumpkin I did a few years ago.

Cool collaborative art project at Nevin Kelly Gallery

Just got an email about this: Local artists Sondra N. Arkin and Judy Byron are asking for responses for the public for their work in an exhibit in a show at the Nevin Kelly Gallery in the Highland Park Building called "What's Important Now?"

To participate, people just answer the question "What's important to you?" in 10 words or less at

You can answer as many times as you want, and you can follow the project on Facebook [Key word: Important2you] and on Twitter.

The results of the project will be revealed Nov. 19 from 6 to 9 at the Nevin Kelly Gallery, which is inside the Highland Park building at 1400 Irving St NW. Here's the gallery's blog.

Street Booze: Hennessey on Girard Street

This is part of a new series called Street Booze, where I document the various bottles of booze found tossed around the neighborhood. I always see bottles everywhere, and it's kind of interesting. What kind of booze is it? Why here? Why not use a trash can? I plan on doing about one every week or two, so don't expect to see them all the time.

What: Small glass bottle Hennessey
Where: On Girard Street between 13th and 14th.

I've never had Hennessey, is it any good?

Celebrity Sighting: Kal Penn at CommonWealth

Kal Penn (aka Kumar, Taj, and the guy from House) was spotted by a friend at CommonWealth on Saturday night. Mr. Penn works for the White House's Office of Public Liaison and lives in the "Borderstan" neighborhood (between Dupont and Logan).

Apparently he was with a big group of people who looked like White House staff types. Maybe we'll run into him at Wonderland one day. Actually, that would probably be a bad idea, as everybody would probably just go "dude, it's Kumar! Hey, Kumar!" over and over.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cool mural at BloomBars

Bloombars mural
Originally uploaded by squidpants
Saw this on Sunday, it's a cool mural on the side of BloomBars, the art space on 11th Street just north of Kenyon (and Wonderland). My camera isn't a fisheye, the mural is painted like that.

BloomBars has events every Sunday and other days too -- they're showing a documentary about a womens' monastery in Tibet on Wednesday, for example. Here's their Facebook page (looks like their website is currently down).

Streetcars to Columbia Heights? Meeting today!

Just saw this interesting post at Greater Greater Washington about streetcars -- it looks like DDOT is planning a number of new streetcar lines, two of which will go through Columbia Heights.

One line, part of the second phase, goes from downtown up 7th Street and Georgia Ave all the way to Takoma, while a line in the third phase goes from Brookland to the Washington Hospital Center through Columbia Heights to Adams Morgan and Woodley Park. There's also one from U Street that goes through the H Street NE corridor, which would be nice. These are long-term plans, so there's no timetable so far, but I'll be searching for more on them.

It also looks like these would be actual streetcars, rather than bus rapid transit or some other kind of vehicle. Here's what the DC Streetcar looks like (being tested in the Czech Republic) and here's the full map (pictured on the right as well). That sounds good, but I can imagine traffic tie-ups during construction too.

DDOT is holding open houses around the city, with one today at the Columbia Heights Education Campus from 7 to 8:30 pm. It's not really a meeting per se, so it seems like you can come whenever. I plan on going, looks very interesting.

Beer tastings at D'Vines

Built in tap at D'vines
Originally uploaded by squidpants
I was at D'Vines on 14th Street the other day and noticed they installed a beer tap in the wall. They were giving out samples of Peak Organic Nut Brown, which was really good. The man at the counter said they'd be hosting beer tastings every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from now on of different breweries -- pretty cool.

And if you haven't been, stop by. The staff is very knowledgeable and helpful about both beer and wine.

D'Vines is at 3103 14th Street NW

Friday, October 23, 2009

Howard U homecoming events and parade this weekend

If you wanna see a big parade this weekend, head over to Howard University for the Homecoming parade. If you plan to drive somewhere, however, I would steer clear of the area.

The parade is pretty cool -- very big with lots of music, food and vendors. There's also a ton of other events -- the Steve Harvey Morning Show, concerts, comedy, etc. Check the website for the whole rundown.

Going on today is the Howard Yardfest, a concert with Fabolous, The Clipse, and Cameo -- yeah, the old school band. It's from 1 pm to 7 pm.

The parade runs from 10 am to noon on Saturday and the route goes down Georgia Ave, onto Florida, then up into campus. Click the map at right or click here for a bigger version.

Columbia Heights yard sale roundup

Here's this week's yard sale roundup. If you know of any or are having one, post in the comments!

1338 Irving Street Nw on Saturday October 24th from 9am-5pm: Full sets of dishes, silverware, pots, pans, and various other housewares are up for grab and in great condition

There's also this "moving sale" which doesn't seem to actually be anywhere, just email the person. What's the fun in that?

Local author Eric Nuzum reading tonight

Eric Nuzum, an author who lives in the area (the cover art for The Dead Travel Fast is on the wall at Looking Glass, for example) is giving a reading tonight at Past Tense Yoga at 7:45 pm. He'll be reading from his forthcoming book Bring Me To Heaven, about traveling to haunted places around the country, and The Dead Travel Fast, a look into why people like vampires so much. Just in time for Halloween!

The stories at the reading will be ones he hasn't told in DC, and he's also demonstrating a "ghost meter" used by ghost hunters to find spirits.

Sounds pretty cool. Past Tense is located at 3253 Mt. Pleasant St. NW, just past 16th.

Pictured is Nuzum in the "ghost suite" at the Omni Shoreham in DC.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Crummy AT&T and iPhone service in the neighborhood?

I just switched to an iPhone and have had problems with service in the area lately -- it seems like I always lose service on 14th from about Clifton to W Street, and sometimes in my house. Anybody else have issues with their AT&T or iPhone service?

Construction at 14th and Girard Park

Originally uploaded by squidpants
Looks like a little bit of work was being done the other day at the 14th and Girard Park (aka Barack Hussein Obama Park). I was worried this was yet another fix on the park, which opened then closed due to faulty construction.

This time though, according to DPR it was some work on the sewer line by WASA, and it appears to be open again. Phew!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Obama on Pete's Apizza: "I recommend it, everybody go out there."

Pretty funny -- in the President's speech, he said this about Pete's Apizza:
These steps will make a difference for more small businesses like Pete’s APizza in Washington, DC -- I recommend it, everybody go out there. When the three owners had little more than a dream of opening up a casual pizza restaurant, they found it challenging to get financing. But ultimately they got a loan through City First Bank, a community development bank right in Washington. Today, business is booming. And the initiative we’re announcing today will help more banks provide more loans to businesses like Pete’s.

More on Pete's and Obama: Invited to a speech by Obama

Looks like Pete's Apizza is going to be a prime example used by the President in a new initiative to give loans to small businesses! Their Twitter says: "CONFIRMED: Pres Obama to host small bz mtg @ Treasury @ 1:30; Pres expected to mention Pete's; Tom & Joel attending. TUNE TO C-SPAN at 1:30!"

The speech is on live audio now!

Looks like you might need to wait a long time for New Haven-style pizza coming soon!

Groundbreaking on new Justice Park today

Looks like there's a groundbreaking ceremony today at 2 pm with the mayor for the new Justice Park, to be located in an empty lot on Euclid Street just west of 14th (here's the location).

It's going to replace the current Justice Park located across the street and behind the BP gas station, which is apparently going to be redeveloped into housing -- a person from DPR said the District made a land-swap but wasn't sure of the type of housing.

I think the old park is a big loss, as the new park will have 40 community garden spots and the old park was closed and wasn't very welcoming -- it was above ground behind a big wall, and seemed to be locked. Plus from the looks of it, it was kind of bleak. The new park should be done by Spring 2010.

The new park has a Twitter, which is cool, and here's more about it. Here's the website from DPR for it, including the plan.

Another neighborhood meeting today -- Tivoli North with Cathy Lanier

Looks like there's a third neighborhood meeting today -- along with the South Columbia Heights Civic Association and the Greater DC Cares U Street/Petworth/Columbia Heights meeting. This one is for Tivoli North Business Association, who cover the area of Columbia Heights from Monroe to Spring. MPD Chief Cathy Lanier will be there. Their website doesn't say where the meeting is, which I would think is a pretty important detail, but a reader said that previous meetings were held at the Carolina Restaurant at 3700 14th St NW, so that's a good bet. It's at 6:30 pm.

Columbia Heights Coffee -- still open!

Columbia Heights Coffee was closed yesterday, but I just called and confirmed that it was due to the power outage. They're up and running as usual today. Good thing, because I like that place!

Columbia Heights Heritage Trail opens this weekend

The Columbia Heights Heritage Trail, which I've written about a couple times before, has an unveiling ceremony this Saturday at the Civic Plaza, plus guided tours leaving from various stops along the way. Here's the rundown of all the events from Cultural Tourism DC, plus a news story from WJLA on it.

I think this is a great thing for the neighborhood, as many folks living here haven't been in the area for very long, and I bet even some people who have might not know some things about the history.

The events sound pretty cool too: jazz, hip hop, drumming, and specials from local businesses and such -- deals at local restaurants, free samples from CommonWealth, free pedometers, info on Columbia Heights Day, etc.

Our neighbors at the Park View DC blog also wrote about the trail. If you like local history, here are some history posts I've written. And below is a map of the trail. Click it for a bigger version.

Pete's Apizza to be mentioned by Pres. Obama?

Pretty crazy! Saw this on their Twitter Tuesday night: "we were warned by a white house staffer today that we may get mentioned in a speech tomorrow about a successful small business loan program."

I'll be looking for the speech to see if that's the case. I wonder if the place will get the same kind of surge in traffic that Ben's Chili Bowl got after Obama visited it? That place was packed for weeks afterwards.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Two neigborhood meetings Wednesday!

It's neighborhood meeting week here in Columbia Heights, with the South Columbia Heights Civic Association meeting at 2437 15th St NW (the Josephine Butler Parks building) at 7pm, and another meeting to be held by Greater DC Cares, a confederation of nonprofits, to discuss ways to help the Columbia Heights, U Street and Petworth. It's at the Petworth Library, 4200 Kansas Ave, NW neighborhood, also at 7 pm.

Be a good neighbor and go to one!

Power outage in Columbia Heights

Is your power out? A couple friends on Park Rd near 13th and 11th have contacted me this morning saying their power is out, and Pepco's suprisingly useful map shows just that. To add insult to injury, one friend called the city's 311 line and it wouldn't go through, maybe because she has T-Mobile. Doh!

If your power is out, let me know in the comments!

UPDATE: According to commenters, parts of Monroe and 13th are also out. The Pepco service number is 1(877)PEPCO-62

UPDATE 2: Commenters say Pepco told them 3 pm is the estimated time for it to be back on. Doh.

UPDATE 3: Some commenters say their power is back on, while others say Pepco has given longer deadlines for restoring power.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bar trivia in the neighborhood!

Do you like trivia? Do you like bars? Then you're in the right neighborhood. Columbia Heights is blessed with three places in the neighborhood that host bar trivia (depending on your definition of the neighborhood).

The old stalwart is Wonderland, which hosts trivia on Monday nights at 7:30. However, it's always packed, so get there very early (we're talking 6-6:15). It can get a little rowdy at times (heckling and such) so be nice, it's just trivia. There are 7 rounds and the topics vary, as anybody can sign up to host it -- just email wonderlandtrivianight(at)gmail(dot)com. Happy hour deals abound ($3 PBR and cheap dogs, for example) and the bartenders are cool. Maximum team size is 5 and they're strict about it, but you could win $100 off your bar tab. Best team name also wins a prize. Wonderland is at 1101 Kenyon St NW.

Looking Glass Lounge, which is owned by the same folks as Wonderland, hosts trivia on Tuesday nights starting at 8 (recently moved from Thursday nights). There's always the same host, Dalton, so it's more consistent, and it's less crowded and much less rowdy than Wonderland. Dalton also has an audio round every week, which is pretty fun (and his own Facebook page) though the trivia can drag on at times. The bar has a $5 shot of whiskey and Schlitz deal, which is pretty sweet, plus good food. Grand prize is $50 off your tab and there's a best team name prize as well. Looking Glass is at 3634 Georgia Ave NW, near New Hampshire Ave and the Georgia Ave-Petworth Metro.

CommonWealth also has a trivia night on Sundays at 7 pm, also hosted by Dalton from Looking Glass Lounge. I haven't been, but judging by his trivia at Looking Glass, I'd bet it's fun and not packed. CommonWealth is at 1400 Irving St NW.

Should there be a Christmas tree in the Civic Plaza?

That's the question Prince of Petworth is asking in a poll on his site -- a Christmas tree in the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza at 14th and Kenyon/Park, with the results of the poll going to Jim Graham.

Personally I think it would be pretty cool and would add to the neighborhoody feel. Maybe people would even carol there. Of course, there might also need to be other religious items there, like the White House does -- they have both a Christmas tree and menorah.

What do you think? It looks like the "yes" votes are winning by a lot.

NW Columbia Heights neighborhood meeting today

The Northwest Columbia Heights Community Association meeting is today at 6:30 pm at St. Stephen's Church (1525 Newton St NW). The main topic will be the Census, which is very important for our neighborhood. Folks usually believe the more Hispanic areas of the city are undercounted, and that means less federal money to the city and the area and might affect how city services are planned and delivered.

First look at Tynan Coffee & Tea

So I went to Tynan on Saturday to check it out, and it happened that they had free coffee until 2 pm.

It's pretty large, I'd say the size of the Starbucks on 14th, and on Saturday it was full -- no seats available at all. It's bright and modern inside, not as welcoming or cozy as other coffee shops, but still a pretty nice place.

The free coffee was pretty tasty, so that's a good sign. I also got an apple turnover type thing which was also good. I was looking forward to a breakfast sandwich or wrap as mentioned on their website, but they didn't seem to carry any yet, just premade deli sandwiches and such. Maybe that will come with time -- I'm checking with them.

In any case, it looks like the shop is something that's needed, judging by the crowd there already.

Anybody else try it? Anything to recommend?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tynan Coffee & Tea is now open

Looks like Tynan Coffee & Tea is open at 14th and Irving. Daily Candy has a review, which says they have wi-fi and a fireplace. There's coffee from local roaster Orinoco and lots of teas, and their menu has lots of food -- breakfast pastries, bagels, salads, sandwiches, quiche, waffles, and breakfast sandwiches and wraps. There's also wine, beer, and alcohol for coffee drinks, like Irish coffee and Amaretto. Sounds more like Cosi than Starbucks.

Sounds like a pretty cool (and locally-owned) spot to hang out and do some work or relax, especially since Starbucks is often crowded.

Cell phone service in the CH Metro this morning!

According to some readers, the Columbia Heights Metro had have cell phone service for AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile starting this morning -- did anybody have any luck? If so, let me know in the comments which service you have! I'm looking forward to texting and checking mail and such.

The service is supposed to only be in the stations -- the tunnels will get service in 2012. The Post has a full list of stations that will be getting it.

Yard sale roundup for this weekend

Not too much going on, but there is this one that was posted in the comments a few weeks ago:

1338 Irving St. Nw on Saturday October 17th 9am-5pm: Full sets of dishes, silverware, pots, pans, and various other housewares are up for grab and in great condition

Moved to next weekend. Anybody know of any others? Post them in the comments or email me: newcolumbiaheights(at)gmail(dot)com

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bands in the Neighborhood: Caustic Casanova

It's that time again, the New Columbia Heights Bands in the Neighborhood series, where we talk to local bands. This edition is Caustic Casanova, a hard rock three-piece. All three members responded, so here's their answers! Look for them playing Nov. 13 at Asylum. Check out their Twitter and website for more info.

How did the band form?
Stefanie (drums) - We all went to the College of William and Mary. Michael (guitar, vocals) and Francis (bass, vocals) both graduated two years before me. They found me on (gasp!) Facebook when I was a freshman because my interests included ‘drumming’. We started putting songs together that Spring, and kept at it, recording original songs and playing gigs at William and Mary until they graduated two years later, at which point we took a two year hiatus so I could finish school. But now we’re back at it since all three of us live in the District; touring, working on new material, kicking ass and taking names.

Michael - ...We have been playing together since 2005.

How many members live in Columbia Heights? Whereabouts?
Stefanie - I’m the only one that lives in CoHeights, in a charming DC row house on Taylor Street. This is approximately two blocks from the awesome bar, The Red Derby.

Do you practice in CH? How about play any gigs in the neighborhood?
Stefanie - We practice at The Igloo in Arlington. We have not, as of yet, played any gigs in the neighborhood but are obviously open to it! Maybe we’ll hit up Wonderland soon.

Michael - No, we do not practice in the area, but we would certainly love to play a gig in The CH, so if there is anyone out there reading this who is in The Know, please feel free to go ahead and give us the hook up. You will not regret it.

What are your band's influences?
Stefanie - We have many, many diverse influences. Some of my biggest influences as a drummer include Tucker Rule from Thursday, Ziggy Modeliste from the Meters, and Max Weinberg, circa the E Street days. Beringer and Wollitz have particularly interesting takes on our influences…

Michael - If Robert Johnson was the second guitarist in My Bloody Valentine, and Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher ceded their singing duties to Black Francis and Morrissey, well then you would have something close to us. Not exact, of course, but these things are hard to pin down, after all.

Francis - If Josh Homme started jamming out some blues riffs with John Paul Jones, and then they invited Dave Grohl to pound the skins, that would sound EXACTLY like Caustic Casanova. That, or if Neil Fallon presided as minister over the gay marriage of Buzz Osborne and Johnny Marr, with Explosions in the Sky playing Beatles songs as the entertainment at the reception, then that's a pretty good idea of what the CC sounds like.

Do you have any records out?
Stefanie - We have two records out; Dichotomies and Imminent Eminence. IE is our most recent album, a 70+ minute monster, released on Mad Love Records in April 2008. You can buy it on our website, iTunes, and other places online. We’re currently working on some new material for 2010.

Gone on any tours? Any crazy or terrible tour stories?
Stefanie - We go on mini-tours up and down the Northeast corridor. We’ve played shows in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Northampton, MA, Philly, and Baltimore so far. Stories? Just the one time Zombies ate all of our equipment right before the show and we beat boxed a whole 2-hour set, including a 17-minute Bonham drum solo while covering Moby Dick. That was pretty cool.

Michael - ...Our worst story thus far is probably simply the time it took us 10 hours to drive up to a show in Brooklyn. The only issue was traffic....traffic was that bad on that particular day. Our craziest story interestingly enough also involves Brooklyn. No one saw the potential for humor in our changing the inscription on a local street mural from "Live. Breathe. Create." to "Live. Breathe. Creationism," and it took a good hour of emergency curbside sweet talking before we barely made it safely onto 278 West.

Francis - This is the crazy tour story that comes to mind. [Michael] Wollitz gets a little stir crazy in the van. A few too many Doc Pep's in him and he starts to get agitated, to look for an outlet for his creative energy on those long drives - so he turns to practical jokes and pranks. He took it a little too far at a gas station in western Massachusetts in the middle of the night. He stopped, supposedly to go the bathroom and pick up a snack. He seemed to take an awfully long time, but it was late and Stef and I were half asleep. About 20 minutes later, while on the road, he saw that I woke up and offered me some gummy worms. I accepted. He had filled the bag with actual worms, he dug them up from the dirt I guess behind the gas station. I ate one without realizing what it was. He was laughing so hard he nearly drove off the road. Obviously, not a pleasant memory. Wollitz went too far that night. He's a disgusting, disgusting man.

What’s your take on the local music scene, Columbia Heights and DC?
Stefanie – The music scene in DC is cool, in that it doesn’t pigeonhole itself into one ‘scene’, like it was in the 80’s. That’s good for us as a band with myriad musical influences. Hopefully this will translate into a broad spectrum of fans from many demographics. We’ve been playing lots of shows in DC now for over one year and we’re still discovering new and fun venues to rock out in, so that speaks volumes about the District’s efforts to keep music and art alive and well. About Columbia Heights? Well, that’s easy – it’s one of the best neighborhoods to live in in DC. Maybe I’m biased, but it really has a solid sense of neighborhood solidarity that I haven’t seen in other neighborhoods I’ve spent time in.

Francis - The music scene in DC is like any major city - a fair number of really bad bands, and some really great, truly exciting ones. There's enough good local music not being made by Caustic Casanova in this area to keep me consistently interested in going to see local bands live. The city lacks a particular "scene" identity - like it once did in the 80's with punk music - but I like that. It serves us well as a band with an extremely diverse style. It gives us opportunities to play different places with different kinds of bands. We enjoy playing with anyone, metal bands, psych bands, pop bands, and everything in between.

And if you had to rename your band for something in Columbia Heights, what would it be?
Cardozo Casanova.

Thanks! Got a band in the neighborhood? Email me -- newcolumbiaheights(at)

Book sale for Bell & Lincoln schools on Saturday

Via Jim Graham: there's a book sale on Saturday the 17th from 10 am to 2 pm at the Columbia Heights Education Campus (3101 16th St NW, where Bell and Lincoln schools are). There will be lots of books, DVDs and CDs for sale, with proceeds going to the schools. There's free parking at the school's garage on Hiatt Place. Sounds like a cool event for a good cause!

More Christmas at Target -- pretty cool nutcrackers

Rock nutcrackers
Originally uploaded by squidpants
So I wrote about Christmas stuff going up at Target already the other day. However, I noticed they do have some pretty funny nutcrackers -- there are soldiers, football players, hippies, vampires, Uncle Sam, etc. I can support that.

Above are some rocker dudes and Germans, and the whole rack of them is here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Video on the new Irving Street mosaic

Just spotted a video about the new mural that was installed on Kenyon Irving Street between 11th and 13th, on the wall of the reconstructed soccer field. I first saw it at Columbia Heights Day and it's pretty nice looking. Take a look!

Punch Club coming to Room 11 every Sunday

Last Sunday I stopped by Room 11 briefly for their Punch Club, where bartender Dan Searing mixes various kinds of alcoholic punch. I tried the glögg, which is Swedish mulled red wine. It had a more alcoholic bite and was sweet and delicious, with some herbs too. Good stuff. He also mixed a Rocky Mountain punch of sparkling wine, rum, and maraschino liqueur, but I didn't get a chance to try that one.

However, the event is now weekly -- it'll be every Sunday at 5 pm. Searing brought the event over from Warehouse, where he used to work before opening Room 11. I'll be there!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tynan Coffee & Tea opens on Friday

Thanks to an observant reader for this one -- they saw a sign at Tynan Coffee & Tea in the Highland Park building at 14th and Irving saying they're opening on Friday. Sounds good! I'll be stopping by.

And some folks have asked, as far as I can tell it's a locally-owned non-chain place, which is good to see.

Tynan is located on Irving next to Five Guys.

Meridian Pint coming along nicely

Meridian Pint
Originally uploaded by squidpants
Looks like the exterior of Meridian Pint, the incoming bar at 11th and Park, is almost done. The place is supposed to be open early 2010, and I'm looking forward to it. It's planned to be an upscale beer bar with TVs and modern American food. Sounds like Tonic to me, which would be perfect.

Here's another shot of the side. I'm glad they aren't making it that dark color that was in the original plans.

Christmas already at Target

Christmas already
Originally uploaded by squidpants
I went into Target the other day and noticed Christmas stuff -- already. It's not even Halloween yet, let alone Thanksgiving! Oh well, I guess that's modern marketing for you.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Update on the 14th Street construction

Saw this today on various listserves. Sounds like fun!
Construction work on 3300 block of 14th St.

Beginning October 19, 2009, construction activities on 14th Street, NW will be moving to the east side of the 3300 block, from Park Road to Monroe Street, NW. One lane of northbound and one lane of southbound traffic will be maintained on 14th Street at all times. However, the east half of 14th Street, including the traffic lane and the parking lane, will be closed at all times during construction.

Construction Details

Work to be performed includes but is not limited to removal of the existing curb and sidewalk, the installation of new granite curbs, storm drain inlets, street light foundations and poles, and sidewalk reconstruction with pavers at the civic plaza.

Safety and Access

* Sidewalk and pedestrian access to businesses will be maintained at all times, including the Park Road sidewalk east of 14th Street.

* Traffic safety officers, flagmen and VMS message boards will be utilized to assist in directing the flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

Gloria's Pupuseria: pretty good

Yesterday some friends and I checked out Gloria's Pupeseria at 14th and Monroe, and it was pretty good. The place had kind of a funny atmosphere: a painting of Selena on the wall and very loud music in Spanish from a jukebox -- so loud that the waitress lady had to turn it down to hear our order. It was also a bit hard to order due to language barrier, but eventually we got it done.

We ordered beef tacos, chicken tacos, chicken tamales, and pork and cheese pupusas. The tacos were the stars, with flavorful chicken and beer and fresh-tasting other ingredients (lettuce with some spices and avocado). The pupusas were tender but not much different from any other pupusas I've had, and the tamales were so-so: the chicken inside was not bad, but the rest of the tamale was gelatinous and weird. I'd be curious to go back and try more dishes as we were a bit cautious this time.

Drink-wise, we got horchata and tamarindo, which were both sweeter and less flavorful than other horchata and tamarindo I've had.

It was pretty reasonably priced however: $34 for the four dishes and drinks. I'd say it's worth a visit for good Latin American food. Have you been? Let me know what else to get!

Gloria's is at 3411 14th St NW

Friday, October 9, 2009

Should we rename the Metro station to Columbia Heights-Mt. Pleasant?

That's the question The 42 Bus blog is asking, and they have a poll on their site. Personally I'm ambivalent, as long as it still says Columbia Heights and not, say, Pleasant Plains. And they don't make it crazy long like U Street/Cardozo/African American Civil War Memorial.

Your thoughts?

More on the Ellwood Thompson's bill

The Washington Business Journal has more on Jim Graham's bill for Ellwood Thompson's grocery store: "Ellwood Thompson will get tax relief in the form of a 10-year property tax exemption to come to DC USA.

The legislation renews a similar bill passed in 2008 that was set to expire soon." The article adds that they're looking for financing for the store.

No word from Ellwood Thompson's, and the Richmond Times Dispatch last week quoted the owner as saying "the timing was just not right." Let's hope the bill helps!

Parking at DCUSA

Pretty interesting article in the Post the other day about parking at DCUSA. Basically, there's too much of it, as the garage is mostly empty. The Post attributes it to DC regulations about parking for commercial developments, but others imply it's due to demands from the businesses. Clearly the stores haven't adapted their plans to an urban location near transit.

The city is losing money on the garage, but at least the owners are trying to let community groups and others use the garage. Plus there have been other fun ideas, like roller skating. Let's hope something comes of it and that big boxes and cities learn you don't have to require so much parking.

Another odd thing is that the Post refers to DCUSA as a mall. I dunno about that.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Haunted houses for kids on Halloween!

This is pretty neat, MPD is hosting two haunted houses for kids on Halloween, which is a Saturday this year. The haunted houses are at the Third District Station, 1620 V Street NW, and at Harriet Tubman Elementary, 3103 13th Street NW.

Both are from 6 to 8 pm and there will be "food, fun and great activities." They also note "The Haunted House may not be suitable for all ages."

Graham introduces bill to assist Ellwood Thompson's

Just saw this on the Columbia Heights listserve: Jim Graham submitted a bill to help the long-awaited Ellwood Thompson's organic supermarket come to DCUSA.
Dear Friends:

I am glad to report that yesterday I introduced and the Council passed legislation to help an organic market to locate in the DCUSA retail center . This bill will ensure that Ellwood Thompson's -- a full-service, organic, natural and sustainable food store -- will receive tax relief benefits that are available to every qualified supermarket in DC.

Ellwood Thompson's is dedicated to high-quality products, supporting local farmers and the community. It signed a lease with DC USA Operating Co., LLC for space in the DC USA Shopping Center in Ward 1. The construction of their supermarket space was delayed due to the downturn in the economy. The is the second time the council passed this bill. The earlier measure was about to expire, and so this action was necessary. the legal action pertained to the fact that--unlike many supermarkets--this one is not free standing and is part of, and within, an existing development. So some technical changes were needed.

I am told that the plans for this supermarket are again underway. Our latest report is that Ellwood Thompson's has submitted construction diagrams to the developer and they are awaiting approval.

With the passage of this bill, the Council is again doing all it can to make this happen.

Bests, Councilmember Jim Graham
I'm checking in with Ellwood Thompson's folks to see what they have to say. Graham saying plans are underway and they've submitted construction plans is a good sign. Last we heard was a rumor that it was "looking good."

What the heck is Durkl?

Originally uploaded by squidpants
I've seen these posters around the neighborhood, kind of amusing ad campaign. Durkl is a clothing company run by a few guys, some of whom live in Columbia Heights. They make a lot of 80s-influenced gear for dudes -- bright colors, tight fits, etc, and come out with a new line every so often.

They also have a pretty funny blog. The Washington Post Magazine had a recent article about where they work, a creative space at 4th and I NW called Gold Leaf Studios (which used to be called The Hosiery). Check them out.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hipster Housecleaner needed -- Craigslist

Saw this on a Twitter search, pretty hilarious. Click it for a bigger version.

Via here. The ad is down now.

Volunteers needed at BloomBars

BloomBars, the cool art and performance venue on 11th just north of Kenyon, is looking for volunteers. They're looking for almost anything -- folks to help get them get grants, teach music lessons, translators, web help, etc etc. They have weekly events like music, dance and poetry -- here's what the Post had to say about the spot.

Take a look and see if you can help out! Email for more.

Pet store coming to Highland Park?

The other day I was looking for info on the supposed sports bar going into the Highland Park building at 14th and Irving so I asked on the Columbia Heights News forum. I didn't find anything out about the bar, but I did see a rumor about a pet store.

That's kind of neat, though in my opinion it'd be neater if it's a locally owned place and not Petsmart or something. Plus I always support more retail in the area, as opposed to banks and cell phone stores and such.

UPDATE: Reading again, the rumor may be referring to the pet store going to DCUSA instead of Highland Park.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How can you get in touch with your Neighborhood Commissioner?

My friend had some issues with guys hanging out in her alley and was wondering how to get in touch with her Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC). Here's how!

The ANC is an elected, nonpartisan body which advises the City Council on various neighborhood issues. They also can make rules about alcohol licenses. They have very small constituencies (usually only a few blocks) so they're good to get in touch with about local issues. Here's more about them on Wikipedia.

Here's what you do. First, you need to find what ANC single member district (SMD) you're in. It's on your voter registration card, or you can look it up online at the DC Guide. Type in your address and it gives you your voting precinct, school district, and so on. Your "2002 Single Member District" is what you're looking for. The number is Ward, then ANC, then SMB (for example 1a02 or 1b07) Click on your SMD and it'll show you the boundaries and give you the person's name, as well as a link to the ANC website. Click your Ward and ANC there and it lists each person and their contact info.

My person doesn't have an email listed, so you can either call them or go to that particular ANC's website, which also has a list of commissioners, or you can email the head of that ANC -- for ANC1A it's Cliff Valenti and for ANC1B it's Sedrick Muhammad.

So there you go! It's also worth emailing Jim Graham (or your councilperson) with the problems too.

Cuban cafe coming to 11th Street?

This weekend I was in Columbia Heights Coffee (on 11th between Monroe and Park) talking to one of the owners. I asked if they were expanding, since that had been rumored before. The guy said they weren't expanding and that a Cuban cafe was going in next door, which would be 3414 11th Street NW.

That'd be pretty cool -- the other day I was fiending for some Cuban-style coffee, plus Cuban sandwiches are pretty tasty.

It looks like PoP heard it was going to be a tapas place in May, so I'll keep my eyes open. Not sure of the timetable.

UPDATE: A reader emailed me about a PoP post where he talks about a place to the north of Columbia Heights Coffee. Not sure if this is another restaurant, or if the Columbia Heights Coffee man and I misunderstood each other. I'll look into it.

Abandoned house on 13th Street under construction

House work
Originally uploaded by squidpants
I love it when a plan comes together. 3004 13th Street NW, one of the first houses in the Abandoned House Watch series, is finally getting fixed up. The place was gutted awhile ago and now it's getting a roof and other work.

Always good to see when an abandoned house gets fixed up -- both because it takes away a potentially dangerous place that could harbor crime (drugs etc), adds more folks to the neighborhood, and comes back on the tax rolls.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Tynan's Coffee, Thaitanic II close to opening?

A reader sent this in today: "Just walked by Tynan last night and it looks very close to opening. The bar is set up, there is furniture. Also, Thaitanic II also looked pretty close to an opening when I walked by last Sunday."

Tynan's is on Irving and 14th, in the Highland Park building (next to Five Guys) while Thaitanic II is in the Alegro building at 3460 14th Street NW, between Newton and Meridian.

Sounds good! I'll see if I can find more.

UPDATE: A commenter says Thaitanic II is in fact open!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Florida Avenue Grill block party Saturday!

Didn't hear about this until a text from a friend: the Florida Avenue Grill at 11th and Florida is hosting a block party on Saturday starting at 10 am to 4 pm in honor of their 65th anniversary. Sounds cool, I'll be there! Free food!

If you haven't been, the grill is a DC institution, serving home-style soul food and southern food -- chicken, macaroni and cheese, ham, etc. Good stuff. Here's the Post on them.

Plus it's near the Fojol Brothers Indian food truck, which will be at the 1300 block of Belmont Street on Saturday.

Yard sale roundup: slim pickins

Only spotted one a few yard sales in the area this weekend:

3552 Rock Creek Church Road NW on Saturday starting at 8 am: "Great Prices + Each hour more $1 items added!! Furniture, clothes, baby stuff, DVDs, 27" TV, TV/VCR combo (movies included), books, decorations and more. Covered porch -- so sale will go on if it rains! 3552 Rock Creek Church Rd, NW. 1 Block south of intersection of Spring Rd and New Hampshire."

3323 Holmead Pl NW Apartment B (the basement of the row house), Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm "Items for sale include: Couch and matching loveseat, Dining Room Table and Chairs, Television and DVD player, Solid wood study desk and hutch, Bookcases, Aquarium in need of repair, Bicycle with Helmet and Lock, Wood Storage Cubes, Analog computer monitors, 2003 Computer, Assorted Kitchen Items"

Know of any others? Post in the comments!

New art exhibit at the Art + Media House

The Art + Media House, part of the Latin American Youth Center, is hosting an exhibit by Colombian painter Ricardo Peñuela Pava. The show opens today from 5:30 to 8 and runs until Sunday. will be open his show to the public this Friday, October 2nd at the Art+media House.

The Art + Media House is at 3035 15th St NW.

Tubman field rented on Sundays by soccer league

I had been wondering if this would happen -- District Sports, a DC sports league, has rented out the Tubman Elementary School Field (aka "Fenty Field") on Sunday afternoons from 1 to 5 pm, until December 13th. Many other fields in the city are also rented like this.

What do you think? Cool that someone is using it, or not cool that they're renting it and nobody else can use it for that time.

Photo by me

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Super cheap deals at Wonderland

Thanks to 2BloxDC for this one -- mega deals at Wonderland! The aforementioned bring-your-own-stein deal lasts until the 3rd, and they just started a new deal: PBR and a shot of Jim Beam for $5. The Red Derby has a similar deal, Natty Boh and Jim Beam for $5, which is pretty great. I'm in favor of both.

I believe the details on Wonderland's stein deal is that they fill your stein for the regular beer price, so you might get some beer for free.

New bike shop at 14th and W

This is just outside the neighborhood, but since so many folks bike in Columbia Heights, I figured I'd post it -- looks like there's a new bike shop.

The place is called DC Bicycle Stations and the sign on the window says "rental, service, sales." Hopefully they aren't as snooty as most bike stores! And it's nice to have one close by.

They're at 2204 14th Street NW.

Photo by me

Fojol Bros. Indian food cart to Belmont Street on Saturday

Just saw this on their Twitter: the Fojol Brothers food cart, which serves Indian dishes, will be parking on the 1300 block of Belmont Street NW on Saturday from noon to sundown. Supposedly it's pretty tasty stuff -- I'll be there! They wear turbans and fake mustaches and stuff, it's pretty funny.

Here's their website.

Cool video of the CH Civic Plaza from above

Saw this on Youtube, enjoy!

Looks like it was taken from the roof of Kenyon Square. However, I think the graphics mentioned in the video are actually tiles.