Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Meeting on 11th and Monroe park tonight

If you're interested in the rehabilitation of the park at 11th and Monroe, sometimes called Trolley Turnaround Park, get yourself to the Mt. Rona Church at 3431 13th Street NW tonight at 7 pm. They'll be talking about the plans and next steps for the park, which is planned to be fixed up.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Paste-ups on 14th Street

Saw these awhile ago on the abandoned car lot at 14th and Florida. I like them, especially the marshmallow Peep.

WMATA considering ending Yellow Line service to Fort Totten!

Now this would suck. WMATA is considering a number of cost-cutting measures, including ending Yellow Line service from Mt. Vernon Square to Fort Totten, closing the Yellow line altogether after 9:30 pm on weekdays and all day weekends, plus other changes like closing two nearby Metro entrances on weekends: the 10th and U entrance to U Street and the 8th & R Shaw-Howard entrance.

Obviously, not having the Yellow line service would be very annoying as trips would take longer for both residents and folks coming to shop, eat and drink. That could end up making people think twice about coming to spend money in the neighborhood, which would be too bad, especially with so many new retail establishments, bars and restaurants.

It seems odd they'd propose those changes, just as the Columbia Heights Metro had the biggest jump in ridership in the system, thanks in part to new residents, new condos and apartments, and DCUSA. Cutting service now that everyone is used to it (and clearly using it more than ever) is crazy to me.

The Mid-City Business Association has started a website and a petition, also encouraging people to speak out at neighborhood meetings WMATA is holding. One of those meetings is on April 1 at 7 pm at the All Souls Church at 16th & Harvard. Go by and tell them what you think!

UPDATE: I emailed Jim Graham, who said he was opposed to the cuts to the Yellow line, voted against them, and is doing everything he can to stop it. He also encourage people to attend the meeting on the 1st and speak out there.

Our councilman, Jim Graham, is on the Metro board of directors, so let him know as well.

Photo by me

Monday, March 29, 2010

Columbia Heights does well in City Paper's Best of DC

If you like baked goods, neigborhood bars, pho, or vegan restaurants, you're in the right neighborhood. Local establishments won reader and staff picks from this year's City Paper Best of DC list, including Sticky Fingers for best bakery and best vegan restaurant, Wonderland for best neighborhood bar, and Pho 14 for best pho.

A bunch of local spots also finished in the top 3: Room 11 (which I love) got 3rd in best new bar and Malcom X (aka Meridian Hill) Park was voted the 2nd best place to smoke weed (behind "home"). Amusingly, Pete's Apizza got 3rd in best pizza, though Red Rocks, which finished 2nd in Washingtonian's Pizza Pool, wasn't in the top 3.

Wonderland got a bunch of other stuff too, like 3rd best dive bar (The Raven was first) and 2nd best patio, and 2nd best singles bar (agree). Past Tense and Quiet Mind finished 2nd and 3rd respectively for new yoga studio, and the CH Metro got third for best Metro stop, whatever that means. Maybe it's rated by number of broken elevators and Black Hebrew Israelites.

In the more subjective staff picks, Red Derby won best bar with boardgames. I'm glad they got something, I like that place a lot.

And finally, Columbia Heights got 2nd in "best up-and-coming neighborhood." I'm pretty sure it's already here.

More on DuVin Osteria, the new wine bar

A commenter pointed out that DuVin Osteria, the new spot coming to 1401 Florida Avenue NW, is the same one that was the subject of a controversy last week -- blogger U Street Girl posted about the new place, and then a commenter on her blog posted something negative about the owner, David Shott. Shott then emailed U Street Girl and threatened to sue her. She then removed the comment.

DCist points out that Shott has no legal ground to sue under the Communications Decency Act, which says that blog owners are not liable for things commenters say.

It looks like Du Vin has since deleted their Facebook page after the bad publicity, as the story got spread around. Even Yelp has negative reviews already.

Maybe not the best way to introduce your establishment to the neighborhood.

ANC 1B meeting on the 1st: new wine bar and more

No April Fool's joke here. ANC 1b, which covers approximately 1st to 16th, Columbia to S (click the map), is meeting on April 1st in the Reeves Center 2nd floor conference room, which is at 14th and U.

Here's the full agenda, which includes a cleanup party and a liquor license for a new wine bar with small plates at 14th and Florida called DuVin Osteria. I would assume they're focusing on seafood, based on the name. (I misread Osteria, thinking it meant oysters. Turns out it doesn't.)

Friday, March 26, 2010

ANSWER posters coming down in a timely fashion?

A reader let me know that they got in touch with the folks at the ANSWER Coalition about their posters, which are often up months after an event happens. They assured him that the signs would be down within 30 days of the event.

The ANSWER posters are one of my pet peeves. We'll see if they follow through!

Crotch graffiti

Now I'm of two minds about this. It's funny, but at the same time it would stink to have a fence that says "CROTCH" on it. Unless that's the person's fence, but I doubt that.

At 11th and Park.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The other Columbia Heights -- in Minnesota

Have you ever looked for Columbia Heights on the internet and found something completely nonsensical, like high school basketball scores or a bunch of restaurants that surely don't exist in the neighborhood? Then you probably found the town of Columbia Heights, Minnesota. It's an inner suburb of Minneapolis and has a population of about 18,000.

I first found out about this burg when I was looking on Google News, and I saw something about a Steak and Shake, the chain that serves burgers, shakes and the like. I was thrilled that one was coming to the area, until a few seconds later I realized I was sorely mistaken. It does sound like they have a lot of good fast food there, like Sonic and others.

Unlike our neighborhood, the town has a big Polish population, even including the Polish flag on their seal. Apparently the town's name was selected by a contest, and they're not quite sure why it won, suggesting either high ground, being near a Columbia Park, or similarity to a town in New York with the same name (which I can't find anywhere and I don't think exists). I like our naming better -- for Columbian College (now GW) which was located on Meridian Hill (formerly College Hill).

Anyway, just thought that was kind of amusing. There are also not one but two Columbia Heights in New York City: a street in Brooklyn and a small neighborhood near Columbia U in Manhattan.

Nonprofits in the Neighborhood: Community of Hope

Here's the first in our Nonprofit in the Neighborhood series, where I let local nonprofits speak for themselves:
Community of Hope provides direct services to address the needs of homeless and low-income families and individuals in Washington, DC. We help change lives with our holistic range of programs which offer stability and hope to those who need it the most. Community of Hope’s three main categories of services are listed below.
The nonprofit has a health clinic for needy people in Adams Morgan, which provides medical, dental and mental healthcare for about 4,000 patients each year. They also have housing support services, by providing housing and support services for 100 families, including 400 kids. In addition, they offer a education and spiritual support, like parenting classes, after-school arts programs, and counseling by pastors.

They're looking for volunteers, especially adult mentors for kids and people to help with their computer classes. Here's more. Community of Hope is located at 1413 Girard Street NW.

Got a nonprofit in the neighborhood? Let me know!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

IHOP coming late spring or summer?

Last April we heard about an IHOP potentially opening in DCUSA, but after that, there wasn't much news. Now finally I saw something, albeit a passing reference -- a Wash Biz Journal article about small business loans being hard to get, which says the IHOP would open late spring or summer. However, it's spring now and I haven't seen much work. I could go for some IHOP -- although I'd be remiss not to tell people to check out Florida Avenue Grill for breakfast food too.

I emailed the article's author to see if I can get more info.

Shocking news: Metro escalators are bad

This is news to precisely no one who uses the Columbia Heights Metro: the Post has a report on the sad state of Metro escalators, which are broken more now than they used to be, even after the addition of covers for most stations (including our own).

I'm actually surprised it's at the 90% mark, it seems much lower to me. Columbia Heights seems to have at least out all the time.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Help Martha's Table at Social on Thursday

Neighborhood restaurant and bar Social is hosting an event to benefit non-profit Martha's Table, which helps local needy people. The event is sponsored by Hugh & Crye, a menswear company that also works to be socially responsible. To help, bring an ill-fitting dress shirt to Social on Thursday and you'll get 20% off at Social at 10% off at Hugh & Crye's website.

Social is at 14th and Meridian Street NW.

Upcoming meetings on the 11th and Monroe Street Park

If you're interested in the redesign of the 11th and Monroe Street Park (aka Trolley Turnaround Park), there's two upcoming meetings you can check out -- a daytime meeting on Wednesday at noon at the Columbia Heights Rec Center, 1480 Girard Street NW, and a nighttime meeting at 7 pm on Wednesday, March 31, at the Mt. Rona Church, 3431 13th Street NW. The daytime event is due to some people with kids saying they were interested, but you don't have to be a parent to attend.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Street Booze: Franzia on 13th

This is the next installment of Street Booze, where I document the various bottles of booze found tossed around the neighborhood.

Looks like somebody was having a fancy party on the sidewalk this time, as I found an empty box of Franzia at the corner of 13th and Girard. It wasn't near any garbage cans or anything, but it could have blown there I suppose -- or the more interesting version, which is that some folks were sitting and drinking it straight from the box.

I remember always seeing this at parties, as it always seemed like a good idea: lots of inexpensive wine. However, it usually ended up still full at the end of the parties, and the stuff always gave me a headache the next morning.

And yes, I do throw them away. And so should you if you see bottles around!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Stories from 1960s Columbia Heights

When I was on the Kojo Nnamdi show a few weeks back, an older man named Larry Rosen called in. Rosen used to run a drug store at 14th and Clifton in Columbia Heights in the 50s and 60s, and was talking about how he started a blog with his memories. There's a lot of interesting stories, the most recent of which are the 1968 riots after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, when his pharmacy was burned down. He talks about a lot of other things too: life in the area, his store, when boxer Joe Louis came to his brother's liquor store, World War II experiences, and a funny story about buying and selling a monkey.

It's a pretty interesting read, with some pictures as well. Pretty cool to hear about the history of the neighborhood first hand.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Columbia Heights cleanup & community yard sale on April 3

Nice to see this! From the organizers of Columbia Heights Day, a spring cleaning and community-wide yard sale. It sounds like it's going to be a smorgasbord of yard sales, where people register and then it gets publicized. Will be interesting to see it!

SAVE THE DATE: First Annual Columbia Heights Spring Clean, Saturday, April 3, 2010

Columbia Heights Day Initiative hosts neighborhood-wide yard sale and charity drop-off event

Columbia Heights, DC – Save the date! On Saturday, April 3, 2010 the Columbia Heights Day Initiative will hold the first annual Columbia Heights Spring Clean. The organized yard sale event gives Columbia Heights residents an opportunity to hold their own yard sale, participate in a group sale in one of the local parks, donate items to a local charity, and of course – shop! Anyone interested in participating with a personal yard sale, a group yard sale, or by volunteering can sign-up by emailing Josef Palermo at All registered sales will be included on the event Google Map and receive a special sign designating the sale as an official Columbia Heights Spring Clean participant.

WHEN: Saturday, April 3, 2010 from 9AM – 12PM

WHERE: Across Columbia Heights in Washington, DC

WHAT: Columbia Heights Spring Clean is a neighborhood-wide yard sale and charity drop-off event

WHO: The event is open to all Columbia Heights residents who want to hold a sale, participate in a group sale, volunteer or shop

SIGN-UP: Email Josef Palermo at

Wanna design some Columbia Heights public art?

Sure you do! The city is holding a contest to design "medallions" similar to the design in the middle of the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza. They're looking for a total of 17 medallions, with a $500 prize. Here's the full details. Hat tip to Greater Greater Washington.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Beer Run: Georgia Avenue Market

This most recent Beer Run goes to the Georgia Avenue Market at the corner of Georgia and Kenyon. The market is a smallish place but does have a pretty decent selection of wine, which is reasonably priced -- I got a big bottle of Yellow Tail for about $12. The beer selection isn't too large, but is also fairly reasonably priced.

The folks are friendly too -- I wasn't sure if they had liquor also, and they didn't, but they pointed me to a nearby one. Always nice to have friendly local shop owners.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Street sweeping resumes March 22

Better get ready -- residential street sweeping resumes March 22, and they'll start enforcing the rules about it (i.e. ticketing) March 29th. Make sure you start checking your street signs if you park on the street.

Stripper sues The House strip club

Pretty interesting article in the Post, about an exotic dancer who sued her employer, Georgia Ave strip club The House, under a 1938 fair labor law. She was fired and has charged that the club didn't pay her any wages and also charged her various fees, like being late, missing work, and having to tip the DJ and bartender.

The House is at 3530 Georgia Ave. NW, a couple of blocks south of Looking Glass Lounge.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Woah! Graffiti

Saw this the other day on 11th Street and I liked the way the photo came out. I always thought it was "whoa," however. Something amusing for your Friday.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Have you entered the Columbia Heights Day logo contest?

If not, enter it! Here's the link.

Dine out & do good In Columbia Heights

Dining out For Life is a one-night fundraiser for Food & Friends, and it's this Thursday, March 11.

Dining out For Life is a one-night fundraiser for Food & Friends, and it's this Thursday, March 11. If you're not familiar with Food & Friends, they provide thousands of children and adults in our area who are facing HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses, with daily, nutritious meals. There are two Columbia Heights restaurants participating -- Commonwealth and The Heights -- and each will donate 25% of each tab to Food & Friends. All you have to do is make a reservation, then go eat. And bring lots of friends!

This post by Emma D.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Abandoned House Watch - 1334 Irving

In this latest installment of Abandoned House Watch, I look at 1334 Irving Street NW, which has boarded-up windows and wasn't shoveled during the blizzard. I looked it up, and it's owned by the DC Housing Authority. I guess they took it over from some delinquent landlord, and the building isn't on either of the city's vacant property lists.

They haven't done much with it, however -- here's how it looked in 2005, from DCHA's Flickr account.

Kind of a shame to see this house sitting empty. I'll email Jim Graham and see what's happening. At the least, the city could sell it for a fair amount of money.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Street Booze: Mad Dog 20/20 in the snow

Here's the latest installment of Street Booze, where I document the various bottles of booze found tossed around the neighborhood.

This one I spotted a few weeks ago (obviously) -- it was a bottle of MD 20/20, aka Mad Dog 20/20, tossed in a snowbank on 11th Street near Lamont. It's the Orange Jubilee flavor, which is different from the last time I saw some MD 20/20: that one was peaches n cream. Yum.

Want to design the logo for the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace?

The Columbia Heights Community Marketplace, our neighbohood's farmers market-plus that's opening in June, needs your help -- they're looking for designs for their logo, which they'll put on t-shirts, sandwich boards, canvas bags, posters and the like. If you've got an idea, send it to by March 13th, and it must say Columbia Heights Community Marketplace on it.

Let's see what you've got!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Farmers market meeting tonight

Check it out: a meeting for the Columbia Heights Community Market is tonight. From the organizers:

The next organizing meeting of the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace will be on Thursday, March 4th at 6:30 p.m. at the office of Change, Inc. (1413 Park Road, NW). The meeting is open to the public.

The market, which will feature a farmers market, youth empowerment and education, arts & entertainment and community service components, is slated to kick off on Saturday, June 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and run every Saturday thereafter through October 30, 2010. Much volunteer help will be needed to publicize the market near and far.

March Madness in the neighborhood?

I'm a big fan of college basketball, so I figured I'd see how our local NCAA division 1 school, Howard was doing, since they're in the neighborhood and all. It looks like the men aren't doing so well, currently sitting near the bottom of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. They'd need to have an amazing run in the conference tournament to make it, winning 4 games in 4 days. But hey, stranger things have happened.

The women, however, have a better shot, as they're currently in the middle of the 11 team conference, and if they can get to 5th place or better, they'll have a bye. Both men's and women's tourneys are March 9-13.

As for watching the NCAAs in the neighborhood, CommonWealth is probably your best bet, as they have a lot of big TVs in the bar area, and there are also a few TVs at Red Rocks. The other local joints don't have any TVs. Too bad Meridian Pint isn't open yet!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The ANSWER posters are back

Ah, crap. I've written about these guys before -- they put up signs all over the place, then leave them for months after their event happens. Let's hope they actually take them down this time.

Spotted this one on 14th at the Civic Plaza.

Simply Soles moving to Georgetown

This is too bad: Simply Soles, the shoe boutique on Park Road, is moving to Georgetown early this month. I can't say I blame them, as Georgetown will assuredly have more foot traffic and a better market for fancy goods than Columbia Heights, but it's too bad they're leaving. Anyone shop there? How'd you like it?

In the article on the Georgetown Voice, owner Kassie Rempel says the staff were threatened a few times, and as such kept the door locked. That's too bad.

I've written about them before a few times, including an interview with Rempel, and I wish them good luck there.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Taking the Bus: 11th Street

I haven't written anything in the Taking the Bus series in awhile, but I decided it was time -- I usually take the 14th Street buses (52, 53, 54) to and from work, but recently traffic has been bad so I've been trying the 11th Street bus (the 64), and I've found they're much faster.

The route starts downtown at Constitution Ave, and it heads up 11th to Monroe, then goes through Petworth on New Hampshire Ave to Fort Totten Metro. Southbound it follows the same route. What I've found is that if there's traffic on 14th, it's usually lesser on 11th Street, plus there's fewer people getting on and off, and thus less stops. It might be worth checking out if you usually commute to and from downtown.

Here's the route for the 64 (and the 60, which goes from the Ft. Totten Metro to the Petworth Metro).

There's also the 62 and 63, which go up Sherman, but I haven't tried those.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Got a nonprofit in the neighborhood? Let me know about it!

So I'm starting a new series called Nonprofits in the Neighborhood -- if you know of (or work for) a non-profit that's either based in or does work in Columbia Heights, let me know, especially if you need volunteers. The ones that I think are most interesting or worthy I'll post about over the next few weeks and months.

The best way to do it would be to send me a paragraph about the group, what it does, plus contact info, a website, and a logo. Basically it's free press for your group! Send the info to newcolumbiaheights(at)gmail(dot)com

Help New Orleans at CommonWealth on Tuesday

Nice event coming up tomorrow at CommonWealth: the University of the District of Columbia's David A. Clark School of Law does a project each year in New Orleans to volunteer legal services and to help rebuild homes.

They're having a fundraiser at CommonWealth Tuesday from 4:30 to 7, with donations ($5 suggested) going to the group and also deals on drinks: $4 premium rail drinks, 1/2 price domestic drafts & US Wine by the glass, and $2 off Special Cocktails, plus free appetizers (donated by the UDC Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild).

Sounds like a fun event for a good cause. There's a Facebook page for it as well.