Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Suspicious package at Columbia Heights Metro, trains skipping station

Yuh oh! Via Metro:
Disruption at Columbia Heights. Columbia Heights is temporarily closed due to a suspicious package outside the station. Shuttle service has been established. Expect delays.

UPDATE: As of 3:30 pm, the station is back open.

Target opening grocery store in DCUSA in July, with produce

Just saw this tidbit on an email from Jim Graham announcing Target jobs to the Columbia Heights listserve:
We have also been informed that Target will open some 100 positions in the near future. Target is opening a full grocery store in July and extra staff is required.
The City Paper has more, saying the store will expand, taking out some adjacent retail spots, will have "more grocery-type items, including produce," and that it will be similar to the Target at Potomac Yards. The article also mentions those changes could make it an alternative to the long lines at Giant.

I'm in favor of that, and I try to do as much grocery shopping at Target anyway, but I wonder if this is also a reaction to Ellwood Thompson's?

Wednesday History: Circa 1930 lacrosse in the hood

I'm starting a new series on the blog called Wednesday history, where I publish an image or story from the history of the neighborhood every Wednesday. This shot is of two lacrosse teams at Central High School around 1930, Central being the old name of Cardozo High School, which is still recognizable behind the players.

It's an interesting photo in general, and I had no idea that lacrosse was common back then, though I know this area is a hotbed of the sport. I like the weird helmets and funny short-shorts on the non-striped team too.

The photo is from the Library of Congress and was taken from the National Photo Company Collection.

The commenters on Shorpy, the great blog where I found it, dug up some old news articles talking about a team from Oxford and Cambridge universities in England touring the US, and this is presumably who is pictured, perhaps against St. John's College from Annapolis.

Central High became Cardozo in 1949 when the city designated it as a "colored" school, according to Wikipedia. Here's how the school looks today. Not much different, though I haven't seen any lacrosse played there.

City selling abandoned houses in the neighborhood

Always good to see this: the city is selling 18 properties it owns that are abandoned, and 2 of them are in our neighborhood. The City Paper has the article, with most being seized due to back taxes, and most have lain empty for years. Apparently this is the city's Department of Housing and Community Development's second annual sale -- I'm thinking this one was the first, where they sold 3004 13th Street NW, which is now nicely refurbished and has tenants.

There's more info on the properties at this site, and the local ones are on Fairmont between 14th and 15th and on Keefer, a small street between Lamont and Kenyon just east of Georgia Avenue. Oddly, it seems the Keefer Place house was for sale at last year's auction too.

If you want to bid, there are a few rules you need to follow, so beware. I'm just happy to see the city getting them off its books and hopefully soon back onto the tax rolls with residents in them.

Pictured here is 1444 Fairmont, from the realtor's site.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Noise at 14th and Kenyon: let's hope this won't happen

With the good news that the 14th Street construction is supposed to finish July 9 was the information that crews would be working around the clock to finish. Let's hope it's not too noisy, as it was back in 2007 when they were building DCUSA:

If you live in the area, please let me know if it's loud, or if it's not.

It's also kind of funny how the anchor says "In one Columbia Heights neighborhood..."

Meridian Pint opening this Thursday

In case you didn't see it on Twitter earlier, Meridian Pint said they're opening this Thursday! From their Facebook:
Meridian Pint Grand Opening is this Thursday....FINALLY! We have arrived. We'll be warming up with some mock services before then so we can be sure we're ready for everybody. See ya Thursday.
If you recall, it's an American craft beer themed bar and restaurant and will also have table taps, or beer taps at tables, so you can serve yourself. The beer selection will rotate frequently, and it's almost two bars, with the downstairs level, called Joint Chiefs, having more of a bar feel while the upstairs seems more restaurant-y. They will also have TVs, so let's hope it's a good place to go get a beer and watch the game, something the neighborhood has been lacking.

They'll have vegan and veg-friendly food, and are serious about the American beer theme -- no imports at all.

DCBeer has an interview about the spot, plus a lot of photos. I'll be there.

What is Columbia Heights missing? Or do we have everything?

It's been awhile since I've written a What We're Missing post, where I find something I think the neighborhood could use. Past ones included a bookstore, child care, post office, thrift shop, and movie theater. The full list is here.

Then a few months ago I had an open-ended What We're Missing post where commenters could propose their own. Looking back on it, it looks like a lot of the things people proposed are actually planned to open or already have: a sports bar (Meridian Pint), grocery store (Ellwood Thompson's), 24-hour diner (IHOP), and coffee shops (Tynan and Columbia Heights Cofffee).

So what else do you think we need? There are definitely a lot of empty retail spots remaining on 14th, mostly in DCUSA and a bit south of the main intersection, like in the Columbia Uptown Apartments at 14th and Fairmont and the Lofts of Columbia Heights building at 14th and Girard (home of Dunkin Donuts). Some other things that have been proposed in the past are a pet store, veterinarian's office, sushi spot, and yarn or cloth store. Any other ideas?

DDOT: All Columbia Heights street construction to be completed next Friday! July 9!

It looks like our Big Dig is almost done.

There's been some confusion about when the Columbia Heights streetscape construction will be finished, but thanks to the very responsive Kevin Kovaleski at DDOT, who sends out those daily construction updates on the Columbia Heights streetscape construction, we know this:
As we shared in our update on Friday, crews are working to complete all major work by next Friday, July 9. To that end, for the remainder of the week, crews are planning on working through the night. We understand that this may be difficult for residents in Columbia Heights, but we want to take advantage of every hour possible in order to finish by July 9.
That's great to see. Looking forward to seeing the final result and not seeing all the cones and barriers and orange fences. Hopefully the residents directly around the site won't be too inconvenienced by noise and such at night.

Monday, June 28, 2010

New Petworth farmers market opened last Friday

It's farmers market season in our area! There's the new Columbia Heights Community Marketplace, plus the already existing Mt. Pleasant and 14th & U markets, and now our neighbor to the north has the Petworth Market, mercifully on a different day: Friday. Running from 3 to 7 pm on 9th Street NW between Georgia and Upshur, the market promises local food, entertainment, local businesses, and craftspeople.

My friend Sarah wrote about the first day for the Examiner, and it sounds pretty great: "Squash, peaches, tomatoes, corn, cantaloupe, beets, potatoes, onions, radishes, peppers and hot peppers," plus herbs and lamb, plus chalk for kids, a DJ, and free watermelon and hot dogs. Anyone else check it out?

They're also looking for more vendors. Email petworthmarket(at)gmail(dot)com for info!

Cheetahs in the neighborhood!

Don't know how I missed this: Cheetah Aid DC, a group that advocates for cheetahs, had an event a couple of weeks ago at the Park Triangle apartments, the building on the Civic Plaza with the first floor retail. Apparently they had a live cheetah on the roof of the place. Pretty crazy!

There have been some random animals in the neighborhood, like at Columbia Heights Day's petting zoo, which had a camel.

Flickr user alex.DC, who took this photo, also wrote about the event on his blog. Sounds wild, a cheetah on a leash! He has a couple more shots on his Flickr too.

Abandoned House Watch: 1337 Girard Street NW being fixed up?

Looks like there's finally some work going on at 1337 Girard Street NW, an abandoned townhouse on the north side of the street. I've written about this place before: it's one of four somewhat crummy townhouses on the north side of the street, including what I like to call the Haunted Mansion, an old place owned by political activists Dorothy Brizill and Gary Imhoff. In their defense, they've fixed up the Haunted Mansion a bit.

Anyway, 1337 has sat empty (or appeared to be empty) for at least 2 years, with broken and missing windows and an overgrown yard, but lately I've seen a lot of workers there taking out old wood and other trash and tossing it.

According to the city's records, it's owned by Ultra Vision Developers Inc from Fairfax City, VA, who bought it in 2008. It's a big place, 6 bedrooms and 4 baths. It was on the vacant property list in August 2009, but is now off it. Let's hope they get it fixed up and sold soon.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Post, NBC Washington write about Columbia Heights traffic

The Post and NBC4 both have pieces on the traffic and construction on 14th Street, but unfortunately both are rather light on content. The NBC piece basically says there's a lot of traffic, and compares the project to Boston's Big Dig, which is kind of funny. Not much more than that, though.

The Post, however, focuses on the crossing guards on 14th Street who direct traffic, basically a fluff piece about how they're doing a great job. I've heard some complaints about them causing more harm than good and about blowing their whistles constantly, but I've got to think that having them is better than just the messed-up intersections without anybody controlling them. For one, the lights don't seem to make any sense at 14th and Kenyon/Park: there will be red lights in every direction and no cars are going, but there's also no walk signals, so people just cross willy-nilly. A Post reader wrote in to correct one part of the crossing guard story too: that residents had to demand the crossing guards be placed there. Doh.

Old streetcar tracks spotted on 14th Street

Just got this photo and note from a reader:
I noticed this yesterday while watching the construction. As part of redoing 14th st they need to remove the old street car tracks that are a few inches beneath the asphalt. Pretty cool to see what once existed, esepecially considering the longer term -and a bit unlikely given the current status of the H st project - vision the city has for street cars running again from brookland to woodley park.
Cool indeed!  There is a planned streetcar on Georgia Avenue, but that's a few years away at least. Streetcars used to run all over the neighborhood and the city: for example, the park at 11th and Monroe is often called Trolley Turnaround Park because that's where the 11th Street streetcar would stop and turn around to head back downtown.

Michelle Obama jumps rope at Columbia Heights school

First Lady Michelle Obama was in Columbia Heights today, attending an event for the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition at Bell Multicultural High School at 16th and Irving. The council works to teach kids to be healthier -- check out the awesome photo! Originally both Obamas were supposed to attend the event, but after the whole McChrystal thing, the President decided not to go.

Of course, this isn't the first time either Obama was in the neighborhood: Michelle visited the Upper Cardozo Health Center about this time last year, both Obamas visited the Capital City Public Charter School, and the President worked out at the Washington Sports Club awhile ago.

I wonder if Michelle went anywhere afterwards? Maybe the Obama-recommended Pete's Apizza?

And for more stories about famous folks spotted in the neighborhood, click the "famous people" tag below.

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Roof deck planned for Red Derby

Forgot to mention this when I saw it the other day, but the Prince of Petworth and DCist reminded me -- the Red Derby is planning a roof deck! When I was there this weekend, there was a big hole in the ceiling where they planned to have the opening, which was near the movie screen in the main room. One of the staff said the staircase will start near the bar and head up from there. PoP says it will open in August and there will be a bar up there too.

Always nice to have another place to relax outside.

Kids gardening fiesta on Thursday

This sounds pretty neat. City Blossoms, a nonprofit that teaches kids about healthy living, the environment, responsibility and different cultures through gardening, is having a fundraiser festival this Thusday from 6 to 8 pm in the 11th and Harvard playground, behind the Carlos Rosario School.

They'll have snacks and music. The Post also has a nice article on the group, and it sounds like a sensible idea: teach kids to garden and they'll care more about what they eat, the Earth, and taking care of things.

Target has some pretty funny t-shirts

The other day I was at Target and noticed some pretty amusing t-shirts at the Tarzhay: shown here is Mighty Mouse, Callahan Auto Parts (a reference to the Chris Farley movie Tommy Boy), TMNT, the Goonies, and there's a bunch more, mostly retro and funny, and in the case of Callahan Auto Parts, fairly obscure too.

I bought a Fry Guys t-shirt there and tons of people were mentioning it to me when I wore it. Good stuff.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Want some inexpensive Nationals jerseys? Get to Marshalls!

The other day I was perusing Marshalls, which always has random items for cheap. I spotted a bunch of Nats jerseys, both grey and white, all for $15-$20. Pretty good deal. So get on the Strasburg bandwagon in style. They had Mets jerseys too, but who cares about those guys. Along with jerseys, there were some jackets too (seen here as well).

Meridian Pint now aiming to open on or before the July 4th weekend

Just got forwarded this from Twitter: Meridian Pint, the much-awaited American craft brew focused bar and restaurant at 11th and Park, is looking around the 4th of July for their grand opening. From their Twitter: "We are now looking very solid for opening on or before July 4th weekend."

Their Facebook page mentioned that they were waiting for their final fire inspection, which can often drag on for awhile (through no fault of the businesses). Fingers crossed.

A bit more on the place, which is owned by John Andrade, who also owns Asylum in Adams Morgan: it will feature lots of American craft brew, American/European food, and the coolest part, will have beer taps at some tables so you can pour your own beer.

Outdoor movie night on Thursday: Men in Black

Just in time for the warm weather, the Columbia Heights Day organizers' summer movie series kicks off with Men in Black this Thursday. The movie starts at 8:30, and there will be a DJ for a half hour before. They're showing the movies at the Harriet Tubman Elementary School field, 11th and Kenyon, so you can stop by Wonderland before or after for a beverage.

Here's the Facebook page with more details on the rest of the movie nights: Shrek and Hairspray.

And for those keeping track, Columbia Heights Day is August 28th.

Monday, June 21, 2010

New co-ed soccer league starting in the neighborhood

Just heard about a new soccer league in the neighborhood, just in time for the World Cup! Hopefully Koman Coulibaly won't be reffing.
There is still opportunity to sign up for the FTSC Summer of Freedom League presented by DC Councilmember Jim Graham! The format is 9v9 coed and games will be on Tuesday nights in July and August at Bell Field in Columbia Heights. This is the beautiful new turf pitch behind the Target complex.

Everyone registers as an individual and you will be placed on teams that are as evenly balanced as possible.You can request to play with your friend/significant other, but the idea is to meet new people while enjoying the beautiful game. We expect players of all stripes, from former college stars to those who are relatively new to the game, and everyone in between. The vibe we are going for is friendly, social, and low key. Time spent after the game at CommonWealth Gastropub will be just as important as time spent on the field.

The league is organized by Federal Triangles Soccer Club, whose membership includes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered players and our straight friends. Whatever your background or orientation, you are very welcome to play in our league. More information and registration can be found here.

Do it - be part of the Summer of Freedom!

The Banneker pool is now open on weekdays

Nice! For all those pool-loving folks out there, or just the ones who like to sunbathe, you can visit the Banneker pool on weekdays as well as weekends. The pool is open 1-8 pm on weekdays, but is closed Thursday. On weekends, it's open noon to 6pm.

The Banneker pool is at the corner of Euclid and Georgia. You can see the rest of the pools and their hours here.

NW Columbia Heights Community Association meeting on Monday night

This Monday is the Northwest NW Columbia Heights Community Association's monthly meeting. It'll be at St. Stephen's Church, 1525 Newton St NW.

Here's more:
Come join the thought-leaders of Columbia Heights and beyond to find ways to work with each other to keep our neighborhoods cleaner and safer.

Crime and Public Safety: Small-Group Discussion Topics:

* Nuisance Properties: What to Do, Where to Turn?
* Increasing Awareness, Communication & Social Conscience: Hot Crimes: Violent Robberies Against Latinos, Car Break-ins
* Protecting the Next Victim: Community Impact Statements: The Community Criminal Justice Accountability Initiative

* Community Building and Our Youth
* Columbia Heights: Who We Are and What We Hope For
* City Services & Repairs--Getting from Requests to Results
* Block Captains, Community Building and Neighborhood Watch for 2010 and Beyond

...and more!

Please come!

* Neighbors and Block Captains: Please share the attached flyer with your neighbors and encourage them to come too.
* Please send the meeting information to your neighborhood listserves.
* Apartment Managers: Please provide the meeting flyer to your tenants.
* Community Partners: Please help spread the word

Friday, June 18, 2010

Meridian Pint is not yet open

A lot of folks have been asking me on Twitter, but as far as I know Meridian Pint is not yet open. They were hoping for yesterday, but posted last week on Twitter about a remaining hurdle, so we'll see. I'll definitely post when they do open.

Columbia Heights Community Market update for this weekend

Here's the update from the CHCM folks. The market is this Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm. Some tasty food, DJs, and more.
* Three fruit and vegetable growers -- Chesley Farms, Dragonfly Farms and Licking Creek Bend Farm. All of these produce growers accept WIC and SFMNP vouchers.
* Flower grower -- Dragonfly Farms
* Sausage maker -- Stachowski Charcuterie
* Eggs from pasture-raised chickens and ducks -- Twin Post Farm
* Two bakers -- Bonaparte Breads and Upper Crust Artisanal Breads
* A creamery featuring cheese and yogurt from pasture-raised cows -- Chapel's Country Creamery
* Artisanal gelato made with in-season fruit from local farms and organically produced milk from Pennsylvania -- Dolcezza Gelato


1. This Saturday will feature a DJ bringing you tunes from from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
2. HELP. We're in search of one or two people to lead a bike clinic at the Marketplace every Saturday or every other Saturday. Please send us an e-mail if you know of anyone who might be interested in this.
3. Common Good City Farm ( will bring its message of sustainable urban agriculture to our community service space this weekend. Look for them in the center of the plaza action tomorrow morning.

As far as yummy food is concerned, look for the following and more on Saturday:

* Chesley Farms will have red raspberries, black raspberries, plants (vegetable and herb), sweet cherries (white & black), sour cherries (ONE WEEK ONLY IN ALL LIKELIHOOD), lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, spring onions, garlic scapes and broccoli.
* Dragonfly Farms will have pickling cucumbers, more hothouse tomatoes, the last of the English peas, small green and some yellow zucchini, maybe beets with greens, red potatoes, small white potatoes and sunflowers.
* Bonaparte Breads will feature baguettes,, croissants, palmiers, tarts and many other yummy breads and pastries.
* Chapel's Country Creamery will bring an assortment of cheddar cheeses, Bay Bleu cheese, a younger milder French-style cheese, Chappelle, that can be used to replace mozzarella in a tomato salad, for example. Chapel's also will feature two different types of yogurt -- honey and maple.
* Stachowski Charcuterie will feature a whole bunch of yumminess. This includes lamb mergueze, made with North African spices and lamb sausage, ideally served over couscous or rice, fresh kielbasa flavored with marjoram and garlic. This classic Polish recipe goes well with mustard and onions or sauerkraut. Or, try the English bangers.
* Meanwhile, Dolcezza Gelato will bring its wide variety of artisanal gelato. The cucumber gelato would make a nice topping on gazpacho soup. Or, take the cucumber mint vodka gelato and pour in a little vodka to make a cool and refreshing cocktail.
* Licking Creek Bend Farm will bring apricots (not a lot, so get there early), basil, dill, thyme, mint, four varieties of summer squash, mustard greens, Bing and Queen Anne cherries, Napa cabbage, broccoli, turnips with greens, scallions, arugula and peas...

Yard sale roundup! Big, cool one this weekend

Some cool stuff going on in and around the neighborhood this weekend:

---Pretty cool event in the alley behind 11th and Monroe with DJs, crafters, food, drinks, and more: "Entire alleyway of garage sales: one large garage sale showcasing local artists, painters, sculptures, crafters, creators, thrifters, collectors, noise makers, hip shakers and any other type of creator imaginable. DJ's will keep us all bobbing our heads and beer/food will be served. We will roll the big garage doors up, invite the community and hopefully spread the word about what amazing things DC inhabitants have been quietly making in their basements all winter." Here's the Craigslist post with the full list of all the vedors

---Multi-person yard sale at 1815 Irving St NW on Sunday from 8am to 5pm: "Four women are looking to downsize and are shedding some really good products at low, low prices. Home electronics, housewares, name brand clothes, small furniture. Come find some treasures!" Also free coffee with $5 purchase.

---Multi-family sale at 10th and Vermont/T on Saturday from 9am-2pm, or if it rains on Sunday: "Lots of household items, decorative items, women's clothes, books and CDs, some furniture, yarn, some plants and nice decorative pots for plants, little kids clothes, shoes and toys. Located at the corner of Vermont and 10th and T Streets NW, close to the U street metro (10th street exit), with additional tables located in the three blocks south on T and French Streets. Follow the signs!"

Solar-powered tree lights going in everywhere

Just spotted these at the west entrance of the Metro, to match the ones at the Civic Plaza and the ones that look like they're going in at the east entrance too.

As Flickr user Mr. T in DC points out, there are now four or five different kinds of street lights in that area. You can see four kinds in this photo alone.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Literary event at Wonderland tonight also

While you're drinking beer and helping out Columbia Heights Day, get some learnin' too: Barrelhouse, an online arts magazine (apparently not related the Barrel House liquor store) is hosting an event at Wonderland on literary magazines and small presses, with reps from two Baltimore outfits, Publishing Genius and Narrow House. Nice to see some interesting literary events in the neighborhood.

More details on tonight's Columbia Heights Day fundraiser at Wonderland

Sounds pretty good!
The fundraiser at The Wonderland is tonight! We'll be on the patio selling CoHi Day cups for $5 - you'll get $3 Yuengling drafts in them all night.

We'll also have the DC flag t-shirts for sale, get one for $10 while they last.
Columbia Heights Day will be on August 28, 2010.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More on IHOP: off-duty police officers to be present at night

The City Paper has more on the IHOP coming to DCUSA supposedly in August of this year: the owners mentioned before that it was part owned by police officers, which they used as an argument that there won't be any problems there -- kind of a silly argument, if you ask me.

However, the actual group of part-owners is former NFL player Tyoka Jackson, who played from 1994-2006 and was born in DC, plus Jackson's dad and his brother, who is in fact an MPD officer. Tyoka said they will have off-duty police officers at the restaurant between 11 pm and 6 am, which sounds like it would actually keep rowdy drunks and stuff at bay.

Just thinking about IHOP, I'm pretty hungry.

Pictured is a bad photoshop of Tyoka Jackson eating pancakes

A compendium of Wonderland bathroom graffiti

The graffiti in the Wonderland bathrooms is always fun to read -- sometimes amusing, political, psuedo-intellectual, or just nonsense. Lately I've noticed some political screeds, notably an anti-Fenty one and something kind of anti-Jim Graham, like this one.

I made a Flickr photo set of the different ones I've spotted in the past few months, take a look. Keep in mind that there are some bad words and crude drawings, so watch out.

Any favorites you have from the walls of Wonderland's bathrooms?

Major Metrobus problems on 14th this morning

Hopefully you didn't have to take the 50 buses this morning going south on 14th Street, they were a disaster. I was waiting at an unusually crowded 14th and Harvard stop when a woman on a bike stopped and said the buses were being rerouted, she thought to 13th Street. of course, no one had told anyone this, and one of the people waiting said she had been there for 30 minutes, while Nextbus said multiple buses should have already passed.

If buses really were rerouted and nobody was told about it, that's ridiculous. People need to get to work and need to rely on Metro. They really need to think of a way to let people know about this kind of thing. I've got an email into WMATA, we'll see what they say.

South Columbia Heights neighborhood meeting today

Check it out:
South Columbia Heights/ MPD PSA 304/ ANC 1B03 Meeting
Wednesday June 16, 2010
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
(This event repeats every month on the third Wednesday.)
Location: Josephine Butler Center 2437 15th St NW

MPD will give their monthly report and address our concerns. We will also get updates from our ANC Commissioner Sedrick Muhammad. In addition, there will another elected government official or agency director, as our guest speaker for the month.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Street Booze: Heineken at 11th and Irving

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

This time I found a bunch of beer bottles on Irving near 11th. The weird thing that struck me was that these are Heinekens, not your usual cheap, high alcohol beer. The set of bottles also includes one pony, the little 7 ounce beer bottles. I guess four regular sized beers was just too much, so they went with 3.583 beers instead.

Bell Multicultural High School makes top U.S. high schools list

Newsweek released their top high schools of 2010 list, and Columbia Heights' own Bell Multicultural High School is #37 in the nation and also the best in DC. Pretty cool to see.

The methodology is a little confusing, as it's based more on having average students do well and take AP tests rather than say which school is best, so they leave out a number of "elite" schools with high SAT scores. In any case, it's nice to see local kids doing well and getting rewarded for it.

Here's Bell's profile. They've improved since the 2007 ratings, and now more students are taking and doing well on AP tests.

Photo by Mr. T in DC

Fundraiser at Wonderland for Columbia Heights Day on Thursday

Do you like beer? Do you like Columbia Heights Day? Then go to Wonderland this Thursday starting at 7 pm:
Join the Columbia Heights Day Initiative for a night of fun at the Wonderland. Buy a Columbia Heights Day cup and get $3 Yuengling drafts all night. And don't forget to pick-up a Columbia Heights Day t-shirt.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Help design a mural for the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace

The folks who organize the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace need your help:
Our next project is a huge mural to be painted in the entryway of the Giant grocery store. Giant has graciously offered us the space to paint an image of the Marketplace on this wall, and we need your help! The entire process will be a community effort, from design to sketching to painting, so let us know if you're interested in getting involved. First, we need design ideas! If you have an idea for the mural design, please send either a written description and/or a sketch to Susanna at by Friday, June 18th.
Got any ideas? Send em in!

The market continues every Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm through October.

Banneker Pool diving board to be fixed this week

Big news from the pool! Well, if you go to the pool a lot. I spoke to a life guard yesterday, who said that the broken diving board (there's a traffic cone on it) will be fixed today. Looks like more fun will be had.

For those who haven't been, the Banneker Pool is free and located at Georgia and Euclid. It's only open on the weekends for now, but starting June 20 will be open every day. It's big and there are a lot of deck chairs, though you might not always get one.

Free used underwear on Irving Street!

Put them on
Originally uploaded by squidpants
I spotted this yesterday afternoon on Irving Street between 13th and 14th: it's a pair of boxers laying on the sidewalk, and some jokester added a sign reading "PUT THEM ON."

It raises a good point: why are there random pairs of underwear on the sidewalk? The most innocuous reason would be that it fell out of someone's hamper on the way to (or hopefully from) the laundromat. Of course, there are many worse possible reasons.

Friday, June 11, 2010

This weekend's yard sale roundup

Looks like folks are out and selling their junk useful stuff again. Here's a few I've found, and if you know any more, let me know in the comments!

--1473 Harvard on Saturday, 10am-1pm: lots of clothes, household items and more, nothing over $15

--3328 Sherman, Apt 1 on Sunday, 10am-2pm: kitchen, household items, clothes, etc, nothing over $5

Crazy! Armored truck robbed on 14th Street

Pretty wild story from WJLA: this morning at about 10:15, two guys dressed as construction workers robbed an armored truck at 14th and Irving. They got into a green minivan and were last seen going down an alley between 13th and 14th.

Not to be glib, but another reason why the the city should finish up construction!

Doh. Meridian Pint opening date pushed back

So says their Facebook page: "Great success with inspections, however, 1 remaining hurdle will keep us from opening on the 17th. Sorry..."

Hopefully it'll be soon. I'm looking forward to the beer taps at the tables.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Community Marketplace meeting tonight: let the organizers know what you thought

Your turn! Just got this:
First, The Columbia Heights Community Marketplace board of directors has its meeting, which is open to the public, tonight at 7 at CHANGE, Inc. (1413 Park Road, NW). Please come and tell us what you liked and didn't like about the opening of the Marketplace last Saturday.

Second, please visit the Marketplace this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Our nine vendors will be back, most likely with more goodies than they brought last time. In addition, we'll have community service organizations on hand.

Third, the FUTURE. We plan to have cooking demonstrations (possibly starting this Saturday, but no promises) and also a bike clinic in coming weeks.

Thanks and hope to see you tonight at the meeting and/or this Saturday, June 12 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

How was the Columbia Heighhts Community Marketplace?

As most readers probably know, the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace's debut was last Saturday. Unfortunately I was out of town, but a lot of other folks were able to make it, including one of the Examiner's farmers market writers and the writer of Grown in the City, a market and plant-related blog. Rhea Kennedy from the Examiner wrote "Eight sellers offered everything from strawberries and garlic scapes to bratwurst and blue cheese, with some sunflowers, wine vinegar, garden-ready plants, and French pastries as well." She had a photo gallery too, in the article.

John from Grown in the City highlighted the strawberries as well, and also made a video:

So did any of you go? What did you think? Let everyone know in the comments.

New light posts going up at the Metro

New light posts
Originally uploaded by squidpants
Spotted these the other day outside the east Metro entrance. They look like the "trunk" of the tree lights on the Civic Plaza, so maybe we'll be getting more of those?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bargoers trying to hit every bar in DC (and Columbia Heights)

This is a funny idea: some folks are trying to go to every bar in DC, and have started a blog documenting their quest. So far they've mostly been going to Columbia Heights bars, and have only hit 11 so far. In any case, The three writers, joined by some friends occasionally, often seem kind of bitter (the first few posts listed the "type of douche" at each bar, for example, and they complain about hipsters a lot) but it's a clever idea and interesting to read others' opinions of our local spots.

So far in our neighborhood they've hit Wonderland, Room 11, CommonWealth, Looking Glass, Social, and a bit off the beaten path, Acuario, which is a Latin American place on 11th. Nice to see them expanding from the usual spots, and I'm looking forward to seeing more.

Daily 14th Street construction updates now posted to the CH listserve

If you're interested in seeing what's happening with the Columbia Heights Streetscape Plan (aka the 14th Street construction), check out the Columbia Heights Yahoo listserve, where DDOT is posting daily updates. You can also subscribe to the group and get daily emails.

For example, here's today's:
· Crews will continue to excavate the Southwest corner of the 14th and Irving St intersection. Excavation will extend South of Irving on the southbound lane of 14th Street (approximately 200 yards south of Irving). Crew will continue to lay concrete in this section of 14th Street.

· Pavement restoration work continues at the northwest corner of 14th and Columbia Rd.

· Crews will continue road reconstruction on southbound 14th Street from Irving Street extending north of the DCUSA main entrance.

· Pepco utility crews will continue work at Southeast corner of the 14th and Park Road intersection and on 14th Street just south of Kenyon Street.

· Decorative paver bands will be installed at the Columbia Heights Metro plaza at the southwest corner of 14th and Irving.

· Installation of solar trees will continue at the Metro plaza on the southwest corner of 14th and Irving.

· Roadway excavation and reconstruction will continue on the northbound lane of 14th Street (where DDOT crews left off between Park and Monroe). This excavation and reconstruction will stop just south of the 14th Street / Monroe Street intersection.

· The excavation work on Monroe (east of 14th Street) is not yet scheduled at this time as previously reported. Further information will be forthcoming as that work is eventually scheduled.

Columbia Heights neighborhood signs?

Columbia Heights signs
Originally uploaded by squidpants
Spotted these the other day at 14th and Monroe, kind of surprising. I haven't seen them anywhere else and I wonder who placed them? In any case, I'd like to see more.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Meridian Pint to have beer taps at tables, plus famous beer types visit

Meridian Pint, the American craft beer-focused restaurant and bar at 11th and Park that's opening June 17, had a bunch of famous beer people tour the other day, including Jim Koch of Sam Adams (and commercials), founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Ken Grossman, and Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head.

The photos are on their Facebook page, and I spotted something else cool: some tables will have their own beer taps at them, meaning you can pour your own beer.

I'm waiting to hear how that's actually going to work -- how they charge for it, is it all you can drink, and so on? reports that at one place that has taps at the table, you get a certain amount of beer you can pour yourselves, then when that runs out, you have to order from servers. Sounds like a fun idea.

Photo from their Facebook by the Prince of Petworth, showing Sam Adams' Jim Koch with owner John Andrade and a table tap. A bunch more photos on his site.

New North Columbia Heights Civic Association website and blog

Looks like the North Columbia Heights Civic Association have given themselves a facelift: they redesigned and moved their website, and there's a blog on there too. Looks like a handy resource. The NCHCA also helped organize the neighborhood cleanup on the first day of the Community Marketplace.

Live band karaoke at Wonderland on Tuedays!

I'd heard a rumor about this, but didn't know it was actually going down: on Tuesday nights there's karaoke at Wonderland, and you get to backed by a live band! Sounds awesome. I'm going to try to check it out tonight. The flyer is pretty amusing as well, note the harakiri:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Nonprofits in the Neighborhood: Thrive DC

Here's the second in our Nonprofits in the Neighborhood series.

Thrive DC is "a nonprofit dedicated to providing comprehensive assistance to DC's homeless and low-income residents."

The group was founded in 1979 and moved to the neighborhood in 2009. The group "accomplishes its mission by providing the emergency assistance needed to stabilize lives along with the educational and therapeutic activities, employment preparation, and comprehensive social services required to change lives." Here's more from them:
Each day, as part of our Daily Bread/Daily Needs program, our staff provides a comprehensive range of crisis services: breakfast and dinner; free showers and laundry; mail, telephone, and computer access; personal care supplies; health and safety items; transportation and emergency rental assistance; and emergency clothing and blankets. In 2009, Thrive DC served more than 61,800 meals to individuals in need. Through our Links program, clients participate in enrichment activities, receive individualized case management, and connect with comprehensive services available onsite through Thrive DC community partners. In 2009, 750 unduplicated clients were provided social services at Thrive DC, including 3,855 referrals and 1,537 hours of case management.

Finally, our employment services and intensive Real Opportunity employment preparedness program embodies our commitment to ending homelessness by providing individuals with the comprehensive support, rigorous training, and life-skills coaching needed to successfully enter the workforce and become self-sufficient. In order to search for jobs, prepare for interviews, and strengthen key networks with family and friends, Thrive DC’s Computer Workshop enables participants to develop the skills they need to function in today’s workplace. Serving as a “one-stop shop” for DC’s homeless and vulnerable individuals, Thrive DC fills a unique role in the city offering comprehensive assistance for the region’s most vulnerable and marginalized residents.

Thrive DC relies on a small staff and over 1,000 volunteers each year to complete this important work. Group and individual volunteer opportunities range from preparing and serving meals, assisting in our computer lab, or organizing a drive for Thrive to name a few.

For more information, please visit our website at If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact: Elizabeth Evancho,, 202-503-1523

Got a nonprofit in the neighborhood? Let me know!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Farmers market opens tomorrow on the Civic Plaza

Been looking forward to this for awhile: the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace opens Saturday on the Civic Plaza (14th/Park/Kenyon). There will be food from area farmers, plus crafts and more. Looks like their website is down, but it goes from 9 am to 2 pm.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

IHOP to be open 24 hours, owned by MPD officers

More from last night's North Columbia Heights Civic Association meeting, which sounds like the place to go for local news now: the IHOP coming in August to DCUSA will be open 24 hours, which I support.

And it will be owned by an MPD officer, which DCUSA's Dave Stein cited as a reason why there won't be any issues with noise and such.

As far as I can think, this is the only place to eat open 24 hours around here, other than The Diner in Adams Morgan.

Ellwood Thompson's opening in January, construction starting in July, says CFO

I'm cautiously optimistic about this: Ellwood Thompson's is close to signing a lease in DCUSA and will start construction in July, and open in January 2011, reports the City Paper's Housing Complex blog. Ellwood Thompson's CEO CFO Jack McGrath gave the details at the North Columbia Heights Civic Association meeting last night. He also said they'll have in-store dining.

Of course, this isn't the first time we've heard this, but let's hope it happens. Ellwood Thompson's, for those unfamiliar, is a Richmond-based organic supermarket, and McGrath says prices will be similar to Whole Foods. They've been in talks to move to DCUSA since 2008, and it seemed close last year until they put their plans on hold in April. Here's their website.

Also interesting is that DCUSA's chief of building operations Dave Stein said they're looking for more unique and local retail clients. That's the opposite of what I've been hearing, which was that they preferred national chains, and if what he said is the case, it's a nice change. I think there are quickly getting to be too many national chains in the neighborhood. I like them, but I don't want to see the neighborhood turn into Pentagon Row or something.

More to come on IHOP too, later today.

So are you excited for ET's? Or blah, another grocery store?

Meridian Pint opening date now the 17th

Just spotted this on their Twitter: "As much as we're trying, it's looking like we'll miss the beginning of World Cup. We hope to open by the 17th or so."

At least there's a firm date. Looking forward to it. More here on their food and such.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Columbia Heights outdoor movie night schedule released!

Just got this from the good folks at Columbia Heights Day, who are organizing a series of outdoor movie nights at the Tubman school field. Sounds pretty fun, I'll be there!

Ellwood Thompson's meeting tonight?!

The North Columbia Heights Civic Association has their next meeting tonight at 7 pm, and in attendance will be Jack McGrath, CEO of Ellwood Thompson's, and David Stein, director of building operations from DCUSA. I won't be able to attend unfortunately, but I'm very curious to see what the two have to say about Ellwood Thompson's plans to move into DCUSA. I thought they had died a slow death, but maybe that's not the case!

The meeting is at the Park Triangle building's community room at 7 pm, enter through the entrance on Kenyon Street just off 14th.

The last we heard, Ellwood Thompson's was trying to get funding from the city. Another thing to note is that it's a new CEO than before, so maybe he has other ideas?

If you end up going, please let us know what happens in the comments.

Ward One Senior Wellness Center making progress

Spotted this shot on Flickr, it's of the under-construction Ward One Senior Wellness Center on Georgia Avenue, just down the street from the Looking Glass Lounge. The facility will provide "health promotion and disease prevention activities as well as programs that promote self-care, exercise, healthy lifestyles, and longevity for District residents." It's supposed to open Fall 2010.

Photo by dullshick

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Found: old neighborhood pharmacy bottle

I found this at a yard sale the other day, it's a bottle of tincture of belladonna from 1946, with the address of the Park View Pharmacy, 3501 Georgia Ave NW, and an old-timey phone number, Randolph 3331.

Currently 3501 Georgia is a corner store called Bell Corner Stop.

Condos replacing abandoned building on 13th

Always like to see this: developers are renovating an abandoned building at 3517 13th St NW. Right now it's just a shell, but it's going to be called The Crest and will have 9 units.

Valor Development is the company working on it, and it's supposed to be for sale in Spring and sold in Fall 2010, so we'll see. The website says there will be hard hat tours soon.

Before and planned after pictures here:

The church at 13th and Irving has finally sold

If you were interested in buying a church, it looks like you're outta luck. The church at 13th and Irving has been for sale for a long time, and I wrote about it back in May 2009. Looks like somebody finally signed a contract on it.

Not sure if it's going to remain a church or will be made into something else. Maybe it's the next 6th and I Synagogue, a music venue?