Friday, October 29, 2010

Grenades found in house at 13th and Park

You know, just a run of the mill news story. Via DCist, during renovation of an old townhouse at 13th and Park, workers discovered a bunch of old grenades. Let's hope it was a collection or something, and not a crazy person with a bunch of ordnance.

Police and fire showed up and a half-hour later the situation was cleared. Strange.

Are local businesses doing anything for Halloween?

Halloween, the best holiday (sorry, Arbor Day) is upon us. But are local businesses, like bars and restaurants, celebrating? So far I've only heard of Tonic in Mount Pleasant doing anything specific. Have you heard of anything?

Here's Tonic's events:

Kicking off Halloween with Kid's Hour
Saturday, October 30th 4-6pm

Games, Movies & Costume Contest!

and then later...

Ninjas V. Pirates V. Robots V. Pandas Party
Saturday, October 30th 8pm

Hosted by: Ricky, Swan, Brian & Mandie

Haunted drink specials and costume contests

Prizes for:
Best Couple, No Shame, WTF Where You Thinking and Why Didn't I Think of That

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A story about a big Halloween party in the neighborhood

Photo by Lindsey Wray
Halloween is upon us, and freelance writer Lindsey Wray contacted me about a big Halloween party she's writing about in the neighborhood. It's a house party thrown by neighborhood resident Elle Becker, who goes all out: various theme rooms like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, mock decapitated heads, a Bates Motel sign,  some themed catering (powdered Nutella "dirt" and worms, beef that looks like a severed arm) and much more. Here's the first part of the article, the rest is on Lindsey's blog.
The nicest compliment people could give Elle Becker this Saturday is to tell her that she’s one sick f***.

She’d like it if people raise their eyebrows and believe something is seriously wrong with her.
So she said on an October afternoon as she tinkered with a flashing red object in a jar labeled ‘heart of bat.’

Judging by her preparations two weeks before her Halloween party, Becker is well on her way to achieving the reaction she seeks.

Becker, 36, is hosting her third Halloween party in four years on Saturday night, and the cauldron of ideas in her head is bubbling over.

Her decoration collection alone would rival any Halloween superstore: stuffed snakes from a taxidermist, a blood-splattered chainsaw that plays loud whirring noises, and rubbery body parts with bones jutting out are just a few of the ghoulish items that bring a smile to Becker’s face.

And surely the decapitated heads in her foyer are deterring any would-be thieves in her Columbia Heights townhouse.

“I don’t have to go insane,” she said, “but if I do have life-size mummies in the living room, it’s fun.”
Check out the rest of the article, which sounds pretty wild. Becker rents a storage unit to keep all her decorations in, for example. That's some dedication! Any big Halloween parties in your plans?

Puppy found on 14th: is it yours?

Just got an email and a picture of a puppy found on 14th Street, in front of the Uptowner Cafe in the Tivoli building. The puppy was running across the street, just avoiding the cars driving down the street. If you think it's yours, call (202) 471-1000 or email

UPDATE: Dog reunited with its owners!

Bruce-Monroe redevelopment proposal: mixed use or apartments; school or no school?

There may be some movement on the redevelopment of the Bruce-Monroe School site: DCist reports that the city's request for proposals only received one bid. Doh.

The school, on Georgia between Irving and Columbia, was said to have been dilapidated, and closed in 2007 and was demolished earlier this year. Right now the lot is a big park with basketball courts, fields, playgrounds and more. The bid submitted has two options: one option includes a mixed-use building with retail on 1/3 of the lot, and the developers mention possibilities like "Yes! Organic Market, Neighborhood Restaurant Group (Chuchkey, Birch and Barley, Rustico, Vermilion), Elevation Burger and a hardware store." The other 2/3 would be 52 townhomes with 1 or 2 parking spaces. The other option replaces the townhouses with a new school building. DCist also noted that some people are still angry that the school was demolished.

Here's my take: the mixed-use development seems optimistic. There isn't much foot traffic in that area that would support an organic market, a fancy/hip restaurant, a gourmet burger spot, and a hardware store. Maybe they're hoping that the Petworth Metro developments would bring that, but that's pretty far away.

I also like the park, and some DCist commenters said why not keep it, which is a fair point. Normally I'd go with that option (though apparently it's not on the table) but bringing a school back might be good too. I used to think, like many others, that DC has too many schools that have too few kids in them, and are thus inefficient. Close them and send the kids to other schools. However, I was recently talking with a friend who is teaches in Oakland, and who hears a similar complaint a lot. His point was that the school isn't just a building, it's a center of the community. Parents and family can walk there to pick up there kids and meet teachers easily, which may not be the case if the kids are at another building. Local residents know who is at the school and who shouldn't be, and they take pride in it.

Maybe that's an optimistic viewpoint, but it was interesting for me to hear, since I'd always figured too many schools = combine them.

What do you think? More mixed use and townhouses, or a school,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Express's Best of 2010: We were robbed!

Yet another Best of list is out, this one the Express newspaper's list, which is voted on by people. Unfortunately, there isn't much in our hood on there.

Food wise, we got a few second places. Fro-Zen-Yo, which has multiple locations, finished second in best frozen treats, which is good, Pho 14 got second for best pho, and Thai Tanic, which has a location on 14th, also got 2nd for best Thai. Kind of surprised neither Meridian Pint or Soul Veg were on the best vegetarian list, but they're pretty new and not too well-known in the case of Soul Veg. Chipotle and Five Guys also won stuff, but I don't really count them.

On other things, DC Bocce, which now has a Columbia Heights/Petworth league got second for best rec sports league. The Banneker pool got second for best pool, which I fully support. And 13th Street did not get on the list for best place to ski, which would have been hilarious.

Personally I think Room 11 was robbed on best cocktails and best bartender, but it's a small place and doesn't get as much publicity as the Gibson and such. I'm also kind of surprised Wonderland wasn't on the top three for best outdoor drinking, considering the crowds there. I certainly like sitting outside and having a beer or three.

Any other spots you think should have made the list?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pedicab service comes to Meridian Pint

This past weekend I was looking for the pedicab that usually goes from Wonderland to their sister bar Looking Glass, and back. It's a pretty handy and fun service to take, and the idea was that if Wonderland was packed (as it often is on the weekends) people might venture up to Looking Glass at Georgia and New Hampshire.

However, turns out the service moved up the street to Meridian Pint. The deal now is if you eat at Meridian Pint, they'll take you anywhere you want to go (within reason, I assume). Even that is a pretty good deal however, taking you to some other spot after a meal. The pedicab drivers (riders?) are also usually pretty cool folks to talk to as well, some of them have 9-5 jobs and choose to ride the bike around for fun/exercise/some extra dough.

Street Booze: Bud at 14th and Spring

This edition of Street Booze was sent in by a reader, who spotted this can of Bud "heavy" at 14th and Spring. I like the angle of the shot.

Check out the archive for more Street Booze.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dog poop on the sidewalk: Seriously, people.

Rant time: pick up your dog's poop, especially if it's on the sidewalk.

Lately I've been avoiding (and not avoiding as well as I'd like) dog bombs on the sidewalk, which is really annoying. It completely stinks (pun intended) to stop in it. If your dog is going to poop on the sidewalk, and hopefully you make sure it goes in a tree box or the grass instead, please pick up your poop. It's not tough, just carry and plastic bag and bend over. Easy.

Of course, most people are good about picking it up, but for whatever reason in the past few weeks I've seen a lot more around the neighborhood. Really annoying.

First look at 826DC and the Museum of Unnatural History

826DC, the local branch of the Dave Eggers-founded nonprofit that tutors kids on reading, writing, and more opened this weekend. As well as space to meet with kids, they also have a quirky storefront called the Museum of Unnatural History, with lots of funny items for sale. I made a video, below, though I'm not exactly an expert videographer.

Some more on the spot: 826DC is basically a continuation of Capitol Letters, a nonprofit that worked with local schoolkids on reading and writing, creating a professional-looking book of Cardozo High School kids' work. There are two full-time staff members now, plus 200 volunteers. Their reps said they're always looking for more volunteers -- especially for tutoring and teaching a number of subjects, but also to help with the place itself, designing items for the store, writing blurbs about the items, doing admin, things like that. 

For parents interested in having their kids involved, they need to sign up first, but then they can come by or figure out a schedule. That's on the website.

The store itself is sort of a cross between a museum of funky items and a store -- most everything is sale, though it's designed to look like a museum. All the were designed by volunteers and staffers, and the proceeds help fund the group's programs. There's jars of interesting things, shirts, taxidermy animals on loan from a museum in New York, and more. One of the interesting things you can buy, for example, is a station where you design your own animal. There are different foam bodies, different kinds of fur, antlers, ears, eyes and so on. There's also lots of other items: the idea was to not include anything technological like computers, since kids look at screens all day: it's all fun, hands-on and touchable stuff.

Reps said Dave Eggers was at their kickoff meeting a few weeks ago, and he actually wrote some of the signs about the items for sale, like one on a sandbox right inside the door. Cool to see that kind of involvement.

In any case, it's a really neat place, and I recommend you stop by, check it out, and hopefully volunteer. There's some good photos at CHDC as well.

Friday, October 22, 2010

826DC and Museum of Unnatural History opens this weekend

826DC, our local branch of the non-profit founded by Dave Eggers that teaches kids about writing and reading, is opening its doors this Saturday for a community open house. It's also the first opportunity to go inside their store, called the Museum of Unnatural History, which will sell all kinds of cool and weird items, as the name implies. The open house is from noon to 4, and 826DC is located on the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza, 14th/Park/Kenyon. I'll be there, it sounds fun!

You may remember that I posted a photo of their animal skeleton awhile ago. Apparently they have a cave also. Below is a slideshow showing the space's transformation.

Police bust Columbia Heights drug crew

I don't write about police activity often, but this has to be good news: MPD, DEA and FBI agents busted a drug crew in Columbia Heights, charging 9 people with a number of charges, and 6 of them in a 33-count indictment involving dealing PCP and cocaine. Police also recovered two guns.

Good to see this kind of thing, as drug dealing happens in the neighborhood, often out in the open. MPD always says to call in any sort of drug dealing or use. Even if the police won't show up in time, at least they record that it's happening, which can help in the future, as well as showing where more police presence could be needed.

There's a video too from Channel 7:

15th street bike lane to be extended to Euclid

Good news for bikers in the neighborhood: the 15th Street dedicated bike lane, which currently ends at T Street, is going to be extended up to Euclid Street and down as far as E Street. Might make for an easier trip around town for a lot of us. Construction may begin today.

The bike lane is separated from traffic (and parking, in some cases) with little plastic pillars, making it even safer than a regular bike lane. Here's a Youtube video from when they first opened it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Meridian Pint now has trivia on Wednesdays

Per DCist, Meridian Pint at 11th and Park now has trivia on Wednesdays. They join other local spots with trivia, like Wonderland (Monday), Looking Glass (Tuesday), and CommonWealth (Sunday).

I'm not sure who's running it or how it works, but I always like trivia. Has anyone been?

Haunted puppet show on Friday

If you want to get your Halloween started early, why not check out a haunted puppet show? Puppet Underground is putting on a "Haunted Halloween Cabaret" at St. Stephen's Church (1525 Newton) at 7 pm, which will have a number of different shows from different puppet troupes:
"The Only Good Corporation is an Undead Corporation" by RPM Puppet Conspiracy brings you corporate America. It's alive and endowed with the rights of humanity, but can it also get the flu? Chicken pox? Zombie virus? Watch as capital invests in its own infection!

--"A Matter of Life and Death" a new show from the Possibilitarian Puppet Theater in which Death dances, drums and plays the fiddle and Life shuffles and sings on. Mr Nobody has trouble finding a reason to live until The Boogey Man finds it for him.

--"Two Local Tales of Terror" by the Shadow Senators is a shadow puppet show about the curse of the Hope Diamond and the legend of DC, the Demon Cat who haunts the Capitol Building.

--"The Washington Tragedy" A puppet melodrama about a true-life scandal full of murder and intrigue from pre-Civil War days in the District by Puppet Underground.

--"The Girl in the Glass" A young girl meets an unexpected friend in this spooky show by Greenfield Greetings with musical accompaniment by Tunan Chews.
There's a $5-$10 suggested donation and it's for kids and adults. There's also a Sunday show in Georgetown.

Interview and dinner with Bryan Weaver

Just got a note about Dinners with Strangers, a cool blog where the writer sits down with someone interesting for dinner and asks them about their life. A recent interviewee was Bryan Weaver, current ANC commissioner and former Ward One council candidate (you may remember his campaign videos), who's also very involved with local youth: on a sad note, Weaver knew Jamal Coates, the victim in the drive-by shooting at U Street, very well.

The interview is interesting stuff, have a look. One of Weaver's campaign videos is below:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Food Network TV show filming at Sticky Fingers

A friend reports that the Food Network was just filming a TV show at Sticky Fingers bakery. It was some kind of competition show, but they wouldn't say what show.

Apparently Sticky Fingers wasn't in the competition, but they were filming inside. Everybody was wearing pink Sticky Fingers shirts and they'd also decorated the place. Maybe we'll see Sticky Fingers or even more Columbia Heights spots on TV soon.

Rumor: Pizza Hut coming to 14th and Fairmont

Just got a tip from a reader, who heard from a local business owner that there may be a Pizza Hut coming to the vacant space at 14th and Fairmont, in the Columbia Uptown building. It's on the east side of 14th, and the space used to be a convenience store with a decent beer selection, which closed last year or so.

I have no idea on the timeline or how certain or far along this is. As with a lot of the places coming in lately (like Z-Burger), I'm of two minds about this -- I like to see empty retail spaces filled, but I'm not thrilled it's a Pizza Hut. Then again, it's fairly far from the main retail center of the neighborhood so there's less foot traffic, which means getting a nice restaurant or cool store in this location would be pretty surprising. Pizza Hut, being mainly a delivery place, wouldn't need much foot traffic to survive.

Your thoughts?

Naked local firefighter not actually suspended

This isn't exactly hard-hitting news, but it's too funny not to report. Apparently the firefighter who was photographed cooking naked in the 14th and Newton firehouse (pictured above) wasn't actually suspended, as had been reported. Apparently he was just transferred to another firehouse.

To me, this is a hilarious story. There was a big retirement party, then some firefighters went to local bars. I wonder where they went? Social and Ruby Tuesday are the two nearest spots, but it's funny to think of a bunch of drunk firefighters at the Red Derby or dancing upstairs at Wonderland. Then after hitting some bars, this guy came back to the firehouse and thought he'd make himself some eggs. The rest is history.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Update on Meridian Hill wall construction

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the rehabilitation going on at Meridian Hill Park, which is getting refurbished bathrooms, a police lodge (I guess a place for police to sit when they're monitoring the park), and some reinforced walls. ANC commish Brianne Nadeau forwards an update from the National Park Service, which maintains the park:
The contractor who is performing the work to stabilize the highwall on the 16th Street side of Meridian Hill Park needs to move in a specialized crane.  To limit the impact on traffic and park users the contractor will be delivering the unit to Meridian Hill Park on Tuesday, October 19 at 4:00 a.m.  entering the park at Euclid and 15th Street.  The equipment is oversized, so it will be escorted by USPP through the park to the construction site along the 16th Street wall.  They will be putting down protective mats and cribbing to protect the grass and sidewalks as they move through the park and into position.  The delivery truck and machine are both below the noise limit of 50 dec.

Please post this to the community as soon as you can so they will have ample notification.  The Park regrets any inconvenience but the plan to use this crane will help to expedite the work and eliminate the need for additional lane closures on 16th Street.

Vince Gray town hall tonight

Just saw this on the Ward One listserve. Might be a good place for those folks who didn't vote for Gray.

Ward 1 Town Hall Meeting 
October 19, 2010 at 6:30 pm
With so many important issues facing our city, it’s critical that we come together to share our ideas. Throughout October, Democratic Mayoral Candidate Vince Gray is hosting meetings in each ward of the District of Columbia to engage citizens in a discussion about the issues that matter most to them. Please bring your ideas, your questions, and your enthusiasm for improving your community and our city.
Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School, 1100 Harvard St. NW, Washington DC
 Photo from Wikipedia

Rumor: Z-Burger to fill the empty Tivoli space

I wrote yesterday about the tip that suits were visiting the empty retail space in the Tivoli building at 14th and Park, and PoP reports he's hearing "scuttlebutt" that it will be local burger chain Z-Burger. I first heard about Z-Burger maybe coming to the neighborhood in April, but haven't heard anything about it since then.

Z-Burger is a smallish local chain that seems to be fairly good, getting 4 and 3.5 stars on Yelp for its two DC locations in Glover Park and Tenleytown, respectively. They have a ton of shakes and are also open late at night, midnight on Friday and Saturday at the Tenleytown location.

Now I like burgers and all, but we already have a Five Guys in the neighborhood, and I don't want Columbia Heights to become more of a big chain mecca. Then again, considering the success of Mayorga and Nori in that location, maybe it's the best we could hope for? And it's always better to have some kind of retail or food spot than a bank or cell phone store.

Street Booze: Modelo at 13th and Columbia

Sometimes you just gotta take the edge off before getting on the bus to go to work. Let's hope not. Spotted this at the bus stop at 13th and Columbia.

And yes, I always pick them up. You should too.

Want to see more Street Booze? Check out the archive.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Work in the old Mayorga/Nori spot in the Tivoli

Looks like something might be going into the vacant Mayorga/Nori spot in the Tivoli. The other day I received a note from a reader who said there was a man in a suit being shown the space, and yesterday when I walked by it looked like they were demolishing the insides.

I haven't heard what this is, but I'd assume it's some kind of food establishment. Let's hope it's a good spot and it survives -- it seems like that space is a black hole for businesses, as Mayorga failed, Mayorga with a Korean menu failed, and Nori failed. It is kind of an awkward space, with a small front area, little hallway to a bigger area, then another small upstairs area. However, it looks like they opened up the wall between the front part and the second part, maybe that will help.

First look at the new Target grocery store

I stopped by the newly-opened Target grocery on Sunday and snapped a few shots. My first impression: small. It's like a mini-grocery store. Kind of reminded me of the "secret" or Townhouse Safeway at 19th and Florida. That said, it has a good selection.

There's a produce aisle with mostly packaged produce (pictured here, which seemed to either not have much in stock or was emptied by customers), a meat aisle (also above), a packaged meat aisle with hot dogs and such, a dairy aisle, and the aisles that were in the store before, plus maybe one or two more.

Prices were about the same as Giant, but since Target has lots of cashiers, the wait was less.

In all, I'm pretty pleased, but as mentioned the produce aisle was kind of empty. Hopefully that's just a function of it being open one day, but we'll see.

Are you excited for this? Or unimpressed?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Looking Glass Lounge anniversary party this Sunday

Venerable northern Columbia Heights bar Looking Glass Lounge is celebrating its anniversary this Sunday. I'm a big fan of the LGL (formerly Temperance Hall), and it sounds like they're doing some fun stuff:
Come celebrate The Looking Glass Lounge's anniversary. Champaigne toast at 9PM, staff debauchery, Sunday fun-day, fried pickles and such... The patio will be bumpin with The DJ's BALL all night long, and perhaps there will be an M&M ice cream cake... not blue.
Not sure what the blue icing thing is. In any case, there's a Facebook invite and it looks like a big crowd.

Target grocery store opens Sunday

Are you ready for another source for groceries? I am. The Target grocery store, complete with produce and what other grocery stores carry, is opening this Sunday. Friends have told me that they've seen workers installing equipment and such, so unlike other grocery stores (Ellwood Thompson's) this is actually happening.

What do you think?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bands in the Neighborhood: Bonjour, Ganesh!

This latest installment of Bands in the Neighborhood is on Bonjour, Ganesh!, a nine-member funk and jam band. Here's what frontman Adam Rosenberg had to say. The band plays next on Saturday the 16th at Axum Level X Lounge (1934 9th Street, NW) at 10 PM. They even made a promo video!

How did you all come up with the band name?
It was the product of an elaborate Hindu-Catholic wedding. With Ganesh being the Hindu god of overcoming obstacles (not to mention a ubiquitous symbol giving us some great graphic design possibilities), we thought it would be an auspicious name for a new band.

How did the band form and get so big?
We multiply when we get wet. Just dont feed us after midnight! Just kidding. We emerged from a prior collaboration between guitarist Adam Roseberg and Bassist Mike Strauss. That was basically a straightforward rock band that morphed into something a lot funkier and groovier when drummer Matt Ling came along. Given the grooves we found ourselves playing, horns were just ringing in our ears, and we realized everything would sound better with brass. So we grew...and we grew and we grew...into a band called "Brian"!

How many members live in Columbia Heights? Whereabouts?
Myself (adam) and Sax player Mike Nilsson - he lives in Mt Pleasant. Bassist, Mike Strauss lives in Adams Morgan. Some others in Dupont and Logan Circle. One guy lives in Virginia!

Do you practice in CH? How about play any gigs in the neighborhood?
We practice at the Sitar Music Center in Adams Morgan and we've played a couple shows at Wonderland just for fun.

Working on any records?
Actually yes. We are recording at Inner Ear Studios with our engineer, Hugh McElroy. Hugh actually is a Columbia Heights native as well. He lives over on Otis I believe.

Gone on any tours? Any crazy or terrible tour stories?
Well, it is a stretch to call our New York show at Piano's Bar this summer a "tour". We're a band full of professionals...i.e., not professional musicians. So while we definitely have plans to play more out-of-town gigs, they'll have to be weekend trips parachuting in to particular cities. Given our backgrounds, we are an embarrassingly atypical rock band. As our sax player wrote us from his blackberry on the way up to the New York gig, "nothing says rock and roll quite like the Acela quiet car".

What’s your take on the music scene in Columbia Heights and in DC?
There is a lot of talent out front in DC, but even more talent lying just beneath the surface. A city known for its smart workaholics has a remarkably large number of extremely-talented folks who work too much to play in an organized fashion.

Luke Peterson (Keyboardist): I think every performing musician in DC probably knows a half-dozen non-performing musicians who are better than they are but just keep it in the closet. And every day I am thankful that none of them have made a sales pitch to the rest of my band, because B,G! is an extremely valuable and important outlet for me.

And if you had to rename your band for something Columbia Heights-related, what would it be?
Either Bonjour, Gentrification! or Bonjour, Hipster! or Julia's Empenadas - that last one already taken? Darn!

And here's that video:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Naked Columbia Heights firefighter suspended

Big news in naked firefighter department: the firefighter photographed for (allegedly) cooking naked after a retirement party at the 14th and Newton firehouse has been suspended. Unfortunately the fire chief, Dennis Rubin, doesn't add many details, other than the investigation has broadened and the firefighter was in big trouble.

And in case you were wondering, he was cooking eggs. I dunno, I prefer to be covered when cooking stuff. Splatter, and all. Ouch.

We're #19! (Busiest Metro station)

No surprise here: the Washington Business Journal reports that Columbia Heights is the 19th busiest station in the 86 station system. Often fairly crowded during morning rush hour, it's pretty busy on the weekends too with shoppers and diners, plus bar goers at night.
This is a big step of course, thanks to all the development in the neighborhood: last year Metro reported that Columbia Heights had the biggest ridership. I remember about 5 years ago when I lived in Adams Morgan, I'd use the Columbia Heights Metro sometimes and it was always empty, maybe a couple people there. Big changes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tynan celebrating 1 year anniversary

Nice to see this: popular local coffee shop Tynan Coffee and Tea is celebrating it's first anniversary on the 16th. They'll have giveaways, samples, and live music from 2-4pm from Rene Moffatt.

I'm a fan of Tynan, especially since they're enforcing their wifi policy. It's a nice spot to get a coffee, an all-day waffle, or a sandwich. The breakfast ones are pretty good. Stop by if you haven't been.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Want to host Up With People cast members?

Want to host some cast members of Up With People, an inspirational traveling performance group that will be playing the Columbia Heights Education Campus in October?
Host an UP WITH PEOPLE cast member during their stay in DC!
October 14th- 25th , 2010
What has 180 legs, 90 pieces of luggage, sings, dances, volunteers countless hours of community service and is coming to Washington DC?  A cast of Up with People!  The international cast of Up with People will be in DC from October 14th through October 25th.  Host families are needed to house these dynamic young people from 17 countries during their visit.  Host families provide a place to sleep, limited local transportation, and some meals (usually breakfast and dinner).  As a thank you, all host families will receive 2 complimentary tickets to the Up with People Show happening on October 22nd and 23rd  at 7:30 pm at Columbia Heights Educational Campus. If you are interested in bringing the world into your home please contact Eduardo Ramírez at 303-330-7433 or

Michael Vick jerseys at Marshall's

Originally uploaded by squidpants
Marhsall's has a lot of weird stuff. The other day I spotted these old Michael Vick Atlanta Falcons jerseys. I guess if you wanted to make a tasteless Halloween costume? Bizarre.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Columbia Heights farmers market update: art, music, more!

An update from the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace, which will have music and artists this weekend, plus booths from the Common Good City Farm and 826DC:
We have a CH Festivus full of great entertainment planned for this
Saturday, October 9 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Columbia Heights
civic plaza and fountain at the intersection of 14th and Kenyon
streets and Park Road, NW.

1. Thanks to the help of BloomBars (, the West
Market Trio band will play from noon to 12:45 p.m.-ish
2. Four fine artists will be showing off their creations for the
duration of the Marketplace
3. The community service organizations that will be at the Marketplace
this Saturday are:
Common Good City Farm ( and
826DC (

In addition, the public is welcome to attend the planning meeting of
the CH Community Marketplace board of directors tomorrow, Thursday,
October 7th at 7 p.m. at the office of CHANGE, Inc. (1413 Park Road,

New (delayed) Gillian Clark restaurant coming to Georgia Avenue?

Via the Examiner, the long-delayed Georgia Avenue Meeting House, run by Colorado Kitchen's Gillian Clark, is coming to 3730 Georgia Avenue NW. The spot was first mentioned in 2008 and is planned to have Southern food, like "trout, catfish, pheasant, and pigs’ feet." There will also be a fancy Sunday roast that you have to get dressed up for.

Clark was beloved for great soul/Southern food at Colorado Kitchen, but also well known for her and her staff's less than customer-friendly attitude.

But considering this was first mentioned 2 years ago, we'll see if it opens.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Some work at Meridian Hill Park underway

From ANC commish Brianne K. Nadeau's comes news that Meridian Hill Park is undergoing some refurbishment. Here's what's happening, from Nadeau:
Right now we’re also waiting for the beautiful police lodge and bathrooms to re-open after a snafu with the plumbing up there. I’m told the bathrooms will open soon... We’re going to have a ribbon cutting ceremony, because as I said to the Acting Superintendent, bathrooms are super important. 
Another part of the restoration of Meridian Hill Park includes the reinforcement of the west wall of the upper level. This is a project funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. While the National Park Service originally thought the disruption would be minimal, upon further inspection, they are really going to need to get in there and tear some stuff apart to get the job done and keep the wall safe.
They have to take out some trees, but those will be replaced as soon as possible. Nice to see more attention on Meridian Hill, which is a great resource for the neighborhood. The full details are on Nadeau's website.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Wonderland graffiti is back

In case you were worried, the graffiti-free, freshly painted red walls of the Wonderland bathrooms have rapidly become a canvas again. This one was upstairs, but there are some downstairs too.

There's one I've seen before and is back now, which I don't understand: it says "Seen two bear" and has a date, 2/19/09, plus one is actually a sticker with bears on it. Apparently this is the website, which doesn't help at all. Anybody have any idea? Not exactly Earth-shattering, just curious.

Watch out: backyard thefts on the rise around 11th and Euclid?

Cadets Mahoney and Thompson
Better make sure your backdoor fence is locked. A couple of days ago there were some messages on the Columbia Heights listserve about people stealing a bike from a backyard near 11th and Euclid. Another neighbor had two Adirondack chairs stolen from their backyard between Euclid and Clifton behind 11th.

Sounds like if you live in that area, you should make sure you lock up your backyard and any stuff there, and maybe install some kind of motion light or camera. Probably not a bad idea no matter where you live.

Also, make sure you report any crime or suspicious activity to the police, no matter how minor. MPD officers have often said in community meetings that even if they aren't able to stop the crime in progress, they won't know it's happening if you don't report it. The more crimes that are reported in area, the more MPD will focus on that area.

DCUSA retail plans: then and now

The other day I was looking at the floor plan of DCUSA from 2007, which had the planned tenants for various spaces. Some are the same, like Target and Best Buy, while others have changed. I went by last weekend to compare the map to reality (click to make the map bigger).

First, the similarities. As mentioned, Target and Best Buy filled their planned spaces, as did Marshall's, Bed Bath and Beyond, Panda Express, Lane Bryant, Staples, Vitamin Shoppe, Children's Place, Radio Shack, Payless, Mattress Discounters, and Desi's Place (the chicken spot on Park).

However, there were other planned tenants that never arrived. At the corner spot at 14th and Irving, there was a Caribou Coffee planned, which was replaced by Bank of America. BOA also took the two spots behind the planned Caribou, so those are filled.

Just inside the main door, there were smaller spots to be filled by Quizno's and Maggie Moo's, both of which are still empty -- and considering Maggie Moo's fate on U Street and in Adams Morgan, maybe that's a good thing. One of the spots is just empty, the other is being used for shopping cart storage.

Up 14th between the Lane Bryant and Staples, a Foot Locker was planned. That will be replaced by the similar Sports Zone.Between Staples and the Vitamin Shoppe (which I'm always stunned is still open) was to be something called Rainbow, a clothing store. That one is still vacant.

All the other vacant spots on the floor plan are still vacant, with the exception of IHOP, which has its sign on the spot labeled 109 on the map, and which might possibly be going into the spots next to it -- I haven't been able to find a square footage of the planned IHOP. Oddly though, there's a wall between 108 and 109, and 108 and 107 are joined. Then further down Irving is the supposed (maybe never) Ellwood Thompson's. And interestingly, there's a tiny empty spot on the 2nd floor between Bed Bath and Beyond and Best Buy.

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting look at what could have been. To be honest, I'm not too upset those planned places didn't show up, but I would like the rest of the spots to be filled by good, useful tenants. I am disappointed that the spot (or spots?) reserved for minority or small businesses haven't been filled. And of course, there's Ellwood Thompson's.

Monday, October 4, 2010

New bed and breakfast on Kenyon Street

This is pretty neat: there's a new "bed and basket" at 1207 Kenyon St NW called the Asante Sana Guest Quarters. A bed and basket is like a bed and breakfast, but with a basket of fruit and such instead of a full breakfast. The place is a townhouse with four different rooms at $150 and $175 a night: might be a nice spot for visiting guests or time away from your house.

Always nice to see different kinds of retail coming to the neighborhood. There's also a guest house I believe on Columbia Road near 14th.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sports Zone sneaker store coming to DCUSA

A reader tipped me off that there's a sign next to the Staples saying "Sports Zone coming soon." Sports Zone is a local chain of "lifestyle footwear and apparel" stores with about 20 locations in the area, including the one on M Street in Georgetown, pictured. They seem to have mostly athletic shoes plus jeans, t-shirts, caps and such, judging from their website.

I'm ambivalent about this place, though I hope it doesn't hurt Nash's Sports, a smaller chain up in the Tivoli building north of Park Road.

I've bought a few things at the Georgetown location, they often have pretty good sales. 

Yard Sale Roundup: busy weekend!

There's a ton of yard sales in the area this weekend, so get out there and buy some stuff. To wit:
  • 1830 Park Rd in MtP, Sat 9-3: clothes, jewelry, kitchen stuff, more. Link
  • 13th and Fairmont, Saturday 10-3: men's and women's clothes, kitchen items, and more. Link
  • 1801 Calvert, Sat 10-5: contemporary design bags and cases. Link
  • 1741 Irving, Sat 9-4: kitchen stuff, electronics, kids stuff, more. Link
  • 1368 Euclid St #608, Sun 11-?: lots of designer clothes for men and women. Lin

Neighborhood cleanup this Saturday

Here's an opportunity to do something good for the neighborhood: the North Columbia Heights Civic Association is having a clean-up and brunch on Saturday. They plan to do something similar on the first Saturday of every month this fall. Here's the info:
When:                  Saturday, October 2nd,  9:30am – 10:30am
Where:                 Meet outside Columbia Heights Coffee (on 11th between Park and Monroe)
What:                   Volunteer an hour of your morning to help keep the neighborhood clean and share community ideas with your neighbors at a Meridian Pint brunch afterwards
Why:                     Help keep the neighborhood clean
How:                     Cleaning supplies (bags and gloves) will be provided.  Just bring yourselves, your kids, and even your pets!
There will be brunch deals at Meridian Pint for cleaner-uppers as well, and here's more about the NCHCA.

If you haven't ever done a neighborhood cleanup, they're actually a lot of fun -- you make the area look nicer plus you often meet some of your neighbors. I recommend it.