Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Whoa! Americana August music festival in the neighborhood starting this weekend

I'm pretty excited about this. Some local folks are organizing what they're calling the Americana August festival starting this weekend, with three concerts, two in Columbia Heights and one in Northeast DC. It sounds really cool, and I hope to write more about it soon. Here's the info and flyer:

“Americana August” is a three day music festival that centers on the ethos of American hospitality and togetherness. We seek to bring together several bands, singer-songwriters, events, and food options where one and all are welcome to partake and participate in making the event their own.

Our first event on the evening of August 3rd features Lulu Mae of Nashville, TN with local artist Wendell Kimbrough. Bring your best homemade pies and enter for a chance to win our pie baking contest for an Americana prize. Location is 3423 Oakwood Terrace NW with doors at 8pm ($10 cover). Find the Event Page Here

Our second event is Picnic and Bluegrass held at the same location at 11:30am the next morning (August 4th) and will feature the Honey Dewdrops from Charlottesville, VA ($10 cover). A DC Food Truck will be making an appearance and will have food available for purchase and iced tea and lemonade will be provided. Bring your blankets and your Americana spirit! Find the Event Page Here

Our final event on August 9th will feature Jill Andrews of Knoxville, TN at 826 7th St. NE with doors at 8pm, show time at 8:30 ($15 cover). A free Americana ice cream treat will be given to each attendee. In the spirit of American hospitality, the first twenty people to buy their bundle package tickets via PayPal ($35 for all three days) will receive Americana August memorabilia, VIP seating, and a beer at each show. We hope to see you there! Find the Event Page Here

Join the Facebook Page to Find links to each show's event page. 

New post office opening in the Reeves Center, 14th and U

In February we heard that the T Street Post Office was closing. Now, it's reopened in the Reeves Center, the DC government office building at 14th and U. Borderstan says it's open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm and Saturday from 9am-1pm. It's closed Sunday.

Of course, there's also a FedEx Office (or as I like to call it, Kinko's) at 3111 14th Street NW, if that helps. And you can also get stamps at CVS and Giant.

Plus this gives me an opportunity to post clips from Seinfeld. I like the episode where they try to use Newman's mail truck to drive a load of bottles and cans to Michigan because they give a 10 cent deposit there.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Help support a hiking trip for inner-city kids

Just got an email from Washington to Washington, a group organizing a hiking trip for inner-city kids. Davy Rothbart of NPR's This American Life is involved too, and they're looking for some help to bring as many kids as they can. Here's more:
This trip gives at-risk youth the chance to explore the country's most beautiful wilderness areas, a chance they otherwise might not have. It's called "Washington II Washington", taking kids from from Washington DC, Michigan, and New Orleans areas on a hike to Mt. Washington. For many of these children, its their first time leaving the city.
This year's hike kicks off next week, August 1st.
We've added more children to the roster, so our original fundraising goal of $6K has been expanded to $10K. (20 more children, at $200/per child). If you're able to forward our story and fundraising link to friends, colleagues, post on social media outlets and blogs, we're looking for even micro donations of $10 or $20. 
The link is  http://www.indiegogo.com/washingtontowashington2012 
To read more about the story and the children involved, visit washingtontowashington.org 
Thank you again for your interest and support!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Summer Tournament of Games this Saturday: card games, lots more

The Summer Tournament of Games is this weekend, with card games, dominoes, checkers, chess and a lot more. Here's the flyer below, and two videos from a previous tourney. It looks pretty popular.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Beer Run: New Dodge Market at 14th and Spring

New Dodge Market It's been awhile since I've done a Beer Run, the series where I check out the selections and ambiance (or lack thereof, usually) of our local corner stores. You can see previous Beer Runs here.

This week I checked out the New Dodge Market at 3620 14th Street NW. It was kind of an interesting spot. They have a lot of candy in tiny bags near the front, plus random craft items like beads. The interior is pretty average  of corner stores, and they had a decent beer selection with some fancier stuff like Dogfish Head and the usual cheap stuff. The prices were fairly igh though, it was about $11.50 with tax for a 6 of Dogfish Head.

Here are the ratings:

Selection: 3 of 5, not bad for a small shop
Price: 2 of 5, pretty high.
Ambiance: 2 of 5, the guy was nice, and put up with some characters when I was there.

That comes out to a 7/15, which is about the middle of the road. So far D'Vines is the leader, but that's not really a fair fight. Bringing up the rear are the bizarre Carolina Market, with a 0/15, which I am convinced is a front for something, and the mercifully closed Chuck's Market.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Park Road Community Church holding Family & Friends Day this Sunday

If you're interested in learning more about a local church, here's an event put on by the Park Road Community Church at 1019 Park Rd NW. See below for the flyer.

parkroadfamily-friendsdayflyer 2012.pdf

Friday, July 20, 2012

Coffy Cafe hosting James Baldwin literary event on Saturday

Coffy Cafe, the tasty crepe and tea spot at 3310 14th Street NW, has a neat event this week: they're hosting an event called James Baldwin: A Soul on Fire about the author, including a book signing, literary performance, and an appearance by Baldwin's niece. Here's more info, and the flyer (click it for a bigger version).


( Washington, DC, July 20, 2012)  Aisha Karefa-Smart,  niece of the noted writer,James Baldwin (1924-1987) will be attending the upcoming inaugaural literary performance and book signing salon along with the recently announced guest moderator, Lionell Thomas, Executive Director, DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities. The salon series guided by DC native, actor and editor, Charles Reese will take place at the Coffy Cafe. 3310 14th Streets, NW. Washington, DC. Saturday, July 21, 2012.  5pm-7pm.
212. 588.5660. www.coffycafe.com

Aisha Karefa-Smart, author of "Dining While Black: A Guide To The Art Of Modern Dining" states, " How wonderdul that Charles Reese has made it to the Washington DC area with his literary performance book salon tribute to my late Uncle Jimmie on the 25th anniversary of his passing. My sister Mrs. Carole Rose and I are very excited to attend. I have put the word out for other family members in the DC metro area to join us."

“JAMES BALDWIN A SOUL ON FIRE,” a book version of the critically-acclaimed Off Broadway short play by the late playwright and Emmy Award Nominee, Howard B. Simon (1962-2000) is available at Amazon.com. Edited and guided by the original  Off-Broadway actor and DC native, Charles Reese with a special foreword by David Leeming (Baldwin’s Biographer and former secretary); and coupled with an afterword by original actor and Tony Award Nominee, Forrest McClendon (Scottsboro Boys). The book was published by Azaan Kamau/Glover Lane Press, an independent publisher.

The James Baldwin Literary Performance Book Salon with Charles Reese is  FREE and Open to the Public. Books will be available for only $15 along with a lively conversation and eclectic food for the soul; and coupled with some rare archival footage of the Off Broadway play and music.

Join us in celebrating writer, civil rights activist and expatriate, James Baldwin...25 Years Later. SATURDAY, JULY 21, 2012. COFFY CAFE. 3310 14th STREETS, N.W.  (COLUMBIA HEIGHTS) WASHINGTON, DC 20010. Time: 5:00PM-7:00PM
RSVP: 202.588.5660. www.coffycafe.com

For media inquires, please contact: TEC Communications Inc.,soulonfire63@yahoo.com

Cava Mezze Grill opening Monday, free food for NCH readers on Sunday!

Photo from Yelp
Just heard from the folks at Cava Mezze Grill, the new fast casual Greek place coming to 3105 14th Street NW: they'll be opening on Monday the 23rd. 

They're also hosting a special pre-opening for New Columbia Heights blog readers on Sunday from 1:30 to 2:30! You'll get a free pita, bowl, salad or minis (here's more about the menu) and a free fountain drink. Can't beat that! And thanks to them for hosting it.

It's first come-first served, and you have to RSVP, so do it soon!

Here's their website for more info.

Small, white lost dog near 14th and Meridian -- is it yours?

Just received this from a reader. Does the dog sound familiar?
I saw what looked like a lost dog in the alley b/n Holmead and 14th just south of Meridian. I really don't know dogs, but he was small, white, terrier looking with no collar but pretty friendly and clearly a pet. Looked like the attached, which is just a pic off google and not one that I took of the dog, as it ran down the alley before I could snap one. A neighbor said it'd been there for the last 3 days. So - hope this helps the owner find it.
If this sounds familiar, email shani.arbel(at)gmail(dot)com. Note this isn't the dog, but it looks like it.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Condemnation hearing for 1483 Newton next week: will it be torn down or fixed up?

Some possible good news from the sorry story of 1483 Newton Street NW, the abandoned and derelict apartment building. The place has been the subject of a battle between family members who own it, and as such nothing has happened to it in years. It's a shame, it could be a really nice building, like the others next to it (see the photo, 1483 is the crappy one on the left.)

However, we may have some progress. The city is holding a condemnation hearing on Wed., July 25. If the owners don't appear or lose their argument, the city can issue a condemnation order. Reuben Pemberton at DCRA's Office of Vacant Property explained what that meant in a previous post about the building:
Condemnation simply orders the property to be made secure, so that no one can get in or out.  The owner must then make a decision to either render the property sanitary, or raze it.  In some cases if he does not fix the property the city will raze it, but those generally are only instances where the property id imminently dangerous to the public.
If you recall, the building owners had $130,000 in back taxes, but paid those off, meaning the city can't seize it or sell it in a tax sale. It seems they haven't paid their 2011 2nd half taxes either (they're sq 2681 lot 0685.)

The hearing is 10:35 am on the 25th at 1100 4th Street, SW, 4th Floor, Suite E4302, Washington, DC 20024. I hope some folks can go and testify that something needs to happen to this.

Below are the letter about the property to the local ANC, and the letter to the owner. Thanks to Kent Boese at the Park View DC blog for the tip.
ANC Cover Letter Notice to 1483 Owner

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Comedy show at Wonderland on Friday

If you enjoying laughing, check out below:
Wowzers! Don't Block the Box is back and is gonna be an absolutely amazing show! Going strong after our two year bonanza, we're starting our new year with an amazing pool of talent. Plus, cheap drinks. Plus, a dance night afterwards. Plus, good times all the time. It's gonna be an amazing Friday night.

Your headliner:
Tyler Richardson! (DC Improv, State Theater, NBC's Stand Up for Diversity)

Michael Smith! (Opener for Will Durst and John Mulaney, Don't Block the Box 4)

Lauren Kris! (DC Improv, Arlington Drafthouse)

Jamel Johnson! (State Theater, The Gala Hispanic Theater)

Hosted by:
Reggie Melbrough! (Our resident host and co-producer! Arlington Drafthouse. BloomBars headliner. Story League.)


Show @ 7:30
21 and over
Where: The second floor of Wonderland Ballroom
Price: $3, cash only (coins acceptable!)
Closest Metro station: Only a few blocks from Columbia Heights Station
Parking: Everywhere!
Fun: times a trillion
Bar: Oh man... we've got TWO bars.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Doggy Happy Hour at Lou's on Saturday: meet adoptable dogs, talk to a vet

Are you a dog? Do you like to drink beer?

Ok, it's not that kind of happy hour. Lou's City Bar at 1400 Irving is hosting their second Doggy Happy Hour, where along with $4 Dogfish Head drafts (get it, dog) you can meet adoptable dogs from Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, a local animal rescue group, and also talk to vet John C. Polk, DVM, about your pet questions.

Sounds like a fun event for folks looking for a pet, or just animal lovers in general.

Cava Mezze Grill, new quick Greek spot, opening very soon on 14th

I just heard from a spokesperson that Cava Mezze Grill, a Mediterranean fast casual spot coming to 3105 14th Street NW, is undergoing their final inspections and hope to open very soon. We first heard about them in April, when they took over the location of Radiance MedSpa.

The restaurant looks almost done too, signs are up, fixtures are in, and most of the seating seems to be in place. There looks to be a few dozen seats at the spot, which is kind of a Greek Chipotle -- basically you pick a base, like pita, bowl, mini pitas or salad, then protein (chicken, grilled meatballs, lamb, beef or falafel), then Greek toppings like hummus, tzatziki, and so on, and then veggies. Here's the full menu -- sounds pretty tasty. They also try to use actual Greek or local ingredients, and the meat is hormone- and antibiotic-free. And they'll have beer and wine.

The place is not to be confused with the similarly-named Cava Mezze, which is owned by the same folks but is more of a fancy sit-down place. In fact, Cava Mezze was named one of Washingtonian's top 100 restaurants, so that's a good sign.

I'm looking forward to it! You?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pools open later Tuesday and Wednesday

It's going to be hot again on Tuesday and Wednesday, but at least you can go to the pool. DCist reports that the city sent out an alert saying that outdoor pools will be open later. The Banneker pool (2500 Georgia Ave NW) will be open until 8:30 pm (it's closed Thursdays) and the Upshur Pool at 4300 Arkansas Ave NW, plus the Francis pool at 25th and N will be open until 9:30 pm (although Francis is closed on Tuesdays.)

In addition, trash will be picked up at 6 am rather than 7.

Fundraising event to build libraries for kids, July 21 at Meridian Pint

This sounds like a neat event. Buildings and Books, a 501(c)(3) group that raises money to build libraries for kids in Africa, is holding a fundraiser at Meridian Pint.

Here are the details:
  • The the event is open to the public and from 4-7 pm on July 21 at Meridian Pint 
  • There will be free, light, appetizers, shuffleboard (we have the whole basement), and a range of great people!
We're hoping to raise enough at the event to cover half the cost of a library, which will hopefully allow Buildings & Books to establish two libraries this year, after having built one library each of the past two years. The organizations recently updated its website with pictures of its first two libraries in Kenya.
Always nice to see this kind of thing.

Friday, July 13, 2012

What's new at the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace this weekend?

A lot! Here's their most recent update. The market takes place on the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza (14th/Park/Kenyon) from 9am to 2 pm on Saturdays.

Columbia Heights Community Marketplace
Saturday, July 14th from 9 AM to 1 PM (rain or shine)
Civic plaza @ 14th Street and Kenyon Street, NW

This week at the market

For the latest information about the market, visit our blog

NEW FOOD VENDOR: Urban Honey, operated by Columbia Heights resident Cynthia Martin, will sell honey at the market starting on Saturday.

Produce: Apples, artichokes, arugula, asparagus, banana peppers, basil, beets, blackberries, blueberries, bok choi, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cayenne peppers, cauliflower, chard, cherries, cider, chives, cilantro, collards, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, fennel, garlic, green peppers, herbs, jalapenos, okra, purslane, kale, mushrooms, mustard greens, onions, peaches, green onions, okra, plums, potatoes, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb, sorrel, squash, spinach, strawberries, Swiss chard, tatsoi, field tomatoes, greenhouse tomatoes, tomato plants, thyme, turnips, zucchini, black raspberries, watermelon
Vendors: Chesley Farm, Dragonfly Farm, Five Seeds Farm, Licking Creek Bend Farm, Pleitez Produce, Whipple Farms, Wisteria Gardens
Fresh baked bread, pastries, and cookies
Vendors: Bonaparte Breads, Goldilocks Goodies, Upper Crust Bakery
Dairy and eggs:  Chicken and duck eggs, goat cheese, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, yogurt, and cheese spreads.
Vendors: Chapel’s Country Creamery, Five Seeds Farm, Picnic Gourmet Spreads, Spriggs Delight Goat Cheese, Twin Post Farm
Meat products:  Beef, chicken, duck, lamb, pork, and, on limited basis, chevon (goat), and sheep products.
Vendors: Country Vittles from Critter Hill Farm, Springfield Farm of Kent County, MD, Stachowski Brand Charcuterie
Specialty items:  Mexican fare from El Sabor del Taco, pickles by Fresh Crunch, gluten-free cookies from Goldilocks Goodies, honey from Urban Honey, and salsas, dips, hummus, peanut sauce, and tahini by Wisteria Gardens.

Fine Arts: Four artists will showcase their creativity to the community.
Entertainment: West African dancer, choreographer, and instructor Afrika will perform beginning at 11 AM.
Cooking Demo:  Local health coach Collen DiPietro will prepare delicious, seasonal smoothies featuring marketplace produce.  For more information, visit our blog.

Community Table:  Featuring Kid Power; Lafayette Federal Credit Union, which will raffle off two best-of-the-market bags; and GSA Haiti, a non-profit organization that operates a primary school in rural Haiti.

Keep up with the latest on FacebookTwitterand our blog.

We thank Wholesome Wave for their generous support of the Festibuck and Fruit & Vegetable Prescription programs, Giant for supporting our entertainment, and Old School Hardware for their sponsorship of the market. We appreciate both Minuteman Press (14th and Meridian) and the UPS Store (14th and Monroe) for offering us discounts on a range of printing and copying services.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Do you want to serve your neighborhood? Run for ANC!

If you'd like to make your neighborhood a better place and get involved in what's happening, here's a great opportunity!

The Advisory Neighborhood Commission, an elected position whose job is to advise the City Council on local issues, and also to issue grants and work on local community projects, is up for election this cycle. (They also have the power to effectively allow or deny liquor licenses, which is a big deal.)

So you should run! Here's the most recent maps of the ANCs. And if you live in ANC 1A10, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE RUN. Current 1A10 commish Lenwood Johnson is terrible. (The ANC 1A10 map is to the right.)

Johnson opposes anything useful (like the new Park View sign), he acts like a child on neighborhood listserves, bragged about having unregistered guns in his house, was nearly censured by the ANC, and is just generally a terrible ANC commissioner. Please register to run against him, and if more than one person registers, please work together so you aren't splitting the anti-Lenwood vote. Seriously. I will volunteer on your campaign.

Here's more info on running from Cecilia Jones, president of the Northwest Columbia Heights Community Association.

As active, concerned members of the community we have certain responsibilities to ourselves and to each other. We should become knowledgeable about how to request city services (speed humps, zoned parking, special trash pick-ups, graffiti removal, street light repairs, etc.) We should also understand the laws that affect local businesses. We should understand the roles and responsibilities of government agencies in matters of public safety, zoning, nuisance properties, licensing for establishments serving alcoholic beverages, halfway houses, etc. These are the things that affect our day-to-day lives and our property values.
The Advisory Neighborhood Commission is a political structure in DC where one Commissioner represents a Single Member District (SMD), about 2000 residents. Each of DC's 8 Wards have at least 4 Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (e.g., 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D). Each Commission has about 8 to 10 Commissioners. On November 6th, nearly 300 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners will be elected to represent DC's neighborhoods.
Have you ever considered running for public office? Would you like to become your neighborhood's ANC? Or would you like to support a candidate who is already running, or encourage someone you know to run? What we must NOT do is refuse to act now and complain later.
If you are interested in becoming an ANC, July 9 is the first day to pick up a nominating petition (see http://www.dcboee.org/popup.asp?url=/pdf_files/nr_966.pdf and http://www.dcboee.org/home.asp for more information.) 
Recent re-districting has changed the shape of many SMDs. If you don't know which SMD is yours, please type in your address at: http://citizenatlas.dc.gov/atlasapps/reporthometab.aspx
Important 2012 Dates:
July 9th  – Nominating Petitions are available. 
August 8th – Nominating Petitions are due. Petition Requirements: 25 signatures of registered voters from the candidate's Single Member District.November 6th – General Election for ANC Commissioners and other races 
**Note: ANCs are non-partisan so there is no primary, just the General Election on November 6th. The position of Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner is unpaid, and can be very demanding.
Please talk about the upcoming ANC election among your neighbors and friends. Please go to the next ANC Meeting in your area: http://anc.dc.gov/anc/site/default.asp 
Block Captains: Please forward this e-mail to your block lists, or those you feel might be interested. Time will run short, and there's so much that can be done with the support of a strong ANC. The ANC controls grant funding for local projects and represents our interests to the City Council and other DC and Federal Agencies.  
Let's be heard--it's up to us.
Thanks and enjoy the rest of your weekend,

Soccer league for kids starting up

Just heard about this kids' soccer league to be played in the area, which is being broadcast on a lot of local listserves. Check it out. Know of any other good kids' sports leagues in the area?

6 WEEKS Session only $99 
Registration is now available online @ www.kafksoccer.com*Space Limited
-Registration Deadline: Friday July, 13th
-Class Begins: Sat/Sun July, 14th -thru- Sat/Sun August, 18th
"Kicks Are For Kids" is proudly serving ADAMS MORGAN | COLUMBIA HEIGHTS | DUPONT CIRCLE | & MORE._ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

call: 1(877) 917-4568email: info@kafksoccer.com
Thank You!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Help out at the new Bruce Monroe Community Garden this Saturday

You may have seen the Bruce Monroe Community Garden at the Bruce Monroe Park -- it's a neat little garden, and they're building some new features. Help them out!
The Bruce Monroe Community Garden is growing and we need your help!

Join us this Saturday, July 14, from 9:00am – Noon, and help build a new set of raised beds at the garden! Over 100+ community members already participate in the garden and we are looking to expand this great community resource! The community garden features composting facilities, a learning garden for kids, fruit and nut trees, as well as shared and reserved plots.

Once completed, these new plots will be immediately available, just in time for the late summer and fall harvest. Whether you’ve never gardened before or are looking to upgrade from your balcony container garden, we’d love to have you as a part of our garden community!
No building/construction experience necessary and we’ll provide gloves, tools, and guidance. Just come with some sunscreen and a bottle of water. A quick email to brucemonroegarden@gmail.com to let us know you're coming would be appreciated.

The Bruce Monroe Community Garden is located in Bruce Monroe Park (Georgia Ave between Columbia Rd and Irving St, NW), behind the tennis courts. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mini-golf at the Building Museum: fun out of the sun

Yesterday I got a neat opportunity - to try out the National Building Museum's new indoor mini-golf course. The course, open until Labor Day, has a dozen holes designed by various architects, and was a lot of fun.

Fitting the museum's mission to educate people about architecture and buildings, the architects try a lot of different things: holes range from easy and straight-forward to difficult and beautiful, and are made of various materials: wood, metal, fabric, and concrete. And while it's not free ($5 if you're just playing minigolf, or $3 with a full-priced museum admission, which range from $3 to $8) and it's outside the neighborhood, it's a great way to stay out of the sun and enjoy a really cool museum. 

If you haven't been, the building itself is really impressive (see below), there's a huge interior hall with giant pillars and lots of windows and ornate details. The building was built to house the Pension Bureau after the Civil War and was used after that for various Federal offices. It fell into disrepair before being refurbished and reopened.

So how about the course? Some holes directly reference DC, like one with little channels over a map of the Monumental Core area (Lincoln, Washington, White House, etc) while some are much more experimental and don't resemble a building at all. Some of the holes reflect their builders too -- landscape architects built a streetscape, while event architecture and catering companies built a little outdoor meal. My favorites were an exaggerated topographic map of the Potomac built with wood blocks, a big, simple concrete swirl, and a kind of half-pipe decorated with drawings by 18th century Italian artist Giovanni Piranesi. There's also a lot of nice murals on the walls of various architecture, both in DC and around the world (or non-existent, like the Tower of Babel.) Take a look at photos we took here, and go check it out!

National Building Museum

Check out some fireworks videos in the neighborhood

I'm a firm believer that Columbia Heights is the best place in the US to see 4th of July fireworks -- you get a great view of the Mall from rooftops, and tons of people shoot off their own around the neighborhood.

I found a number of videos of fireworks in the neighborhood, both of the local stuff being shot off, and of views towards the Mall. Take a look, and if you know of others, let us know in the comments!

About 13th and Park, a local display:

 The downtown fireworks:

 Some dudes in an alley:

From a roof, towards downtown

Bands in the Neighborhood: Northeast Corridor

This latest installment of Bands in the Neighborhood, our series on local musical acts, is on Northeast Corridor, who've been together for years. Here's their website and Facebook page.

They play as the backing band for live band karaoke at Chief Ike's in Adams Morgan, organized "Sing for Obama" fundraising events and play as a cover band.

Band member Eli Cohn sent this blurb, and answered the questions below: "The group has strong ties to the neighborhood and was originally founded by members of the choir at All Souls Unitarian Church (on 16th and Harvard) and was originally named "3516 The Band" after the group house at 3516 10th St. where we practiced and where several of the band members lived."

And if you're a Band in the Neighborhood and would like to be part of this series, email me.

How did the band form?
Several years ago choir members At All Souls Church including current NEC members Pablo Benavente (guitar, vocals, percussion), Melinda St. Louis (vocals), and former lead singer, Jason Levitis, decided to put a rock band together. With the use of a big group house at 3516 10th St. NW and their ability to sing beautiful 3-part harmonies they recruited the rest of us.  The invention of Live Band Karaoke happened when Jason injured his voice singing Billie Jean and we found ourselves without a lead singer for a show.  We handed off the song list to the audience and before we knew it we had people going crazy to sing with us.

How'd you get your name?
We were originally named 3516 The Band after our practice space, changed to The Prophylaxis of Evil for one night when we all dressed like different birth control methods for a Halloween show, briefly went under the name Lobster Hamster Hipster (which our bassist still insists should be our name) and eventually settled on Northeast Corridor because our former lead singer lived in NY and we were wracking up the miles on the NJ turnpike in order to get together and play.

How many members live in Columbia Heights? Whereabouts?
Today, 3 of us live in Columbia Heights—two at 13th and Fairmont and one who shares a wall with Red Rocks Pizza at Park Road and 11th Street.  Sadly, the rest of the band has drifted to the surrounding neighborhoods of Mt. Pleasant and Adams Morgan and even as far as Takoma Park.  But the band still feels its spiritual roots are on the Green Line.

Do you practice in CH? How about play any gigs in the neighborhood?
We had to leave our lovely practice space—at 10th and Monroe—a couple years ago when a pipe burst in the basement spewing sewage everywhere and then the house was foreclosed on a short time late. We now trek up to Takoma Park for full-band practices but vocal rehearsals still happen at 13th and Fairmont. We have played all over Greater Columbia Heights.  We’ve done live band karaoke at Wonderland, Solly’s U Street Tavern, parties at All Souls and the Josephine Butler Center by Malcolm X Park, fundraisers at the Potter’s House, and we have a monthly gig (3rd Wednesdays) at Chief Ike’s on Columbia Road.  We also played a huge Obama Victory Party on the roof of the Ellington on U Street.

What are your band's influences? 
I could talk about Pablo and Melinda’s extensive Latin folk repertoire, and how Pablo once chose Iron Maiden over God.  Julie sings in a chamber choir, Brian, our drummer, comes from a jazz background, and David can play almost any guitar solo from the 80s note for note.  But as a band we play covers so we don’t need “influences” we just copy people.  We do occasionally steal arrangements from Alex Goot’s videos on Youtube.  I don’t know who that kid really is but he seems to know how to arrange a pop song.

Do you have any records out? 
We are finally planning some serious studio time at the beginning of August with a professional engineer.  We have some home recordings we aren’t terribly proud of and some videos on youtube and www.northeastcorridor.net.  We also recorded a couple political parody songs this fall for Public Citizen and we are planning do some more.  These are a lot of fun and we are hoping that our ABC parody will be used for a flashdance.

Gone on any tours? Any crazy and terrible tour stories?
We play out in VA a couple times a year and have made some memorable trips up the East Coast to New York and Massachusetts for shows and we have a trip to New Jersey booked for the fall.  We have had remarkably good luck on tour—no major automobile malfunctions or fallings-out between band members. There was a late night skinny dipping episode in Wellesley that we have all promised never to speak of again, and our bassist has gotten himself into some trouble at a couple of wedding gigs, but those stories aren’t really appropriate for a family blog.

And if you had to rename your band for something in Columbia Heights, what would it be?
Sweet Mango Jerk Chicken Platter with White and Dark Meat…but I guess that’s technically in Petworth. So we’d probably have to go with Taqueria DF. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Learn to fix your bike: the Bike House at Annie's Ace Hardware

If you need to get your bike fixed or want to learn more about it, there's a great neighborhood option: The Bike House.

On Saturday I decided to check out them out. They're a non-profit bike clinic. They're open every Saturday at Annie's Ace Hardware (1240 Upshur Street NW) from noon to 3 pm and Sundays from 11am-1pm at the Bloomingdale Farmer's Market at 1st and R NW. They've also started up a mobile clinic with a bike trailer to go to Wards 7 and 8.

In short, I had a great experience. They're staffed by volunteers and they'll help find what's wrong with your bike and teach you how to fix it. There's a host who will greet you and ask about your bike, and then they pair you up with an expert. They're knowledgeable and friendly, which is key -- I'm no bike expert, and so many times I've been to bike shops and the staff have had really bad attitudes because of that. I don't know what I'm doing -- if I were an expert, why would I be going to a bike shop?

The Bike House folks are great. I needed a new tube for a tire and the bike seemed sluggish. Bo, the volunteer who helped me, saw that one brake was too tight and rubbed the wheel, and that the chain was gunky. He showed me how to loosen the tension on the brakes and how to clean off the chain. They have a lot of tools with them, and you can buy parts at Annie's. In my case, the entire cost of my visit was $4 for a new tube (though I also donated some money to the clinic, because they were awesome and are doing it for free.) Then I tried riding, and the bike rode perfectly.

I can't recommend them enough. You can also just show up and use the tools if you know what you're doing, and they have pumps and things too. They also offer classes, and are always looking for more volunteers.

Pretty cool stuff. Stop by and say hi (and tell them you heard about it from this blog!)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Neighborhood festival and donation drive tomorrow at Meridian Hill Park

This sounds like a neat event -- a book and clothing swap, plus toy donation drive and a lot more.

Click the flyer at right for more info. And they've changed the time due to the heat, it'll be 11am-3pm.

"A community festival and donation drive to celebrate the people who make DC the wonderful city it is. 

Bring those clothes, books, and toys, you don't need and join us on the upper level of the park this Saturday, July 7th! The event will be organized into 6 corners:

Clothing Corner- swap or donate your clothing items
Reading Corner- swap/donate books and enjoy a book as we convert a section of the park to an outdoor library
Art Corner- help our interactive art projects by tweeting pictures of your Saturday around DC to @inonedaydc and writing wishes to hang on tree branches in accordance to the Japanese holiday Tanabata celebrated on July 7
Music Corner- watch performances or perform yourself in an open invitation stage
Play Corner- pass the time with some toys and donate your old ones
Health and Wellness Corner- enjoy some free yoga and laughter exercise sessions in this section

All of the items remaining at the end of the day will be distributed among several community organizations providing great services in DC, including The Homeless Children's Playtime Project and Dress for Success. 

For more information, please visit http://inonedaydc.wordpress.com/our-three-community-events/day-of-connection/"

Trader Joe's coming to 14th and U in 2013!

Great news, especially for those folks in southern Columbia Heights: a Trader Joe's will be opening at 14th and U in 2013. PoP heard a rumor that the store was coming, and DCist confirmed it and adds some details. The store will be in the Louis development on the southwest side of the intersection, where the KFC/Taco Bell, Foot Locker and some other stuff was. (See right, and fear not, McNugget fans, the development will keep the McDonald's.)

According to the company, it'll be at least a year before they open, but hey, I'll take that. It'll be nice to have another grocery option, especially one with so much tasty pre-made food and super cheap beer and wine (the famous two-buck chuck, for example.)

While I'm generally loath to complain about traffic, the other area Trader Joe's are packed all the time. Of course, a lot of the people going there will be doing so by bus or Metro, but it's worth looking at. The Louis development will also include a 148-space underground parking garage, but it's unclear if that's for the shopping and such, or for the 267 apartments that will also be there. (Here's the kind of ridiculous website for Louis.)

There's also the question of what this means for the empty space in DCUSA, the one that was supposed to be filled by The Grocery Stores Who Shall Not Be Named (a grocery store from Richmond that jerked us around for 3 years and then went to Bethesda Rockville.) There were mentions of other grocery stores as options, either "boutique" stores or other grocery operators for that space, but so far I haven't heard anything more. I've reached out to a couple contacts, so we'll see. I thought TJ's would be a great fit there, as it's probably too close to the 14th and P Whole Foods, definitely too close for a Harris Teeter, and maybe not enough parking for a Wegman's -- apparently they require a lot of space.

In any case, good news. Are you excited?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

DC Bocce in Columbia Heights: play at Tubman, drink at Wonderland

Bocce time! The DC Bocce League has opened registration for their Columbia Heights league. The matches are Tuesday at the Harriet Tubman School field (between 13th and 11th, Irving and Kenyon) and the sponsoring bars are Wonderland and Lou's City Bar.

the end of our bocce season: 365: Day 1I've played bocce in DC Bocce leagues for years, and they're always a good time. It's a fun game and people are laid back and fun -- a big difference from other adult sports, where you always seem to get overly competitive jerks.

Although I think DC Bocce should really push for the sport to be in the Olympics. I mean, if curling is, why not bocce, which is surely played by more people in more countries (just see boules, petanque, and other similar games.)

(And full disclosure, DC Bocce is a sponsor of this site, but I'd write about it anyway because bocce rules.)

Happy 4th! Where are you watching and buying fireworks?

The 4th is here, and it's my belief that Columbia Heights is the best place in the country to be for the holiday -- you can see the fireworks on the Mall, which are always impressive, and then in every direction you can see other fireworks, from random folks on the street to bigger displays in neighboring towns. For whatever reason, our area seems to be the hub for amateur shows, and those amateur shows are often pretty impressive. I've heard it described as Baghdad at the beginning of the first Gulf War, which is pretty accurate.

In any case, it's pretty fun, as long as people are safe about it.

So where are you going to watch the fireworks? Rooftops are always a popular spot, as is the hill on 13th and 11th near Clifton Street. Got any other good spots?

And where are you buying fireworks? I saw a stand at about 14th and Newton, are there more?

And below are some fireworks from last year at 13th and Otis.


City holding electronics, hazardous waste, document disposal on July 7

If you have any household hazardous waste, electronics, or documents you want shredded, head to the Fort Totten Transfer Station on Saturday the 7th. I'll be there, for sure.
Monthly HHW/E-Cycling/Personal Document Shredding, Sat., July 7, At Ft. Totten Transfer Station 
DC Residents May Drop Off These Items Between 8 am and 3 pm. 
The Department of Public Works announced today its monthly Household Hazardous Waste/E-Cycling/Personal Document Shredding drop-off will be on Saturday, July 7, between 8 am and 3 pm at the Ft. Totten Transfer Station. District residents may bring toxic items, such as pesticides, batteries and cleaning fluids to Ft. Totten, along with computers, televisions and other unwanted electronic equipment. Personal document shredding also is available and residents may bring up to five boxes of materials to be shredded. No business or commercial material will be accepted. 
To accommodate residents whose religious beliefs prohibit them from using the Saturday drop-off, DPW will accept household hazardous waste and e-cyclables only on the Thursday before the first Saturday of the month (July 5, from 1 pm to 5 pm). While DPW normally offers personal document shredding on the first Saturday, items for shredding cannot be accepted on Thursdays because these documents cannot be protected until the shredding contractor arrives the first Saturday. 
For a list of all household hazardous waste and e-cyclables accepted by DPW, please click on the HHW link at www.dpw.dc.gov<http://www.dpw.dc.gov>. 
Directions to Ft. Totten: Travel east on Irving Street, NW, turn left on Michigan Avenue, turn left on John F. McCormack Road, NE and continue to the end of the street.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Cat found on the 1000 block of Otis, is it yours?

A friend just found a cat on the 1000 block of Otis, does it look familiar to you? Here's more details, and more photos on Craigslist
Found on June 30, 2012 in the 1000 block of Otis Place NW. She is black and tan with a bushy tail, yellow eyes, and was recently spayed (her right side is shaved and the incision is still healing). She is very friendly and doesn't appear to have been away from home too long. If you are looking for this cat, please contact the Washington Humane Society at 202-576-6664.

Sherman Avenue Streetscape project making progress, looking really nice

You may have noticed (or read) that Sherman Avenue is getting a facelift in our neighborhood: a new median with trees, nice sidewalks, curb cuts for buses and parking, and more. It's been difficult for awhile, as wide swaths of the street has been torn up for months, but sections are getting finished as progress is heading farther north.

I snapped this photo at about Sherman and Euclid, and it looks great. Just compare it to the before photo from Google Street View. Blech.

Here's the Streetscape project's website. They're up at about Harvard Street now and are working their way north, eventually getting to Newton Place near the Petworth Metro. However, it seems to be running behind schedule, the site says they'll be done July 8, but I don't see that happening.

Sherman Ave looking nice
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