Friday, May 31, 2013

Don't Block the Box comedy night celebrates 3 years tonight at Wonderland

Don't Block the Box, the long running stand-upp comedy night that's taken place in our neighborhood at Wonderland and Looking Glass, is celebrating their third anniversary tonight at Wonderland. If you like jokes, read on. Here's their Facebook page
5-31-13 is the 3 year anniversary of one of the best stand up comedy show DC has to offer! Hope to see ya'll tomorrow and info is down below!

Come and celebrate three years of the best local comedy DC has to offer at the Wonderland Ballroom! You'll drink, you'll laugh, you'll dance, and you'll have a fucking great time. 
HEADLINER
Lafayette Wright (SEVEN TIME Don't Block the Box performer, perennial favorite) 
FEATURING
Pete Bladel (Down from NYC)
Graham Hall (Don't Block the Box originator)
Ahmed Huidobro (Co-Producer)
Jheisson Nunez (Folks!) 
HOSTED BY
Reggie Melbrough (You know Reggie)
$3.00
21+

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Volunteers needed for youth workshops and training at CentroNia! Help out

If you'd like to help out in the community, here's a great option -- CentroNia, a great local organization that works with youth and families on education and nutrition, is looking for volunteers to help with their summer youth program. Here's more info!

Volunteers for CentroNía
Description:
Volunteers needed to help out with afternoon workshops and Friday field trips during the summer! CentroNía is a nationally recognized, multicultural learning community with a pioneering approach to bilingual education. It is located in Columbia Heights and has been serving the community since 1986. This summer, CentroNía will be receiving nearly 60 youth through DC’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) between July 1st-August 9th. We need volunteers to assist us with running fun, creative afternoon workshops Mon-Thurs and taking field trips to interesting places in DC on Fridays.
Requirements:
Experience working with youth desired. Bilingual in English/Spanish preferred, but not required. If interested, contact the Youth Program Coordinator Brendan Hughes atbhughes@centronia.org or 202-332-4200, ext. 1027, as soon as possible.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

Voluntarios para CentroNía
Descripción:
¡Se necesitan voluntarios durante el verano para ayudar con talleres por la tarde y excursiones los viernes! CentroNía es una organización multicultural de aprendizaje, acreditada a nivel nacional, enfocada en educación bilingüe. Está localizada en Columbia Heights y ha servido a la comunidad desde el 1986. Este verano, CentroNía recibirá casi 60 jóvenes a través del Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) de DC entre el 1 de julio-9 de agosto. Necesitamos voluntarios para ayudarnos con talleres divertidos y creativos por la tarde de lunes a jueves, y excursiones a lugares interesantes en DC los viernes.
Requisitos:
Buscamos personas, preferiblemente, con experiencia trabajando con jóvenes;  bilingües en inglés/español, preferible pero no es requisito. Si está interesado(a), comuníquese con el Coordinador del Programa de Jóvenes, Brendan Hughes, lo más pronto posible a bhughes@centronia.org o 202-332-4200, ext. 1027.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Italian Kitchen on U: new favorite Italian delivery place. What';s yours?

I order a lot of delivery (probably too much) and I've been looking for a go-to spot for awhile. I think I found one: Italian Kitchen on U.

I discovered it a bit ago when I was looking for something quick for dinner and got a calzone, which was surprisingly tasty: good, fresh-tasting ingredients and not too expensive. It's at 1110 U Street NW, next to Solly's. 

Their pizza is also good, both jumbo slice and delivery, though my go-to are the paninis: good bread, fresh, delicious toppings, and not too greasy or cheesy. The portobello mushroom one is good even if you're an omnivore like me -- it comes with a big piece of portobello, sun-dried tomato pesto, spinach, caramelized onions, mozzarella and balsamic aioli, and I also like the chicken paradiso (basically the same, but with chicken.

 The bread sticks are nicely done, with the right amount of chewiness and not overly greasy like some delivery ones, and seasoned fries are also pretty good (I've had better from some spots, but they're above average and certainly tastier than Manny and Olga's or most other spots.)

 So that's my new go-to delivery place, at least for pizza and sandwiches. What's yours?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Cash mob" of shoppers hits Pleasant Plains Workshop

The Pleasant Plains Workshop, the arts venue and gallery at 2608 Georgia Ave NW, was hit by an amusing group this weekend: a cash mob. The idea is for people to come together and spend their money at a local business. Organized by Think Local First DC, a group that supports local small businesses, the idea is that money spent at local small businesses will stay in the area.

Think Local's executive director told Voice of America that 68 cents of every dollar spent at a local business stays here, but for big chain stores it's only 37 cents. 

I think we can all get behind that: maybe you don't always need to go to Target or Best Buy for what you're looking for.

Here's the report on video from VOA:

Friday, May 24, 2013

Winston the skateboarding bulldog is the coolest dog in Columbia Heights (or the world?)

I've written a few times about the skateboarding dog in our neighborhood -- once because I found a random video and another time because Questlove of The Roots spotted him at 14th and W and took an Instagram of him. Since then I decided to find out some more, and while I didn't get many details, I did find a bunch of other awesome videos of him around the neighborhood. Enjoy!

And if you are Winston's owner, or know who that is, please email me! I'd love to talk to you.
Winston's owner got in touch with me, so stay tuned for more coming soon!






Summer of Freedom soccer league looking for female players of all skills

If you're interested in getting some exercise and meeting new folks, see below for a note from the Summer of Freedom league. The spots for men are full, but they do have a list of substitutes.
Columbia Heights Soccer 
The Summer of Freedom, a coed 9v9 soccer league that plays in Columbia Heights, is looking for female players of all skill levels to round out rosters. 
Sign up as an individual, or with a friend, and get placed on a team. Games will be on Tuesday nights starting on June 11 at the turf field behind Target. The fee is $85 and gets you 11 games plus a snazzy jersey you get to keep. 
The league is based in the LGBT community and players of all sexualities are encouraged and welcome to play.  
For more information, visit the league web page and if you are interested in playing send email to league@federaltriangles.org. Interested men ... we are full up, but email us to be placed on the sub list.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Hilltop, new American restaurant/German beer spot coming to Sherman and Girard, making some progress


As you may recall, the Sherman Avenue streetscape improvements look great -- and now you'll have a place to enjoy them. The Hilltop, a new American restaurant and bar coming to a long vacant building at 2737  Sherman Ave NW. PoP reports it's owned by two folks with connections to the Saloon on U Street: Sam Jahabeen, nephew of the Saloon's owner, and Kaleabe Getaneh, the manager and former waiter.

Like the Saloon, which is a relaxed place with a focus on Belgian beer, the Hilltop will have a focus on German beer -- so expect big glasses and steins of things like Kostritzer black lager (my go-to at the Saloon), hefeweizens, Oktoberfest beers and the like.

If you've been to the Saloon, you've probably seen Kaleabe, he's the super nice guy with dreadlocks who works most days, sometimes in the main floor and sometimes upstairs. He mentioned to me a few years ago that he was looking to open a place in the neighborhood, so it's great to see it happen for him! 

PoP says they're looking at a spring/summer opening and they'll also have outdoor seating and a big window that opens all the way, similar to El Chucho. According to the vacant property map I posted last week, the spot is "blighted-unregistered," so I hope that has been addressed by the building's owners (who are different than the restaurant's owners.) It will be nice to get a long-abandoned property filled, and it's pretty much the only place to eat or drink on Sherman right now, so that's great.

A reader sent me this photo today, showing that they're already making progress -- they've put up bricks in front of the cinder blocks that used to be on the front facade.

Beer towers, summer menu, new happy hour at Thaitanic II

Thaitanic II, the Thai place in the Allegro at 3462 14th Street NW, seems to be pulling out all the stops to get thirsty and hungry customers lately.

The other day I noticed this ad, which shows beer towers for $23 (those being the big tubes of beer with a spigot at the end, they're pretty fun) plus a happy hour deal from Mon-Fri from 5-7pm for two appetizers and a pitcher of beer for $25. Not bad.

They've also released a new summer menu with Thai yellow curry fried rice topped with an egg for $12.99 and soft shell crab salad for $9.99. I'm intrigued.

I haven't been there before, have you? Is it good? Yelp reviewers give it 3.5 stars.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Arf: residents working to fix up 11th and Park dog park, but WMATA needs to say OK

Site of Unofficial Dog Park

The 11th and Park dog park has long been a (semi-official) place to take Spuds, Fido and Rex to do their business and run around. However, the park, which is technically WMATA property but which has been open for dogs and their people, is a bit worse for the wear.

Some local residents are getting together to form a Friends of Columbia Heights Dog Park in order to work with WMATA and get some of the issues addressed. One of the groups organizers told DCist that they're hoping to put down some new ground material, a new gate, closing small areas and creating enforceable rules.

"We're totally willing to do all the work, but need guidance and input from [WMATA] to ensure they still have all the access they need to do what they do."

The group also a quick survey on their website for community input.

They'll be discussing the group at the June 10th meeting of the North Columbia Heights Civic Association, which will meet at the Trolley Turnaround Park (11th and and Monroe.)

Photo by Mr. T in DC

The Washington Pizza mural at 14th and Randolph is awesome

IMG_2382

I don't know how I missed this before: the mural on Washington Pizza, at 1353 Randolph Street NW, is awesome. It's huge, for one, taking up the entire side of a long building. It shows a family eating (presumably Washington Pizza) then what looks like a couple of giant, colorized photos of some local rowhouses, then an angular person eating something, topped off by a scrawled and crazy-looking no parking warning.

It's almost like three separate murals, and I think in a way, it is -- the person eating looks to me like it was by Decoy (aka Alicia Cosnahan), a local artist who does a lot of graffiti and murals (just compare the hands.) She also did the funny "Let's Meet at the Corner" mural at 13th and Park. The other parts seem to be different styles.

I've actually never ordered from them, but I feel like if they have this cool of a mural, they are probably pretty decent. Yelpers give them 3.5 stars, and the reviewers say they have good mussels, which is interesting for a delivery pizza place. Has anyone tried them? I'll have to give them a shot.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lyman's bar next to the Red Derby looking at July opening date

If you live in northern Columbia Heights, you'll soon have more options for eating and drinking. Lyman's, a new bar coming to 3720 14th Street NW, right next to the Red Derby, is looking at July for an opening date, according to ANC commish Rickey Williams, who spoke to the owner. The building used to be Premium Laundromat.

The place has good lineage -- Raven Grill owner Merid Admassu and Jessica Kleinman from Cafe Saint Ex are co-owners, as well as a third, Kevin Perone. I like both the Raven and Saint Ex, so that's a good sign. 

From previous posts, I understand that there will be room for 70 people, plus a heated, retractable-roofed patio with room for another 20 folks, plus occasional live music and DJs.

Inside, it sounds like they're going for a relaxed, neighborhood bar -- old music like soul, doo-wop and classic country, at least 2 pinball tables, snacks like popcorn and small pizzas, and an eclectic decor. Their liquor license application includes a 10am opening time, which sounds like they'd want to have brunch of some kind, too.

I expect to have more details soon, too. But I'm looking forward to this spot!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Documentary on pick-up basketball, "Doin it in the Park," premieres Wed. at GALA with ESPN sportscasters Tony Reali, Bobbito Garcia; benefits Hoops Sagrado

Here's a cool-sounding event coming to the GALA Theatre at 7pm on Wednesday: there's a screening of "Doin' It in the Park," a documentary about NYC pick-up basketball. It was co-directed by ESPN personalities Tony Reali (from "Around the Horn" and Statboy from "PTI,") and Bobbito Garcia, as well as basketball photographer Kevin Couliau, and all three will be in attendance.

After the screening, there will be a discussion moderated by Reali. (Click the poster at right for more info.)

Aside from sounding like fun, all ticket sales benefit Hoops Sagrado, a local nonprofit that bring kids from DC and Guatemala together -- local pol Bryan Weaver is involved with the group. 

There'a also an afterparty at Jack Rose.

Here's the details:

Monument Presents “Doin’ It In the Park”
Monument is proud to present the Washington, DC theatrical premiere of award-winning documentary “Doin’ It In the Park” at the GALA Hispanic Theatre in Columbia Heights. Following the screening, ESPN’s Tony Reali will lead a question-and-answer with the film’s co-directors, Bobbito Garcia and Kevin Couliau.  All ticket sales will go to local nonprofit Hoops Sagrado.  And, an after party – open to the public - will be held at Jack Rose following the event, with free transportation between the theatre and the saloon provided by transportation service Side Car.

Date: Wednesday, May 22, 2012
Location: GALA Hispanic Theatre (3333 14th St. NW)
Time: Doors open at 7:00 pm
Tickets:  $20.  Available now at  http://doinitintheparkdc.splashthat.com/
The Movie:  “Doin’ It in The Park” is an independent documentary that explores the definition, history, culture, and social impact of New York City’s outdoor summer basketball scene, the worldwide “Mecca” of the sport.  In New York City, pick-up basketball is a way of life. There are 700+ outdoor courts, and an estimated 500,000 players.  Co-directors Bobbito Garcia and Kevin Couliau visited 180 courts throughout NYC's five boroughs to capture the movement through the voices of playground legends, NBA athletes, and, most importantly, the common ballplayer who all day looks forward to calling “next” game at their local schoolyard. 
The Panelists:

  • Bobbito García (co-director):  New Yorker Bobbito García is the co-founder of Bounce Magazine and critically acclaimed author of “Where’d You Get Those? NYC’s Sneaker Culture: 1960-1987”. In recent years, “Kool Bob Love” has done sideline reporting for the NY Knicks on MSG-TV, voiced NBA 2K video games, and has hosted ESPN2’s "It’s the Shoes" series. Currently, he is the play-by-play announcer for the Elite 24 Game on ESPNU and the Red Bull King of the Rock Championship on CBS Sports.
  • Kevin Couliau (co-director): Kevin Couliau is widely recognized as the most prolific outdoor basketball photographer of the last decade. His images have appeared in Reverse Magazine (France), Bounce Magazine (US), and Fadeaway Magazine (UK). As a videographer, his work has been seen in documentary “The Mystery of Flying Kicks” and Brand Jordan’s annual Quai 54 Tournament DVDs. In 2010, he directed a music/streetball video titled “Heart & Soul of New York City,” which has accumulated over one million views online and counting.
  • Tony Reali (co-director):  Tony Reali is the host of ESPN's "Around the Horn" and the ombudsman for the network's "Pardon the Interruption".  Reali joined ESPN in July 2000 as researcher / writer for ESPN's fast-paced sports quiz show “Two Minute Drill”. In September 2001, Reali became researcher for “Pardon the Interruption”, a role which evolved into daily on-air appearances correcting factual errors by co-hosts Tony Korheiser and Michael Wilbon at the end of each show.  In 2004, Reali was named host of “Around the Horn”.  He is also a regular guest on various ESPN Radio programs.

The Cause:  All proceeds on the evening will benefit Hoops Sagrado, a D.C.-based youth leadership and development nonprofit organization that gives at-risk youth a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend part of the summer in the highlands of Guatemala.  Using basketball as a common thread, DC youth volunteers and their Guatemalan counterparts are able to not only share their love of the game, but learn how to better communicate with, understand, and appreciate another culture.
Monument:  Monument Music and Arts engages bands and their fans in forward-thinking causes.  Over the past three years, it has raised awareness and financial support for nonprofits such as 826DC, DC Vote, We Are Family, Common Good City Farm, Grassroots Reconciliation Group, Toys for Tots, Back on My Feet, Dreams for Kids, DC Greenworks, and Citizen Effect

Fantastic City Paper article photo essay about ever-changing Georgia Avenue

Last week, the City Paper put out a great photo essay about changing Georgia Avenue entitled, fittingly,
"Eclectic Avenue; Georgia Avenue is changing. But it’s always been."

The article is by Aaron Weiner and has some great photos by the CP's staff photog Darrow Montgomery. It's not long, but is well-written and interesting: talking about the history of the street and change over time. For example, Georgia Avenue used to be a main drag in SE and SW DC until a Georgia Senator demanded it be renamed due to poor conditions along it. Georgia Avenue became Potomac Avenue and Brightwood Avenue was renamed as Georgia.

It's hard to pick just one good part of the article, as they're all good, but I like this ending stanza:
The history and the future of the District are written on its longest commercial corridor, and they’re not necessarily in opposition. May they long live side by side. May the swanky new restaurants and condos always look out of place alongside the funky age-old institutions. May the old-timers and the newcomers mingle awkwardly but peaceably. And the more you change, Georgia, may you always stay the same.
Here's the link again

Friday, May 17, 2013

Here's an interactive map of all the vacant and blighted properties in Ward 1 -- use it!

If you're like me, you're always on the lookout for abandoned properties -- they're ugly, unsafe, they mean those properties aren't homes for people or new businesses, and they can attract crime. For example, just think about the recent fires at 14th and Quincy and 1327 Girard -- it's a miracle the fires didn't damage neighboring properties.

The city publishes a list of all the vacant and blighted properties for the first half of fiscal year 2013 on their website. I put together this map using the list of properties and Google Fusion Tables, a free, experimental tool. You can click each property for more information. It's not the prettiest map, but here's what the symbols mean:

Big red icons: blighted and unregistered
Big yellow icons: vacant and unregistered
Big purple: in blight, being appealed
Big blue: vacant, being appealed
Small red: registered as blighted
Small yellow: registered as vacant
Small green: exempt from being classified vacant or blighted because it's for sale or due to zoning
Small blue: exempt from being classified vacant or blighted because it's under construction
Small pink: status pending, which means it was vacant last year but hasn't been determined for this fiscal year

What does this all mean? Basically, if you own a vacant property, you are supposed to register it with the city. If you don't, you face a $2,000 fine. The difference between vacant and blighted is that blighted properties are considered unsafe or unsanitary. Vacant properties are taxed at $5 per $100 of assessed value while blighted properties are taxed at $10 per $100. And I just heard from DCRA that only vacant properties can be exempt, not blighted properties.

So, what can you do with this map? First, you can see if there are buildings missing that you think should be on there. If that's the case, you can report them by calling 311 or emailing vacantbuildings@dc.gov.

You can also see if a building is exempt -- for example, maybe they claim to be under construction in order to avoid the fine, but actually there is no working going on.

So, get to sleuthing! Let's bust these vacant properties.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Want to play golf in the neighborhood? Join the Soldiers Home Golf Club!

Chillin at the Old Soldiers' Home This is pretty awesome for local golfers: the Soldiers Home, officially the Armed Forces Retirement Home, is now opening their golf course memberships up to local residents thanks to the efforts of the Friends of the Soldiers Home group.

The home, which is located just northeast of Park View, is a beautiful, green campus with rolling hills. Here's the info about joining the home and playing golf.
Soldiers Home Golf Memberships Offered Through Friends

Friends of the Soldiers Home is pleased to announce that through our organization, members of the community have an opportunity to become associate members of the Armed Forces Retirement Home Golf Course.

This is an exciting opportunity to regularly use a nine-hole golf course located on the historic Home campus in the heart of Washington, D.C.

Membership amenities include no tee times, easy access to the course, a driving range and putting/chipping green, and an ability to bring in three guests at a time (more with advanced notice).

There are also monthly tournaments and an opportunity to connect with veterans and other members.


The annual membership dues are $550. In addition, Friends of the Soldiers Home requests a $25 donation and a willingness to occasionally volunteer for our activities at the Home.
This tremendous opportunity is another major step forward in the relationship between the Soldiers Home and the community. In its year-and-a-half existence, Friends of the Soldiers Home has conducted more than 25 volunteer events and held three community festivals and two community-veteran garden projects.

To sign up for golf memberships, go here: 
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Dchtv5IoktOfhuZwfqnonVYAtJ6dFS1pIEmkSzUvCbo/viewform or contact Craig Isakow, who is administering this program on behalf of Friends of the Soldiers Home, at afrhgolfmembership@gmail.com

Friends of the Soldiers Home is grateful to the veterans and staff of the Armed Forces Retirement Home for extending this opportunity.

Mission:
Friends of the Soldiers Home is a non-profit organization serving to strengthen the bond between the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington and the surrounding community. Through service, education and engagement, Friends of the Soldiers Home connects citizens and veterans in a relationship that recognizes the sacrifice of military service and enhances quality of life for veteran and citizen alike.
To get on our volunteer list: volunteerfriendsofsoldiers@gmail.com
friendsofsoldiers.org 
facebook.com/friendsofsoldiers 
Twitter: @friendssoldiers

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cardozo High School renovations coming along, looking nice


Cardozo High School, located at 13th and Clifton, is getting a bit of a facelift -- they're renovating the building's interior and the facade, which includes some nice artwork and tiles, updating the physical plant (which I'm guessing is heating and cooling, plumbing and such) plus adding a new regulation size gym on the 13th Street side. The school, which was built in 1928, has two small and inadequate gyms for boys and girls, now they'll have a bigger, coed one. There's also an option to add a swimming pool ("natatorium") on the 11th Street side.

The idea is that the new addition will fit into the existing architecture and will be built into the hillside so views are preserved from the top of the hill. There will be a parking lot on top of it.

And so far, it looks pretty nice. My buddy snapped this picture the other day, and mentioned that the view isn't as open as before -- it's a prime fireworks watching spot, but I'm sure the parking lot will still be one. The architectural style is virtually identical as the rest of the building, which is cool.

You can see below for more details on the plan. I'm not sure when the school is supposed to reopen, but I heard 18 months from when it began   and students are currently going to class in what was Meyer Elementary School on 11th nearby, which is renamed Cardozo High School at Meyer.

Yikes: Mi Casita Bakery shut down for health violations, operating illegally

Well, this didn't go well. Mi Casita Bakery, the new Latino bakery that opened in the space of the old (and extremely sketchy) Carolina Market, was recently shut down indefinitely for health code violations.

But that's not all -- WUSA reports that the violations included no working sink in the kitchen, no plan to deal with sick employees, and worst of all, no actual license to sell food.

But it gets worse! Apparently WUSA caught them reopening twice despite being shut down, tearing off the city's health code violation, and along the way workers tried to stop WUSA from filming. After the first time, they called the city, who came to shut it down again.

Hey, guys, that's not how things work.

This is a shame, because I was pretty excited about this place. Carolina Market was a truly bizarre place, there was never anything for sale there, it was always dark and sketchy, and the random people in there seemed confused the couple times I came in to see if they had any beer or snacks.

I believe it was a front for some kind of shady activity, and had hoped that the bakery, which had pretty tasty baked goods when I went there a couple months ago, was a step forward. It sounds like that's not the case, or at the very least the people running it have no idea how to run a business.

A friend spotted a permit to fix the plumbing though, so at least it sounds like they're addressing it. Maybe. Here's WUSA's report, below and they have a photo gallery here.




Why does no one ever move back on the bus?

Something that's been driving me bonkers lately is how people are so terrible at moving back on a crowded bus. So many times I've gotten on a 14th Street bus and there's a huge crush of people in the front but nobody in the back. 

Usually some of those folks can clearly see there are people who are trying to move back and they don't move, just staring blankly. Then somebody has to yell "can you move back please" and people look around and scoot a little. Then more people get on and the painful process repeats, with diminishing returns as people seem to get tired of being asked to move, even when there's still room.

It's not rocket science, people. If you see some space behind you, move back into it -- or if you're next to the one doofus who is blocking everyone's path, ask them politely to move back. Everyone else ahead of you will appreciate it. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A bunch of new shot & beer combo deals at the Red Derby


It seems like all our local bars are getting into the shot-and-beer combo game -- Wonderland, Looking Glass and the Derby have all had cheap ones for awhile -- usually something like Natty Boh or PBR and a shot of some kind of rail whiskey for about $6. 

Now the Red Derby at 3718 14th Street NW is stepping it up, with a new menu full of the deals, from cheap ($6) to fancier ($12.) I spent some time there this weekend with some buddies and got a few of the Dealer's Choice, where the bartender picks something. In our case, she picked out some good ones, like solid whiskeys and good beer together. 

Pretty fun idea, but keep in mind that they add up, and are certainly more expensive (obviously) than the Derby's usual inexpensive beers.

Meridian Hill Park, Tivoli theatre get big money for preservation

Meridian Hill Park Sweet! If you remember a few weeks ago I wrote about the Partners in Preservation contest where different historic sites can win money from American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. People had a chance to earn points for their sites by tweeting, and posting Instagram photos, blog posts, Facebook posts and the like. The places with the most points would earn some money to preserve various historic features.

Two sites in Columbia Heights, the Tivoli Theatre and Meridian Hill Park were in the running, and while they didn't win the big prize, $100,000, they were in the top 12 and earned some big dough: $50,000 for Meridian Hill Park to restore the concrete grottoes and $35,000 for the Tivoli to fix up three ornate, historic domes. Pretty neat to see this kind of effort paying off for our area, and thanks to everybody who participated!

Here's more from the Post, a read below for a press release from the group with all the winners.
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 13, 2013 – American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation today announced the Washington National Cathedral as the winner of Partners in Preservation, the region’s first-ever preservation effort powered by social media. For earning the most points, the Washington National Cathedral will receive its full grant request of $100,000. Over the past three weeks, the community-wide effort enlisted the public’s help to choose which of 24 historic buildings, icons and landmarks should receive preservation funding. For the first time this year, Partners in Preservation integrated voting by social channels, including Twitter, Foursquare and Instagram. With today’s announcement, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation will infuse $1 million in funding to preserve historic buildings throughout the Washington, D.C. Metro area. 
“The D.C. Metro region has shown a true sense of community through its spirited support of their local historic places,” said Timothy J. McClimon, President, American Express Foundation. “We hope the Partners in Preservation funding is just the first step in ensuring that these cultural sites are accessible for many years to come." 
“It has been inspiring to see the tremendous support local preservationists have shown their favorite historic places in the Washington area and a pleasure to bring this program to the Trust’s hometown,” said Stephanie Meeks, President, National Trust for Historic Preservation. “In the months to come, we look forward to sites undertaking preservation projects in our backyard with Partners in Preservation grant funding and using the promotional tools and resources they have gained from the program.” 
A Partners in Preservation advisory committee comprised of Washington-area civic and preservation leaders recommended how the remainder of the preservation grants would be awarded. The 12 historic places that also received preservation grants were: 
  • § All Souls Church Unitarian, Adams Morgan, D.C. : $50,000 to repair historic bell tower, including clock, stonework and windows.  
  • § Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site, Shaw, D.C.: $75,000 to rebuild front and rear façade in order to stabilize home for public access. 
  • § Colvin Run Mill, Great Falls, Va.: $75,000 to bring the 18th century grain elevator into working order 
  • § Congressional Cemetery, Barney Circle, D.C.: $50,000 to replace and reconstruct a row of 26 mausoleum vault roofs. 
  • § Dumbarton Oaks Park, Georgetown, D.C.: $50,000 repair garden’s original built structures including viewing platform, stone houses, and retaining wall.
  • § The GALA Hispanic Theatre at The Tivoli, Columbia Heights, D.C.: $35,000 to restore three ornate interior domes.
  • § Greenbelt Theatre, Greenbelt, Md.: $75,000 to renovate art deco lobby.
  • § LAMB at Military Road School, Brightwood, D.C.: $60,000 to repair exterior of school building including columns and cupola. 
  • § Meridian Hill Park, Columbia Heights, D.C.: $50,000 to stabilize and repair exposed aggregate concrete grotto. 
  • § Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, Scott Circle, D.C.: $90,000 to restore stained glass windows on church’s primary facade. 
  • § Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, Va.: $100,000 to paint, plaster and restore Washington’s Large Dining Room. 
  • § Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, Mount Vernon Square, D.C.: $75,000 to repair and preserve a dozen of the Synagogue’s stained glass windows.
In addition, the remaining historic places that participated in Partners in Preservation also each received $5,000 for participating:

  • § Abner Cloud House at the C&O Canal, Georgetown, D.C.
  • § Arlington House, Arlington, Va.
  • § The Athenaeum, Alexandria, Va.
  • § Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office, Penn Quarter, D.C.
  • § Darby Store, Beallsville, Md. 
  • § George Mason Memorial, National Mall, D.C.
  • § Heyden Observatory, Georgetown, D.C.
  • § The Kennel at Aspin Hill Memorial Park, Silver Spring, Md. 
  • § Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region, Anacostia, D.C. 
  • § National Museum of Women in the Arts, Franklin Park, D.C. 
  • § U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, Arlington, Va. 
# # #About Partners in Preservation 
Partners in Preservation is a program in which American Express, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, awards preservation grants to historic places across the country. American Express has made grants worth more than $10 million through Partners in Preservation, helping historic places in eight cities to date, including San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans, Boston, Seattle, Saint Paul/Minneapolis and New York, Washington, D.C. Metro and has engaged more than a million people.   
Through this partnership, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation seek to increase the public’s awareness of the importance of historic preservation in the United States and to preserve America’s historic and cultural places. The program also hopes to inspire long-term support from local citizens for the historic places at the heart of their communities. 
For more information, visit PartnersinPreservation.com or Facebook.com/PartnersinPreservation, or follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/PartnersinPres.

Monday, May 13, 2013

D'Vines now selling fancy booze, selling on Sundays too


D'Vines, the beer and wine store at 3103 14th Street NW, just recently expanded their selection to include hard liquor. Starting last week, they now carry lots of fancy booze, like higher end whiskey, tequila, gin and such. It's not cheap, but it's not meant to be -- no plastic liter bottles of Zelko vodka here.

They took one of the walls and put a bunch of shelves on there. They also can sell on Sundays too, thanks to a recent change in DC's antiquated blue laws.

And if you remember, they're also now filling growlers of a couple dozen kegs of craft beer. It's a one-stop fancy alcohol shop.

Pretty neat to see this, though I hope it doesn't affect CC's Liquors up the street at 14th and Monroe -- I like that place.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sexual assault suspect on the loose: contact police if you think you saw him

Yesterday there was a robbery and sexual assault on the 1400 block of Oak Street NW, in the Trinity AME  Church parking lot and nearby. The police are looking for your help finding the suspect. See the video for an image of one suspect, and read below for a message from the police. If you noticed anything like what's mentioned, even if you aren't sure, you should contact the police. You can be anonymous.

DC Breaking Local News Weather Sports FOX 5 WTTG

Suspects Sought in a Sexual Assault and Robbery: 1400 Block of Oak Street, NW

(Washington, DC)- The Metropolitan Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying and locating two suspects in connection with a sexual assault and robbery which occurred in the 1400 block of Oak Street, NW.

On Monday, May 6, 2013, between the hours of 12:50 am and 1:00 am, a female and a male were sitting in a vehicle in the 1500 block of Meridian Place, NW, when they were approached by two unknown males who produced a handgun and forced them out of the vehicle. The male victim was assaulted at that location whereas the female victim was taken to the 1400 block of Oak Street, NW, where she was sexually assaulted. Both victims were robbed of property.

The suspects are described as two black males wearing ski masks and both armed with a handgun.

Anyone with information that can assist in the identification of these suspects is asked to call the police at (202) 727-9099. Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411.


-Josue Salmeron

Got kids? Learn more about Tubman Elementary School this Thursday

If you have kids, here's a great chance to learn more about our local elementary school, Tubman at 13th and Kenyon. They're hosting an open house this Thursday, here's more details:


Th. May 9, 9:30am
Tubman Elem. School
3101 13th St NW

to learn more about the Columbia Heights' DCPS elementary school with:
1) the best test scores in Ward 1
2) GreatSchools' 9 out of 10 rating - the best rating of Ward 1 elementary schools
3) the principal who was won both the Rubenstein Award for Highly Effective Leadership and Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award

This DCPS rising star is an educational gem of Columbia Heights and Ward 1. Under the strong leadership of Principal Hughes, reading and math scores have consistently and solidly risen over the last several years.  Come see the school in action and learn more about the promising things going on there.  With the continued investment from community families and stakeholders, Tubman is well on its way to becoming the premier DC elementary school east of Rock Creek Park.  Join us in the effort.
Please contact Principal Harry Hughes <harry.hughes@dc.gov> (he's very responsive), Vice Principal Maggie Slye <margaret.slye@dc.gov>, PTA President Matt Aquiline <tubmanptapresident@gmail.com> or ANC commissioner Laina Aquiline with any questions.

Hope to see you at Tubman!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Farmer's market update: MtP, Columbia Heights, 14&U, Petworth all open!

If you like farmer's markets, this is your time. All of our local markets are open, with Columbia Heights, 14th and U and Petworth all starting recently and the Mt. Pleasant Market opening a few weeks ago.

I'm a big fan of the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace, which aside from produce, meat, cheese and dairy also has crafts and other services. It's pretty great. It's on Saturday from 9am-1pm at the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza, the triangle where 14th, Kenyon and Irving meet.

Mt. Pleasant's market is a bit smaller, but still with a nice selection and a good, neighborhood-y vibe. Random neighborhood folks will play music there sometimes and it's great to go shopping and then grab a coffee and pastry across the street at Heller's Bakery. They're also open every Saturday from 9am-1pm at Lamont Park, where Lamont hits Mt. Pleasant Street.

I haven't been to the Petworth Community Market, but they have the distinction of being open on Friday afternoons, from 4pm to 8pm on 9th between Georgia and Upshur.

14th and U is one of the older markets around, and as such has a pretty big vendor presence. They're also open Saturdays from 9am-1pm.

So go! Which is your favorite?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Pleasant Plains Workshop renovations finished, now open -- with new shared office space for creatives


You may remember a few weeks ago that I wrote about the Pleasant Plains Workshop, a cool spot that serves as a gallery, gift shop, event space, studio for artists and place to host art classes at 2608 Georgia Avenue NW.

They launched a crowd fundraising campaign to expand and upgrade their facilities, and this past weekend they had a launch party. They have a new resident artist, more space, and have also launched a shared workspace called The Ranch! for start-ups, artists, techie people and the like. The project sounds pretty cool, and you can read more about it here.

Aside from funding office furniture for The Ranch!, the $7,600 raised also paid for more equipment, like work tables and an exposure unit, labor for plumbing and electrical work, and a new mural on their front door.

They're open every Thursday and Friday from 2-7pm and Saturday from 1-6pm. Stop by and say hello!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Petworth Farmers Market opens today! 4-8pm at 9th and Upshur

The Petworth Market, a rarity in that it's during the week, starts today! Located at the open area at 9th and Upshur NW, they're open every Friday from 4-8pm. Here's more from them:

The Petworth Market Opens Today!

Calling all Petworth friends, fresh fruit lovers, children and Ward 4 residents.

Petworth Community Market opens TODAY, this Friday, May 3, from 4 - 8 PM. We will have local produce, music from Superior Cling and a tasty demo from Chez Billy! Come see us each Friday, starting today, from 4-8 p.m. at Upshur & 9th Streets, NW at Georgia Ave. See more details below:

Local Food

The market will have local goodies including eggs from Radix Farm, Apple Butter from Kuhn Orchards, Qualia Coffee, Goldilocks Goodies and more!

Harris Teeter coming to Sherman and V? And Trader Joe's coming to 14th and U after December

Holy crap! I hope you like grocery stores, because it seems our area may be getting two good ones: a Trader Joe's is supposedly coming to the Louis development at 14th and U (next to the McDonalds) and a Harris Teeter may coming to the area where Florida Ave, Sherman Ave and V Street meet up -- specifically the Atlantic Plumbing building, the one with all the gum on it.

Pretty big news. The Trader Joe's just received a permit and Borderstan reports the building is supposed to be finished in December 2013 so TJ's would open after that.

The timeline for the Harris Teeter is fuzzier, especially since the redevelopment of that building hasn't even started and they still need to buy some property, but apparently have a commitment from Harris Teeter. The Louis building, on the other hand, is going up as we speak.

The Louis project sounds impressive: it's going to be big at 42,000 square feet of retail and 125 fancy residential units, including a rooftop pool, though it will be maintaining some of the existing facades.

They also have the weirdest ad campaign I've seen: it's some kind of candy-colored futuristic Black Eyed Peas meets King Louis XIV thing, or something, complete with pink dogs. It annoys me for some reason:



Capital Bikeshare adding stations in Petworth, elsewhere


If you're planning to bike north (maybe to Qualia Coffee or Domku) there are some new Capital Bikeshare options for you: the service has added stations at 14th & Upshur, 14th & Colorado, 5th & Kennedy and Georgia & Emerson. They also added one at 18th & Wyoming in Adams Morgan and others around the city. There's more info here (you have to hit "next page" to see the Petworth ones) which also includes the full list of 18 new stations around the city.

I use CaBi multiple times a week, and it's fantastic. I encourage you to check it out if you don't use it already, it's great for short hops or runs down the hill towards U Street. The phone app that tells you which stations have bikes or open docks is really useful too.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Yard sale on Saturday to benefit Mundo Verde Charter School

The weather is getting nice, which  means it's yard sale time again. Get yourself to 16th and Park for Mundo Verde Public Charter School's yard sale, where all the proceeds go to the school. They'll have kids' clothes and toys, small electronics, sporting goods, furniture, books and a lot more, plus door prizes, music and face painting for the kids. It'll be there from 9am to 1pm. Here's their flyer, check it out!


Sportsman's Liquors is cool -- but want some smoked salmon-flavored vodka?

What The other day I stopped into Sportsman's Liquors, located at 3249 Mt. Pleasant Street NW (right at Park) and I was impressed. I was looking for Green Hat Gin, the locally made gin from New Columbia Distillers, and while they didn't have it, the friendly guy at the counter offered me a sample of another gin called New Amsterdam, which was tasty.

The place has a good selection and pretty good prices, and while it's a little farther than my favorite spot, CC's Liquors at 14th and Monroe, it's worth a visit if you live nearby.

Something else funny about the place is the random things they have, like this smoked salmon-flavored vodka. I can't think of a use for it -- maybe at breakfast, but who drinks vodka for breakfast? With orange juice it would probably be pretty weird. Then again, I guess Alaskans get pretty bored up there.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mama Chuy opens patio, starts awesome 8 hour long 50% off drinks happy hour during the week

Mama Chuy, the great traditional Mexican taqueria at 2620 Georgia Ave NW, now has their patio open and is hosting brunch and happy hour -- 50% off all drinks from 11am-7pm!

If you haven't been, check it out -- it's run by a brother and sister with delicious small plates and entrees based on their Guadalajaran grandma's recipes. I've written about them before -- the tacos, sopes (flat tacos with a crispy flat shell) and small plates are all great. I'm a big fan of the al pastor, carne asada and espectially the milanesa tacos and sopes (breaded beef,) and their vegetarian options, like mushroom tacos, are good enough for carnivores. They have entrees too, though I haven't tried them yet -- the tacos are too good. The margaritas are sweet and tasty as well, and a 4-star rating from 67 reviews on Yelp can't be wrong!

I feel like this patio could be a great pre- or post-pool spot, once Banneker Pool is open just down the street. Plus they're open at lunchtime for the crowd who are around the area then.

Here's what they had to say on Twitter:
We opened our patio area and added 20-25 additional seats overall. We have seating on the patio, on the stoop, and an upstairs dining area. We have Happy Days Mon-Fri. 11am-7pm. All drinks are 50 % off during this time. Our hours are Mon-Thurs 11am-10pm. Fri-Sat 11am-11pm with our kitchen closing 30 min prior.

Is your rent dropping? Bloomberg says yes

Apparently one news source thinks your rent is going to drop -- but I'm not buying it. Bloomberg, the business news website and TV station, has an article out about rent in different US cities and claims rent will drop in DC by 2% this year.

Of course I'd like this to be true, but I can't imagine it. It's nice enough if landlords don't increase rent, let alone drop it. Plus if anybody has tried to find a place to live lately, it's crazy out there: huge open houses with tons of people, long questionnaires for potential housemates, and snap decisions due to places being filled really quickly.

There are some problems to Bloomberg's analysis though: they include the entire metro area, meaning the numbers are skewed by the burbs. They also say there's too much supply, but this doesn't seem to be the case in our area, where apartments are going for more than $2000 in new buildings. I know some buildings have been converted from condos to apartments, but as far as I can tell, those are being snapped up.

In Real Estate Business Intelligence's latest housing report for the 20010 zip code, there are fewer houses on the market now than 1 year ago, but prices are up 17%, which to me means there's still demand.

So if your rent has really dropped, I'd be shocked -- and good for you!

Kentucky Derby events at the Red Derby: Big Hat brunch, juleps, race on the big screen

Untitled The Kentucky Derby, the biggest horse race around, is this Saturday, and even if you can't tell whoever is supposed to win the race from Mr. Ed, the Red Derby has some fun stuff for you.

The Derb, at 3718 14th Street NW, has a pre-race Big Hat brunch (and their brunch is solid and cheap) plus they're showing the race on their big screen. There's also a $5 mint julep deal, the traditional drink of the race.

The race itself is at 6:24 pm, though there's lots of other races before. Sounds like a good time for some brunch n julep.