Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mothership restaurant to close, last day in Feb.


Some sad news from Park View: Mothership, the restaurant at 3301 Georgia Ave NW known for their mussels and brunch (and good pizzas, too) will be closing for good in February.

The City Paper reports that owner Stephan Boillon said he wasn't breaking even lately, citing being the only restaurant around and a lack of local customers.

I always liked the place, but he's right, it's not really near anything. Boillon also mentioned that numerous condo buildings were supposed to go up nearby a few years, thereby giving him lots of local customers, but they haven't even broken ground. Some bad luck.

Their last day will probably be brunch on February 22.

He did say his food truck, El Floridano, will return. If you recall, the business began as the food truck, which became very popular. They launched a Kickstarter to help fund a brick-and-mortar restaurant, and the Mothership was born.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Columbia Heights is good at funny signs; realtor puts up Grumpy Cat sign


I'm a sucker for funny signs. The other day I spotted this sign outside Greenline Real Estate on Georgia, with a drawing of Grumpy Cat (that cat famous on the internet for looking unhappy.)

This continues a tradition, our neighborhood seems to have some funny (or weird) people -- I've seen a lot of other good ones in the past.

Here's a few of my favorites: the electric tomato man van, the store selling womens' jeans called Chickass (now just Chickas, sadly, but still sells butt-enhancing pants,) Happy Milk Was Here, mean cat found, a lost shark at 11th and Park, the bank sign for "looking at my butt" (they also offer "great rats") and the recent handsome man rewarded handsomely sign for a lost wallet.





Nicely done, everybody.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Qualia Coffee on Georgia Ave. offers a "Junkpunch" drink -- espresso over ice, a big topic of debate

The other day I was in Qualia Coffee at Georgia and Randolph and noticed something on their menu: a drink called a Junkpunch. I asked what it was, and the barista said it's espresso shots over ice.

A funny name, but it comes from an even funnier story from DCist.

A few years ago, a customer named Jeff Simmermon went to Murky Coffee and ordered the same thing, espresso over ice. The employees refused to serve him, saying it was against their coffee policy, and responded rudely, rolling their eyes. Instead he asked for a triple espresso and a cup of ice, and received it with more eye rolls. He then got in a debate with the barista, who said they didn't like people doing that because it affects the taste of the espresso and he said he could drink it however he wanted, basically.

Simmermom got angry, later ordered another drink, then wrote "fuck you and your precious coffee policy" on a dollar bill and tipped the barista with it. He then wrote a blog post about the experience, which got picked up on various other sites.

Then Murky's owner, Nick Cho, responded on his own since-deleted blog angrily, mentioning the coffee policy and threatening "if you ever show your face at my shop, I'll punch you in your dick." Cho mentioned something about Simmermon threatening to burn his store down, but I can't find that. (Another reason Cho was opposed to the practice was that people could theoretically get espresso shots and add lots of milk, making their own form of a latte but avoiding paying full price.)

The argument caused even more hubbub, with most people siding with Simmermon, who admitted on his blog that he acted like a dick too. The Washington Post wrote about it and the whole story took wings, with Junkpunch becoming a common joke on DCist and elsewhere -- Big Bear amusingly promised not to punch you if you ordered it. Simmermon later did a spoken word/story thing about it.

Espresso over ice is still kind of a big debate too. (And Cho was later charged with tax fraud after not paying sales tax or corporate tax for years, so there's that.)

And now you can get a Junkpunch in our area! Kudos, Qualia.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Wonderland Circus on Wednesday: music, comedians, burlesque


This sounds like a fun event: the Capital City Showcase folks, who put on variety shows around the area, are hosting their latest Wonderland Circus at the namesake local watering hole on Wednesday the 28th.

Here's the details.
WASHINGTON – A reminder that the producers of The Capital City Showcase, the variety show that brings you some of DC’s finest performing artists, return to The Wonderland Ballroom with their latest installment of The Wonderland Circus this Wednesday, January 28th  at 8:30pm. The Wonderland Circus is the variety show where anything goes! See a wide variety of performers do their stuff. Much like any circus, expect thrills, chills, and amazement! The show is Free Admission, though donations will be collected for the artists. The January Circus will feature (in alphabetical order): comedian Yoki Danoffband Spencer Joyce and The Record Machineburlesque artist Bella La Blanccomedian Chelsea Shortecomedian Haywood Turnipseed, Jr.  Doors open at 8:00pm, show starts at 8:30pm. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis. Full bar service is also available. For more info, call 202-431-4704. Step Right Up! 
What: The Capital City Showcase presents The Wonderland CircusWhen: Wed Jan 28th @8:30 pmWhere: The Wonderland Ballroom - 1101 Kenyon Street NW, Washington DC 20010Tickets: FREE ($5 suggested donation)Info: Call 202-431-4704

Friday, January 23, 2015

Hank's Oyster Bar folks opening cocktail bar, Twisted Horn, on Upshur


Upshur Street is really blowing up lately! Recently we heard about a diner from the Room 11 folks, to go with their Upshur Street Books, Petworth Citizen and Crane & Turtle, plus Domku and some cool vintage stores, and now the folks behind Hank's Oyster Bar are getting into the fun.

The City Paper reports they're planning to open Twisted Horn at 819 Upshur Street NW, next door to Domku in the Spring. There will be 40 seats inside and 40 outside around a fire pit, and some cocktails will include
the "Ghostwood Development" with gin, port wine, Sapins aperitif, Salmiakki Dala (Scandinavian fernet), egg, fresh nutmeg, and pepper as well as the "Louisiana Purchase" with cognac, dry and red vermouth, Bénédictine liqueur, and muddled cucumber. In addition to cocktails, there will be an extensive wine list.
Food-wise, there will be snack-type items such as pimento cheese finger sandwiches, deviled eggs, meatballs, and an interesting one: escargot in puff pastrty on a stick. They'll also get lots of ingredients from local places like Straw Stick & Brick (which used to be called Three Little Pigs, a butcher,) Qualia Coffee and such.

The manager will be Megan Coyle from Hank's in Dupont.

Sounds awesome, and great to see Upshur getting lots of neat places. I hope it's not too pricey.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fun Valentines Day event: Columbia Heights Historical Drinkabout

If you like history, bars, or our neighborhood, here's a an awesome event from Washington Walks: a historical walking tour of our neighborhood with stops at some of our local bars (a hot toddy sounds like it would hit the spot.)

I did this tour a few years ago and it was fascinating -- you learn a lot about the people and places from our neighborhood, the local architecture, see some of the oldest buildings around, and a lot more. Definitely a good time, (and a good option for a nice Valentine's Day date too.) The guide also organized the Columbia Heights Heritage Trail, so he really knows his stuff.

Here's more from their press release, and here's their website.

Valentine’s Day 2015: Grab your sweetheart and join us for the sixth annual Columbia Heights Historical Drinkabout.  The Columbia Heights neighborhood in northwest Washington is home to an ever-growing number of cafes and bars–conveniently located along the walk route.  Participants will stop to imbibe hot or cold libations inside a select few.
Columbia Heights has experienced and reflected the ups and downs of American urban history since its early days nearly 150 years ago. Its 14th Street was a popular destination during the streetcar era, losing its cache during the heyday of the automobile and regaining it thanks to the advent of Metrorail, “big box” retail, and a slew of appealing dining venues. Yet the transition between these periods was anything but simple or seamless. The walk will trace the area’s development, demographics, and stunning turnabouts. We’ll also check out the smaller scale commercial strip nearby on 11th Street NW.  Has it emerged as The Place to Be? Form your own opinion during this winter walking tour that stops to warm up along the way. 
Guide for the afternoon is Brian Kraft, historian for the “Cultural Convergence: Columbia Heights Trail” developed by Cultural Tourism DC. Brian also penned the Columbia Heights chapter in “Washington at Home: An Illustrated History of Neighborhoods in the Nation's Capital." 
COLUMBIA HEIGHTS HISTORICAL DRINKABOUT
Saturday, February 14, 2015
2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
$25 per person
($5 discount with federal or military I.D.)

Reservations required.  BOOK NOW

Don't like Chick-fil-A at DCUSA? Here are some great local LGBT groups to donate to or volunteer with


Yesterday we heard that Chick-fil-A was coming to DCUSA, and there were a lot of mixed reactions. Some people were excited, others vowed never to go there because of the company's founders' anti-gay marriage views and donations to anti-gay marriage groups.

I'm torn -- I love their food, but I also strongly support gay marriage and LGBT equal rights in general.

So I was thinking -- what to do? Maybe I'll donate to local LGBT groups if I eat there!

A friend suggested a couple of great local LGBT groups that are worthy of support: SMYAL and the DC Center. SMYAL has a number of programs for LGBTQ youth like mentoring, tutoring, support groups, trainings and more, and the DC Center is a community center that "eduacates, empowers, celebrates and connects" the community through a number of events and programs -- health projects, groups for families, religious people, LGBT people in the military, GLOV, the city's anti-gay violence task force, and a lot more.

But don't take my word for it! Read about the groups yourself, or suggest other good ones in the comments!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Chick-fil-A coming to DCUSA! (According to a Chick-fil-A owner/operator)

Whoa! Might be time for chicken sandwiches and Polynesian sauce in our neighborhood.

A friend was eating at a Chick-Fil-A in Crystal City and asked the owner/operator about rumors that a location open in DC. The owner said "you heard correct," that there would be a Chick-Fil-A at 3100 14th Street NW, which is DCUSA, in the old Lime Fresh Mex space between Radio Shack and Payless. Dang.

There is one location in town at Catholic University, I assume in a food court, and there have previously been some Chick-Fil-As in other DC food courts, including at Howard U., George Washington U., and in the Verizon Center, but none were proper locations.

As you probably recall, Chick-fil-A made a lot of news a while ago about the owners' conservative views and opposition to gay marriage. (They're also closed Sundays.) And they have delicious sandwiches, chicken nuggets and waffle fries too.

So thus the debate begins -- good thing or not?

How awesome would a beer garden (or big outdoor patio) be at 13th and Upshur?

 

The other day I was walking to Annie's Ace Hardware on Upshur and noticed a few big, empty buildings. They looked like they used to be warehouses or light industrial facilities, and there was a huge open lot on the corner.

The first thing that came to mind was "wouldn't this be an awesome beer garden?" There's tons of room for tables and such, and the warehouse space would be good for a kitchen and inside bar. Or it could just be a bar or restaurant with a lot of open space. It's a neat looking building too and looks very open inside.

I don't really know any restauranteurs or bar-owners, but I hope somebody gets inspired and makes this happen! Upshur Street Beer Garden!



Funny lost wallet sign will reward handsome guy handsomely


There's a missing wallet El Centro on 14th, but more amusingly, the person who lost seems pretty funny. My friend spotted this yesterday at a bust stop at 16th and U: along with the usual lost wallet info it says "Will be rewarded handsomely, will be rewarded more handsomely if handsome..."

Bravo. I hope she (or he, Courtney could be a guy) finds it!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A list of all the best happy hours in the area!

It's premium. #beer #booze

Last week I asked what you thought was the best happy hour in our area, and suggested a few of my favorites. A number of you responded with your faves, and here they are!

Keep this is mind if you want to save some money in the future (and let us know in the comments if there are any missing.)
  • Bravo, Georgia & Hobart: beer, shot and hot dog for $6 before 8 pm, then beer and shot for $6 afterwards
  • Red Derby, 14th & Quincy, for their many deals: half-price food Sunday-Tuesdays (seafood Sundaym burgers on Monday, taco Tuesday) and $5 mixed drinks from Sunday-Tuesday, and $1 off until 8
  • Red Rocks, 11th & Park: half-price wine on Mondays
  • DC Reynolds, Georgia & Otis for their BOGO: buy one, get one free drinks deal until 9 pm
  • Mothership, Georgia & Lamont: $20, 3 course "Lazy Day" tasting menu
  • Lou's City Bar, 14th & Irving: 1/2 off drafts on Wednesdays
  • Acre 121, 14th & Irving: $5 drafts, wine and well from 5-7pm Mon-Fri, plus 9-11pm Sun-Thurs
  • Meridian Pint, 11th & Park: ocassional tap cleaning night where the beers are $3 until they're gone
I'm getting hungry and thirsty.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Tell the mayor about your ideas and issues in the city: town meeting Saturday

IMG_6523

Muriel Bowser has just assumed office, and DC Vote, the Urban Institute and other groups want her to hear your voice. They've organized the Talking Transition initiative with  atown meeting to gather feedback and present it to her, her aides and city agency heads.

The meeting is this Saturday from 9am-3pm at the Convention Center (RSVP here). Here's more from the organizers. To me, the near part is that it will shared and discussed with the Mayor and her staff, so your opinions are going right to the top. A great way to get your voice heard.
Event Date: 
Saturday, January 17, 2015 - 9:00am to 3:30pm
During this time of transition in our city, it’s important that District residents come together and help create a common vision for our future. Join us for an interactive, high tech Town Meeting that will bring together hundreds of residents from all eight wards to talk about the important issues facing Washington, DC.
  • Learn about the various challenges facing our city
  • Help identify priorities for the new administration
  • Talk in small groups with residents from all eight wards of the District
  • Generate ideas about how we can assure our local government works for all of us
The Town Meeting is hosted by the National Institute for Civil Discourse and is part of a larger series of Talking Transition DC events. Other groups involved with Talking Transition DC include DC Working Families, DC Vote, the Urban Institute and Public Engagement Associates.  
Topics for the day will include the major issues facing the District of Columbia: jobs, education, public safety and housing.  
A preliminary report of ideas that are generated and the polls that are taken will be available at the end of the Town Meeting. This report will be handed out to all participants as well as media representatives.  
A full report of all results will be prepared in the week after the Town Meeting and presented to Mayor Bowser as well as all of her key aides and recently appointed heads of relevant city agencies. 
Photo by Crystal N. Davis

Thursday, January 15, 2015

What's the best happy hour (or otherwise) deal in the neighborhood?

drinks and beverages Inspired by Qualia's coffee happy hour, and a chat with my buddy, I was thinking -- what do you think is the best happy hour deal in the neighborhood? Let us know in the comments what your favorite is, and I'll compile the best ones for a future post.

To start things off has to be Bravo Bar's happy hour -- the relaxed neighborhood spot at Georgia and Hobart offers a beer, shot and hot dog for $6 before 8 pm, then after 8 it's $6 for just the beer and shot -- still a good deal. And the Red Derby at 14th and Quincy has daily food deals, like half-price burgers on Mondays, half-price seafood on Sunday, and so on. Red Rocks also has a half-price wine night on Mondays.

I take advantage of those as much as I can, but I'm sure there are other food or drink deals around. Let us know!

Qualia Coffee has an espresso happy hour, Monday-Friday afternoons


If you need an afternoon pick-me-up, or just want a tasty coffee drink, Qualia Coffee at 3917 Georgia Avenue NW, at Randolph, have some good deals -- $1 off any espresso drink from 2-5pm Mondays-Fridays. Can't beat that.

Qualia is a roaster and a coffee shop, and they have a lot of good drinks, plus some pastries, bagels, and spots to sit and read or work. Check it out if you haven't been before.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Dumpling and noodle soup restaurant opens in EatsPlace, Georgia Avenue "food incubator"

Yes, noodle soup and dumplings! 3607 Georgia Avenue NW is the home of EatsPlace, a food incubator or "pop-uppery," meaning a place to host pop-up restaurants and guest chefs -- a space to for chefs who have a concept for a restaurant but not their own space.

DC Born & Raised, a Southern restauarant, recently ended their run, and open now is Baba's Dumplings and Soup Noodles from chef Katy Chang. Baba means dad, and the food was inspired by Chang's father, and also uses her own Baba's Cooking School line of hot sauces and bitters.

Along with aforementioned soup and dumplings, there are drinks like Mai Tais and Chinese beers and desserts, and the City Paper reports nothing will be over $10 -- can't beat that.

Here's the full menu and hours. And if you're interested in applying to host your own concept there, check out EatsPlace's FAQ.
Sorry walk-in only so no reservations. The hours (subject to change) are below: 
closed mondays
5p-10p tues-thurs
5p-11p fri
11a-11p sat
11a-10p sun 
BABA’S DUMPLINGS MENU:
HANDMADE DUMPLINGS
(choose steamed or pan fried)
meat dumplings 6
vegan dumplings 6 
KNIFE CUT NOODLE SOUP
meat soup noodles 10
bone broth base, shaved beef, seasonal vegetables, 88CS hot sauce
vegan soup noodles 10
miso base, seitan char sui, seasonal vegetables, 88CS hot sauce 
DESSERT
krispy ice cream sandwich (vegetarian) 5
housemade, brown butter marshmallows and rice cereal sandwiching creamy vanilla ice cream, with very serious sprinkles
Photo from EatsPlace's website. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sports bar The Pitch opens at Georgia & Taylor: soccer, rugby, cricket too

A few months ago, I wrote about The Pitch, a new sports bar at 4015 Georgia Avenue NW: and now they're open! The first day was Monday and I stopped in yesterday to check it out. They have a nicely appointed space, which consists of the second and third floor on the building, plus a little patio on the third floor.

They have about a dozen TVs between the two floors, a big bar on the main floor and a smaller one on the top and tables on both floors. They're open every day, starting at 4 pm on weekdays and earlier on weekends (I stopped by at about 1 pm.)

The place has a bit of a British Commonwealth flavor too: I spoke to the owner, Jay Narain, and he said they plan to be open earlier for some matches, including things like soccer, rugby, and cricket. The name too, suggests that, "pitch" being the British name for a sports field. Their original liquor license application and website also mentioned occasional live music, like jazz and Jamaican music. Jay has lived in the neighborhood for 40 years and the other staff I spoke to, who were all very friendly, said they lived in the neighborhood too.

As for food, there's some Caribbean accents, some Southern food and some American items. You can see the rest of the space and the menu below (click them for bigger versions.) Here's their website.

It looks like a really cool spot, and I plan to stop by as soon as I can.







Thursday, January 8, 2015

New bar, Union Drinkery, and 2 fast casual restaurants coming to Georgia and Kenyon


There's another drinking and two food options coming to the Park View area: Union Drinkery is coming to 3216 Georgia Ave NW, along with two adjacent spots for "fast casual" eateries (think Chipotle, Panera, &pizza etc. -- not necessarily chains, but of that type.)

The Park View DC blog reports that Union Drinkery will have 86 seats plus a 63 seat rear outdoor space. The other two spaces for the fast casual joints are 3212 and 3214 Georgia -- Union Drinkery will take the downstairs of 3216 and the upstairs of 3214 and 3216. They'll have "light snacks" according to their liquor license permit. These three buildings are next to Petworth Liquors, the building with the yellow awning at above left.

The developers for these three are Zuckerman Partners.

That's all the details Park View DC has, but it's nice to see some more things coming to these storefronts on Georgia. Maybe a place to go before or after the nearby (and great) Bravo Bar.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Asian restaurant and lounge coming to 14th and W; sushi, drinks, etc.

Chopsticks

For those folks wanting an Asian restaurant in the area, your prayers may be answered: the City Paper reports that Stephanos Andreou, one of the owners of Barcode, is opening an Asian restaurant and lounge on 14th Street between Florida and W Street. They're aiming for a spring opening.

He's not sharing the exact location, and they're still working on the final concept, but according to the CP:
Andreou says the spot will be "like high end places in Vegas and New York." Food will include sushi and warm dishes, while the drink menu will focus on Asian fusion cocktails, sake, and beer. The restaurant will also have modern Asian decor and a roof deck with retractable glass ceiling.
I hope it's not too high-end.

Barcode (also spelled Bar-Cöde) is a popular spot at 17th and L (3.5 stars on Yelp with a lot of reviews.) I haven't been, but it seems like a happy hour/DJ/loungey/club kind of place based on the reviews and their website.

If you recall, there had been an Asian spot before in our area before: the sushi bistro Nori, located in the space where Z-Burger is, but they closed after being sued for significant back rent (or maybe it was the ghosts.)

In any case, I'm pretty excited to check out this new place in the spring.

Photo by Bruce Guenter

Mad Momos restaurant on 14th is permanently closed

Some sad news from northern Columbia Heights: Mad Momos, the American and Himalayan restaurant and beer deck, is now permanently closed. PoP reports that they attached a note to their door, which is below.

It's a shame, I always really enjoyed the place -- they had great momos (Himalayan dumplings,) Asian noodle dishes and salads, and lots of good deals on drinks. It was a very attractive space, the staff were always friendly and the owner, Wanchuk, was a super nice guy. They had brunch too, but I didn't get a chance to check it out -- Yelpers seemed to like it.

I hope everybody involved lands on their feet.

Here's the note on the door, according to PoP:
mad momos is CLOSED. 
Dear Friends and Patrons of mad momos, 
Season’s greetings and Happy New Year to you. The management at mad momos thank you for all the support and amazing times these past few years. Regrettably, we have reached a point in our business where we need to share a difficult decision with you. We have decided to shift our business and focus our attention on opportunities that will better enhance our community in Columbia Heights. Therefore, it is with regret that mad momos will no longer be continuing its operation in the New Year. 
A special thanks to our neighborhood and all the staff, past and present without which we could not have made this possible. This has been the most rewarding and unforgettable experience. We have had an amazing run with great success. Please stay tuned for something new and exciting coming soon. 
We deeply appreciate all your unending support and most of all, your friendship. We wish you a healthy and happy 2015. 
Warmest regards,

mad momos family

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Response to today's snowstorm has been bad: no plowing on 14th, Spring, most side streets


The snow this morning looked great -- unless you tried to drive or take a bus or cab in Columbia Heights. This morning I was responsible and shoveled my sidewalk and steps, and noticed that Spring Road appeared to be completely unplowed and untreated. Cars were churning through the snow. 

Then at about 9:30 am when I walked over to 14th Street, I noticed the same thing -- all lanes of 14th did not seem to have been touched by plows or pre-treatment. 

Now Spring Road, I sort of understand -- it's not that long of a street. However, 14th Street is one of the city's major thoroughfares. It's crazy that nothing was done. Cars were inching up and down the hills and after waiting for a bus for some time I decided to take a cab. The guy didn't know how to drive in the snow, spinning out multiple times -- but then again, there shouldn't be inches of snow on the street. I bailed out after a few blocks to take the Metro.

On 14th from Spring until Park (and north of Spring, I just didn't see how far) it seemed that nothing had been done. Once we got to Park, the northbound side was slushy, so either something had been done or there was just more traffic on it, getting rid of the snow. The southbound side was still untouched. (Above is 14th at Park.)

And that's not to mention any side streets -- none of them seemed to have had anything done to them. I also heard of a car on fire at Georgia and Irving, but people seemed to get out of the care safely. Those kinds of fires sometimes happen if cars get stuck in snow -- another reason why plowing is important (though I can't confirm that is why the fire happened.)

I tweeted and emailed as much as I can and got email responses from new Ward 1 councilmember Brianne Nadeau and Ben Case, the Ward 1 outreach person in the Mayor's office (whose email I got from another person on Twitter), but not from Muriel Bowser's office when I emailed her. To Nadeau and Case's credit, they responded almost immediately and said they would contact the right people to get plows out to 14th Street and Spring Road. Of course, it's still kind of crazy that wasn't already done.

How about your street? Was it plowed?

This wasn't a major storm, but it sure seems like the city completely dropped the ball in our area.

Lots of people plan to run for Ward 4 council seat

Looks like the Ward 4 council spot is popular: 17 people have picked up nominating petitions for the position, vacated by incoming mayor Muriel Bowser. Candidates only need 500 signatures of people in their ward to make the ballot before January 28, so it may be a very crowded field.

Here's the full list. To be honest, I'm not familiar with most of those names, aside from Pedro Rubio, who finished fourth in the At-Large council race this past election. Renee L. Bowser isn't related to Muriel Bowser. Brandon Todd apparently was a Bowser (Muriel) staffer (which if you saw my previous posts on the mayoral race, isn't necessarily a good thing.)

Acqunetta Anderson
Leon T. Andrews, Jr.
Ron Austin
Gwenellen Corley-Bowman
Renée L. Bowser
Chrysanthe A. Courniotes
Judi Jones
Lydia I. Little
Bruce Morrison
Edwin W. Powell
Pedro Rubio, Jr.
Glova Scott
Douglass Sloan
Vannie Taylor, III
Bobvala Tengen
Brandon Todd
Robert J. Whitaker, Sr.

The election will be April 28.

Monday, January 5, 2015

14th and Girard condo owners want preschool playground closed: claim it's too loud

This is something you hear every day. Some residents of a condo building at 14th and Girard, which shares a building with the Apple Tree Early Learning Public Charter School preschool, want the preschool's playground closed. They claim it's too loud.

The Post has an article about it, which is honestly kind of amusing. James Abadian, former president of the condo board had this to say:
“The noise. It’s real. It’s crazy,” he said. “With windows closed and everything, I can’t take a phone call.”
To which Bryan Weaver, former ANC commissioner and candidate for DC Council, and others tweeted jokes:  
Abadian claims he has to go to the bathroom to phone calls inside due to the noise, which has driven some people out of the building.

The school's president has a different take:
“The problem is that there are a few residents who don’t like the noise of children playing on the playground,” said Jack McCarthy the president and chief executive of AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation. 
“It’s one of these issues where you just say, ‘Hey, can we be reasonable?’”
Abadian claims that the condo board has the authority to close the playground, and McCarthy, the school's president, said if they removed the playground it could lead to litigation.

Columbia Heights seems to have more than its fair share of these kind of wacky debates; if you recall a few years ago, some people who live next to the fire station at 14th and Monroe were angry that the sirens were too loud.

UPDATE: I missed a funny detail of the article: Abadian said he asked if the school could limit playground time ro make it a "silent study area." Right, because preschoolers are great at being silent and have a lot to study. More reasonably, some residents suggested they use the 14th and Girard rec center playground about a block away.

Vandals knock down Little Free Library at 11th and Irving, will be back up soon (getting lots of use!)

Earlier this week, PoP reported that the Little Free Library installed at 11th and Irving was down. I reached out to the folks who put it up originally and they confirmed that someone knocked it down on Jan. 1, but that they'd put it back up shortly. They also had a nice note about how much it was getting used by the community, which is great.
Sadly, someone appears to have pulled it down on the night of Jan 1. Certainly, not the best start to the new year. The only good news is that they left it on the curb nearby and it was relatively undamaged. We’re going to put it back up, but we need to make a new base as there was some significant structural damage to it. We’re hoping to get it back up next weekend.

All in all, it’s just really sad as the community really seemed to be using it. There was a turnover of about 10 books a day that we noticed, so potentially significantly more. We actually had a neat experience where a woman waiting for the bus came up to us and told us that she was so excited it was there as she couldn’t afford books to read to her son but now she was able to bring home new books to read to him. We had just been so excited that the community had taken such ownership and were constantly keeping it stocked with books. It’ll be back soon though.
That's a shame, but great they're putting it back up and that people are using it.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Car fire on Perry Place between 14th and 16th on January 1st


A few years ago there were a series of car and moped fires in northern Columbia Heights between 14th and 16th and Spring Road and about Otis Place. They seemed to have been intentionally set but were originally reported to be "mechanical" rather than arson, but later on were investigated by the police.

It had been some time since I've heard of any other vehicle fires, but a reader emailed me today abour a car fire on Perry Place between 14th and 16th that happened the night of January 1, pictured above. Let's hope this isn't the start of another rash of vehicle fires.
I was trying to find out if anyone had reported on a car fire that occurred last night, January 1, on Perry Place between 14th and 16th... 
[...] 
Anyway. It was pretty bananas. Someone on the street saw the person who lit the car on fire throw something into the front of the vehicle. It happened right in front of my house and my car was parked behind the car that was on fire.
[...] 
Someone must have [called the police], our street was shut down until about 10:40 pm....maybe 40 minutes total, although I'm not sure. The fire department was there along with MPD. But then the officer from MPD said that they were handing it over to their arson investigator.
I recommended that she call MPD and the local fire station to see what's going on with the investigation. I have not seen anything about it on any of the MPD or Fire Department Twitter accounts or listserves.

And as I always recommend when someone talks about a crime, please call 911, even if you already hear police or fire sirens going to the scene or if it has been some time. Even if they can't catch the person or are already on scene, your report can help them find out what happened, and also makes sure that it gets reported, and more reporting helps the police and firefighters target their responses better. You can also report anonymously. "Minding your own business" helps no one, and potentially can even hurt.

If you're looking for info on crimes, MPD's listserves are the first place I look, and also they often have contact info for officers in charge of those areas.

Everything is on sale at Modell's in DCUSA


It's time to get some good deals on sporting goods and athletic apparel -- Modell's, the store in DCUSA, is having a big sale right now with many things marked down 50% or more.

However, it doesn't seem that the store is closing, just getting rid of lots of things (many of which are winter items.) A few days ago, I stumbled upon a blog post about a big sale on Capitals hockey jerseys before the Winter Classic game, and a few people said Modell's was closing -- but I have been unable to confirm this anywhere else. I called the store and asked and they said they weren't closing. So there's that.

Anyway, go get yourself some deals.