Tuesday, July 25, 2017

NPR writes about Howard U.: the changing neighborhood and connecting with neighbors


NPR has an interesting article today about Howard University about the changing neighborhood and the university's relations with the community. The article, "When A Historically Black University's Neighborhood Turns White" talks about rising property values in the area, the increase in white residents, the decrease in crime, and more.

It also talks about the university re-connecting with the neighborhood -- for many years it was more inward-focused, but lately they've been trying to engage the community more with events and others. They're also interested in connecting with Georgia Avenue from a planning and development side as well -- physically being part of the street.

Last year, for example, I attended the Georgia Avenue Community Review, where officials from Howard talked about how they wanted to make Georgia Avenue more of a focus for the university. Currently, the university has a lot of blank walls on the street and is separated from it. Howard officials mention this in the NPR article too, saying they were more insular. The officials at the community review event talked about making it more of a main street for campus, especially as more shops and restaurants have gone in. Did you know there's a Barnes and Noble there, as well as Potbelly and lots of other food?

The NPR article also talks about Howard's land holdings in the area, a number of which were bought in the 1970s and 1980s, and many of which are vacant. A number of residents have complained about this, and at the community review, a number of locals said something similar (as did I.) In many cases though, Howard is working on redeveloping them, such as the vacant and burned apartment building on Georgia near Fairmont. That building is currently going through a request for proposals. 

Another example is the large vacant warehouse complex on the west side of Georgia across from the hospital. Last I heard redevelopment was held up by a dispute with the purported developers. 

They also discuss the increasing land values, but not in depth. 

One thing I've had a tough time with is finding out about events at Howard -- I'm sure there are talks, performances and such at the campus that would be of interest to local residents, but the calendar page isn't too detailed. (Then again, it's the summer.) If anybody is reading from Howard, I'd be happy to write about events there! Let me know!

Photo by Ted Eytan

Friday, July 14, 2017

Metro now testing homes near Petworth Metro for damage from shaking caused by new trains


Many residents near the Petworth Metro are worried about their homes shaking due to the new, heavier 7000-series Metro trains. A number of reports have talked about it over the past few months, with Metro first saying it wasn't related, but now they're hiring contractors to study the issue.

I've written before about the issue, and WUSA-9 recently did a story where they measured shaking in a house near the station and found that each shake was exactly timed when a new train arrived at the station. Now they're reporting that Metro has hired a contractor for at least one person's house to see if the shaking might cause structural damage.

Let's hope there won't be damage -- I know I'd be worried if I lived near the station. Anyone else notice this?

Photo: a 7000 series car at PG Plaza, from Wikipedia

Hear from MPD's Third District commander on Saturday


If you're interested in learning more about safety in our area or sharing your opinion, MPD's Third District Commander, Stuart Emerman, will be speaking at the Luray-Warder Neighborhood Association meeting on Saturday. It's at the Park View Rec Center, 693 Otis Pl NW, at 11 am.

The Third District covers Columbia Heights up to Monroe Street, plus Park View, U Street, Howard University and parts of Ledroit Park, Adams Morgan and Logan Circle and part of 16th Street. Click the map for a bigger version. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Possibly unpopular opinion: I don't think Sundevich is that great


A few months ago, folks in the neighborhood were thrilled when Small Fry at 3212 Georgia started serving Sundevich sandwiches along with their usual barbecue. The same folks own both spots, as well as the awesome Union Drinkery next door plus A&D in Shaw.

And after trying a lot of the sandwiches there, I've come to a conclusion -- I don't think they're that great. By my count I've probably had 10 different sandwiches in order to give them a chance with a full sample size and most have been... fine. Not great, not bad, but just kind of bland.

The ingredients are decent quality, the bread is ok and they're made as they're described, but just fall flat for me. Nothing extraordinary. And I like Small Fry pretty well; they have solid BBQ, good mac and cheese and a great fried chicken sandwiches. (Just avoid the smoked vegetables.)

So I don't quite get it -- am I missing something about Sundevich? I've never been, so was I jaded by the universally positive reviews for the original Shaw location and expecting something awesome -- or is the original location just better?

Image from the Sundevich Twitter.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Jenkins Capital BBQ opening July 4th, soft opening today; check out the menu


It's BBQ time! Jenkins Capital BBQ at the old Ruby Tuesday spot (14th and Monroe) is opening officially on July 4th with a soft opening today, July 3rd, according to a tipster.

The tipster also sent along the full menu, which seems a bit smaller than we saw before, but still very large. Might be worth a shot for your 4th of July party. (Click the image above for a bigger view.)

Nice to see something come to this space, which has been empty for a few years, and I wish them luck! 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Here's where you can buy fireworks in DC! Two stands in our area

The 4th of July is upon us, and that means cookouts, hot weather, and fireworks -- fireworks everywhere, not just on the Mall.

It's my opinion that a rooftop in Columbia Heights is the best place in the world to see 4th of July fireworks, because you can see the main display, displays at towns around the area, and a ton of DIY displays all around our neighborhood. Anywhere you look you'll see something going on -- it's fun, it's communal, and it's explosive.

You can buy some fireworks in DC, though not the ones that shoot in the area and explode, and I contacted DCRA to get the list of where they are -- see below.

In our area that's 3700 New Hampshire (corner of Georgia, at the Petworth Metro) and 4140 Georgia (at Upshur). Here's the full list below:

UPDATE: there are two stands not listed: 14th and Otis and Georgia and Newton.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Save $15 from Ecoverde Maids, a green, local small business

 

This is a sponsored post for our advertiser Ecoverde Maids, a great small local business that's been a longtime supporter of the site. Check them out!

This year Ecoverde Maids is turning 5 years old! Through competitive pricing, attractive service plans and friendly customer service, Ecoverde has created a strong residential client base serving Columbia Heights and Petworth. Today we'd like to introduce you to Carolina Rodriguez, the owner. Since they receive all lot of bookings from the surrounding area, they have decided to sponsor this blog. They have created a $15 off promo code that you can use by clicking on their banner on the top of the blog.

Ecoverde founder Carolina Rodriguez moved from Spain to Washington DC in 2005 to work for the Spanish government. In her free time after work she took a course from the Latino Economic Development Center on how to start a small business—more specifically, how to start a cleaning business. The training lasted for six weeks on Tuesday nights and she learned everything about starting a business, from how to do taxes, to becoming an LLC, to all the legal and administrative aspects. In 2012 she launched Ecoverde Maids in the Washington, DC Metro area and is currently working on launching another branch in Boston. 

While she is focused on running a successful business, she does find time for other activities. “Honestly, I am so passionate about so many things in life!” she said. She’s raising a two year old daughter, studying for a Masters in Secondary Education at George Washington University (she’ll graduate this summer), does morning meditation, goes to yoga class, Facetimes with family in Spain, enjoys watching movies, catches up with friends over coffee… and is running a highly successful cleaning business as well.
Carolina originally studied social work in Spain, but has come to love running her own business. “I like handling the online marketing and entrepreneurship,” she said. While Ecoverde Maids focuses on eco-friendly cleaning, the service offers both green cleaning and conventional cleaning depending on the client’s request. “Green cleaning is very important. We need to be aware of the environment and how we relate to it with the products we consume,” Carolina said. Seventh Generation products are a favorite brand that the team uses to clean without toxic chemicals.

When she first started out, Carolina was out in the field doing cleaning with her staff, but now she focuses solely on the administrative aspects and on growing the business. She felt it was important to get exposure to the actual cleaning process, in order to know exactly what her customers were experiencing. “When you’re selling a product, you need to know what you’re selling,” she said. She doesn’t miss being out in the field, though, and feels that her main focus should be on taking Ecoverde Maids to the next level. To that end, she has a staff of ten people who are helping to handle the day-to-day cleaning services.

Despite the challenges, she finds the work to be fulfilling. “I started the business four years ago and it’s been evolving. I like trying new things and seeing what works and what doesn’t. I alter my systems accordingly. The best part is to see something that I created with my own hands grow and become a success.”

One of the secrets to her success is the personal touch she has the team leave after each client’s home is cleaned. “We want the client to have a feeling of coming home to a clean and fresh house, so we leave mints on top of our company business card.” Another critical component is soliciting feedback from her customers frequently. “The same day of the cleaning our clients get an email asking them to rate the team. Their response goes to us and to the cleaning teams. This is how we do quality control and to make sure clients are happy with this team. Customer satisfaction is very important.” 

From her many years of success, she offers some words of advice for someone looking to start their own cleaning business. “You’ve got to have patience most of all. There’s a lot of work out there, many people who are busy and who need their homes cleaned. In the beginning it will be slow going but put yourself out there and advertise. An online presence is one of the most important pieces. You have to keep a good online reputation with good views and a positive image of your brand and business. That will bring long term success.” 

If you’re in the Washington DC or Boston area, you can book Ecoverde Maids for a high-quality green cleaning service today.

Cool "Resist" landscaping on Sherman Avenue house


The other day I was walking down Sherman and spotted this house, with RESIST spelled in rocks in their garden as well as a sign with a lot of progressive values. Pretty neat way to show your opinions. The house also had some pride flags and others. I like living in an area with lots of political sentiment.

Anyone else notice political houses? I'm reminded of the house on 13th that has the alien in the window with various political signs.


Monday, June 26, 2017

New coffee shop and deli coming to 3661 Georgia, old Amanuel Market


Looks like a new coffee shop and deli is coming to the area: I saw permits in the window at 3661 Georgia Avenue NW, just south of New Hampshire, the old Amanuel Market, a convenience store. The market was busted for selling synthetic drugs in 2015 and closed sometime after that. The owner also applied for a liquor license in 2011 but the ANC opposed it.

The permit says there will be food prep and coffee with 11 seats. I can't find much else more about it, interested to see if it's going to be a hip spot, a deli with coffee in those pour yourself things, or something else.

Here's the full permit text. Some places have coffee machines on the counter but they're for the staff to use, so we'll see.

USE CHANGE FROM CONVENIENCE STORE WITH ACCESSORY PREPARED FOOD SHOP TO FOOD PREPARATION AND COFFEE SHOP. BY KEEPING THE EXISTING MECHANICAL , ELECTRICAL AND PLUMBING AS IS WITH THE ADDITION OF ADA COMPLIANCE HANDICAP ACCESS BATHROOM, THREE COMPARTMENT SINK , UNDER COUNTER FREEZER AND COFFEE BREWING MACHINES ON THE COUNTER. 
PREOPARED FOOD SHOP WITH 11 SEATS ON THE 1ST FLOOR, CELLAR FOR STORAGE ONLY. NO MECHANICAL WORK WILL BE ADDED ON THE ROOF.

Red Derby now offering $3 brats, half-price burgers on Mondays


Whoa, this is a super deal. Red Derby, the relaxed neighborhood spot at 14th and Quincy, has just launched a $3 brat Monday: $3 for one brat with sauerkraut or two for $5. Monday also have have price burgers.

The Derb' has pretty solid bar food, so I suspect this brat is good too.

They're at 3718 14th Street NW. Check them out if you haven't been (but remember they are cash only, there is an ATM.)

Friday, June 23, 2017

El Rinconcito II under construction again after fire in October; looks close to done


Good news for fans of El Rinconcito II at 1326 Park Road, the Salvadoran and Mexican restaurant that burned in October: I walked by the other day and there's construction going on inside, and it looked pretty close to being finished.

The spot caught fire in late October and has been closed since. If you haven't been, it's quite tasty, good and not expensive Salvadoran and Mexican food, plus they have a nice patio.

I hope they get back on their feet soon. I am missing some pupusas and tasty cheesy Mexican food (and margaritas.)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Checking out new beer hall, Franklin Hall at 1346 Florida from Penn Social, Big Chief folks




More bars! Recently Franklin Hall opened at 1346 Florida Avenue NW, next to La Colombe and Pizzeria Vetri. It's from the folks behind Big Chief in Ivy City, Penn Social downtown, Lost and Found in Shaw and a few other spots. I checked it out last night. It's big.

The hall part of the name is accurate -- the spot is cavernous, kind of a modern-style warehouse or loft with high ceilings, polished concrete floors and such. It's full of picnic tables and high tables with stools, and it was pretty packed last night -- there was also a Jon Ossoff watch party, so maybe that was part of it. The crowd also seemed a bit young, but maybe that was the event as well. There are also games like card games and giant Connect Four.

Their website calls it an American beer hall and they have a fairly big draft beer list with American beers from all over the country: Oregon, California, Missouri, Michigan and around here, with both pints a liters. The pints started at $5, and the liters at $10 (which was Boh and Miller Lite.) 

They also have food at a walk-up window: lots of sausages seems to be their staple, plus loaded fries, chicken tenders, a burger or two, brussels sprouts, churros and such. I got the Natty Boh sausage, which was cooked in said beer, and it was pretty good, as were the shoestring fries it came with. Not gourmet cuisine but so far so good with bar food.

The bar is almost the length of the whole spot, so that made it easy to get a beer. The only knock on the spot is that it was really loud and echo-y -- they could use some noise absorbers or something. 

They also have pretty good happy hour deals: $2 off all drafts Monday-Friday from 4 to 7 pm, as well as $2 off rail cocktails. 

I'd be curious to see what it's like on the weekends if it was that crowded on the week day!

They're open 4pm-1am Monday-Thursday, 4pm-2am Friday, noon-2am Saturday and noon-1am Sunday.

Menus are below. Click them for a bigger version:





Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Happy hour at Midlands tonight: donate clothes, get $1 off


This is neat -- as part of the youth employment event on the 21st, which I wrote about earlier, Midlands is holding a clothing drive tonight: if you donate new or gently used professional clothing, shoes and accessories, you'll get $1 off!

Pretty neat way to help out some deserving young people, while also getting a good deal.

Georgia Avenue Thrive is also looking for volunteers for the event on the 21st, just email Jennifer Kuiper, jkuipermpp(at)gmail.com.

Know young people looking for work? Youth employment fair at Midlands on Wednesday: resume and interview help, workshops, folks who are hiring


If you know any young people looking for work, here's a cool event. Georgia Avenue Thrive and the city are organizing an event for young people who are looking for work: they're calling it a Youth Employment Support & Job Readiness event and it's at the Midlands beer garden on Wednesday. There will be various representatives from various government offices, organizations that help students get jobs, and others with workshops, free professional clothing, help with resumes and more. Sounds pretty neat, pass it along to your neighbors or friends!

Here's more from Georgia Avenue Thrive:
Please share the attached flier and Facebook announcement about the Youth Employment Support & Job Readiness Event at The Midlands (3333 Georgia Ave NW) this Wednesday, June 21, 11am-3pm. Employment service providers, mini-workshops, workplace clothing give-away, one-on-one resume coaching and free hot dogs and lemonade will all be provided!

Monday, June 19, 2017

City shuts down Target food sales on Friday due to rodents

Yuh oh. The city's inspectors found some rodents at Target on Friday and shut down their food sales for part of the day. WJLA has the story, they were closed part of the day but were allowed to start selling food again that night. The Starbucks inside Target reopened Saturday.

This isn't the first time the store has been temporarily banned from selling food -- it happened in 2015 as well due to rodents and insects.

Let's hope they've figured out what the problem is and cleaned it up.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Columbia Heights Farmers Market now open Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings


This is neat -- if you're looking for more good food and other local items, the Columbia Heights Farmers Market is now open two times a week: Wednesdays 4-7pm and Saturdays 9am-1pm. Sometimes they're there a bit after 7 too.

The market is pretty awesome, there are always various produce vendors, dairy, bread, coffee, meat, drinks, sauces, premade foods and other snacks and items, all from local farmers or small businesses. It's good for picking up a quick snack or breakfast or some ingredients for future meals.

The market is located at the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza, the triangle between 14th, Park and Kenyon, across from the Tivoli building.

There's also the Petworth Market, also Saturdays at 9th and Upshur, and the Mt Pleasant one, Saturdays at the Mt. Pleasant Plaza (near Mt. Pleasant and Park Rd.)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Jenkins Capital BBQ opening soon at 14th and Monroe; check out the menu


BBQ time! A reader was at the ANC1A meeting the other day and the owner said they're opening in about a week.

Here's a bit more info from the reader:
He said that you could go to the website now, but I haven't tried it since I don't know what it is.

He said that they stole one of the best BBQ chefs from Atlanta and had some other interesting things to say about his food. There will also be a 16 seat bar with TVs, and then outside seating when that is approved.
I also can't find their website, but their Facebook page is up, complete with a logo.

I also received a preview copy of the menu from an ANC commissioner, check it out below (click it for the full version.) Looks pretty awesome, and thorough!


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Columbia Heights Day is Saturday, June 17! Music, arts, food, vendors, kids' carnival, beer garden, fun for all ages; want to volunteer?


Columbia Heights Day is upon us again! This year's, the 12th annual, will be on 11th Street between Park and Irving like in previous years from 11am-6pm.

There will be local businesses, arts and crafts, fitness classes, music and a lot more, plus a kids' carnival at the Tubman school field, and a beer garden hosted by Meridian Pint.

Here's more info on what's happening and the schedule, as well as the Facebook invite from the Columbia Heights Initiative, the organizers.

They're also looking for volunteers and sponsors if you want to do a bit of help.

The best local DC street party is back and you’re invited!! Join us in celebration of diversity and community with the neighborhood’s finest food, drink, and entertainment. 

Discover artisans, entrepreneurs, and area businesses in the heart of Columbia Heights. The fun is everywhere and for everyone! We have three stages of live music, dance, and free fitness classes. Kids can play at the carnival on the Harriet Tubman field while adults make their own fun at the Meridian Pint beer garden. See you on Saturday, June 17th!

Where: 11th Street between Park Road and Irving Street.
When: Saturday, June 17th 11am-6pm
Cost: FREE (Donations welcome!)
_________________________________

Main Stage line up:
Maryjo Mattea and a Pile of Dudes- 11:00 am - 11:45 am
The Fuss - 12:15 pm - 1:00 pm
CREATE - 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm
SAHEL - 2:45 pm - 3:30 pm
The JoGo Project - 3:45 pm - 4:30 pm
Empresarios - 5 pm - 6 pm

Community Field Stage line up:
Barro Vermelho Capoeira - 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
PanLara - 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm
DC Self Defense Karate Association - 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Salsa With Silvia - 2:45 pm - 3:45 pm
Zumba with CHampion Lifestyle Fitness - 4 pm - 5 pm
Evolution Grooves band - 5:15 pm - 6 pm
_________________________________
Get Involved!
There are lots of ways you can get involved with Columbia Heights Day. Whether you want to be a volunteer, vendor, or entertainer we want to hear from you!

Visit our Website to find out more about our day full of good vibes!
https://districtbridges.org/events/2017/test-event-1

Sponsored Artist Scholarship Application
https://goo.gl/forms/RSPcAEhMjXUuS3Ig1

Volunteers
http://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080f4aa5ad2da0f94-columbia

Sponsors
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfLcU7A2HYB9PgrRlN_DogzhR_cY9rLxwFG9Tu-mLAzzXfQTg/viewform?c=0&w=1

Monday, June 5, 2017

Pools are open! Pools are open! Weekends only until June 18, then full schedule


It's getting hot, and just in the time, the city's outdoor pools have opened. Starting last weekend, the outdoor pools are open on the weekends, and starting June 18, they'll be open every day (except one day a week.)

In our area, there's the Banneker pool at Georgia and Euclid and the Upshur pool at Upshur and Arkansas. Both are currently open noon-6pm on Saturday and Sunday. Starting June 18, they'll be open every day except one -- for Banneker, that's Thursdays, and for Upshur, that's Mondays.

Banneker (pictured above) is big and very popular -- there are sometimes lines to get in. They also added a concession stand for some cold beverages and light snacks. Upshur is smaller and has more families, but also a nice place to swim.

Here are their full hours, and here are the rest of the pools.

Banneker:
  • Lap Swim: Mon - Wed & Fri - 8 am to 10 am
  • Mon - Wed & Fri - 11 am to 8 pm
  • Sat & Sun: 12 pm to 6 pm
Closed Day:
Thursday

Upshur:
  • Tues - Fri - 11 am to 8 pm
  • Sat & Sun - 12 pm to 6 pm
Closed Day: 
Monday

Friday, June 2, 2017

Learn hand dancing every Wednesday at Georgia and Randolph: a D.C. version of swing dancing


If you've been in DC for long enough, you've probably heard of hand dancing -- it's a locally developed style of dance, similar to swing dancing (not just waving your hands around, as might be assumed from the name.)

Former Mayor Vince Gray was a big fan, and it still is popular around the area. And now you can learn! There are classes every Wednesday for beginners, starting this coming Wednesday, June 7 at 3815 Georgia Ave NW. The details are above, sounds like fun!

Here's a sample from the National Hand Dance Association:

Thursday, June 1, 2017

New favorite neighborhood resident: oldies/torch song player on Park Road

There are a few neighborhood characters in our area: the "Music Man" with the boombox on his bike, for example. But I think I found my new favorite resident: whoever plays the torch songs and oldies on Park Road between Holmead and 13th.

A few times I've walked by the evening and there's a speaker playing old standards, jazz, torch songs and the like, and it's pretty awesome to hear walking around. Once I saw local musician (and Grammy-nominee) Christylez Bacon hanging out there, so it might be his place (or his musical choice) but I'm not sure.

Anyone else hear and enjoy his music? Always like hearing music around the neighborhood.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

WaPo article on local activist and development opponent Chris Otten

The Washington Post recently had an interesting article on Chris Otten -- you may recognize the name from various mailing lists or press releases, or seen (or heard) him at community meetings.

Otten is an activist against many local development projects, often calling for more affordable housing or for the development to be stopped altogether. Sometimes he succeeds, with community groups getting settlements or concessions, or delaying the project, such as with the McMillan Sand Filtration Site redevelopment, where he got a court to delay the project. He's also opposed to development at Union Market, homeless shelters in Ward 3 and 5 and the new soccer stadium in Buzzard Point, for example.

Various neighbors, developers, local officials and planners are opposed to him though, as the Post cites. In one example, his opposition to the Adams Morgan Line hotel project, the developers offered his group $2 million to drop their challenge. They accepted, and the money went into a group he set up to manage it.

Some of that money went to him, some of it to a group on whose board he sits, and he refused to tell the Post more details about where it goes. The Post also claims he built anti-hotel websites and offered to take them down if the developer paid him $20,000, which Otten denies. I remember seeing the websites too, it was unclear who actually ran them. One of his tactics is to make a name of a group that seems like a citizens organization, but it's never clear who (if anyone) is in the group. (This was also a common tactic among neighbors in Foggy Bottom who opposed George Washington University, to form organizations that seemed to be representative but may have only been a couple of people.)

Some of Otten's points are good -- the city could certainly use more affordable housing, but he seems to argue that any proposed affordable units are not the right kind or are too expensive and rather than advocating for a change to rules about affordable housing in the city. He seems to oppose any projects that includes affordable housing (in my opinion.)

On the other hand, he also opposed to project to remove the plaza at 18th and Columbia Road, which I agree with him on.

In my opinion, he opposes everything, and is a perfect-is-the-enemy-of-the-good type -- rather than letting a pretty good project happen, he fights it because it's not perfect. What usually happens is the project gets held up in court or other red tape (like McMillan), or as in the case of the Adams Morgan hotel, the developers make a settlement with his group and it gets built anyway.

He also seems to be opposed to things that nobody else is opposed to, like WAMU's Martin Austermuhle says: he was opposed to small homeless shelters in Wards 3 and 5, which homeless advocates want, and thinks DC General should be fixed up into a huge city shelter, which very few if any homeless advocates want. It almost seems like he's a NIMBY, but sort of an activist NIMBY who wants nothing to happen rather than the usual kind. The Post quotes former city planning director Harriet Tregoning as saying “I know what he’s against. What’s he for?"

He also seems to constantly change his story for why he's opposed to various projects. His McMillan group has gone through any number of reasons, and once one gets shot down they bring up something else. I had a run-in with him at a while ago at a Ward 1 event: I met him and was friendly and polite, saying I agreed with him on the Adams Morgan plaza and appreciated his work, but I disagreed with him on his opposition to the McMillan project, the large area between North Capitol and First Street NW south of Washington Hospital Center. I probably should have not talked to him, in hindsight.

For one thing, his group always calls it "McMillan Park," a sort of propaganda argument implying it's always been a park and thus should be returned to one. However, the site was never a park and it's been off-limits to the public since World War II. I think the project provides much-needed housing to the city, some of which is affordable, and will bring in some retail, some office space, some jobs, and be generally beneficial.

The current plan would have 1 million feet of healthcare space (I think doctors offices and other medical offices), 655 housing units (20% of which is affordable or affordable for seniors), 80,000 square feet of retail space with a Harris Teeter, a 17,000 square foot community center with a pool, and an eight acre park for 10 acres of total open space, or about 41% of the site. So where there has been zero usable land for anything for decades, there's parks, market-rate housing, affordable housing, offices, health facilities, community centers and retail. It's also preserving all of the (abandoned) historic brick towers there. Sounds good to me.

He didn't like this at all and got very angry. He raised his voice and said I'd never been inside the site so I didn't know how nice it was (I walk and ride by it a lot, you can see through the fences) and that the housing was not the right type and that it would generate more traffic and that traffic would cause kids to die of air pollution. He was basically yelling at this point so I turned around and left. In my opinion, he will find any cockamamie reason to oppose something. Rather than get more affordable housing at McMillan, for example, he prefers none because he says it's not the right type or price, even though those requirements are set by DC law.

And it sounds like that's part of his strategy, to be obnoxious: the Post reports other incidents where he made a ruckus at local meetings, including calling Concilmember Phil Mendelson a racist for not allowing testimony at a hearing from people who hadn't signed up ahead of time, which is how the city does its testimony.

Should activists be friendly and nice all the time? No, of course not. It's important to make a stink about big issues. But opposing everything all the time no matter what and saying that supporting a development project that seems to benefit lots of people means you want kids to die is pretty bonkers. I'm probably inviting upon myself a rain of comments by writing this, but it's frustrating to always see this opposition. And I think the Post covered him well.

First Friday on Georgia Avenue this Friday: deals at local businesses, retail, bars, food and more!


First Friday is back! The event, organized by Georgia Avenue Thrive, has local businesses on Georgia Avenue open their doors with various specials -- freebies, deals, giveaways and performances.

There's a lot of great deals and some new participants this month: Story District, Midlands, Bravo Bar and more. It's a great way to check out local businesses, meet your neighbors and have a nice Friday evening. Check it out!
Start your weekend with First Friday on lower Georgia Avenue! Join us Friday, June 2nd from 6-9 pm for our monthly celebration of the Georgia Avenue community with specials and live events at our local businesses. Check out June's participating businesses below. More and even better!
We have partnered with @Petworth Arts Collaborative to bring you more art, music and theatre and community engagement while supporting our local businesses, so stayed tuned for more!
Last month's was a blast, there was a buy 5, get 5 free deal at Walls of Books, free coffee at Heat da Spot, goodies at District Dogs and a lot more.

There'a also a Facebook invite and a map with all the participants.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Pedestrian changes to 14th and Irving intersection: "Barnes Dance" all-way crossing going in, like Chinatown

One of the main intersections in our area is getting some changes: the District Department of Transportation has announced that 14th and Irving is getting a "Barnes Dance" pedestrian crossing in early June, which is when all vehicle traffic stops at a red light and people can cross in any direction -- diagonal across the intersection or along the existing perpendicular crosswalks. There's a similar crossing at 7th and H in Chinatown. The crossing is also called a scramble or barnyard crossing.

The city has a lot more info on how it works for pedestrians, drivers and cyclists. In short, pedestrians can only cross when it's "all-red, all-walk" -- there won't be walk signals when one direction is green. That means pedestrians may have to wait a bit longer as well. For drivers, there are no right turns on red and wait times will be longer at rush hour. Cyclists may ride through during "all-red, all-walk" but must yield to pedestrians.

The city says the intersection is aimed at reducing pedestrian/vehicle conflicts in the area. To be honest I'm a little surprised it's not at 14th/Park/Kenyon, which is kind of confusing, but there is more pedestrian traffic at 14th and Irving. The Post has a bit more, with DDOT planners saying the turn from eastbound Irving Street onto 14th has had a number of pedestrian-vehicle crashes in the past. The intersection has 3,500 pedestrians and 1,500 vehicles an hour during the peak times of the PM rush hour.

They'll also have traffic control officers there at first to make sure people understand what to do.

We'll see how it goes. The Chinatown one has been pretty successful from what I can tell. They're also popular in Takoma Park, Pittsburgh and elsewhere.

Here's more about the Barnes Dance:
Columbia Heights (14th and Irving Street NW), June 2017
  • The 14th Street and Irving Street, NW, Intersection was evaluated as part of the DDOT Crosstown Multimodal Transportation Study in 2016 and a Barnes Dance was recommended to reduce the pedestrian/vehicle conflicts in the intersection and to improve transit service in the area. 
  • Barnes Dance signal operation is often an effective solution for intersections where pedestrians outnumber vehicles.  When this imbalance occurs, a shift in the signal operation can reduce conflicts caused by turning vehicles and pedestrians as they attempt to cross the street during their designated “Pedestrian Walk” signal phase.
  • The Barnes Dance timing eliminates this conflict by allowing all pedestrians to cross without vehicle movements and vehicles to move without pedestrian crossings (provided all drivers and pedestrians obey their traffic signals). 
  • After successful implementation of a Barnes Dance at 7th and H Streets, NW in Chinatown in 2010, DDOT began looking for other locations where this treatment could improve pedestrian safety and access.
Photo from DDOT from 1962-63

Friday, May 26, 2017

Video: Potter's House cafe on Columbia Road has neat pay it forward campaign


This is a little out of our area, but pretty cool. Potter's House, the cafe and bookstore at 1658 Columbia Rd NW, has a "pay it forward" option where you can pay for someone else's coffee or meal, donating when you buy your items. The proceeds pay for a pay-what-you-can meal program. 

Ad 2 DC, a local advertising group, put together a neat little ad about it as well as a documentary about the spot, which has been around since 1960. (They also have good coffee, it's a nice place.)

Here's the ad and their press release:



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Adams Morgan Reminded to Pay It Forward in New Advertising Campaign for The Potter’s House

The Potter’s House, in collaboration with Ad 2 DC, is proud to announce its newest advertising campaign, “Pay It Forward.” Launched April 15, the campaign showcases how donating to The Potter’s House’s long-standing Pay It Forward program brings the Adams Morgan community together. Donations to the Pay It Forward program directly fund the corresponding Pay What You Can program, where Adams Morgan neighbors can visit The Potter's House and receive a nutritious meal regardless of income, and be served with dignity.

One of the highlights of the “Pay It Forward” campaign is a cinema-quality commercial showing a glimpse into the radical hospitality that happens every day at The Potter’s House, a coffeehouse, bookstore, and community hub in Adams Morgan founded in 1960. The spot was filmed onsite at The Potter’s House, and it depicts patrons of all backgrounds coming together over food in the space’s welcoming atmosphere.

Ad 2 DC also produced two mini-documentaries celebrating The Potter’s House’s history and mission, as well as the Pay It Forward program, with exclusive interviews from The Potter’s House’s board members, employees, and patrons.

“One of the goals of the Pay It Forward program is to have a starting point for connection,” says Tim Kumfer, The Potter’s House’s general manager. “We’re really seeking to re-weave the fabric of the community and bring people together. Through donations to Pay It Forward, we’re able to serve 25 meals a day through the Pay What You Can program, and as that number grows, we’ll also need to grow the support accordingly.”

The Potter's House's video commercial is featured on NBC4, News Channel 8/ABC 7, and YouTube. Other components of the multimedia campaign, which runs through June, can be found on iHeartRadio’s DC partner stations (WASH-FM, WBIG-FM, WIHT-FM, WMQZ-FM, WWDC-FM), in print in El Tiempo Latino, online on dcist.com, on Digilant Media’s partner sites, including washingtonpost.com, and in-store at The Potter’s House at 1658 Columbia Rd. NW, Washington, DC, 20009.

Donate to the Pay it Forward Program through The Potter’s House’s Go Fund Me page and learn more at pottershousedc.org.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Cool: Odd Provisions has iced coffee with frozen coffee ice cubes


Today I stopped into Odd Provisions, the cool little market at 11th and Lamont, and noticed they had iced coffee -- but with pre-made frozen coffee ice cubes.

Pretty clever idea -- the cubes were already in a cup in the freezer so you don't water your iced coffee down as you drink it. They used to do something similar at Zombie Coffee and Donuts, so maybe that was the inspiration.

If you haven't been, Odd Provisions has a lot of nice produce, food, drinks, beer and wine as well as delicious pre-made food like sandwiches, pimento cheese and a tasty buffalo cauliflower salad.

It's not traditional corner store stuff, most of the items are pretty high quality or locally made. I like it for a lunch bite or some dinner ingredients. Good beer and cider too.

Whoa, free bottomless mimosas and micheladas at Lou's for brunch


This is a pretty sweet deal at Lou's City Bar at 14th and Irving: free bottomless mimosas or micheladas (a Mexican drink, like a Bloody Mary but with beer) if you buy a brunch item. It starts this Saturday and goes until 6/25, from 11am-2pm.

Below is their brunch menu.