Sunday, May 31, 2009

Puppy found!

A neighbor posted this photo and message on the Ward 1 list serve - look familiar?
FOUND: Puppy at 11th and Park Rd NW

Saturday morning around 11:00 AM a small brown/tan/white pit bull-mix puppy wandered into the greenspace at 11th and Park NW. He was wearing a bright orange collar and is probably about 4 months old. I am attaching a photo and if you know who the owner may be, please call Jessica at 301-520-2524 or Jill at (513) 460-0242.

UPDATE: the puppy has been reunited with his owner. Happy ending!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy Friday

Here's this week's Happy Friday, where I post a funny or random or weird video. Oh yeah!

Police foot chase around Holmead & Otis

Pretty crazy, my buddy witnessed a police chase last night around Holmead Place last night.

He was hanging out with some friends in front of their house and saw a few police cars with their lights on near the corner of Holmead and Otis NW, so they went to take a look. While walking up, a big guy, maybe 200+ pounds, came running down the street towards them, followed by a running cop. The big guy turned into the alley heading towards 14th Street and the cop followed, then about 8 or 9 police cars came flying around, probably going to cut him off or box him in. About 3 minutes later the cop came back with the suspect handcuffed, and the suspect yelled something like "throw out the food!", which I'm guessing is code for drugs - so maybe it was a drug bust. My buddy said he saw a stopped car, so that could have been it also.

Sounds like an exciting time on Holmead, which I think is often an exciting street.

Real World to Mt. Pleasant?

Uh oh, Commonwealth and Wonderland might soon be overrun by naive youngsters and camera crews - DCist reports that the producers of MTV's The Real World produceers have started hiring crew people. One DCist commenter says they've already been hired and were supposed to start work around now, and another commenter says
Hmmmm! The house may be in Mount Pleasant. Saw some real trippy hipster youths being filmed on a front steps of a house yesterday.
Of course, that could be anything, but it's worth keeping an eye on.

And previously there was the rumor that The Real World folks were looking at Adams Morgan too, so who knows.

What is this place?

What is this place?
Originally uploaded by squidpants
So I was walking to the Looking Glass Lounge the other day and noticed this door at about Sherman and Park Road. There's no sign on the building, and there's a rooster with two swords below it above the door. Around the corner, there's a couple of Asian-looking symbols and a similar thing with a sword and a feather - here's the place on Google Street View.

I decided to look into it, and it turns out the place (770 Park Rd NW) is Nationhouse, which has two African-centered schools - Watoto School for PK-4th grade, and Sankofa Institute for 5th-12th grade.

Their website says they were "founded in July 1974 in Washington, D. C. NationHouse grew out of the student activism of Howard University community in the late 1960s" and they do "Afrikan centered education" which "provides opportunity for the study of all academic subjects from the point of view in which the history, contribution and future of Afrikan people is central."

I don't see any connection to the Sankofa coffee shop I wrote about it - Sankofa is a word that means, basically, taking from the past to make positive change. So, there you have it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Photo show by a local high school junior

This is pretty cool - high school junior Joel Carela is having a solo photography show, put on by the Latin American Youth Center's Art+Media House. The photos are in the windows at 14th and Columbia, where the 7-Eleven is, through May. Go check them out!

Here's Joel's photography and his blog

Tax breaks for local developments?

Saw this in the Washington Business Journal the other day, apparently the developers of the Highland Park project at 14th and Irving are asking for $8.5 million tax breaks to offset the lower demand for their places - they've converted Highland Park and Park Place from condos to apartments. Council members Jim Graham and Muriel Bowser proposed a bill that says "the city would provide 100 percent real property tax exemption for 10 years and a reduced relief for the following 10 years." Other developsers asked for more money.

Seems kind of odd - development is good and all, but any business that lose money because of a bad economy just ask for tax breaks? I guess it depends on how much benefit you see the projects giving.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nextbus launching July 1!

Wowsers! DCist is reporting that the Nextbus service is relaunching July 1. Glad to see.

Of course, I wrote about the beta version of the service before, and after apparent miscommunication between Nextbus and WMATA (Nextbus officials said use it), WMATA took the site down. I got a lot of comments and started a petition to keep the site up.

The site was useful then, and I assume it will be as useful now. I look forward to the day when I can see when my bus is coming so I don't wait 20 minutes, or even worse, walk outside just as it's blowing by me.

MPD on minibikes

You may have noticed a lot of people (mostly kids) riding minibikes, the Charlie Brown-style small motorcycle, around the neighborhood. Well, MPD is not a fan.
It is illegal to ride or operate a minibike, dirt bike, or All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) on the District’s streets or sidewalks. It is okay to ride bicycles, mopeds, motorized bicycles, Segways, and motorcycles on the street, but not on city sidewalks.
(They add that you can ride Segways and regular bikes on sidewalks outside downtown)

MPD has a couple flyers about what's legal and what's not on their minibike website, with one saying "Don’t jive and ride an illegal ride. Abide by the
law knowing what you can or can not ride!" Quite the tongue-twister.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Columbia Heights in a city planning video

A reader sent this is, it's a video from a contest about New Urbanism, the city planning theory that cities should be more walkable and less devoted to cars, have more transit-oriented development, and so on, and it shows Columbia Heights as an example. Pretty cool.

CH is definitely a place where you don't need a car, and the new development has shown that - take the DCUSA parking garage, for example.

Party photos at Wonderland

____ __ ______
Originally uploaded by Sexy Fitsum
My buddy passed these on to me, some photos from the See You Next Tuesday party at the Wonderland Ballroom this past Tuesday. The next one is on June 26. There's a bunch of locals DJs who play, and judgding by the photos, there's a pretty big crowd. Here's the Myspace page for the party and here's more photos from it.

Comments? Fun? Lame?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Puerto Rican independence forum?

Pretty random, there's a Puerto Rico Independence Forum tomorrow at St. Stephen's Church. The folks on the thread point on that independence usually scores very low in polls on the island (which is a really cool place if you've never been. I recommend.)

The event is from 7-9 pm at St. Stephen's, which is at 1525 Newton Street NW.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Happy Friday

Happy Friday is the week ending post, where I post something funny or random or weird. In this case, it's a song about some place to buy food. There isn't one in Columbia Heights, but if you go to 14th and Florida...

Circulator on Youtube

I've seen this a few places (and mentioned it yesterday) - the Circulator bus has their own Youtube page:

The DC Circulator bus has teamed up with a low-cost, DIY video production team with web video experience to create a suite of short videos that highlight various urban adventures to be had in the neighborhoods the two new lines service. The idea is to link the new Circulator lines to local businesses and amenities through fun, funny, stylish videos.
There's a few in Columbia Heights, like a music video shot mostly in Columbia Heights and this one on Sticky Fingers Bakery:

If you haven't taken it, the bus is pretty handy, it goes from downtown to Adams Morgan vis Columbia Heights, stopping at Rhode Island Ave, U Street, the Columbia Heights Metro, then Adams Morgan.

How should you report graffiti?

The other day I emailed the Columbia Heights listserve about how to report graffiti, and here's the answer: Call 311 and/or report at The graffiti requests will also be forwarded to the city's gang unit. In addition, the person who responded, Yaiza E. Garabito-Burrell, the Ward 1 Outreach & Services Specialist said:
Each Ward has 2 Outreach Service Representatives of which can facilitate in assisting with matters that need immediate attention. You may contact the Mayor's Office by calling (202) 442-8150.
Photo by me

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Public pools are open!

DCist points out that the city's outdoor public pools are open. All of my friends who've been to the pool at the Banneker Rec Center (2500 Georgia Avenue NW) say it's awesome - it's free for DC residents, the pool is nice, and it's not crowded.

Here's the full schedule of pools. There are also "spray parks" which have fountains and stuff, including one at the Columbia Heights Community Center (1480 Girard Street NW) but those don't open until June 15.

Sugar cane man at 14th and Quincy

I've been meaning to write about this for awhile, and the Circulator bus's Youtube page (which I'll write about later) reminded me. There's a guy at 14th and Quincy, right outside The Red Derby, who sells sugarcane and coconuts. If you ask for the sugarcane, he cuts it up for you, and if you ask for a coconut, he chops the top off with a machete while holding it. Then once you drink it all he'll chop it open for you so you can eat the insides, again while holding it in one hand. Pretty wild, and pretty cool. Here's a video:

Anybody been to this guy?

College kids to Columbia Heights?

I've been seeing a lot of college age kids lately around the neighborhood (not just at Target) and maybe this is why: the Examiner writes about how DC is a top destination for recently graduated college kids.

Given the amount of group houses and such around here, I'm betting that trend is going to continue. What do you think, is CH the new destination for college kids and recent grads?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Turtles for sale?

Pretty weird - the blog Mr. T in DC talks about seeing a street vendor selling baby turtles outside the Samuel Kelsey Apartments on 14th at Monroe Street. Pretty odd. Mr. T wonders where the guy got the turtles and if he breeds them.

I haven't seen this guy around, but I'll keep my eyes open. Anyone else see him?

Help out a local fashion photographer

Got an interesting question in email the other day from Tony Veloz, a fashion photographer:
I'm a freelance fashion photographer living in Columbia heights and wanted to know if you would know of any great spots in the neighborhood to shoot at? I shoot mostly with agency models and local talent and figured I'd ask you, considering you seem to know the area pretty well. I'm fairly new to the area and DC in general and I've walked around the neighborhood many times and seen interesting corners, buildings, etc.
He said he was looking for outdoor locations --I suggested Meridian Hill Park and Park Road between 14th and 15th, but I figured I'd ask on the blog too. Got any good ideas? Post them in the comments.

Here's Tony's Flickr page. Pretty cool stuff.

Sherman Ave streetscape upgrades

Looks like there's some money to upgrade the Sherman Avenue streetscape coming in the Federal stimulus bill. Glad to see - Sherman is kind of a crummy looking street. It looks like construction will start in 2010 and will focus on:
Pedestrian and traffic safety improvements
Improved sidewalks
Dozens of additional street trees
Enhanced street lighting
Here's the link from Jim Graham's website.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

South Columbia Heights neighborhood meeting tomorrow

The monthly South Columbia Heights neighborhood meeting is tomorrow at 7 pm. They'll also have a report from the local ANC and the police service area, and the fire chief will be there too. It's at the Josephine Butler Center, 2437 15th Street NW.

Room 11 wine bar coming early June

Thanks to the City Paper for this one - they're reporting on their Housing Complex blog that the wine bar Room 11 at 11th and Lamont will be opening in early June "depending on inspections." There will be about 30 seats on an outdoor patio and about 20 seats indoors.

Their website has a bit on the place (calling it a wine and dessert bar), and there's also a blog tracking the bar's construction.

Of course, if you agree with some people, it means that the area is about to erupt into an orgy of drunkeness and noise. You know those wine bar patrons, complete party machines.

Room 11 is at 3234 11th Street NW. Here's their Yelp page.

Photo by House of Sims

Affordable condos coming to 14th and Clifton

Kind of cool to see, after all the fancy new developments in the neighborhood, there's going to be some affordable condos coming in. The project, to be called Cardozo Court, is being built by Manna, Inc, a DC affordable housing nonprofit and only folks making less than 60% of the area's median income are eligible to love there.

It will be located at 1343 Clifton Street NW, which I'm pretty sure is the empty lot next to the Duron paint store at 14th and Clifton.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hungry? Half-price burgers at the Red Derby on Mondays

Almost forgot about this, The Red Derby up at 14th and Spring has half price burgers every Monday. I'll write about the rest of their deals soon.

The Red Derby is at 3718 14th Street NW

Even more on the Farmers Market

There was a bit of back and forth on the Farmers Market on the Columbia Heights Yahoo list recently, with a couple posters questioning if there would be enough farmers for a a market and when to do it, with ANC commissioner and market organizer William Jordan saying basically, "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it." He says a couple times that he's following the recommendations from the Columbia Heights Public Realm Framework Here's the thread.

There's also a poll about the market, what people would like to see and when they would prefer to go. There's talk about having craftspeople there too, along with farmers.

Cell phone service at the CH Metro (in 2012) coming soon

Well, here's something to look forward to: Verizon, Spring, T-Mobile and Nextel are installing cell phone equipment at the 20 busiest Metro stations, including Columbia Heights. However, it won't be ready until 2012. Cool, eventually.

As a commenter notes, in-station service should be ready by the Fall, while service in between stations should be ready by 2012.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Columbia Hype: Film fest!

Here's this week's Columbia Hype brought to you by 2BloxDC:

Event of the weekend:

Indie Film Fest at Wonderland on Saturday from 2-6 pm

Spend an afternoon upstairs in the Ballroom/Viewing room as we screen local works by local film makers. Shorts and trailers and popcorn and PBR's.

Wonderland Ballroom is at 1101 Kenyon Street NW


Saw a sign for a yard sale at 1311 Kenyon Fairmont Street NW to benefit blood cancer research. It's from 10 am - 3 pm, and the sign says all proceeds go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. (Note that it's on Fairmont, not Kenyon - my mistake.)

Hear of anything else cool going on? Let us know in the comments.

Terminator Salvation contest entries

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest, I got a lot of funny responses and it was hard to pick a winner.

Kindergarten Cop was a popular source, as was Conan the Barbarian. Surprisingly, there weren't too many from Commando or Total Recall.

Here's a sampling of some quotes I got -- if you say them in your head with an Arnold accent, it makes them funnier.

Predator: "GOOO!! Get to da choppa!!!"

Kindergarten Cop: "Who is your daddy, and what does he do?"

Mongol General: "What is best in life?"
Conan: "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!"

Hercules in New York: "Hercules has no need of money!" (which was his second movie, it's terrible and hilarious, see it if you can. Arnold's accent was so bad, in some versions they dubbed over his lines with a snooty English guy)

"I suppose nothing hurts you."
Conan: "Only pain."

Kindergarten Cop: "I'm the party pooper"

The Running Man: "Uplink underground, uplink underground. If you say that one more time, I'll uplink your ass, and you'll be underground"

Pumping Iron (I think): "I just use my muscles as a conversation piece, like someone walking a cheetah down 42nd Street."

Kindergarten Cop: "Stop whining! You kids are soft. You lack discipline... Well, I've got news for you. You are mine now. You belong to me. No more complaining. No more 'Mr. Kimble, I have to go the bathroom'. NOTHING! THERE *IS* NO BATHROOM!"

Twins: "Vincent, am I shitfaced?"

True Lies, during the horse vs. motorcycle chase: "My horse is getting tired"

Kindergarten Cop, Arnold: "I have a headache."
Random student: "It might be a tumor."
Arnold: "It's not a tumaaaah!"

Jingle All the Way: "I'm not a pervert! I was just looking for a Turbo Man doll!"

Pumping Iron: "Milk are for babies, when you get older you drink beer."

Terminator: "I'll be back"

Raw Deal: "Hey, I'm not a cop... I'm a player."

The Running Man: "I'm not into politics, I'm into survival." (ironic!)

Batman and Robin (ugh) as Mr. Freeze: "The Ice Man cometh!"

Eraser, after shooting an alligator (or crocodile) in the head: "You're luggage."

And the winner:

True Lies, Guard: "Can I see your invitation?"
Arnold: "Sure, here's my invitation"
triggers giant explosion!

Thanks again to all who entered!

Neighborhood Cleanup, May 30

I asked on the CH listserve about a neighborhood cleanup, and it turns out one was already being organized for northern Columbia Heights -- it's May 30 from 10 am to noon. Folks are to meet at Columbia Heights Coffee (3416 11th Street NW - between Park and Monroe) to get materials. Sounds good to me, I'll be there.

At the same time, there's going to be a meeting about the dog park at 11th and Park Road. Folks interested in that should meet at the dog park at 10am.

I'm not sure what the boundaries of the cleanup are yet, but I'm guessing mostly the northern part of the hood, since this one was organized by the North Columbia Heights Civic Association and the Prince of Petworth blog. Hopefully we can get the rest of the neighborhood included the cleanup next time, as folks plan to make it a monthly event, which is great to see.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Funny random items at Giant

I was at Giant on Park Road the other day and noticed some funny items past the checkout lanes - a gopher popping out of a hole, and Care Bears. Weird. I didn't even know Care Bears were still around.

(the $29.99 tag is for some furniture, not the bears)

NCH Contest: Win tickets to a sneak preview of Terminator Salvation

Got a pretty cool contest on the blog, we're giving away two tickets for an advance screening of Terminator Salvation, the 4th Terminator movie, for Monday, May 18. The movie stars Christian Bale and looks pretty cool.

Entering contest is easy -- just email newcolumbiaheights(at)gmail(dot)com with me your favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger movie line (such as "hasta la vista, baby") and I'll pick a winner.

Thanks to Filter Creative Group for the tickets!

UPDATE: The deadline is tomorrow at 10 am!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

ANC meeting tonight

Looks like this Wednesday's ANC 1A meeting is going to have some interesting stuff:
Catholic Charities – Chelsea Hicks

Park Mortan Development Proposal – Adrian Washington

Court Services and Offender Supervision – Luella Johnson

Washington Parks and People – Steve Coleman

DCUSA Parking Garage – William Jordan

Grant Application – Fiesta DC – Teddy Loza
1314 Park Road – (Samuel Johnson)
Church of Christ Parking Requirement 3609 Georgia Ave – Jania Otey (Cliff Valenti)
Caribbean Festival - Letter of Support/Grant for June 27 – Loughten B. Saragent (Cliff Valenti)
Traffic Calming 1300 Block Newton – Resolution (William Jordan)
New Committees for Standard Operating Proceedures (Lisa Kralovik)
Thai Tanic – Letter of Support to ABRA – Suriyan Scorsat (Calvin Woodland)
Five Star Corporation, Lions Liquors – Protest Letter (Cliff Valenti)
Looking Glass Lounge – (Cliff Valenti)
Giant Liquors – Voluntary Agreement (Cliff Valenti)
Cavalier Wine and Liquor – Voluntary Agreement (Betty Pair)
Not A Biker or Bar/Meridian Pint – Voluntary Agreement - (Samuel Johnson)
C.C. Liquors – Cooperative Agreement (William Jordan)
The meeting is Wednesday, May 13th and 7PM at Harriet Tubman Elementary School - 3101 13th Street NW.

Latin gang violence in northern CH?

I've been hearing more about this lately, both from the news, commenters here, and from friends. For example, I was at the Red Derby yesterday and a buddy came in, saying he had just talked to a few cops who said a lot of stuff had gone down at the gas station at 14th and Otis recently, stabbings and such. I'm guessing these are the same incidents in the articles - stabbings and a possible increase in gang activity there, shown by an increase in graffiti. As always, I recommend calling any gang graffiti into the city's Service Request Center (call 311 or, especially gang-related. Letting your councilmember know (Jim Graham for most of us) is probably useful, or if you have a local MPD officer's phone number or email, that too.

Anyone else notice this kind of crime up there? I've sort of been of the theory that if you aren't in a gang, they probably won't mess with you as they don't want even more police attention, which seems to especially be the case with the Latin American gangs. Anyone else?

Crime wave in nothern Columbia Heights?

Looks like there's some bad stuff going on in the northern part of Columbia Heights around 14th and Oak (or as some might call it, Tivoli North) -- after lots of listserve traffic, councilmember Jim Graham sent an email to MPD Chief Cathy Lanier and the District's attorney general about prostitution, drugs, and other crimes on 14th, Oak, and Meridian Place. Here's a sampling:

The abandoned property where there is prostitution by young ladies and their johns is 1355 Oak st nw.

The house with suspect activity where I see young ladies (over 18 ethiopian) being picked up and dropped of regularly in the evenings by a man in a gold mini van is 1350 oak st.

Both 1408 Meridian Pl and 1413 Meridian Pl have been determined by DCRA as Vacant Properties and have been forwarded to the Vacant Property Unit

3500 14th. st and behind the building in the alley. There have been several complaints about this area through out the days to the late evenings. Arrests have been made.

The house on Meridian and 14th is 3472 14th Street. Also……. Perry Place brothel moved to 3560 14th Street.
Residents also talk about gunshots and such. This is part of the reason that it's worthwhile to keep track of abandoned houses, bad stuff can go on there. You can report them to the councilman or to the city's Service Request Center,

Last year, there was a crime at brothel at 14th and Quincy, and I've heard rumors about one near the Red Derby.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Today is Limerick Day

New NCH writer Martha pointed out that today is Limerick Day, so here's one I whipped up about the neighborhood:

There once was a man from the Heights
Who liked to get in fights.
He went to Wonder-bar
Drank beer for many hour
then wished he'd only had Sprite.
Anyone else got any Columbia Heights-related limericks? Make up your own and post them in the comments.

See rare old NASA footage tomorrow

Just saw this via WeLoveDC, the group HacDC is presenting some NASA footage from the Apollo years at St. Stephen's Church, 1525 Newton St NW.

HacDC is a group that meets at the church and does various neat techie things, like repurposing objects, making robots, and stuff like that -- not computer hacking per se. Here's more about them. The screening starts at 8.

Photo from NASA's website.

Meridian Pint update - late 2009 or early 2010

The City Paper's Housing Complex blog has an update on Meridian Pint, the upcoming bar and restaurant at 11th and Park Road: the CP's Ruth Samuelson talked to owner John Andrade, and there will be "a lounge in the newly, dug-out basement level, and a restaurant on the ground level." He expects to be able to start build-out in 4 to 5 months, since they're still working on the building, and that the place will be open at the end of this year or early next year.

The sooner the better!

Photo taken by me on April 18

Monday, May 11, 2009

Crime cameras going in at the CH Metro

Good to see -- WMATA has installed closed-circuit cameras outside the Columbia Heights Metro station to go along with the interior ones. Sounds good to me.

Wanna buy a church?

Wanna buy a church?
Originally uploaded by squidpants
I noticed this last night, it's a For Sale sign at the church at the corner of 13th and Irving. Pretty weird -- anybody want to start their own church, or turn it into condos?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lady Sovereign sighting in the neighborhood

First Jessica Alba, now Lady Sovereign, an English rapper.

I was walking south on 14th at Columbia a minute ago and noticed a short, attractive girl with neon pink hair walking towards me. Then I realized as she got closer that it was Lady Sovereign, who had just played a show at the 9:30 Club last night.

I didn't have time to get a picture or anything, but it was definitely her - the photo to the right is her in Philly on Thursday. I think she was even wearing the same t-shirt.

She was with guy, I wonder where they were headed? Maybe CommonWealth, the English gastro-pub, or maybe sampling some Latin American cuisine?

Here's her Wikipedia page for some background.

Photo by PyroOnASwing

Friday, May 8, 2009

Have you seen Peter around the neighborhood?

This little guy went missing last night in Takoma Park near Blair Road and Kansas Ave. He's a 6-year-old, 17lb., neutered male owned by some folks who work in the neighborhood. He took off running after being spooked by firecrackers and is very friendly and comes when called. Not wearing tags. Details and contact info below. 

Please find me! My name is Peter. I am small-about 17lbs. I am thin, fast, and super friendly. I am tan with a big white spot on the back of my neck. I also have a white chest. I look a bit like an Italian Greyhound, and I love people and other dogs. I come when called, so say my name. Peter! I am not wearing my tags, and my parents are very worried! Please help me get back home. Peter escaped from our backyard and was last seen around the Blair Road and Kansas area on Thursday, May 7 around 7pm. If you have any information, please contact: Kamber Sherrod at 202-375-3899 or Paul Petersan at 202-375-3568. We are offering a reward.

Jessica Alba, Keri Russell in the neighborhood?!

What!? Apparently Jessica Alba and Keri Russell were in the hood on Wednesday or Thursday to have a forum on health care -- I only found out via this set on Flickr, which has this description:
A group of female Hollywood celebrities and other prominent women came to Unity Health Care in Columbia Heights to speak with mothers of pediatric patients who have faced serious difficulties receiving health care. After an open discussion with three mothers from Texas, Montana, and Virginia, these celebrities travelled to Capitol Hill to advocate on behalf of expanding healthcare benefits for children including the Children's Health Insurance Program.
Along with those two, there were actress Regina King, Marian Wright-Edelman (Founder of Children's Defense Fund), actress Jurnee Smollett, Malaak Compton-Rock (Chris Rock's wife), Ali Wentworth (Actress, Wife of George Stephanolpoulos), and Michelle Fenty, the mayor's wife.

Looks like there was a People magazine blurb on it -- thanks to a reader for the tip.

Wish I would have known about this ahead of time!!

UPDATE: Turns out the photos were taken for DCist by photographer Jeff Martin.

Photos by wumpiewoo

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Update on the CH Farmers Market

I emailed ANC commissioner and Columbia Heights Farmers Market organizer William Jordan about the status, and here's his response:
We will call a community/organizing meeting in the next few weeks to form a "Friends of" group for the civic plaza.. The goal is to have something operational by August/September.. We are working between 3 agencies, DDOT, DMPED and DPR. All have expressed a commitment in helping to get this done. The ANC as passed the necessary resolutions. Change Inc. has committed to continue as fiscal agent for the market. We have potential market managers at the table. In the next month or so we will findout if the community working with the city, developers, business owners and community organizations can pull this off.
The market has been planned for the refurbished Columbia Heights Civic Plaza, the area at the intersection of Park, Kenyon and 14th. Here's more on it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Interested in historic preservation?

Do you have an old house or own an old building? The DC Preservation League is hosting an event to teach folks about historic preservation in the city, including ways to get historic designation, tax credits, getting grants, and others. Could be useful to a lot of CH homeowners, as many of the houses are from about the turn of the century - as we learned from the old book.

The event is Friday, May 29th from 9 am to noon at Gallaudet University's Kellogg Conference Center, 800 Florida Ave NE. You have to RSVP to 202.783.5144 or email

Blu82 plays tag on 14th

A couple of weeks ago I saw "Blu82" and some flowers drawn on a trashcan near 14th and Kenyon. Apparently this person has also tagged The Children's Place at DC USA recently. According to wikipedia, "The BLU-82B/C-130 weapon system, known under program "Commando Vault" and nicknamed "daisy cutter" in Vietnam and in Afghanistan, is a 15,000 pound (6,800kg) conventional bomb, delivered from either a C-130 or an MC-130 transport aircraft. 225 were constructed."

Ok. Has anyone else seen this tag? 

Columbia Heights Metro has biggest ridership jump

No surprise here, WMATA announced that Columbia Heights had the biggest jump in ridership in the system as of February 2009 (although they don't say over what time period.) The station had an average of 11,325 weekday riders, or a jump of 25.8%. Pretty big increase. U Street had the 5th biggest increase.

The same post also says the CH Metro will get more bike racks. Glad to see that.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Neighborhood DJs tonight at Wonderland

Today is Cinco de Mayo, but if you don't want to celebrate the Mexicans' defeat of the French in 1862, you could head over to Wonderland, which is hosting a big night of DJs hailing from the Columbia Heights area. Sounds pretty cool. There will also be "cheap dranks." I am in favor of that.

Interview with Kassie Rempel of Simply Soles

A few weeks ago, I had a brief email interview with Kassie Rempel, who runs Simply Soles, a designer shoe store and online store at 1438 Park Road NW. I asked about her store, the retail climate in the neighborhood, and more. Here it is:

First off, how's business?

Well it isn’t what it was a year ago, but I’m finally hearing from my customers that they aren’t "ashamed" to be buying any more. The media really did a number on people – people who lost money in the stock market but still had disposable income essentially stopped spending because every news segment in print, on TV, or online essentially told them that "no one is shopping." So even if they wanted to, they felt that they shouldn't. No one wanted to be out there sporting a shopping bag full of shoes (or anything else for that matter) when the economy was essentially in a spending-freeze. Thankfully that moratorium has lifted. There's nothing like a great selection of sandals and bright spring colors to get people excited again about what they are wearing.

Why did you decide to move to this neighborhood, instead of say U Street or Adams Morgan?

Well I love being here. I love the location – close to the Metro, great restaurants, and yes Target and the cheapest parking garage in DC. While the road construction on Park turns a 5 min. commute home into 20, it's a great block that is going through a LOT of positive changes. All of the businesses on my block are going to be getting a face lift while the streetscape project is going on so I'm really looking forward to being one the front-end part of the impending change. I hope other independent businesses and boutiques will follow suit.

You're one of the first non-chain retail stores in the area, do you see the potential for more?

Absolutely. The community really seems excited about having choices for quality products and alternatives to the big box stores in their neighborhood. One the streetscape project is complete, I know more business will take an interest in this area. Aside from Penn Quarter, I really think there's no neighborhood in DC that offers a Metro, ample parking, and a cadre of tasty restaurants. The Pho restaurant opened [recently] right beside me, and I've already eaten there twice. I highly recommend it.

How's the foot traffic in the area?

Right now, I’m open on Saturday and during the week by appointment (because I'm in the back office space designing shoes for my lillybee collection and running my online and catalog business). Saturdays we get alot of people coming in that are curious about us. Some are excited. Some inquire as to why I think a store like mine would survive on a block like this. Thankfully, the retail component of my business is only a small fraction of it. But I have confidence in this location and know over time my retail sales will grow. For instance, my lillybee line was just featured in the March/April issue of DC Modern Luxury and we had a number of women visiting DC come specifically to my store. There’s great opportunity here!

Thanks to Kassie for talking with me. Simply Soles hosts New York City shoe designer Bettye Muller for a trunk show tomorrow, May 6, from 4-7 p.m.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wanna buy a hillside lot?

I was walking down Florida Ave the other day and saw this lot between 14th and 15th Streets. It's about the only empty lot around, but it's really steep - it probably drops 100 feet from Belmont to Florida. The building in the middle of the picture behind the tree is only two stories, if that gives you an idea. You can see the same spot on Google Maps Streetview, the building to the west has big support pillars. The site might make for some pretty interesting building.

Something else kind of interesting and related to that steepness -- Florida Ave used to be the boundary of the city of Washington when it was first planned, and it was called Boundary Street. The land north of the street was part of Washington County. It makes sense where they put it, as Florida Ave is the northern boundary of the flat land - look pretty much anywhere along Florida, and the land to the north goes steeply up. Would have been tough to ride up 13th Street on a horse or in a carriage.

Sundress Fest: Who are you wearing?

Originally uploaded by M a rtha
By Martha Patzer

The 5th annual Sundress Fest at Wonderland Ballroom on Sunday drew a fun crowd, despite the rainy weather earlier in the day. This year's proceeds go to the Columbia Heights Day Initiative, the 501c3 that organizes Columbia Heights Day. I spoke to some CHDI organizers who said they are still looking for volunteers-- interested neighbors can email Sergio at columbiaheightsday(at)

Drag is always a delight and Sundress Fest 09 was no exception. Highlights included a blue tribute to Bea Arthur; two men "taking it outside" after discovering they had shown up in the same dress (the horror!); many galoshes; many sporadic wardrobe changes; pants coming on, pants coming off; and Sunday afternoon happy hour beers.

Martha has a lot more fun photos here.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pro-marijuana concert at Meridian Hill Park

My buddy just told me about this, there's a pro-marijuana concert at Meridian Hill Park going on now until 6 pm. There was some reggae bands, a few booths, maybe 100 people watching the show, and a lot of park police. Here's a few other pictures:

Friday, May 1, 2009

Express buses in the hood?

Express bus
Originally uploaded by squidpants
I saw a couple of these blue and silver Metro Express buses on 14th Street this morning -- I wonder if they're testing out a new route? There were about 2 of these buses in about 2 minutes, and I've never seen them on 14th before.

WMATA does run these up Georgia Ave and 16th I believe.