Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Michelle Obama in the neighborhood

By Julia Morelli

Michelle Obama was at the Upper Cardozo Health Center at 14th and Irving Monday to announce the release of $850 million in stimulus money to help free and low-cost community clinics around the country. $2.5 million is going to the Upper Cardozo Health Center for 20 new exam rooms, which is great news because that clinic is always really crowded. According to a report on WAMU this morning the Health Center gets about 400 calls per day for appointments and they can only see about 175 people daily.

This is at least the third time one of the Obamas has visited the neighborhood - once before to the gym, and once to a charter school.

Photo by me

Nori is closed?

Looks like Nori Asian Bistro is no more. My roommates went last night and it was closed - the second time they've been in a week or so that it's been shut on a regular night. The Columbia Heights News forum has more, with people attributing it to high rent, an awkward space, or mediocre food. Personally, I thought the food was pretty good, especially the entrees and appetizers. They got pretty good reviews on Yelp as well. The sushi was OK, but they had a nice sushi happy hour deal that my buddy used to go to all the time.

Anyway, it's too bad to see them go. Who knows what will go in next. If it's really high rent that's the issue, I'd bet it'll be a bank or some chain - a cell phone store or Foot Locker or something.

That leaves Pho 14, Panda Express, and the take-out place next to 7-Eleven as the remaining Asian joints in the neighborhood. Apparently Sake Club won't be coming, they don't have a coming soon sign anymore. There is, however, a coming soon sign for Thai Tanic in the Allegro apartments at 14th and Meridian.

Fiesta DC to Columbia Heights

Earlier I wrote about Columbia Heights Day coming in August, and a few commenters and tipsters have emailed me about Fiesta DC as well - it's DC's Latino festival, and it'll be on 14th Street in Columbia Heights on September 27th. The website shows bands, food, dancing, and other cultural activities. They don't have too much information yet, but it should be pretty cool -- and it makes sense to have it here, as CH, Mt. Pleasant and Adams Morgan (to a lesser extent) are the center of Latino culuture in DC.

I'm guessing it'll be around the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza, but not sure yet.

It seems like Columbia Heights is a main spot for festivals lately - there was the Caribbean Fest this weekend, Columbia Heights Day, and now Fiesta DC.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Neighborhood group donates cell phones to police officers

Pretty interesting story from a Howard U newspaper - the Northwest Columbia Heights Association purchased and donated cell phones to the police officers who patrol the area in order to get a quicker response in case 911 doesn't show up -- they can call the officers directly.

Kind of an interesting idea, though it's a shame MPD couldn't have done this on their own. I know some officers give out their numbers already, however, which is pretty cool.

Skateboarding down 14th Street

Go Skate Day
Originally uploaded by maxedaperture
Saw some cool photos on Flickr the other day of folks skating on the 21st, which was officially Go Skateboarding Day. A group gathered at the Palace 5 skate and clothing shop at 14th and Florida, then skated down 14th Street (pictured) to downtown, with a police escort. Here's the rest of those photos by Maxedaperture, and Michael Starghill has more photos on his blog.

There's also a pretty cool video:

Go Skateboarding Day from Max Cook on Vimeo.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Caribbrean Fest & Parade in the neighborhood this weekend

5 ladies
Originally uploaded by haaaley
This weekend is the annual DC Caribbrean Carnival, which consists of a big, flashy parade and a festival near Howard U. The parade is on Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm, going down Georgia Avenue between Missouri Avenue NW, and Barry Place NW, which is right at Howard. The fest happens both days in Banneker field, right next to the pool at 2500 Georgia Ave (Georgia and Euclid) from noon to 7 pm. Should be pretty cool, I'm gonna try to get over there - I've heard good things from folks who've gone before. They have music, big costumes, floats, food, and so on from the Caribbean.

Some streets will be closed too: Georgia Ave, Barry Place, 9th Street, Sherman Ave, and V Street. See here for the times and locations of all the closures.

See here for more photos.

Real time Circulator application launched

NextBus is supposed to start July 1, but it looks like the Circulator has beaten them to the punch - they released an application for mobile phones (but that works with any browser) showing in real time where the buses are. Looks like it'll be handy -- sometimes the 14th Street one is kind of sporadic.

I'm looking forward to the NextBus getting operational - I've seen signs for it appearing on bus stops.

Developer on CH and the new bar in the Highland Park

Developer Chris Donatelli, whose company built the Highland Park building, Kenyon Square, and the Park Place building near the Petworth Metro, spoke with the Washington Business Journal recently about doing business in Columbia Heights. Interesting, the article starts out by saying he could easily fill the empty retail spots with a bank or drug store, but would prefer to have a local retail operation instead. The article says he "prides himself on bringing a mix of retail that will not only attract condo buyers and apartment renters but win the confidence of city officials and residents. It’s part of his strategy to compete for city-owned properties in emerging neighborhoods and, upon winning them, balance the needs of lenders, retailers, politicians and residents."

I like that theory, and I'm glad to see it. It contrasts a lot with DC USA, which is so far 100% big chain stores. Chain stores are the easy way to go to, and they're more stable with rent and stuff, but Donatelli has a good point - folks are probably more likely to move to a place with a mix of neat stores and restaurants with big chains.

Another tidbit from the article is that he's looking to bring in a sports-themed restaurant to the Highland Park building at 14th and Irving - similar to what we'd heard before about that bar. That's definitely something that's lacking in the hood.

Highland Park picture from Donatelli's website

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Another murder suspect caught

I like reporting good news from MPD - the police force recently made arrests in two homicides in the ward, one of which was for a shooting in Columbia Heights. Here's Councilman Jim Graham on the Columbia Heights one:
MPD has made arrests in two homicide cases in Ward One. Thanks to Chief Cathy Lanier and her team of detectives for closing these cases. Closing cases in these high profile homicides bring comfort to the families and friends of the victims as well as whole communities.

On May 15, 2009, Marcus Robertson was shot and killed in front of Trinity Towers, in Columbia Heights. Robert Larry Brock, 28 years old, of Beltsville, MD, has been arrested in this case...

Some Columbia Heights Day events announced

Columbia Heights Day is coming up, August 29, and today they sent out an email with some events:
Here's just a taste of what we have planned for the festival:

We'll start the day with a free yoga session on the blacktop from Quiet Mind Yoga.
LIVE Music including Reggae, Bluegrass, Rock, Calypso, & Hip-Hop
Special performances by our local belly Dancing Group, Capoeria Group...with more special performances to come!
2nd Annual Sticky Fingers Cupcake Eating Contest
1st Annual Dog Show
Petting Zoo (do you remember how fun that was last year?)
Free food (that's right, free) and Food Sampling
Local vendors, non-profits & artisans
Lots & lots more!
If you'd like to volunteer or be a vendor, check out their website!

More on the public assembly rule

Drug Free Zone
Originally uploaded by squidpants
So the reader who posted the original message on the Columbia Heights listserve posted the sign in the comments - and it's kind of fishy. It's one of those drug free zone signs, but at the bottom it says "Charles H. Ramsey, Chief of Police." Ramsey hasn't been chief since 2006. Maybe they're using old signs, but still, that's odd.

The handwritten notice is also only for a week, which is odd. Why just a week? Is that all that's allowed under the law?

Anyway, it seems odd, and I'm going to email MPD about it.

Click the sign for a bigger version.

UPDATE: Inspector Jacob Kishter responded to my question on the 3D Substation list: "Its being changed as we speak. Its usually for only a limited time." So there you have it, it is legit.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mayor's Conservation Corps leaves litter all over

Glad I'm not the only one who noticed this - a new youth organization called the Mayor's Conservation Corps, which is part of the city's summer youth job program, has blanketed Columbia Heights and elsewhere with paper door hangers. However, the hangers weren't actually on doors - I saw them on fences, on the sidewalk, on car windshields, all over.

The signs say "The Mayor's Conservation Corps -- We're here to help clean and green your neighborhood!" without much other information. It might be a good group, getting kids to clean up the city and do environmental work, but putting crap everywhere is kind of counterproductive.

What's funny/sad is that a staff member replied in the comments on Scott's Take, a Columbia Heights blogger, promising to send the kids back out and pick up the signs they left. Maybe next time, send out some supervision for the kids.

Where do you live? Corner of Columbia Road and Avenue of the Presidents

Saw this the other day on Flickr, pretty wild -- apparently for about a year, Congress renamed 16th Street as "Avenue of the Presidents." Kind of a cool name, but it was pretty unpopular, as everybody had to change their stationery and things and the city had to put up new signs and update their maps.

The sign is in the DC Public Library now. What do you think, cool name or lame?

Clusterf*** on Girard Street this morning

I hope you didn't park your car on the 1300 block of Girard this morning. At about 9:30 am I was walking towards 14th down Girard, and the construction crew working on the park had the street blocked off at 14th. Some cars had started down the block and had to back up to get out, and then all hell broke loose.

A van started backing into a three point turn, but on his way started backing into a parked little red VW. Myself and one of the workers started yelling for him to stop, and soon after the owners came out of their house. The guy, to his credit, got out to talk to them calmly.

Then just up the block about 30 seconds later, one car backed into another car -- maybe they were watching the first accident. It was going pretty slowly, but those folks seemed more agitated. When I passed by on the bus about 10 minutes later, everything seemed to be cleared and the street was open again, but it was a pretty hectic few minutes. You might want to take a look if your car was parked there.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

No public assembly in northern CH?

Just saw this message on the CH Listserve, a resident living on the 1400 block of Otis Place says there are new signs put up by MPD saying groups of more than 2 people in the area can be dispersed by police. The signs say the area where this will happen is bounded by Center, Parkwood, 14th, and Meridian.

Pretty weird, and the resident says the signs indicate it only applies to people who are doing or buying/selling drugs.

The person makes some valid points: where was the discussion about this? How can MPD tell if somebody is selling or using drugs? If they can tell, why don't they arrest them? And there's not much info on the signs to contact people.

It almost sounds like something from The Wire, where the Baltimore police let drug dealers operate in a few blocks - though I would assume and hope that's not the case.

The resident also has this to say:
I'm incredibly uncomfortable with all this. It seems like it's designed so loosely as to allow the police to clear the street of anyone they just don't like the look of, which is bizarre given that it's summer and frankly, i'd like to live in a neighborhood where people can hang out on the corner.
I'm going to go check on this tonight.

Click the map for a bigger version.

CH double shooting suspect turns self in, is Graham's intern

Pretty weird news - the suspect in the double shooting last week outside the Columbia Heights Metro turned himself in, and it turns out he was an intern in Councilman Graham's office (at least, for one day). The Post also has an article on crime in the neighborhood, with few solutions.

Here's Jim Graham's on the suspect:
By early [Friday] afternoon, I received a call from media with a rumor that the shooter was an intern in my office.
I could hardly believe what I heard…all the same, I confronted the young man with this incredible report. He had started work in my office only this week, and had been absent for the better part of two days.

He had been at the Convention Center for the summer youth program. In response to my direct questions, he denied any involvement with the afternoon shooting.

I also contacted a high ranking MPD official, who assured me that MPD at that time had no suspects.

I then went to the Mayor's press conference on gang violence at 14th and Irving. During the press conference, I heard MPD announce that they had a suspect and expected to make an arrest before the end of the day.

When I got back to the office, after 5 PM, all the interns had left. But I received a call from MPD saying they had a warrant for the intern's arrest on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

I then called the intern, whose is a 19 year old named Devyn Black, and told him there was a warrant out for his arrest.

I advised him that the best course for action was for him to turn himself in, and cooperate with eh police.

I offered to come and get him in my car and take him to the Third District headquarters at 17th and V.

He agreed, and I went and got him. He surrendered to police and 3D, was charged and is now in custody.

It's very sad and upsetting. But he did the right thing ultimately.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Real World (probably) won't be coming to Wonderland

Looks like local bar Wonderland won't be allowing the Real World kids to come in:
Owner Matt McGovern was on the fence when I called him. "Honestly, I watch almost no TV at all," he admitted. "I don't know if I'd let them film here." So he put my question to a vote of the patrons present, shouting "Should we let 'The Real World' film in here?" Audible groans and murmurs of dissent could be heard on my end. "I guess the answer's no," he said. "We almost run the bar like a democracy, and certain things have to be put to a vote." He paused for a minute. "If they want to come when we're closed, like a film shoot, then I wouldn't object. It's probably all staged anyway."
Well, it's not ruled out, but it looks like it's a long shot. I have a feeling people at the bar would be less than pleased if they did show up, anyway. The show is supposed to start filming soon.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

New bar to Highland Park building?

The Wash Biz Journal is reporting on talks about a new bar for the Highland Park building (where CommonWealth, Five Guys, etc). They say it's tentative, but it'll be a "Thirsty Bernie’s meets Carpool meets Whitlow’s" concept. Carpool is a decent bar, I don't know Thirsty Bernie's, and Whitlow's is, from what I remember, kind of a meat market place.

Thirsty Bernie's is apparently a chain of upscale sports bars, which might be good -- there really isn't a good bar to watch sports in the neighborhood. They have a $17 bratwurst though, which seems kind of ludicrous. The beer seems to be cheaper than CommonWealth.

What do you think? More bars = good, or are there too many coming in?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer solstice fest at Meridian Hill Park on Sunday

Via the 2BloxDC crew, the SACRED DC festival is Sunday from 10:30 am to 7:30 pm. From their Facebook page:

Summer solstice is the first day of summer- the longest day of the year. It marks the transition from Spring to Summer. It is a time of joyous festivals, spiritual renewal and nature worshop in many different cultures. It is also the day which bears the most sunshine. Historically it has been the time of harvesting in many native traditions.

Arts, performances, and healing arts practitioners in the Josephine Butler Center and Malcolm X Park.

There will be a market of delicious cultural foods, mural painting, poetry slam, drum circles, face painting, stilt walking activists, various performances, and art displays throughout the day. In addition, participants can interact and pick up information about the positive work of community organizations throughout DC.
They're looking for volunteers too - vendors, musicians, folks to help out with the fest.

Tony Hawk in the neighborhood

Me and Jorge Ramos speaking to the Latin American Youth Cente... on Twitpic

If you saw a guy do some impressive tricks on a skateboard today, it might have been Tony Hawk. The skating legend was at the Latin American Youth Center today on Columbia Road, and at the White House, where he skated down the halls.

Here you go Ashton. It's the best I could do while being rush... on Twitpic

(Click the pictures for bigger versions)

I guess CH is the cool place for celebrities to go! The Obamas, Jessica Alba, Keri Russell, Lady Sovereign. Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson are in town, maybe they'll be next!

Want a speed bump on your block?

If so, it looks like the Mayor has made it easy. The process has been streamlined in the last few years -- before, there had to be a traffic study, and now people only need to get a majority of their neighbors to sign a petition. The WTOP article doesn't have a link and I can't find a speed bump request on the city's website, but I bet you could email Councilman Jim Graham if you were interested.

I'm trying to think of speedbumps around the neighborhood - I think there's one on Euclid or Fairmont around 11th.

More on yesterday's shooting

Originally uploaded by wumpiewoo
Well, it was a pretty big day yesterday. Apparently it was gang related - the fracas started during an orientation session to the city's youth summer job program at the Convention Center, which sounds like a disaster - there were fights and police found a gun and brass knuckles. About 10 youths left on the Green line and were fighting on the train, then when they go to Columbia Heights, they came out of the station and that's when the shooting happened. Pretty insane.

There's also a lot of photos on Flickr, including these.

Here's what councilman Jim Graham had to say on the Columbia Heights listserve:

Dear FRiends, this has been all over the media. SO I am not going to describe in great detail what happened. Suffice it to say, that two persons (one the apparent intended victim and another who was grazed as an innocent bystander) were wounded. This is profoundly disturbing in an area where we have made such substantial progress in terms of jobs, prosperity and growth in the past few years.

Let me be clear about what I know from MPD and Metro Transit Police sources.

First, this was a beef between members of two youth gangs. They had been fighting since boarding the Metro train at the Convention Center. It finally spilled out on the street when they reached Col Hts, and the shooting occurred.

Second, they had attended--sad to say--a large meeting at the Convention Center for the summer youth employment program... something that is an important part of addressing the root causes of gang violence. (I am among the strongest supporters of the summer employment program., having established and funded --now in its 9th year--Ward One ProUrban Youth DC, which this summer has 600 Ward 1 youth registered in good summer jobs. I have had young gang members work in my office, with good results as part of this program.)

Third, there were various problems at the Convention Center. Metro Police tells me that they seized on the street one revolver and a pair of brass knuckles and that there were problems at various other stations.

Fourth, there were cameras, security, police, eyewitnesses all over the place at the Col Hts metro…all of that is being reviewed, and hopefully with all of that the shooter will be soon identified and arrested.

I support addressing the root causes of gang and youth violence. However, I am absolutely convinced that at least on a short term basis--and as part of a comprehensive approach --we need tougher criminal laws. That is why I voted yes on the Mayor's criminal injunction proposal this past Tuesday. More on that later today.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shooting at CH Metro

UPDATE 7, 5:08 pm: Some photos from a fire department photographer in an upper story.

UPDATE 6, 4:55: The Post says the suspect was headed west on foot on Irving, but at least there are lots of cameras and such around. Let's hope they were recording.

UPDATE 5, 4:48: From DCist, "Metrobus route numbers 52, 53, 54, H2, H4 and H8, as well as the Woodley Park/McPherson Square Circulator, are being rerouted around the area."

The City Paper says two people were arguing on the train, then got off and left the station, and that's when the shooting happened.

ABC7 says the the shots were fired 10 feet from the south Metro entrance, right outside the Five Guys. Conpletely nuts.

UPDATE 4, 4:36: there are some stories from the shooting in the comments. Check them out, or add your own.

UPDATE 3, 3:58: DCist reports that 14th and Irving are blocked off in both directions, and many rounds were apparently fired. Crazy.

UPDATE 2, 3:51 pm: From WMATA's Twitter: "Green-Yellow Lines: Disruption at Columbia Heights. The south side entrance of Columbia Heights is closed due to police activity outside .." Better adjust your commute, as traffic is also bad.

UPDATE 1, 3:47 pm: Fox5 says it was at 14th and Irving about 3:15 pm, and two men were shot in the leg.

We're hearing there's a shooting at the Columbia Heights Metro - anybody near there? If so, let us know what's up in the comments.

Fountains going in at CH Civic Plaza

The other day I noticed some weird looking things going in at the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza at 14th and Kenyon/Park - wasn't sure if they were lights, or fountains, or what. Today I read the plan for the project, and it looks like these are in fact the fountains:
A special circle, thirty feet in diameter is located at the center of
the Plaza. Here, the Plaza forms a shallow bowl and is depressed approximately 12 inches and surrounded by seat walls on three sides. Located within this circle is the primary feature of the Plaza – a public, interactive fountain with informally placed jets of water that may be programmed in a syncopated rhythm. The fountain
symbolizes the spontaneity and vitality of the Columbia Heights neighborhood. It is also designed to have several ‘phases of intensity’, which facilitate diverse uses of the Plaza.
It also looks like that orange-looking paving pattern is really going in - before it was unclear if that was just meant to highlight the area or if it's really how it's going to look. The plan says:
The Plaza is organized around a strong geometric paving pattern, derived from overlaying a kaleidoscopic image upon a radialconcentric design which emanates from the center. The paving extends across the intersection, unifying the entire open space and new buildings, to create the sense of a much larger and cohesive public space.
Here's the streetscape plan's website.

Picture of the paving below, from the plan:

Update: Should have added that the project is supposed to be done this summer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Beer Run: Carolina Market

Carolina Market
Originally uploaded by squidpants
I haven't done the Beer Run series in awhile, where I go to local stores that sell beer, so I stopped into Carolina Market at 14th and Newton.

This is a weird place. I don't know if it just opened or was closing, but when I went in, on a Saturday afternoon, it was dark inside and they had almost nothing on the shelves -- a couple of bags of chips, some other random items, and maybe 4 six-packs of beer in some coolers that didn't feel cold. Maybe there was a power outage, though it seemed like there was some music coming from somewhere, or it was just a weird place. I left pretty quickly.

So, basically, try somewhere else. Maybe I caught them at a bad time, but the place was not very welcoming.

The ratings:

Selection: 0 - almost nothing
Price: N/A - see selection
Ambiance: 0! awful

That would be the worst rating so far. I'll check back in a few weeks to see if it's still so bad, or even still there.

Carolina Market is at 14th and Newton Street NW

UPDATE: commenters say the place is always like that, which makes me wonder how it stays open? Something else must be going on, or maybe they sell stuff I didn't see -- there were a lot of glass counters towards the back.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Gallery opening tonight in Columbia Heights

By Julia Morelli

The Nevin Kelly Gallery at 1400 Irving St. NW, #132 presents “Stimulus,” a group exhibition of works by local artists priced at or under $500.

Participating artists include John M. Adams, Sondra N. Arkin, Joan Belmar, Tanja Bos, Anne Bouie, Molly Brose, Lenny Campello, Mary Chiaramonte, Anna U. Davis, Jenny Davis, Thomas Drymon, Stirling Elmendorf, Pat Goslee, Emily Greene Liddle, Laurel Hausler, Eve Hennessa, J. Ford Huffman, Rosalind Kennedy, Mark Parascandola, Anneliese Sullivan, Ming Yi Sung Zaleski, Ruth Trevarrow, Claudia Vess, and Ellyn Weiss. A preview of some of the work to be included in the exhibition can be seen at the gallery’s blog.

Local restaurants Commonwealth and Rumberos are offering dinner specials for the Stimulus audience tonight. Bring a Nevin Kelly Gallery card to Commonwealth for 10% off and coupons for Rumberos will be available at the reception. Radiance Medspa, a neighborhood day spa, will be offering digital skin analysis at the event.

The Reception is today, Tuesday, June 16, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. The Gallery is located in the Highland Park building, 1400 Irving St. NW, #132. The show will run June 16 – July 11.

Columbia Heights Day planning underway

The third annual Columbia Heights Day is coming up, and they sent this out about planning:

This year's festivities will be held on Saturday, August 29 at Harriet Tubman Elementary School. In order to expand our programming and increase our success, we need everyone from our neighborhood to get involved. There are several open positions on our planning committee, including Latino Outreach, Programming and Marketing Associates to name a few.

Check out our updated website for opportunities or simply volunteer to help out with upcoming fundraisers or on the day of the festival by emailing Allison Basker -- allisonbasker[at]gmail[dot]com.

We are also accepting applications from local businesses, community organizations, artisans, performers and restaurants to be a part of the festivities. We invite everyone in our community to share their enthusiasm and talents.

As always, if you are unable to commit your time, we encourage you to support Columbia Heights Day by making a donation (the new shirts will be available soon for donations of $15 or more) and by bringing your family and friends to celebrate DC's Best Up-and-Coming Neighborhood.

Girard Street closed between 13th and 14th

Just a note, Girard is closed between 13th and 14th - they're digging it up, apparently for the park project at 14th and Girard.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Interesting Post article on a former resident

The Post has a nice article about a woman who lived in the neighborhood in the 1940s who came back to see her old house. I've heard that the neighborhood used to be a Jewish one, and the lady is Jewish, so that makes sense.

This part was interesting: "It's the place to be," Paregol said. "When my uncle sold [the house in 1964], it wasn't a place you wanted to be." I wonder if that was part of the white flight of the area, or something else.

The article has a part about the current owner and the lady talking about what was new and what was original, which is kind of sweet.

Neat article - it makes me wonder about who used to live in my house and around the neighborhood.

New liquor store at Sherman and Fairmont

Fairmont Liquor
Originally uploaded by squidpants
Yesterday I was walking around and noticed the new liquor store at Sherman and Fairmont. From what I remember, it used to be a mini-mart, and there are still a few basic food items there.

As for booze, it's a pretty small place with an ok selection, and the prices seemed ok - not as cheap as the CC liquor store at 14th and Monroe, but pretty decent. They had Jim Beam for $8 and $15, which wasn't bad.

Beer prices were odd, it seemed like most things, including Guinness, were $7.50, but so was Bud Light (unless I read it wrong and that was a 12 pack).

But hey, it's convenient for folks in that area. Let me know if you go and what you get, price-wise.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cool stuff going on this weekend

Got some tips on cool stuff from the 2BloxDC crew:

Emmett Williams will be at BloomBars tonight at 8 pm. David Browne of Entertainment Weekly said "Emmett Williams is a singer-songwriter, but that’s where the clich├ęs end. Here is sensitivity without the sap, political observations without the hectoring, melodies without the mustiness." Here's his Myspace. BloomBars is at 3222 11th St NW.

And the Looking Glass Lounge is starting to have DJs on the weekend, starting tonight! Go check it out. LGL is at 3634 Georgia Ave NW.

Arlington in rap

This video has been getting a lot of buzz lately: it's a rap song about Arlington, Virginia, although you could argue some of the things apply to Columbia Heights now too.

As far as I know, there isn't a Columbia Heights song anywhere, unless I missed one. Anyone know of any?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Interns about to descend on Wonderland?

I just found the hilarious blog Spotted: DC Summer Interns, and in it was this terrifying exchange about Wonderland:
Six summer interns were sitting at a table next to mine last night at dinner. As we’re getting up to leave I overheard the following conversation:

Female intern: We should go to this bar Wonderland Ballroom. I heard it’s pretty good.
Male intern #1: Isn’t that the bar where you need to be on a list to get in?
Male intern #2: I heard it’s a secret password.
Uh oh. Although the idea of badge-wearing interns trying to tell the guy at the door a secret password is pretty funny. Maybe folks sitting outside should give interns some fake ones. "Hey, kid - tell the guy 'smorgasbord.' Then wink."

Got a wall? Want a mural?

Help out some local kids! Via DCist, the Latin American Youth Center's Art + Media House, which is located in the neighborhood on Columbia Road, is looking for a long wall where 12 of their students can paint a mural.

They've done some awesome work in the past, like the mural on Kenyon Street (also pictured above). If you have a wall or have any suggestions, email artmediahouse[at]layc-dc.org.

Photo by immediatereaction

The Real World to Dupont

True stooreey! After lots of snooping, it's official - the Real World will be in Dupont, at 20th and S Street NW -- not Mt. Pleasant as one rumor had it. At least that means there's some buffer between them and Columbia Heights.

I would suspect they'd at least visit Wonderland, if the owners will let them. It could be a bad situation - I foresee people in Wonderland harassing them.

What do you think, far enough away, or let them visit?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Inexpensive Nats, soccer jerseys at Marshall's

I was in Marshall's the other day and noticed they have a lot of Nationals jerseys for $12-$16, plus some soccer jerseys like CD Chivas. There's also a lot of Nats and Capitals t-shirts. Go check it out!

City buying Columbia Heights rec center

Pretty good news from the Post the other day - the Boys & Girls Club of DC had decided to close the recreation center at 14th and Clifton, but the city council decided to buy it and keep it running. Glad to know that the kids will have a place to go.

The center has had some violence around it before, but I've got to think that it's better off to have it open than otherwise.

Conshafter @ Wonderland

Something to think about tonight - indie rock band Conshafter is playing Wonderland. The band, from Richmond, has played with Violent Femmes and the Killers in the past. The show starts at 9, and Conshafter is playing with Swift Technique and Dr. Birthday. Here's their Myspace.

Wonderland Ballroom is at 1101 Kenyom St NW

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Gay marriage straw poll today

Just got this from Jim Graham's listserve. It's probably going to be packed, so you might want to go early.

Please come to the Ward One Democrats on Tuesday, June 9, to vote on straw poll on marriage equality in the District. Your vote will count!

There will be a panel discussion on the various sides of this issue. But you may come and vote and leave if you would like.

Your input is vital to how the District proceeds on marriage equality in the future. We want as many residents as possible to voice their opinions.

The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Reeves Center at 14th and U Street NW in the Second Floor Conference Room. As you may know, the D.C. Council last month voted to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. I voted in support of that measure. The second reading on the bill was on June 2.

14th Street construction update

An update on construction on 14th Street was posted on the Columbia Heights listserve this weekend, here's the rundown:

It started on Monday, and concrete traffic barriers will separate the work zone from traffic. They'll be doing storm drain, curb and sidewalk work, and adjusting lanes on Kenyon and Park. That's about it, so far.

Here's the streetscape website.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Car fire near Georgia and Columbia, with photos

A reader sent in these photos, with this description:
I awoke to the sound of someone laying on their horn. After a minute or two, when they wouldn't lay off, I looked out the window and saw that a vehicle was on fire on the other side of the basketball court. I called 911 at 4:26 A.M. From my window, it looked like the car was on Irving, but when I got up on the basketball court to take the pictures, it appeared to be the case that it was on an alley between Irving and Columbia.

Best I could tell, no one was in the car. No ambulance arrived after the firefighters put out the flames.

PS: This is the second car fire I've seen in the hood in a month.
Anyone else see this, or other car fires?

Neighborhood residents make a post-apocalyptic movie

Sometime NCH writer Robyn Mincher has an interview up with three folks from in and around the neighborhood who've put together Mopedlords, a web series about a post-apocalyptic DC ruled by moped gangs. (Full disclosure: they're my buddies and I have a small role). It's a pretty funny idea, and they're having a premiere party tonight at DC9 starting at 9 pm. Anyway, check out the interview, the trailer, and their website - episode 1 will be released tomorrow online.

They filmed around the city, including in Columbia Heights, and they mention the area a bit. For example, John Hammer's Moped Mart is located "between the remains of Bed Bath and Beyond and Pollo Campero":

JOHN HAMMER'S MOPED MART from MOPEDLORDS. from Pablo Maurer on Vimeo.

Lady Gaga, Wale shoot a video in the neighborhood

My buddy just sent this to me, pretty cool. Dance music star Lady Gaga and DC-based rapper Wale shot their new video for "Chillin" partly in Columbia Heights - you can see street signs for Georgia and Kenyon, as well as Cardozo High School and other local spots like Ben's Chili Bowl.

Wale is a cool rapper, he has lots of good stuff, including some free mixtapes on his Myspace. Here's his Wikipedia page and Myspace page. He's done songs with Justice and others. Lady Gaga is a pretty big star lately with some hit songs. Here's her Wikipedia and Myspace.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Happy Friday: Kid N Play edition

It's Friday! Here's this week's Happy Friday post, where I put up something weird or funny or random. Enjoy?

Chipotle coming to 14th Street

My buddy tells me he saw a coming soon sign for Chipotle on 14th Street between the Starbucks and The Heights. No timetable that he saw.

I'm of two minds about this - I like Chipotle, but there are already an awful lot of chain restaurants and chain quick food places around here - Five Guys, Panda Express Potbelly, the two Starbucks, Dunkin, etc etc. Pollo Campero has burritos too, but they're only chicken.

In any case, I'll probably go there -- good place to get quick after work food. Anybody else?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Turnover and controversy with neighborhood MPD officials

Looks like there's something afoot with MPD's officials in the Third District Substation, which covers the Columbia Heights area - a couple days ago, there was a message on the Substation listserve welcoming a new commander, Inspector Jacob Kishter. The message had no mention of very popular Inspector Edward Delgado, and shortly afterwards a couple of people asked what happened to him.

Turns out, Delgado was demoted and reassigned to the very violent 7th District, apparently stemming from his complaints about DC's juvenile justice system -- in particular, MPD in Columbia Heights had three times arrested a teenager who had committed 21 robberies, and each time he was released by the Attorney General's office, only to commit more robberies. A frustrated Delgado urged citizens to email DC Attorney General Peter Nickles, and Nickles didn't like that at all - he refused to read the emails and complained about Delgado's response. The robbery suspect kid was later released again but I think he was recaptured.

According to the Examiner's story, Kishter was basically demoted to the Substation also -- he was the 2nd highest officer in the Internal Affairs bureau, but recently a scandal came up about officers there filing false overtime reports -- an investigation accused "upper levels of the executive command staff" that had "chosen to ignore and disregard this blatant conduct."

Pretty ridiculous on a number of levels. Delgado was a respected and well-liked officer, he went to many local meetings, posted many times on the listserve and responded to citizen questions quickly. In one example, he disproved the rumor that someone was mugged in the Target parking garage.

Nickles's actions are pretty petty too - the man is a public official, but won't read emails from citizens? And then the 3D Substation gets an officer who was demoted. It's possible that Inspector Kishter will do a good job, but the whole situation is fishy.

Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane pictured

Construction on the Civic Plaza

Originally uploaded by squidpants
Looks like work is going on the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza at 14th and Kenyon/Park, which is good to see. In an email to me a couple weeks ago, councilman Jim Graham said "DDOT reports that the Civic Plaza will be completed this summer and will include the fountain, artwork, trees, and other design features that were promised at previous Public Realm Plan meetings. "

Here's the website for the full plan, including updates and progress.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Italy Pizza = tasty

Originally uploaded by squidpants
So awhile back a reader sent me a tip to check out Italy Pizza, a newish place (or at least new to me) on Florida Ave that delivers to Columbia Heights. I've ordered there a few times since then, and I recommend it!

The place is more expensive than say Manny & Olgas or Pizza Boli, but it's good stuff. The crust is excellent, it's crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, as opposed to most delivery places where it's just a thing to put toppings on. The toppings themselves are good too - pictured here is the supreme.

Plus their Yelp page seems to be a hookup spot - check out this exchange:

Jake S.: "Best delivery pizza in the U Street area. I got a large pepperoni pie for $12 and am still enjoying it."
Holley S.: "Jake S--I like your taste in pizza. Care to meet up for a bite somewhere? I live in the U Street area..."

First time I've ever seen that, pretty funny.

Their website has some deals too. I've never had the sandwiches though, and they apparently also offer pretty tasty and cheap jumbo slices.

Italy Pizza is at 634 Florida Ave NW, their number is (202) 332-2600.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tree graffiti

Saw this the other day on the 1300 block of Columbia Road NW - pretty lame. This is the first time I've seen graffiti on a tree - anybody else see this anywhere?

Sharing your backyard: a case study

I've mentioned the website Sharing Backyards a couple times before, the site where people can share their backyard with gardeners, or for potential gardeners to find a backyard to do their thing. It's a pretty neat site, and today DCist and the Post have updates on one backyard-sharer in Columbia Heights. Sounds like it's going well for all involved. Here's the Sharing Backyards website.

Anybody else around here share their yard, or find someone else's to garden in?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rumor: The Real World to be filmed in Dupont

Looks like we might have dodged the bullet - WeLoveDC has a rumor that MTV's The Real World is going to be filmed in a Dupont Circle townhouse starting June 20. Of course, they could still make their way to Columbia Heights, but at least they're a bit farther away.

And again, it's all rumor - it could still be somewhere else.

Neighborhood safety forum this Saturday

Got this from a friend, there've been some flyers up around the neighborhood lately advertising a "Safe Streets, Strong Communities" forum on Saturday at St. Stephen's Church. The flyer says it will be "a safe space for community members to discuss their ideas and concerns. As such, we are asking that law enforcement does not attend this event."

It's being put on by a variety of groups - the Black Brown Alliance, Critical Resistance, Empower DC, Jobs with Justice, Latino Economic Development Corporation and the Social Action & Leadership School for Activists. There will also been free childcare and snacks, and English-Spanish interpretation.

Might be interesting, or it might be a bash-the-police session. It sounds pretty progressive, so hopefully it will be useful.

It's 3-6 pm at St. Stephen's, which is at 16th and Newton.