Friday, July 30, 2010

Yard Sale Roundup: Lots!

There's quite a few in the neighborhood and surrounding areas, check them out:
  • 1338 Irving, Saturday from 10am-4pm: "We have entire place settings, silverware sets, pots & pans, fun collectables, and even a mikasa crystal serving set!" Link.
  • 3537 Holmead Place, Saturday from 8:30-1:30 ish: the Cherry Blossom Bombshells, part of DC Rollergirls, are having a yard sale to raise funds for uniforms. There will also be baked goods for sale. Link.
  • 17th and Euclid, Sunday from 8-noon: lots of furniture, clothes, etc. Here's their link.
  • 3213 Adams Mill in MtP, Saturday from 11-3: kitchenware, furniture, books, etc link.

    Secretary of Education and Michelle Obama's mom read to kids in the neighborhood

    Nice to see this. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Marian Robinson, Michelle Obama's mom, came to the Columbia Heights Youth Club to talk to their Reading is Fundamental program. I did Reading is Fundamental as a kid, but I think all we got was pizza. Good for these kids!

    The event is part of the Let's Read, Let's Move inititative.

    Thursday, July 29, 2010

    A new view of 14th and Kenyon/Park

    Via DCist and Beyond DC, here's a cool view of the 14th/Park/Kenyon intersection from DDOT's Facebook page, with almost all the construction gear removed. Looks pretty nice!

    What do you think?

    Dave Eggers' non-profit coming to Columbia Heights

    Get ready for an awesome addition to the neighborhood: author Dave Eggers' 826, a non-profit that tutors kids on reading, writing, and publishing, will be opening a location in Columbia Heights soon. They'll be in the old Score! location on the Civic Plaza. The City Paper says they're aiming at a September move-in.

    The non-profit, which also has locations in New York City, Chicago, and elsewhere, always has an interesting storefront shop to subsidize the tutoring section: for example, the NYC branch's storefront is called the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Store, which sells funny gadgets, posters, capes and such.

    In this case, 826DC's storefront will be the Museum of Unnatural History. They explain the concept as
    a monument to the long-forgotten 'Unnaturalist Society'—a group of bizarre, outcast scientists who believed that 'the path to truth often leads through the absurd. 
    Sounds like a lot of fun, and also a great place to volunteer. My friend volunteers at the Brooklyn location and raves about it. They're already having events (and sort of evolved from the Capitol Letters program, but more on that soon), so check them out, though it looks like they have lots of volunteers so far. The Post has an article and they're on Twitter as well.

    Target grocery store (with produce) opening October 17

    Get ready for some more grocery options in the neighborhood! I spoke to a manager at Target the other day who told me they're opening the expanded grocery store on October 17th. It'll have produce and more selection of lots of things, making it either closer to or actually a Super Target. The stuff is going in behind the current grocery area, and it's taking a couple of empty retail spots to do so.

    I'm looking forward to this, as the Giant lines are always super long and the staff is not always the nicest. Maybe this will light a fire under Giant to improve. Hopefully it won't do the opposite and let them atrophy more.

    Rant: People, learn how to use the Metro gates

    A suggestion for Metro riders, though I'm guessing most of us in the neighborhood already know this: you don't need to wait for the gates to close again before swiping your Smartrip or fare card. It happens all the time at the Columbia Heights Metro, and it drives me nuts. Today a couple of college-aged girls in front of me were doing it, and when I said, perfectly nicely, "you know, you don't have to wait for it to close" they gave me nasty looks. Some people enjoy standing around for no reason, I guess.

    Of course, the only time you do need to wait is at the big handicap gates.

    Although at least people have mostly been good about standing right and walking left.

    Just a tip.

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010

    Outdoor movie tonight Thursday: Hairspray at Harriet Tubman School

    CORRECTION: This is Thursday, not Wednesday.

    Here's something fun to do tonight Thursday: the folks from the Columbia Heights Day Initiative are presenting Hairspray, the John Waters movie about kids in 1960s Baltimore. There's also a DJ playing before the movie starts. Here's the full press release:
    Columbia Heights, DC -- Thursday, the Columbia Heights Day Initiative brings back Movie Nights in the Heights, a Columbia Heights outdoor movie series. The series will present a screening of 2007's movie musical "Hairspray" at Harriet Tubman Elementary Field. Starting at 8 pm, DJ Chris Burns will provide entertainment, followed by the film at 8:30 pm. The monthly summer movie series will also feature "Shrek" this August. The event is open to the public.
    Columbia Heights Day is August 28.

    A speed table?

    A what?
    Originally uploaded by squidpants
    Spotted this on Euclid at about Sherman, it's another kind of speed bump. A funny name, which sounds like a fast food joint, plus the sign looks like something from elementary school music class.

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010

    Do we need more bike parking in the neighborhood?

    Spotted this outside Meridian Pint the other night, where there were 20-something bikes parked on the fence across the street, and it made me think: tons of people have bikes in the area, and yet there aren't always places to park them. I know we're getting more bike share locations, but that's separate. I also wonder whose responsibility it is? Wonderland added a bunch more bike racks recently, as did DCUSA, but there isn't too much room for them outside Meridian Pint. So should it be DDOT?

    Any other spots where bike racks are needed?

    Leo Alexander for Mayor?

    Looks like somebody in the area likes mayoral candidate Leo Alexander -- I spotted this on Girard Street the other day, and I've also seen a number of stickers around. I really haven't heard anything about him, but I guess he's kind of the third-runner (if that's a word) behind current mayor Adrian Fenty and DC Council chair Vince Gray. Alexander has been a TV newsman and government spokesperson and also worked for DC General Hospital. He lives in Brightwood.

    His platform is fairly general (education could be better, health could be better), other than a bit about illegal immigration, which he mentions as being exploitative. He told the City Paper last year that "My base, are Marion Barry's people."

    The elections are September 14, 2010 (actually that's the Democratic primary, but considering the city is 90%+ Democrat, it's basically the election).

    Monday, July 26, 2010

    New reports on real estate trends in the neighborhood

    Interested in seeing how real estate is doing in the neighborhood? Realtors Long & Foster just released a series of reports called Market Minutes on trends in different neighborhoods in the city, things like homes sold, days on the market, average price, ratio of asking to sale price, all by month over the past few years. It's pretty interesting stuff, and it seems that the area is doing pretty well recently: more sales, decent prices, and so on.

    It's organized a little strangely, as their "Columbia Heights" report is actually the 20010 zip code, which covers northern Columbia Heights and Mt. Pleasant, while "Adams Morgan" is 20009, which covers southern Columbia Heights, Adams Morgan, plus U Street and down to Logan. It looks like in 20009, more attached homes were sold, while in 20010 more condos were sold -- makes sense, given the new places opening up. Places around 14th and Irving (and north) are 20010. The 20001 zip code includes Pleasant Plains and Park View.

    How did the storm affect you?

    As you probably noticed, a huge storm raged through the neighborhood on Sunday. I was walking back from Tynan when it hit, blowing huge clouds of dirt and trash all over the place, which was not fun to be in. As it got darker and darker and started to rain, I ran down the street to my house, with boxes and cans and other items blowing past me -- it was like a real life Mario Kart game.

    Luckily we didn't lose power, but I heard a few folks in the area did. Did you? Any other storm-related issues?

    UPDATE: I snapped the above photo earlier at the park at 14th and Girard. They had a little neighborhood party there on Saturday with games and hot dogs, but it looks like they left the tents up and they got blown over. Hopefully there's no damage, since they just redid the park recently.

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    Yard Sale Roundup: Lots!

    Got a few emails this week about yard sales, which is great. If you've having one, let me know: newcolumbiaheights(at)gmail(dot)com.

    --1338 Irving from 10am-4pm: "We have entire place settings, silverware sets, pots & pans, fun collectables, and even a mikasa crystal serving set!" Moved to next Saturday.

    --Garage sale in an actual garage! Behind 1466 Columbia Road NW, Saturday from 9am-12noon: "I have a garage full of random items, antiques, furniture, junk, scrap iron fences, chairs, china, tables, books, glasses, mugs, vases, lamps, shelves - STUFF!  This all needs to go, so prices will be low low low!"  (Can ONLY get to this garage via the alley off of 15th Street to the SOUTH of Columbia Rd)

    --BIG FAT MOVING SALE! 3215 1/2 Sherman between Kenyon & Lamont, Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm. Tons of stuff, here's the Craigslist ad

    Follow Fro-Zen-Yo and other local businesses on Twitter

    Do you like new Columbia Heights institution Fro-Zen-Yo, located on the Civic Plaza? Then follow them on Twitter! They talk about new flavors and such, though it's not just the Columbia Heights location, as there are a few others too.

    I was pretty sad to see Rita's close, but I'm a fan of Fro-Zen-Yo, and I don't really even like frozen yogurt very much. The red velvet flavor is awesome, and with the fruit and nuts, I can pretend that it's healthy.

    Getting followed by them gave me an idea to start a Twitter list of local businesses to see what all the local spots are doing. Check it out, and let me know if I missed any. I'm @newcolumbiahts, by the way.

    Cool three-wheeled bike

    This morning I spotted this guy rolling around on a three-wheeled bike. I like it. Fun way to start the morning.

    Thursday, July 22, 2010

    Ellwood Thompson's update: "As far as we know, everything is moving ahead as scheduled"

    Alright, here's some possibly better news on Ellwood Thompson's.

    I just spoke with Paige Bishop, the director of marketing for Ellwood Thompson's. She said that the reason there was nothing to report was that the developer of the space and the owner of Ellwood Thompson's have both been on vacation and haven't had a time to talk to get everything figured out. "As far as we know, everything is moving ahead as scheduled," she said. She added that both will be back in the next couple of weeks, and that she'd let me know. So, fingers crossed.

    Ellwood Thompson's: "No movement currently"

    UPDATE: See the post above for newer info.

    No news is not good news.

    The other day I emailed Ellwood Thompson's, the organic supermarket that was supposed to begin construction at DCUSA this month, to ask their progress. They responded "At this time, there is nothing to report. We certainly hope to have movement soon, and I will be sure to contact you at that time."

    I also sent them a Twitter message and got virtually the same response: "we have no movement currently on the store in DC. but we will be sure to tweet you when it starts rolling!" I then contacted them to clarify, asking flat out if they will be starting construction this month, (which is what their CFO said in June at the North Columbia Heights Civic Association meeting), and again, the response was "Per my email yesterday, we do not have anything to report. When we have updated information, I will be happy to forward it." I wrote them back again, but I have a feeling the response will be the same.

    This doesn't bode well, and it's frustrating. If you aren't going to open or something is delaying the opening, just tell us. This isn't some kind of international diplomacy, it's a grocery store. A long-awaited and much-desired grocery store, which makes it even more annoying.

    If you've heard anything, let me know: newcolumbiahts(at)gmail(dot)com. And send them a Twitter message while you're at it! @ellwoods

    What sorts of stores used to be on 14th Street?

    Curious about what sorts of stores used to be on 14th Street? I've mentioned Larry Rosen before, a man who used to run a drug store at 14th and Clifton back in the 50s and 60s, and witnessed the 1968 MLK riots first hand. Rosen has a great blog, and a recent post is about what sorts of stores there were on the 2400 and 2500 block (that's near Belmont and Clifton) compared with what's there now. (Although it looks like he repeats the list a few times).

    It's a bit sobering and sad, considering that there were so many different places in just those two blocks: restaurants (grills, cafeteria, Chinese), plus bars, electronics stores, a department store, clothing stores, shoe stores, dry cleaners, and more. They were almost all destroyed during the riot or demolished afterwards. Of course, some of those types of businesses still exist, but they're far less common, especially from Florida to Harvard: it's mostly big apartment buildings or empty store fronts, though the new places to the south have some retail.

    Monthly reading event at Wonderland tonight

    You may recall a few weeks ago, when Wonderland held the first in a reading series organized by Barrelhouse, an online literary magazine. Today is the second event in the series, with two authors who have had work published by Dzanc Books, Jeff Parker and Dave Housley. Parker has had a lot of short fiction and prose in some well-known reviews and magazines (American Short Fiction, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, etc), and Housley wrote a well-received short story collection called Ryan Seacrest is Famous, as well as having work in well-known reviews and magazines (Columbia, Nerve, etc).

    Sounds like a neat event. Here's the goal:
    The series showcases readers representing literary magazines and small presses we love, bringing new voices to the DC scene and introducing you to the best that indie lit has to offer.
    The event will be upstairs starting at 7 pm.

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    Bike share locations coming to the neighborhood

    Looks like we're finally getting some bike sharing locations through Capital Bikeshare, a regional program where you can rent bikes for a few hours and then drop them off somewhere else. Here's the map, which includes locations near 14th and Irving, 11th and Lamont, the Petworth Metro, and 14th just north of Spring Road.

    It's a pretty neat program, and I can see myself using it. All the locations are on this map:

    View Capital Bikeshare in a larger map

    Pretty awesome Bryan Weaver Ward One political ad

    A few of my friends have been talking about Bryan Weaver's ad for his race to unseat Jim Graham, the Ward One councilmember. Good stuff:

    Weaver, who is currently an ANC commissioner in Adams Morgan, faces a big challenge to unseat Graham, who is pretty popular and has been in office for 16 years, but more of this kind of campaigning and who knows. The VW Bug in the video is Jim Graham's (that, or it's the same model and color).

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

    Are there too many different light poles in the neighborhood?

    Commenter and Flickr user Mr. T in DC made a good point a few weeks back on one of my photos (above): there are 4-5 different styles of streetlights around 14th and Irving.

    That's OK, but the problem is they're all right  next to each other, so there's this completely random forest of poles: you've got the square old Metro ones, the big curvy black ones, the new solar-powered flower ones, the other old (but different) ones, and not to mention the traffic lights too. It looks bad and makes for a confusing urban environment, and there isn't anything on the streetscape page about unifying the look.

    I would guess that different agencies all put up their own at different times -- Metro, DDOT, who knows who else. Doh.

    Help the city get better street vendors

    Ever wandered around the neighborhood (or downtown) and noticed that you can get hot dogs, flowers, and that's about it? DCRA, the city's consumer and regulatory affairs agency, is trying to make that better with a survey on food and merchandise vendors, both carts and trucks.

    Check it out!

    And pass it on to your friends!

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    Cool house decoration: mustachioed gargoyle

    Spotted this on 13th just south of Florida, it's a gargoyle over a door featuring a big, curly mustache. I'm a fan of house decorations, especially funny ones like this. Seen any other cool ones around?

    New sign in Columbia Heights Metro: Mt. Pleasant and Pleasant Plains

    A reader just sent this in, it's a new sign in the Columbia Heights Metro directing people to Mt. Pleasant and Pleasant Plains. The sign used to say 14th Street southbound and northbound. While it's neat to see these neighborhoods mentioned, I think it might also confuse people, especially people who don't visit often.

    For example, I could see people asking which way Columbia Heights is (of course, it's both ways). Also, Pleasant Plains isn't the most familiar place to people, so that might be confusing. Then again, it's a real neighborhood, and as the person who sent it to me said, "Now I might be able to tell people I live in Pleasant Plains and they might have heard of it." And as he also noted, it's also bit far from the Metro station. Of course, that depends on who you ask.

    New Georgia Avenue Task Force blog

    The Georgia Avenue Task Force, a citizens group working on advocating for improving Georgia Avenue, has a new blog on local issues. Nice to see them on the web. Their most reecnt post is on graffiti that says "Gentrification Kills." The odd thing is, the graffiti seems to be on abandoned buildings. If you're protesting gentrification, it seems more logical to put it on new spots. Plus I have no idea how these people think it actually kills.

    The Task Force is also looking for volunteers for a lot of their Community Review event on August 7, which is a meeting to discuss the neighborhood in general. There's a list of tasks you can volunteer for here, and to sign up email

    Friday, July 16, 2010

    Yard Sale Roundup: A couple cool ones

    There's two this weekend that I can find, but let me know in the comments if you see more!

    --1323 Clifton, Sunday from 11am-3pm: clothes, household items, and more. link

    --An actual garage! Behind 1466 Columbia , Sunday from 10am-noon. Furniture, kitchen stuff, etc. link

    This car is making the world a sexier place

    A friend spotted this the other night on Kenyon between 13th and 14th, it's a car advertising what is apparently a dating coach site -- like a life coach, but just for dating. Could also be Will Smith who drives it. Hopefully that advice includes don't put stuff on your car. Pretty funny either way.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Dine out for Columbia Heights Day tonight!

    Do you like eating food? Do you helping the neighborhood's upcoming Columbia Heights Day? Then tonight is for you. If you dine out from 6-10 pm at a number of neighborhood bars and restaurants, you'll be helping Columbia Heights Day Initiative, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

    Participating spots include CommonWealth, The Heights, Looking Glass Lounge, Meridian Pint, Panda Express, RedRocks, Room 11, and Wonderland.

    Dog parkers, pedestrians catch a robber

    If you didn't already like dog parks, here's another reason! I received this message on Twitter last night:
    yowza, drama at 11th and park. just saw a girl get robbed but fellow dog parkers and a handful of peds caught the guys in 5
    Pretty awesome to see, and good that nobody got hurt too. It looks like it was listed on the MPD arrest report too. Watch out when you mess with dog people.

    UPDATE: Here's more, sent to me via Twitter:
    A woman on her bike had money stolen, by what looked like three teenage boys. A handful of people including one on a motorcycle ran after them, caught two of the guys up against the dog park fence. It was quite a scene, and she then felt bad cause they were young and and insisted they let them go. By that time people had called 911 and the cops were arriving. They caught at least one of the boys and were looking for the other two when we left the park. We saw at least one of the boys get put into a police car before we had to leave... Since the peds were able to hold them for that long though, the boys hadn't gotten far at all by the time the cops were involved.

    New building facades coming to Park Road

    Spotted this on the Columbia Heights Yahoo Listserve, sounds like a good idea. A lot of those facades are pretty beat up, aside from Pho 14.
    Neighborhood Businesses Build New Facades on the 1400 block of Park Road

    Mayor, Councilman join in groundbreaking ceremony

    WASHINGTON, DC [CapitalWirePR] July 14, 2010- On Wednesday, July 21st at 10:45 am, Mayor Adrian Fenty and Councilman Jim Graham will officially break ground on the long awaited construction of new facades along the 1400 block of Park Road.

    In October of 2006 a group of 2 dozen business and property owners from 10 different countries banded together to protect their street from the ravages of drugs and crime and then, 4 years ago, competition from DC/USA, the commercial mall inaugurated on the corner of 14th & Park Road right at their doorstep. These small, community businesses have now completed the negotiation for a million dollar facade renovation project that promises to be the crown jewel of Columbia Heights development. Construction on the new facades begins this month.

    "This has been almost four years in the making and will preserve the diversity and uniqueness of our neighborhood," explains Ramon Compres, President of the Coalition of Park Road Businesses. "Holding together our Coalition, negotiating with D.C. government and securing financing for this project has taken a great deal of time and effort. We're proud and excited that this little piece of Columbia Heights, the last remaining undeveloped strip in our neighborhood, is finally undergoing a massive face lift and that we've been able to negotiate and build it ourselves."

    "Without the support of Mayor Fenty and the determined, single minded pursuit of this goal by our Councilmember, Jim Graham, we would never have achieved this remarkable feat of neighborhood led development," commented Jerome Bailey, property owner and business leader on the block.

    Support for the facade improvement project comes from the Dept. of Housing and Community Development that has awarded a $526 thousand grant to complete construction. At the groundbreaking ceremony the Park Road community will also recognize Leila Edmonds, Director of DHCD and Robert Moore CEO of the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights. This project would not have been possible without their support. Keystone Plus Construction, a D.C. based, Latino owned construction firm, competitively bid the project and is the general contractor.
    Hopefully this will continue to lure nice businesses to the street, maybe some of the things we're missing. I haven't seen any plans or anything, but I'm looking.

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    Wednesday History: Sholl's Cafeteria, 1946

    The third in the Wednesday History series is this 1946 photo of Sholl's Georgian Cafeteria located at 3027 Georgia Ave NW, which is about where the CVS at 14th and Irving is now. I assume this is the same Sholl as owned the much beloved Sholl's Colonial Cafeteria in the West End (near Foggy Bottom), which closed in 2001.

    Quite the reminder of a time past, when cafeterias and automats were common. That said, I'd go to a cafeteria if there were one in the neighborhood and it was half decent -- inexpensive food and a wide variety. That's basically what Soho and those other pay-by-weight lunch places are these days.

    The photo is from the Library of Congress and was taken by Theodor Horydczak. Here's the link to the Shorpy page.

    No more going west on Park Road past 14th!

    View Larger Map

    Kind of a weird thing uncovered on the Columbia Heights listserve: if you're heading west on Park Road, at 14th Street you won't be able to continue straight, you're forced to make a right turn. There are concrete islands there blocking it. The idea is to alleviate traffic, and people who want to go west will have to take Kenyon, which then feeds into Park. If it alleviates traffic, great, but it's kind of odd, since if you're heading from somewhere northeast to say Mt. Pleasant, you'll have to move down a bit.

    Your thoughts? Annoyance, or just get used to it since it relieves (hopefully) traffic. Here's the map showing the old alignment.

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Need happy hour plans tonight? Get to Room 11 for free Hendricks gin

    Just got a note from the folks at Room 11, the great wine/cocktail/beer/small eats spot at 11th and Lamont:
    Come to Room 11 tonight for a Hendrick's Gin Happy Hour from 6-7:30pm featuring free samples of Hendrick's cocktails and drink specials.

    Also debuting tonight is our Sexy St Germain Summer Strawberry Sangria!
    I'm not usually a big gin guy, but Hendrick's is some tasty stuff. They make a lot of great drinks at Room 11 and have good food too. If you ask head bartender and owner Dan Searing about a drink, you'll get an interesting story. They know their booze there.

    Free bottles for homebrewers at Meridian Pint

    Pretty cool deal from Meridian Pint, which is offering their used empty beer bottles (the 750 ml size, the size of most Belgian beers) for free to homebrewers. They can come by on Tuesday and pick them up. From their Facebook page:
    B'Bombers for Brewers' is this Tuesday again. Calling all home brewers, come by and pick up your bottles and help us reuse vs. recycle.
    Nice to see spots coming up with clever ways to recycle.

    Crazy four square-related game?

    The other day I was walking to the Banneker pool and noticed these folks: they had some kind of little trampoline-thing set up and they were playing a game similar to foursquare on it, the kids' game where you bounce a ball towards someone else. Crummy cameraphone shot here, but you can see the trampoline and the ball in mid-air.

    Looked pretty fun (and funny), but I've never seen that before. What is it? Maybe it's the new national game of the neighborhood! I couldn't find anything about it on the web, and most Google results were about the website.

    Monday, July 12, 2010

    Plans for the Bruce-Monroe school site: ball courts, community garden

    You may have noticed the empty lot where Bruce-Monroe school, the prison-looking building at Georgia and Columbia, used to stand. The school was demolished earlier in the year and the other day I was walking down Georgia and saw that they're putting in some things there. The Park View DC blog which has not one but two updates on the plans and progress, which include basketball and tennis courts, some grass, a couple of playgrounds (called "tot lots" here, which is kind of funny), and an "urban garden," which would be pretty cool. I would imagine that means a community garden where people could sign up for a plot and grow their own food.

    The plans are actually for the interim use of the site, which is planned to have a rebuilt Bruce-Monroe school sometime in the future: probably 2018, though Vince Gray said a few months ago he wants it to come sooner. The interim use is supposed to be finished in the summer, so we'll see.

    So, where did you watch the fireworks?

    We had a poll last week about where people were going to watch the fireworks, and the majority (40% of the about 180 people who replied) said somebody's roof, with another 23% at Cardozo High School's steps. I didn't know Cardozo was such a popular place to watch, but right after the show on the Mall ended, 13th Street was literally filled with people streaming back to the Metro, and probably just as many went the other direction too. Kind of hard to tell in this photo, but there were literally hundreds of people. Pretty wild!

    Anyone else have good suggestions for places to watch next year?

    Friday, July 9, 2010

    Yard Sale Roundup: Surprisingly not too many

    Here's this week's Yard Sale Roundup: I can't find too many around the area, so if you know of any, post them in the comments!
    • An "epic" yard sale both Saturday and Sunday from 9-5 at 1793 Lanier Place NW in Adams Morgan, complete with pictures. Tons of furniture. Here's the full link.
    • A multi-family sale on Sunday from 8:30am-4pm at 17th and U. Clothes, furniture and so on. Also photos! The Craigslist ad.
    I wonder why so many yard sales begin so early? If they're hoping for young people to go, they should open at noon or something. I know I'm usually asleep until 10 or 11, if I'm lucky.

    What's up at the Community Marketplace this Saturday

    The organizers of the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace (Saturday, 9am-2pm) have an update on what's for sale:
    1. Bonaparte Breads will come to the Marketplace laden with its wonderful and wide assortment of breads and yummy pastries.

    2. Chapels Country Creamery, which raises all of its cows organically and on pasture grass, will have a variety of cheeses and, for the first time this season, FETA!. If yogurt is on your mind, they'll have that, too! Four varieties -- plain, honey (made with locally produced honey), maple (made with locally produced maple), and vanilla bean.

    3. Chesley Vegetable (and fruit) Farms will have peaches, blueberries, black and red raspberries, swiss chard, broccoli, onions, lettuce, kale, squash, cabbage and apples.

    4. Dolcezza Gelato will feature the following gelati and sorbetti: White Peach, Cucumber Tarragon Gin, Yellow Peach Southern Comfort, Lemon Opal Basil, Tomatillo, Lemon Ricotta Cardamom, Valrhona Chocolate Amargo, Yellow Peaches & Cream, Blackberries & Cream and Espresso Sweet Tooth. Dolcezza makes its gelato and sorbet with sustainably produced milk from southern Pennsylvania in their gelato and locally grown fruit in the majority of their gelato and sorbet.

    5. Dragonfly Farms will bring we will bring sweet orange cherry tomatoes, Japanese gourmet cucumbers, sweet no-heat jalapeños, baby Anaheims, zucchini, ripe slicing tomatoes
    all grown naturally and no animal fertilizers, blueberries, sugarplums and green beans.

    6. Licking Creek Bend Farm will be headin' from PA with lots of goodness: "Century" peaches this Saturday, probably the sweetest peaches we've had yet. At 3lbs or more for $1.49/lb, we're at least a dollar or more lower than other markets. We're at the end of apricots but still have 3 varieties of sugar plums. We'll have three varieties of string beans, our sweet basil, three varieties of cucumbers, three varieties of tomatoes including the earliest of the heirlooms, 5 varieties of summer squash and the last of our late fall/early summer lettuce.

    7. Smith Family Farm will bring its wide assortment of meat, chicken, turkey, lamb and pork from livestock raised sustainably on pasture grass.

    8. Stachowski Charcuterie will be on hand with its fabulous array of sausage, paté and other meat products.

    9. Twin Post Farm will have chicken and duck eggs in small, medium and large sizes.

    10. Upper Crust Artisanal Breads will feature its marvelous variety of fresh-baked bread.
    The Heights chef Corey Locker will also have a cooking demonstration. I went for the first time to the Marketplace last weekend and it was pretty cool. I got some great peaches and squash, plus some pastries.

    Breakdancing at Wonderland on the 4th of July

    I was at Wonderland after the fireworks on the 4th and happened to run into a bunch of breakdancers. It's a little dark, but it's dark at Wonderland!

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

    Keep your trees watered in the hot weather!

    Just got a press release from Casey Trees, a DC nonprofit that focuses on trees, and DCist has the story too: in this hot summer, trees need water to live. 25 gallons a week is their recommendation, plus following their tree watering guide.

    In addition, people who sign Casey Trees "25 to Stay Alive" pledge that you'll water your trees get a free watering gauge. They have these tips too:
    • Install slow-release watering bags. Watering bags ensure the tree receives the correct amount of water, shortens watering time and reduces water runoff. Free Ooze Tubes are available for pickup at Casey Trees’ downtown office during normal business hours.
    • Make a slow-release watering device. Add holes to the bottom of a bucket and place at the base of a tree. Fill, then walk away.
    • Get creative in transporting water. Connect multiple hoses and use buckets and old water cooler jugs to get water to trees. Lighten the weight of buckets and jugs by moving them in a wheelbarrow or wagon.
    • Turn your hose on low for a half hour. Stay or walk away, just remember to turn off the water after 30 minutes.
    • Mulch. Mulching helps to keep soil moist and discourages summer weeds. Apply using the 3-3-3 Rule - 3 inches of mulch in a 3 foot ring with a 3 inch space around the trunk.
    Keep those trees alive!

    Problems at the DCUSA Washington Sports Club?

    I've always heard a lot of complaints about the Washington Sports Club in Columbia Heights, and their Yelp reviews are not glowing. There was recently a big (and interestingly-worded) posting on the Columbia Heights Yahoo list about some issues there -- broken machines and other poor service, and in the recent What We're Missing post, a few folks mentioned that they wanted a better sports club.

    Any other opinions on the DCUSA location? Or alternatives?

    Unusual Allah graffiti

    Allah graffiti
    Originally uploaded by squidpants
    Not everyday you seen this: some religious graffiti on a sidewalk at about 13th and Harvard. Usually sidewalks have goofier stuff, like waffle-eating dinosaurs.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    Wednesday History: Miss Columbia Heights, 1938

    The second in the Wednesday History series is this old photo of Miss Columbia Heights, Dorothy Parker (not the writer). She went on to win Miss Washington and competed in the Miss America contest. She's pictured here not at the Banneker pool but in Atlantic City. A commenter on Shorpy, where I found the photo, posted an old Washington Post article about it. Interestingly, she lives on Shepherd Street, which probably wouldn't be considered Columbia Heights these days. 
    Dorothy Parker Captures City Beauty Crown
    "Miss Washington of 1938" Wins From Field of 17 Contestants.

    While the steamship Potomac steamed down the river on a moonlight cruise last night, Dorothy Parker, the former "Miss Columbia Heights," was named Miss Washington 1938 and won her chance to compete in the national beauty contest in Atlantic City.

    Miss Parker won from a final field of 17 girls selected in preliminary eliminations. She lives at 1228 Shepherd street northwest.

    Judges of the contest were Lyle O'Rourke, president of the Junior Board of Commerce and drama critics from Washington newspapers. A holiday crowd watched as the girls paraded in bathing suits and then in evening gowns.

    Others in the contest were Nadine Petrey, Betty Crown, Dale Simmons, Jeanette Tucker, Elizabeth McDonald, Betty Wax, Toni Mann, Betty Jean Smalley, Gere Dell Sale, Louise Emmerich, Beatrice Evert, Sylvia Berger, Dorothy Boston and Tempa Marshall.
    The photo is from the Library of Congress and was taken by Harris and Ewing. You can see other history-related posts here, and the previous Wednesday History post, lacrosse at Cardozo, here.

    The 14th and Irving CVS is renovated, now has sandwiches and salads

    Not exactly Earth-shattering news, but when I walked into the CVS this weekend and was confused, as everything was rearranged. They widened some aisles, moved the cold drinks to the side of the store, opened more self-checkout lanes (thank goodness) also now carry premade salads and sandwiches.

    Bus problems today due to the U Street oil spill

    A little late now, but my morning bus commute was snarled by the weird U Street oil spill, where a truck leaked oil from about 9th to 16th on U Street. Not hearing about it ahead of time, I hopped on the 14th Street bus, which then took a turn onto Florida and Vermont Avenues, (getting stuck in traffic), down 16th and then back onto 14th at P Street. I thought I had gotten on the rare 53 bus and they just had a crazy route these days, but no, just bad luck.

    Anybody else have a long, long commute thanks to the Exxon Valdez?

    Columbia Heights Day fundraiser on Thursday at Duffy's

    Just got this via their Facebook:
    Come support Columbia Heights Day at Duffy's this Thursday!

    Columbia Heights Day Cup and Shirt Sales 7-11 pm

    Cups are $5 and with the purchase of a cup you get $2 Miller Lite and Bud Light drafts all night.

    Raffle at 10 PM for 3 pairs of tickets to Saturday's Nerd Nite at DC9
    Duffy's is at the corner of Vermont and Florida NW, and Columbia Heights Day is August 28th. Here's their website.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010

    Pools are now open til 9 pm!

    Just saw this on DPR's Twitter:
    Outdoor pool hours have been extended due to the heat. All are opening at 11 am through Thursday and closing by 9 pm.
    The Banneker Pool is closed Thursdays, so maybe it means it'll be open then? In any case, hopefully it's cleaner today and Wednesday.

    On the Banneker Pool this weekend: fun, crowds, and suggestions

    By Emily S.

    Trying to escape the heat this weekend was an adventure in itself. I gave up my Banneker Pool virginity on Saturday and had a very pleasant experience. No lines for the diving board, enough room to have underwater swimming contests and not have a human collision, and adult swim every hour for ten minutes. We even got chairs!

    The mood around the water on Monday, with its glorious high of 101 degrees, was a different story altogether. Swimmers were banished from the deep end and crowded into the sides, lifeguard whistles were blasting, and there seemed to be many disgruntled swimmers. At 4:30, Walter, one of the managers, called everyone out of the water for an announcement at the north end of the pool. He first explained that the pool’s “no street clothes policy” was not only for hygienic reasons, but also to make it easier to make sure that no creepers are ogling the scantly clad patrons. If you ain’t there to swim – or watch your kids swim – then the pool ain’t for you.

    And secondly, wearing underwear under a swimsuit is, as Walter said, “disgusting”. Besides being gross, it adds to the murkiness of the water, which (get ready for this) is why the deep end is closed. If the lifeguards can’t see the drains at the bottom of the pool then no one can swim there. Period. Speaking of lifeguards, he asked that patrons needed to show them more respect and follow their instructions – always a challenge at a public pool.

    It was such a great announcement! I agreed whole-heartedly with everything he said. I do, however, have a few suggestions to aid Banneker in its quest for obedience.
    1) Megaphones: it's hard to tell what a blown whistle actually means
    2) I would say a loudspeaker system, but I highly doubt that the city would provide the funding
    3) Better signs EXPLICITLY explaining the rules. As in “POOL RULES” and “breaking these rules is grounds for eternal banishment expulsion”

    In general, I enjoy the environment and ambiance at Banneker. I just want to be able to swim in the deep end and not be grossed out by the murky H2O.

    The Banneker Pool is at 2500 Georgia Ave NW and is open 1 to 8 pm Monday through Wednesday and Friday and noon to 8 pm Saturday and Sunday. Closed Thursdays.

    Best the heat: mist machine at Wonderland

    Mister at wonderland
    Originally uploaded by squidpants
    Hard to tell in this photo, but I walked by Wonderland yesterday and there's a new mist machine (mister?) on the outdoor patio. Might make the 100 degree heat more bearable.

    Friday, July 2, 2010

    DCist on CommonWealth's fried food: it's good

    Nice to see our local spots getting some praise from elsewhere: DCist has a piece on fried food in CommonWealth, the British gastropub on Irving right off 14th. I've really only had the small stuff when I've been there (meats, cheeses, fried goods) and they've been pretty tasty. There's also the British beer selection, which is tip-top, if you want to use a British-ism about it.

    Poll: Where are you watching the fireworks?

    It's almost fireworks time, and I think the Columbia Heights is one of the best places to see fireworks in the city, and maybe the country: you get a good view of the Mall display if you're on somebody's roof or another place with good vision (like the Cardozo High School steps) while at the same time you get to see all the fireworks from all around the neighborhood and surrounding areas. It's good times. So here's the poll: where are you watching?

    Want some (legal) fireworks? Take a walk

    It looks like there aren't any legal fireworks stands in our area this year: the city has released a Google Map showing legal vendors, and the nearest ones are at 1747 Columbia Rd NW in Adams Morgan and a couple of blocks north of the Petworth Metro, 3830 Georgia Ave NW. That means if there are any in the neighborhood, they are less-than-legal.

    Has anybody spotted any illegal stands in the neighborhood? I know folks have been hearing them shot off around the neighborhood for a few days.

    Thursday, July 1, 2010

    Free Wi-Fi starting today at Starbucks

    Now you can sip your venti orange half-caf et cetera without paying for internet! From Starbucks' twitter:
    We're very excited to announce that coming July 1st: Free. 1 click. No registration WIFI at all US locations! :-)
    I would assume this applies to both Starbucks in the neighborhood -- the one on 14th Street and the across the street in the Target.

    First look at Meridian Pint: opens today!

    I took a trip over to Meridian Pint at 11th and Park last night for their soft opening: and it's pretty cool. The first thing that I noticed was that the space is BIG! Upstairs had a bar for about 30 people, plus some big communal tables, a number of smaller tables, and maybe a dozen booths. There were 2 TVs over the bar.

    Downstairs was pretty cool, it was more open with another bar, a few tables in one corner, and the tables with the table taps (i.e. the beer you pour yourself). There were also 3 TVs, a pool table and bar shuffleboard, which is pretty cool to see. They also had funny double entendre industrial drawings on the walls.

    So, the part most people are probably wondering about: and table taps, where you pour your own beer at the tables. There were two tables that had them, and each had two taps. It works like this: when you first sit down, you can ask for whatever beers you want that are on draft. Each has 12 pints, and after you finish one of the 12 pints you can get another kind, or just get more of the same. The taps had digital touchscreens on them that tell you how many pints you've had and how much you spent. The touchscreens also had a way to order individual beers, but I was sort of confused about that -- I guess that's if you want to order something that's not on your table tap, and then the server brings it over. The price seemed the same as the menu, $4-$7.

    We figured people might get too drunk or have drinking contests, but the bartender has a cutoff switch, which is pretty funny. I bet they'll get a lot of questions about the taps too. We were wondering about washing glasses, since you're reusing yours for each beer, and also about tipping: since you're pouring your own beer, what do you do? We asked the waitress and she thought it would be about normal, since presumably people downstairs would be ordering food. The waitress also said that if folks are sitting there and not drinking while people are waiting, they'll kick them off the table. I assume that means not drinking ever, not as in just taking a break or something. She also said they're still trying to figure out the guidelines for the taps, so that may change.

    Pouring can take some getting used to as well. Our first pour didn't come out too well.

    Now, the beer: there's lots on tap, about 25 total, ranging from about $4 to $7, plus a few bigger bottles, mostly around the 750 ml size. I had some Anderson Valley Summer Solstice, and it was great. I didn't have food, but some of the folks who tried it said it was tasty stuff. There's also a lot of veggie and vegan options.

    John Andrade, the main owner, came over to talk to us about the place, and he emphasized that they're trying to make it an environmentally friendly restaurant, noting that they're going to compost most trash so that only about 10% actually enters the waste stream, that most people who work there live within 5 blocks, and mentioning how they're supporting American breweries rather than ones that have to be shipped in.

    Overall I liked it, but the atmosphere seemed a little odd. It almost seemed too open, both upstairs and downstairs, despite the big crowd there. The downstairs section with the small tables also seemed awkward, and nobody was sitting there. This was where Andrade had talked about potentially having a dance floor or DJ, which would work better I think. Then again, this a brand new place so they're still working out the kinks. And thanks to my frienemies at The Heights Life for letting me know about the opening!

    A couple more photos below, and I have more on my Flickr as well.

    the odd downstairs corner

    upstairs -- it's lighter than this.

    New historic site signs around the neighborhood

    Historic site
    Originally uploaded by squidpants
    I've spotted a few new historic site signs around the area recently, including this one for an African bookstore at 14th and Fairmont, right next to the newly renamed Columbia Uptown apartments. A few people have stopped to read it when I've been walking by.

    Always cool to learn more about the area, especially when so many people are new to the neighborood or the city as a whole.

    You can click the photo for a bigger look.