Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bloombars party on Wednesday

BloomBars, the non-profit arts space on 11th next to Wonderland, is holding a fundraiser and a party this Wednesday to help raise some money. The party is hosted by Omrao Brown, owner of Bohemian Caverns and Liv nightclub and is this Wednesday from 7 pm to 11 pm at Liv (11th and U). There's a $20 donation at the door. Liv is a pretty fun place, I've been there a few times.

BloomBars has hosted music, spoken word, live art performances and more for a awhile now, and does it all via donations. If you'd like to help, RSVP for the party and/or donate a few dollars. Help support the arts in the neighborhood!

Disturbing: police find girl's body in a dumpster

Disturbing story from yesterday afternoon: MPD found a girl's body in a dumpster in an alley between 10th, 11th, Fairmont and Sherman. They suspect foul play but there aren't many details so far. The girl is thought to have been 16-18 years old. TBD and the Post have articles.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Street Booze: Beer at 13th and Girard

The latest installment of Street Booze finds us at 13th and Girard, where somebody had a tall boy of Bud heavy, but that wasn't quite enough, so they finished off a regular size Bud Light.

And yes, I always pick them up. You should too.

Want to see more Street Booze? Check out the archive.

Wine tasting for charity at Room 11 tonight

Do you like wine and helping non-profits? Get yourself to Room 11 tonight at 11th and Lamont from 6 to 7 pm:
Join Robbi Steill, from importer Heritage Link Brands, as she shares specially chosen, small estate wines that are owned, harvested and made by native black winemakers. Leading the wave of the "conscious consumer," Heritage links consumers to high quality, Sustainable and Fair Trade wines - and, in the process, supports economic upliftment, poverty alleviation and social causes that improve the conditions for black workers. Plus, the wines are good! Come enjoy yourself, learn a little and help a lot.

$15 admission includes tasting portions of 6 wines, with a portion of the proceeds to be donated to the International Society of Africans in Wine, a US-based 501(c)(3) whose mission is building sustainable communities through viticulture.
Add a cheese and charcuterie plate for the special price of $10.

Seating is limited, so please make a reservation by emailing dan@room11dc.com.

Did you spend Thanksgiving in DC? What did you do?

Welcome back for those of you who left the neighborhood for Thanksgiving, and hello to the few who didn't -- I saw on the news that 1 million people left the metro area this holiday, pretty wild. This year was the first time I stayed in the city for turkey time, and it was a pretty odd experience. I'm interested in hearing other people's experiences in DC, but here's mine.

For one, the city is pretty much deserted. On Thursday evening a friend and I were walking to a friend's on 16th and both 14th Street and U Street were empty. We could cross with no light and there wasn't a car within blocks.

Most stores were closed -- as shoppers going to Target on Thanksgiving found out, when a security guard had to tell them all it was closed. I figured they'd be open too. Later I was looking for a bottle of wine or some beer to bring to a friend's on Thursday and the only liquor store open I saw was the one at 14th and Florida. Was going to stop by D'Vines but they closed early.

Most local bars were closed, though Meridian Pint was open serving beer only, and Duffy's Irish Pub at 9th and Florida was too. The Black Cat was open too and there was a small crowd.

If you stayed in DC, what did you do?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Holiday shopping in the neighborhood

Black Friday just passed, and hopefully you avoided the throngs of people. However, there are some good spots in the neighborhood for your shopping, and here's a brief rundown.

If you're looking for something unique and quirky, check out the Museum of Unnatural History in the 826DC space. Their selection changes regularly, from shirts to books to posters to other interesting and useful (or completely useless) stuff. I wrote about them when they opened too.

For the active person, check out Nash's Sports on 14th north of Park (in the Tivoli building). They have jerseys, athletic shoes, sports clothes, balls, and other similar stuff.

If you are looking for somebody who enjoys their beer and wine, try D'Vines at 3103 14th Street NW, which sells lots of wine plus craft beer.

There's a few spots for clothes too: on the southern end of the hood is Palace 5ive at 2220 14th, the skateboard shop which also has hip shirts, pants, hats and shoes. Martha's Table at 2214 14th has a thrift store too for vintage clothes.

Gift cards are plentiful in the hood too: most restaurants offer them, plus there's coffee cards at Starbucks.

And it goes without saying that there's Target, Best Buy, and Linens and Things Bed Bath and Beyond in DCUSA.

Any other recommendations?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Twitter/text delivery empanada business coming to 14th Street

An example of Mendoza-style empanadas
This is interesting. I've gotten a couple messages lately from a new food vendor with a unique business model. It's called Empanadas on 14th and opens on Saturday. Here's how it works, from a Twitter message they sent me:
Have delivery locations (a la bus stops) on 14th St. Pay w PayPal. Use text/twitter when empanadas package delivered. Website in progress.
The Twitter account explains that they only do it on Saturday night, so I'm guessing they're serving the bar crowd. It seem that when you order, they come to a certain spot on 14th, and you pick it up. It's sort of a hybrid food truck/delivery business.

As for the food, it's going to be Mendoza, Argentina-style empanadas, which are baked rather than fried like many empanadas. They look and sound pretty delicious.

It'll be interesting to see more about how it works, and I'll update as I hear more.

Fenty with the dancing pancake: IHOP grand opening photos

The City Paper has an amusing photo essay by Darrow Montgomery from the IHOP grand opening, including the above shot, plus Fenty and Jim Graham dressed as IHOP waiters, clowns, and other random stuff. A funny way to start the day.

Anybody else go and snap some shots? Or down some syrup?

And if you just can't get enough IHOP news, here's a Post article about the store's first new hires.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New art studio/gallery: Pleasant Plains Workshop

The neighborhood art options are growing. Pleasant Plains Workshop, a studio and gallery space and shop, opened yesterday at 2608 Georgia Ave NW, next to Soul Veg. They'll have a few resident artists and also have rotating exhibits of other DC-area artists and designers.

I hope to talk more with them soon, but it sounds like a neat spot. Nice to see this kind of thing coming to the neighborhood.

IHOP grand opening today, events going on all morning

As you know, IHOP has been open awhile, but their official grand opening is today. A friend snapped this shot of a dancing pancake at 14th and Irving a minute ago.
WHAT: IHOP will open its 1,500th restaurant with a series of activities planned to commemorate the milestone:

· The first 1,500 guests will be treated to (or receive a certificate for) a free short stack of IHOP’s famous buttermilk pancakes.
· Notable D.C. pastry chefs (Leslie Goldman-Poyourow of Fancy Cakes by Leslie and Randi Goldman of Creative Cakes, Inc.) will create an iconic replica of one of Washington’s most famous monuments using thousands of pancakes with the help of students from the culinary program at Bell Multicultural High School.
· Ribbon cutting ceremony will take place featuring notable D.C. dignitaries and IHOP VIPs
· Live entertainment (magician, clown, stilt walker, etc.) will entertain the crowds
· A contribution will be made to the Multicultural Career Intern Program (MCIP), the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports Bell Multicultural High School
WHY: IHOP is celebrating its leadership in sales and restaurant openings in the family dining category, has plans for additional growth, and wants to thank the community of Columbia Heights for its support.
Amusingly, Mayor Fenty will be there with Jim Graham and Kwame Brown, but no Vince Gray. The IHOP CEO and president will be there too, plus the Jackson family, owners of this IHOP, who I wrote about before. Included in their ownership group is Tyoka Jackson, a former NFL player, his dad Clarence, who worked for the library and is in the DC National Guard, and his brother, who is an MPD officer. Here's what's going on:
6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Guests allowed to line up for free flapjack certificates
6:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Pancake monument sculpting by notable pastry artists
9:00 a.m. Ribbon cutting with dignitaries
7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Live entertainment for guests (Stilt walker, Clown, Magician)
I wonder why it's flapjack certificates, but pancake monument? Are they different things?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cheap video games at Best Buy and Target

Need some presents for the holiday, or just a couple games to play? The Best Buy at DCUSA has a bunch of inexpensive Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS, PS3 and even PS2 games, all for about $10-$15. Target has a few too. Not sure who'd pay $15 for a PS2 game, but hey, the thought is appreciated.

First impressions of IHOP (but not the food)

Sunday morning a friend and I decided to check out the new IHOP at DCUSA, which had its soft opening on the 16th. Apparently lots of other folks had the same idea, as it was packed. It was also pretty confusing.

You walk in and the small entryway is full of people. Then there are two cash registers with people hovering around them, and lots of staff going back and forth. We stood there for a minute and nobody talked to us, then we noticed there was a stand with a hostess at it, so we went over and spoke to her. She said it was a 30 minute wait, which was too long for us. So we left.

Not the best intro the place, but I suppose everywhere is jammed when they open. A few things I noticed though: you can get take-out, and they aren't yet open 24 hours. At the cash register station a bunch of people were waiting to get their take-out food, which is a pretty good idea.

As for being open 24 hours, a sign on the window said they'd start that next weekend.

Something else I had my eye on: a got a Twitter message saying the staff wasn't diverse, but that didn't seem to be the case on this visit.

Hopefully soon enough I'll be able to have some food.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ellwood Thompson's gives up on DCUSA; or do they?

The latest in the Ellwood Thompson's saga: Jim Graham says they've given up on DCUSA, while the store, as usual, says they're still coming. To recap, Ellwood's is a Richmond-based organic grocery store that's been saying they're coming to DCUSA for years.

Graham told the City Paper that they're not coming, they're breaking their agreement and will lose $1 million. Graham sounds less than pleased:
"I was the one who sent them there," said Graham, noting that they'd first asked him about the 14th Street location now occupied by Yes! Organic. "Little did I know how conservative, really timid, they would be come...they’re going to pay for this very bad decision."
He also said they're looking for other tenants.

And as they usually do, the store denies it, saying they're still coming. Owner Rick Hood issued a statement that he doesn't know where Graham is coming from.

"I don't know why Jim Graham is saying this. We are not in default. We continue to work with the landlord to make this happen," Hood said.

Here's my opinion: Ellwood Thompson's will never open. I hope I'm wrong, but every time I hear something new, it's that they're almost there, or they're still close, or they're working with the landlord. If it takes 2 years to work out a lease, I doubt it's ever going to happen. It seems to me that there's some bigger problem somewhere that's preventing this.

The weird thing is, are they paying rent now? Because if they do open (and haven't managed to piss off everyone in Columbia Heights with their extremely slow and annoying crap) they'd probably make lots of money and pay off that rent. But considering it's been so long, maybe they aren't. It seems like there's no urgency.

I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Canadian's thoughts on Columbia Heights

I get emails every now and then from out-of-towners who are staying in the neighborhood, asking advice on what to do, where to go and such. It seems that a lot of people are renting apartments for a week or so rather than staying in a hotel.

I got an email a few weeks ago from Jen from Toronto, Canada asking for advice. She recently got back home and shared her impressions of the neighborhood, which are interesting to read. She appreciates things a lot of us take for granted, like the Giant, for example. Take a look and let's hear your thoughts.

I said that I would let you know my thoughts on the neighbourhood (Canadian spelling!). We arrived back in Toronto yesterday afternoon after four nights at 13th & Girard.
It was great. The Columbia Heights that I saw was both friendly and beautiful.  So many people just saying "good morning" as we walked by. Smiles all around! Row houses with front yards, iron gates, dogs, kids...perfect urban neighbourhood.
Thanks to your blog, I knew about a few places to take my friends locally! We shopped at Giant, which was a very good experience, despite what some of the comments said.  The selection was good and the service was fairly quick...they bagged our groceries which doesn't happen in our local store... we have to do that ourselves.  Jacinta was awesome!!  Double bagged everything without knowing that we had to walk with the food, beer, wine...
You may have seen us struggling at some point walking down 14th!
We managed to find Meridian Pint on Sunday. We walked the long way around, but we made it!  Had something to eat then met up with the rest of our group -they discovered the suffleboard table so went back Monday and last night as well.  Big hit!!
DCUSA centre gives it a really suburban feel.  It made me, as a tourist, feel comfortable in the area.  I'm not a shopper by any means, but a mall to me feels comfortable.  I lived in downtown Toronto for years and I didn't feel as comfortable there as I did in Columbia Heights even at night.
All in all, a great experience.  When I travel, I definitely like to see the city as it is and I am so glad we picked your area to stay.  We spent more time in Columbia Heights than we did on the tourist route.
Your advice was appreciated (we did pick up some potatoes at the farmer's market in CH) and proved to be a hit.  It helped me as the unofficial tour guide, to pick the best places for my group.
Maybe we'll be back again!  If we are, we will certainly stay in the neighbourhood and hopefully in the same apartment we just visited.

Kiddie happy hour at Sticky Fingers tomorrow

Got kids? Need something to do with them? Get yourself to Sticky Fingers tomorrow from 10-11am for a sing- and dance-along concert from the Singing Lizard. They actually do this event every first and third Wednesday, so there's a lot of somethings to do with your kids.

Always nice to see events for parents and their kids in the neighborhood.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Green Room bar on Georgia Avenue making progress

The folks over at the Park View DC blog have been all over the Green Room, a new bar going in next to the Looking Glass Lounge at 3632 Georgia Ave NW. It's planned as a higher-end sports lounge, and there will be a back outdoor seating area as well. It's supposed to open mid-this month, but who knows when it comes to permits and stuff.

Interestingly, the bar itself inside will be called the Blue Banana, which is the name of the bar in the movie Pretty Woman. Not really sure how Pretty Woman fits in with a sports bar theme, but hey.

The building used to be abandoned, and in fact some friends and I used to play bocce and redneck golf in the back area. There was actually astroturf there to play on.

The photo above is from the most recent update, and it looks just about finished.

How far can you commute in 15 minutes?

Just spotted a blog post about Mapnificent, a new transit trip planning tool that uses Google Maps. You drag the map to where you are and it shows you how far you can get in however much time you specify, taking into account walking, Metro, and bus. The above map is starting from about 14th and Newton.

Does it seem accurate? I know that taking the 14th Street bus south often takes 30-45 minutes to get to about F Street, depending on traffic and the number of stops, but if you include Metro (and catch the train just right) it can be much faster.

Interestingly, it also shows bubbles around Metro stations.

Play around with it and let everyone know in the comments if it seems accurate. Might be a useful tool.

Monday, November 15, 2010

How bad are the pretzels at Target?

Something I've always noticed at Target is the random little snack bar, with pretzels and (crummy) pizza.

The pretzels always stand out to me, because they look terrible. They look fake, but they aren't. They remind me of the plastic food that restaurants, bakeries and such use as examples of what you can get, or something kids use when they're playing house.

Has anyone tried them? I'm afraid to.

Does the Staples legal documents section represent the neighborhood?

I was at the DCUSA Staples for the first time ever this weekend looking for some supplies, and noticed a funny section of legal documents. To me, some of them represent the neighborhood: there's a lot on real estate, which makes sense, as our neighborhood has a lot of retail, apartments, condos, and group houses: among others, there's landlording (which I didn't know was a word), commercial lease, residential lease, and "Notice to Pay Rent or Quit," forcing people to live their apartment.

There's also others though, on things like divorce, wills, and bankruptcy. Hopefully those don't represent the neighborhood as much.

Not sure if they are DC-specific or just general, as Flickr user Mr. T in DC pointed out, but I guess if you need any of these things, here's the place to go. Hopefully you will never need the divorce or Pay Rent or Quit ones.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

IHOP sign goes up, soft opening Nov. 16, opens Nov. 23

The IHOP in DCUSA is a flurry of activity today, and for good reason - it opens very soon.

A reader snapped this shot at about 1:15 pm today of the DCUSA IHOP sign going up, and I walked by about an hour ago and saw a bunch of staff in IHOP shirts and nametags being trained.

ANC commish Sedrick Muhammad tweeted 2 days ago that the soft opening is Nov. 16 and the full opening is Nov. 23.

The place looks nearly complete inside, with lots of booths and a buffet/salad bar set up - the second photo is from the IHOP DCUSA Twitter.

And as you may recall, the place will be open 24 hours a day.

So, what do you think? Excited for some late night (and anytime) eats, or less-than-enthused?

Friday, November 12, 2010

New literary magazine launch party on Sunday

Just got this about a new literary magazine. Some Columbia Heights folks are involved with it (and ANC candidate Gavin Holland will be spinning) and it sounds pretty neat. Here's the details for their launch party:
This Sunday from 7-10pm on the upper deck of the Marvin, join the editorial board of D.C.'s new literary journal "The Folly" for a launch party as multifold and unhinged as the city we call home. The Folly will compile and revel in the written word of D.C. - poetry, humor, fiction, and forms unlabeled; its name, a tribute to the wonderful mistake of a creative life. Sponsored by Flying Dog Ales, Tito's Vodka and Gibson Guitars, the launch party will feature DJ Gavin Holland and assorted alcoho-literary diversions. Sunday night: Read, drink, and be merry.

The extremely noisy escalator at the CH Metro: Or is it a colony of bats?

If you've been to the Columbia Heights Metro lately, you've probably noticed how loud the west escalator is: it screeches like crazy, and to me sounds like a colony of bats or some horror movie music. TBD links to a video of how noisy it is, and they note you can actually hear it outside the station, down the block.

But considering how rarely the CH Metro escalators are actually working, maybe we shouldn't complain too much?

Security guards at Social: the plot thickens

Yesterday I wrote about the restaurant Social, which is closed, supposedly temporarily. The City Paper has an update on the case: a strange story from another restauranteur who is looking for a new location and was curious about the space.
The restaurateur said he found the space locked up tight. He started to walk around the property and look in the windows. The downstairs bar was dark and empty. He couldn't tell if there was any action in the main dining room, but there didn't appear to be.
Suddenly a large man popped out of the front door. He was wearing a t-shirt that read, "Everything is on camera." He gave off the appearance of a security guard. He wanted to know what the peeping tom/restaurateur wanted. The restaurateur lied to the security man and said he just came there for a drink.
"We're closed for a private party," the large man responded, probably lying himself.
The restaurateur then got a phone call and started talking to a manager back at his place. The security guard was not happy. He wanted to know who the restaurateur was talking to.
"It's none of your business," the restaurateur said.
The security man asked again.
"I have a First Amendment right to talk to whoever I want," the restaurateur responded.
"I've got a First Amendment right to punch you in the fucking face," the security man retorted.
The restaurateur laughed and walked away.
Doesn't really give me the warm and fuzzies. Of course, this is only from the restauranteur's point of view, but the Social folks have been avoiding the press lately, so nobody has their say on the matter.

I wonder if the security guard works with Nick "Dick Punch" Cho, the antagonist in another crazy food and violence related story.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Social is closed "temporarily"

Yesterday the news broke that Social, the restaurant and bar at 14th and Meridian, was closed "indefinitely." Today, their website says "Social is closed temporarily while we address organizational changes. We look forward to serving our patrons and the community again soon."

DCist reported yesterday the closure was due to taxes and ownership issues. It seemed like the place was popular enough, especially the downstairs bar, though I always thought the upstairs restaurant area was kind of strange -- an odd vibe that didn't really seem to work for me. Tim Carman at the City Paper also wasn't a big fan of the place -- in fact, he actually wrote a blog post debating whether to give it a bad review or just ignore it. The downstairs bar seemed fine though, and I knew a few folks who went there quite often. 

We'll see when (or if) the place reopens. I've reached out to them, but like DCist and the City Paper, haven't gotten a response. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Burgers delivered to your home!

Photo from the Post
Pizza delivery, Chinese delivery, burger delivery? Yup, you can order delivery burgers in our neighborhood. Desperado's, the newish spot on U Street that replaced Polly's (RIP) apparently delivers to the whole neighborhood: I tested a bunch of addresses as far north as the Red Derby and they all seemed to be in the delivery area. You might want to double check your house though.

Pretty sweet. Not that U Street is far to walk, but sometimes you just feel lazy. Unfortunately you can't order delivery beer too.

And best yet, the burgers are pretty tasty. Hat tip to U Street Girl for letting me know about this via Twitter.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Georgia Ave: the next development hot spot?

Is Georgia Avenue the next 14th Street? One developer seems to think so.

Adrian Washington is the founder of Neighborhood Development Co., which is working on a few projects on the avenue and thinks it could be the next big development spot. Obviously their opinion would help their projects, but it's an interesting idea. The Wash Biz Journal article linked above, however, notes that the city is less optimistic:
The D.C. government’s Retail Action Strategy for Georgia Avenue, for example, describes lower Georgia as “somewhat gritty, but lively,” with small-scale retail generally in “poor condition” and bearing “no obvious anchors or hierarchy of streets.”

The Office of Planning portrays lower Georgia Avenue as having an “underlying bone structure” of densely packed row houses and tight alleys that “make this section unlikely to change from its current live-work set-up.” There are some infill development opportunities, according to the Retail Action Strategy, but few opportunities for anchor retail.
But it certainly seems like a lot is happening. In the last few years, Temperance Hall opened (which became the Looking Glass Lounge), then condos and retail next to the Metro, redeveloping Bruce-Monroe School is in the works, and now more is planned.

Neighborhood Development is hoping for city approval of a new project, The Vue on Georgia Avenue at 3333 Georgia Ave NW, at Morton, which is about 1/2 mile south from the Petworth Metro. It will have 112 residential units and 7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. The same company also has a project called The Heights at Georgia and Lamont which is mixed-income residential with more ground floor retail.

It's going to be an interesting few years on Georgia Avenue.

Monday, November 8, 2010

What's that great bakery smell at 11th and Lamont?

If you've ever been around 11th and Lamont, you've probably gotten a whiff of something sweet and baked wafting through the air. I've noticed it at the Room 11 patio often, and it sometimes makes its way down to Wonderland. It always smells pretty great, and tends to make everyone who smells it hungry.

Turns out the smell is coming from the Panaderia El Latino Bakery at 3314 11th Street NW, a couple of doors north of Lamont. It's a Latin American bakery that sells items to stores and restaurants around the area, though you can actually buy individual items from them too.

I can't find much about the place online, Here's their website, and the baked goods do smell pretty great. Anyone eaten there?

There's a Columbia Heights in Arlington??

Just spotted something annoying in the Post: apparently there's a Columbia Heights neighborhood in Arlington, off Columbia Pike. Those Arlington jerks, trying to hone in on our good name -- seriously, Arlington, this isn't the Canadian Football League.

I believe the name of the neighborhood came from Columbia Pike, while ours, as you may remember, got its name from Columbian College, which moved to Foggy Bottom and became GW.

Arlington's website has more about the neighborhood, which sounds a lot like our hood, the real Columbia Heights:
The three primary advantages of living in our neighborhood, as noted by participants in our community survey, were:
  • Convenience and access to a variety of shopping and retail establishments (39%).
  • Proximity to Washington, D.C., and living close to the city (34%).
  • Access to public transportation and major roads (27%).
Other advantages noted by residents included:
  • Diversity of the population
  • Safe neighborhood, on some streets
  • Neighborhood/community feeling in some community

I also found a history of the area, which talks a bit about the Civil War, and the neighborhood has a civic association (and even a West Columbia Heights Civic Association.)

Interesting stuff. Of course, there's also a Columbia Heights, Minnesota and not one but two in New York City.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Punk Rock Flea Market this weekend in Columbia Heights

Just got this flyer, sounds pretty cool: a flea market, concert, and clothing donation event.
Punk Rock Flea Market Show Positive Force DC Presents a Punk Rock Flea Market with performances by Imperial China, True Womanhood, and Tereu Tereu.

St Stephens Church  1525 Newton Street


Doors Open:
Saturday, November 6, 2010 - 12:30pm    

$3 suggested donation with no one turned away!

Got stuff to sell? Records/Clothes/Books/Crafts or Chain Wallets? Vendors interested in reserving space should contact DCpositiveforce@gmail.com ASAP. Tables are $15.

Also! The Flea Market will double as a clothing drive for Martha's Table (http://www.marthastable.org/outfitters.html)
If you're interested in participating, please read below:

Clothing: Season appropriate clothing (winter) that is clean, folded and stored in shopping bags or boxes.

Accessories:  Handbags, shoes, belts and unused underwear and intimate apparel.

Toys:  Educational toys and complete games and puzzles.

Books:  New and next-to-new adult and children’s educational books.   (Please, no textbooks, travel books, or old encyclopedias.)

Household Items:  Dinnerware, flatware, and glassware (preferably in sets), clean cookware, bake ware and small appliances.  Also, lamps, end-tables and small chairs.

Domestics: Bedding (preferably in sets), towels and table linens.
Electronics: Small radios, TVs and other small electronics that are in working condition.   (Please no televisions or monitors that are not flat screen.)

Toiletries and cosmetics:  Unused toiletries and cosmetics in original packaging.  Hotel shampoos, liquid soaps and conditioners.

It's egg nog time at Giant

So I don't like how holidays get advertised earlier and earlier each year, with Christmas stuff going up now in some places. However, this I can get behind: egg nog for sale at Giant. Reminds me of being a little kid.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

ANC1B meeting tonight

ANC1B, the Advisory Neighborhood Commission for southern Columbia Heights (map) meets tonight at 7 pm at the Reeves Center, 14th and U.

Among other things, they'll be looking at a plan for Justice Park, the delayed park at 14th and Euclid. Ground was broken more than a year ago and nothing has happened since. Here's the meeting's full agenda.

As you may recall, a number of ANC1Bers lost their elections, though they'll serve out their terms.

Kids' gardening party this Sunday at the CH Kids Garden

Saw this on the Ward 1 listserve, sounds like a nice even. Might be a way to get kids interested in gardening and plants.
City Blossoms invites you this weekend to join us at our first Bulb Bash at Girard Children's Community Garden (in Girard Playground, near 1480 Girard St NW). From 12-3 on Sunday, November 7th we will be planting bulbs, eating potluck, drinking warm cider, playing bulb games and making bulb-inspired recipes with all ages. If you would like to come please rsvp with the name of a potluck dish you would like to bring to Mia at mia@cityblossoms.org
See you in the garden!
The City Blossoms Crew

Pet supply store coming to 11th and Lamont

Looks like pet owners will have a new spot to go to pick up what their critters need: I saw this sign at 3303 11th Street NW, at Lamont right next to Arthur's Grocery. If you can't read it, it says "Mr. Larry's Pet Supply Store, Coming Soon."

Not sure what the timeline is, but he does have a website. You have to like his attitude:
Known as Mr. Larry and owner of Libra (my dog) have lived in the D.C. area all of my life and in Columbia Heights the last 11 years.........have watched the changes in the area and I want to be a part of it!  I want to provide a service to the area,thus Mr.Larry's Pet Supply Store.  Feel free to tell me what you want and need!
I  would welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and deliver you the best service in the industry.
I hope he succeeds. There's also a contact form. It does seem like a good idea, as I don't know of any other pet supply stores nearby, other than the one across from the Convention Center at about 9th and M, and there are certainly a lot of local residents with pets.

11th Street is really booming lately, with Meridian Pint opening, plus the incoming Mexican spot a door up from this location. 3303 11th has been a few things before, like the Black Minority League and a firearms training place (or at least a place that advertised firearms training).

Houses for cash: this seems legit

Spotted this on 13th Street at Girard. Let's hope nobody takes the handwritten sign writer up on their deal.

Sort of reminds me of this "demotivator" poster.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Meeting tonight to discuss community service projects, including this

Want to help do something good for the neighborhood? Get to the Park Road Community Church (Park & Sherman) today at 7 pm to talk about community service projects for the neighborhood. They'll also talk about the final neighborhood cleanup of the year which will be this Saturday!

Below are the details from Jeff Zeeman at the North Columbia Heights Civic Association:
Hey Everyone! This Wednesday night, 7:00, at the Park Road Community Church, is our meeting to discuss community service in the neighborhood, as well as the initial planning meeting for the Great Day of Service. I am hoping to pick a date for the Day of Service at that meeting, and the two dates I am thinking of so far are either April 2nd or April 9th (weather nice enough for outdoors events, before the spring holidays, after the big March Madness weekends). If folks have thoughts on those, or other, dates, let me know, but please check your / your organization's availability for those dates prior to Wednesday evening. I've attached a flyer about the meeting and Saturday's last clean-up of the fall; feel free to forward it to any who many be interested. For more information on the meeting, check here:


Once we pick a date, the next step will be getting as many community organizations as possible to commit to having a discrete service project available for the chosen day and/or to hold an open house that day for prospective volunteers. Please let me know, if you run such an organization, if that would be of interest / if you have further thoughts in this regard.

Thanks and hope to see many of you on Wednesday night, as well as Saturday morning!


P.S. for those who have yet to do so, please Fan us on Facebook! We'll be posting photos of future events to this page, among other fun things:


More on the giant metal dragon that went down 14th Street to the Rally for Sanity/Fear

If you follow NCH on Twitter, you may have seen the tweets from Saturday tracking a giant metal dragon vehicle that drove from 14th and Irving, down 14th Street to the Stewart/Colbert rally on the Mall. There were a lot of sightings, and it was a pretty impressive and huge creature. I found this Youtube video about it, it turns out it's from Burning Man, the big annual art festival in the middle of the California Nevada desert. Check it out:

Election results are in! What happened in Columbia Heights?

Hopefully everybody voted! And now the results are in.

No surprise, Vince Gray is the mayor, though write-in Fenty got about 20% of the vote, Jim Graham won the Ward 1 council seat, and Eleanor Holmes-Norton won another term as non-voting congress rep. Phil Mendelson and David Catania are still on the council, and NCH-endorsed Patrick Mara won the Ward 1 school board seat over Dottie Love Wade, about the only upset on a city-wide race. Glad to see Mara finally get a spot in government -- he previously lost in a run for at-large council. The amendment for an elected attorney general also won, which is good news -- I recommended voting for that too.

As for our local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, there's going to be some changes. In ANC1A, northern CH, William Jordan, Cliff Valenti, and Calvin Woodland Jr. didn't run and will be replaced, and incumbent Lakeisha Thomas lost to Bobby Holmes. Lenwood Johnson, who I recommended you do not vote for, won. D'oh. It looks like Gavin Holland may have won his write-in campaign as well, as the other candidate withdrew and "write-in" got 20 something votes, presumably most for Holland.

In ANC1B, southern CH, vice chair Peter Raia lost to Aaron Spencer by 19 votes, the very active Brianne Nadeau didn't run, nor did Thomas Smith, Eddie Ferrer, and Melissa McKnight, and incumbent Rosemary Akinboni was defeated by Ahnna Smith, who actually put up posters and things. For these small races, it's a wonder what some campaigning and a few votes will get you.

We'll see what this means for the neighborhood and local businesses. Anything else jump out at you?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Voting problems at Columbia Heights polling place?

Just got this email about some issues at the Mt. Rona Baptist Church polling place at 13th and Monroe. Anyone else had similar issues?
My partner and I live within walking distance of St. Mona [Ed: Mt. Rona] Baptist Church in Columbia Heights (Ward 1). 
We both went to vote this morning.
We both had in our hand our election voting cards mailed to us by the DC Board of elections.
I have been voting in DC in the past 3 elections. They found my name on the roster and I voted without a problem.
This was the first year of voting for my partner.  They could not locate his name on the roster and thus made him go back to the special ballot table.

The worker spent a very long time trying to type his information into the computer -- so long in fact we had to go. 
So they gave him a new registration form and told him to fill it out and bring it back at a later time.
What's the purpose of this when the Board of Election already got his registration form and mailed him a voting card?
Why was his name not on the voting roster?

In the end my partner never got the chance to vote. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Vote tomorrow! Here are the NCH endorsements

In case you forgot, the general election is tomorrow! While the mayoral race is pretty much decided, especially since the write-in Fenty campaign never really got off the ground, there's still a lot of competitive and important races on the ballot: at-large council, school board, advisory neighborhood commissioner, and an amendment on whether to have an elected attorney general. Here's the Board of Elections site with polling places and more info, here's a sample ballot, and below are my opinions on these races:

At-Large City Council: For At-Large council, you can vote for two people. The front-runners are independent David Catania and Democrat Phil Mendelson, both council vets. I see no reason to go with somebody new.

The School Board (officially, and oddly, known as the State Board of Education) is a largely advisory body on standards, policies, and regulations. It might not be sexy, but it serves an important role, setting curriculum and graduation requirements and approving charter school accreditation groups, among other things. Patrick Mara is running against Dotti Love Wade, who is the incumbent. I've met Wade and she's a nice lady, but I've never heard her name in anything other than her campaign posters. Mara, however, is all over the neighborhood, and actually came to my door the other day to campaign. He made the point that the school board should be vocal, especially with the differences of opinion over Michelle Rhee. While some think Mara has higher goals, like a council seat, I think that's just fine, as if he wants to go higher, he'd better do a good job, so I'm going for Patrick Mara. He also got the Post's endorsement.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission: the ANC is a local elected body that serves to advise the city council on neighborhood issues. It also has some other important tasks, like protesting or setting guidelines for liquor licenses for bars and restaurants. Each seat serves a very small area, usually only a few blocks. As such, there are too many candidates to mention, but for the most part, I'd recommend not voting if you haven't heard of your ANC commish -- that, to me, means they aren't getting out there. However, I do recommend writing in Gavin Holland if you live in 1A11. He's running because Kat Skiles, who I endorsed before, had to drop out. I also recommend voting for Sedrick Muhammad, he's a tireless ANC commish who also runs the South Columbia Heights Civic Association. I'd recommend voting for Jonathan Madison, who is running against Lenwood Johnson. Johnson always seems to forward every argument to entire listserves, middle-school style. Very mature.

Elected Attorney General: The last issue is a vote whether the city should have an elected attorney general or not. Currently the position is appointed by the mayor. My recommendation is YES, YES, YES. This amendment has been around since 1998, but in this case, there's a good reason to pass it -- current attorney general Peter Nickles is basically Adrian Fenty's attack dog and a real jerk, to put it bluntly. For example, he called councilwoman Mary Cheh "stupid" and an "angry woman," he settled a fishy case with a firm run by Fenty's fraternity brother, denies lots of Freedom of Information Act requests, reportedly lost and destroyed tons of evidence in the Pershing Park case, where MPD arrested a bunch of protesters and random passers-by, apparently without telling them to disperse, and much more. Nickles, as an appointee, has no reason to explain any of his actions. An elected AG would. Vote for this amendment.

But whether you agree or not, just vote!

Interview about the Twin Oaks Community Garden

The People's District, a blog which consists of interviews with local residents, is featuring the Twin Oaks Community Garden, a city-owned communal garden at 14th and Taylor. Their site says it's in Columbia Heights, but to me that's more southern Petworth or 16th Street Heights.

In any case, it's a pretty neat system: you sign up for a 10' by 15' plot, pay a $30 annual fee, and you can grow your own fruits and veggies. There's a waiting list now; it's great there's so much demand.

Here's a snippet from Katie, the garden's president:
Whatever reason people chose to garden, I think that it is a great tool to stay healthy, bring some beauty to a place, and build community. A beautiful garden is good for your soul and makes people happy. I mean, who is not happy when they see beautiful flowers growing? Some mornings, I just come up here to water and weed before work and I will just end up sitting here and hanging out for a while. This place is so beautiful and peaceful. You can just sit and admire what is coming from the seeds you planted. Plus, you also get to see all of the little creatures that live in the garden. We have lots of different kind of bugs, and we even have a wood chuck, which is like a ground hog. I call him Rock Creek Ricardo. He is the Columbia Heights version of Punxsutawney Phil. He’s cool, but he does eat a lot of our stuff.
If you're interested, check out the rest of what I've written about gardening too, including the new North Columbia Heights Green off 11th and Park.

Pho 14 expanding next door, making slow progress

I haven't been into Pho 14 in awhile (I usually order delivery) but on the day before Halloween I walked past and noticed their expansion under way into the next door space (plus a Chilean miner). PoP first reported about the expansion last month, but it looks like there hasn't been too much progress since then. The photos look about the same, and the space is still basically empty.

In any case, it's good to see. The place is often packed and it can be hard to get in and out. And of course, the food is great.