Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New alert system for bus disruptions!

Girl.WMATA.Bus.DupontNorth.WDC.7jul06 This is conceivably pretty great -- WMATA has just unveiled a new system to report bus service disruptions to your mobile phone or email.

I've noticed before that sometimes the NextBus system isn't quite right, so I hope this helps. For example, a couple of days ago I was taking the 64 downtown in the morning and it said it would be there in 5 minutes. 20 minutes later, it showed up, meaning my commute was roughly double the usual time.

Of course, I'm not sure what sorts of alerts this system will provide -- is it more for detours or delays or something else? We'll find out.

You can sign up here.

Photo by Elvert Barnes

Georgia Avenue Walk this Saturday: learn about the vision for Georgia Ave

If you're interested in development on Georgia Avenue, this Saturday is a great opportunity. The Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force, a local group working on the street, is hosting a walk where they'll talk about their ideas and plans. Sounds really cool. Here's the little press release and a flyer:
I hope everyone can come out to the Georgia Avenue Walk this Saturday March 3rd at 11am to hear the Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force vision for Georgia Avenue.  We will meet on the west side of Georgia Avenue at the Georgia Avenue/Petworth Metro station.  Please help by downloading and distributing this flyer in your neighborhood: 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bands in the Neighborhood: The Riverbreaks

It's been a little while, but here's the latest in the Bands in the Neighborhood series, where I talk to local bands and musicians. Today's edition is The Riverbreaks, a Southern influenced six-piece band. Check out their website (with songs), Facebook and Twitter.

Here's our interview with songwriter and vocalist Ryan Bailey.

How did the band form?
Three of us had a college band at UNC-Chapel Hill. After graduation, Jesse and Andrew moved to DC while Ryan went to Costa Rica for the Peace Corps. Two years later Ryan moved to DC with a lot of new material and we started jamming again. After a few months we brought Neela on violin in to add a new dimension to our sound, and recently Drew on bass, who doubles as band hype man on stage. 

How many members live in Columbia Heights? Whereabouts?
Ryan, Jesse, and Andrew just moved to Petworth after 2 years living on Euclid Street. 

Do you practice in CH? How about play any gigs in the neighborhood?
We practiced for 2 years in our basement on Euclid St. Our cutoff time for practice got a lot earlier once our neighbor had a baby. We've played several house parties in the neighborhood and U Street venues DC9 and Velvet Lounge. 

What are your band's influences?
As the whole band has roots in North Carolina and the south, Americana and alt-country music heavily influence our sound, especially the guitar work and lyrics. However we listen to a lot of pop too, so that seeps into our music. Artists we like include Ryan Adams, Josh Rouse, and Van Morrison, as well as a long list of local artists, a couple of which are Paperhaus and The Silver Liners. Other sources of inspiration include heartbreak, road trips, and environmental issues. 

Do you have any records out? What's your next show?
We put out our first record, a 10 song LP called Get You Right, last April. We are about to record our second album in Chapel Hill, NC with an incredible producer. 

Our next show is March 23rd at Purple Fiddle in Thomas, West Virginia. We don't plan on scheduling our next DC show until we've made some serious progress on the album, so I'd guess late spring. 

Gone on any tours? Any crazy and terrible tour stories?
We've played 8 states, most of which we picked off on our Southern tour last August. Tour was amazing, and we're hoping to tour some more once our record is out. Our last tour was 10 days, and we were like zombies when it was over. Too many crazy tour stories to tell here, but one involved Andrew, a huge Marine, and a slice of pizza. 

What’s your take on the local music scene in Columbia Heights and DC?
The music scene in Columbia Heights is more a music community. People seem very happy and content to play music with each other. Unfortunately, most of the music venues are on H St. or other parts of NW DC, so the neighborhood is mainly where the creativity happens.

And if you had to rename your band for something in Columbia Heights, what would it be?
Euclid Street Party

New painting exhibit opening at the Dunes this Friday

Sounds like a neat exhibition at The Dunes, a cool spot on top of the Getaway.

The Dunes Presents “Tight Fit”, an exhibit of small paintings by eight local artists, Opening March 2nd.

What:   Small spaces are the inspiration behind an exhibition by eight DC based artists. In “Tight Fit”, opening at the Dunes Friday March 2nd at 7:30 pm, art lovers can view new and unusual works by Scott Brooks, Anna U. Davis, Matt Sesow and Dana Ellyn, among others. Many urban citizens frequently find themselves making the most out of limited space. See that theme played out in this affordable works show of small paintings, on display until March 28th.

When & Where: 3/2/12-3/28/12. OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, March 2nd, 2012. 7:30 - 10:30 p.m. at The Dunes Gallery, 1402 Meridian Place, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20010.

The Artists:

Chris Bishop
Scott Brooks
Jared Davis
Anna U. Davis
Dana Ellyn
Emily Greene Liddle
Matt Sesow
Andrew Wodzianski

About The Dunes: The Dunes presents a series of monthly exhibitions, typically under the Art Crimes label, which is currently presented in their modern multi-use gallery space in N.W.  DC. Featured artists, who are predominantly local, are chosen by curator Deidree Bennett for their extraordinary talent and investment value.  Genres range from painting and photography to sculpture and mixed media.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tuesday is National Pancake Day: free pancakes

If you like free breakfasts, Tuesday is your day. Take a look below for the details, though unfortunately the wake-up call is now closed. I was looking forward to Steve Young calling me. A lot of news types will be there too. The event benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Tuesday, February 28th
(from 7 a.m. - 10 p.m.)
will celebrate the
8th annual
National Pancake Day!!

Both of your Washington, DC IHOPs will be giving a FREE short-stack of pancakes to guests this Tuesday for IHOP's National Pancake Day.  In return, guests are encouraged to make a voluntary donation to support children's charities.  Locally, the Leukemia &Lymphoma Society will be the benefiting charity.  (

To make sure that you don't miss your FREE pancakes, you can get a FREE celebrity wake-up call from any of the following celebrities by signing up at
Choose from:
NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals co-founder John Schneider
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals co-founder Marie Osmond
Singer David Archuleta
Singer Jordin Sparks
Twilight star Boo Boo Stewart
Disney XD star Brendan Meyer
Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler
This year, IHOP has also added "Stacks for Good Acts" to reward our guests who give back as well. As a way to say thank you for their hard work, we're holding a "Stacks for Good Acts"contest. Guests simply tell us about a good deed they or someone they know did recently and be eligible for a chance to
win free IHOP pancakes for an entire year!

Locally, your IHOPs are located at:
1523 Alabama Ave SE
3100 14th St NW

Our team members and one of owners can be seen:

When: Monday Feb. 27th @ 11:00am
Where WRC News 4 Midday Show w/Barbara Harrison Studio
Who: Tyoka Jackson Franchisee,  Daniel Ford General Manager of DC's 1st IHOP and a Lukemia & Lymphoma Society Representative.

When: Tuesday Feb. 28th @ 06:45am
Where WUSA 9 NEWS NOW Midday Show Studio
Who: Tyoka Jackson Franchisee, Daniel Ford General Manager of DC's 1st IHOP and a Lukemia & Lymphoma Society Representative.

When: Tuesday Feb. 28th @ 06:45am
Where IHOP Columbia Heights
Who: Stephen Bennett IHOP DC's Director of Operations, FOX 5 Morning News' Annie Yu and a Lukemia & Lymphoma Society Representative.

  • In 2011,Pancake lovers donated more than $2.5 million to children's charities, far exceeding the fundraising goal.
  • IHOP served four million free pancakes on National Pancake Day 2011
  • Since the inception of National Pancake Day in 2006, IHOP has raised more than $8 million and given away more than 15 million pancakes to support charities in the communities in which it operates.

Coffy Cafe creperie set to open on Wednesday

Just heard from Philecia Harris, the owner of Coffy Cafe, the new creperie and cafe coming to 3310 14th Street NW: they will be open for business starting this Wednesday, the 29th.

The place sounds interesting: it's a mod-themed spot with savory and sweet crepes, coffee drinks, baked goods, and more. Some of the baked goods are coming from Harris's old family recipes. Sounds like a good option!

I interviewed Philecia a few months ago and also posted some in-progress photos from a few months ago. I look forward to stopping in once they're open!

Here's their website and Facebook pages.

UPDATE: Philecia says they'll be open 7am-9pm M-F, 8am-10pm Saturday, and 8am-8pm Sunday.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Trash Cat clothing swap hosting a closing party this Saturday

Trash Cat, the pop-up clothing swap shop at the Pleasant Plains Workshop, is closing Saturday, and they're hosting a blowout Swap-O-Rama that day to celebrate. They're open from 1 to 6 pm and you can bring up to 5 season or current trend pieces to swap. Sounds pretty fun.

I wrote about Trash Cat's opening a few weeks ago, it's organized by four local women and they swap vintage and modern clothes in various locales, but they've taken over the Pleasant Plains Workshop for the last month. The PPW is a cool local art space located at 2608 Georgia Avenue NW. I've written about them before too.

Trash Cat has a Facebook page for the event too.

Trolley Turnaround Park at 11th and Monroe now open

It's been quite a while, but the renovated Trolley Turnaround Park at 11th and Monroe is now open. Park View DC has the full story. There will be an official ribbon cutting March 3rd though we've been talking about fixing it up since at least 2008.

The new park has some playground equipment for kids, some chess/checkers tables, and some seats. In the past, people had expressed concern about the park, saying a bunch of drunks hung out there and made it so it wasn't a family-friendly place. That spawned one of my favorite public meeting quotes, from 2008, in response to a woman saying it wasn't a good place for families:

"Anonymous resident (self-described drunk who hangs out in the park): people in the park aren't that bad, come on into the park, we welcome kids, we welcome the church." 
Hopefully the new design will make it more of an all-ages place. What do you think?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Oscar viewing party, special menu at The Heights this Sunday

If you're a film fan, it sounds like The Heights has a fun event for you: this Sunday they're hosting a viewing party, complete with movie-themed cocktails and menu items. Here's a sample of some of the cocktails and menu items they're offering, one for each Best Picture nominee:


Midnight in Paris (AKA French 75)
Gin/simple syrup/lemon/topped with champagne

Tree of Life
Pimm’s No. 1 Cup/ apple/orange/basil/cucumber/ ginger

Hugo Rickey
Blueberries/Tito’s Vodka/lime juice/soda

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Pitcher of muddled cucumber/ St. Germain/simple syrup/ fresh lime juice/Jose Cuervo

And food:

The Artist
Shrimp cocktail martini with a vodka infused horseradish

The Descendents
Slow braised banana leaf pork with a pineapple salsa

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
NY apple crisp with ice cream

The Help
Southern Greens and Grits

Fried French Toast Sticks with maple syrup

Midnight in Paris
French Croque Monsieur

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Mexican fast casual place coming to DCUSA: Lime Fresh Mexican Grill

A tipster spotted a sign on the 14th Street side of DCUSA, next to Payless Shoes, saying that Lime Fresh Mexican Grill is now hiring. From their website, they're a Florida-based fast casual Mexican place. The menu looks pretty good, tacos, "dang quesadillas" a la Napoleon Dynamite, fajitas, burritos and the like. Like Chipotle across the street, you can order online.

They seem to get pretty decent reviews on Yelp -- 4 stars on 81 reviews for one in Miami and 4 stars for a new Clarendon location too. Their Twitter person said there is no opening date yet, but the wheels are in motion. They confirmed they will have alcohol too -- beers, frozen margaritas, and frozen sangria. Yelpers like the frozen sangria.

You can see the location above -- this is one of the last spaces in DCUSA that is unfilled, it's number 104 on the floor plan below (click for a bigger version). From my memory, only 117 next to the Vitamin Shoppe and the big spot on Irving where the Grocery Store That Shall Not Be Named was supposed to go are still left. There are also a couple of small spots in front of Marshall's on the first floor, and one on the second floor, but I don't really see them being filled anytime soon.

14th Street bus community meeting on Friday

You may recall a few weeks ago when WMATA and DDOT had an online survey about the 14th Street bus -- what do riders like and dislike and what suggestions they had. Now they're holding a community meeting to get feedback from riders and others affected by the bus. It's this Friday the 23rd, and here's more:
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) are pleased to invite you to a public meeting as part of the Metrobus 14th Street Line Study.

The meeting will take place:

This Thursday evening
February 23, 2012
5:30 pm to 8:00 pm at
WMATA Northern Division
4627 14th Street NW
in the Community Room.

The facility is at the corner of 14th and Decatur Streets, accessible by Metrobus routes 52, 53, and 54.

The purpose of the meeting is to hear directly from riders of the 14th Street Line about issues with the 52, 53, and 54 routes, and potential improvements that would address them.  The meeting is open to all, and no advance registration is required.

Upon arriving at the public meeting, participants can review information about the study and speak individually with the project team.  The meeting will be “open house” style, meaning that participants may arrive anytime between 5:30 pm and 8:00 pm.  No presentation will be given; instead, the meeting is intended to start a dialogue between Metro and riders about possible solutions to 14th Street Line problems.

After the public meeting, the study team will use the suggestions received from participants to create a list of improvement options.  The options will be evaluated in spring 2012, and the study will culminate in a set of recommendations that will be presented to the public and the Metro Board for approval in summer 2012.

The Metrobus 14th Street Line – routes 52, 53, and 54 – run from Takoma Metro Station west to 14th Street, then south on 14th to McPherson Square.  The 52 and 54 routes then continue on different paths to L’Enfant Plaza.  The 14th Street Line currently has around 14,000 passengers on an average weekday, one of the largest riderships in the Metrobus system.

Spanish translators and visual materials in Spanish will be available for those who prefer them.

A rider survey for the 14th Street Line was conducted in January 2012, and about 600 responses have been received so far.  The preliminary results of the survey will also be discussed at the February 23 public meeting.

The project website,, has more information about the 14th Street Line study.  An on-line version of the rider survey is still available if riders missed the paper survey in January.

Thank you, and we hope to see you at the public meeting this Thursday.  Please pass along this announcement to your neighbors, friends, and co-workers!

The Metrobus 14th Street Line Study Team

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Great video on Nat'l Symphony Orchestra in Columbia Heights

While it was a few weeks ago, here's a great video to relive the National Symphony Orchestra's fantastic NSO in your neighborhood program, where they played all over the neighborhood: schools, Wonderland, BloomBars, and lots more. Take a gander.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Creative Minds Charter school open houses coming up

If you're looking for a school for your kids, here's one local option, Creative Minds International Public Charter School. They just sent me this press release:
Creative Minds International Public Charter School ( is a new elementary school opening to the public in September 2012 for PK3 through 2nd grade (and we are adding a grade every year up to middle school).

CMI-PCS will be located in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood, at 16th St. & Park (we are moving into the space currently occupied by Capital City Upper School- 3224 16th Street NW). There will be 30 spaces for 3 year olds, 30 spaces for 4 year olds, plus one class (limited to 15 students) each for K-2.

We will be holding open houses in the upcoming weeks:
Open House dates (held at the school location currently occupied by Cap City):
Saturday, February 25, 2012 from 11-12
Saturday, March 10, 2012 from 11-12
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Some highlights about what the school features that is so unique: 
1) Commitment to small classrooms--no class larger than 15 children
2) International Primary Curriculum--we will be the first and only public school offering this curriculum in DC. Families who want the IPC would have to go to private schools in our city. It's a superior curriculum that is project and very hands on to engage students’ love of learning. The IPC has the arts incorporated into every subject of the curriculum.
3) In addition to IPC, we will offer traditional arts education, including a full-time music and movement program that children will attend up to once per day.
4) Extended day enrichment courses will include language programs (options include Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic). Pick up is at 5:30pm (and the school day can begin as early as 8:15am for breakfast drop off).
5) The Creative Minds International PCS program incorporates Dr. Stanley Greenspan’s developmental approach to education in order to support individual learning styles that are explained by differences in the ways children process information.

To learn more about the program, check out our website at:
We are very pleased to have this smaller school option with such a heavy emphasis on creativity and social/emotional-development. If you want more information or have questions, please let me know. Or please join us for an open house visit!

Friday, February 17, 2012

New video: Shit Mt. Pleasant People Say. What would Columbia Heights people say?

Hmm. I think this trend may have jumped the shark (or has "jumped the shark" jumped the shark?)

There's a new video made by some young people called "Shit Mt. Pleasant People Say." I think it's kind of funny, but I'm also starting to get tired of this trend. (DCist is not a fan, for example.) What do you think?

And what would "Shit Columbia Heights People Say" include? "I like Wonderland, but it's so crowded on the weekends"? "I hate the 14th Street bus"? Leave your jokes in the comments.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The City Paper's Best of DC is upon us -- nominate your favorites!

The Washington City Paper's annual Best Of DC poll is now open, and they're looking for votes for your favorite places. Unlike previous years, they don't have as many jokey categories, it's more normal stuff.

There's of course a lot of options in the neighborhood, some of which have won before, like Room 11, Sticky Fingers, Pho 14, and others.

You can also promote something by making a shareable link on this page.

Any spots in the neighborhood you think are particularly deserving?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Update on Mexican restaurant coming to 11th & Lamont: El Chucho's - Cocina Superior

I've written a few times about the new Mexican spot coming to 11th and Lamont from Jackie Greenbaum, owner of the Quarry House, Jackie's and Sidecar in Silver Spring: now we have some updates thanks to the Washingtonian.

For one, the place is going to be named El Chucho's - Cocina Superior. As mentioned before, there are 40 seats inside, 40 on the roof, and 16 on the patio. The chef will be Diana Davila-Boldin, who the Washingtonian named one of their rising stars recently.

Food wise, Greenbaum described it as "inauthentic Mexican food" -- that is, Mexican food with a twist:
a mix of the “traditional and newfangled” that includes antojitos (small plates), tortas (sandwiches), and tacos. 
There will be posole and mariscos, but also chicharrones with “Mexican kimchi” and “chiles rellenos with pork belly.” Expect carne asada and al pastor tacos, but also a version with tripe and foie gras and another with herb-marinated octopus. 
Davila-Boldin’s family hails from Guerrero, Mexico, and a significant portion of her girlhood was devoted to mastering the complex flavors of regional Mexican cooking
Sounds pretty awesome. Greenbaum mentioned previously that they hope to have good, fresh-made margaritas for $5 and other good cocktails.

El Chucho's will be located on 11th Street north of Lamont, next to Mr. Larry's Pet Store.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention! They're looking at a Cinco de Mayo (ish) opening.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New free adult fitness class on Saturdays

Get fit! The Rita Bright Family and Youth Center, in partnership with the city's Department of Parks and Recreation, is now offering free adult fitness classes every Saturday from 10 am to noon.

The class is taught by Damean Adams, a motivational speaker and cooking show host and former Marine.

The Rita Bright center is the former Boys and Girls Club at 2500 14th Street NW. For more info, call 202-645-7111 or Manni Hayes, The Rita Bright Center also has a Twitter account and Facebook. Saturday Workout Flyer-1

Air Jordan shoe launch at Sports Zone on Feb. 18

If you're a sneaker head, get to Sports Zone in DCUSA on the 18th. The new Air Jordans, Jordan Cement 4, will go on sale and there's also a bunch of giveaways and live broadcasts. Here's the choice parts of the press release:

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., DC’s hottest new online radio station, Elite DC Radio, will be broadcasting live from the Sports Zone in Columbia Heights, DC, with special giveaways to the T.I. Concert at Love Nightclub, the Baltimore Sneaker Show, Sports Zone gift cards and apparel from Blessed Beyond Belief clothing.

The event will be hosted by Elite DC Radio personalities Ron O’Neal from The Show About Nothing and Jae Murphy of Feel Good Fridays, with a performance by Hip-Hop Artist Pro’Verb, music by DJ Heat and an appearance from Baltimore Sneaker Aficionado, Dino. Meet the personalities of Elite DC Radio and influencers of Washington’s elite hip-hop culture for a great afternoon.

Mark Your Calendar:
“Elite DC Radio Jordan Cement 4 Live Broadcast”
Sports Zone Columbia Heights
3100 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20010
(Between N. Irving St. and N. Kenyon St.)

Saturday, February 18, 2012
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Listen live at

Mad Momos, new contemporary American/Sikkimese? fusion restaurant, coming to 14th and Perry

Four momos, a type of dumpling from Nepal, Tibet and India
The area near 14th Street around Spring Road is getting pretty popular recently. First we heard that The Pinch, an American restaurant, was coming to 14th and Parkwood, and now another new place, Mad Momos, has applied for a liquor license. They're to be located at 3605 14th Street NW.

From their alcohol license filing, it's a "New restaurant with fusion cuisine and background music. Seating capacity is 90. Total capacity is 195. Sidewalk Café with seating for 30 patrons. Two Summer Gardens with a total of 65 seats for patrons." (Summer garden meaning back patio area.) The owners are Sam Huang and Wanchuk Topden.

A momo is a dumpling found in Tibet, Nepal, and neighboring areas of India like Sikkim, which is between Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. Mr. Topden, if this is the same person, seems to be of Sikkimese ancestry, so I would guess that the place will be a fusion of American and Sikkimese food -- a pretty interesting combination. I hope to learn more soon.

Doing a little more Googling, I learned that they're commissioning a line of ceramics for the place, which is pretty interesting. There's a Kickstarter page with a funky and kind of not-safe-for-work video (so don't watch it at the office) and a PDF talking about the ceramics.

It's interesting though, I wonder if the 14th and Spring area is going to become like 11th Street, the "hip strip," as the New York Times called it? I suppose we'll have to see what happens when the new places open, it seems like there may be a critical mass.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Event for 826DC: singer-songwriter Kelley McRae

Sounds like a cool event from the cool folks at 826DC, the writing and tutoring center for local kids located on the Civic Plaza.

Their next fundraiser is with singer/ song-writer Kelley McRae. Tickets are going fast, so get one soon. Here's more:

Feb. 17: 826DC Presents Kelley McRae  
(Washington, DC)— 826DC and the Museum of Unnatural History invite you to an acoustic performance of acclaimed singer and songwriter Kelley McRae and new music from her forthcoming album. In 2011, after seven years in Brooklyn and with a growing national fan base, Kelley McRae traded in her apartment for a VW camper van and hit the road. She and her husband sold everything, left New York City and since then have played over 100 shows, and drove more than 25,000 miles. McRae’s albums “Never Be” and “Highrises in Brooklyn” have found impressive fans: Paste Magazine gave her four stars, WNYC’s “Soundcheck” named her performance one of the year’s best. Her songs have been featured on MTV, in the Sundance film “Children of Invention,” on an international UNICEF commercial, a national American Airlines campaign, and on the hit TV show “Army Wives.” 
 Hosted by Tracy Sefl and Darius Tandon and sponsored by Cork Wine Bar and Tasting Room (, the event will benefit 826DC’s free programs for students ages 6 to 18. Admission to the event is $60, and tickets available for purchase at:  
What:                   826DC Presents Kelley McRae Sponsored by Cork Wine Bar and Tasting Room 
When:                  Friday, February 17 at 8 p.m. 
Where:                The home of Tracy Sefl and Darius Tandon, 2100 12th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009  
Cost:                      $60 in advance. All proceeds support 826DC’s completely free programs. Tickets can be purchased online:

New hardware store open in Petworth: Annie's on Upshur

While it's not in Columbia Heights, this still may be of use to folks in northern parts of the hood: Annie's Ace Hardware is now open at 1240 Upshur Street NW. It looks to be pretty darn big -- 6,500 square feet.

Park View DC has a preview of the shop, and the Post writes about it too. They don't have a website that I can find, but they do have a Facebook page and Twitter.

Of course, there are already some hardware options closer to our area: Old School Hardware at 3219 Mt. Pleasant Street NW and Cooper Hardware at 3459 14th Street NW. Old School even has online ordering and a blog.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Black Heart Masquerade Ball tonight at Looking Glass Lounge

This sounds pretty fun:
What: The third annual Black Heart Masquerade Ball   The Looking Glass Lounge has slowly been creeping into the hearts and livers of Petworth drinkers for the last few years. This Saturday the best neighborhood bar in NW is donning masks for the Third Annual Masquerade Ball. For the cost of nothing with no donation, all are welcome to spend the Saturday before Valentine's Day consuming special punch made for those in love and those hating love. Drink and food specials all night. For the unprepared, masks will be available for $2. Here's the Facebook invite:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Yikes! Fake PEPCO scammers going around the neighborhood

Just saw this on WAMU's website via the Columbia Heights listserve: apparently people impersonating PEPCO workers are going around the neighborhood trying to scam people. They either seem to be trying to get your account number and personal info, or they pose as bill collectors. A few people have given them money. One lady on the Columbia Heights listserve had this interaction:
Yep. I had a very personable guy come to my door on Fairmont St. Ran the script described below [in the WAMU article]. I told him to leave me printed material and I'd get back to him if I wanted his services. He said that wasn't the way this offer worked. We went back and forth for a few minutes. I finally told him I didn't want whatever he was offering and he got snippy that I would refuse "money sitting on the table." I told him that if it's too good to be true then it's probably not true and shut the door.
 Apparently similar incidents have happened elsewhere in the region too.

A PEPCO spokesman tells WAMU that people should be wary:
Anderson advises people never to give out account numbers because Pepco already has it. In addition, he says the utility does not make a practice of popping up on doorsteps unannounced."Ninety percent of the time, Pepco works outside of your home and when we are dealing with the smart meters and installation, then we may knock on your door," he says. "But even before that, if we have to come into your home, we're going to contact you and let you know we will be in your neighborhood at a predetermined time."
Anyone else experience this? Pretty strange and brazen. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Really crappy looking (and incorrect) street signs going up

Crappy font Look up: our new street signs look like crap.

A few weeks ago, I read in the Post that DC street signs would be getting a new font and would be written in title case, rather than upper case (that is, Fairmont Street rather than FAIRMONT STREET). They're also going to write the numbers as ordinal numbers, as in "14th Street" rather than the current "14 Street."

I've seen the font, which is part of new Federal standards, before on highway signs in other parts of the country, and always liked them. However, on some signs I spotted near the Georgia Ave-Petworth Metro, it looks really bad. I think the city got it wrong.

Check out the sign to the right for new Hampshire Ave and the one below for Georgia Ave. The New Hampshire sign uses three different sizes: the "ew" in New is bigger than "ampshire" in Hampshire. It shouldn't be that way, and it looks terrible.

Aside from that, more things are wrong. Compare the "G" in the sign for Georgia Ave to the sign below in Michigan using the font: they're not the same. And the lower case letters in the DC signs are way smaller than they should be: "eorgia" and "ampshire" are less than half as large as the upper case letters, while in the Michigan sign, they're more than 2/3 the size of the upper case letters. (In typeface lingo, upper case letters are called majuscule, and lower case are miniscule.) Furthermore, the quadrant is written as Nw, when it should be NW.

What's odd is that Mike DeBonis from the Post snapped a picture (bottom right) of new and old East Capitol Street NE signs on Capitol Hill, and everything looks correct. It appears that somebody messed up when they made these Georgia and New Hampshire signs.

Now I know street signs are a minor issue in the grand scheme of things, but man, do they look awful.

UPDATE: To be clear, I think this is the wrong font. The lower case g in Georgia is another example: compare it to Clearview, the font it's supposed to be.

Crappy font

The Pinch, new American restaurant, coming to 14th and Perry Parkwood

There's another new spot coming to 14th Street. The Pinch, an American restaurant, is coming to the old El Salvadoreno space at 3548 14th Street NW, at Perry Parkwood. It's going to have 99 seats inside and about 30 in a sidewalk cafe. It's a two floor space, and the agreement with the neighborhood commission says they may have occasional live music or spoken word performances downstairs.

Like other neighborhood spots, their sidewalk cafe will close at midnight on Friday and Saturday and 11 pm on other nights.

I hope to get some more details soon, but this is a good thing. It's nice to have something else coming to 14th Street between the area just north of DCUSA (the Allegro building and The Getaway) and the Red Derby at Spring Road.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

DSW shoe store confirmed -- looking at end of 2012

We've heard rumors for awhile, but it looks like much-beloved shoe discounter DSW is in fact coming to DCUSA, according to the Washington Business Journal. They're aiming for late 2012 to open.

A lot of folks seem to be fans of DSW, which sells name-brand shoes for cheap, for women, men and kids. It's different than Payless in that they're not generic shoes.

The Wash Biz article says they're leasing 23,000 square feet on the second floor, the blue area labeled #204 on the plans below. It seems to be behind Best Buy, so I am guessing the access will be from downstairs. There have been uninstalled escalators in the space below before and you can see one on the first floor plans.

The article adds they're still looking for tenants for the large downstairs spaces west of IHOP, numbers 124 and 125 below. Number 125 was supposed to be the Grocery Store Who Shall Not Be Named. Note that some of the tenants on these plans are out of date, but at least shows the spaces.) They mentioned a "boutique grocer" in the article, but they also mentioned that a year ago, so don't get your hopes up too much.

So what do you think, happy about this? I was originally worried about making DCUSA too much of a mall, but I've since gotten over that.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Work progressing on new pharmacy at 14th and Fairmont

A few months ago I reported that a new pharmacy was coming to 14th and Fairmont, in the Columbia Uptown building (the space used to be a convenience store.) It looks like they're making some progress.

I walked by the other day and saw a lot of work underway, with shelves and counters and such, and a business card in the window.

The place is going to be called the Cardozo HealthMart Pharmacy, though their card says they're at Fairmont Avenue, rather than Fairmont Street.

I suppose a pharmacy is a good use of the space, though there's already pharmacies at the CVS at 14th and Irving, the Target in DCUSA, and the Giant on Park Road (although I've found that CVS often takes awhile or messes things up.)

What do you think, nice to have another pharmacy?

Music video filmed in the neighborhood

A couple weeks ago, I received this email from local musician Brent Peterson, who made it with Mark Perkins, also a neighborhood resident. It's well done and shows a lot of neighborhood spots. Enjoy.

Here's Brent & Co's Facebook page.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Coffy Cafe (and crepes) set to open Feb. 18

Coffy Cafe, the new mod-themed creperie coming to 3310 14th Street NW is almost ready: their Facebook page reports they'll be opening February 18th. I heard from some tipsters that there were workers inside, permits in the windows and the wi-fi was on.

The place sounds pretty neat: they'll be serving made-to-order sweet and savory crepes priced from $4.50 to $9 (for smoked salmon), baked goods from family recipes and coffees. Their new website has the full menu.

interviewed Philecia a few months ago about the place and how she came up with the idea. She also sent along some in-progress photos from a few months ago, to give you an idea of how it will look. They're here.

I do like crepes, and it's always good to have a new, creative place coming to the neighborhood. Plus 14th Street north of the Metro is starting to be a bit of a French strip, with Le Caprice bakery up the block. Well, maybe if we're lucky.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Carodozo track is closed to the public for 18 months

I recently received some questions from people asking about Cardozo's track, which used to be open to the public. However, during the school's renovations, it will be closed for about 18 months, according to Jim Graham.

Runners, where else would you recommend? The track at Banneker looks nice.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Oops: "Girad" Street is closed between Sherman and Georgia

This morning I was walking down Girard Street and saw this sign at Sherman -- hey, guys, you forgot a letter.

The street is closed due to construction, part of the badly needed Sherman Avenue Streetcsape improvements, which will improve one of our dumpiest looking streets.

So if you are driving, make sure not to take "Girad" Street between Georgia and Sherman. Or Girard Street.

Wow! 1,000,000 hits for New Columbia Heights

Today I checked out my stats and noticed the blog hit a major milestone: 1,000,000 hits!

I began this blog in March 2008 because a lot of things were happening in the neighborhood: cranes were everywhere, DCUSA had just opened, new developments and businesses were coming in, old businesses were leaving, and there were many cool events and big changes -- but there was no one source I could go to and find it all without having to go sift through other neighborhoods and stuff I wasn't interested in.

Since that first post ("Welcome!") I changed the name of the blog from New (Columbia) Heights to just New Columbia Heights, I've written nearly 2,000 posts (check out the tags at right for all the topics), I've met a lot of interesting folks and have even gotten interviewed by places like WAMU and the Washingtonian.

Since the beginning, I've always relied on the readers to provide feedback, useful and funny comments on posts and to send in tips and questions to newcolumbiaheights(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks, and please keep it up.

And most of all, I hope the blog has been a useful service and source of news and entertainment for everybody.

Thank you for reading.

T Street Post Office moving to Reeves Center at 14th and U

Here's some news for those folks who use the post office (or would like to): while Columbia Heights isn't getting one, at least one is coming a bit closer. The T Street station, formerly near 14th and T, will be moving into the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center at 14th and U, according to DCist and Eleanor Holmes Norton.

This post office was originally slated to close, along with others in the city, but thanks to the move, it will stick around.

The move will happen at the end of February.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Paila Chilean Grill expands menu: steak, fish, ceviche, more

New stuff at Paila

Paila Chilean Grill, the great Chilean place on Park Road (see my earlier review here) has just expanded their menu! I stopped in the other day and the owner pointed out some new items, specifically ceviche, the marinated seafood dish popular in Latin America, as well as beef, tilapia and chicken "a la pobre," which is a traditional Chilean dish made with steak, fish or chicken topped with a fried egg and fried onions, over French fries. It's more expensive than the other items, but sounds pretty delicious.

They'll still serve their delicious sandwiches, like the chacarero with steak, avocado, jalapenos, green beans, lettuce, tomatoes and mayo, and the fish tacos.

In addition, I finally had a chance to try the brazo de reina (Queen's arm), a cake made of dulce de leche and coconut -- it's often sold out. And I must say, pretty great. Worth a go if they have it:


New space finder for arts groups, arts venues

Are you an artist or group looking for a venue to present your work? Or a venue looking for artists? The Cultural Development Corporation just launched DC Spacefinder, a searchable database for venues and for artists. Sounds pretty cool, and could be useful for local artists and venues. Here's their press release:

Cultural Development Corporation Launches
Searchable Database for Art Spaces in DC to Present Work, Rehearse and More

WHOCultural Development Corporation, powered by NYC’s Fractured Atlas and supported by DC’s Office of Planning. 
WHATDCSpaceFinder is a state-of-the-art, searchable database of arts venues in the DC-metro area. The website lists spaces that offer room for classes, workshops, auditions, rehearsals, performances and more.
WHENDCSpaceFinder will launch January 30, 2012
WHYArtists need space to rehearse, perform, teach and more. Venues around DC have room they rent to these artists. DCSpaceFinder is the portal to match artists and spaces – a win-win for both sides.
DETAILSArtist and venues register for free at Artists may search by creative discipline, type of space and location. They may save their favorite spaces and post reviews. Venues may upload rental requirements and detailed specifications about their space.