Thursday, May 31, 2012

City-sponsored housing expo this Saturday at the Convention Center

Sounds like a good event for those looking to buy a place:

Mom instructs her son to steal a smartphone

I don't often write about crime, but this is too absurd not to. The Post reports that a mom told her 3 to 6-year old son to steal a stranger's smartphone on the 3500 block of 14th. The instruction and the attempted theft were observed by plainclothes police officers whose beat was smartphone thefts, and the mom was arrested. The kid was referred to social services agencies.

This is ridiculous, I can't believe a mom would do such a thing. A pretty sad state of affairs.

And it also brings up the problem with smartphone thefts -- they're worth a lot and are small, and thefts are on the rise. Make sure when you're walking around you aren't using it without noticing what's going on, and if it does get stolen, you "brick" it, meaning turning it unusable and thus unsellable. WUSA says there's a database being set up by the major cell carriers to allow, but I'm not sure how to actually do it, or if you can yet. I believe you can do that by contacting your company, but I'm not certain. If you know how, please let us know in the comments.

You can also use apps like Find My iPhone to find it or erase everything on it, and here's a list of things to do if your phone is stolen. Some of it's common sense, but hey, doesn't hurt.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rant: it's called the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza

Here's something that's been bothering me a bit lately: the triangle at the intersection of 14th, Park and Kenyon is called the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza, but I've seen lots of other names floating around: Tivoli Plaza, Kenyon Plaza, Columbia Heights Triangle, various things with fountain in the name and so on. It's a nice place, let's call it by one name. It'll be a lot easier than "you know, the triangle plaza place with the fountain near the Giant and stuff."

For example, official sources like the Columbia Heights Streetscape's now-defunct website and the city's Public Realm Plan calls it the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza. (which is also below for your reading enjoyment, though it's 124 pages.)

There's some cool videos shot there too, like this from a festival (and of course the skateboarding dog.)

CHPR Plan Full

Have you found some keys or a backpack with photo albums?

Yesterday I spotted these two signs on 11th around Euclid. Have you spotted either? I always feel bad when I see lost signs for whatever, I hope they find their stuff.

Panera opening sidewalk cafe this week

This is good news for fans of Panera on Park Road: they're opening up a roughly dozen-seat sidewalk cafe this week.

I saw the fence up this past weekend and asked the staff about it, who said they were working on the furniture and it would be open this week.

Nice to see this, as the place is often packed and it's getting nice out. Seems like a good spot to sit and read the paper and have some breakfast.

Now if only they served breakfast later -- it stops at 11 or something like that.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Banneker Pool report: there's shade, and they're checking IDs more strictly

The city's outdoor pools opened this weekend, and being a big pool fan, I hit Banneker Pool at Georgia and Euclid. 

The first thing I noticed was that there's shade! The city added two blue awnings over parts of the south end, which is great -- in previous years there was no shade at all, and you're not supposed to bring in umbrellas. The pool was crowded, so spots under the awning were at a premium, but hey, it's a start.

In addition, they're checking IDs a lot more strictly than before. In previous years, they'd take any kind of mail with a DC address, but now they said they'd only do that the first weekend, and that you'd need to either get a DC license or go the 441 4th Street NW (One Judiciary Square) and get a city-issued ID card, which costs about $5. The guy at the door said he'd take a utility bill (not cell phone) at first, but beware if you aren't a DC resident. Personally, I think this is a good thing, as the place can get crowded.

But as usual, the pool was a blast. They played a boombox, the large lifeguard did some funny dives and got applause from the crowd, and I didn't get too sunburned. A solid weekend.

There was also a Caddyshack moment, however, as at one point the pool was evacuated because somebody threw up in it, but you take the good with the bad.

Pools are currently open Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 pm, and starting June 18 they'll be open on weekdays too.

Girls Rock! DC benefit at Acre 121 on June 2

This sounds like fun. Girls Rock! DC is a group that holds music camps for girls, with instruction on instruments and singing, plus lessons about the history of women in music, promoting bands, gender, conflict resolution and more. It's a pretty cool group, and a fun-sounding event.
Acre 121 to host second annual Girls Rock! DC benefit show June 2
Anti girl-band Mzry Loves Company will headline alongside DC dancerock band Glitterlust at Acre 121 on Saturday, June 2 as part of a six-band showcase that will raise money for this summer's annual Girls Rock! DC music camp for young women.
The show begins at 9 p.m. and will feature a bevy of lady rockers who play all styles, from acoustic and rock to dance and hip-hop. This year's line-up also includes acoustic duo Frankie & Betty, Baltimore-based blues trio More AM Than FM, seasoned alt-rock band G.U.T.S. with Tiik, and Nikki Smith with members of her band J Street. 
Smith, who organizes dozens of shows around the city that highlight talented female artists – including Phase 1's monthly open mic and a local Ladies of Rock showcase – created Band Camp Benefit last year as a way for a growing community of female musicians to support GR!DC's efforts to inspire and empower the next generation of lady rockers.
Volunteers from GR!DC will be collecting a suggested donation of $10 at the door, and 100 percent of proceeds will go directly toward their weeklong music camp, now in its fifth year, that culminates with a camper showcase at 9:30 Club.
Acre 121 1400 Irving Street NW(202) 328-0121
Girls Rock! DC
Facebook event

Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day Metro service changes -- yuh oh

Memorial Day: yay. Metro service changes: boo. 

Metro is working on tracks this weekend, so beware if you are taking the Green, Yellow or Red lines. 

DCist has the full list, but starting at 10 pm tonight, the Green line won't be running between Fort Totten and Greenbelt, there's a shuttle bus instead. In addition, the Yellow line stops at Mt. Vernon Square the Red line is single tracking with a lot fewer trains than usual. Then on Monday, everything will be on a Sunday schedule.

Not too much fun.

DC Reynolds now open for lunch, and buy one-get one drinks every weekday!

DC Reynolds, the new bar and restaurant at 3628 Georgia with the huge back patio, has some neat stuff happening lately.
For one, it's now open for lunch, Monday through Friday from 12-3, and then opening again at 5. According to folks on the Petworth listserve, they'll have their full menu and also free Wifi.

Sounds like a good option for those folks who work from home or are around the area during the day.

In addition, DC Reynolds has a great happy hour, Monday-Friday from 5-9 it's buy one-get one free drinks (any drinks!), which is amazing. And they have a nice selection of local beers.

I haven't eaten there yet, but definitely plan on it. And really, that deal is fantastic.

Here's their Facebook page and Yelp page. How do you like the place?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Z-Burger sidewalk cafe hearing today; is this the end?

Is our long neighborhood nightmare over? The debate over Z-Burger's sidewalk plan, which has delayed opening for some time, may be ending soon. The issue is that Z-Burger owner Peter Tabibian wants a fence around sidewalk seating and some neighborhood folks want a non-permanent fence, The issue goes to the city's Public Space Committee today. (There's more of the backstory here -- the fight was part of the delay, but also because Tabibian was more focused on opening another location.)

Here's more details, plus the plans themselves and the ANC's resolution, which basically says that they support the sidewalk cafe with a non-permanent fence (see them all at bottom of this post.) The Public Space Committee can reject, accept or modify the ANC's resolution as they see fit. Then it's binding and hopefully we are done!

I'm certainly looking forward to it. The space and plans looked amazing when I checked it out a few months ago.
Z Burger's application for a sidewalk cafe at 14th St & Park Rd NW will be heard by the District's Public Space Committee tomorrow, Th. May 24.  The Committee will consider the resolution passed 5:3 by ANC 1A at its Wed. May 9 meeting.  It is attached in three documents. 
The hearing takes place just steps from the Waterfront Metro at:
1100 4th St SW, 2nd floor hearing room, Washington DC 20024
It is expected that this application will take the most time on Thursday and is therefore the final one on the agenda.  It will not be heard before 12 noon but it may be heard later than that depending on how long the discussions on prior applications take.
 If you want to submit comments in writing in advance you may do so via email.  Please send the comments to  Have the subject line be: Z Burger Written Comments. 
If there is substantial interest in providing comments at the hearing the committee may limit the time for comments by individuals in order to ensure that all parties have a chance to be heard.  If you are interested in commenting at the hearing you can also use email to notify the PSC using the email address above.  The subject line should be: Z Burger Hearing Request.
Thank you again for your participation in this process and I hope to see you tomorrow.  If you plan to speak or submit comments, please cc: me at
Z Burger Resolution May 2012 Z Burger Sidewalk Cafe 050912 Z Burger Sidewalk Furnishings 050912

Did you know? DC has a voting congressman, and his name is Trent Franks

Hooray! We finally have a voting rep in Congress. Meet Trent Franks of Phoenix, Arizona.

Ok, not really. Franks is in the news lately because he wrote a bill banning abortion in DC after 20 weeks -- just DC. And then he wouldn't let DC's non-voting rep in Congress, Eleanor Holmes-Norton, testify about it. That's pretty absurd -- one, that he writes a law about a place he doesn't represent, and two, he doesn't let someone who actually represents that area testify about it. It makes a mockery of Congress and of democracy. (Or to put it less charitably, it's absolute bullshit.)

So DC Vote, the group that advocates for DC voting rights, launched a clever protest. Since Franks is now representing DC's interests, DC residents (his constituents) can go to him with their problems. A bunch of people crowded around his office on Wednesday to complain about things like funding for Metro and for potholes.

Of course, Franks wasn't amused, he locked his door and didn't talk to anybody. DC Vote has more pictures here.

I know this isn't specific to Columbia Heights, but to me, it's important since it affects all of us as residents of DC. We don't really have anybody to go to with constituent issues, and we don't have the full rights that every other American citizen does. We don't have a vote in Congress, despite paying taxes like everybody else. Obviously I think this is wrong. 

If you agree, check out And if you are a resident of another state, contact your actual Member of Congress and your Senator! And why not have friends and relatives do the same? It's only going to happen if other Americans make the push to get us representation.

From DC Vote's Twitter

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Columbia Heights students in a photo exhibition

This is taking place outside the neighborhood, but it sounds like a neat event and a great opportunity for some local students. Critical Exposure is a student photo exhibition with an advocacy component. Here's more, plus a Post article on the event:

Students from the Columbia Heights/Shaw Collaborative; Capital City Public Charter School; 826DC; and others who live in and around Columbia Heights will be there along with more than 200 guests from across the city to celebrate the students' achievements. 
The event is being held at Hill Center at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, one block from the Eastern Market metro, tomorrow evening from 6-9pm. Their photographs and advocacy work will be on display for a reception with food, drinks, and student speeches. 
Some of our students' photos were recently published on the Washington Post's website here:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

El Chucho's Cocina Superior on 11th opening June 10

¡Más Mexican! El Chucho's Cocina Superior, the Mexican spot coming to 3313 11th Street NW (just north of Kenyon), is looking at a June 11th opening, according to DCist. I've written about the spot a number of times before, and it's always sounded great.

Owners Jackie Greenbaum and Gordon Banks have hired Matthew Russell, formerly of Evening Star Cafe in Alexandria, to be the head chef. Russell also worked at Siroc in DC. Greenbaum also owns Quarry House, Jackie's, and Sidecar in Silver Spring, which are all local faves there.

The menu was designed by Jackie's chef Diana Davila-Bouldin, and the food will be traditional Mexican. Greenbaum explained it to me a few months ago:

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.

They'll also have a number of margaritas, and DCist reports one will be on tap, plus homemade sodas and a green Bloody Mary.

Greenbaum told me a few months ago that there will be about 40 seats inside, 40 on the roof, and 16 on the patio, which I assume is in the back. She also said she looks forward to getting involved in the neighborhood, like helping out with the 11th Street dog park.

Really looking forward to it!

Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force meeting this Wednesday

The next Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force meeting is upon us. The group does a lot of great work "to advocate the voice of the community in order to enhance the quality of life along the Georgia Avenue corridor.

Here's more on the group from their website.

Sounds like some interesting topics on the calendar:
The next meeting of the Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force is tomorrow - Wednesday May 23rd at 7pm at the Dulcinea Restaurant at 2618 Georgia Avenue 2nd floor.  
 Joe Weedon from Defeat Poverty DC will discuss affordable housing and options for Georgia Avenue residents.  We will also discuss the Green Team initiative for GA Ave and "Its on Georgia Avenue Day" hosted by GABA.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Here's a skateboarding bulldog on the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza

This rules:

So maybe he's not Tony Hawk, but to me you can't go wrong with a bulldog doing awesome stuff like this.

"Clean Teams," groups of workers to clean up the area, return to Ward 1

Just saw this on the various local listserves from Ward 1 Councilman Jim Graham -- Clean Teams are going to be working in and around our neighborhood.

According to the city, the Clean Teams "1) maintain commercial corridors; 2) enhance litter clean-up efforts through the removal of debris from streets, sidewalks and storefronts, and 3) the removal of graffiti and illegal sign postings within the designated clean team service-delivery area; 4) contribute to the beautification services and, 5) help create healthy, vibrant and safe commercial corridors."

Sounds good to me.
I am pleased to announce the Ward One Clean Teams will soon be back in full force in many of our neighborhoods - - covering a total 38 blocks throughout the Ward. I worked hard to get the funding back into place for this important service. I want to thank Mayor Vincent Gray, Chairman Kwame Brown, and Harold Pettigrew, Director of the Department of Small and Local Business Development for their help in re-establishing Clean Teams. 
We have missed these services - - and value this work in our neighborhoods.
We are giving people a chance to rebuild their lives with jobs, while fulfilling this useful purpose. Charlie Whittaker successfully competed for this contract, and again has the supervision of this service. His able services are much appreciated. 
Please look for Clean Team members in the neighborhoods below starting in the next few weeks. (Adams Morgan has had no lapse in their green team cleanups, due to a different source of funding, part private and part DC gov.) 
* Georgia Avenue-Georgia Avenue, NW from Irving Street, NW to New Hampshire Avenue, NW (Node 1, Pleasant Plains : Petworth, (10 linear blocks);
* U Street-U Street, NW from 9th to 14th Streets; and the northside from 14th to 17th Streets, NW (6.5 linear blocks);
* 14th Street MidCity-14th Street, NW from S Street, NW to Florida Avenue, NW (5 linear blocks);
* 14th Street Columbia Heights-14th Street, NW from Columbia Road, NW to Spring Road , NW; and Park Road, NW from 14th Street, NW to Hiatt Place, NW (11 linear blocks)
* 11th Street-11th Street, NW from Kenyon to Monroe Streets, NW(3 linear blocks)
* Mt. Pleasant- Mount Pleasant Street from 16th Street, NW to Park Road, NW (3 linear blocks) 
Bests, Councilmember Jim Graham

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tasti D-Lite, new frozen dessert place in DCUSA, hosting grand opening starting Friday!

You may remember that Tasti D-Lite, a frozen dessert chain is on its way.

I just got this about the grand opening, which is this weekend. There's both a location in DCUSA and one in Dupont Circle. Check it out, sounds like a lot of free stuff, including free cones from Friday-Sunday from 1 to 3 pm. 

Here's the info, and here's their website, which says "Tasti D-Lite is a dairy-based soft serve frozen dessert. Not frozen yogurt, because it doesn’t contain fermented yogurt cultures. Not ice cream, because it contains less than 10% butter fat." They'll have about 100 flavors, which is crazy.


- Media Alert -

     Tasti D-Lite Hosts Grand Opening Celebration in Dupont Circle, Columbia Heights

WHAT:           Tasti D-Lite, the great-tasting, lower-calorie frozen dessert chain with a fanatical following among health-conscious consumers as well as celebrities, is celebrating the grand opening of its Washington, D.C. locations (Dupont Circle and Columbia Heights) May 18-20.
The following events are scheduled to take place over the weekend:

·         Free Tasti D-Lite small cup or cone on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.
·         Attendees can register to win several prizes including a sports club membership, a free office party for 12, and a grand prize of a “Year of Free Tasti.”
·         Tasti door prizes – including Tasti D-Lite pints, quarts and TreatCards – will be given out throughout the weekend.
·         A ceremonial ribbon cutting will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday (Columbia Heights).
·         Fillmore Cups, Tasti D-Lite’s mascot, will be on site (Columbia Heights).
·         Tasti D-Lite Chief Operating Officer Peter Holt will speak (Columbia Heights).
·         There will be an appearance by John Martin, host of the MIX 107.3 Jack Diamond Morning Show, with the MIX 107 Prize Wheel from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday (Columbia Heights).
·         A portion of the proceeds from the grand opening weekend will be donated to the Go 4 The Goal and The Columbia Heights Educational Campus Multicultural Career Intern Program.

WHEN:           Friday, May 18, 2011 to Sunday, May 20, 2011. Center hours are Friday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday: 11 a.m. to midnight.
WHERE:         Tasti D-Lite’s Dupont Circle center located at:
2029 NW P Street,
Washington, D.C. 20036


Tasti D-Lite’s Columbia Heights center located at:
3100 14th Street
Washington, DC 20010

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New car sharing service in the city, car2go

If you're like me and don't own a car, here's another option for driving around: it's a new service called car2go. It's like Zipcar in that you rent a car for however many hours you want, but unlike Zipcar, you can drop off the car anywhere within their "Home Area," which consists of most of DC, except for parks, including in residential parking areas. Of course, that also means there aren't set pickup locations.

Rates aren't too bad either, there's a $35 registration fee, then it's $0.38 per minute up to a max of $13.99 per hour or $72.99 per day. It's unlimited mileage until you hit 150, after which it's $0.45 a mile. Gas is included.

They had 200 cars, all of which are those Smartcars, in March and look to have about 300 in the Fall. I guess that means an Ikea trip would probably not work. The company is part of Daimler according to Greater Greater Washington. Here's their Facebook page.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Book release party on Thursday the 24th at 826DC: poet Thomas Sayers Ellis and local students

This sounds pretty cool. 826DC, the great tutoring and teaching program for local kids that is based on the Civic Plaza (they also run the Museum of Unnatural History) is having a book release party on Thursday. Here's the flyer and more info:

This anthology is the culmination of work done by students in the poetry clubs at Ballou Senior High School and Bell Multicultural High School

The book release party will feature readings by some of the new student-authors, and by nationally recognized poet, Thomas Sayers Ellis, who penned the forward for the book.

826DC would like to thank Alison Thomas and Adam Pellegrini for their amazing work in leading the project, Melissa Jackson and Sarah Elwell, the librarians at Ballou Senior High School and Bell Multicultural High School who advise their respective poetry clubs, and who without their unyielding and tireless commitment to their students, this project would not have been possible, and The Weissberg Foundation, Penn Hill Group, and the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice at Georgetown University, for their support of the project.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Outdoor pools open May 26 for weekends! Normal hours start June 18

It's warming up out there, and that's made me dream of hitting the pool lately. Luckily, we'll be able to jump in soon. The city's outdoor pools, which are free to residents and $5 otherwise, will be opening May 26 for Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6 pm, and then all week starting June 18.

The nearest pool for most of us is the Banneker Pool at Georgia and Euclid, and there's also the Harry Thomas Pool (not Jr.) near North Capitol and S, plus the Upshur Pool near 14th and Arkansas. There's also indoor pools in Adams Morgan (Marie Reed) and Shaw (Dunbar.)

The pools are a lot of fun, and I can't wait. I'm also looking forward to some post-pool eats at Mama Chuy's and J. Bell's Winghouse, both right near the Banneker Pool.

Meet and Greet with Jim Graham tonight

The Northwest Columbia Heights Community Association is hosting a public forum tonight, including a Q&A from Ward 1 councilman Jim Graham. Here's more:
REMINDER: Come say "hello" to Jim Graham and all your neighbors at tonight's meet-and-greet. During our short program, you can ask questions about next steps in the DC Fish Carryout situation, or other topics of your choice. We'll also have the drawing for the $15 Starbucks gift card for those who completed satisfaction surveys from January to April. You won't want to miss it! 
NWCHCA Community Public Forum
TONIGHT! - Tuesday, May 15, 2012
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (Sign-in and refreshments from 6:30 to 7 PM, main program is scheduled to begin at 7 PM, and may be short, depending on Q&A; social time afterwards.)
St Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church
1525 Newton St NW, Upstairs Auditorium, 16th-Street-Side
For more information about the Northwest Columbia Heights Community Association:
Mark Your Calendars: Next NWCHCA Community Public Forum: Tuesday June 19, 2012 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Columbia Heights Community Marketplace opens Saturday the 12th!

Hopefully you aren't tired of me talking about the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace -- it opens this Saturday!

The market is always great, with food, drinks, crafts, music and more, and they have a new website.

Here's more from the organizers:

Dear neighbors,
Please come to the opening of the 2012 Columbia Heights Community Marketplace tomorrow, Saturday, May 12th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the civic plaza at 14th Street and Park Road, NW. Ward One Councilmember Jim Graham will cut the ribbon on the 2012 season; thanks to Jim and his staff for their work to bring fresh, local, and affordable food to Columbia Heights and the District. Speaking of food accessibility and affordability, we thank Wholesome Wave for continuing its generous support of our Festibucks matching incentives program.
Please check out our new website (not quite finished),, and sign up for updates about all things good food, art, fun, music and more. See you tomorrow at the CHFestivus!


Saturday, May 12 from 9 AM to 1 PM (rain or shine)
Civic plaza @ 14th Street and Kenyon Street, NW

Produce: Arugala (heirloom, biodynamic), Asparagus, beans, beets, boston lettuce, broccoli rabe, cilantro, collard greens, dill, eggplant (heirloom, biodynamic), English peas, garlic, green and red leaf lettuce, greenhouse tomatoes, fennel, Merveille de Quatre Saison and baby Bunte Forellecnschuss lettuces (heirloom, biodynamic), micro green mixes, mint, mizuna, pea shoots, plants (herb and vegetable), radishes, red romaine lettuce, red crisphead lettuce (heirloom, biodynamic), red kale, rhubarb, scallions, salad mixes, shallot scapes, spinach, spring garlic, spring onions, strawberries, sugar snap peas, swiss chard, tomatoes (greenhouse), tomato and pepper plants (heirloom, biodynamic), turnips, zucchini

Vendors: Chesley Farm, Dragonfly Farm, Five Seeds Farm (NEW!), Pleitez Produce (NEW!), Whipple Farms (NEW! grower of only heirloom greens and veggies), Wisteria Gardens

Fresh baked bread, pastries, and cookies
Vendors: Bonaparte Breads, Goldilocks Goodies (NEW!), Upper Crust Bakery

Dairy and eggs:  Chicken and duck eggs, goat cheese, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, yogurt, and cheese spreads
Vendors: Chapel’s Country Creamery, Five Seeds Farm (NEW!), Picnic Gourmet Spreads (NEW!), Spriggs Delight Goat Cheese, Twin Post Farm

Meat products:  Beef, chicken, duck, lamb, pork, and, on limited basis, chevon (goat), and sheep products
Vendors: Country Vittles from Critter Hill Farm (NEW!), Springfield Farm of Kent County, MD, Stachowski Brand Charcuterie
Specialty items:  Fantastic Mexcian fare from El Sabor del Taco (NEW!), pickles by Fresh Crunch, gluten-free cookies from Goldilocks Goodies (NEW!), and salsas, dips, and hummus by Wisteria Gardens.

Fine Arts: Six artists will showcase their creativity to the community.
Dance, Music, and other Entertainment: Afrika Dances performs at 10 a.m., followed by Olivia Mancini at 11 a.m. Thank you to  for sponsoring our 2012 entertainment. 
Healthy Cooking Demonstration: This Saturday, head on over to the cooking demonstration table to learn about spinach and how easy it is to incorporate it into many meals, courtesy of our friendly neighborhood nutritionist, Amanda Terillo. Learn more from our blog post about it:

Community Organizations: 
The Book Nook brings affordable literature and information about free literacy programming to individuals and families in Columbia Heights. Our table will include: 

  • good used books (in a variety of genres) sold for affordable prices (with proceeds going to DC SCORES, an afterschool soccer, poetry, and service learning program service most Columbia Heights-area schools)

  • information about local youth literacy programs

  • information about local libraries (location, how to get a card, resources available)

  • information about adult ed opportunities, and

  • a place for people to donate books.

KidPower brings Veggie Time to the Marketplace! The Veggie Time program teaches DC school kids about nutrition and the environment, gardening, and selling produce at markets, the profits from which support service projects focused on healthy eating.

Other Fun:
Planet Pet will come to the Marketplace on Saturday to show off the healthy food and snacks its offers for pets.
We thank  for generously supporting our Festibucks matching incentives program and for sponsoring our entertainment this year.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Free computer classes for adults starting May 15

Sounds like some good options if you don't know much about computers:
Back on My Feet and the Johns Hopkins Washington DC Young Alumni Committee are offering adult computer classes at the Rita Bright Family and Youth Center (2500 14th St. NW 20009). 
The classes are from 6:00p.m. until 8:00p.m. and are free. To register, call or email Andrew Schwab at 202-645-7111 , 
Below are the dates and topics for the classes -
Tuesday, May 15th - Microsoft WordTuesday, June 5th - Microsoft ExcelTuesday, June 19th - Microsoft PowerPointTuesday, July 10th - Microsoft OutlookTuesday, July 17th - Job Search Websites
Here's more about LAYC, the Latin American Youth Center. 

Caribbean Festival moves out of DC

Well, this is too bad, though not unexpected: the D.C. Caribbean Festival is moving out of the neighborhood.

The festival, which consists of a big Carnival parade with music, dancing and food, has been losing money for years and is in debt $200,000 to the city. A few months ago, the city wouldn't agree to give them more money, so organizers said they may cancel it or move it.

Turns out they are doing the latter, it will be part of Baltimore's Caribbean Carnival/Festival on July 14th in Clifton Park.

Too bad to see the festival go, as it was pretty fun and reports said it generated lots of money for local businesses. However, some people complained about the noise and mess, and there was also a rash of violence during last year's parade: four people were shot, one was killed, and another person was stabbed.

What do you think? Sad to see the festival go, or good riddance?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Do you call it Meridian Hill or Malcolm X Park?

Meridian Hill Park DCentric, one of public radio station WAMU's politics blogs, has an interesting poll: is it Meridian Hill or Malcolm X Park?

The official name, as probably everyone knows, is Meridian Hill Park. It's called that because many years ago, 16th Street was proclaimed as the American Prime Meridian (or Washington Meridian), sort of like Greenwich is 0 degrees longitude now. There actually used to be an obelisk on the site of the park in 1804, which is long gone. Here's the Park Service's history page, which also mentions that it was the home of Columbian College in the 1800s, which later moved to Foggy Bottom and became GW. And not mentioned, but during the Civil War, the college became a hospital called Carver Hospital and poet Walt Whitman worked there.

As for the Malcolm X name, the Adams Morgan Heritage Trail explains it on sign 2:

In the 1960s it became a staging ground for political demonstrations, and in 1970 activist Angela Davis unofficially renamed it Malcolm X Park. 
Apparently she was giving a speech there, and the name stuck. (If you know more, please leave it in the comments! And the sign also mentions the Henderson Castle, more on that here and here.)

So that's the story. What do you think of the name? It looks like Meridian Hill has a slight lead in the WAMU poll.

In any case, I think we can all agree that it's a nice place to relax, get some exercise, go sledding, or take in a drum circle.

Photo by NCinDC

Cops bust DC Fish Carryout for crack, neighbors launch petition to take away their liquor license

This is pretty crazy. Police and prosecutors says the DC Fish Carryout at 3475 14th Street NW was a crack den. Police searched the place and found a lot of crack, and arrested the owner and two others. Neighbors have launched a petition to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to revoke their license. Here's more from the various local listserves, with a link to the petition if you would like to sign.

Pretty weird -- you don't normally think of a fish carryout as a drug market or storehouse. 
Based on strong investigative leads, DC's Metropolitan Police Department executed a search warrant at the DC Fish Carryout, at 3475 14th Street NW. MPD found large quantities of crack cocaine on the premises.  The defendants were Suk "Bruce" In Hyun, 54, the owner of the DC Fish Carryout who holds a DC license to sell tobacco and alcoholic beverages. The other two defendants, Craig McKoy, 43 and Timothy Diablo Hill Jr, 24, have extensive criminal records. All three are being prosecuted by the US Attorney's Office, and felony convictions are expected in all three cases. 
A group of concerned citizens discussed this matter recently at a NWCHCA public meeting. As a result the president, Cecilia Jones, created a petition called Washington DC Alcoholic Beverage Control Board: Revoke the ABC License of the DC Fish Carryout. The goal is to collect at least 500 signatures, and we could really use your help. Please sign the petition.  It'll just take a minute! 
I am also personally writing a letter to the Chairperson of the ABC Board to lend my voice directly.  If you do too, the address for Ruthanne Miller is below.  Cecilia Jones is collecting letters, so please copy her at her email below. 
Ruthanne Miller 
ABC Board, Chairperson 
2000 14th St NW, Suite 400S 
WDC 20009 
--Cecilia Jones, President, Northwest Columbia Heights Community Association (NWCHCA) 
202-299-7868 (cell) 
"Join" NWCHCA on Facebook: 
Follow NWCHCA on Twitter: @nwchca_dc
I wrote back to Cecilia, asking about the petition. I was unclear what it was supposed to do, and here's her response. Interesting stuff. The defendants are mostly not in jail and may not serve much time, according to her.
Hi Andrew,

Only one of the defendants is currently in jail, and until they are convicted, they are innocent. Case docket is available online:

The owner, Suk In Hyun, is out on Personal Recognizance. He's back in his restaurant, which is open and earning. His ABC license has not been suspended, so it's business-as-usual.

One of the two co-defendants, Craig McKoy is being held in jail; he has another open felony case and had been in bench warrant status.

Timothy Diablo Hill, the third co-defendant is currently in bench warrant status, meaning that he was on PR, and did not show up for his last court date. He is currently "on-the-loose" -- could be anywhere.

[fyi: bench warrants are a widespread problem; DC Superior Courts has nearly 400 felons currently in bench warrant status and 11,000 of all types, including traffic, misdemeanors, and domestic. Some bench warrants date back to 2009 or earlier, and there is no systematic mechanism to bring these known criminals to justice. It makes a joke of our entire system.]

Even with a felony conviction, it is very likely that the owner will get a suspended sentence (no jail time). It's his first offense. There is a very strong possibility that the drug trade at the DC Fish Carryout, possibly including money laundering, could continue, and the liquor license would contribute. I fully expect the ABC board to revoke the license, but an ABRA investigator came to the last NWCHCA Public Forum where we discussed our options for DC Fish Carryout, and he said a petition to the ABC Board would help.

A petition will also raise community awareness, and help me identify those who are interested in eradicating the crack cocaine trade from our neighborhood and who are willing to take actions.

Next, we will address the the criminal cases by writing community impact statements to the judge, Michael Ryan (traditionally very lenient, hates to send defendants to jail.) I doubt any of the 3 defendants will get more than 18 months of jail time; they could all be out very soon, with credit for time served.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Carlos Rosario cooking school demonstration, with chefs from the Culinary Institute

If you are a foodie (or restauranteur) this sounds like a neat event. Carlos Rosario International Publci Charter School at 11th and Harvard is an adult education school with lots of different programs, many for recent immigrants.
Carlos Rosario School in partnership with the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington PresentsTeaching with the Culinary Institute of America   
Dear Friends, You are cordially invited to join the Carlos Rosario School as it hosts the world's premier culinary college for an exciting cooking demonstration not to be missed!   
Wednesday, May 9, 2012   9:00am - 12:30pm  
1100 Harvard St. NW  Washington, DC 20009   
Culinary Institute of America Ambassadors: Arnym Solomon, Trustee Emeritus Chef 
Paul Jean Prosperi, Master Baking Pastry Chef 
Guest chef: Frans Hagen, Certified Food and Beverage Executive 
Emcee: David Ivey Soto MBA, CEC, CCA  
Featuring Carlos Rosario Culinary Arts students as assistant chefs.  
Here's the message on the Ward 1 listserve

Fun videos shot in the neighborhood: dog's eye view, giant ball set to Wilco, the Runaways

You've got to like fun videos shot in the neighborhood. Andy Rothwell, who's been featured on this blog a number of times (you may remember the remote control cars, the Tom Petty Cabs, or the Harrison Ford/Axl Rose videos) has a couple of neat new ones.

In one, he has a camera on a dog's back for a funny dog's eye view of Columbia Heights, Mt. Pleasant, and other areas, to the tune of Wilco's "Whole Love," and the other he follows a giant red ball, accompanied by The Runaways' "Cherry Bomb." Some featured spots include Meridian Hill Park, 14th Street, and Mt. Pleasant Street.


Friday, May 4, 2012

"Haunted Mansion" at 1327 Girard burns down, residents safe

This is crazy. The big house at 1327 Girard Street NW, which I nicknamed the "Haunted Mansion" because of its dilapidated condition, has burned. The residents, local activists Dorothy Brizill and Gary Imhoff, weren't there at the time, which is good.

The place is just rubble now, as you can see above.

It's also too bad for the next door neighbors, the brand new condos on the right and the other place under renovation on the left. Let's hope they didn't have much damage from smoke, water or the fire itself.

The house has been a dump for years, with missing windows, rickety patio, debris in the lawn, and was nearly condemned. Later it was reported as vacant, and as you may recall, it was the inspiration for my Abandoned House Watch series. I've written about it numerous times, and named that portion of Girard the "Crappiest block in the neighborhood." They finally plugged up the broken windows, fixed the porch and cleaned the crap out of the yard, but they also had a lot of bad luck, like trees falling on their house and their car. Apparently the upper floors were uninhabitable, as they had been boarded over for some time.

Obviously it's sad for anyone to lose their home, but at the same time, this sort of thing is why there are laws about the condition you keep your house. I don't know what started the fire, but I am not terribly surprised. And again, it's good they are ok.

UPDATE: The video is back:

Photo by Pablo Maurer

The Pinch, new American restaurant, opens today on 14th Street

You may recall The Pinch, a new American restaurant coming to 3548 14th Street NW, the old El Salvadoreno space (shown at right). 

They're opening today at 5 pm, and they'll be open 7 days a week st 5 pm. Here's more from the co-owner Daniel Maceda, and I hope to have some photos and try it out soon. They'll be doing brunch soon too.

And here's their Facebook page and Yelp.
The Pinch is the latest addition to the resurgence of the Columbia Heights and Petworth neighborhoods. This restaurant, bar, and live music venue will feature specialty cocktails, contemporary twists on classic American fare and live music in a comfortable, neighborhood bar setting. The newly refurbished space will feature works by local artists and houses a broad selection of tap, bottled, and canned beer.

This is the first venture by a young and talented ownership and management team and they are pouring their hearts into it. Come see them in action seven days a week, and learn more about the inspiration behind The Pinch and their plans for the future. Our Grand Opening will be Friday May 4th @ 5PM and we will be open 7 nights a week (opening @ 5PM every evening). Look for us to add weekend brunch soon. 
Beer info:
We will have 6 taps, and 30 or more bottles/cans. The list will be mostly American craft brews and will shift and change throughout the year. Our opening list will include- Omegang Hennepin, Flying Dog Raging Bitch, Anderson Valley Summer Solstice, just to name few...
The menu will be contemporary American fare (some highlights): 
Appetizers- Pretzel Crusted Fried Pickles, Assorted sliders (Hoisan BBQ Duck, Caprese, Crab cake, Steak),

Burgers- my 2 favorites are the Jerk Turkey, and the Meat Lovers (topped with pulled duck, bacon, cheddar, and fried onions). Vegetarians- Will find a number of items on our menu, my favorite being the Portabello "burger", a cap with spinach, sun dried tomato, garlic, sauteed onion, mozzarella. 
Sandwiches- Walnut Crusted Talapia, and a Flank Steak Sandwich served with Chef Steph's house made steak sauce 
Initially we will be opening with just our main floor bar and dining area. We intend to open the performance lounge in the next couple of weeks