Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Free meal program for seniors: know someone who could use a meal? Let them know

Here's an interesting reader tip: the city has a few different meal programs for seniors that many people don't know about.

The City Paper has the article about it: one program is called the congregate meal program, where seniors can come and get a healthy meal with other seniors. That way they can get out of the house, meet and socialize with others, and also get some good food. The program is free and available to anyone over 60, and there are numerous sites in our area: here's the full list. It includes spots on Georgia Avenue, 14th and 15th Street in Ward 1, plus others around the city. Feel free to share it with seniors you know or organizations who help seniors.

The city also has a meal delivery program, and there are other options like Food and Friends, which delivers meals to people with life challenging illnesses. There's also options like SNAP and other programs that provide supplemental food or vouchers. The article has more details.

It also talks about the difficulty of the city and community groups connecting with seniors, many of whom may not have internet or be living alone. If you have a neighbor or friend who is a senior, please let me them know.

It's a pretty interesting article, here it is again.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

First Friday on Georgia Ave is coming up: 14 participating businesses with lots of deals and freebies

First Friday is here again: the monthly event on Georgia Avenue where local small businesses offer deals, specials and freebies. It's a lot of fun and a neat way to learn more about local spots. My favorite is the free wine at Walls of Books. There's also a new addition, Taste of Jamaica, which just opened at 3308 Georgia.

Here's more from organizers Georgia Avenue Thrive. Their Facebook event is here and there's a map here.
Continue to celebrate First Fridays in 2018 with the neighborhood's small businesses on Georgia Ave NW in Park View & Petworth. Drink, food and retail specials, live music, art and more. Mark those calendars and stay tuned for specials and special events! And as always we are partnering with our friends from Petworth Arts Collaborative.
A map of all the businesses for easy reference:
Participating businesses: 
♣ Bravo Bar: BoGo♣ Colony Club: TBD♣ Heat Da Spot Coffee Lounge: TBD♣ District Dogs: 15% off all red or pink retail items and check out that Valentine's Day display♣ Union Drinkery & SUNdeVICH: TBD♣ A Taste of Jamaica (3308 Georgia Ave NW): TBD♣ Ana's Restaurante: TBD♣ Walls of Books - Washington, DC - Washington, DC: Buy-one-get-one on all books, literary game night and complimentary wine♣ Story District: TBD♣ The Midlands: BoGo coupon for Monday♣ Esencias Panameñas Restaurant & Catering: Salsa dancing♣ Yoga Heights: 15% off retail; Bring a (new) friend to class for free♣ Mom N' Pop Antiques (3534 Georgia Ave NW): 20% off♣ The Looking Glass Lounge: $2 off drinks♣ DC Reynolds: BoGo♣ Reliable Tavern: $6 First Friday punch♣ Ten Tigers Parlour: $5 First Friday cocktail♣ The Hilltop Bar & Restaurant (Sherman Ave): TBD

Monday, January 29, 2018

Crazy "plywood brutalism" building going up at Sherman and Lamont

This is something you don't see everyday: there's what looks like a small condo building going in at Sherman and Lamont that is... unusual. It kind of looks like a bunch of blocks stacked on top of each other, or like some kind of strange modern architecture. Martin Austermuhle of WAMU jokingly called it "plywood brutalism."

What's also odd is there aren't any windows, and it's just plywood. Presumably they'll cut them out soon. The city's permit system says "New 3 floor + cellar and mezzanine - 2 unit flat on vacant lot in an R4 zoning district." Looks like 4 stories to me. Here's a Park View DC article about the lot from a few years ago.

It's also two stories higher than the surrounding buildings. It's something.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Michelle Obama visits Maydan, new restaurant at Florida and 14th

The Obamas are back! The First Family, who have visited our neighborhood many times, apparently haven't forgotten about our area after the election (and their move to Kalorama.) On Tuesday, Michelle Obama was spotted at Maydan, the new Middle Eastern/Central Asian spot on Florida Avenue behind La Colombe.

The restaurant, from the folks behind Compass Rose, serves food from the spice road, i.e. Lebanon through to Central Asian -- think food from North Africa, Georgia, Turkey, the Caucasus, Central Asia and more, with lots of wood grilled dishes over their central fire pit. (I stopped by a few days before, it was excellent. A review to come.)

Washingtonian reports that the First Lady and former White House nutrition advisor Sam Kass were seated in the first floor bar area, and a tipster who was there tells me she ordered a cocktail.

Pretty neat to see an Obama back in our area. After numerous blog posts, I suggested that Columbia Heights was the Obamas' favorite neighborhood. The President has eaten at a lot of spots in our area, like the Coupe and Busboys and Poets. The First Family also visited Upshur Street Books and both the President and First Lady gave talks in our area (FLOTUS jump roped too), and they even signed a bill here.

Not to be outdone, Joe Biden ate at Pete's Apizza. Considering all the Onion articles, I'm surprised he didn't stop by Wonderland or the Derb.

I miss the days when the President and family went places, and we were actually happy to see them.

Monday, January 22, 2018

WMATA wants to sell 11th and Park dog park, petition to save it started

UPDATE: Councilmember Brianne Nadeau says she spoke to the chairman of the WMATA board and they don't have any immediate plans about the dog park. They've made a list of parcels they don't need anymore, which includes this one, and sent it to the city in case the city wants to buy it -- so that's maybe a good sign. Here's more from her:
Neighbors – 
I’ve gotten some calls from neighbors concerned about the 11th and Park dog park and I wanted to make sure folks had all the info. I just got off the phone with the Chairman of the Metro Board and he has assured me there is no immediate action being taken on the parcel which is owned by WMATA. WMATA has made a list of all the parcels they no longer need and would like to sell and this is one of them. They’ve submitted the list to the District government for review to see if we’d like to acquire the parcels ourselves. The District will have all the time we need to consider that opportunity. Initially WMATA indicated to some community members that it might be considering this issue at a public meeting early this week, but I have been told that’s not the case. 
Over the past three years I’ve been working with the 11th and Bark community group to help them position themselves as the primary operators of the parcel and to keep the park open. I will continue to work with them and all the residents who are interested to ensure we can preserve this space for community use. The stewards of the park have put in countless hours of dedicated volunteer time to maintain the space and it’s a beloved spot in the community, and I know it’s important for our residents and their furry friends that it continue. 
If you have any additional questions or comments, my inbox is always open at or you can call my office at 202-724-8181.
Original post below:


If you have a dog, this may be big news: 11th and Bark, the nonprofit that helps run the the friends of the dog park at 11th and Park Rd, report that WMATA, which owns the land where the park is, is interested in selling it. They've created a petition to oppose the sale, directed at WMATA, Councilmembers Jack Evans and Brianne Nadeau, and WMATA board member Corbett Price.

Newly elected ANC 1A06 commissioner Angelica Castañon put out a flyer about the events: last year, 11th and Bark were in talks with WMATA to lease the land, until suddenly the talks stopped. After some research, 11th and Bark learned that WMATA had an interested buyer and were going to talk about "next steps" for the dog park at their Jan. 23 meeting. That doesn't sound good for dog park supporters.

If you'd like to keep the park, sign the petition (and better yet, call or email the people listed on it.

And so far, so good for the dog park defenders: WMATA board member Price says on Twitter he'll be trying to save the dog park.

The lot, on the southeast corner across from Red Rocks and Meridian Pint, has been an unofficial dog park since 2010 if not earlier, and later WMATA gave the OK for it to be a more official, maintained park.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Angelica Castañon wins ANC 1A06 special election

If you live around the Civic Plaza, you have a new ANC rep: Angelica Castañon, who works in education policy and advocacy. There was a three way race with Castañon, Jordan Pearlstein and Charles Greene III after the previous commissioner for the area resigned.

The ANC meets monthly to talk about local issues, advise the city council on planning and development in the area, and also make changes or block alcohol license requests. If you're interested in going, and it's worth it to get a good sense of what's happening in your area, meetings are listed here. If you live in southern Columbia Heights (see map) you're represented by ANC1B, which is here -- however, their site is giving me a malware warning.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Trump ends temporary protected status for 200,000 Salvadorans; they may be forced to go home

There was big immigration news today that may affect our community: Trump has decided to end what's called temporary protected status (TPS) for 200,000 Salvadorans out of the roughly 1 million in the country, which means they may be forced to return home. As you know, our area has many Salvadorans and other Central Americans.

They'll have until Sept. 2019 to either get a green card or leave the country. There are also roughly 190,000 children born to TPS parents, so families will have to decide to break up the family or take their American-born children back to El Salvador. The country has the highest murder rate in the world.

Ward 1 councilmember Brianne Nadeau put out a statement after the news broke, asking other council members to pass a bill she's written to start a legal defense fund for the immigrants, which is called the Access to Justice for Immigrants Act. Here's more from Councilmember Nadeau:

Nadeau Statement on Trump Decision to End Temporary Protected Status for 200,000 Salvadorans Living in the U.S.

***Versión en Español disponible abajo***

Washington – Today, Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau released the following statement after the Trump administration announced that it would terminate Temporary Protected Status for approximately 200,000 Salvadorans living in the United States, including many in the District of Columbia:

“Today’s decision by the Trump administration will tear apart families and uproot long-time members of our community. America and the District are stronger when we welcome immigrants and recognize that we have a responsibility to stand up for our neighbors who are vulnerable. As Councilmember, I authored the Access to Justice for Immigrants Act which will create a permanent legal fund to assist the District’s documented and undocumented immigrant residents. The Council should pass it. I also call on Congress to end the uncertainty for our Salvadoran residents and create a permanent fix that allows them to stay in the communities that they call home.”

“La decisión de hoy por la administración del Presidente Trump separará a las familias y destruirá muchas vidas de los miembros establecidos de nuestra comunidad. Los Estados Unidos y el Distrito son más fuertes cuando damos la bienvenida a los inmigrantes y reconocemos que tenemos la responsabilidad de defender a nuestros vecinos que son vulnerables. Como Concejal, yo escribí elAccess to Justice for Immigrants Act (Acceso a la Justicia para Inmigrantes) que creará  un fondo legal permanente para asistir a los residentes documentados e indocumentados del Distrito. El Concejo del Distrito debería aprobarlo. También le hago un llamado al Congreso que ponga fin a la incertidumbre para nuestros residentes Salvadoreños y crear una solución permanente que les permita quedarse en sus comunidades que llaman hogar.”

ANC 1A06 special election on Wednesday: vote for Jordan Pearlstein

If you live in Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A06 (see map above) then there's a special election for you this Wednesday. The seat for that area is currently vacant after the previous commissioner resigned.

The special election for the seat is at the next ANC meeting, which will take place this Wednesday, January 10th and 7 pm at Tubman Elementary School, in the gym. The entrance for the meeting is on Kenyon.

There are three candidates: community development expert Jordan Pearlstein, corporate speaker and magician Charles Greene III and senior education policy analyst Angelica Castañon. From reading about them they all seem like they'd be good for the position, but I'm recommending that you vote for my friend Jordan.

You may have seen Ms. Pearlstein around, she's been very active with local nonprofits and co-founded Georgia Avenue Thrive, which does a lot of great work in the area, like the First Friday events. She's also an expert in community development, community building and fair housing (full disclosure, we worked together for a few years at USAID.)

The ANC, if you're not familiar, has three main areas of responsibility: advise the city council and other government offices about local concerns and issues; to deal with liquor licenses, where the ANC can effectively change or alter the provisions of liquor licenses, such as hours of operation and what establishments can do (for example, live music or outdoor seating); and they also have a budget to fund community projects. The ANC is often the first place to go if you have a question or issue with city services or development issues.

If you live and are registered to vote in ANC 1A06, I hope you can make it to the election and hear from Jordan and the other candidates. Read on for more from Jordan: her platform and more info about her.
I'm excited to represent the SMD and ANC1A. I've dedicated both my personal and professional life to building inclusive, connected, equitable, and vibrant communities. And I want to make sure you and the larger community have the information you need and the representation you deserve to be informed and engaged advocates on the issues you care most about. The values and vision we build our community on are important. 
It's also vital that your representative understands how to navigate government bureaucracy and build trusting relationships to get things done. After years of working with the federal government, with cities around the country, and with communities here in ANC1A, I'm ready to do that for you. Come out on Wednesday to learn more and vote! 
A little more about me: I've been involved in the ANC1A community for several years. I co-founded and serve as Vice President for Georgia Avenue Thrive, an all-volunteer nonprofit dedicated to building an inclusive, connected, and vibrant community. Georgia Avenue Thrive is also an implementing partner with District Bridges of the Lower Georgia Avenue Main Street, a national program, which is funded locally by DC's Department of Small and Local Business Development. 
I've consulted for District Bridges in support of its Columbia Heights/Mount Pleasant Main Street and serve on the board of another ANC1A-based nonprofit, Words, Beats & Life. I'm a participant in and volunteer with NeighborUp, an inclusive network of DC residents and leaders who are committed to improving communities in ways that help our neighbors live and thrive, together. I am also the Democratic Party Precinct Captain for Precinct 39. And, finally, I have a full-time, day job at a nationwide nonprofit focused on cultivating inclusive and equitable communities, where I focus on community engagement and fair housing.
UPDATE: Angelica has asked me repeatedly on Twitter to add her job title and more about her job. She is a Senior Policy Analyst with the National Education Association. She does community organizing around education issues. As before, her site, as well as Charles Greene's, are linked above.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Awesome! Jewish-style deli coming to Alfie's space: wood-fired bagels, sandwiches etc. by Timber Pizza folks

This is great news: the folks from Timber Pizza Co. on Upshur are taking over the old Alfie's/Tchoup's/Mothership space at 3301 Georgia Avenue, turning it into a Jewish-inspired deli named Call Your Mother. They jokingly call it a "Jew-ish" deli as it's not super traditional, with bagels made in a wood-fired oven that are a cross between New York and the denser, smaller and sweeter Montreal-style bagels. They're calling them "New Montreal" bagels.

They'll have Jewish-inspired food like latke fries and seared Matzoh ball soup. Bagel sandwiches may include egg, smoked salmon or smoked whitefish, plus rye, wheat and challah and occasionally donuts, croissants and pastries, according to the Post.

Interestingly, they also plan to have a supper club four nights a week with various themed dinners, like Salvadoran, fried chicken, Peking duck and others. I guess to appeal to the dinner crowd.

They're aiming at April, but need to renovate the space. No word on liquor yet, I'm trying to find out more. Pretty pumped for this.

Images from Google Street View and HapstakDemetriou+

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

New Vietnamese restaurant, Bún DC, coming to 2905 Sherman Ave

This is neat: a reader sent me this photo of 2905 Sherman Avenue NW, where it looks like a new Vietnamese place is going in. The sign reads "BÚN DC Vietnamese 'Soc Trang' Homestyle Cuisine." Bún is a type of Vietnamese noodle bowl. Soc Trang is a coastal area so maybe that means more seafood dishes.

The reader who sent me the photo thinks it may be connected with Pho Viet, the tasty little spot on 14th Street near Otis. Here's what they had to say:
This house has been abandoned for at least three years and all of sudden in the last 2 months a lot of work has been done. I am not 100% sure, but I could’ve sworn I saw a couple people leave the house one evening with “Pho Viet” shirts. Now today this sign popped up on the house. I hope the pho viet crew are opening a new restaurant.
If that's true, it's a good sign. The Post, for example, says Pho Viet has the best pho in town. I can't find anything more about this spot, but will update as I hear more. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Walters Sports Bar on Georgia has closed permanently

Well, this stinks: Walters, the sports bar at 3622 Georgia Ave NW, has closed for good, according to PoP. The spot opened in 2015 as a joint venture between DC Reynolds and Looking Glass Lounge, which are on either side of it. At some point the Looking Glass folks sold their share to DC Reynolds.

The location has had some bad luck in the past, as it's previously been the Blue Banana, also a sports bar, and Park View Patio, a kind of odd spot with a big patio (part of which was later taken over by DC Reynolds.) The Walters folks cited the lack of a proper kitchen as part of the problem.

I thought it was definitely better than the previous two spots there, but there often wasn't much of a crowd. Park View Patio also had pop-ups during the day, like the Milk Cult coffee and breakfast taco pop-up, but Walters didn't do that. I also saw reviews about it having kind of a split personality between sports bar and dance club -- and people watching sports want to listen to sports, not dance music.

That leaves only Lou's City Bar on Irving and The Pitch up on Georgia as the only sports bar type spots in our area. Anybody have recommendations for other sports watching locales? The basement at Meridian Pint is also pretty good for that, as are the Airedale on 14th and Bravo Bar on Georgia.

Hopefully something else successful can come into the space. PoP posted Walters final note, which maybe jokingly suggested it could be a "neighborhood bakery, salami shop, tofu factory, hydroponic store, gluten free distillery, EDM dancehall, or any other idea you think Georgia Ave is desperately in need of."
"Walters Sports Bar closing 12/31. The team behind Walters would like to thank everyone over the last 2+ years for your support. While we would like to stick around for another Caps and Wizards playoffs run we can’t in good conscience be apart of a potential Eagles Super Bowl win (Kidding….maybe). With that said Walters will be closing 12/31 and we encourage everyone to visit Looking Glass and DC Reynolds for all your future sports watching needs. 
When we took over the space we new it would be an uphill battle with lack of a proper kitchen. With such a short term lease the cost to install a hood system wasn’t feasible and thus the food wouldn’t be equal to what can be found elsewhere in the neighborhood.

For anyone with a great idea for a neighborhood bakery, salami shop, tofu factory, hydroponic store, gluten free distillery, EDM dancehall, or any other idea you think Georgia Ave is desperately in need of please feel free to contact us and we can hook you up with the landlord."
What do you think might work there? Maybe a cookie and donut shop for the patrons of the History of Cannabis Museum next door?