Tuesday, April 29, 2008

We Have Pizza! But Metabolife? Not so much.

As first reported by ArtBart a few days ago, Pete's Apizza opened today in Columbia Heights.

I have not yet consumed the pizza, but I promise ArtBart and I will head over to capture some local video ASAP.

The openings have been coming more rapidly these days, WSC, Payless, Pete's. What's next? My best guess - the Vitamin Shoppe. Or maybe that's just because I need my Metabolife and won't take "closed" for an answer! Where are you Vitamin Shoppe?

UPDATE: Mattress Discounters on the Park Road side of DC USA is open. Anyone want to go and jump on beds?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I See Cheap Shoes! Run!

ArtBart reports on the opening of Payless in Columbia Heights.

The sign barely went up, and already our discount shoe bastion is open and operating.

Apparently the women of Columbia Heights took quick notice, because ArtBart says it was jam-packed earlier. The good news: lots of shoes, cute ones, for about $10-$20 a pop.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Listserv Post of the Day

In addition to this blog, the various Columbia Heights listservs are a must read in knowing what is going on in the community on all fronts. This new feature highlights a listserv message of the day, even though we might not post one every day. Today's comes from Ward One Councilmember Jim Graham on the Columbia Heights Yahoo Group:

CORRECTION: shooting, 700 NOT 1200 block of Irving

Posted by: "Jim Graham" grahamwone@gmail.com grahamwone2000
Fri Apr 25, 2008 6:32 am (PDT)

Sorry about that, I was providing information given to me by MPD. The shooting in fact occurred on the 700 block of Irving.

Beyond The Heights: DCist's Unbuckled

DCist hosted "Unbuckled" tonight at DC9. We caught the opening act, Motel, and captured a bit of the guys freestyling.

Just a few years ago I knew of DC9 (9th just south of U St. NW) for certain dance nights, but rarely thought of it as decent venue for shows. Either I've changed, or they've changed, because now I pay attention to their schedule - and they regularly pull in solid local and regional groups and charge a reasonable $8-$12 a show.

You can visit Motel online here, and check them out below (though, the sound is pretty garbled):

Thursday, April 24, 2008

In praise of drinking outside

A busy work schedule has prevented me from participating in one of my favorite activities, drinking outside. But now that life has calmed down for a bit and spring has fully arrived, I am ready to enjoy the great outdoors. So last night I headed to the Wonderland's beer garden. As the Prince of Petworth reported yesterday, there are now tables on the 11th Street sidewalk, which helps offset the usual crowding in the beer garden. Also a new addition, is a tap outside where you can get a $4 Belgian white beer during happy hour. It saves you a trip inside, but then you couldn't make a stop at the jukebox and chat with whoever is bartending that day.

But last night. Last night encompassed everything that's great about living in Columbia Heights (or any city neighborhood with a quality bar and outdoor seating). Your bloggers met friends, old and new; shared quite a few rounds of drinks with said friends; and finally headed home after Miss Angela herded us inside as the patio approached its Cinderella hour of midnight.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pete's Apizza to open on Monday

An update on a post from Sunday: posters on the Columbia Heights News forum report that Pete's Apizza will officially open its doors on Monday, April 28 at 11 am. An invitation was also sent to neighborhood supporters for a Sunday evening soft opening party.

Crickets on the CH Listserv

As any subscriber to the CH listserv, or any avid reader of the Craigslist "Rants and Raves" section, knows, there was a disturbing report of a mugging in the DC USA parking garage published online.

This blog has, up until this point, declined to write about it because we were waiting to see if this was just another rumor, or if Inspector Delgado would confirm the report.

On Sunday, someone sent the item to the CH listserv. The same day, Councilmember Jim Graham asked Inspector Delgado to review the report. And since then, nothing but crickets on the listserv.

We checked the 3D substation crime reports and saw nothing that looked like this mugging, so why then have we not had this rumor put to rest or confirmed? Why has it been two days since anyone responded? What happened to Councilmember Graham's concern? Do you, fellow CH residents, think we should expect a quick response on this question, or should we leave Insp. Delgado and the rest of the 3D officers alone to fight crime? Does the whole listserv have a right to know? The Heights Life comments section is open for discussion.

An update from the comments section: "For what it is worth -- I received an email from CM Graham & Insp. Delgado. MPD did follow up on this rumor with the shopping center and there have been no reports of muggings in the garage. Apparantly people just enjoy spreading these rumors and wasting community resources. I don't know why people do this -- perhaps they are anti-development or just enjoy sowing the seeds of controversy, but it is incredibly irresponsible. MPD does have an obligation to respond to the community's concerns. But folks really need to be aware that much of this talk about predators roaming the DCUSA garage and stores is false."

Monday, April 21, 2008

WSC Update: Pre-Sale is On, Opening is June 1st

Washington Sports Club is taking orders and giving tours. I called to ask about the actual opening and was told June 1st, with hours of operation expected to be from 7AM until 10PM.
Alas, still another month before the stair-climbing begins, but at least it will be open before the sweltering DC summer hits hard. Though I must take issue with a 7AM opening time. Is there any gym in DC that opens that late? Most gyms start their classes as early as 5:30AM (U Street Results, for example). Hopefully that's just the soft launch?
Here's the email they sent out to those who registered for updates on the WSC website:

Hello Spud Lite,

Thank you for joining our WSC at Columbia Heights VIP list. We would like to let you know that we will be starting the pre-sale season tomorrow Monday April 21st from 9:00AM to 9:00PM. Also, let your friends and family know about this great news. Please email me back or call me at 202 986 2281 to make an appointment and give you a tour of the facilities or if you have any questions.

Thank you in advance and looking forward to hear from you,

Gonzalo Perez-Tamayo
General Manager
Columbia Heights-WSC

Update: The WSC hours should be better than I thought. Rumor has it the open time on weekdays will be 5:30AM, not 7:00AM as I was initially told.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A peek inside Pete's Apizza

On an errand/brunch combo-outing this morning, I noticed that the signs for Pete's Apizza in the Highland Park building are now up. (I would have posted a photo, but I forgot my cellphone and now it's too rainy to go back out.) I took a quick peek inside the restaurant, and it looks like it's nearing completion, although the red pepper flake shakers on the wooden tables are still empty. The Pete's website says opening in mid-April, but a liquor license hearing notice on the door is dated for May 14. The notice also included the hours--until midnight on weekdays and 1 am on weekends. Pizza by the pie and slice are on the menu, as well as pastas, salads, and paninis. And Illy coffee, a favorite of mine.

Breaking News: D'Vines is OPEN

We have wine!

After days of mongering, this blog's rumor came true: D'Vines (d'vines actually, but the all lower case looks funny leading a sentence) is OPEN in Columbia Heights!

This was actually breaking news this morning. They had a soft opening today. The shelves are not exactly full, but they appeared to have a good selection in place. They also have a wine chiller that George of d'vines tells me will chill your favorite bottle in 3 minutes.

I spoke with store manager Pat Hayes (who gets points for having heard of this blog). He said a big grand opening will happen May 1, and until then they are open for business. They only just got their license yesterday at 4PM. Since then, they've been ordering away in an effort to fill the shelves.

They've done a good job filling the beer case. George says it's only 25% full now, but the selection was good if you are willing to venture beyond Yeungling. I noticed some of my favorite Belgian options.

And now, meet Pat and George. Maybe soon, they will get YOU drunk. Pat does all the talking because George is a bit shy. This cell phone video doesn't do our lovely wine vendors justice, in person - I swear they both have eyes. Shame on the camera for not capturing that! Anyhow, here's Pat and George:

Saturday Night Mash-Up: Motorbikes, Wine and Surveillance

On Going the Right Way

As I pedaled home up 14th street tonight going the RIGHT way, I was nearly run down by two large men on little motorbikes going the WRONG way. Keep an eye out around Columbia Road for the renegade bikers, they don't seem to love the traffic laws.

While their disregard for the law is troubling, their heft straddling the dainty bikes is kind of amusing. If anyone gets a picture, send it over.

On Drinking at Home

An anonymous tipster tells us to look for D'Vines to open this weekend or Monday. As of Friday night it was still quite shuttered, but with this weather it might be nearing the time for a glass of pink wine on the stoop!

And yes, THL (the height life) shamelessly supports pink wine even if it jumped the shark with that New York Times style section article two years ago.

On Target's Surveillance Cameras

Lisa Raffensperger, an intern at WAMU and THL tipster, reported on the new Target's surveillance cameras for WAMU radio. Will the extra surveillance provided by the Target cameras help our neighborhood?

As regular readers of the Columbia Heights listserv know, the DC crime cameras have delivered some disappointment, but can our superstore do better? What would William Jordan do? Listen to Lisa's story HERE and discuss.

On the Way Things Were

A flashback courtesy of Google Earth's satellite image.

Does anyone know what year this would have been?

Friday, April 18, 2008

What to wear when you shop at Target

A few months ago, before Target opened, I was in CVS one evening and joked that this felt like college. Especially based on how I was dressed: flip-flops despite the cold weather, yoga pants, and an old sweatshirt. I think I was buying odd things as well, like toothpaste, laundry detergent, and plastic-wrap. However, once Target opened I upped my game.

It is my goal to always shop at Target in not my best attire. Comfort and even grunginess is the key here. Those yoga pants I mentioned above, have made at least four trips to Target so far. My circa 1998 powder puff T-shirt, you are more than welcomed past the big red entrance. Same goes for messy hair, sandaled feet, and a bare face.

It's that what makes Columbia Heights and all it's retail, restaurants, and bars great. They are truly neighborhood spots and ones of such convenience. Who cares how you look.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

CommonWealth gastropub set for mid-summer

The DC foodie community and Top Chef home-game players have been anticipating Jamie Leeds' Columbia Heights gastropub for months, and we now finally have a name and approximate opening. CommonWealth should open on Irving Street in mid-summer.

Amanda at Metrocurean has more details:

Located in the Highland Park building at 1400 Irving St. NW, CommonWealth will have a serious case of Anglophilia. Young Brit bands will play on the sound system, and British football will air when available. Checkers, backgammon and chess will be set up in the pub area, which will stay open between lunch and dinner and for late-night snacks....

The regular menu will offer a lighter version of traditional British fare using local ingredients and modern techniques. Yanks may need a translation for dishes like potted shrimp, toad in a hole and pork pastie. Also on the menu: fish and chips, bangers and mash, Welsh rarebit, steak and Guinness pie and sticky toffee pudding.

I am happy to hear the menu will feature lighter British fare since I don't think 90-degree days are the best time to enjoy a heavy meal. But fish and chips (R.I.P. Temperance's fish sandwich) and a good beer are welcome anytime.

CH Retail Investigation: The Results

Columbia Heights is buzzing with business today... or, perhaps it's more accurate to say that CH is buzzing with attempts to create business in the future. There were crews putting up signs around DC USA, work being done inside the new WSC, and the CH hot dog stand is back!

Washington Sports Club - Monday? Sort of
The doors are open and the machines are lined up, but the sweat will have to wait. I was told WSC would open on Monday, but that's only to sign up new members. Workouts won't begin for "another few weeks."

I managed to snap this picture before being walked out.

D'Vines - Divinely Dark
Despite the rumors this blog helped monger, D'Vines is still dark. Garbage bags cover the windows and nary a soul was milling about inside.

For now, the Giant wine aisle will continue to suffice.

Payless- Signs of Progress

Payless has added some signage and crews were working hard on the front of the store.

The land of BOGOHO (buy one, get one half off) is sandwiched between Radio Shack and the main DC USA entrance.

Hot Dog Stand - New Spot, Same Dogs
The hot dog stand that used to populate some sidewalk space outside Mayorga is back from vacation and now stationed outside of Staples. Is it just me, or does a hot dog stand make the whole neighborhood a little friendlier? Everyone likes hot dogs, expect for those of you who like tofu dogs. Moving on...

The Vitamin Shoppe - Waiting on Metabolife

I have no idea when this place is supposed to open. The signs have been up for a while, but I've heard next to nothing on it.

Today's investigations yielded little beyond a few Fed Ex delivery slips. Apparently nobody has been around to collect the incoming shipments of fish oil capsules and Super Duper Weight Gainer.

Tivoli Square - Nothing New
There is life beyond DC USA in this area, so I ventured north to check out what's new at Tivoli Square. The answer: not much, but there is a sale at Nash's sports.

Also, it seems all the shops in this area are Obama fans, including Cinnabon and the salon.

CH Retail Investigation, Tuesday, April 15

Rumors are flying that Washington Sports Club and D'Vines could be opening this week!

We also hear that the new Washington Sports Club won't accept the National Fitness Network plan...

Alas! Rumors aren't good enough for this blog. I'm off to investigate, cell phone cam in hand, and will report back shortly.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

CH Retail - Spreading Like Bunnies

This weekend's shopping addition: Radio Shack! Welcome to Columbia Heights, Radio Shack. Good luck staying open with Best Buy bearing down on you. Despite your street access, I'm guessing my electronics loyalties will lie elsewhere. But welcome. May you soon be replaced by a sushi place.

In other retail news, I'm not one to make false promises... so I refuse to commit to a date on this next shop - but know that the opening of D'Vines seems imminent! You can do it D'Vines! Please just do it already. We drank our last bottle of Pinot on Saturday night! WE NEED YOU!

Now, back to your regularly scheduled Sunday Target shopping.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Where are the Columbia Heights Bus Shelters?

As construction winds down at the Columbia Heights metro, will new bus shelters finally arrive to 14th and Irving streets? The answer to that is you'll have to wait until the end of October, at least.

The new bus shelters, part of an agreement between the city and Clear Channel Adshel, made their debut back in the fall. Adshel's website has a calendar of when shelters are supposed to be installed, and it's conveniently divided by ward. And, I have to say, finding the construction schedule was a big surprise, since navigation on dc.gov often starts and ends in extreme frustration. Except when paying parking tickets, I know that process well.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

New Ad Eats Metro Floor

A new ad took over the floor of the Columbia Heights metro station.

Although an eye-catching approach, it was almost too big to digest without stopping and walking around on top of it.

Next, a giant Best Buy tag on the ceiling?

Update: While I was snapping this photo, I met a fellow photo-snapper. You can check out his website and photos (brighter photos of this ad will surely be up there soon) here.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

CH Openings: Don't Be Fooled

When I saw bodies moving about inside Potbelly at 9:30PM on Friday night, I assumed the place had opened. It's appeared ready to go for days.

Alas! Don't be fooled like I was. Friday night activity does not equal open.

Potbelly opens tomorrow, Monday, April 7.

Elsewhere in our ever more bustling slice of metropolis, Staples put some signs up, though they still lack shelves. Word is they won't open until May or June.

D'Vines, sadly, is still sitting there, ready to go, without a single bottle of wine to show for it.

Radio Shack looks promising and may open soon, though paper still covers the windows.

And today, Best Buy lacked the Target traffic. The line was non-existent when I checked out, but the store is quite fabulous. Here is a peek inside in case you haven't been:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Cuffed in the Metro Circa 7:50PM

Metro police caught someone doing something wrong tonight in the Columbia Heights metro station.

An older woman was cuffed, calm, and waiting with two Metro officers as I exited the station just before 8:00PM. She appeared to be complaining about the cuffs, but cooperating.

Anyone know what happened?

ArtBart speculates that she was caught with food or drink. I didn't think they cuffed you for that, just fined you... I hope not anyhow because I totally snuck a few bites of a cookie the other day. That 12 year old girl was arrested for the french fry incident right as I was moving to Washington, so I normally comply with the food rules, but I was famished and there was a cookie in my purse! It could have been worse, I could have snuck the cookie while also leaning my butt against a metro pole. Anyhow, I'm off-track.

Anyone know why that woman was cuffed?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

North-West Side Story? Meet Me in Columbia Heights?

So here's what I'm thinking...

Columbia Heights: The Musical.

I already have a billboard:

And now, I'm taking suggestions for plot and soundtrack. First, I need something to go with this: