Saturday, May 31, 2008

WSC Opens Tomorrow in Columbia Heights

Those elliptical machines taunting us from the DCUSA windows will finally be in action starting tomorrow (June 1).
Washington Sports Club opens its doors at 8:00AM. As of yet, no class schedule has been published online - but I'll check upon visiting.
You can see the gym's stats by clicking here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Do the hula for Columbia Heights

I love my Columbia Heights Day 2007 T-shirt. And while the field behind Harriet Tubman Elementary was dusty and sparse last year, here’s hoping Columbia Heights Day 2008—set for October 4—brings a bigger crowd. The organizers are holding a luau this Saturday at the Looking Glass Lounge from 7 pm to midnight. Or check out the CHD website for more details.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Listserv Post of the Day: Jim Graham has Metro Stats

From Councilmember Jim Graham on the Metro/Employment/Shopping impact of DCUSA and Target. (Maybe this increased Metro riding explains what happened to the northbound escalator -- new poll on the left.) And now, Jim Graham:
Dear Friends:

Shoppers are using Metro in record numbers to get to Target and other stores. The evidence shows that new commerce is thriving in Columbia Heights--and transit use is part of the key.

Before the Target opened, residents were concerned about how all the new shoppers would affect their neighborhood--some feared widespread auto gridlock.

Lots of people *are* traveling to the store. The store's opening day had the second highest sales of all Target stores in the country. Thankfully, many of them are riding Metro or walking.

Metro riders at Columbia Heights have increased 24% during weekdays compared to the previous year. On weekends, the number is up to 39%. Surely some of this relates to the high cost of gasoline, and a general switch to public transportation.

But, the retail center has a 1,000 car garage. The garage still hasn't reached capacity. On average, only 250 cars are there. During peak hours, 350-400 cars are there. In fact, the second level has not been used to date.

Also, 25% of the new Target employees live right here in Ward One--80% overall live in DC. With fewer employees needing to drive in, parking is more available.

Bests, Councilmember Jim Graham
Board Member, Metro/WMATA

Commenter Question: I need a burger?

From the comments section just one post down.

Since the Heights Life has its finger on the pulse of CH, I figured I would ask you. Any idea how far off Five Guys is from opening? I was looking for a quick, cheap burger for take out the other day and came up short.

Jimmy D

Well Jimmy D, the last The Heights Life heard about those restaurant developments in Highland Park, including your coveted Five Guys, they were slated to open during the month of June. This might not include the new gastropub, but hopefully your burger fix will be satiated in the next four weeks. We'll let you know if we hear more and we'll investigate the space this week.

Columbia Heights Forum Mixer Love

The Columbia Heights Forum participants organized themselves into a mixer tonight at the Wonderland. Someone said the "more controversial" members stayed away. But, those who attended exposed their handles and their faces to each other, and The Heights Life camera.

You can visit the forums on the web by clicking here.

And on an unrelated note... on the way home, we caught something you don't see every day... a bus being towed:

Monday, May 26, 2008

Kenyon Square Wins NAHB Award

Kenyon Square is boasting about its recent Pillar Award honor from the
National Association of Home Builders. The award honors "the best in
multifamily design, from low-rise to mixed-use, in rentals and
condos." Other winners in DC include Union Row and the Kennedy-Warren.
Also, did you know that Union Row's website is,
but it's actually on V Street. False marketing, no?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Listserv Post of the Day: Love Class?

We read the listserv so you don't have to. I edited this post down to the essentials:
Weekly class on preparing for love!

I am sending out this invitation to single women who 1. want to find a
partner and 2. have decided to prioritize making space for and claiming what
they want...

Cost is $200. 50% of this will go to a nonprofit, (or, with your permission,
to Obama's campaign).


Columbia Heights Gets A Street Performer

I thought he was pretty good!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Happy Houring with the PoP

The Heights Life hit the Prince of Petworth happy hour tonight.

Upon arrival at Looking Glass Lounge, it was a relief to see some semblance of the old Temperance Hall. A sign, however, does not taste as good as a fuji and fontina sandwich. As much as we are loyal to our Wonderland owners and support their Petworth endeavor, we're always going to miss the Temperance Hall menu. That burger was the best.

But to be fair, the food we saw at Looking Glass seemed like it would taste quite good, and the food we ate did taste quite good.

We spent the dining time trying to scope out the PoP. At first I thought the back of this head might be his:

I was mistaken. Turns out this is the back of his head:

Note that the outdoor area of Looking Glass was open, but on this May night it was cool enough that Matthew turned on the heat lamps! On this point, my mother would say: "See, there's no global warming." And I would reply: "Actually mother, one indication of global warming is increasingly extreme weather patterns, hot or cold." Mother's reply? "Whatever."

Anyhow, thanks to the Prince of Petworth for hosting a lovely happy hour. We made some new friends and drank a few beers. What more can you ask for on a Wednesday?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Spot The Heights Life in a Crowd

Spud Lite wrote yesterday about my tendency to write about bars a little too much, and this post is no exception. Tonight is another semi-regular happy hour hosted by fellow blogger Prince of Petworth:

WHERE: Looking Glass Lounge, 3634 Georgia Ave NW
WHEN: 7 pm

Come have a few beers, lament the loss of the old Temperance Hall burger, and see if you can spot The Heights Life in the crowd.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

DCUSA Security: School is Cool

Apparently the DCUSA security team abides by a "Stay in School" rule.

As I was walking into the complex around 2:45PM a security guard (or perhaps hired police officer, I am not sure) stopped two younger looking folks to quiz them about their ages. When it came out that they were school-going youth, he told them they couldn't enter the building until 3PM.

The kids left quietly and on the street I heard one say she got out early. Anyhow, the lesson: School is Cool, kids! Target is also cool, but only after 3PM.

Biking the Heights: CH on Two Wheels

Though based on ArtBart's recent posts, it would seem that this blog has rededicated itself to booze reviews instead of notes on life in the Heights. I swear we've got more for you.

And today, we've got biking. ArtBart and I are both recent converts to the way of two wheels and we've noticed a plethora of cyclists in the area recently. I know some of you have been doing this for years, but many of you might want to jump on the band wagon with gas prices up and metro full of butts on poles. DC was recently ranked the most improved city for cyclists by Bicycling Magazine (read about it here on the City Bikes blog). So, in case you plan to pick up a new Schwinn at Target, we've got some notes for you on biking the Heights.

1. Going downtown = Easy, fun / Coming home from downtown = A bitch
For those of you who are employed south of the Heights, biking to work is a breeze. It's a smooth ride with few sweat-inducing moments. But it's not called "Columbia Lows" and that means the trip home is a climb. Be prepared to sweat through your oxford on the trip uphill, or do what we do - bring some extra clothes and consider the trip home your daily cardio.

2. The local hills are not all equal...
11th Street: Steep, but short, with a bike lane. This is a good option in both directions, even if it takes you off course a little.
14th Street: Long drag, no bike lane, buses. I do it all the time, but I don't always like it. Traffic.
15th Street: Super steep, awkward turns. I say avoid this, and as a commenter points out - it's one way, so don't go downhill as I previously suggested. I never take this street.
16th Street: Might be a bit gentler than 14th St. Also long, but with a sidewalk option to avoid buses. Lots of traffic.

3. Buses are thine enemy!
I think I hate the 50 buses the most when I'm on a bike. The S buses on 16th certainly aren't friendly, but they don't have any means by which to cut you off, thus they are forced into some degree of submission.

The 50 buses, on the other hand, are beasts. Between CH and U St. there isn't a bike lane, but as soon as that bike lane comes in north or south of CH, the 50 buses see a prime opportunity to cut off the ever-exposed biker. They pull into and out of that bike lane as if you aren't right there. It's a bit dangerous, and we all know Metro buses aren't known for NOT hitting people. Keep an eye on those 50s.

4. Bike Lanes = The Best
I frequently go off-route just to ride a street with a bike lane. In the Heights, this can mean going from 13th to 11th to R back to 14th. This route means only about three bike lane-free blocks. Washington now has 30+ miles of bike lanes, so we may as well use them.

DC DOT has a great map of local bike lanes. Here's the section where we live.

5. This is kind of unrelated, but bike taxis are fun!
This has nothing to do with the bike as a totally functional form of transportation, but ArtBart and I once bike taxied ourselves home from a bar and it was probably the best idea ever. They will even come get you! Check out DC Pedicab.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Listserv Post of the Day

Honestly, your bloggers do more than just celebrate drinking in the neighborhood.

From the WardOneDC listserv:
WINE & BEER at Pete's New Haven Style Apizza

Pete's New Haven Style Apizza, located in the Highland Park building at the Columbia Heights Metro, 14th and Irving Streets, now has wine and beer! We're starting off with four beers on draft this weekend: Allagash White, Yuengling, Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA, and Dominion Lager. Because we just obtained our license today, we probably won't have a full Friday night's supply of all four brews, but rest assured we'll be restocked tomorrow. We're also working with a distributor to offer a selection of bottled beers starting next week, including a great Italian summer favorite, Peroni. Stay tuned! On the wine side, we have five reds and five whites, all Italian, with a range intended to match the flavors of your meal, from light and summery to fruit-bomb reds. We'll publish a detailed list shortly. Pete's has been open for three weeks now, and we are most grateful for all of the support and kind words. If you're from Connecticut, make sure to tell us! We're beginning to keep a map highlighting the town of origin of out Connecticut guests!

Mike Wilkinson

202-332-PETE (7383)

Sunday-Thursday 11A-10P

Friday-Saturday 11A-11P

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Coming this Fall: Wine and Pastries on 11th Street

This started as "scuttlebutt" on PoP, but commenter New2CH adds some details from a recent ANC meeting: The 11th Street Deli will be closing to make way for a wine bar and pastry shop opening as soon as September. There's not much more information, but we will keep you updated as the 11th Street corridor continues to attract new businesses. While I enjoyed grabbing a sandwich from the 11th Street Deli from time-to-time, I won't necessarily miss it. I wonder if the new spot will be similar to SOVA on H Street NE?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Yet Another Post about Drinking Outside

Last week, we asked where is your favorite outdoor spot in the Columbia Heights to grab a beer or have a meal, and the winner by one vote is Red Rocks. Pizza for everyone! I am partial to 11th Street versus 14th Street, but that's because come Fourth of July, you can't beat the neighborhood fireworks displays. And the rest of the time, there's a lot less car fumes.

Monday, May 12, 2008

D'Vines Stocks Up

The Heights Life took a trip to d'vines to investigate the shelf situation. When the place first opened it was divine because it was open late seven days a week and sold good goods, but it wasn't exactly full of options. (See an interview we did with the manager here)

Now, however, all the vin is in and the beer case is so very colorful. We took home a South African Shiraz.

ArtBart says: It hits the sides of my tongue. I taste berries.
Spud Lite says: I think I taste the pepper packets you get with pizza, but that might just be because Pat at d'vines said it was "peppery."
ArtBart says: I want another glass.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Columbia Heights Forum Mixer? Yes, I said Mixer!

Apparently some folks over on the Columbia Heights News Forums started getting rough with each other.

But, it seems they enjoyed it enough to plan a mixer! Read the exchange here.

We spoke with one of the event planners at the Wonderland the other night, and this thing is a go.

When: Thursday, May 29th, Time = Nebulous
Where: The Wonderland, of course
Who: Columbia Heights News Forum Fighters and YOU!
Why: Because why not? ArtBart says it's on her calendar.

Also of note, the Price of Petworth is planning a PoP Happy Hour for May 21 at Looking Glass.

WTF: The Highland Park lobby

The best (read most ridiculous) website ever describes it as a "modern lobby with color-changing lighted 3form® walls." I describe it simply as, is this really necessary? While Washington has its share of gorgeous, albeit overpriced, apartment buildings and their equally luxe lobbies, the lobby for Highland Park is unlike any other.

Walking east on Irving a few nights ago, I wondered where the odd neon lights reflecting on the sidewalk and off the dark DCUSA storefronts was coming from. It was the Highland Park lobby, obviously, with a design aesthetic more akin to Miami Beach or nightclub set from an old episode of Alias. Not only are there color-changing walls and DWR couches, but there are suspended acrylic ball chairs, bamboo shoots, and orchids. My camera phone pictures capture only a taste of the mod-ness, so take a moment and stop to watch the pretty lights and experience the trippiness of it all.

Get your papers, pens, and printers on May 24

Staples is coming! Staples is coming! The sign on the door reads, opening May 24, so start making your shopping list. Here are The Heights Life we are hoping to get some snazzy pens and a hole puncher.

RESPONSE: Spud Lite here. Although ArtBart seems psyched about this Staples business, I must wonder... between Target and Best Buy, aren't the Staples goods covered? And with Fed-Ex Kinkos right across the street, don't we have the office crapola market saturated? I'm just guessing that my new pens will be Target pens. Back to you ArtBart!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Look What We Found!

Not to encroach on the Prince of Petworth's lawn art territory, but this planter/farewell card/lawn art on Irving was just so lovely.

It's missing an antler, but it does seem to be producing some fine foliage. And, as an added bonus, it has personal messages written all over it, plus a drawn-on mouth and eyeball. did I mention it's as gold as can be? Does anyone know this gem's full story?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Columbia Heights = Coffee Haven?

How much coffee can CH handle?

This question is about to be tested. We learned last week that Mocha Hut is heading into Highland Park. The news prompted a discussion about the plethora of coffee shop options in the area over on the Columbia Heights News forums. And previously, ArtBart blogged about the CH cup o' joe.

Between Mayorga, Starbucks, the Target Starbucks, Sticky Fingers, Cinnabon, Columbia Heights Coffee, now the Mocha Hut and anyone I've left out - this is officially a well-caffeinated neighborhood.

So who will survive the Great CH Java Battle? Is there a market for this much mocha in Columbia Heights?

Vitamin Shoppe: So Much Whey!

The Vitamin Shoppe opened last week, full of powders and pills to make your hair grow and your muscles bulge.

So today, The Heights Life went to see what pills we could pop for some self-improvement. The grand opening means everything is also on sale! How could I resist discounted fish oil?

Around and around I went, protein powder here, fasting tea there, raspberry pills all over. Wait... raspberry pills? Why not just eat some raspberries? I think maybe I don't understand the Vitamin Shoppe.

Regardless, here is a little video. Note: Despite our weeks of anticipation, you actually can't find Metabolife on the Shoppe's shelves. Oh well, that stuff is probably really bad for you.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Pump it Up

I usually just use a foot pump to keep my bike's tires in check, but
should there be any need for free air it's good to know there is some
right in the neighborhood.

Men in Dresses: The Wonderland Annual Sun Dress Party

The Wonderland Ballroom held its annual sun dress party (still going on as I write this) today, providing the neighborhood with a true feast.

There was delicious roast pig, slaw and beans to eat. And for eating with the eyes: girls and boys galore decked out in pretty summer sun dresses. They even had a rack available for those needing to buy a dress - $10 with the proceeds going to the Latin American Youth Center on Columbia Road.

We caught Matthew and Rose, the Wonderland and Looking Glass Lounge owners, out front. Matthew switched up his dress at least twice, and maybe more.

We also captured a little video in case you missed it:

And in case you haven't noticed, the Wonderland has an updated website, no longer exclusively on MySpace. Check it out here.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Listserv Post of the Day

Ah, the there-are-no-good-bagels-in-DC rant takes another form. From today's Columbia Heights Digest:

My Potbelly Review - Two thumbs Down
Posted by: aisha_mills
Fri May 2, 2008 9:01 am (PDT)

Anyone know where I can get a decent breakfast sandwich to-go in the Columbia Heights/U Street area? I just had an awful experience at Potbelly… Disclaimer: Sure, I admit it. I’m biased. I’ve never liked Potbelly anyway—I’ve found their sandwiches to be small, sub-par, and expensive... Yep, you guessed it, I’m a Booeymonger snob…

Nonetheless, I just stopped in to the new Columbia Heights Potbelly today for the first time to get a breakfast bagel. The service was extremely slow—although there was only one couple in line in front of us, my girlfriend and I waited 15 minutes for 2 skinny bagel sandwiches with egg and cheese. I should have known I’d be disappointed when I had to instruct the employee on how to actually “skinny” my bagel sandwich, despite the big fat sign on the wall advertising—go figure—“skinny sandwiches”.

I ended up with a burnt bagel chip “sandwich” that had two sad tablespoon size egg beaters in the middle. The staff at the register was so embarrassed that they had another one made for me which ended up being a bit better, but still unappetizing. Come to find out, they don’t even use real bagels, but some spongy “skinny” wheat product with a whole in the middle. Yuck (I’m also an adopted New Yorker, so I want REAL bagels damn it!). So much for having real food for breakfast. BTW, this took another 10 minutes even though I was now the only person in the place.

My review of Potbelly’s offerings for what its worth: If you’re into gourmet fast food, stick with Chipotle, and if you want a good deli sandwich, walk up to Subway or treat yourself and go across town to Booeymongers. If your thing is yuppy ambiance, just go to Busboys… If you want to sit and have a cup of “Starbucks coffee”, a cookie, and read the paper, then just go across the street to Starbucks—or avoid the corporate-cash-cow-scene all together and have your latté and sweets at Mayorga or Sticky Fingers… And if you want a decent breakfast sandwich, you’re better off making one at home.

Speaking of Booeymonger, wouldn't it be great to have one in the neighborhood?

From Other Blogs: A Tour of Highland Park

As someone who remembers when most of the new developments in Columbia Heights were just giant holes in the ground, it is pretty cool when a building finally opens. The Prince of Petworth has a preview of the Highland Park apartments, and his photo from the roof looking down Columbia Road is too sweet not to post.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Calendar: Local Farmers Markets Open this Weekend

Taking a break from CH listserv absurdity and retail openings, to note that the Mt. Pleasant and 14th and U Streets farmers markets will be up and running this Saturday. I am a fan of both and plan on a bike tour Saturday morning with perhaps a pit stop in Adams Morgan at So's Your Mom for a pumpernickel bagel. Details are below and check out other farmers markers using the WaPo's interactive map.

Market Stands

14th and U Street Farmers Market
14th and U streets NW
9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, May 3-Nov. 22

Mount Pleasant Farmers Market
3200 Mount Pleasant St. NW (Lamont Park)
9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, May 3-Nov. 22

CH Listserv Post of the Day: On Target Muggings

Sent to the Columbia Heights listserv from "Janet" on Wednesday, April 30:

Your suggestion that an earlier post concerning a mugging at the CH mall parking lot was an "urban myth" is remarkable and offensive. I think if you were the victim of this type of physical violence, you wouldn't take such a smug attitude. Anyone paying attention KNOWS that this type of incident is an every day occurence in Columbia Heights. Why would we think a parking garage in a new shopping center would be immune to the damaged kids that haunt this part of the city?

And to the DC police and CM's office that might happen to read this post, ANSWER the god damn question about this mugging!

This post was responded to on the listserv, though Janet's question wasn't answered (yet). This blog, however, hears from our own tipsters that the Target parking garage mugging was, in fact, a myth.

D'Vines Grand Opening Tomorrow

Though d'vines has been selling me pinot and malbec for a week, almost two, the official grand opening will be held tomorrow afternoon.

Sadly, this blog will be out of the area and forced to miss it, but we promise to stop by after the affair to grab a bottle our two and celebrate the store whilst watching Lost.

Good luck d'vines and welcome to The Heights Life!

Combo Blog? No Thanks.

Over on the Columbia Heights News Forums, New2CH proposed that all the new and old local blogs combine forces for one new UBERblog.

Though we appreciate New2CH's enthusiasm, we don't think we want to join up with any of our blogosphere colleagues. This blog, right here, it's special. We have something the others don't have: a strict anti-NoVa stance that we embrace with borderline absurdity. Would others tolerate that stance? Well, we can't take the risk that they won't! It's what we do here at the Heights-loving Heights Life.

However, New2CH is on to something, which is that these blogs do spread neighborhood news. Perhaps an alternate proposal is afoot... maybe a place like Columbia Heights News should have a page that aggregates the local blogs? Pull from all of us for the UBERblog, while still allowing each site to maintain its own voice?

Anyhow, thanks to New2CH for noticing us in the first place. We're just happy to be here (and not in NoVa!).