Sunday, September 27, 2009

Plaza Clear, Construction Continues

The Park Triangle Civic Plaza is open for enjoyment. Tomorrow the Mayor will be on hand to do some official business at the site.

But despite the nice looking space - the rest of the neighborhood remains torn up by road construction. Kenyon Road is open again and the progress is visible daily.

Check out our slide show - Plaza v. Construction.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Civic Plaza Ribbon Cutting on Monday

OK, now it's official. Monday, Sept. 28 at 10:30 am. Here is the advisory from the Mayor's office.

Fenty Administration to Unveil New Columbia Heights Plaza
Kaleidoscope "Resonance" Water Spring Center of Civic Plaza and Streetscape Project

WHAT: The Fenty administration to unveil the new Columbia Heights Plaza and "Resonance" Fountain.

WHO: Mayor Adrian M. Fenty / Ward-1 Councilmember Jim Graham / District Department of Transportation Director Gabe Klein / DC Arts and Humanities Director Gloria Nauden

WHEN: Monday, September 28, 2009
10:30 am

WHERE: Columbia Heights Civic Plaza
14th Street and Park Road, NW

Friday, September 25, 2009

Letter from Jim Graham re: Chief of Staff Bribery Arrest

From Councilmember Graham:

Dear Friends,

I was deeply upset and deeply saddened to learn that Ted Loza was arrested yesterday by the FBI on charges of taking a bribe.

As my constituents, I want you to know --

I have not personally engaged in any illegal behavior or activity.

What Teddy allegedly did in no way influenced any action I took on legislation. Indeed, Teddy generally is not involved, nor is he consulted on legislative matters which are instead handled by myself and our committee staff.

As I said to FBI agents yesterday, I will fully cooperate with their investigation bringing forth all of the information relevant and needed.

I have placed Teddy on administrative leave effective yesterday, with pay, until there are further developments. Teddy--like all of us-is entitled to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

If you have concerns or questions, please let me know--as always--by using this direct email address for me.

Sincerely, Councilmember Jim Graham

Jim Graham's Chief of Staff Arrested!

First, the intern shoots someone. Now the Chief of Staff gets arrested on federal bribery charges!

Rough few months for Councilmember Graham's office.

Here's the story from the Washington Post:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

CH Civic Plaza Ribbon Cutting on Friday

H/T to William Jordan on the WardOne listserv ... It looks like Mayor Fenty will be in the neighborhood tomorrow for a 10 am ribbon cutting at the new civic plaza at 14th / Kenyon / Park.

This has not been officially confirmed, but we look forward to seeing it on the Mayor's schedule.

If you can make it, please e-mail any photos from the event to

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Countdown Columbia Heights: Best WSC Classes

This is actually only half a countdown. I want some help. As a WSC member, I have a few favorite classes - but I don't take them all (in fact, I really only spin), so who do you think is good?

My top three Washington Sports Club Columbia Heights classes would be...

3. Sarah's Cardio-Kickboxing on Tuesday at 7:30PM
2. Erika's Spin class at 6:30AM on Thursday
1. Claudette's Spin class at 8:15PM Tuesday or 10:00AM Sunday

I don't do yoga or pilates or step or total body conditioning or boot camp or zumba or... you get the point.

So, any more recommendations from the peanut gallery?

Thaitanic II is Coming Very Soon We Hope

Prince of Petworth's awesome inside look at Thaitanic II reminds me that at Columbia Heights Day they told us they'd be open by now!

These things always seem to get delayed because of permits, mostly, so it's not unexpected that they're still working on it. PoP says this weekend, maybe.

BUT - let me just reiterate my excitement... we're getting Thaitanic II! Thaitanic the original is one of my favorite places on 14th Street, and THL predicts this will be a seriously popular addition to the neighborhood.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Is Rumberos Closed? Yes, Yes It Is. UPDATE: But is it staying closed? We don't know.

We got an email asking if Rumberos had closed, so we walked by and sure enough - the windows are papered over and the outdoor tables were stacked up.

As we took this photo, two men came by and started pulling down the banner sign that hangs over half the restaurant.

We've heard rumors of Rumberos demise for a while now. One local restaurant industry leader noted it had some management issues. I thought it had some price issues.

We aren't sure what's going on there, but for now - you'll have to hit Social, Ruby Tuesday or The Heights.

Speaking of The Heights, the Kenyon Street construction is practically on their patio.

UPDATE: Despite what we heard and saw last night, PoP says they might reopen... In which case? What's up with the papered windows. Sketchy....

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pete's! Not just for Apizza!

I think it's pretty obvious that I love Pete's New Haven. And I do. And just now, Michael from Pete's tweeted to say they now have their specials online. And I am irrationally pleased with this.

This includes their special panini, antipasta, pasta and al forno. If you are super skinny and can get away with eating anything - the al forno is ALWAYS to die for. It's also always half cheese or cream or both.

I'm a big fan of their antipasta - and at just $4.95 for a small serving, it's one of the best bargains on the menu. The small serving is a meal on its own and the different four small portions keep it interesting. Check out this week's specials here:

But one thing is missing, Michael. What happened to the farmer's market salad you've been doing?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Vintage photos from back in the day

Mr. T in DC finds the best historical photos of Columbia Heights. Check out the latest of the Cavalier Apartments back when it was the Cavalier Hotel.

LinkCheck it out online at

Columbia Heights Home Sales Stats

The DC Housing Prices blog has home stats up from June (which I found via DC Urban Turf).

According to this info, the average sale price in Columbia Heights was $378,729 and 51 homes were sold, which seems like a lot of sales to me... but hey, I rent.

Bell Multicultural High Book Sale Needs Help

Found on the listserv courtesy of Councilmember Jim Graham:

BOOK SALE--Donate BOOKS, DVDs and CDs to the Columbia Heights Educational Campus to improve the library, literacy programs and purchase LCD projectors at Bell Multicultural High School and Lincoln Middle School. Tax-deductible donations are being accepted at the main offices of Bell and Lincoln during the workday. The campus is located at 3101 16th St. N.W. (corner of 16th and Irving Streets) until Oct. 14. And please join us at the book sale, Saturday Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. in the Bell cafeteria. We will try to pick up books on Wednesdays. Call Marie Drissel 202-797-0832.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Some Thoughts About Giant

Today I offer three thoughts about the Columbia Heights Giant.

Thought 1: Why am I such a sucker for bonus card savings? Bags of shredded cheese are on sale 2 for $5... do I really need 2? No. But they are on sale... One still costs just $2.50... but they are 2 for $5. Of course... I get 2. Anyone want to come over for cheese and crackers? Nachos maybe?

Thought 2: Today I checked out in lane number 10 which is designated as "family-friendly." I guess this means it's not covered in candy as the sign said something about "good choices." It was, however, still full of gum, the same magazines, and had cookies locate precisely at the child eye level. I call BS.

Thought 3: Remember how Giant represented at Columbia Heights Day, sending over members of their team all day long and dishing out their delicious soft cookies? That was awesome.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fountain Construction Update

Lots of activity this week on the neighborhood's civic plaza fountain construction with the installation of the towers seen above. There are still several large pieces of construction equipment on site, so the work continues.

Last time we wrote about how the space was already getting used as a community gathering site. Now the construction has taken up enough of the area that it's pretty much useless for another little while.

The street construction has also shift around some, notably working its way down Irving Street.

As always, crossing the road anywhere near Park Triangle continues to be the bane of my existence.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Colorful Park Benches Public Art Project

Looking for a place to sit in Tivoli North? Local artist Sarah Tooley worked with neighbors and volunteers to paint and install seven benches in the park at the intersection of 14th, Oak and Ogden. The project, called Public Dialogues in Public Places, started with interviews of 60 community members about their feelings, thoughts and relationship to the park and community safety. Their words are transcribed on the benches.

Funding for the project came from a small projects grant from the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities. Has anyone else received a small projects grant for local works?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Read with the Kids at Tubman Elementary

While at Columbia Heights Day, we met volunteers from the Grassroots Education Project (associated with DC for Obama) who are launching a pilot program at Tubman Elementary. You can check out their initiative online here. And you can sign up online to help here.

And here is a description of the program from on of the founders:

DC for Obama launched its Grassroots Education Project on August 22. The Grassroots Education Project will be partnering with Tubman Elementary School in Columbia Heights throughout the coming school year. To date, the project has recruited nearly 350 volunteers who will spend countless hours in the months ahead improving education outcomes at Tubman Elementary.

Through tutoring, mentoring, parent outreach, grant writing, community outreach, fundraising and others activities, we hope to transform this school into a true community school and improve the overall quality of education. Instead of simply going in and focusing our resources on the school to achieve short-term results, we endeavor to cultivate leaders within the surrounding community that can sustain our progress. If we're successful in our efforts, we'll replicate this model across the city.

This pilot program will begin with our Tubman Team, but will hopefully expand after it is initiated and evaluated. Tubman was chosen because it is in the lower 1/4 of DC Public Schools, based on test scores, and it is conveniently located in an accessible and diverse neighborhood. The principal at the school is a dynamic leader who is very excited about our involvement. We have the ability to really take Tubman to the next level in helping it to more fully develop into a community school.

WSC: More Expensive, Still Crappy?

There's some chatter over at one of my favorite places, the CH News Forums, about Washington Sports Club raising rates. Sure enough, we're all paying an extra $3 now.

Some people say the WSC sucks - overcrowding, not that clean, crappy customer service. I will agree that the customer service is generally pretty bad. I've complained about a class before, worried that the instructor was SO BAD that people were actually going to get injured, and the gentleman in charge of their classes couldn't care less.

But you know what? I don't hate WSC. The treadmills work and I like spin class even if most of the bikes need a tune-up. And, that extra three bucks still leaves it a bazillion times cheaper than Results.

I guess we may as well learn to love it... then again, if CH got another gym, I'd probably quit and switch.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Countdown Columbia Heights: Favorite Bartenders

Today we are counting down our favorite bartenders in Columbia Heights. This was difficult - as we love anyone who controls our access to cold beer on a warm day - but these five folks are always there for us.

*Now as we made this list, we had a debate about whether an owner can also be a bartender. For the purposes of this list a bartender is one who tends the bar regularly, even if he or she is also an owner or manager.
*Also, you know Sheena from Looking Glass/Wonderland? We do, and we love her, but we counted her as Looking Glass which is of course in Petworth. Sorry Sheena!

Countdown Columbia Heights: Favorite Five Bartenders

5. Bill, Commonwealth (Bill made me feel better after I dyed my hair a dramatic color. That's a good bartender.)
4. Suzanne, Ruby Tuesday (Sure, she has to make the drinks by the Ruby Tuesday book, but it's a good book and she does a fantastic job.)
3. Dalton, The Heights (Saturday brunch isn't the same without a Dalton Special Bloody Mary, which isn't on the menu - but should be.)
2. Dan, Room 11 (We were lucky to steal him away from Petworth and happy to have him picking our wines.)
1. Soren, Wonderland (Sundress Party? He's there, in a dress. Columbia Heights Day? He's there, pouring beer as fast as he can. Damaged hand? Oh you thought this would stop him - but no! Soren is always there for your alcoholic indulgences, making him our favorite bartender in Columbia Heights.)

Disagree? Make your own list in the comments section.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Civic Plaza Fountain Untarped

Our civic plaza fountain is looking lovely and Justin over at ReadySetDC was lucky enough to wander by as they were testing it. Check out his pictures here:

VA Beach Express Bus Stop on 14th Street

Did anyone else see the tour bus on 14th Street earlier this week? If not, it's about to become commonplace. The Virginia Pilot reports on a new express bus service between Virginia Beach and Washington, DC, will have a stop in Columbia Heights
"Sprinterbuses leave from the Wesleyan Commons Shopping Center on Wesleyan Drive in Virginia Beach.

New York tickets are $35 one-way and $60 round-trip. The bus stops at 34th Street between 6th and 7th avenues, near Penn Station and Madison Square Garden.

Washington tickets will be $20 one-way and $35 round-trip. The bus will stop at 14th and Irving streets near the Columbia Heights metro station."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Civic Plaza Under Construction, But Already Working

This is the image of the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza at Park Triangle on Sunday night. A small jam band had formed near the Rita's entrance and tons of families and friends were lounging around on the newly constructed structures circling the fountain.

Despite the construction all around - from the torn up streets to the guy who had been toiling all weekend under a tarp doing work on the fountain tiles - the civic plaza is already working as a great community meeting place. I'm pretty excited for the final result.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

There'll be Nerds

Don't deny it. DC is a town full of nerds, geeks, and wonks. That is why Nerd Nite is finally bringing its show to the Wonderland on Saturday, Sept. 26. Or as the organizers describe it: "Nerd Nite; it's like the Discovery Channel with beer."

Here's the line-up:

*Presentation #1:
The Neurobiology of Zombies
by Jeremy Kay

Description: Zombie mind control is real! Some types of parasites have the ability to turn their hosts into zombies that serve the needs and whims of the parasitic invader. I'll give some more examples of real-life zombies and delve into the neurobiology of how a parasite can control the behavior of its host.

Bio: Jeremy is a postdoctoral fellow in neuroscience at Harvard. His professional work concerns vision, but he thinks parasite mind-control is far more interesting. His interest in zombies is purely academic. Really. Like, your brain will totally not get eaten if you show up. We promise.

*Presentation #2:
by Seth Cain
I’m not telling you, but it involves the elimination of human waste in space. Yep, I said it.

*Presentation #3:
Vaccines Are Helpful, But Making Them Is Gross
by Rebecca Blank
Description: Vaccines. We’ve all had them (well, ideally all of us). They keep us healthy even though they may make our arms and/or buttocks sore. But since they’re in the news, there are also a lot of misrepresentations of them. Rebecca will dive into the history of vaccines because you probably want to know that some methods involved taking pus from cow's lesions and injecting it into humans. Or that there once was an actual Cooties vaccine which we should all have been immunized against in childhood if our friends were nice enough to provide us with. Oh, and she’ll talk about the real science behind them, besides just recounting the icky details.

Bio: Coming soon (Rebecca currently has the swine flu – seriously – so she’s currently focused on fever reduction instead of bio writing)

Music and mental hygiene and Cold War film footage by indie rock supergroup Overlord ( which features former Nerd Nite presenter George Pasles on vocals and lead guitar, current Palomar ( bassist and former Nerd Nite presenter Sarah ‘Brockett’ Brockett, part-time Palo keyboardist Tris McCall, and past drummer Matt Houser. And Kerry too.

More information is on the Nerd Nite website or its Facebook page.

Columbia Heights Pizza Battle

The Washingtonian Pizza Pool is in the final four. Councilmember Jim Graham weighed in on the CH listserv in favor of Red Rocks in their last battle, but now where will Councilmember Graham fall as Red Rocks takes on Pete's Apizza? It's a Columbia Heights pizza battle for the ages. One can't live while the other survives... or something. I think that's a Harry Potter prophecy.

Anyhow, I'm sorry Columbia Heights, but you must choose. Vote here. You have until noon tomorrow. May the pizza be with you.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Arrest in 14th Street Murder

WUSA Channel 9 is reporting on an arrest in the 14th Street murder of a 48 year old woman over the weekend. A 17 year old has been arrested and charged as an adult. Read the story here:

Has anyone heard any more about the Park Street shooting? Someone asked in the comment section. All we know is what 3D put out on the listserv.