Sunday, January 18, 2009

Inauguration - Share Your Woes

ArtBart plans on writing up some sort of helpful Inauguration guide/tips for our readers.

I plan on bitching, and you're invited to join in! Have a complaint about a tourist? Forced to take your coat off to get onto the mall? See someone get cut in half by the Metro doors, requiring the entire train to be emptied? Share your stories by emailing I'll post them here.

I have some concerns about Metro's viability as we enter this Inaugural crush. See the poll I added - it's on your left.

When it was really cold earlier this week and the Metro was more crowded than the norm, we had problems, DC. The problem was that the doors wouldn't close. The train operator would complain "get out of the way or we're kicking everyone off the train," but nobody was in the way. It was freezing and the train was busted. Not just one train, not just two, but trains upon trains suffered this problem (ok, I have no stats - but I promise it was more than one based on eyewitness accounts). If the commute was that rough on a normal weekday... can you imagine the Metro doom that's on its way?

Friday, January 16, 2009

"Solidarity" Event with Jim Graham at 14th & Girard

From Councilmember Jim Graham:

Dear Friends, Monday night's shooting at the Columbia Heights Community Center was a tragic and despicable act. The shattered glass remains and will soon be replaced. However, the shooting has not shattered our commitment and determination to support young people and to end gang and crew violence.

Please join me on Friday, January 16, 11:30 AM, at the Columbia Heights Community Center to take a stand for Peace and Solidarity in Ward One. Joining me will be Gail Oliver of the Columbia Heights Youth Club, directors of numerous other community based organizations in Ward One, principals, ministers and community residents in an action of solidarity and determination to work together to end gang and crew violence in Ward One.

Please join in. Contact Calvin Woodland or John De Taeye in my office for more information at 724.8181.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Columbia Heights featured in New York Times

The New York Times Dining Section today featured the restaurants of Columbia Heights, Petworth, and other DC neighborhoods. Former Colorado Kitchen (and soon Meeting House) owner Gillian Clark leads the writer on a tour of the neighborhood, including a stop at Columbia Heights Coffee. It's a great read.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Where to drink until 4 am next week

Local blog Capital Spice did a service to all by making a handy Google map of which area bars and restaurants will be open late during Inauguration festivities next week. Those looking to stay out late in Columbia Heights, though, will only be able grab a 3:57 am drink at Rumberos. Absent from the DC ABRA's list: Wonderland, Red Rocks, The Heights, Commonwealth, and Red Derby.

View Larger Map

Also, most Adams Morgan bars will have modified hours:
Friday, Jan. 16 and Saturday, Jan. 17 - close at 3 am
Sunday, Jan. 18 and Monday, Jan. 19 - close at 3 am
Tuesday, Jan. 20 - close at 4 am

Ruby Tuesday = guilty pleasure?

Encouraged by a post last week on the Prince of Petworth, Saturday night was all about four words: Ruby Tuesday. Salad bar.  A visit to Ruby Tuesday has always been on The Heights Life's to do list (believe it or not), but there always seemed to be a better option when hungry. And I tend to associate Ruby Tuesday—and similar "casual dining establishments"—with suburban ennui. Well, I can report that my dinner was certainly not boring and it was mainly due to the salad bar. And mayonnaise. And a decent $3 beer.

OK, the mayonnaise, potatoes, and eggs option called "potato salad," and mayonnaise and apple combo (read: faux-Waldorf salad) were forgettable but it was an overall pleasant meal. And it's nice to have a fairly inconspicuous spot in the neighborhood. Who really ever expects to have a meal at Ruby Tuesday? As my dining companions noted that there were a lot of quiet, dark corners in the restaurant, I quipped it could be the Hamburger Hamlet of Columbia Heights.

So take note, if you have a date you don't want to be seen in public with, or need to meet with a 21st century Deep Throat, head up to Ruby Tuesday on 14th and Monroe. No one will suspect a thing.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Crime Update: Homicide, Mail Theft, Irving Street

The Heights Life thinks it's time for some crime fighting resolutions in 2009. Maybe MPD and Jim Graham should resolve that this year... things will actually get better. Maybe? Because so far, '09 is off to a rough start.


Last week a homicide occurred around 13th and Columbia, in an alley. This location has been cited previously for shootings. Here are the details divulged by Jim Graham:

According to MPD, just minutes ago, a 25 year old African American was shot dead in what is reportedly a drive by shooting on the 1300 block of Columbia Rd NW. A silver SUV was seen leaving the site. Police indicate that this as a targeted shooting.

There were many shots fired at 1310 Columbia Rd.

Another man with gun shot wounds apparently took himself to MedStar. It is not clear now whether there is any connection between the two shootings.

There were other shootings in southeast DC, some four or five persons shot within one hour.....a very violent night for our city.

There are no further details at this time, but more will follow soon. Councilmember Jim Graham

Mail Theft

The Columbia Heights listserv is overflowing with reports and complaints about mail theft. One individual said he/she followed a woman after her mail was lifted and watched her do it to several other homes. Repeated calls to MPD didn't help, as when they finally showed up to investigate it was too late to prove a thing.

I've personally experienced this problem about a year ago when I attempted to have a UPS package delivered. It was stolen and apparently signed for - but not by me. Like many of the folks on the listserv, I now have all packages delivered to an office.

Irving Street

Last night, the 1300 block of Irving Street was closed down for a police investigation. Dogs were sniffing around several front yards and at least four police cars were present. The officers wouldn't say anything other than, "we're just conducting an investigation." So, for more information, I attempted to use the DC Crime Map that ArtBart wrote about.

Though it wasn't up to date enough to help, I did learn that within 1000 feet of the busiest intersection in Columbia Heights (14th and Irving), there have been 11 violent crimes and 22 property crimes reported and logged in the last 30 days.

So, with an economic downturn and crime upswing... is there any hope that maybe this year be better than the last?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Inaugural Tips From Our Local Union

Some tips from our local union on handling the Inauguration. Smile! DC is about to TOTALLY BREAK IN HALF! I do like that they encourage us to get the tourists to stand on the right, walk on the left. Because that's about to get brutal.

ATU Local 689's Nine Tips for Inaugural Metro Travel

1. Begin your travel day with a smile and a positive attitude! You’re about to witness history!
2. Expect crowds and crowded trains. The District is expected to host between 2-4 million people for the inaugural celebration. Be patient, as there will be delays.
3. Dress warmly, wear comfortable shoes and pack lightly. Even if you decide to take the Metro to inaugural activities, be prepared to walk. Also, the warmer and more comfortable you are, the more helpful and friendly you can be to visitors.
4. A simple and polite “excuse me” always works. Try these friendly phrases – “Excuse me, please stand to the right on the escalator” or “Excuse me, I’m attempting to board the train.”
5. Be as helpful as possible. We are residents and Metro riders that know how things work. Let’s share the knowledge to keep things moving smoothly!
6. Be aware of your surroundings by keeping the ear buds of your music player at a level where you can hear announcements and you won’t disturb your fellow passengers.
7. Buy your Metro cards or load up your SmartTrip before January 20th. You’ll be glad you planned ahead!
8. Local ATU members are at your service to help in any way possible. Feel free to direct tourists to the Metro kiosks for any problems or concerns.
9. There will be an unusually high number of riders so please move quickly into the Metro car when the Metro stops and into the center of the car to allow more people to safely board the train.

Feel free to visit for more information.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Good-bye listserv crime logs, hello

In light of Spud Lite's earlier post about the absence of daily crime logs on the local MPD listserv, Police Chief Lanier sent a message to listservs promoting the department's new online crime mapping system at

I checked out the website and while the information is (thankfully) current, it lacks the quick read nature of the the crime log. Upon searching by address, police district, or police service area, as well as date range, the crime statistics reporter is posted. To see where these crimes occurred, you then have to click the "view map" feature. When reading the earlier crime reports it was easy to do a quick scan to see of anything happened around my apartment. Now there is an extra step and the need to visit the website on a regular basis. Because of course DC is not using Google Maps (thus the need for screen grabs).

Metro: Efficient Inefficiency

As anyone who boards the Metro at Columbia Heights via the Northbound entrance knows... that thing is downright broken.

Almost daily I plod down the slippery stairs in heels not meant for plodding wondering - when, why, didn't they just fix this thing?

Apparently our Metro escalator is classified as a "MAJOR REPAIR," per WMATA, and is set to be in repair mode until March, at least.

But I do have good news - note the headline. After weeks of metal stairs where an escalator used to live, we have some movement! In the morning, the escalator has been going down. Then at night... it goes up!

Sure - only one side works.... and it's been broken FOREVER and won't be fixed for MONTHS yet. But nonetheless... a little efficient inefficiency. And for that I say - thanks for trying, Metro.

Update: The More Things Change...

Since we last blogged...

Nothing happened. Really, now, did anything happen? Because Royal Blue is still a Royal Bust (though I suspect some activity behind those papered windows), we don't have any new sushi to speak of, Target is still there, the Metro escalators are still busted, and where is that new Ellwood Thompson grocery store even going?

But here are a few neighborhood tidbits for your reading pleasure.

First - the WSC whining continues over at the Columbia Heights Forum. I was there when this person was at least once or twice and I got a towel. But hey - I have my own complaints about the place... the new arc trainers caused a shift in weight machines causing no place to do crunches on a massive bouncy ball! Oh my!

Second - where have all our crime reports gone? ArtBart reported on this today for me when I realized it's been AGES since I've known who got mugged where and when and which type of car is being stolen today. Apparently the MPD has decided that the lists were often inconsistent and potentially hindering their investigations. What do you think? Was the daily crime report useful? If so, how?

Finally - The Heights Life would like to beg you to NOT rent your place for the Inauguration. This neighborhood has the benefit of being hotel free. Let's be good neighbors and not invite the madness! We promise to stay if you will... (then again, if you've rented to someone famous - please let us know ASAP (!)

Resolutions: Sorry This Blog Sucks!

Why hello there!

What's that? You thought we moved to Northern Virginia. Umm... huh humm...


No no, we just got distracted by the pretty lights and cheap shoes of the holiday season.

But have no fear! This blog made a regrettable New Year's resolution to make something happen in 2009. And if that won't work... we promise CONTENT. And maybe it won't even really be CONTENT so much as... musings?

There we go... we promise some fresh musings. Happy New Year from The Heights Life!

Please email us your tips and stories and anything you want us to post here. Thanks!