Saturday, March 28, 2009

Let's Circulate: Bus Arrives Tomorrow

According to, our new bus should arrive tomorrow.

You can click here for the route, which is called Woodley Park - Adams Morgan - McPherson Square Metro. I, however, am going to call it the Columbia Heights route.

And, on Monday - the 16th Street Express starts. It's like "Buses Gone Wild" around here.

Columbia Heights, Best of DC 2009

The "Best of DC 2009" from the Washington City Paper is up and Columbia Heights walked away with some choice prizes, such as best and second best neighborhood bar and best bakery.

You can read the whole list here.

A few highlights:

Best Up and Coming Neighborhood: Columbia Heights
Best Neighborhood Bar: The Wonderland
Second Best Neighborhood Bar: The Red Derby
Best Rooftop View: Keyon Square
Best Bakery: Sticky Fingers
Best Burger: Five Guys
Best Designed Retail Space: DC USA
Best Vegan Restaurant: Sticky Fingers
Second Best Pizza: Pete's Apizza
Second Best Dive Bar: The Wonderland
Third Best Blogger: Prince of Petworth

Now certainly this list has some absurdities about it - as if DC USA is actually so brilliantly designed? Or, perhaps the greatest crime on the whole City Paper list - best coffee shop. Come on DC, I drink Starbucks too, but you've got to give the love to the locals! How on earth did Starbucks make the list?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Countdown to Circulator: Bus route announced

As reported last month, a Circulator bus will begin service to Columbia Heights in late-March, and now the Washington Business Journal has a preview of its route:

View Larger Map

At only $1 per trip, the bus service is affordable and—from using its other routes—dependable as well. With a Circulator arriving every 10 minutes will you even wait for a 50-bus anymore to head south on 14th Street?

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Pho 14 is open for business! 1436 Park Road, NW.

Has anyone tried it yet? Give us a report!

UPDATE: Looks like the restaurant will officially be open for business by the end of the week.

Transportation Report: Street Cleaning, Yogurt Pretzels, Single Tracks

A few transportation notes to report.

Street sweeping is back on March 23, 2009. Have fun moving your cars all summer long, folks.

The Yellow/Green line is single tracking again this weekend between Mt. Vernon and Shaw. When will it end? I don't know because WMATA won't tell me.

And we have three escalator alerts for the Columbia Heights Metro station. The date given below is when it's expected to be fixed. These dates get pushed back, and pushed back some more. I can't help but wonder if the first INCIDENT/ACCIDENT involves those yogurt pretzels that are now part of the Northbound stairs. If that side of the escalator wasn't busted before, I bet it is now after months of not running and being covered in Columbia Heights garbage:

Escalator between street and mezzanine, 14th Street Northbound Entrance

Escalator between street and mezzanine, 14th Street Southbound Entrance

Escalator between street and mezzanine, 14th Street Northbound Entrance

Rita's is OPEN! Plus: Pho Watch

I just had a Rita's Gelati. Why? Because I can. Rita's is OPEN for the season. They unlocked the doors yesterday.

In addition to the Pretzel Blendini's we mentioned, they also have a "light" menu on the door. And, next Friday for the first day of Spring, Rita's will be offering their traditional celebratory free ice.

Also, has us on Pho 14 watch. If anyone sees this place open in the coming days, let us know (theheightslife at gmail dot com). The new restaurant is opening on Park Road on the backside of DCUSA.

While we love the influx of new places, The Heights Life thinks we need more places that stay open late on weekends. Right now the only option for late night food is getting some mac and cheese from CVS and cooking it yourself (note: mac and cheese is delicious, especially at 1AM).

24 Hour Drawing Project on U Street

On Friday night, The Heights Life stopped by the Hamiltonian Gallery (14th and U) to check out the 24 Hour Drawing Project. (Click here for the local NBC coverage of it.) The 14th St. corridor is dotted with small galleries and on almost any weekend, one of these places has something going on.

At this event, six artists spent 24 hours in the Hamiltonian space creating new works of art. We showed up 12 hours in - they all seemed alert and apparently had no Red Bull on hand!

There was one woman building a house, several artists working around a table, and someone else manipulating blue dust on the floor (these descriptions are wholly inadequate and I will caveat that I am not an artist, an art critique, or remotely educated about art).

Leah White, my favorite of the participating artists, was using shadows of gallery visitors to create cut-outs which she displayed throughout the space. At first, I walked in and saw people hard at work, but I didn't see much in the way of results. But then I realized that Leah's work had truly permeated the space. Her shadows - done on black contact paper, I think - were embedded in the other artists' work, lining the floor, and slowly taking over the room. For a casual observer, her project was easy to grasp and appreciate.

The Hamiltonian Gallery's current exhibit remained on display during the 24 hour project. If you are a bibliophile, I hope you checked it out. The artists on display had manipulated books, words and language in a striking way. For more on that exhibit, click here. It was scheduled to end today.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Taking Punches to the Glut

Punch was a staple at holiday parties when I was growing up. Just pour some cranberry juice, a bottle of ginger ale, the all-important container of raspberry sherbet, add ice, maybe a little mint, and — voila! — a tasty nonalcoholic drink for the entire family to enjoy. What’s new in the DC cocktail scene, though, is not your family's fruit punch.

Last night the owners of Room 11 — the new wine and pastry bar on 11th and Lamont — offered a preview of their drink menu at the final Punch Club held at Warehouse. Five punch bowls were available, as well as beer, wine, and specialty drinks.

With prices set at $5 or $6, The Heights Life and friends were able to sample quite a few of the offered libations. Among the punches, a lively, earthy cup of Jersey Lightning was voted No. 1 by the table. Also tried was a lighter version of Chatham Artillery (my favorite), a Pisco Punch, and some delicious (albeit quite sweet) glögg.

If just a few of these drinks make are served at Room 11, it will be a neighborhood gem. While mixing drinks, partner Dan Searing said that Room 11 is set to open in four to six weeks and will have patio seating.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Happy Birthday, THL: The Top Six Posts

1. Butts on Poles: A Rant - Spud Lite's No. 1 pet peeve of rude Metro riders.

2. Rough Friday night? - ArtBart finds a guy sleeping on her stoop.

3. Just A Little More Salad Bar... - Spud Lite's beautifully shot video of the Ruby Tuesday's salad bar.

4. SHOWDOWN! Starbucks v. Starbucks - Spud Lite never expected there would be two Starbucks in Columbia Heights.

5. What to wear when you shop at Target
- ArtBart usually just wears pajamas and flip-flops (like last night).

6. Biking the Heights: CH on Two Wheels - Spud Lite's suggestions for bike-friendly commuting routes.

Thanks for your continued readership. We'll be here to provide updates and commentary of living in Columbia Heights. Did you hear about the Uptowner Cafe opening soon in the old Carvel space on 14th Street?

The Heights Life Turns One

Today is The Heights Life's one-year anniversary. Check back this afternoon for a look back at the past year with some of our favorite posts.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ellwood Thompson's Update

This isn't much of an update on our promised grocery store, but in case you don't walk down Irving between 14th and 15th (where Ellwood Thompson's is slated to go), here is what they are saying:

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Rita's - It's Coming, But When?

With a predicted 73 degree warmth on Saturday, we thought we'd check to see when our frozen custard might return.

Rita's has no date up yet, but they'll be back sometime in March, and definitely before the first day of Spring.

We took a peak inside and noticed some activity - stocked shelves, supplies sitting out, etc. Moreover, we saw a sign for a new product - PRETZEL BLENDINIS. Looking forward to a sample of that.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Escalator Watch: Deadline, Metro

The escalator on the Northbound Buses side of the Metro? It's broken. Still. You probably already knew this.

We wrote a while back that it's classified as a "major repair," and now it's also listed as an "incident/accident." And while they make these "major repairs" to the "incident/accident" we are treated to a trash-laden and dangerously icy hike up and down the metal teeth.

The latest "deadline" WMATA has posted is 3/31 for the "major repair" and 3/6 for the "incident/accident."

So starting today - we are on escalator watch. Will anything change before tomorrow's "deadline," and if not - with 26 days to go, can WMATA make a major repair?!?!

We're watching WMATA... Ok, we're actually mostly tripping on the stairs, but that's a form of "watching," so... We're watching.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

City Councilmember Wants CH to Turn Off the Lights

ABC 7 reports on Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh's proposal to dim the city's street lights. Cheh's thoughts: "It's useless and wasteful and just plain dumb. They should shine on the subject that they're shining on and they should shine downward."

Cheh needs to be realistic. I enjoy a "view of the cosmic natural beauty of the night sky" but fully well know I can only see the brightest of stars when living in the city. And calling for more environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient lighting is a positive proposal, but doing so in disregard to the safety of city residents and visitors is not the best way to do so.

CH Listserve Snowball Fight!

The other day there was an all out listserv BRAWL over ice and alleys.

Initial Post:

Hello Neighbors,

When you shovel and salt your front porches/steps to remove the snow and ice, please also shovel and salt the alley behind your home. It is extremely helpful to those who use the alley to access parking. Thanks.


Excuse me - you want me to shovel the alley so you can park your car? I think your expectations are extreme and slightly self centered.

First off, I do not think any DC code even suggests that the alley behind my house is my responsibility to shovel. The sidewalk in front is another matter - all you mention is porches and steps - and I notice on my block that the people who park their cars in their yards from the alley in general do not bother with shoveling the sidewalk in front of their houses - which IS required by DC code within 8 hours of the end of the snowfall - please correct me if I am wrong.

My attitude is if you want a shoveled alley - do it yourself and spare me your helpful attitude.

Let us all take sides now - to the comments section!