Friday, June 27, 2008

14thandYou Inquiry: Where Do you Get Your Drink On?

This past Tuesday, Mr. and Mrs. 14thandYou were feeling social and decided that we wanted to head out somewhere in the neighborhood where we could sit outside and enjoy some drinks in the lovely evening weather. We headed up 14th street with an eye on either Bar Pilar or Saint Ex. Unfortunately, Bar Pilar has practically no outdoor seating, and Saint Ex restricts theirs to dinner patrons only. Cork was packed, as per usual, and we weren't really feeling the "wine bar" vibe anyway.

So, we hoof it over to 17th/18th street, only to find every place either packed or restricting outdoor seating to dinner guests. We ended up having dinner and a couple of drinks at the Straits of Malaya on 18th street (good food, loathesome service, but that's another post for another time...)

We didn't head up to U St., because the narrowness of the street tends to preclude much outdoor seating...but there may be a place or two that we're simply not aware of. So, that is our question: when you're looking to head out for a couple of beers (or one of Mrs. 14thandyou's fruity alcoholic concoctions) and you don't want to drop an obscene amount of cash on a full meal, where do you go? Any backyard patios or rooftop decks in the area that we should know about?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Anonymous Fire in NW?

Alert DC sent out a message this morning that read, in full, "All streets that had been closed due to this morning's fire in the Shaw / U Street area have been reopened. (Florida Ave, 9th St., etc.)"

I love this. First, there was no message indicating where the fire was, or what was involved. Secondly, I particularly like the vagueness of the streets that were affected ("Florida Ave., 9th St., etc.") So, a bunch of streets somewhere in the vicinity of U St., Shaw, 9th St., Florida Ave., etc. were closed, but are now open? Well that narrows it down. And then there's the fact that a message was sent out announcing that the streets had reopened, but no message that the streets had ever been closed.

So...does anyone have any info as to what this fire was about? DCist made mention of a fire at an abandoned church in NW, but I've no idea if that's what this Alert was in reference to.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Neighborhood News Bits

We've got a CDC meeting coming up this Wednesday. The only item on this month's agenda is DC bond financing for Wesley Theological Seminary to develop a mixed use development to include below market rate housing. The proposed development would be in ANC 2C in Mount Vernon Square between K Street and Mass Ave., NW at 8th Street. 

From now until late August, you may see DC youths participating in Green Summer teams in the area. The Green Summer project, a part of the Mayor's Green DC Summer Jobs Program, aims to educate up to 400 kids about green collar jobs and the environment while they "clean and green" the city. 

Neighborhood Incident Report

A reader emailed me an account of a recent crime. To paraphrase her intent, she wants to remind people that we're living in a city and "stuff happens," but she's not trying to be an alarmist.

Last week on a weekday evening around 8p.m. (still daylight), a resident on the 1400 block of S St., NW experienced a home break-in. She and her boyfriend were home. Despite clear signs that the home was occupied -- lights on, music playing -- someone came in by slashing a front window screen and climbing in through a window that had been cracked open. The resident of the home was in the back of the house preparing dinner and never encountered the thief while he snatched a purse and two digital cameras. During this time, a neighbor was gardening in his/her front yard, and there was car traffic on the street.

The resident, though clearly upset about the theft, is thankful not to have lost anything more. She also reports that the police were very responsive, arriving in minutes, photographing the scene, and dusting for fingerprints. On a positive note for the rest of us, one of the MPD officers who responded to the scene stated that burglaries on this block had been very rare.

In an interesting twist, around 11:30 that night, a man rang the resident's doorbell to return her social security card, cell phone, and drivers license, which he said he had "found" around the corner. Of course, this gentleman wanted a reward for the good deed of returning her property. It's fairly suspect that the thief pulled just those items from the wallet and chucked or held onto everything else. The resident did gain a little bit of evidence by checking the call history on her cell phone, which included the phone number for an apartment building just around the corner from her home. Yes, this junior varsity thief was unwise enough not to bother to erase the call history.

As the resident stated, she highly recommends getting renter's insurance, something she had been meaning to do, but hadn't gotten around to. She also recommends using window tab locks, if you have them. If you are looking for renter's insurance, I recommend Erie. We pay less than $275 a year for $20k of coverage. For tips on securing windows and doors, try this HGTV webpage.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Have Car, Will Get Towed

Around 11 AM yesterday, it dawned on my that my car--the motorized thing that we drive out to Trader Joe's once every couple of weeks--was on the Tuesday street sweeping side of R St. D'oh. I kicked myself for not remembering to move the car that morning, then resigned myself to paying the $30 fine and moving on with life.

That was, until I got home and found that my car wasn't there. We strolled up and down the block several times, just making sure we weren't going blind. Nope, no car. So I called the number posted on the street sweeping signs, and got directed to another number that one could call to get information on whether or not your vehicle had been towed. Mind you, the idea that my car might have been stolen--quite ludicrous considering the car, but you never know--and I was actually *hoping* that DC had taken it. An operator picked up, and my call wen something like this:

Me: I want to see if you have my car.
Operator: What's your license number?
Operator: It's on the 2300 block of Sherman.
Me: Beg pardon?
Operator: It's on the 2300 block of Sherman.
Me: How did it get there?
(At this moment, the thought that had entered my mind was that my car had, in fact, been stolen, and that the thieves were joy riding kids who had crashed it somewhere up on Sherman Ave.)
Operator: It was towed there.

So there you go. I should point out that this is far from the first time one of the 14thandYous had forgotten to move a car on street sweeping day, but this is the FIRST time the car had not been there when we returned.

So, has anyone else experienced this? Is the towing of cars to random DC streets a new SOP for the city government, or had we just been lucky this hadn't happened before?

And for those of you wondering: no, I didn't get charged for having my vehicle towed away.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Thom Yorke's House?

Every shrub in this photo including the ones in the flower box is a fake plastic tree. Planted. And mulched. You can sleep easy, however, knowing that garden is in Baltimore and not DC.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Building Collapses at 16th and T, Forces Street Closure

Many of you may have noticed that, for the better part of the day, T St. has been blocked off at the intersection of 16th St. According to information distributed via the Logan ListServ, the closure is the result of a partial collapse of a building located at the SE corner of 16th and T:

On Saturday morning June 7, an interior wall of the group house on the SE corner of 16th and T Streets NW buckled. There is concern as to whether the house is safe or in danger of collapse. This DC slumlord owner has long been a problem in the neighborhood, making a fortune off students, interns and other young people, while doing little or nothing to maintain the property or the historic structure. Last year, when cited by the DC regulatory office, he made cosmetic repairs to the mortar and painted the outside to hide the obvious structural defects. Now, there are a bunch of young people with no place to live. I hope there is a way to collect every penny of the thousands of DC tax dollars being spent to deal with this emergency response, and hopefully the building can be saved.

As someone who walks through our neighborhood frequently and notices a number of structures that appear less than fully stable, I must say that it surprises me that this sort of thing doesn't occur more frequently. As has been noted numerous times, the city's historically lackadaisical response to reports of vacant, neglected and nuisance properties poses all sorts of problems, and this would be one of them. Recently, Mayor Fenty's office has shown an increased interest in dealing with these types of properties, which is encouraging. Let's hope it continues.