Monday, September 29, 2008

One Dead, One Wounded in Shooting Near 14th & T

Courtesy of Borderstan:

Two individuals were shot in the back of the apartment building located at 1433 T St. NW yesterday afternoon. One individual drove himself to the hospital and is alive, although his condition wasn't reported. The second individual was taken from the scene by ambulance and has died.

No suspects or motives have yet been given regarding the shooting because the MPD are still interviewing witnesses to the shooting. It is not known whether either of the victims lived in or near the vicinity of the apartment building.

This shooting is particularly disturbing largely due to the fact that it occurred in the middle of a weekend afternoon in an area one block south of a street with large numbers of pedestrians. Although we can only speculate as to the motive of the shootings (Drug transaction gone awry? A beef? A parking space?) it's further evidence that violent crime is indeed on the rise along the northern section of the 14th Street corridor headed towards U St. From the period of July 30 - September 29, violent crime is up 33% in that area versus 2006, and up 15% since 2007. A majority of the increase is attributable to muggings and assaults committed with firearms.

This all leads to a point we've made many times before: strolling around the Logan/U St. area, it's easy to become complacent with your surroundings. Luxury condos, cafes and boutique shops have a way of doing that to you. Yet while violent crime may not be as pervasive in Logan as it is in other parts of the city, it is by no means an unusual occurrence. So stay aware, be vigilant about contacting the police when you witness suspicious behavior, and communicate with one another. Also, pay attention to the platforms of local elected officials with regards to issues like the prevention of gang-related violence, after-school youth programs, parenting programs, housing assistance and other programs aimed at improving the lives of the less well-off in this city. Increased vigilance and police presence are short-term aids in the response to violent crime (which unfortunately will never be completely eradicated), but taking aim at poverty and its inextricable link to crime will help address this problem in the long term.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Convention Center Hotel Briefing Next Monday

One of the more frustrating aspects, developmentally speaking, of the Logan-Shaw area is the continued lack of a concerted effort to develop parcels around the Washington Convention Center. Progress along 9th Street has been slow, and 7th St. has been even slower. Two projects in the pipeline appear set to help reverse that trend and kickstart the redevelopment of the convention center area: Roadside Development's O Street Market project, and the Marriott Marquis Convention Center Hotel project. This coming Monday, you'll have a chance to come and learn firsthand about the plans for the convention center hotel project, which is slated to begin construction in 2009 and finish in 2012.

I don't think the importance of the development of the hotel can be overstated in terms of what it could mean for the convention center and adjacent neighborhoods of Shaw, Mt. Vernon Square and Logan. In addition to helping keep a number of conventioners near the convention center and the neighborhood, it will also serve as a catalyst for new development (and redevelopment) in its immediate vicinity. The hotel, coupled with the O St. project and the redevelopment of the old convention center site, are the three most important projects set to move forward in our area of the city. this is a wonderful opportunity to come and learn details about this important project, meet members of the Marriott team, and ask questions.

Details of the event are included below, courtesy of ANC Commissioner and CDC Chairman Mike Benardo. We hope to see you there next Monday!


You are invited to attend a briefing on the Marriott Marquis Convention Center Headquarters Hotel, to be located at 9th Street and Massachusetts Avenue, NW. The groundbreaking will be in 2009 and the hotel will open in 2012.

The Briefing will take place at 6:30 p.m., on Monday, September 29, 2008, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Meeting Room 140A/B (Street Level/closest entrance is on the north side of L Street, NW). Don't miss this opportunity to see concept designs for the Marriott Marquis Convention Center Headquarters Hotel, meet Marriott representatives and ask questions about the project.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More on Area Homelessness: The Importance of Being Vigilant

Yesterday evening, the missus and I were walking home north along 14th St. around 9:45 PM. We had just crossed Corcoran St., when a man walking briskly down the street caught our attention and said "If I were you guys, I'd cross over the street to the other side...there's a guy behind me who just chased me down the block."

We looked up to see a man about 100 feet away, shouting incoherently and seemingly coming towards us. We thanked the man for his warning, and quickly made the decision to cross over to the other side of the street. As we were crossing, Shouting Man began screaming at us in some incoherent tirade that was impossible to decipher--there was clearly something off with the guy. After crossing, we turned back around to watch the man proceed on down the street. There was another individual who had been walking behind us; as Shouting Man passed this individual he reached out and shoved him, all the while continuing his tirade.

Figuring that nothing can come of these situations if they aren't reported, I placed a call to the police from my cell phone to describe the situation. I made it clear to the dispatcher that the man appeared to be mentally unstable. The police responded within minutes, and followed up with me a short while later regarding an interview.

What became of the man we have no idea, but we're posting this here as a reminder to everyone of the importance of calling the police when you witness this type of behavior. It was quite evident that the man was either high on some sort of narcotics or was suffering from some kind of mental dementia--or perhaps a combination of both. Individuals such as he are among the most dangerous to encounter on the street, because they're so unpredictable and potentially dangerous.

This also highlights the critical necessity of the proper funding of drug treatment programs and mental health care for the homeless and indigent in DC--something that ties in with my wife's homelessness post below. Drug dependancy and mental illness among the homeless population are crippling, and it will require a concerted effort on the part of both the city government and private agencies to step up and address these problems. If you're looking for an agency to support that deals with these issues, we'd recommend starting with the Community of Hope, located at 14th and Girard St. They offer comprehensive services to the poor and homeless, including a wealth of health and social service programs. Agencies such as CoH are frequently the only hope offered to individuals such as the one we encountered last night.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yes! Update

To those who have asked: it does appear that the Yes! Organic Market in the Union Row development will be arriving soon, having overshot its anticipated spring 2008 opening. Opening may have been contingent upon getting the appropriate ABC license; the ABRA hearing application was not posted until this summer.

Easy Activistm: Homelessness

The issue of homelessness in DC has bubbled into the news a few times in past months. Central Union Mission and the DC gov't. continue to grapple with plans for relocation. As well, the shelter at the Franklin School is about to close. With the Community for Creative Nonviolence, DC's largest full-service shelter, not accepting new residents until after their renovation, the availability of emergency shelter beds has declined this year. Despite the 1984 Right to Overnight Shelter Act, shelter space remains scarce, and some is unacceptably dirty or unsafe.

There is some good news though: The DC Housing First initiative sets a plan to get 2500 homeless into permanent housing by the end of 2009. If this goal is met, about half of the current homeless population would have homes and access to support services. Eleven million dollars have been budgeted for this program, and the DC Department of Human Services has another eight million set aside for services for the homeless. As well, local non profits continue to do a lot of good. Many of the privately-run programs for the homeless take a holistic approach; though emergency beds still exist, shelter clients are now likely to be able to get medical care and counseling and a boost toward stable housing. Amongst services listed for various shelters, I have seen homework help, legal aid, art classes, and literacy training. More good news: according to a PBS report, the vast majority of homeless are not chronically homeless -- defined as homeless for one year or more or having experienced four or more periods of homelessness in three years. When proper resources are available, many people can find homes and support services.

Help DC's providers of services to the homeless to continue to transition people off of our streets. The easiest and most painless thing to do is to make a donation. For a list of charities to consider, have a look at Street Sense's resource list, which will give you a summary of services provided by each organization. You can select beneficiaries by types of services offered, population served, and even size by quickly glancing through this list. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also maintains a list of DC resources here.

Before the holiday season makes you feel broke and overwhelmed, give what you can. Many organizations allow donations through their websites. If giving a lump sum seems like it will hurt, creating a small monthly recurring payment the next time you are banking online might take the sting out (giving five percent of your annual pay = scary, donating 5% of each paycheck = manageable). Maybe you just want to wade slowly into charitable giving with a small one-off donation; you could start with an amount equivalent to the cost of your last dinner out or what you spent at coffee shops last month.

Please also consider attending the upcoming Street Sense reception and silent auction on Thursday, October 2nd. Tickets start at $25 online or $35 at the door, and you will have the opportunity to bid on theater and sports tickets, restaurant gift certificates, jewelry, and art among other things. Your participation will help Street Sense, a newspaper that creates job opportunities for the homeless while raising awareness of social issues, with its operations budget.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Visit to Commissary

Commissary has arrived, and I've belatedly gotten there. In fact, as I type I'm sitting in the Commissary lounge. Overall, I'm carrying away positive impression. (By the way, thank you for your patience as the Mr. and I have been traveling and thus negligent about updating the blog.)

The overall vibe is more casual and inviting than Merkado. The dining concept at Commissary is designed to be looser than its predecessor. Customers have several seating options -- large soft chairs in the lounge, indoor table service, bar seating, and patio tables. You can also order to-go items at the register.

The previously hard-edged decor has been softened to a contemporary Americana style achieved with a subtle star motif, a large American flag in the bar area, a wash of denin blue paint, chalkboard signage, and light fixtures of bare lightbulbs. The colorfully uphlostered lounge furniture and benches, and and pulled-back curtains hanging along one wall further add to a comfy feel. However, the high bare ceilings and wood floor remain, so expect the noise level to be high during peak times.

The food is good but not anything that will redefine the culinary arts. The menu selection reminds me somewhat of Karmerbook's Afterwords Café -- small plates/sharesies, salads, sandwiches, larger dinner plates, and weekend brunch. You'll find, however, that some of the specific menu items are unique to Commissary such as popcorn to snack on and sherbert-based smoothies, available in "spiked" and non-alcoholic versions. As well, dog owners can order snacks for their fur children. If it's comfort food you seek give the very beefy chili or banana cream pie a shot.

Liquid nutrition is plentiful. Get your B vitamins from the Yuengling, Victory, Sam Adams seasonal, or Brooklyn Lager on tap. The wine list, like that of Merkado, is a good if not extensive selection of relatively inexpensive new world fruits of the vine. The menu also specifically suggests considering adding a liquor depth charge to your coffee bar drink.

As has been noted before, the staff from Merkado was retained to work at Commissary. Depending on your previous experiences, this could be a good or a bad thing. I've found the bartenders and servers to be polite and helpful. I'm also always happy to see a restaurant do what it can to retain quality trained staff as service in the city can be pretty poor.

Commissary is likely to become a neighborhood hit. While I was dining, the bartender noted that businesses since opening has been pretty good. I can see myself sipping chai in the lounge while listening to Death Cab over the stereo and perusing one of the magazines from the rack. Carryout breakfast options might be what take me through a Friday morning, and I look forward to trying the potato pancakes on the brunch menu (available Saturdays and Sundays). I think Logan needed a chill place with a neighborhood feel where folks could casually drop in.

Sign of the Apocalypse #132: "Metropole" Set To Deliver

Those of you like us who spend a fair amount of time trompsing up and down P St. are likely used to at least one familiar site amongst the constantly changing streetscape: the colossal construction project known as "the Metropole" that has fouled up traffic (both auto and pedestrian) for years. Heading along the north side of P St., it's simply become a way of life to play dodge 'em with the taxi cabs and bridge-and-tunnel drivers as one skirts along the construction fence of the nearly mythical condo tower.
Well, no more.

This Thursday, believe it or not, will herald the official opening of the "drop. dead. sexy." Metropole project at 15th and P St. According to the Washington Business Journal, the opening night preview event will feature a "Golden Age of Hollywood" theme. Not sure of the tie-in there, but it might be worth stopping by if only to be allowed unfettered access to the sidewalk for the first time in what seems like decades.

For those unfamiliar with the project, there is a troubled history behind it. Construction was stalled for nearly a year after the discovery of an unmarked underground reservoir of some sorts. After that was resolved, the original construction contractor--Glen Construction--filed for bankruptcy (perhaps the Condominium Development Gods were trying to send project developer Scott Pannick a message?). Along with nearly 80 90 residential units, the project will also feature ground level retail in the form of an athletic apparel store and a new Vida Fitness location.

As you're no doubt thinking this by now, we'll go ahead and state the painfully obvious: having a new high-end condo development (prices range from $400k for a studio to over $2 mill for the penthouse) come online in this market can't be good news for the developer, what with 2006 being a couple of years ago and all. And yet, while we find the design of the building rather uninspiring, it's nice to finally have the north side of P St. built-out to capacity. Also, it's nice to finally get our sidewalk back.

One more bit of good news for neighborhood residents: as part of their agreement with the city, upon completion of the project, the Metropole development company will also arrange for the repavement of the 1400 block of Church St. Sadly, this may also mean the end of the wonderful paint splatter at 14th and Church, along with the footprint evidence of the pedestrians who seemingly couldn't get out of the way.

For more info about the Metropole, you can of course visit their website.

Reminder: Community Development Committee Meeting this Wednesday

Apologies for the lull in posts recently--we just got back into town yesterday evening after a (much needed) vacation. Alas, the worst thing about vacations is that taking one reminds you of how much you need to take another one.

There have been lots of new things going on around the neighborhood recently that we hope to get caught up on, such as the opening on Commissary on P St.; the completion(?!) of the condo building at 15th and P, along with the arrival of new ground floor tenants; some ongoing problems with the Vegas Lounge; an update on the 11th and 14th St. streetscapes, and so on. In the meantime, we'll ease our way back in by reminding everyone of the Community Development Committee meeting this Wednesday at 7:00 PM at the Washington Plaza Hotel in Thomas Circle. For those who do not know, the CDC is an arm of the ANC that makes recommendations on new contruction or renovations of existing structures within the ANC boundaries. If you want to have a say in aspects related to the ongoing development of our neighborhood, the CDC is a good place to start.

I haven't yet seen an agenda published for the September meeting, but will post it here once I do. For further information, check out the CDC page on the ANC2f website.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Check Us Out on Washingtonian's "Blogger Beat"

The Washingtonian's "Blogger Beat" interviewed us recently about our blog. While we'd hardly consider ourselves "experts" on all things Logan, we're beyond thrilled that people might be gaining some modicum of value from our (occasionally incoherent) raves, rants and rumblings. At any rate, we enjoyed giving our answers to the interview questions, and I'm glad Mrs. 14thandYou is up to speed on the shopping in the area, 'cause I'm sure not.

Those looking for a few insights into the lives of the 14thandYous (such as: why do we like Ethiopian food so much?) can gain valuable insight by going here: I can't promise any tabloid-ready fodder, but you will find out stuff like what our favorite bar is. Juicy stuff, indeed.

Thanks to Emily from the Washingtonian for filtering through our ramblings for meaningful answers, and to Chris for patiently taking our photo while watching us gorge ourselves on a tray of veggies and beef tibs. You've given me something I can email to mom and dad, and for that I will forever be grateful.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

ANC2f Votes for Single Sales Ban and Elimination of Zipcar Lot

In case you missed the scintillating ANC2f meeting on Wednesday night (and judging by the number in attendance, it's likely that you did) there were a couple of noteworthy items that came out of it. Chief among them is the controversial "single sales" ban for Ward 2, which is currently in effect under a temporary "emergency" arrangement.

At Wednesday's meeting, the ANC voted 3-1 to support the ban based on community testimony and the belief of ANC chairman Charles Reed that the issue is simply "a good law". In essence, the ban forbids the sale of any single container of beer, ale or liquor in containers smaller than (I believe) 72 oz. The purpose of the ban, as discussed by Reed, is to decrease the amount of public drunkenness and associated disorderly behavior. Though direct evidence linking single sales with the societal plagues that are said to accompany it is lacking, there was sufficient community testimony to support the ANC's vote on the ban. The lone dissenting vote came courtesy of commissioner Dustin Cole, who cited a concern that the ban disproportionately affected smaller, independent businesses. This concern stems from the fact that the P St. Whole Foods was able to successfully stave off enforcement of the ban in their store, claiming that the type of single sales that they engage in are, in effect, too pricey to be consumed in mass quantities in public. Its doubtful the local corner market could make a similar argument.

The 14thandYous are sympathetic to this argument. While we don't necessarily disagree with the Whole Foods waiver, we're curious as to what bureaucratic hoops the company had to go through in order to obtain an exemption from the ban, and question whether a small, independent establishment would have the time and financial resources to obtain an exemption. In addition, some public comments from the audience came alarmingly close to a racially tinged argument, with one citizen in attendance voicing approval for the ban by decrying the "Hispanic men who sit around all day drinking" along a particular stretch of road in the neighborhood. Certainly we can discuss an issue like this without calling out particular races for this behavior?

Done properly, and with proper oversight by ABRA, a single sales ban could have a net positive effect on community safety and aesthetics. However, its implementation needs to be undertaken carefully and with accommodations in place for local businesses in addition to the Whole Foods of the neighborhood.

The second (surprisingly) controversial issue of the evening came in the form of a complaint by the ANC against Zipcar. The complaint was twofold: One, that Zipcar was utilizing parking spaces in several locations throughout the neighborhood in violation of DC parking laws, and that Zipcar had failed to follow through on a promise to landscape and "beautify" their lot at the corner of 14th and Corcoran streets. The first issue is pretty black-and-white, and (based upon later testimony) seems to have been taken care of. the second issue however seemed to particularly irk Commissioner Reed, who was also bothered by the fact that the Zipcar rep happened not to be in attendance when the issue was addressed at the meeting. The representative, it turns out, would later appear, but Reed was set on moving forward against Zipcar, calling for a vote to have the ANC issue a letter to the DC government requesting the elimination of not only the illegal parking spaces, bu Zipcar's 14th St. lot as well. The motion passed, again by a 3-1 vote, with a dissenting vote again by Dustin Cole, who (appropriately, we might add) voiced concern over a seemingly rash action against a company whose services are used by a number in the neighborhood.

As I mentioned above the Zipcar representative later appeared, and the issue was raised again. Despite some back-and-forth with the representative, Reed was eventually satisfied with the efforts undertaken by Zipcar to landscape the lot (even offering a few suggestions of his own, including constructing a fence around the lot--is that particularly good idea?) and offered to table the earlier vote. So, rest easy Logan, cooler heads prevailed and Zipcar isn't going anywhere.

One final note from the meeting: it seems that the DC Parks Department has turned down a request from the neighborhood do construct a dog park in the (nearly vacant) school lawn at 11th and Q streets, citing an upcoming renovation of the project--a renovation, we should add, for which no timeline is available and no details have been forthcoming. Hmmm, sounds a bit odd. Regardless, Shaw resident George Kassouf, who has been leading the charge for the construction of the dog park, remains undeterred and expressed hopes that he could convince the Parks Department--who apparently did not even review the proposal--to reconsider their decision.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"Commissary" Coming to Logan

Those of you--like us--who have mourned the passing of neighborhood Latin American fusion eatery Merkado (and their blueberry mojitos) will soon have reason to perk up, or at least a reason to stop by the place. "Commissary" will be opening its doors next Tuesday, September 9 (although a "soft opening" before then wouldn't surprise).

Commissary bills itself as a "very casual cafe, lounge, liquor, beer and wine bar as well as a coffeehouse and smoothie bar" that will "serve breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, snacks and huge selection of desserts." Clearly, there's no shortage of ambition here. The place is clearly striving to portray a relaxes, coffeehouse-style vibe, while also serving a range of food--and not, it seems, at astoundingly high prices found elsewhere.

The 14thandYous look at Commissary's arrival as a good thing, even if we do find the name a bit goofy and the website's seemingly random calls for us to fulfill our patriotic duties a bit odd. Their posted menus show an assorted range of breakfast foods, pizzas, sandwiches, burgers and entrees, along with assorted coffees and smoothies. Commissary will also stock a full bar, so it's a safe bet that the place will get a little crowded (and noisy) during the evenings. While they may not become the sandwich connoisseurs that many have asked for in the neighborhood, there is a good chance that they will become a nice compliment to the Stoney's dive bar-esque feel and the hyper lounge styling of Halo.

To learn more, check out Commissary's website--or snoop around P St. during the coming days.

ANC2f September Meeting: Dog parks and single sales

Want an easy way to get involved with the local community and get up to speed on some of the issues going on in and around the Logan area? Then make plans to attend tomorrow evening's ANC2f meeting. Even though the agendas sometimes look a bit dry and uninteresting, we can personally vouch for the fact that lots of interesting business (and decisions) gets discussed and decided at these meetings. The agenda and location are included below.

Some particular points of interest are the proposed construction of a new dog park in Shaw, a discussion on the proposed single-sale ban on beer and liquor, and a discussion related to "hate crimes issues". Want to learn more? Stop by tomorrow night!



Wednesday, September 3, 2008 - 7:00 PM


Call to Order - 7:00
Commissioner Announcements - 7:00
PSA 307 Report - Lt. Mike Smith, Metropolitan Police Department, 3D - 7:10
Report from Executive Office of the Mayor - Abby Petersen - 7:15
DDOT Report - Christopher Ziemann, Ward 2 Transportation Planner - 7:18
Community Announcements - 7:30

- 10 Minute Recess -


Approval of Agenda - 7:45
Approval of Minutes of Meeting of July 2, 2008 - 7:45
Crime and Public Safety Committee Report (Helen Kramer, Chair) - 7:50
DCEMADHS/Street Closures - 8:00
Capital Criterion Bike Race, September 21, 2008 - Charles Brodsky
Capital Pride and AIDS Walk Washington, 2008 October 4, 2008 - Kevin Reynolds

ABRA Matters - 8:10

Community Development Committee Report (Michael Benardo, Chair) - 8:12
George Kassouf - Shaw dog park

New Business - 8:25
Zip Car
Dog Park Review
Hate crime issues (Commissioner Cole)
Permanent legislation, single sale ban on beer, ales, and half-pint liquors

Treasurer's Report (Dustin Cole, Treasurer) - 8:50

Approval of Expenditures3rd Quarter Report Approval

Adjournment - 9:00

NOTICE: The agenda attached to this notice of meeting is provided by ANC 2F in advance of its public meetings contains matters that are expected to come before the meeting. It is, however, subject to formal adoption by the ANC at the meeting, which may result in additions or deletions to the draft. Individuals who may have official business before the ANC or persons with interests in specific matters are advised to contact the Executive Director or a Commissioner in advance of the meeting. See for contact information.