Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fun With Google Streetview

If there's anyone out there who hasn't yet had an opportunity to test drive Google's "StreetView" application, I'd recommend it as a good way to kill some time at work. Heck, if you're like me it will completely suck you in. It's the next best thing to actually walking through a neighborhood...or driving it...or living in it. But whatever.

Just for fun, I grabbed a few screenshots of some areas around Logan/U Street and though I'd share them here. The pic quality is low-res--I guess they have to be in order for the program to function properly. Once I got over the pseudo-creepiness factor of being able to look into my living room window through this program, I decided that it's pretty darn neat. See for yourself...

1500 block of U Street:

1200 block of U St., showing the Lincoln Theater, Ben's Chili Bowl and the True Reformer Building:

13th St. rowhouses, just north of U St.:

1400 block of P St.:

Pretty houses around Logan Circle:

The corner of 11th and P, looking west towards Logan Circle:

11th and U, looking north towards Bohemian Caverns:

Businesses along 14th St.:

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from the 14thandYous

The 14thandYous, Lizzie and Spike  (pictured here in festive dress--trust us, no animals were harmed during the shooting of this photo) would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Pagan Winterfest and/or December 25 (if you do not celebrate anything at all).  We hope your holiday was enjoyable and relaxing, and that--for one day at least--you were able t tear yourselves away from the neighborhood drama an enjoy some time with friends and family.

The 14thandYous are taking a little holiday time off from the blog due to travel, family obligations and so on.  We'll be back online soon.  In the meantime, we hope everyone has a safe and wonderful New Year.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Even TV Hosts Aren't Immune From DC Street Crime

Normally, something like this involving a semi-celebrity that took place well outside the bounds of our hood would go unnoticed here, but considering the recent spike in murders/stabbings/general street chaos I found this to be interesting.

Seems that Fox MSNBC morning show co-host Mika Brzezinski was mugged this morning outside of the DC hotel where she has been staying. In terms of muggings, this one was pretty tame: a man approached her from across the street and asked her for $20, adding that if she gave him money nothing bad would happen to her. She managed to come up with $6, and the mugger apparently decided that the other $14 could wait and took off. Brzezinski was unharmed.

Now, there is a couple of things worth pointing out here. First, this mugger reminds me a lot of some of the panhandlers I have run into in Baltimore who ask for exact change (sample request: "Hey man, you got 84¢?"). I wonder what this gentleman was planning to purchase with his newly acquired wealth--and I wonder if he would have refused additional cash had Brzezinski had, say, $40 in her wallet? Why not just ask for everything she had on her?

Secondly, this happened on a day when our esteemed mayor was making an appearance on the "Morning Joe" show. At the very least, Fenty could have offered to drive Mika around in his SmartCar to look for the man who took her $6. To further his role as ambassador for the District, the mayor could have also pointed out how friendly some of our muggers can actually be. The mugger stereotype is of someone who behaves callously towards others and is willing to commit acts of violence in order to achieve his goal; this one clearly bucks that stereotype, although he did vaguely threaten violence if Brzezinski didn't comply.

Finally, if a TV personality was going to get mugged in DC, why couldn't it have been O'Reilly? Just askin'.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

One Dead in Shooting at 11th and Q

Edit: The Washington Blade is reporting that the police are focusing on robbery as a motive in the shooting death of Durval Martins. Martins' body was found near the intersection of 11th and Q at 3:30 AM on Tuesday morning, and he was apparently clutching his wallet. Interestingly however his other personal effects--cell phone, watch, etc.--were found on him. It's possible that whoever shot Martins panicked and ran off before robbing him of his other items; alternately, it's possible that robbery was not the intent of the individual who committed this act.

Either way, what a complete tragedy this is. There is a sickening lack of respect for human life by some in this city.


...and the violence continues. DCist chronicles two more murders that occured in northwest last night, including one which occured at around 3:30 AM near the skate park at 11th and Q streets. No details as far as motive are available at the moment. The other murder took place at 4th and V streets, just off the Howard University campus.

We're not thrilled about our blog being taken over by reports of shootings, knifings and murders...but sadly that's just where things are right now.

The two murders give the District 183 for the year, and if the pace of the last week continues unabated we'll be making a strong run at 200 before the end of the year.

Monday, December 15, 2008

More Holiday Happenings

As mentioned in my previous Holiday Happenings post, there are numerous holiday events throughout the month. Below are some events coming up in the next couple of weeks.

For the most part, I've not included family-oriented events or events in Maryland and Virginia, but there are plenty of great things to do. I particularly enjoy the numerous drive-through light displays. For a more extensive listing of fun stuff going on this month, visit the Post's Going Out Guide or the What's On - Washington, DC website.

Throughout the Month:
At Source, the Washington Improv Theater ad-libs Seasonal Disorder hour-long shows about a dysfunctional family's Christmas gathering. The theater company incorporates information from audience members into their show such as worst present received and a family holiday tradition. Shows take place at 8 p.m. on December 19th and 20th and 26th and 27th.

The Audoban Society has an annual Christmas bird count during which birdwatchers help to survey areas all over the Americas. For more information go here.

There are myriad light displays in and around DC. For a fairly comprehensive list, go here.

For more ongoing holiday events, please see my previous post.

Monday the 15th:
At the Washington National Cathedral, an exhibit of creche scenes from around the world goes on display today. The exhibit will remain in place until the end of the Christmas season on January 6th.

AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring will show the classic It's a Wonderful Life at 5:20 p.m.

Tuesday the 16th:
At 11 a.m. the National Gallery of Art, take an hour-long guided tour exploring artworks in the permanent collection with holiday themes. The free tour begins in the rotunda of the West Building.

December 16th, 17th, and 18th there will be a holiday market at the Navy Yard Metro area from 11:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Penn Quarter area workers may want to attend the lunchtime Christmas concert at Church of the Epiphany on G Street.

A Capella performance at the U.S. Botanic Gardens from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Wednesday the 17th
December 16th, 17th, and 18th there will be a holiday market at the Navy Yard Metro area from 11:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Bell Wine & Spirits is holding its Grand Champagne Tasting from 5 to 8 p.m. with over 30 champagnes and sparkling wines to enjoy.

The Eric Felton Jazz Orchestra will perform Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite at Blues Alley. Tickets are $25 for the 8 and 10 p.m. shows.

Thursday the 18th:

At 11 a.m. at the National Gallery of Art, take an hour-long guided tour exploring artworks in the permanent collection with holiday themes. The free tour begins in the rotunda of the West Building.

December 16th, 17th, and 18th there will be a holiday market at the Navy Yard Metro area from 11:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Male a capella singers
will perform at the U.S. Botanic Gardens from 5 to 8 p.m.

Friday the 19th:
At the Kennedy Center's Millenium Stage, take in a performance of Holiday Vaudeville starting at 6 p.m. All Millennium Stage shows are free.

Modern Liquors across from the Convention Center at 9th and M will be holding a tasting of winter cocktails with Macchu Pisco.

Saturday the 20th:
At 2 and 7 p.m., celebrate Kwanza with the Coyaba Dance Theater at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.

Big Bear Cafe, First and R Streets, NW, will host the Bloomingdale Holiday Arts Market from 4 to 9 p.m.

At the Kennedy Center's Millenium Stage, take in a performance of Holiday Vaudeville starting at 6 p.m. All Millennium Stage shows are free.

Pianist Jim Brickman will play Christmas songs in an 8 p.m. performance at the Lisner Auditorium.

Sunday the 21st:
The sweet-toothed of DC may enjoy a holiday chocolate making workshop and tea from 1 to 3 p.m. at Tudor Place.

The National Chanukah Menorah will be lit on the Elipse at 4 p.m.

Hear the National Gallery Orchestra play a Christmas concert accompanied by soprano Alessandra Marc at 6:30 p.m.

Monday the 22nd:
Trumpeter Dave Detwiler will perform "A Prelude to Christmas" at Blues Alley at 8 and 10 p.m.

Tuesday the 23rd:

At 11 a.m. the National Gallery of Art, take an hour-long guided tour exploring artworks in the permanent collection with holiday themes. The free tour begins in the rotunda of the West Building.

Project Natalie will perform jazz at the U.S. Botanic Gardens from 6 to 8 p.m.

The Carol Ringers and the Peace Ringers will play traditional and popular Christmas music on handbells at The Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage.

At Blues Alley, the Redd Brothers play piano and vibes as part of their "A Redd Christmas" show at 8 and 10 p.m. Tickets for adults are $18, with lower prices for seniors and children.

Wednesday the 24th:
Perennial nut, the water-skiing Santa will be doing his thing with knee-boarding reindeer, flying elves, and other water-logged Christmas characters at 1 p.m. by the Wilson Bridge in the National Harbor. If you miss the live event, there are always clips on the NBC 4 evening news.

Let the Ritz Carlton Georgetown cook your Christmas Eve dinner. The four-course prix fixe dinner will be served from 5 to 10 p.m. Go to their website for reservations.

On the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, catch the Monumental Brass Quintet playing a free performance of classical music, jaxx, ragtime, and holiday favorites.

The Society of Yong Jewish Professionals will hold the ever-popular Matzo Ball from 9 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Ultrabar. Tickets are available for $30.

Thursday the 25th:
Get out of the house on Christmas for the All Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam at The Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage.

Friday the 26th:
Golem, a six-piece European funk band, will perform a Jewish Music Celebration at The Kennedy Center's Milennium Stage.

Sunday the 28th:
The Kennedy Center's Milennium Stage continues its celebration of Jewish music with a guitar performance by Vladimir Fridman.

Monday the 29th:
At 11 a.m. the Anacostia Community Museum will host Kwanza: A Musical Tribute. This is a free event. There are also other family-oriented Kwanza events at the Museum; go to their website for details.

In the last Jewish music celebration at The Kennedy Center's Milennium Stage, DeLeon will play Sephardic Judaic melodies in an indie-rock style.

Tuesday the 30th:
The Frederick Chorale will sing at the U.S. Botanic Gardens from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Wednesday the 31st:
Almost every local municipality is having a First Night celebration. Radio station DC 101 has a New Year's bash. Check bar and club websites for other parties. The International Club of Washington holds a spectacular New Year's Eve Grand Ball. There are more events than I could ever list here. Check out the Post's Going Out Guide or What's On - Washington, DC for more ideas.

How the Arts Overlay District Could Stymie 14th Street Development

Those of you who are only casual observers of neighborhood development matters may have only a passing notion of the Arts Overlay District. The District guidelines were put in place in order to help direct development along some of the areas' most popular retail strips, including 14th Street, U Street, P Street, Florida Ave. and 7th Street.

What many people likely don't realize is the extent to which Arts Overlay guidelines affect projects and overall development along neighborhood commercial corridors. For instance, consider the new JBG Cos. proposal for the Whitman-Walker Building at 14th and S streets. According to Arts Overlay guidelines, only 25% of the retail frontage in the district can be businesses classified as restaurants. With the high number of restaurants along U, P and 14th streets, the neighborhood is currently sitting at around 24%--meaning that the W-W development would be precluded from introducing any new restaurants tenants in the development. This is unfortunate, because the restaurants are thriving in the area and are largely responsible for the continued growth and viability of Logan/U Street as a "destination" for others throughout the region.

At a recent Dupont Circle ANC meeting, the commissioners voted to withhold support of the project, due in part to objections from "local business advocate" Andrea Doughty, who voiced concern about the potential for restaurants occupying space in the new development. Ms. Doughty stated her belief that "eating and drinking establishments" have a greater impact in the neighborhood, and assigned to them the blame of "driving up rents" for other businesses.

Well, there are a couple of ways to address this. First of all, I believe it's possible to embrace the spirit of the law ("we don't want 14th street to be overrun with restaurants") while not embracing the letter of the law ("given the current situation, exceeding the 25% restaurant barrier might not be inappropriate"). I would agree to some extent with Doughty's feelings that restaurants have a greater impact on the neighborhood than other businesses, but that works out in both good and bad ways. My guess is that people such as Doughty are focusing largely on the negative impact: increased traffic, parking problems, noise, etc. But the positive impacts--encouragement of development, increasing the vibrancy of the retail corridor, improving the quality of life for area residents--are just as, if not more, important.

The District's zoning laws already largely prohibit the opening of retail establishments like restaurants and bars in residential neighborhoods. Contrast DC with, say, Baltimore, where you'll find numerous restaurants, pubs and markets scattered about residential areas. To then go a step further an make the opening of a restaurant in an area *known* for restaurants and nightlife more burdensome seems antithetical to the spirit of the Arts Overlay.

In addition, the Arts Overlay guidelines specifically address restaurants, but leave other businesses--such as furniture stores--out. Now, nothing against the "furniture row" that has developed along 14th street, but there is something terribly wrong if JBG receives more encouragement from community development voices to introduce another furniture/housewares shop to the 14th street mix, but not a new dining establishment.

Finally, as to restaurants being largely responsible for driving up the cost of rents in the area--I don't buy it. Perhaps some businesses have seen their rents rise as the 14th street corridor has become more popular and filled-out, but any honest assessment of the neighborhood retail scene would lead one to the conclusion that the presence of the restaurants and bars in the neighborhood have done far more to ENCOURAGE the patronization of other neighborhood businesses rather than do drive them out of the neighborhood. (And does anyone honestly want to argue that the arrival of, say, Cafe Salsa will have a greater impact on neighborhood rents than Bang & Olufsen, Mitchell Gold or Room & Board?)

In progress, it's inevitable that some businesses won't make it or will be forced to move elsewhere. This is unfortunate, but should not be an overriding concern when making decisions about developments that will have an impact on the neighborhood for years to come.

Everyone can agree that a diversity of retail establishments is beneficial to the neighborhood's overall health, but adhering to a set of principles for their own sake--or allowing development to be thwarted on the basis of such protests--serves no one.

Teen Stabbed at 13th and U; Proceeds to Board Metro Train

OK, enough already. The Post is reporting this morning that a teenager was stabbed at the 13th Street entrance to the U Street Metro station on Saturday evening, then proceeded to board the train and ride it up to Columbia Heights. Once there, he must have determined that his injury was not "merely a flesh wound", and an ambulance was called for him.

This attack comes on the heels of a fatal stabbing at 14th and Newton on Friday night, the third murder in a week that has occured in the Columbia Heights/Parkview areas.

The article quotes a Metro spokeswoman as saying that the attack was believed to be related to an ongoing feud or beef that has led to the violence we've witnessed the last few days. (Why Metro is speculating on these things and not MPD is anyone's guess.) Regardless, we've definitely got an issue here.

This reminds me of the Shaw gang wars from 2007, where you would see flare-ups every few weeks or so. Inevitably, the outcry over this violence will be tempered with the usual "you only care 'cause it's happening in an area with pricey condos". I know, because we've heard it before. And it's true that the shootings and stabbings that take place on U Street and in Columbia Heights generate more press than one that takes place in Anacostia or Barry Farms. But the persistence of youth violence on this scale is particularly troublesome for two reasons.

First, Mr. 14thandYou, his brother, and a couple of friends happened to find themselves at Ben's Chili Bowl, directly across the street from the location of the stabbing, just a little later that evening. No one likes to see assaults like this happening so close to home.

Secondly, and perhaps more disturbing, we've seen firsthand the efforts being conducted by the MPD in the neighborhood to combat violent crime: more foot patrols, increased police presence, establishing personal relationships with many in the community, and so on. We think they're doing, by and large, a great job. And yet the last week has been evidence of how quickly and easily violence like this can spiral out of control. So the answer isn't "more police" or "more development". (Or "wait for cold weather"--Saturday night was pretty darn chilly, and yet...)

So what is the "solution" here? It's likely a combination of things: continued visible police presence, a renewed focus on the juvenile court system and its penchant for releasing repeat offenders back into the population, continued focus on providing counseling and outlets for kids in the District to do everything possible to ensure that they stay out of trouble, etc.

And to all of you who moved here from Des Moines and thought U Street/Logan looked safe because it has pretty houses and expensive condos: well, it still is largely a safe neighborhood...but keep your head up and your wits about you. Violent crime happens everywhere, unfortunately.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

If You've Missed Dragonfly . . .

Dragonfly Design and Decor, formerly of the 1400 block of Church Street, has set up temporary shop in Reston through December. Those interested should visit the ARTWORKS Gallery at 11411 Sunset Hills Road between 12 and 5 on Tuesdays through Saturdays. You can also make an appointment with owner Kim Hesller (703) 362-9571. If you missed the shop's closing last month, this is a great opportunity to snatch up Asian antiques at a discount.

"Change a Lightbulb" in Columbia Heights this Friday

The District is sponsoring a "light bulb exchange" at the rather inconvenient time of 2 PM this Friday. What is this, you ask?

It seems to be part of the District's efforts to do their part to reduce global warming (and save DC residents a few bucks on their electricity bills) by allowing residents to exchange an incandescent light bulb for a compact flourescent. Under the thinking of "every little bit helps" the 14thandYous support this idea. Under the thinking of "what were they thinking?" we wonder how many people will be able to take time off during a workday to head up to Columbia heights and exchange a light bulb?

Our guess: not many. If you're interested, the details are below.

The District Government wants to help you change a light bulb! Join the District Department of the Environment, the Department of Public Works and the Office of Planning for a FREE light bulb exchange.

Bring an old incandescent light bulb, and we will exchange it for a new, energy-efficient compact fluorescent. You'll save money on your electric bill and help the District meet its goals for reducing global warming.

Free Light Bulb Exchange (limit one per resident)

Friday, December 12, 2:00 p.m.

Columbia Heights Civic Plaza (14th Street, Kenyon Street and Park Road, NW)

The light bulb exchange is part of Local Climate Action Week. For more information on climate change, visit

Monday, December 8, 2008

2008 Christmas Gifts: Gifts for Your Host

For your shopping pleasure, I present gift ideas for your December party hosts. All suggestions can be found in and around Logan Circle.

Food, particularly sweets, is a classic gift to one's host. Fortunately, we have an abundance of treats in the neighborhood.

Chocolate lovers like myself rejoiced when ACKC opened a year ago. If you're looking for a host gift, I recommend the traditional box of truffles. The staff there can suggest selections or you can make your own assortment. Also available are baked goods from cookies to cakes, which you can take as a dessert offering at the next dinner party.

Artfully Chocolate Kingsbury Confections
1529 14th Street, NW

More fine chocolate can be had at Locolat, a Belgian chocolatier unfairly located in the same building as the Mint gym. A delectable menu is available on their website.

1781 Florida Avenue, NW (near the intersection of 18th Street, U Street, and Florida Avenue)

If you prefer your chocolate baked or desserts without any chocolate at all, you may like the ever-popular Cake Love. This bakery has earned cheers and jeers. Cakes and cupcakes are dense -- they even feel heavy when you hold them. The flavor comes out best when they are served at room temperature, but they take almost as long to thaw as the Christmas turkey. The drier cakes are complemented by the butteriest of slightly sweet buttercream frostings that nearly melt as the cakes warm. Cakes are priced from $40 to $175, depending on size. Delivery is available for another $18 to $45 depending on location.

Cake Love
1506 U Street, NW

The couture cupcake trend is apparently alive and well. Skip Krispy Kreme and head across Connecticut Avenue at Dupont Circle to the new Hello Cupcake for your holiday desserts. Each day of the week, Monday through Saturday, the available flavors vary, but there are always 12 to 14 options baked daily, including vegetarian and vegan recipes. Cupcakes I am dying to try include chocolate with peppermint frosting, the peanut butter and banana Velvet Elvis, and the Mexican chocolate inspired cupcake with a cinamon and chili kick.

Hello Cupcake
1351 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Chocolate Moose, a Dupont resident for an age, has a number of good sweet treats. You can get the classics there, such as Leonidas chocolates, but also some fun candies like swirlie lolipops, Swedish fish, and caramel cubes. Moose will put together a gift bag with your guidance and then ship or courier it wherever you please, a good option if you want to send a gift to your host after an event.

Chocolate Moose
1743 L Street, NW

The classic baked goods at Firehook, 1909 Q Street, NW, and Marvelous Market, 1511 Connecticut Avenue are also worth a gander.

Serving Ware:
If you're bring food along to a party, consider bringing it on/in a piece of serving ware given as a gift to your host.

Miss Pixie's Furnishings and Whatnot has had some very attractive crystal items in the window lately. Check in weekly and act quickly to buy your favorites as the inventory changes over rapidly.

Miss Pixie's Furnishings and Whatnot
1626 14th Street, NW

Reincarnations has fabulous serving ware, decorative plates, and barware. The colors are bright and the patterns are fun.

Reincarnations Furniture
1401 14th Street, NW

Home Rule's inventory of kitchen and home goods is fun and affordable. Cheese-lovers may like the three-piece satin finish cheese knife set. Elegant serving platters and bowls in neutral colors are always available. If you prefer something more quirky, bring your food contribution on a plate decorated with a robot.

Home Rule
1807 14th Street, NW

Go Mama Go has an abundance of glazed ceramic dinner plates and sushi accessories. Finishes and patterns range from crackled glazes, floral designs, and subtle matte solids.

Go Mama Go
1809 14th Street, NW

Flowers on 14th makes fantastic arrangements. You can walk in or call ahead for pick up or delivery. The quality is far far better than what you would get if you allowed FTD to farm out your order.

Flowers on 14th
1718 14th Street, NW

Consider a live plant as a gift. Christmas classics include, of course, papperwhite, amaryllis, and poinsettias. If you're an overachiever, grab a small Christmas tree from Garden District and decorate it. (Miss Pixie's has some great glass ornaments in the window.) Plants that will endure past the holidays are also a good idea. Orchids can be easier to keep than you may think and complement many decorating styles. Succulents are as easy to care for as cacti, come in unusual shapes and textures, and look great in a modern home.

Garden District
1520 14th Street, NW

Whole Foods and Trader Joe's also sell seasonal live plants.

Clean Up:
At the end of any event comes the ugly clean up. Make it a little more pleasant with Caldrea's wonderful cleaning products from Home Rule. Available are orignal scents that won't overwhelm pleasant cooking smells. Some of the exotic combinations are ginger pomelo, lavender pine, and basil blue sage. All wrapped up in gorgeous packaging are household basics like dishwashing powder, stainless steel cleaner, and home fragrance.

Home Rule
1807 14th Street, NW

Logan Hardware carries Mrs. Meyers cleaning products, which are unique and upscale without being quite as expensive as the Caldrea line. Scents include basil, lavender, lemon verbena, and geranium. Gifts to consider are dish soap, counter top spray, surface wipes, hand soap, and lotion.

Logan Hardware
1416 P Street, NW

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Where to brunch: Vinoteca

This afternoon, the 14thandYous faced a quandary: where to go for brunch? Mr. 14thandYou's brother had just wrapped up his fall internship here in DC and would soon be headed back to The Heart of It All, Ohio to finish his undergrad work. (For more on unpaid internships, we recommend this.) We wanted to take him out somewhere to celebrate, and determined that Sunday brunch would be the most opportune time.

So we set out into the chilly December air to scope out the usual suspects. Unfortunately, it seemed that we were not the only ones who had the brunch idea today. Every place we walked into was packed to the gills, with wait times ranging from 1/2 - 1 hour for a table. We visited Commissary, Logan Tavern, Bar Pilar, Saint Ex and Ulah Bistro, all without success. (Success being defined as "able to get a table".)

Running out of ideas, we wandered into Vinoteca on 11th Street, not knowing if they even had a brunch menu and, if they did, whether it was worth the cost of admission. We came away with highly positive answers to both questions.

First, the service: pleasant, attentive and thoughtful. We were seated immediately (the place was not full, and presented the relaxing, casual atmosphere we were looking for). Unlike other neighborhood establishments who shall remain nameless, the service was quick and attentive. For anyone who spends a fair amount of time dining out in DC, you no doubt understand how significant that is.

It was the food however that won us over. I ordered prosciutto eggs benedict with a side of home fries, which came with perfectly poached eggs and a lovely hollandaise sauce. Mr. 14thandYou's brother got an omelette which he deemed to be "awesome", and Mrs. 14thand You ordered duck confit crepes which were described as "eyes-roll-back-in-your-head good". Now that's high praise. Couple the wonderful food with good service and a relaxed atmosphere, and you have yourself a winner of a brunch. Which made the dearth of patrons somewhat surprising.

So the Vinoteca brunch gets a hearty recommendation from the 14thandYous. Has anyone else had a surprisingly good brunch/meal in the neighborhood? Any brunch recommendations in the neighborhood that you'd like to share? Please do so in the comments.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Inauguration Madness: Are you planning to rent your condo/apartment?

As you may have heard, we elected a president recently. As you also may have heard, DC is the seat of the nation's government, and the new president is going to be sworn in right here, mere blocks from where many in Logan and surrounding neighborhoods reside.

Estimates on anticipated crowd size for the inauguration range from anywhere between 2 million to 5 million people. Now, unless they're planning to go backcountry camping or have friends/family in the area, they're going to be needing a place to stay while they're here for the festivities. Enter the ever-resourceful DC population.

Most of you have likely heard the stories about homes in Ashburn or wherever fetching upwards of $40,000 for inauguration weekend. That's more than a bit ludicrous, but people who reside within DC, and particularly areas like Logan that are convenient to the White House and Capitol, can still stand to make a few bucks subletting their place for a few days.

A brief Craigslist search turned up a number of condos/apartments in and around Logan going for $1,000-$2,000 per night, as of Tuesday. It's not $40k, but it's not bad either. So we thought we would pose the question: are you planning to lease your place out for the inaugural festivities? if so, what has your experience been?

In breaking with the code requiring anyone subletting their home to obtain a license to do so, DC residents can sublet their place license-free during the inauguration. The District's website even has a sample lease form, which we strongly urge everyone to view before agreeing to let that nice family from Milwaukee take up residence in your place for a few days.

Also, to those who *are* planning to give up their space for a few days, where are you planning to be? Are you going to stay home and make some new friends? Stay with friends/relatives? Or are you getting out of Dodge? The 14thandyous confess to being somewhat intrigued to experience the near-certain apocalyptic nightmare that the District will become for those few days in mid-January, but we can certainly understand if others don't feel likewise.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Happenings

I've made a listing below of some of the fun holiday (mostly Christmas) themed events in and around our fine city. Later on, I'll try to take the time to enter some events that will be occurring in the latter half of this month. Events are listed in vaguely chronological order. I've made an effort to highlight the event themes in italics. Enjoy!

Throughout December:
A great reason to shop locally: DC is having a sales tax holiday on items totaling under $100 until December 7th.

The Model Train Garden at the U.S. Botanic Gardens winds its way both indoors and out. While you're there do not miss the models of DC landmarks constructed entirely from plant materials (see Thomas Jefferson sculpted with an acorn head and moss hair).

At Union Station take in an impressive model train exhibit and towering tree presented as part of the Norwegian Christmas display.

The National Zoo will be lit up on weekend evenings from 6 to 8:30 p.m. through the 14th for ZooLights. You can also take in the display every night until the 30th with the exception of the 24th and 25th.

December weekends through 14th, you can tour George Washington's home at Mount Vernon by Candlelight between 5 and 8 p.m.

Willard Intercontinental Hotel will have choral concerts in its lobby Mondays through Saturdays until December 23rd. The Hotel, between 14th and 15th Streets on Pennsylvania Avenue, NW is an easy stop to make going to or from the National Christmas Tree.

Take in the classic play, A Christmas Carol, at theater from December 2nd through 28th at the Lansburg Shakespeare Theater in Penn Quarter.

A Christmas classic, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, with the Rockettes will come to 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore from December 2-7.

The National Christmas Tree will be lit on the 4th and performances will take place nightly from the 6th through the 23rd.

Fans of David Sedaris might enjoy the performance of his essay, The Santaland Diaries, at Warehouse Theater, 1017 7th Street, NW from the 4th through the 24th.

In Upper Marlboro, take in the Gingerbread House Contest and Show on display from December 4th through 7th and again on the 11th through 14th at the Darnall's Chance House and Museum. The competition will feature entries from both children and adults.

The Downtown Holiday Market opens on December 5th and runs through the 23rd. Local artists and craftsmen will show their wares from noon to 8 p.m. daily next to the Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum on F Street between 7th and 8th Streets, NW (Penn Quarter).

At Constitution Hall from Friday the 5th through Sunday the 7th, see the U.S. Air Force Band play its holiday concert.

Anglophiles, take note: The Fairmont Washington Hotel, 2401 M Street, NW, will hold holiday teas on Saturdays and Sunday through the 27th.

Beginning on the 6th, the Newly reopened National Museum of American History will have performances several times a day of Christmas songs from the World War II era. This show will run until the end of the month.

At some time between December 6 and January 1 it is worthwhile to take in the Festival of Lights, a vast display of Christmas lights, and live nativity scene at the Mormon Temple Visitors Center. Another impressive light display can be seen not far from the Temple at the Bishop's House on the corner of North Portal and Birch Drives, NW.

The Christmas Revels combine music, dance, poetry, and storytelling for a performance "in celebration of the winter solstice" at Lisner Auditorium from the 6th through the 14th.

The Washington Ballet will perform the Nutcracker at the Warner Theater from December 11th through 28th.

The Joffrey Ballet will perform the Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center from December 11th through the 14th.

The National Symphony Orchestra Pops will have a Happy Holidays program from December 11th through 14th.

At the Folger Theater on Capitol Hill, take in A Spanish Christmas featuring organ, winds, and strings performing music from Spain's Golden Age from the 13th through the 21st.

As part of the National Gallery of Art concert series, there will be sing-along carols in the West Building rotunda from December 14th through the 21st. Check the website for times.

The Choral Arts Society of Washington presents Christmas music at the Kennedy Center from December 15th through the 24th.

If the National Symphony Orchestra's classical repertoire is more to your liking than pops performances, you may enjoy their presentation of Handel's Messiah from December 18 to 21. If you're feeling like belting out a song or two, there is also a Messiah sign-along on the 23rd.

The Christmas season is a great time for choral concerts. The Washington Chorus will perform music for Christmas at The Kennedy Center on December 20th through 22nd.

The Choral Arts Society of Washington's Annual Holiday Gala and Silent Auction will be held following the Monday, December 15th Christmas music performance.

Host your own event at Longview Gallery at no charge. Call (202) 232-4788 for details.

Wednesday the 3rd:
Pop down to 2401 M Street between 5 and 6:30 p.m. to the Fairmont Hotel to see its fifth annual tree lighting. This event is a great time to hear a capella singing from local high school students and to sip some free hot chocolate. Please also consider bringing an unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots.

Thursday the 4th:
The National Christmas tree at the White House will be lit in a ceremony to begin at 5 (gates open at 3:30). Tickets for this event are snatched up, but there will be a standby line to get in. In past years, those waiting standby have been able to claim seats.

Longview Gallery, 1302 9th Street, NW, is hosting a holiday celebration from 6 to 9 p.m. Visit the gallery to see works large and small from some of its most popular artists.

The Washington National Cathedral is hosting its annual holiday shopping evening. Both the Herb Cottage and the Cathedral Store will be open. Refreshments will also be provided from 5 p.m. onward.

The Anderson House at 2118 Massachusetts Avenue will be hosting “A Gilded Age Christmas: Celebrating Yuletide with the Anderson Family.” During the event, visitors can tour the historic mansion and learn about various Christmas traditions from the "gilded age."

Jazz lovers will like the Jazz Piano Christmas at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater at 9:30 p.m.

Friday the 5th:
Tudor Place, 1644 31st Street, NW, in Georgetown will have a holiday wreath-making workshop at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Shop the Norwegian Christmas Bazaar at Union Station from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

If you enjoy oggling gorgeous homes, consider the St. Albans School Christmas House Tour which runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. View five houses and one pool house in Georgetown by shuttle bus or on foot .

The entirety of Handel's Messiah will be performed at the Washington National Cathedral at 7 p.m. Go to their website for tickets ($20 to $80).

The basilica at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception will be holding a Christmas concert beginning at 7 p.m. It is suggested that you arrive by 7 in order to claim a seat.

Dumbarton House, 2715 Q Street, NW, will host a holiday family open house to feature music, refreshments, and crafts.

From 6 to 9 p.m., catch the prints and greeting cards from local artist Johanna Mueller at the boutique Redeem, 1734 14th Street, NW.

At 7 p.m. join the International Club for A Holiday Party In Paris to include music, dancing, buffet, open bar, and a silent auction hosted at the Embassy of France.

Saturday the 6th:
If you like to ogle gorgeous homes, consider the St. Albans School Christmas House Tour which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. View five incredible Georgetown houses by shuttle bus or on foot .

Check out ACKC's Alexandria location before or after touring Del Ray's annual holiday market featuring local arts and crafts from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This event is part of Del Ray's Holiday on the Avenue event with festivities along Mount Vernon Avenue from Nelson to Calvert. At 6 p.m. there will be a tree lighting at Colosanto Park followed by a parade down Mount Vernon Avenue, which will be lit with luminarias. Most retail establishments will be open until 9 p.m.

Shop the Norwegian Christmas Bazaar at Union Station from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

In Old Town Alexandria, catch the annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade and Concert. The parade begins at 11 at Wilkes and South Asaphs Streets and will end at 1 at King and Royal Streets. The concert will start at 1:30 at King and Royal streets in front of City Hall at Market Square.

Give a charitable gift in honor of someone you care about. At DC Gifts for Good, from 11 am – 3 pm at St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School in the Great Hall, 4700 Whitehaven Parkway, NW, you can learn about many organizations in need of your donations. If you contribute, you will be given a small gift which you can then give to a friend or family member.

Hear "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus" read at the Newseum at 2:30.

At 3 p.m. enjoy a performance by handbell ringers at the Historical Society of Washington, 801 K Street, NW.

Plan B Gallery, 1530 14th Street NW, will host a gallery opening from 6 to 8 p.m. to show off its holiday show which includes many giftable items in addition to the canvasses and sculpture that you usually find in the gallery.

It's worth the 45 minute trip north to Baltimore to see the Parade of Lighted Boats in the Inner Harbor and Fells Point beginning at 6 p.m.

Can't make it to B'more to see lighted boats? There is also a lighted boat parade in the Alexandria Marina from 4 to 6 p.m.

Take advantage of a 20% off jewelry sale at Caramel's Faso Jewelry trunk show, 1603 U Street, NW.

Dumbarton Church in Georgtown will hold A Celtic Christmas holiday concert. Saturday's performances are at 4 and 8 p.m.

Sunday the 7th:
Shop at the DC JCC's Holiday Bazaar from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for Chanukah items crafted by Jewish artists.

Tudor Place, 1644 31st Street, NW, in Georgetown will have a holiday wreath-making workshop for children and adults at 1 p.m.

The 30th Annual Logan Circle Community Association will hold its house tour from 1 to 5 p.m. Buy your tickets online prior to the event.

Make merry at the Merriment in Georgetown festival from 2 to 6 p.m. The event features a variety of performances, free horse-drawn carriage rides, and special discounts from retailers.

Dumbarton Church in Georgtown will hold holiday concerts. Sunday's performance is at 4 p.m.

The entirety of Handel's Messiah will be performed at the Washington National Cathedral at 4 p.m. Go to their website for tickets ($20 to $80).

Monday the 8th:
Kennedy Center's free Millennium Stage will feature Merry TubaChristmas. If you play tuba, sousaphone, or euphonium, show up at 3 p.m. for the open rehearsal. If you are a spectator only, arrive at 6 for the performance.

At Blues Alley be pleasantly overwhelmed by the Capitol Big Bones Band - with over a dozen horn players - performing a Stan Kenton Christmas. Performances are at 8 and 10 p.m.

Tuesday the 9th:
There will be harp music and singing at the U.S. Botanic Gardens from 5 to 8 p.m.

At Blues Alley be pleasantly overwhelmed by the Capitol Big Bones Band - with over a dozen horn players - performing a Stan Kenton Christmas. Performances are at 8 and 10 p.m.

Wednesday the 10th:
DC is filled with large, attractive historic homes. Explore one such home for free at the Daughters of the American Revolution Christmas Open House, 1776 D Street, NW. From 5:30 to 8:30 view 31 period rooms decorated for Christmas, have some refreshments, and listen to carolers. This event is an easy stop to make going to or from the National Christmas Tree on the ellipse. You can also get some great shopping done at the museum store.

At the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, attend Rekindling the Chanukah Flames: Infusing New Techniques Into Your Chanukah Festivities at 7 p.m. to learn about new and creative ways to celebrate the holiday.

Thursday the 11th:
From 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., tour McLean homes at the 2008 Holiday Homes Tour and MarketPlace organized by the Woman's Club of McLean. Go to their website for information on how to purchase tickets. The MarketPlace, held in Immanuel Presbyterian Church at 1125 Saville Lane, is free and open to the public.

Have some lox and vodka from 6 to 8 p.m. at the U.S. Botanic Gardens while listening to Klesmer music.

Attend the Santa Jam at The State Theater in Falls Church, VA to help raise money to benefit the Fairfax Battered Women's Shelter and the Arlington Homeless Shelter. The doors open at 7 p.m. and the half dozen musical performances kick off at 8. Be sure to stick around until at least 10:30 for the raffle.

Friday the 12th:
Shop and enjoy some holiday refreshments at the 4NX¢ boutique's Fashionista's Fridays Holiday Party at 1019 U Street, NW. During the festivities you can subtract a holiday discount from your purchases and enjoy a fashion show.

Tudor Place, 1644 31st Street, NW, in Georgetown will have holiday wreath-making workshops at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

At 6 p.m. see a free holiday performance by the DC Youth Orchestra at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage.

Saturday the 13th:
Holiday wreath making workshop at the U.S. Botanic Gardens at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. See the website for cost and registration information.

Hear "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus" read at the Newseum at 2:30.

Dumbarton Church in Georgtown will hold A Celtic Christmas holiday concert. Saturday's performances are at 4 and 8 p.m.

Tour Old Town Alexandria by candlelight. Tours depart from Gadsby's Tavern Museum from 5 to 8 p.m.

The House of Sweden is hosting a St. Lucia Ball for young professionals from 8 p.m. to 1 p.m. Festivities are to include dancing, a holiday buffet, and a rooftop bar.

Sunday the 14th:
Dumbarton Church in Georgtown will hold a Celtic Christmas holiday concert. Sunday's performance is at 4 p.m.

Shop at the DC JCC's Holiday Bazaar from 2:30 to 7 p.m. for Chanukah items crafted by Jewish artists.

Fans of opera may enjoy Music of the Sea: A Norwegian Christmas at the National Gallery of Art's rotunda in the west building, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Protect Those Out In the Cold

It's chilly again, and those who live outside are at risk of hypothermia and frostbite. If you see someone suffering out in the cold, please make a call to Shelter Hotline Transport at 800-535-7252. They make periodic rounds in the city, but, when alerted, will go directly to the location of someone who may be at risk for hypothermia. Those who turn down transportation to a shelter will be offered blankets and warm clothing.

Alternative Thanksgiving

If you're without a group to join for dinner or you'd rather not spend all day Thursday around a table, consider volunteering for Thanksgiving. Here are some ideas:

So Others Might Eat is holding a Turkey Trot. Register online and join Mayor Fenty in a 5k to end hunger.

Food and Friends serves Thanksgiving dinners to those with HIV/AIDS. Sign up here to volunteer to prepare meals or deliver them.

If you are hosting a traditional Thanksgiving meal, ask your guests to bring a donation to the Capital Area Food Bank with them to dinner. Funds raised can then be donated online here. Bread for the City is also seeking donations for its holiday meals programs. Your neighbor, Central Union Mission, needs donations as well to help provide holiday meals.

You may also be thinking about making charitable donations as we reach the end of the year. You may also be feeling a little stressed about money right now. If you don't want to make a large donation in this economically challenging environment, consider setting up a small regular payment to an organization that you believe in. Many organizations have recurring donation forms which authorize them to make a periodic charge to a credit or debit card. You can also set up recurring payments through your bank.

All of these opportunities for volunteering and donating will continue through Christmas, so please keep these ideas in mind over the next month.

Monday, November 24, 2008

DC to suspend parking tickets, er, street sweeping November 30

Rejoice, all ye who do not drive to work and frequently forget to move your vehicles, for the city announced today that the annual cessation of street sweeping will commence on November 30. That means, no more seeing the street sweeper go by at 8:45 AM, and then seeing DC parking enforcement out ticketing vehicles at 10:00 AM.

Then again, maybe you will...

The full text of the announcement is below.

Weekly Residential Street Sweeping Ends November 28

The DC Department of Public Works (DPW) has announced that weekly, (signed) residential mechanical street cleaning will end for the season Friday, November 28, 2008. "No parking/street cleaning" restrictions will be lifted and motorists may park along posted, alternate-side, daytime street sweeping routes without being required to move their cars on street-cleaning days.

Residential street sweeping is suspended for public safety concerns during the winter. Sweepers emit a fine spray of water to keep dust down as they sweep; but when the temperature is at freezing or below, sweeping is discontinued to prevent freezing and accidents to vehicles and pedestrians.

Overnight sweeping scheduled for the District's major roadways, such as Pennsylvania, Georgia, Constitution, Independence Avenues and others, will take place as usual all winter, weather conditions permitting. Motorists are urged not to park in these areas during the posted overnight sweeping hours.

By suspending the street sweeping program, DPW personnel will focus on leaf collection and the upcoming snow removal season. Residents and business owners will be notified when street sweeping resumes again in the spring of 2009.

11th Street Reconstruction To Begin December 1

Over the weekend, we received an email from DDOT alerting us to the fact that construction on 11th Street is set to begin on December 1. Unfortunately, this represents a delay from when the project was originally supposed to start--mid-November--and doesn't present a promising kick-off to the project, which is due to end in July.

The full communication from DDOT:

The construction phase of this project is set to begin on December 1, 2008.

If you have questions, you can visit the construction project office located at 1200 N. Street, NW, #319.

You can reach us by phone (202) 898‐1720. Ask to speak with Mr. Osman Mohamed, the on‐site construction engineer, or Mr. Michael Conley, the DDOT Project Engineer.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More on t Street Development: What kind of retail do we want?

This recent article from the Business Journal shows local retailers around U Street and 14th Street casting a wary eye towards the potential arrival of Minneapolis-based furniture palace "Room and Board" to the new development heading towards completion at T and 14th streets.

The article raises several points related to the ongoing development and gentrification of the U Street/14th Street corridor. Chief among them: what type of retail do residents want, and what type of retail are we likely to get?

It's not surprising that with skyrocketing commercial lease rates and a decreasing number of options, that the 14th and U St. retail corridor would begin to attract a greater number of "chain stores". After all, conventional wisdom goes, once the local businesses have moved in and paved the way for commercial success, the rents go up and the only businesses left who can afford them are national retailers. it's not true in every sense, of course, but a quick gander around Dupont shows a relative lack of the independent stores for which the neighborhood used to be known.

But what is more valued: a vibrant business corridor, or vacant storefronts awaiting the local tenant who can afford its space?

Those are not always mutually exclusive options of course, but those of us who were less-than-thrilled at the prospects of yet another chain furniture store setting up shop on 14th street might also ask what price independent stores should be maintained, simply because they are independent.

Let me be the first to tell you: I've seen a lot of overpriced crap at independent retailers. And I've seen a lot of merchandise at local stores that I could purchase cheaper at a chain establishment (the quote in the article from the Urban Essentials owner is a good comparison).

While I think we can all agree that a diverse mix of retail is an important component of any vibrant commercial corridor, I think it's also easy to too quickly adopt the "chains bad, local stores good" mentality at the cost of filling retail space. I'm not necessarily excited by the potential arrival of Room and Board, but would I be any more excited by the prospect of a new Muleh or Circle Boutique filling the T Street space? I doubt it.

What's happening at the Old Convention Center site?

The ANC2f Community Development Committee will be holding court this evening at the Washington Plaza Hotel, beginning at 7:00 PM. Among the items on the agenda, Hines will present the plans for the CityCenterDC (Old Convention Center redevelopment) streetscape and Northwest Park.

The redevelopment of the convention center site is but one of many significant projects about to be undertaken in the eastern portion of the central part of the District, but it may be the most prominent. As the largest remaining parcel of undeveloped land in the city's core, the development of the site offers the opportunity to develop a truly unique and lasting project. However, as we all know, these kinds of plans can get fouled up, and without community involvement you risk ending up with something the developer--no the community--wants.

One of those opportunities to learn about the scope and plans for the project is this evening, where you will be able to learn about the plans for the streetscaping and the new park that will be installed as part of the site's redevelopment. No doubt there will be plenty of opportunities for questions for the development team as well.

Coupled with the Convention Center Hotel, O Street market project, and the Kelsey Gardens 7th Street development, things are certainly on the upswing for the 7th and 9th street corridors.

11th Street Reconstruction Set to Start

Any day now, the construction vehicles are going to set up shop and the long-awaited reconstruction of 11th Street between L and O streets is set to begin. A website,, has been set up to alert the public to construction milestones and progress on the project, which will feature a complete reconstruction of the street, landscaping improvements, and the installation of a traffic signal at 11th and O streets.

You can read all of the details about the project at the website, but we thought it would also be helpful to highlight the project phases, so that those of you who either live along and/or frequent 11th St. know what's in store. The project will be broken up into four phases, as follows:

Phase 1 of the construction is between L St. and N St. on the northbound side of the street. Phase 2 is construction between N. St. and O St. on the same side. Phase 3 is construction between L St. and N. St. on the southbound side of the street, and phase 4 is construction between N. St. and O St. on the southbound side.

At the public meeting, there were some pertinent questions asked which are not answered on the website, so we're sharing a couple of them here.

Question: Why only between L and O streets? Why not reconstruct 11th street up to Rhode Island or beyond?
According to DDOT officials, it's an issue of funding. The DDOT budget, like most other city and governmental agencies, has seen their budget cut significantly, leading to the scaling back of some projects, and the indefinite delay of others. It seemed as if the DDOT officials would have liked to gone ahead and reconsruct 11th Street farther north, but the budget simply wouldn't allow it.

Question: What assurances are in place that the project isn't going to run months over schedule?

Many of you probably remember the Q Street reconstruction project and the significant delays that were incurred there--taking the project over 6 months over its projected end date. The biggest impediment to completing the Q Street project in a timely manner was the accidental severing of PEPCO service lines that were buried under the street. Whoops. DDOT officials assured us that there were ongoing communications between the DDOT contractor and the utility companies, and that there would be no repeat of the problems that delayed Q St. Additionally, the DDOT contractor is penalized $1,100 per day for every day the project runs over its projected end date. that may sound like a lot of money, but a $30,000 penalty for running a month over on a multi-million contract doesn't strike us as particularly foreboding. We shall see.

So, get ready for some significant road upheavals over the next nine months. Hopefully the finished project will be worth the wait.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Want Crime Information? Attend the Neighborhood Meeting This Thursday

Crime statistics and prevention seem to be of high interest on our blog and a number of other neighborhood blogs. If you want to know about issues that have occurred during the high-volume summer robbery season or you want to know about crime prevention efforts as we go into the holiday season carrying, unpacking, and giving high-value items, there is a neighborhood meeting you should attend this Thursday. Please see below for information from the Borderstan blog, a great resource addressing public safety in the Logan Circle neighborhood blocks along 15th Street:

The next Borderstan Neighbors public safety meeting is this Thursday,November 13, at 6:30 p.m. Location is the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church at the northeast corner of 15th and R Streets NW.

This is a follow up to the first Borderstan meeting on August 6. Ward2 Council Member Jack Evans and representatives of the Washington MPD will attend.

Remember that Borderstan is split between two MPD districts and twoPSAs: West Borderstan (west of 15th Street NW) is in the SecondDistrict and PSA 208; and East Borderstan (east of 15th Street NW)is in the Third District and PSA 307.

Visit for more information and/or send an email

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dog Park Grand Opening

The City's first off-leash dog park opens today at 11th Street and Rhode Island Avenue, NW. After the "leash cutting" ceremony this afternoon, you and your pooch can roam freely in the 15,000 square foot park, using the separate fenced in areas for pups under 25 pounds and for larger dogs. This freedom is, however, temporary. When the construction of the new Shaw School begins in June 2010, the park will close. For more information, consult the DC Department of Parks and Recreation press release here.

More on the Whitman-Walker Development

In spite of the current economic climate, the pace of development along 14th street is letting up.

At an otherwise uneventful ANC2f meeting yesterday evening, the ANC and meeting attendees were treated to a presentation regarding the forthcoming development of the former Whitman-Walker Clinic building, located along 14th St. between S St. and Swann. There have been some changes to the project since it was originally announced and discussed earlier this year. For those not quite up to speed on the project, here's a brief run-through.

What: DC-area developer JBG Companies acquired the former Whitman-Walker Clinic building, located at 14th and S, last year to the tune of $8 million. The property was put on the market after Whitman-Walker decided against developing the property themselves. W-W will condense the administrative offices which were located in the building with their existing clinical building, located at 14th and R St.

JBG's plans call for a seven story mixed-use development, with six stories of residential units and ground level retail. The building will include something in the neighborhood of 130 residential units. It wasn't discussed whether the building would be entirely condo, or a mix of condos and apartments--I would imagine in the current market it would be more difficult to obtain financing for a pure-condo project, so it would not surprise me to see a residential mix; but that's only a wild guess on my part. The project will also feature a dual-level parking garage with approximately 90 spaces.

No word yet on what retail establishments might be moving into the building, but a representative of JBG did indicate that talks were "ongoing" with several potential tenants. (Would now be a good time to start a petition to reject the idea of another furniture store or small-plate restaurant?)

How: ANC2f commissioner Charles Reed was quite intent on reminding the project representatives--repeatedly--about the fact that the project would be subject to the requirements of the 14th street "arts overlay" district. That may be true, but Reed's comments that this issue would be "one we will follow up on" must have struck the developer and architect's representatives as a bit odd, seeing as how the project does not technically sit within the boundaries of ANC2f.

JBG, which has a strong track record of successfully undertaking historic preservation work, will also work to integrate the development within the existing structure and facade of the building, which was built in 1908. (Interestingly, the building was originally designed as a residential and commercial-use structure.) Artistic renderings o fthe completed project--which looked quite nice--were shown last night, but unfortunately do not appear to have been posted to their website yet.

When: No word yet. The developer has a hearing before the BZA to address three outstanding issues (including the number of parking spaces they will be offering as well as a sightline issue). Beyond that, no definitive timeline was offered. I am personally a bit surprised to see a project of this magnitude undertaken during the current economic climate, but with the projects at 14th and T and 14th and U progressing along, I guess it's not too far outside the realm of reality.

So, my question for you all regarding this project: What type of ground floor retail would you like to see here? A good deli? A bookstore? Clothing shop? A brothel? Give us your thoughts in the comments section.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

$#%@ You, Parking Cone!

13th and R streets, Sunday afternoon:

That's one way to show your disdain for artificial Sunday parking restrictions.

Trick or Treat!

The 14thandYous spent a couple of hours on Friday evening handing out candy to the little ghouls and goblins in the neighborhood (actually, it seemed like a lot of football players and people dressed up as "the Scream", but no matter).  Mrs. 14thandYou adopted her alternate personna, the neighborhood witch (as seen below), while Mr. 14thandyou ventured out as himself.  It was difficult to tell who the neighborhood children were frightened of more.

Unfortunately, we didn't see too many of our neighbors doing the same.  We know Logan isn't a "family" neighborhood, so to speak (i.e. not too many families with children), but there were certainly enough kids out that evening to keep us busy.  When I was growing up, trick-or-treating was one of the things I looked forward to the most every year, and a big reason for that is virtually every house in our neighborhood was giving away candy.  It's a shame that so many houses, by all appearances, weren't participating this year.

Regardless, we hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween.  Now, it's time to spend the next two months being overrun with Christmas songs, decorations and highly inappropriate gift items.  Rejoice!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Important Neighborhood Happenings

There's a lot going on in the hood over the next couple of weeks, and rather than hash it out over several posts, we thought we'd just put it all out there in one handy post.

11th Street:  When is it going to start/end?
Unfortunately, we can't answer any of those questions, because it doesn't seem as if there are any answers to be had.  However, next Thursday, November 6, DDOT will be hosting an informational session about the project including, presumably, when it will begin.  From ANC2f commissioner Mike Bernardo:

On Thursday, November 6, at 6:00 pm the District Department of
Transportation (DDOT) will provide the public with an update on a
roadway construction project along 11th Street from L to O Streets,
NW. The meeting will be held at the Asbury United Methodist Church,
located at 926 Eleventh Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001.

The improvements in this area include roadway reconstruction,
sidewalks, street lighting, intersection and signal improvements,
enhancements to traffic operations, pedestrian amenities, and safety

Thursday's briefing with residents and businesses in the area will
provide an update on construction timing, phasing, and traffic
management, as well as DDOT's plans for coordinating with utilities
and private developments in the area.

Information will continue to be distributed throughout the
construction of this project.

For more information please contact the construction manager, Mr.
Osman Mohamed; or DDOT's project engineer Mr. Michael Conley at (202)

The project's public outreach coordinator, Martha Kemp can be reached
by e-mail at mkemp@volkert. com or by phone at (202) 237-6269.

Shocking News:  Furniture Store Coming to 14th Street?

As DCist reported earlier this week, it seems that big box Crate 'n Barrel lookalike "Room and Board" is in the running to move into the new project at 14th and T, beating out a proposed comedy club that had financial backing from Dave Chappelle.

Because, you know, that's exactly what 14th St. needs--another furniture shop. Now, don't get me wrong: as anyone who has read this blog knows, we're fans of the furniture scene that has developed along 14th St. Heck, Mrs. 14thandyou wrote an entire post about it not too long ago. But I think it's saf to say the market has been saturated by this point. If you can't find what you're looking for along 14th St., what, a drive to West Elm or Crate and Barrel is going to kill you?

Plus, I just have to add one final comment about the name of the new store, "Room and Board": Ugh.

Efforts to Curb World's Oldest Profession Continue

We've all seen it at some point: a woman of the night waltzing around the 'hood, maybe along the AYT Auto lot, maybe behind the Mr. Wash. And we'd all be thrilled to eradicate it from the neighborhood. Well, the City Council's Public Safety Committee has got a meeting for you.

Phil Mendelson and the committee will convene a meeting to discuss efforts to combat prostitution in the District next Friday, November 7 at noon. Unfortunately, the 14thandYous have prior commitments with our employers, but we both feel this is an important neighborhood issue. Hopefully, someone can attend and report back as to what efforts the city is undertaking to stem the tide of people paying for sex.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

So, if you're headed to tonight's High Heel Race... sounds like you're going to need any combination of the following: an umbrella, an overcoat, a hat, a scarf, gloves, boots, a raincoat, and perhaps snow shoes.

So be careful out there. That goes for the guys wearing heels as well.