Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Two Very Cool Events

On May 9-11th (Mother's Day weekend), the Washington National Cathedral will be putting on a light show of sorts. From sunset to midnight each evening, various complex geometric images will be projected onto the west and south facades (facing Wisconsin Avenue, NW and the St. Albans school respectively). These projections are the first display in the United States of Swiss lighting designer Gerry Hofstetter's art. The mock-up images of the show are amazing; check one out at If you can't make it to the grounds of the Cathedral, the images will be viewable from many points in the city and Virginia -- the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Lady Bird Johnson Park, 14th Street Bridge, and the Roosevelt Bridge, to name a few. However, if you travel to the Cathedral close on Saturday, you can enjoy live music, drinks, and snacks.

Coming up this Friday and Saturday at the Cathedral is the annual Flower Mart, a food, craft, and plant fair. There's no particular religious reason for the event; it's just a chance for the All Hollows Guild volunteer garden and groundskeepers to raise money. It's a great place to snatch up Mother's Day gifts such as purses and jewelry. The food is fabulous from fresh-baked goods to chocolate strawberries and Rocklands barbecue. For entertainment, there's live music throughout the day, climbs to the top of the Cathedral bell tower, and themed tours. Also worth checking out are gorgeous cut flower arrangements in the bays along the side aisles in the nave.

The Cathedral is most accessible by car. Entrances to the parking garage are off of Woodley Road and Wisconsin Avenues. There's also some neighborhood parking available, but the residents will send parking enforcement after you if you stay a minute past the permissible two hours. By Metro, ride to Tenley Town on the Red Line and either walk or take one of the frequent buses on the 30 lines south down Wisconsin Avenue. There are also some bus lines along Massachusetts Avenue that will take you from Dupont Circle to the Cathedral.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


This is a reminder that tomorrow night Modern Liquors at 1200 9th Street NW (Mount Vernon Square Metro stop) will be hosting its weekly wine and cheese tasting. As an added bonus, fresh-baked bread from Divine Cravings will also be served. Boutique Vineyards wines uncorked tomorrow will be:

  • Raoul’s Willow Tree White
  • Raoul’s Old Basket Red
  • DeMeye Steel Chard
  • DeMeye Little River Cab/Shiraz
  • Hillcrest Sauvignon Blanc
Many local businesses now feature regular wine tastings. If the fruit of the vine is your thing, try these free events:
  • Tastings at Bell's Wine & Spirits (2000 1800 block of M Street, NW, Farragut North Metro stop). Join the mailing list at their website to stay on top of the myriad monthly tastings, lectures, and dinners. This month they are featuring Spanish wines.
  • Cork at 1720 14th Street (U Street/Cardozo Metro stop), NW hosts periodic tastings. Sign up for the newsletter on their website or view their events web page here.
  • Best Cellars at 1643 Connecticut Avenue, NW (Dupont Metro stop, north exit) holds tastings periodically. I would give you the schedule if they would post it on their website. Walk by on a warm evening on your way to/from Dupont and, if you're lucky, they'll be pouring.
There are a number of wine bars where you can get flights (several small pours of wines to taste). A few to try:
  • Bardeo (3311 Connecticut Avenue, NW at the Cleveland Park Metro stop)
  • Veritas (2031 Florida Avenue, NW on the northwest corner of Connecticut and Florida, Dupont Metro stop, north exit)
  • Vinoteca (1940 11th Street, NW at the corner of 11th and U Streets, U Street/Cardozo Metro stop)
For a very fun wine tasing experience, try a country's native varietals at their embassy. The International Club of DC holds wine-related events several times during the year. Wine-themed evenings this past winter included a wine and food tasting at the Austrian Embassy as well as a Valentine's Day party with open bar at the French Embassy. Get on the mailing list to be alerted to the next events.

If you will be drinking — even a little bit — please consider using the Metro stops above to travel to your destination. While you're at it, encourage your friends to do the same, especially if they would otherwise be getting on the road to Maryland or Virginia.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Lots of Police Activity

Mr. 14th & You and I were driving from Capitol Hill to Logan last night between 9:15 and 9:45 and we happened to spot several police cruisers along the way. We saw three cruisers at the Shaw Metro and another two as we traveled up R Street. They weren't responding to any events as we drove by; they were just parked at various cross streets along R. Like the crime cameras, I'm never sure if I should be thankful for their watchful eyes or concerned about the neighborhood factors that led to their presence. Unless there was some sort of incident before we got back into town last night, I'm guessing that police are increasing patrols in various areas in response to the violence over this past weekend.

We've gotten a few questions about the sound of shots fired in our alley. Neither the Dupont Current nor the Washington Post have published recent enough statistics for us to follow up. does not appear to have any information posted either. (Though there would need to be a reported crime, not just a police call, in order for them to plot it on the map.) We do anticipate seeing Lt. Smith at the next ANC meeting (Wed., May 7) and we plan to ask him about the incident then.

In cheerier news, the Express recommended our blog as a good DC neighborhood-centric read. Check out the blurb posted on Friday. Mr. and Mrs. 14th & You are given credit for our "candid" coverage of neighborhood events even if we don't paint a "rosy picture" all the time. Now I have blogger guilt about the recent lower volume of posts. In our defense, I worked 52 hours last week, and Mr. 14th and You didn't fare much better. We hope to have more time in the near future for exploring our area and writing about it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

WASA Hearings

WASA will be holding public hearings on the replacement of lead service lines. Earlier this year, the DC Council held hearings to address the findings of a VA Tech scientist who found that lead levels in our water spiked in areas where service lines had recently been replaced. I believe that the spikes are due to particles of lead breaking off from solder and old pipes during the replacement process. WASA now thinks that the switch from chlorine to chloramine to purify DC's water has been sufficient to hold down levels of the toxic metal delivered to most households in DC.

Since the 2004 discovery of lead levels in DC water that exceed EPA standards, WASA reports that the level of contamination has dropped. Though the amount of soluble lead in our water has been reduced, the Acting Executive Director of Alliance for healthy homes wrote in to the Washington Post recently to express her concerns about WASA's testing methods. She claims that though levels of soluble lead have decreased, levels of led particles in our drinking water have increased. She also believes that WASA's methods of testing do not reveal accurate lead levels because they do not take into account tap water that has been running for several minutes. (However, when my building was tested, the samples included both flushed and unflushed tap water.) From what limited information I've read, it's unclear whether we have a lead problem or a WASA public trust problem. Jim Graham may have a good idea in calling for independent testing of our water; results from independent researchers are more trustworthy. Another issue secondary to today's contamination is that neither our elected representatives nor WASA have addressed the issue of whether long term lead levels would be best addressed by leaving things as they are or by replacement of the service lines. Years from now will the solder and pipes degrade even more?

Still, the WASA website reports plans to replace service lines throughout 2009. This year's replacements in ANC 2F are:

1100-1299 blocks of O Street, NW
1500 block of Vermont Ave., NW

Several other replacements in our area were completed in 2007.For a complete list of currently-scheduled replacement locations, go to

If you have a particular concern about the service line replacement program, consider attending or testifying at the hearing on Thursday, May 1. Contact lmanley{at}dcwasa{dot}com or call (202) 787-2330 before 5 p.m. next Tuesday to arrange to testify.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Shots Fired in Alley Between R and Corcoran?

I don't know if anyone else heard this, but around 10:40 this evening there were two distinct gun shots which seemed to emanate from the alley between R St. and Corcoran, on the 1300 block.  I was sitting in our living room when I heard the shots; I immediately called 311, and a cruiser was dispatched and arrived on our block within only a couple minutes time.

I spoke briefly to the officer to tell him what I had heard and proceeded to pull back into the alley where he encountered a man hanging around by the dumpsters behind the Anna Cooper House.  As I left, the officer was questioning the man.

It's disappointing--and frightening--that shots would be fired seemingly directly behind our home.  It is encouraging, however, to see the quick response from the MPD to the call.  If nothing else, it's apparent that a call of shots fired gets them out here quickly.

ACKC Bringing Sidewalk Cafe to 14th St.?

Everyone's favorite purveyors of awesome hot chocolate beverages (and some darn good chocolate bars--has anyone tried the chocolate bacon bar?  Yummmmm...)  According to the agenda of tomorrow night's CDC meeting, the owners of ACKC are making plans to have some sidewalk seating in front of their store near 14th and Q.  This is great news for anyone who a) enjoys the sludgy, thick French-style hot cocoa that ACKC serves, and b) who have thought that it would be great if it could be enjoyed outdoors during the warmer months.

Want to learn more?  Stop by the CDC meeting tomorrow night.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Neighborhood Businesses I Like

One of the elements of city life that Mr 14th & You and I like are the locally-owned businesses. It's not that we're particularly anti-chain or anti-corporate nuts, we just like getting to know people and the advantage of having an interesting streetscape rather than strip mall homogeneity. In that vein, I have to recommend George's shoe repair on the northwest corner of 13th and U, J.C. Loftons tailoring on the north side of the 1000 block of U, and Mimosa Day Spa at Connecticut and R.

I went to George's upon the recommendation of a complete stranger who overheard me talking about my need for shoe repair. George's shop is tiny and no-frills, but he does a great job. No only are my new soles and heels holding up, he polished my shoes to near perfection despite my subjecting them to months of DC sidewalk punishment. Kindly, he didn't admonish me for the condition of my shoes either. Turn-around is fast, and George will give you advice, such as recommending heel plates to even sole wear.

Some of you may remember J.C. Lofton's from it's previous location on 14th St. The tailor shop has been relocated to the second floor of a small building on U Street. If you don't look for the sandwich board, you won't know to enter through the shoe repair shop and go upstairs. Alterations start around $15 for hemming, and the turn-around time has been about four business days whenever I've dropped clothes off. He'll custom tailor women's pants for $125 and up, depending on fabric, and he'll do women's suits for between $300 and 400. Unfortunately for you gents, men's suits run considerably higher. Most importantly, Lofton's stays open until 7 and keeps Saturday hours for those of you who can't attend to your wardrobe during work hours.

Mimosa Day spa sounded to my ear like a cheesy hair and nail salon. Yet, desperately needing someone to fix a few broken nails and ragged cuticles, I stopped in there one evening on the way home from work. I can say that they have given me the best inexpensive manicures I have ever had, and I keep going back. The polish is very carefully applied and re-checked; my skin and cuticles are always unstained no matter how dark the color. The ladies there will not allow you to smudge your polish on the way out either. After resting my hands under a heated fan, I was sprayed with a moisturizing drying spray and returned to the fan before being treated to cuticle oil a couple of minutes later. I was then helped into my coat and my purse was placed on my shoulder for me. What I really enjoy, however, is the extended hand massage complete with hot towel. You can find the somewhat hidden entrance to the second floor salon next to Secondi. Look for their shingle on the sidewalk next to the perpetually propped open door.

Speaking of neighborhood businesses, I walked by AYT at 14th and R this morning and saw a bunch of cute furniture in the window. Have I been checked out or is this a spanking new storefront?

An update on the last post: In response to commenter, lynne, I wrote a bunch about our Mac experience. If anyone wants more information, feel free to email me at 14thandyou{at}gmail{dot}com. I've now used both PCs and Macs for work and PCs and Macs at home. I'm also the world's most uptight comparison shopper if you want my notes .

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

If I had $100...

So, last week, I was going to hail a cab to head down to Union Station because I had to be in Baltimore that morning. I walk up to 14th St., and hail the first cab I see.

When I opened the door and got into the backseat, I noticed a dollar bill lying on the floor of the cab. I didn't think much of it at first, until I picked it up and realized it was a $100 bill. I think if you added up every cent of found money I've collected over my life, it wouldn't add up to $100.

Now, I know that $100 doesn't get you what it used to, but still...I was pretty darned excited. (And for all you do-gooders out there, you'll just have to take me at myword when I say that had there been any way to track down the owner of the cash, I would have tried. But I didn't feel like leaving my cab driver a $100 tip, so...into my pocket it went.) But now I am faced with a quandry: what do I do with my found money?

Should I donate it to a local charity, who undoubtedly could use the money more than Mr. and Mrs. 14thandYou do? Should I attempt to pick up a pair of Caps playoff tickets? Should I go purchase 6 burgers at Marvin? Should I invest it so that I can show my grandkids 50 years from now the time value of money?

So many I'm throwing the question out there: what should I do with my newfound wealth? Give us your ideas (via comments), and we'll pick the most creative suggestion and actually do it--and provide photographic evidence. Nothing illegal, please--so no suggestions about how I should place a call to the D.C. Madame. ($100 wouldn't even buy me 30 seconds with Elliot's callgirl, so what's the point?)

Technology Update

Thanks to the many thoughtful responses to my question from a couple of weeks ago about our computer situation. We are proud to report back that we are now the proud owners of a new MacBook, and aside from the fact that some of our old PC documents are now unopenable, we are loving it. Next up: the purchase of a new digital TV, to replace the current rabbit ears set with the broken picture tube....

What to do with your hazardous waste

What to do with all of collection event on Saturday, April 26. This is a great way to get rid of the kind of stuff--cleaning supplies, old batteries, insecticide, etc.--a lot of people hold onto simply because you can't really throw it out. (Well, OK, you CAN...but that's a particularly nasty thing to do.) Also, you can bring your old computer and other electtronic equipment for disposal. Pretty much anything short of radioactive waste is fair game 9and I'm not certain I want to know who is keeping radioactive waste around their home.)

Details are below--courtesy of Mike Bernardo's blog.

The DC Department of Public Works (DPW) will hold its annual spring Household Hazardous Waste and E-Cycling collection event Saturday, April 26, 2008, from 9 am to 3 pm at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre parking lot at 16th and Kennedy Streets, NW. This drop-off service is free and open to all District residents.

DC residents can bring items including leftover cleaning and gardening chemicals, small quantities of gasoline, pesticides and poisons, mercury thermometers, paint, solvents, spent batteries of all kinds, antifreeze, chemistry sets, automotive fluids, and even asbestos floor tiles to the collection site for environmentally safe disposal.

Additionally, an electronics recycler will be onsite to take end-of-life consumer electronics including computers, computer monitors and other accessories, televisions, and office equipment. These machines will be broken down into their component parts (plastic, glass, toxic/heavy metals) and recycled or disposed of safely.

To help protect against identity theft, computers and hard drives brought to the event will be wiped clean three times using US Department of Defense high-level security wiping procedures.

Items that will NOT be accepted during the Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Recycling Collection include ammunition, bulk trash, wooden TV consoles, propane tanks, microwave ovens, air conditioners and other appliances, as well as radioactive or medical wastes.

Learn more information about household hazardous waste and e-cycling by visiting DPW's website at or by dialing 311.