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by Borderstan.com September 30, 2011 at 7:49 pm 0

DC Police, PSA 305, U Street NW, Borderstan, violent crime, August 2011

There were 25 violent crimes in August in PSA 305. Of the total, 20 were robberies, 4 were assaults and 1 was a sex crimes. (MPD Crime Database)

From Matty Rhoades

Crime in the U Street area in August was down 14% on a Year-Over-Year (YOY) basis, with 83 reported crimes compared to 97 in August 2010. Fewer property crimes, notably burglaries and thefts from autos, drove down the total. There were 58 property crimes in August 2011, a 21% drop from the 73 in August 2010. The number of violent crimes was essentially unchanged on a YOY basis — there were 25 violent crimes in August 2011 compared to 24 in August 2010.

The numbers are from Police Service Area (PSA) 305, which covers the bulk of the U Street area plus neighborhoods around Howard University. All numbers are from the MPD Crime Database. Full numbers are in the chart at the bottom of this story.

  • Violent Crime. There were 20 robberies last month (three with guns) compared to 17 the previous August (five with guns). The number of assaults declined slightly from five in August 2010 (one with a gun) to four last month (none with guns).
  • Gun Crimes. The good news is that gun crimes decreased; there were three last month compared to six in August 2010.
  • Property Crime. There were declines in burglaries, thefts from autos and stolen autos on a YOY basis in August 2011. The number of thefts increased.

3-Year Trend: 2008 to 2011

What does the three-year trend, 2008-1011, for the month of August show for PSA 305?

  • Violent crime is down slightly –there were 28 violent crimes in August 2008 compared to 25 in August 2011.
  • Property crime is down 37%. There were 120 property crimes in August 2008 compared to 83 in August 2011.


Crime in Police Service Area 305: August1-31
Crime Type 2008 2009 2010 2011 % Change 2010 to 2011 % Change 2008 to 2011
Homicide 0 0 0 0 N.A. N.A.
Sex Abuse 3 0 2 1 Down 50% Down 67%
Robbery without Gun 10 7 12 17 Up 42% Up 70%
Robbery with Gun 5 4 5 3 Down 40% Down 40%
Assault with Dangerous Weapon (no gun) 9 7 4 4 No change Down 55%
Assault with Dangerous Weapon (with gun) 1 1 1 0 Down 100% Down 100%
Total Violent Crime 28 19 24 25 Up 4%
Down 11%
Burglary 4 4 15 4 Down 73% No change
Theft 21 20 22 28 Up 27% Up 33%
Theft from Auto 54 42 29 20 Down 31% Down 63%
Stolen Auto 13 3 7 6 Down 14% Down 54%
Arson 0 0 0 0 N.A. N.A.
Total Property Crime 92 69 73 58 Down 21% Down 37%
TOTAL CRIME 120 88 97 83

Down 14%

Down 31%

All numbers are from the MPD Crime Database.

by Borderstan.com September 30, 2011 at 11:00 am 1,654 0

"Borderstan" "Angela White" "17th Street NW"

In Dupont Circle: Painter and mixed media artist Angela White has been in her 17th Street studio for 12 years. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Cecile Oreste of danceDC. You can follow her on Twitter @dance_DC.

Artists are inspired by many aspects of their lives, and it’s no different for Dupont Circle painter Angela White. Her paintings and mixed media works are not only physically layered, but also emotionally layered with her personal experiences.

According to White, “the concept of the many layers of our life experiences forming our physical, spiritual and emotional identity lends itself to creating and adding layers of visual depth and density in my art work.”

White’s extensive art education has no doubt played a role in her development as an artist. In addition to a Bachelor of Arts in Painting and a Bachelor of Arts in Art Education, she holds a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction with a thesis painting exhibit from the University of Maryland. Additional inspiration comes from her interest in other forms of art such as music and dance. Both of these hobbies convey a strong sense of movement, which is a common thread in her work.

One of the strongest influences in White’s art work is her love of travel and a childhood spent living in Europe. Her collection is filled with images of the cliffs of Ireland, the streets of Paris and the piazzas of Florence. As a result, travel photography has become very important to her and she often uses this tool as a basis for her paintings.

When asked about the neighborhood, White admits she’s a big fan. “A friend told me about the available studio in Dupont Circle about 12 years ago and I’ve been working there ever since,” she said. “I enjoy many of the excellent restaurants, wine bars and theatre venues in the area.” She is also a supporter of the Brookland area, having previously exhibited at the Wohlfarth Gallery and Washington Works on Paper.

If you’re interested in seeing White’s work in person, three of her paintings are currently on exhibit at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery on U Street NW. At the present time, she is mostly an encaustic painter, but these particular works, “Inner Light,” “Things Unseen” and “Untitled,” are body prints. They are on display until October 22. You can also schedule an appointment to view her work at her 17th Street NW studio.

"Borderstan" "Angela White" "17th Street NW", Dupont Circle

Angela White with her work at her 17th Street studio. (Luis Gomez Photos)

by Borderstan.com September 30, 2011 at 8:00 am 0

The World War II Memorial. (From tedSeverson in the Borderstan flickr pool)

From Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and tell her your news on Twitter @MichLancasterEmail her at [email protected]

It’s the end of September already. How did that happen? For me in my day job, it means end of the month invoicing. So let’s check in on the state of the District for their monthly ‘activity report’. If you disagree with the grade, rationale or the final invoice, feel free to tell me in the comments. All agreements are considered paid in full, anything else may be subject to an upcharge.

DC Economic Health, By the Numbers

Grade: Above Average. Rationale: While every Gallup poll will show that people think the country is on the wrong path and the economy is in the toilet, recent numbers on the state of DC may indicate our little bubble is intact. The Washington Business Journal has found that some real estate is returning to pre-recession levels. Median housing prices in some parts of the area (DC, and parts of Arlington and Alexandria) are back up to the boomtime, eye-popping listing and closing figures of 2005. And our unemployment number is holding steady at 6.1% for the area and dropped .4% in DC proper. I know that’s not great news, or a surge, especially since DC’s number is one of the higher percentages in the nation (also the WBJ). But in a time of so little optimism, I’m going with no news is good news.

DC Economic Health, By the Businesses

Grade: Needs Improvement. Rationale: While the idea that a rising tide will lift all boats (see: Reaganomics), it seems the 14th Street NW corridor is a case study in what a higher tide of rent means to established at sea level businesses. The evidence is in the shuttering of businesses that helped create the growing community — 1409 Playbill Cafe (from us), PULP (DCist), go mama go (14th and You). While not all of the closures (and there are more beyond that short list) are rent-related, the majority of them are, according to their owners. If you get motivated to do something about it (at least about the building edifices), check out this awesome read on the DC Preservation League and what to expect with gentrification, growth and changes from the Washington City Paper.

DC Food and Beverage on 14th Street

Grade: Delicious. Rationale: Estadio has been open a year now to mostly rave reviews on 14th Street NW. We Love DC went back to check things out and found some yummy scallops, shrimp and wine. The success of small plates continues on the strip of street, with Cork Wine Bar as one of the original purveyors of tiny bites. But fans should be aware that Washington Post is reporting their head chef is departing. Cork has new chefs in contention already, so the bites and sips should continue with little disruption.

DC Interaction with Businesses

Grade: Needs Improvement. Rationale: Exhibit A is unfortunately the Lincoln Theatre. DCist reports that without a $500,000 infusion of cash from the city government, the Lincoln may close this year. Apparently, it costs $60,000 to run a month and they have $50,000 cash on hand. Mayor Gray has said the model is not sustainable and has, according to theatre supporters, been less than available to discuss the state of the Theatre. There are not a lot of scheduled shows there, which seems to be a cause of the cash shortage as well (at least to our untrained in theatre economics eye).

Services and Start Ups in DC

Grade: Kicking some serious butt. Rationale: Regardless of how you feel about bicyclists on your daily commute, it is difficult to argue the success of Capital Bikeshare. In one year, they have expanded service, had over one million rides and have over 1,110 bikes on hand in various areas. This is a great public/private partnership example and we hope to see more of these models emerge and thrive in the future. To celebrate or to check out the ‘hood while this current iteration still exists, check out their Vintage Shopping itinerary on The Washington Post.

by Borderstan.com September 30, 2011 at 7:00 am 0

“17th St Fest! is by pnzr242 from the Borderstan flickr pool.

Photos of the Day are pulled from the Borderstan Reader Photos pool on Flickr.

Today’s photo, “17th Street Fest!” was taken by pnzr242 on September 24 on 17th Street NW. Geoff LaSalle is the model and Chris Taylor did the body painting. You can see photos from last Saturday at 2011 17th Street Festival Photos: Did We See You There?

If you don’t already have a Flickr account, you will need to sign up for one, and then join the Borderstan Reader Photos group. Already a Flickr member? Join the group! You can submit up to five photos per day in the Borderstan reader pool. We are looking for photos from D.C.’s Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods.

by Borderstan.com September 29, 2011 at 2:00 pm 0

University of Maryland Watershed House, Solar Decathlon, Troy Urman, Borderstan

Visitors wait in line last Saturday for the University of Maryland Watershed house at the Solar Decathlon. (Troy Urman)

From Troy Urman. Email him at [email protected].

Despite threatening clouds, crowds and mushy ground this weekend, I spent Saturday afternoon in West Potomac Park checking out a ‘green’ village. Really it was a collection of envelope-pushing, energy efficient houses that college students from around the globe have erected for the Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon.

Saving the planet, one single-family home at a time. The 2011 DOE Solar Decathlon is happening right in our backyard.

This is the fifth incarnation of the event, first launched in 2002, designed to foster competition between collegiate teams to “design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive.” At root, this is an effort to bring ‘green’ to the masses. One fantastic by-product of this competition is the grooming of a generation of college students with hands-on experience in the green building industry and construction coordination.

Meet the Green Neighbors

Twenty small houses populate the grounds, arranged in a loose ‘neighborhood’ where visitors can walk amongst the diverse buildings and queue up at houses they want to tour. Some visitors wait for an hour or more just to see a favorite house — the University of Maryland’s Watershed is particularly popular, and is the competition front-runner (at the writing of this piece.)

Vote for your favorite house, check out all the houses, and stay up to date on competition score at www.solardecathlon.gov.

Each house competes on 10 separate criteria (this is a ‘decathlon’ remember), from Energy Balance to Market Appeal. Points are awarded in each category either subjectively or objectively — half are juried (i.e. Market Appeal) and half from hard data (i.e., net electricity production/consumption.) This year brought in an important new category: Affordability.

Many of the houses have ‘green’ written all over them — prominent solar panel arrays, butterfly wing roof lines and wood slats galore. Others are ultra modern in appearance (SCI-Arch/CalTech’s CHIP) or bordering on the mundane (Purdue’s INhome). Whatever the style, the variety itself proves an important point — there’s no such thing as a ‘green style.’ What makes a home Earth-friendly has little to do with its look, but everything to do with performance.

Due to the logistical challenges of a tight 10-day construction period and the distances many houses must travel to compete, nearly all of the houses arrived in large, pre-assembled parts on flatbeds and were quickly erected and finished on site — basically pre-fab construction.

Features such as elaborate glazing and mechanical systems were often fabricated off-site in controlled conditions, to avoid complications during construction. Some of the teams have the benefit of previous experience, and in my view, the competition as a whole has brought out increasingly better end results with each bi-annual competition. Fewer houses this year exhibited that shoddy, slapped together look I remember from many previous competitions. Some even look ready for move-in.

The Future of Sustainable Design

While touring the Team Florida FLEX House, I spent a few minutes chatting on the porch with a student lead for his team’s Market Appeal contest. Answering my annoying questions with ease, Chris Zalapi was knowledgeable about each aspect of the home’s efficiency features and vernacular architectural cues. Bringing his experience as an licensed engineer and green building consultant, he participated on the team while earning his MBA at University of South Florida.

Counter to what one might expect, Chris said the multi-University teams such as Team Florida (made up of four different Florida universities), did not necessarily benefit from their size when it came to fundraising. In fact, the management of so many designers and managers working together was a lesson in coordination throughout the project. These were just some of the challenges faced by the student teams, in addition to the difficulties of design by committee, procurement of materials and the physical labor of constructing a house!

Location, Location, Location

Temporarily overtaking the softball fields on Ohio Drive, adjacent to the Tidal Basin, the FDR Memorial and the shiny new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, these low slung houses and the buzz that surrounds them are well worth the walk. While there is shuttle available from the Smithsonian Metro Station, the wait was as long as the hike, so my buddy and I preferred to hoof it. Not a bad view and a quick stop at MLK, it was very worth the sweat.

Personally, I think the DOE did a disservice to all involved by hosting their pet PR venture this far off the beaten path. In fact, some teams dropped out due to the unexpected change in location. All previous events were hosted on the National Mall, giving the impressive hard work and innovation of the competing teams the spotlight they so deserved. Each time around, attendance has grown, with the most recent (2009) Solar Decathlon drawing some 300,000 visits through the houses.

I hope this year’s remote location doesn’t hinder popularity and public exposure. And in the future, they’d be wise to bring it back to the Mall. But don’t let that stop you. Take a long walk or short bike ride down from Borderstan and choose your own favorite house. Tell us what you think. Or better yet, find something you can do in your own home to make a difference. Hurry though, before this exciting event wraps up this Sunday!

by Borderstan.com September 29, 2011 at 11:00 am 0

Recent crimes in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area.

The following are crimes of note from the past week — robberies, assaults, sex crimes, drug crimes, stolen autos and burglaries in the Dupont Circle, Logan Circle and U Street neighborhoods. Crimes are from police reports for Police Service Areas (PSAs) 208 (Dupont-Kalorama), 305 (includes U Street area) and 307 (Logan Circle).

Robbery

  • Tuesday, September 20, 8:15 pm, 1900 block of New Hampshire Avenue NW (street).
  • Wednesday, September 21, 11:23 pm, 12th and U Streets NW (street).
  • Thursday, September 22, 4:55 pm, 900 block of U Street NW (sidewalk).
  • Friday, September 23, 11:05 pm, 1400 block of 10th Street NW.
  • Saturday, September 24, 5:07 pm, 1600 block of 11th Street NW (sidewalk).
  • Saturday, September 24, 3:55 am, 700 block of M Street NW (street).

Assault With A Deadly Weapon

  • Sunday, September 25, 1:30 am, 1600 block of R Street NW (residence).

Burglary

  • Wednesday, September 21, 5:30 am, 1700 block of S Street NW (residence).
  • Wednesday, September 21, to Friday, September 23, 1800 block of Swann Street NW (residence).
  • Friday, September 23, 1 to 5 am, 1200 block of N Street NW (residence).
  • Tuesday, September 27, 8:30 pm, 1400 block of Swann Street NW (residence).

Stolen Auto

  • Saturday, September 24, 2000 block of 8th Street NW (park area).
  • Friday, September 23 to Sunday, September 25, 1700 block of R Street NW (street).

by Borderstan.com September 29, 2011 at 8:00 am 1,109 3 Comments

"Borderstan" "1409 Play Bill" "14th Street NW"

1409 Playbill Cafe will close its doors at 1409 14th Street NW at the end of the week. Owners Elsayed Mansour and Jeffrey DeMontier are looking for a new location. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Tom Hay. Questions for Tom? Send him an email. You can follow him on Twitter @Tomonswann.

Logan Circle restaurant 1409 Playbill Cafe will close its doors at 1409 14th Street NW at the end of the week. The cafe and mini-theater has been drawing theater fans and industry players to the location since 1998.

Owners Elsayed Mansour and Jeffrey DeMontier opened long before the neighborhood was popular and took a big risk to settle there in the Pre-Whole Foods days. The Logan Circle store on P Street opened in December 2000 where an abandoned garage had stood. It was a catalyst for development on the 1400 block of P Street as well as adjacent blocks on 14th Street and Church Street NW.

The owners — who also happen to be 30-year residents of the neighborhood — hope to relocate to another space in the vicinity sometime soon. Borderstan spoke with Mansour about 1409 Playbill Cafe and Logan Circle.

Borderstan: Tell us about what your vision was for the cafe when you first opened?

Mansour: Both of us are theater lovers so we wanted to do something for that community. Studio Theatre, Woolly Mammoth* and Source really encouraged us to open. We were one of the first restaurants to embrace the theater community. Today, they come from other theaters all over the city. We get a late crowd, after the shows.

Borderstan: What was Logan Circle like back then?

Mansour: It was a somewhat undesirable place to go out to eat at a restaurant. There were lots of problems back then — prostitution, drug dealing, crime — but we loved the neighborhood and decided to go forward anyway.

Borderstan: What do you think of the changes that have taken place in Logan Circle?

Mansour: It has improved a lot financially since the opening of Whole Foods, which really anchored the neighborhood. I think the police and the city took notice, and it has improved the safety. But now the standard of living has improved so much that the old-time residents can no longer afford the area.

Borderstan: Why do you need to close?

"Borderstan" "14th Street NW" "Play Bill"

Elsayed Mansour at 1409 Playbill Cafe. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Mansour: Our lease was up last year and now we are on a short-term lease, which is very expensive. The building was built as part of a temporary strip mall on what was a parking lot. It was part of an effort by the Logan Circle community to get the owner to help eliminate the drug dealing and crime that was taking place in the lot. I expect they will build a high-rise eventually.

Borderstan: When you find a new location, will you keep the same name and concept?

Mansour: Yes, the same theme. We will just use the number of the new address in front of Playbill Cafe. We have a loyal following and we want them to come back. We have a small 50-seat theater called Black Box and we also started a foundation called Playbill Foundation to support the theater in the future.

Borderstan: When you are not working, what are some of your favorite places in the neighborhood to eat out at or have a drink?

Mansour: It would be unfair to say I have a favorite, I like to support all of the neighborhood restaurants.

*Longtime residents of Logan Circle will recall that Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company was originally located in a warehouse at 14th and Church Streets NW in what is now Homemade Pizza Company and the Lofts 14 Condominium. Woolly Mammoth opened their permanent home at 641 D Street NW, in the Penn Quarter neighborhood in 2005.

by Borderstan.com September 29, 2011 at 6:00 am 0

"Borderstan" "17th Street NW"

“2011 17th Street Festival” is by tedeytan from the Borderstan flickr pool.

From Luis Gomez. You can follow Luis on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos and at One Photograph A Day.

Photos of the Day are pulled from the Borderstan Reader Photos pool on Flickr.

Today’s photo, “2011 17th Street Festival” is from tedeytan. tedeytan says: “The 17th Street Festival is a free community even that celebrates the 17th Street Corridor from Riggs Place to P Street. The 17th Street Festival included musical performances throughout the afternoon, artist vendors, a pet zone, a kids zone, exposure for non-profit groups and appearances by city officials to celebrate the community and businesses.” Read the 2011 festival wrapup and check out more photos at 2011 17th Street Festival Photos: Did We See You There?

If you don’t already have a Flickr account, you will need to sign up for one, and then join the Borderstan Reader Photos group. Already a Flickr member? Join the group and submit up to five photos per day in the pool. We are looking for photos from D.C.’s Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods.

by Borderstan.com September 28, 2011 at 11:00 am 0

Logan Circle, PSA 307, Borderstan, violent crime

Logan Circle: There were 21 violent crimes in PSA 307 in August 2011, up from 16 in August 2010. The number of violent crimes committed with guns, however, declined. (MPD Crime Database)

From Matty Rhoades

Property crime in the Logan Circle area in August continued a downward trend that began last year. The August crime statistics for Police Service Area (PSA) 307 show a year-over-year (YOY) 33% decrease in property crime.

Violent crime in the Logan Circle PSA was up slightly — there were 21 violent crimes last month compared to 16 in August 2010. When both categories are combined — property and violent — crime was down 22% on a YOY basis in August 2011. All numbers are from the MPD Crime Database. Full numbers are in the chart below.

Logan Circle, PSA 307, Borderstan, thefts from autos

Logan Circle: Thefts from autos are one of the most common city crimes. There were 12 in August 2011, down from 17 the previous August. (MPD Crime Database)

  • Violent Crime. There were 13 robberies last month (two with a gun) compared to 13 the previous August (six with guns). The number of assaults rose from two in July 2010 to seven last month.
  • Gun Crimes. The good news is that gun crimes decreased; there were three last month compared to seven in August 2010.
  • Property Crime. There were declines in burglaries, thefts and thefts from autos on a YOY basis in August 2011.

3-Year Trend: 2008 to 2011

What does the three-year trend, 2008-1011, for the month of August show for PSA 307?

  • Violent crime is up 62% — but the relatively low number of such crimes can make the percentage increase misleading. There were 13 violent crimes in August 2008, 8 in August 2009, 16 in August 2010 and 21 in August 2011.
  • Property crime is down 32%. There were 76 property crimes in August 2008 compared to 52 in August 2011.

 

Crime in Police Service Area 307: August 1-31
Crime Type 2008 2009 2010 2011 % Change 2010 to 2011 % Change 2008 to 2011
Homicide 0 0 1 0 Down 100% No change
Sex Abuse 1 0 0 1 N.A. No change
Robbery without Gun 9 4 7 11 Up 57% Down 18%
Robbery with Gun 0 2 6 2 Down 67% Down 100%
Assault with Dangerous Weapon (no gun) 2 2 1 6 Up 500% Up 200%
Assault with Dangerous Weapon (with gun) 1 0 1 1 No change No change
Total Violent Crime 13 8 16 21 Up 31% Up 62%
Burglary 10 6 9 8 Down 78% Down 20%
Theft 29 33 42 26 Down 33% Down 10%
Theft from Auto 28 38 17 12 Down 12% Down 57%
Stolen Auto 9 4 4 6 Down 25% Down 33%
Arson 0 0 0 0 N.A. No change
Total Property Crime 76 81 72 52 Down 33% Down 32%
TOTAL CRIME 89 89 88 59

Down 22%

Down 34%

by Borderstan.com September 28, 2011 at 7:50 am 1,070 3 Comments

The 2011 Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure was held in DC over the weekend. Contingents walk 60 miles over three days to raise money for breast cancer research. Each year the walkers are out in force in the Dupont-Logan area and the organization has a food and services tent on the lawn at the Scottish Rite Temple at 15th and S Streets NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and tell her your news on Twitter @MichLancaster.

Guarav Gopalan’s Murder Still a Mystery

A Sunday night candlelight vigil was held to remember Guarav Gopalan, an openly gay man murdered near Columbia Heights two weeks ago. Police say they have no suspects and no motive for the murder, which is troubling for a number of reasons. The longer the case is open and ‘cold’, as we know from TV, the harder it is to solve. But the Washington Blade shares concerns from some in the LGBT community that Gopalan was targeted due to his sexual orientation. WUSA follows this with the reminder that several transgender people have been attacked in DC and near the area Gopalan was found recently.

Fiesta DC: Too Much Fiesta?

While we were hard at work giving out stickers, helping the festival organizers and meeting readers at the 17th Street Festival, it seems another festival went less smoothly. DCist has the most comprehensive round up of the Fiesta event on Sunday in Mount Pleasant, including why so many residents were pretty ticked off by the end of the weekend. Apparently, coordination between organizers (it changed while in the planning stages which always creates confusion) and the neighborhood was lacking or virtually non-existent, depending on who you talk to about the event. It was clear, however, that it was a robust celebration of Latino heritage with some delish looking food. Anyone check it out?

But Apparently DC Is Not a Foodie City, Since it Lacks ‘Ethnic Communities’

Some dude named Eli Lehrer wrote a Huffington Post piece about how DC is not a foodie city. While I hate the term ‘foodie’ and find some valid points in his article, I am irritated by it. Apparently, we lack ethnic enclaves (we have Ethiopian but for all others everyone goes to the ‘burbs), we make too much money to build an empire of cheaper, tasty food and don’t have enduring culinary traditions. Apparently, half smokes don’t count, Old Bay doesn’t count because that is owned by Baltimore and while NYC gets to credit their slices as a ‘tradition’, Jumbo Slice falls short.

Look — it is a little silly to continue this asinine argument over whether the food in the town is legit or not. We all eat and eat out and like different things, and I think there’s a lot of great stuff here. I just get irritated when a VP from an organization focused on free enterprise takes to blogs to whine about pricy food. There, I said it. Flame away. (Note: it was an attempt at explaining why we were so low in the Travel and Leisure poll of best foodie cities. Note #2: I don’t think we’re that low. If you haven’t eaten in Nashville, I can’t explain it to you. Sorry.)

Royster Leaves DNC Post

Deborah Royster, elected to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) by the District, stepped down from her position as DC’s DNC committee chairwoman. The news was broken by Mike DeBonis at the The Washington Post. As deputy general counsel for Pepco Holdings, Royster certainly has her hands full in her day job. She also serves as the chairwoman of the Ward Four Dems.

We’re Number One!

In crappy traffic, that is. The NPR story has the best headline on the Texas Transportation Institute study, writing that DC is the “best place to waste time in traffic.” Sounds about right to us — even 16th Street will test your patience immensely on a good morning. We in DC and our neighbors to the north and south apparently waste up to 74 hours in traffic backups a year. I hope you like your car, folks.

by Borderstan.com September 28, 2011 at 7:00 am 1 Comment

"Borderstan"

“First Day of Fall” is by specimenlife  from the Borderstan flickr pool.

From Luis Gomez. You can follow Luis on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos and at One Photograph A Day.

Photos of the Day are pulled from the Borderstan Reader Photos pool on Flickr.

Today’s photo, “First day of Fall” is from specimenlife. The shot was taken on September 22.

If you don’t already have a Flickr account, you will need to sign up for one, and then join the Borderstan Reader Photos group. Already a Flickr member? Join the group and submit up to five photos per day in the pool. We are looking for photos from D.C.’s Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods.

by Borderstan.com September 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm 2,833 21 Comments

PULP, 14th Street NW, Logan Circle

After nine years at 14th and S Streets NW, PULP will close its doors on November 23. (Borderstan file photo)

From Matty Rhoades

PULP, the locally owned gift and card shop at 1803 14th Street NW will close its doors November 23, according to Bev Jones, store manager. The store opened in November 2002 and carries a variety of gifts, cards, and children’s books and toys.

The current owner of the store was in the process of selling to new owners, but the business deal fell through, according to Jones. The original owner, Ron Henderson, died in February 2009. PULP also had a Provincetown, Massachusetts, store for several years.

Word of PULP’s closing comes just after the owner of 1409 Playbill Cafe announced he would move to find a more affordable space. The store joins several other 14th Street NW stores that have closed in the past year, including Garden District, El Paraiso (which has another location in Alexandria), Ruff ‘& Ready furnishings (owner looking for a new location) and go mama go!

PULP was one of the stores that opened on the 14th Street corridor in the early part of last decade as the retail strip was beginning to transform to meet the needs of a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. Together with Home Rule, go mama go! and Garden District (when it was located at the Standard BBQ location), the four stores formed a mini shopping block.

by Borderstan.com September 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm 1,022 5 Comments

"Borderstan" "Smartphones" "Corcoran Street NW"

How smart are you with your smartphone? (Luis Gomez Photos)

Urban Etiquette runs biweekly with Borderstan contributor Mike Kohn writing about some common-sense rules of etiquette with an urban twist. We welcome your ideas for future columns.

From Mike Kohn. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter @mike_kohn.

Back in May, I finally gave in to temptation and retired my old flip phone (that I swear I got in 2009, even though walking around DC made me feel like it was as antiquated as the typewriter) and traded in for an iPhone. Yes, I’m obsessed with it. Who doesn’t love their smartphone?

In response, I can safely say that there isn’t a single person who doesn’t love their phone. Every person who owns a smartphone is so obsessed, in fact, that they cannot bear to put it down, no matter what they’re doing. Driving was hazardous enough as it was, but talking while driving caused accident rates to go up, and then texting and using apps while on the road just made it a whole lot worse. A slew of states have taken it upon themselves to pass laws about the use of phones while in the driver’s side.

Bringing it close to home, I’ve watched phone usage interfere with so many things in my day-to-day life. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of annoying times that I’ve noticed people who are consumed by the non-calling features of their phone:

  • Walking in the middle of the sidewalk without paying attention to other pedestrians. We’ve already gone over my feelings about this.
  • Stopping in the middle of the sidewalk or even the road (!) in order to make their Words with Friends move. I’m waiting for someone to get run over.
  • Texting at Safeway and not realizing that the next self-service checkout line is available even though everyone is telling them to go.
  • Taking up space on the escalator and not letting anyone else by. I’ve set it before and I’ll say it again — get out of my way or I will run you over.

Many of these things aren’t limited to smartphones, but because of their versatility, they present more opportunities to get lost in their amazingness. I’ll fully admit that I’m guilty of it — my punishment was running into a tree on 15th Street NW while responding to a text. So I will a little be that pot to you kettles out there and ask that you do a better job of noticing what else is going on.

If you have to stop to use your phone (and good for you for realizing you can’t type and walk straight!), pull over to the side of the sidewalk or at least finish crossing the street. It’s unrealistic to ask you to put your phone away (I know I can’t), but at least watch your surroundings and be ready to react.

Be smarter than your smartphone. I know you’ve got it in you.

by Borderstan.com September 27, 2011 at 10:00 am 0

Mary Burgan, Borderstan Movie FanFrom Mary Burgan. Leave a comment or email her at [email protected]

The highly acclaimed heist film Drive arrived last weekend, and I dutifully trooped out to see it. After all, it starred Ryan Gosling, and although I had never heard of Nicolas Winding Refn (its Danish director), I was impressed that he had won the Cannes prize for best director.

Other movie-goers must have had the same expectations I had, and the theater I went to at Gallery Place was full.  At first, I was intrigued by the intensity of the style — all black and white (though the film is in color) and silence except for the careening sounds of a souped-up car in which the getaway driver is very, very intelligent. I didn’t time the opening, but it seemed like, maybe, 10 minutes.

The film lasts for one hour and 40 minutes, and its brilliant “prologue” could have taken 20 of those, for all I know. But then I may be estimating from my involvement with the film’s main story, which lasted only about 20 minutes in my view. The rest of the time my mind wandered to :

  1. The fact that Ryan Gosling’s face really has very little to offer by way of masculine beauty — it’s all narrow-eyed intensity. But we know from Crazy, Stupid, Love that his body is beautiful.
  2. Carey Mulligan really is a good actress — a conclusion extrapolated from the fact that she said almost as little as Gosling did through the film, but still conveyed a  sweetness that is hard to resist.
  3. The supporting actors are terrific. They provide some of the excruciating violence that ends Drive, but also whatever human interest there is, beyond what you can wring out from its mute main actors.

Some may find Albert Brooks surprising as a bad guy. We are used to his comedy, which often contains a small note of menace.  But he’s wonderfully released in Drive and ought to be nominated for an Academy Award for it.  The same for Bryan Cranston, the sit-com dad, who plays a somewhat lovable, small-time Hollywood agent/crook who is lame in every sense of that word.

As for the film itself? Some of the cognoscenti, like the judges at Cannes, may call it one of the best films of the year for its glitzy car sequences, its understated characterizations, its refusal to give in to conventional expectations — and even for  all its gore that builds suddenly after long episodes of resolute silence. It is from Europe, after all.

But if I’m going to get my gore with a European flavor, I’d rather take it in the Irish version. I’m thinking about a movie called The Guard, starring Brendan Gleeson, an Irish actor that Americans will hardly recognize. He is a beefy cop in Galway who responds phlegmatically to the most horrendous of events. Like the opening sequence fast-car mayhem.

There is a big drug smuggle afoot, and the locals have to deal with the intrusion of an American FBI agent played by Don Cheadle. He forms the perfect foil for Gleeson. He’s all taut and put-together, while Gleeson is all flesh and devil.

Like Drive, The Guard opens with a bang, but since the setting is Galway rather than L.A., there is color and sly humor along the way. Perhaps it’s not exactly noir, but its stolid, slightly criminal cop is witty and cares for his mother. If you prefer such humanity to catatonia, spend your money on the small Irish film — and have a good time.

by Borderstan.com September 27, 2011 at 8:00 am 5 Comments

"Borderstan" "Baseball", Washington Nationals, Lebodome, Jefferson Stovall

Baseball time! (Photo from Jefferson Stovall, Borderstan flickr pool)

From Scott Leibowitz. Find Scott on Twitter @Lebodome. Email him at [email protected]com.

The leaves are starting to fall off the trees. It is bearable to wear pants and a light jacket. The colleges are filled again and the summer interns have left the area. These signs can only mean that fall is here, October baseball will begin soon, and the chase for the World Series is on.

I know football season is in full effect and the Redskins have somehow managed to hit the ground running (I still think they will hit the wall eventually), but for the moment, it’s time to take a step back from our fantasy leagues and prepare for the second half of baseball season. Sure they play a grueling 162 game schedule from April till now that seems endless, but as the players all say every year, October baseball (playoff baseball) is a different and harder season. Every inning matters, every pitching change is scrutinized and regular players turn into crunch time heroes in the blink of an eye.

While I write this, the last two playoffs teams, the wild cards in each league, have not been decided, but barring anything too catastrophic for the current leaders, let’s just say Boston and Atlanta clinch and the field is set as is. So to get Borderstan ready, I thought I’d break down the teams and let you know what it will take for them to go all the way.

American League

  • AL East Winner: New York Yankees. Will Win If: Scoring runs has never been a problem for the pinstripes, but pitching can be. A 3rd starter hasn’t been picked but they will go far if their middle relief can give the ball to the best closer in the game (Mariano Rivera) with the lead.
  • AL Central Winner: Detroit Tigers. Will Win If: If there were any year to give the MVP to a pitcher, this would be it based on how dominant Justin Verlander has been. The question will be can they get quality starts from the rest of the rotation. A little more hitting in the bottom of the order could go a long way from taking the burden off Cabrera to carry them.
  • AL West Winner: Texas Rangers. Will Win If: The defending American League champions are still loaded with potent bats and can score runs from anywhere in the line-up. The pitching staff was supposed to miss a beat but has shown they can win big games. Defense and their bullpen will decide if they can do it again in the American League.
  • AL Wild Card: Boston Red Sox. Will Win If: The Red Sox will be limping into the playoffs but this team knows how to play in October. They need to tighten up their defense and get their ace pitching to be aces again. This is a team that is talented on paper, and that no one wants to face come playoffs.

National League 

  • NL East Winner: Philadelphia Phillies. Will Win If: The best pitching in the league torched the National League this year. That combined with great hitting makes the Phillies the team to beat in the National League. If they don’t at least make the World Series, it’s a bust.
  • NL Central Winner: Milwaukee Brewers. Will Win If: Someone other than their 1-2 punch of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder need to show up. Five other players on the team hit double digit home runs in 2011 and those players will need to support their two MVPs if the Brewers want to make a run at their first World Series Title.
  • NL West Winner: Arizona Diamondbacks. Will Win If: Their inexperienced rotation will need to pitch well beyond their years. The Diamondbacks top 3 starters (Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson and Josh Collmenter) have just over 5 full years of big league experience combined, and the senior member of the staff, Joe Saunders, has no wins in 3 career postseason starts. These pitchers will need to grow up fast if the D-backs want to make noise in October.
  • NL Wild Card Winner: Atlanta Braves. Will Win If: Ain’t gonna happen. There. I said it.

UPDATE: Both Wild Card teams I picked had monumental collapses and will not be going to the postseason. My plan to jinx the Red Sox at the expense of my own writing worked and the Tampa Bay Rays won in the A.L., while the St. Louis Cardinals moved past the Braves in the N.L. Wednesday was easily one of the most exciting nights of baseball in a long while. What a game!

Hopefully this postseason is filled with lots of game 7s, walk off home-runs and maybe even a bench clearing brawl. Enjoy October everyone!

Specials thanks to A.C.S. for help with this post. Hopefully one day he is bloggin’ too.

Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!

  • Philadelphia Eagles fans are a passionate bunch.
  • A whole movie based on the man behind Elmo. A must see.
  • An incredible (but long) article on college sports and the money behind it.
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