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by Tim Regan — February 9, 2016 at 1:15 pm 2 Comments

City squirrels have hard lives. Long hours spent outdoors. Nothing to eat but acorns and tree bark. Constant harassment from urban hawks.

It’s not surprising, then, that one might want to curl up with a good read and just chill out for once.

This tree rodent was spotted lugging a large wad of newsprint up the side of a house on P Street NW yesterday afternoon. While several onlookers held their breath, the squirrel perilously tugged its prize up a black metal fire escape and out of view. (more…)

by Tim Regan — January 27, 2016 at 2:30 pm 3 Comments

Snowy spot

You dug out the parking spot, made it look nice and clean. Sure, it took 45 minutes, but you are meticulous. And now that you’ve cleared the snow, you’re ready to head out. You get in your car, turn the key, and . . .

Wait. You just spent all this time shoveling snow. What if some jerk swoops in and steals your spot when you leave? You can’t let someone else mooch off of your hard work. Maybe you should kindly but firmly mark your territory with a well-placed lawn chair, or a cone, or a milk crate or a sign. (more…)

by Tim Regan — January 21, 2016 at 12:40 pm 5 Comments

The impending blizzard officially has a name, and that name is Jonas.

Jonas? Like, the brothers? Jonas? Like, the Weezer song? Jonas? Jonas? This storm — expected to dump double-digit snowfall across the region and bring wind gusts up to 55 miles per hour — is no Jonas.

We all know storms need to have catchy names. There was, of course, the Knickerbocker blizzard of 1922, the Presidents’ Day snowstorm of ’79, Snowmageddon. But Jonas? That’s no name for a storm that threatens to bury the city in frozen water and spark a years-long shortage of bread, milk, eggs and toilet paper. (more…)

by Tim Regan — December 28, 2015 at 11:00 am 3 Comments

It was a big year here at Borderstan. It was also a big year in our neighborhoods. Restaurant openings, restaurant closures, crimes, fires, weirdness — the news never stops.

But what did you read? Here’s a look back at some of our most popular stories of 2015:

Madam’s Organ “fart fine” 

Adams Morgan blues bar Madam’s Organ was fined $500 in June for leaving its windows open while a live band played there in 2014. Regulators said the Adams Morgan bar was fined specifically for violating a settlement agreement brokered in 2008. But why were the windows open in the first place? Madam’s Organ’s owner, Bill Duggan, said a band’s drummer “opened the window to let [a] fart out.”

Though Duggan tried to push back against the fine in July, he ultimately did pay up.

Man shot in head in Adams Morgan

A man was shot in the head on a busy street in Adams Morgan in August. Though little was known about the shooting after it occurred, dozens of witnesses came forward to describe the harrowing crime.

The victim survived the attack, said police at an Adams Morgan ANC meeting in September. The investigation is still ongoing.

When Guy Fieri comes to town

D.C. erupted into a frenzy when we broke the news that Guy Fieri was coming to town in October. Where would he go? What would he eat? Would he ramp his signature red convertible?

Though his visit was shrouded in mystery, we eventually caught wind that the mucho grande food fan would end up wolfing down bread, cheese and meat at Bub and Pop’s on M Street.

Street artist defaces Ben’s Chili Bowl mural

A street artist going by the name “Smear Leader” affixed the grinning visage of Kim Jong Un on top of the Bill Cosby mural at Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street in October.

The news sparked a larger debate: Was this an act of artistic defiance or vandalism? In an online poll we conducted, 46 percent of you backed the artist’s decision to deface the mural.

Former site of “men’s parties” sex club becoming a J. Crew men’s store

In a poetic twist, J. Crew appears to have its sights set on opening a location in a Logan Circle building that once held the infamous “men’s parties” sex club. Though the company has tentatively set a May opening date, the building still appears to be in the early stages of a full rehabilitation.

Bartender saves the day at wine and tapas bar on 14th Street

When a masked man started waving a knife at Barcelona on 14th Street in August, one quick-thinking bartender saved the day by knocking the would-be robber out.

The Islander says goodbye to U Street

Longtime family-owned Caribbean restaurant and lounge The Islander left U Street in July, and many locals were sad to see it go.

“The soul of DC is dying everywhere and being replaced with boring $500K condos,” wrote one Borderstan commenter. “Hats off to the owner and staff for serving our community for so long,” wrote another.

Faux speakeasy really nails the theme

A faux speakeasy called The Speak was shut down in November for too closely resembling a real speakeasy. According to regulators, the bar was selling alcohol without a valid liquor license.

Photo via Facebook / Madam’s Organ

by Borderstan.com — December 14, 2015 at 4:30 pm 0

Sudhouse Hooch Room

Borderstan is hosting a reader happy hour at Sudhouse (1340 U St. NW) tomorrow. You should come.

Here’s why:

  • Borderstan co-editors Tim “Slam Dunk” Regan and Andrew “Just Crazy ‘Bout Scooping” Ramonas will be there from 5 to 8 p.m. — so you know it will be a party.
  • Beer will cost $3, while Moscow mules will go for $6.
  • Sweet potato bacon fries are $3 and veggie burgers are $6.
  • We have the Sudhouse’s upper floor, a.ka. the “Hooch Room,” all to ourselves.
  • There is a pool table to settle neighborhood disputes through friendly games of billiards.

Though this is an open invite, we’d really appreciate it if you RSVP’ed ahead of time. And if you have any questions, let us know by e-mailing or tweeting at us.

See you tomorrow!

by Tim Regan — December 9, 2015 at 4:30 pm 0

Bei Bei sitting

It’s no secret that the National Zoo is getting new hours.

Starting Jan. 1, instead of opening at 6 a.m., the zoo will open at 8 a.m, and naturally, some people are miffed.

Last month, a Greater Greater Washington writer bemoaned the change in hours, saying it would bar early risers from jogging through the park, and a new petition urges zoo director Dennis Kelly to “keep the 6 a.m. opening time.”

The zoo says the forthcoming change is safety-related, and as a tradeoff, will begin opening its animal houses an hour earlier at 9 a.m.

What time do you think the zoo should open? Weigh in by voting in the poll and telling us what you think in the comments. Or just post panda pictures … we won’t be upset if you do.

Photo courtesy of the National Zoo

by Borderstan.com — December 1, 2015 at 4:50 pm 0

Sudhouse Hooch Room

Who needs an excuse to go to another happy hour?

Uh, we do. That’s why we’ve reserved the upper floor of Sudhouse (1340 U St. NW) for a Borderstan reader happy hour on Tuesday Dec. 15 at 5 p.m.

Join Borderstan co-editors Tim “Slam Dunk” Regan and Andrew “Just Crazy ‘Bout Scooping” Ramonas for drink and food specials between 5 and 8 p.m. Happy hour prices include $3 beers, $6 Moscow mules, $3 orders of sweet potato bacon fries and $6 veggie burgers.

Attendees will also be able to play pool and board games or bask in the warm glow of two TVs.

Though this is an open invite, we’d really appreciate it if you RSVP’ed ahead of time. And if you have any questions, let us know by e-mailing or tweeting at us.

Hope to see you there!

by Tim Regan — December 1, 2015 at 2:55 pm 0

Christmas-Tree-Colection_BorderstanThe holiday season is here, and you know what that means: It’s time for like every media outlet in town to put out a big “list” or “roundup” or “things-to-do” post. Eater has one. Thrillist also has one. DCist has a cool little shopping guide.

Well, we here at Borderstan don’t subscribe to those rules, which is why — oh. Wait a moment. Just in: It turns out we do subscribe to those rules. Well then. Guess I’ll have to cut this diatribe short. In keeping with those seasonal bylaws, here’s our obligatory holiday roundup:

Wanna buy a tree?

  • Columbia Heights Farmers Market, located at the intersection of Kenyon and 14th streets NW between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturdays, has them — but only for the next two weeks.
  • Ross Elementary School (1730 R St. NW) will sell trees Dec. 4-6 and 12 for a good cause.
  • Bancroft Elementary School (1755 Newton St. NW) will sell them this weekend.
  • The tree lot at Sixth Engine (438 Massachusetts Ave. NW) is now open for business.
  • School Without Walls at Francis Stevens will sell trees at Old City Farm and Guild (925 Rhode Island Ave. NW) this weekend.

Wanna see Santa?

  • Lamont Park (3258 Mt Pleasant St. NW) will serve as host for a holiday celebration this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The fat red guy will be there.
  • Dupont Circle’s tree lighting ceremony at the corner of Connecticut Ave. and R St. NW this Thursday at 4 p.m. will also star the world-famous gift-giver. And he’ll take photos with your dogs.
  • The Columbia Heights tree-lighting extravaganza and holiday market this Saturday in Civic Plaza at 4 p.m. may feature an appearance from the head elf.

Wanna go to the market?

  • The Georgia Avenue Winter Market takes place this Saturday at 3400 Georgia Ave. NW at 11 a.m. Expect vendors selling arts and crafts, art displays, performances and food.
  • Christkindlmarkt, Heurich House Museum’s holiday market, takes place this Saturday and Sunday at noon.
  • More than a dozen vendors will gather at Miss Pixie’s (1626 14th St. NW) for the store’s holiday market on Friday at 5:30 p.m.
  • Old City Farm and Guild (925 Rhode Island Ave. NW) will transform into a holiday market every Saturday until Dec. 19.

Wanna feel the holiday spirit?

  • Shaw ANC 6E Commissioner Rachelle Nigro will go caroling with locals this Sunday at 6 p.m.
  • Donate toys during a toy donation party at the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, D.C. (474 Ridge St. NW) on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 10 a.m.
  • Party with Shaw residents next Monday at the Howard Theatre at 7 p.m. (Note: Though this event is free, reservations are required)
  • Tour Logan Circle homes and halls decked in holiday cheer this Sunday at 1 p.m.

Wanna drink and eat the holiday spirit instead?

  • There’s a “Hannukah happy hour” with bottomless latkes at Commissary (1443 P St. NW) next Monday.
  • Mockingbird Hill (1843 7th St. NW) transforms into Christmas/Hannukah cocktail bar “Miracle on 7th Street” every night this month.
  • Christmas beers abound at Black Squirrel (2427 18th St. NW) in Adams Morgan this Friday at 5 p.m.
  • Likewise, Logan Circle beer bar ChurchKey (1337 14th St. NW) will host a holiday tap takeover with 35 beers on Monday, Dec. 14.
  • For $10, you can don a janky sweater at Duplex Diner (2004 18th St. NW) next Friday.
  • Do Christmas beers pair well with gingerbread houses? Find out at Vetnor Sports Cafe (2411 18th St. NW) next Friday at 11 p.m.

Wanna see a show?

  • Super Art Fight will host a non-denominational show at Black Cat (1811 14th St. NW) this Friday at 9 p.m.
  • Keegan Theatre’s (1742 Church St. NW) original play “An Irish Carol” returns to the Dupont playhouse next Saturday.

What’d we miss? Let us know by e-mailing or tweeting at us.

by Tim Regan — November 30, 2015 at 3:50 pm 0

Logan Circle Holiday House Tour (Photo courtesy of Logan Circle Community Association)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or at least that’s what the guy in the song says. As we step into the first true week of the holiday season, here are some suggestions to keep you occupied this week:

All Month

Miracle on 7th Street
Mockingbird Hill (1843 7th St. NW)

Mockingbird Hill has transformed into a winter wonderland with free cookies, holiday movie screenings and ugly sweater parties scattered throughout the week.

Friday

First Friday
Across the Dupont Circle Neighborhood
6 p.m.

Galleries across Dupont Circle will stay open late as part of the monthly art event.

Saturday

Carter G. Woodson Park Dedication 
900 Rhode Island Ave. NW
Noon

Shaw Main Streets will celebrate the 140th anniversary of the birth of Carter G. Woodson, who lived and worked at 1538 9th St. NW for almost 30 years.

The Holiday Guild
Old City Farm and Guild (925 Rhode Island Ave. NW)
10 a.m.

Local vendors will sell Christmas trees, ornaments and clothing in this festive weekly holiday market.

Christkindlmarkt
Heurich House Museum (1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW)
Noon (Saturday and Sunday)

Buy goods from local jewelers, ceramicists, chocolatiers and tour the seasonally decorated historic house.

Sunday

Logan Circle House Tour
Across Logan Circle
1 p.m.

Embark on a tour inside the historic homes of Logan Circle. 

Monday

D.C. Young Democrats Annual Holiday Reception
Mango Tree (929 H St. Northwest)
6:30 p.m.

D.C. Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau and Brandton Todd will  join the city’s young Democrats to ring in the holiday season.

Photo courtesy of the Logan Circle House Tour

by Tim Regan — November 30, 2015 at 1:00 pm 0

Giving Tuesday(This post was updated at 9:33 a.m. on Tuesday with yet another way to give.)

Black Friday is gone. Cyber Monday is almost over. Time to put the pocketbook away? Almost! But not before Giving Tuesday tomorrow.

What’s Giving Tuesday? It’s sort of like the charitable equivalent of your average consumerist holiday spending spree. Held on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, the event is meant to kick off the charitable season for nonprofits across the globe.

Cool, but how do I donate? There are plenty of national charities you can donate to, many of which are mentioned on the Giving Tuesday website. Additionally, there are tons of local good causes worth supporting. Here are 13 ways to give back without leaving your neighborhood:

  • Attend a Collective Action For Safe Spaces happy hour at Right Proper Brewing (624 T St NW). The happy hour will help support the organization’s safe bars program.
  • Contribute to the Sitar Arts Center. Each donation will be matched one-for-one up to $1,000 by the Wise Owl Club.
  • Buy shoes and dance classes for kids at the Dance Institute of Washington.
  • Give to the D.C. Center for the LGBTQ Community.
  • Help beautify the Dupont Circle neighborhood by contributing to Dupont Circle Main Streets.
  • Kids need to read and write real good. Help ’em do that at 826DC.
  • Donate to Green Door, a program that “prepares women and men with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses to work, live and thrive in the District of Columbia.”
  • Help The Starfish Foundation educate 150 at-risk youth in Guayaquil, Ecuador by buying drinks at Johnny Pistolas (2333 18th St. NW) in Adams Morgan.
  • Give to Martha’s Table or Bread for the City to help feed the hungry.
  • 86 cents of every donation to Thrive D.C. goes toward helping the homeless.
  • Seasonal food hub Common Good City Farm accepts donations year-round.
  • Columbia Heights performance and art nonprofit BloomBars is entirely community-funded.
  • Ride a bike near Dupont Circle in honor of World AIDS Day tomorrow and help donate to Whitman-Walker.
  • Help families with SNAP access fresh fruits and veggies by donating to the Columbia Heights Farmers Market Bonus Bucks campaign.
  • Through the Heart, a nonprofit dedicated to pregnancy loss support and education, is also accepting donations.

Photo courtesy of Giving Tuesday

by Borderstan.com — November 25, 2015 at 4:30 pm 0

Thanksgiving dinner (Photo via Flickr/icoNYCa)

Everyone deserves to spend some time with friends and family, which is why we’ll be taking tomorrow and Friday off to observe the Thanksgiving holiday.

So, what is there to be thankful for this year? We asked the question on Twitter earlier this week. Here are some of our favorite responses:

To those leaving the city and those staying within the District, we wish you a happy and safe holiday weekend. To tide you over until our triumphant return on Monday, here’s a rundown of some of the things you should keep in mind until next week.

Events:

  • There’s a fundraiser for Garrison Elementary this weekend at Gallagher and Graham and Menchie’s on U Street next Monday
  • Cyclists in plaid will zoom through Adams Morgan on Saturday
  • And speaking of Adams Morgan, be sure to check out Small Business Saturday there and in Shaw for some big deals and special events

Stuff you should know:

  • Here’s a list of everything you need to know about Thanksgiving in the District this year
  • Thursday’s Department of Public Works (DPW) trash and recycling collections will move to Friday. Friday’s collections will be made Saturday
  • Parking meters will not operate tomorrow and will resume service on Friday
  • Metro rail and bus service will operate holiday service on Thanksgiving. Trains will begin running at at 7 a.m. and close at midnight. But no track work!

 Photo via Flickr/icoNYCa

by Tim Regan — November 24, 2015 at 3:00 pm 0

Dupont Santa in window

Thanksgiving is in two days, but the holiday season is basically here already.

Businesses are already airing out the jingle-jangly holiday playlists. Multicolored tinsel and oddly placed red bows are appearing on light poles. Everything tastes like peppermint now. The annual War On Christmas™ debate will soon reach its feverish climax.

Shaw gets a tree-lighting ceremony this Saturday and Columbia Heights has one next week. The zoo will light up on Friday. Snowy holiday window displays are popping up across the city. Holiday-themed improv shows and markets are coming together. Ice rinks are opening.

For some, this is the most wonderful time of the year. For others, it’s a saccharine capitalist drum beat of buy, eat, celebrate.

What do you think? Let us know in the poll below. And if you feel strongly either way, please yell at us in the comments.

by Tim Regan — November 20, 2015 at 11:45 am 0

9thandV

If you’re anything like me, walking here makes you anxious.

Crossing where 9th and V streets and Florida Avenue meet is tedious at best, scary at worst. Without a stoplight or a stop sign to slow them down, drivers often speed through the walkway. And although they’re supposed to stop at the crosswalk when pedestrians are crossing, some drivers just don’t, at least not until you step in front of them.

Earlier this week, I posed a question to Twitter: Does this crosswalk freak you out? The responses I got ranged from “yes, always” to one user calling it “terrifying.”

This is hardly a new issue. As outlined by Greater Greater Washington, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has discussed installing a traffic signal at the intersection for years.

Last year, DDOT said the construction of a new stoplight at the intersection could begin between October of this year and May of next year. But as more stores and restaurants open in and around the new Atlantic Plumbing development on V Street, foot traffic at the intersection is bound to increase quickly.

We want to know: Do you think this improvement needs to come sooner than later? Weigh in by voting in the poll and telling us what you think in the comments.

by Borderstan Contributor — November 16, 2015 at 12:40 pm 0

By ANC 2B Commissioner Nicole Mann

Traveling to a foreign country with limited phone and internet service is frustrating to begin with, but the stress is tenfold realizing everyone in the room is checking their cell phones in a panic and you’re left feeling uninformed.

I was sitting in a restaurant in central Paris on Friday evening, on vacation with a friend to get a feel for a foreign culture I had never experienced before. I had the overwhelming feeling that something important had happened when the Parisians at tables around me began to scroll through their phones in nervous whispers, receiving phone calls from friends seemingly all at once.

They were speaking in French, and I didn’t understand a word. I couldn’t stand sitting in the dark, so I switched on my data plan to check the internet against my better judgement.
Immediately the source of tension in the room became clear: there had been attacks in central Paris.

So many different reports were coming in — bombings, shootings, hostages — that, at first, I was skeptical. Surely something had occurred, but often initial reports on Twitter are hyperbolic and inaccurate, so at the time with limited information, I assumed the likelihood of all three reports was slim. I was wrong.

In the next few minutes the busy restaurant had fallen into a nervous dialogue. I don’t speak French, but I could still interpret the conversations: each Parisian was reporting that they were safe on social media, checking phones for updates, receiving calls from concerned friends and family, and rushing to be the first to report new information to the table as the initial speculation became fact.

Bombs had gone off at a stadium outside the central city. There were shootings outside restaurants about a 15 minute stroll from where we sat. And there were hostages held inside of a concert hall not far away.

We paid our check and rushed back to the hotel, flipped on CNN international, and checked Twitter for news.

As is usual with breaking news, Twitter is both the best and worst source to consult. While much of it was informative, just as much was inaccurate. Reports were flowing in about additional bombings and an active shooter at Centre Pompidou and Les Halles – both about two blocks from our hotel, and both of which we had walked by only hours before.

We didn’t believe it – we were convinced we would have heard the commotion from where we were. Anxious to be engaged in the story, we left the hotel to confirm, and walked to both places. They were silent and empty, and we reported back that the speculation was unfounded.

By then, Paris had been essentially shut down by a curfew, a purported first in the city since WWII. But people were still milling about. Emergency vehicles raced down the streets in large caravans every few minutes but otherwise the neighborhood was still. There were active shooters around the city, motives unknown at the time, but no one seemed panicked.

The next morning, with museums closed, we had nothing much else to do but to walk around the city. Our lunch waitress seemed stressed and fatigued but not scared. Some shops were closed, some were open, and some had been adorned by makeshift memorials; a black sheet draped over the door, a black winter scarf tied around a sign.

A salesmen at a clothing store browsing his phone spoke limited English, but asked us if we were American. He showed us a photo of the Empire State Building colored in blue, white, and red.

“Have you seen this?” We had.

“It is beautiful. That this is for us. It is lovely. We appreciate it.” His words were genuine; he was not fearful or shaken. Rather, he seemed resolved, proud; he had had his store open all day.

I told him we had appreciated, too.

That night we visited the memorials at each of the affected sites. Crowds of mourning Parisians were littered with news trucks and live shots, but the Parisians ignored them. The mourners were subdued and quiet.

Next to the memorial near the concert hall where hostages had been taken, a neighborhood bar was open — and packed! The crowd at the bar was so large, it had spilled out onto the sidewalk, but they weren’t sitting at tables sipping beers. Instead, they were standing and drinking in large masses, laughing and loud and tipsy and noisy and excited as though watching a sports game.

Fifty feet from the candlelit memorial, the news crews, and the blood-spattered street, Paris was still alive. I think that was the best way I could ever have experienced French culture.

Nicole Mann is an ANC 2B commissioner. Follow her on Twitter here.

by Tim Regan — November 13, 2015 at 11:30 am 4 Comments

Atlantic Plumbing renderings(Updated at 12:29 p.m.) Have you heard the news? Shaw isn’t just Shaw anymore.

Earlier this week, “a healthy mix of journalists, tastemakers and culture vultures” gathered atop the newly opened Atlantic Plumbing Company building at 8th and V streets NW to raise their glasses and toast the official unveiling of a new neighborhood, “North End of Shaw.”

But what is North End Shaw, anyway — besides a hashtag and an unused Twitter account? Much like its ever-growing older brother Shaw, the area seems to have loosely defined edges.

If you’re Atlantic Plumbing, North End Shaw is a “bustling epicenter of creativity” and a neighborhood that’s “transforming into one of Washington D.C.’s hottest destinations.”

If you’re Washingtonian, it’s “a made-up neighborhood name that [developers are] using to distinguish their new development.” (Which is kind of the norm around here, points out Topher Mathews, who runs Georgetown Metropolitan.)

So, let’s put it up to a vote. What do you think? Is “North End Shaw” a valid neighborhood name? Do you think it should be called something else? Weigh in by voting in the poll and telling us what you think in the comments.

Photo via JGB

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