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by Alyse Mier — July 19, 2016 at 3:00 pm 7 Comments

About two dozen young men and few other people converged on Dupont Circle this afternoon to vent their frustration over Metro’s delays and safety, demanding the privatization of the transit system.

Angered by Metro’s slow service and what they said are the system’s “hazardous” conditions, the demonstrators stood in a line near the Dupont station’s north entrance yelling, “Metro’s a loser! We took an Uber!”

Metro, which is undergoing a massive effort to rehabilitate its aging rail system, is “always a long delay,” the demonstrators chanted to the tune of “Tomorrow” from “Annie.”

The protesters also expressed their frustration by waving a collection of handmade signs that said, “Metro=Hazard Privatize Now,” “Can’t PokeGo Metro Slow,” “The Metro is More Lit Than My Mixtape” and “Bro, do you even Metro?”

When a Borderstan reporter asked one demonstrator for a comment, he declined.

“We can’t talk,” he said dismissively. “We’re protesting.”

The young man and his fellow demonstrators disbanded soon after.

by Tim Regan — July 19, 2016 at 12:00 pm 3 Comments

Dupont Circle dry fountain BRIEF 1

Water could flow from Dupont Circle’s historic fountain later today after nearly a month of inactivity.

That’s the latest news from Mike Litterst, a public affairs officer with the National Park Service. Litterst said that crews could finish repairing the fountain and switch it on by the end of the day today.

“The contractors who are making the repairs to the fountain found some additional leaks in the piping over the weekend and are working on that today and tomorrow,” Litterst said. “They hope to have the fountain operational by the end of the day on Tuesday.”

Officials turned the fountain off last month to fix a broken motor that was causing it to overflow, Litterst said. The NPS also drained and cleaned the fountain last week in preparation for its second debut of the season.

What about Meridian Hill Park? That fountain too, is on track to be filled soon, said Emily Linroth, public affairs specialist with the NPS. It will likely take workers about two more weeks to repair a broken pump motor in Meridian Hill Park’s cascading waterways, Linroth said.

“We’re anticipating two weeks until it’s installed and running,” Linroth said. “And then it will take us about two days to fill the fountain with water.”

by Tim Regan — July 18, 2016 at 11:00 am 0

Dupont Circle MetroWhen will chilled air flow in Metro’s Dupont Circle and Farragut North stations? Not any time soon, it seems.

That’s because the transit agency has again pushed back repairs of the “chillers” that help cool those Red Line stations.

“Metro’s contractor has completed pressure tests of the pipes under Connecticut Ave NW (off Metro property) that provide chilled air service to Dupont Circle and Farragut North stations,” Metro said in a statement last Friday. “The test results are currently being evaluated to determine next steps. Unfortunately, chilled air service has not yet been restored.”

The chillers stopped working last summer due to leaks in the 40-year-old pipe that feeds water into the system, officials said. Metro originally estimated it would repair those leaks by July 1, then again by July 16.

As for when those chillers might actually come online, Metro did not set a firm date.

“We are working with the contractor and other outside parties to resolve this issue as soon as possible,” the agency said. “In the meantime, tunnel fans will remain on at all times to provide air circulation to the two stations. We apologize for this inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.”

by Tim Regan — July 15, 2016 at 3:45 pm 1 Comment

Drawing courtesy of Bob CristianoThe Hungarian government plans to erect a statue in Dupont Circle to mark the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution.

The country’s officials in D.C. have commissioned the casting of a six-foot-tall bronze statue set to be temporarily displayed at the Kossuth Foundation (2001 Massachusetts Ave. NW) this October, according to Bob Cristiano, a representative for the Embassy of Hungary.

The statue is meant to remember those who struggled against the Soviet Union, Cristiano said.

“The survivors of the Hungarian Revolution will soon all be gone,” Cristiano said. “This is the last shot in doing something.”

The statue as designed will depict a boy waving a revolutionary flag, Cristiano said.

“The Hungarian flag at the time had a hole in it,” he explained. “They cut out the hammer and sickle.”

The statue is slated to be on display until the end of October, Cristiano said. Officials will then reinstall the statue at a later date once the Kossuth Foundation’s upcoming renovations are complete.

Conceptual drawing courtesy of Bob Cristiano

by Tim Regan — July 14, 2016 at 10:05 am 1 Comment

Several of the owners behind a group of popular D.C. bars and hangouts have plans to open a new dance club in the former Midtown Space in Dupont.

Decades, a new business from the partners behind Echostage, Soundcheck, Ultrabar, Barcode and other businesses, will open at 1219 Connecticut Ave. NW this fall, according to managing partner Antonis Karagounis.

The bar is an homage to D.C.’s “retro” club scene, Karagounis said.

“It’s supposed to bring back the old-school vibe of the multi-level, multi-DJ clubs that defined D.C. Nightlife in the ’90s and 2000s,” Karagounis said. “Places like Spy Club, Zei Club, Fifth Column, Vault, The Ritz, Tracks, DC Live, [and] Love, were nightlife staples in the ’90s and 2000s. Decades is supposed to recreate that vibe and atmosphere and give clubgoers a new weekend hangout where they can party and be part of various decades of nightclub music.”

When the forthcoming club opens, DJs will spin music from bygone eras on all three of the building’s floors and on its rooftop deck. Though the nightclub won’t serve food or snacks, its bartenders will sling past club staples like orange crushes, Jello shots and Goldschläger, Karagounis said.

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by Tim Regan — July 13, 2016 at 3:30 pm 0

Fight the bite, photo via DCDOHDistrict residents worried about Zika can learn about the virus during free preparedness events in Columbia Heights, Dupont and elsewhere this weekend.

The D.C. Department of Health (DOH) will hand out educational materials and “Zika preparedness kits” to residents at recreation centers in all eight wards this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Officials will pass out insect repellent, mosquito-killing disks and condoms at the Columbia Heights Community Center (1480 Girard St. NW) in Ward 1 and the Stead Recreation Center (1625 P St. NW) in Ward 2.

The purpose of the event is to help teach locals “how to prevent Zika and how to protect your property from mosquitos,” according to a DOH Facebook post. The first 50 attendees get free emergency preparedness kits, the department said in a flyer handout.

Could Zika really affect the District? It’s technically possible, but not likely, officials say. DOH spokesman Ronald King told The Washington Post in May that “there’s no reason for people to panic.”

City officials will also hold meetings at the following locations:

  • Ward 3: Palisades Recreation Center at 5200 Sherier Pl. NW)
  • Ward 4: Petworth Recreation Center at 801 Taylor St. NW
  • Ward 5: Turkey Thicket Recreation Center at 1100 Michigan Ave. NE
  • Ward 6: King Greenleaf Recreation Center at 201 N St. SW
  • Ward 7: Fort Davis Recreation Center at 1400 41st St. SE
  • Ward 8: Barry Farm Recreation Center at 1230 Sumner Road SE

Image via DOH flyer

by Borderstan.com — July 12, 2016 at 10:30 am 3 Comments

Local Pokemon trainers are fighting for control of Dupont Circle’s gym.

If you have no idea what any of that means, you’re not alone but you’re part of a rapidly dwindling group of people. Those locals are playing Pokemon Go, a new smartphone game that lets users catch tiny virtual monsters and pit them against one another to take control of meeting spots across the country.

In short, Pokemon Go has become a pop culture phenomenon, nearly surpassing Twitter in daily active users, according to The Washington Post.

Businesses and organizations across the city are already scrambling to integrate Pokemon into their marketing strategies. Duffy’s, the sports bar near the U Street corridor, said in a Facebook post yesterday it was “setting our Lure Module for you to take advantage of.” Likewise, M Street strip club Camelot tweeted yesterday that Pikachu was among this week’s dancers.

The app hasn’t just attracted the attention of businesses, either. D.C. Police, ever the digital natives, warned residents in an email last night that the game could be “an easy way to be robbed of your cell phone.”

Naturally, Dupont Circle — one of the city’s most frequented communal spaces — has a lot of Pokemon Go players. If you see someone in the park with their head down staring at their phone, they’re likely catching virtual monsters or battling to plant their team’s flag.

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by Octavia Silva — July 8, 2016 at 1:20 pm 0

Ahmed Vallejos (Photo courtesy of Ahmed Vallejos)Q&A with a Local Comedian is a frequent column that profiles funny people across the city. Want to be featured? Know someone who ought to be on here? Drop us a line.

I’ve met Ahmed Vallejos a couple of times, but one of the first was at a show he was running at the Handsome Cock on U Street. It was called the Switcheroo, where the first half of the show involved comics performing their own stand-up and for the second half of the show, each comic had to imitate the styles of famous comedians. I thought that was such a good idea and he plays a huge part in developing and putting on shows with a unique premise, adding to the increasingly abundant local stand-up scene.

We chatted about a few things, including some of the shows he’s currently working on.

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by Andrew Ramonas — July 7, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

crime scene tape 4A woman gave a man a bloody face after she hit him with a bottle outside a Shaw bar early yesterday morning, police said.

The assault happened near the front door of Cloud Lounge at 1919 9th St. NW about 1:45 a.m. Wednesday.

A police officer was investigating a report of an illegal fireworks show in front of the bar when a man with a bloody face approached the cop, according to authorities. The man told the officer that a woman hit him in the head with a green bottle and walked away.

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by Alyse Mier — July 7, 2016 at 2:15 pm 0

More than two dozen demonstrators descended upon the Dupont Circle fountain this afternoon to call for action against police brutality and racism in the wake of recent police-involved shootings that killed two black men.

Outraged by this week’s shooting deaths of 37-year-old Alton Sterling in Louisiana and 32-year-old Philando Castile in Minnesota, the protesters marched around the fountain and held signs that read: “The whole damn system is guilty” and “Enough!!! Black Lives Matter.” They also chanted: “Stop killing black people!” and “No justice, no peace. No racist police!”

At times, motorists drove by the demonstration and beeped their horns as a sign of support and some drivers encouraged the protesters to keep chanting.

“The protest is a coalition of different grass roots organizations, non profits and people who feel the system needs to move beyond just reforms at a governmental level,” protester Joseph Gaylin told Borderstan. “We need to work with people.”

Demonstrator Simone Christian added: “This is about treating all people equally, like it says in our Constitution.”

Tem Ra, another protester, said Americans need to have “a real conversation about white folks and black folks and how racism started.”

“When you’re looking at racism, you’ve gotta go to the core of where it started at,” he said. “All this stuff that’s happening in the cities now is just Band-Aids. But how do you solve the core racism?”

by Tim Regan — July 7, 2016 at 11:45 am 0

A compromise on a controversial plan to redevelop a building along P Street NW seems in the works.

Neighbors gathered last night for a special meeting of Dupont Circle’s ANC 2B to share concerns and ask questions about a plan to turn a building at 2147-2149 P St. NW into a mixed-use development with apartments and space for a shop or restaurant.

Developer Valor in April filed plans with D.C.’s Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) to add two floors to the building to make way for eight residential units and space for a ground-floor restaurant. The property currently houses Moroccan eatery Marrakech and its nightclub, Aura Lounge.

The developer has asked the BZA for a zoning variance that would allow it to move forward with its plans. The project must also gain the blessing of D.C.’s Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB).

Neighbors who live in nearby condominiums and apartments are resistant to the idea as planned.

“The developer’s plan would accommodate many more additional residents that the neighborhood could reasonably handle and worsen its existing noise, parking, delivery and waste management problems,” wrote one Dupont resident in an email to the BZA last month.

Another local who lives in the Dupont West condominium wrote in an email that “the new development would completely block the present view of Rock Creek and Georgetown as well as cutting off the light source for these units.”

“We would be permanently harmed by this addition because approval of the variances would set a precedent for future such projects,” the resident added.

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by Tim Regan — July 5, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

A Thai eatery located near the northern edge of Dupont has closed its doors for an apparent facelift.

Thaiphoon (2011 S St. NW) has “closed for remodeling,” according to a sign on the front door of the business. Paper now covers the eatery’s windows.

“We thank you for your loyal patronage,” the sign reads. “We look forward to serving you when we reopen with a new look and a new concept.” The restaurant is slated to reopen in “mid-July,” the sign also reads.

Neighborhood blog PoPville first posted about the closure this afternoon.

by Borderstan Contributor — July 1, 2016 at 11:30 am 1 Comment

Meridian Hill Park

Borderstan periodically publishes opinion pieces from our readers. Have something you want to share with Borderstan’s readers? Email us at [email protected].

The following is a letter from Ward 4 resident Ben Harris to Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton:

Dear Del. Holmes Norton,

I am writing to raise an issue that has a noticeable impact on every D.C. resident as well as on many of the visitors to our city: the deplorable conditions within much of the parkland in D.C. controlled by the National Park Service. This issue has come up from time to time before, but recent visits to several NPS parks within the city have served as a reminder that this is an issue that demands urgent attention and action.

I want to make clear that what I am referring to here are not the national parks that symbolize D.C. and that many visitors associate with the city: the National Mall, Rock Creek Park, and so forth. Although those parks are certainly rife with issues and problems, they aren’t my focus for purposes of this message. Rather, I am expressing serious concern over the condition of the many “neighborhood parks” which NPS controls but which function more as community parks.

Last evening, I strolled through Malcolm X/Meridian Hill Park. This is a park that should be a crown jewel of the city, however its current conditions are disgraceful. The fountains and cascading waterfall, which are hallmarks of the park, are dry and have not functioned all year. Instead, there are basins filled with beer cans, liquor bottles and other trash, and pools of stagnant water which no doubt serve as fertile breeding ground for mosquitos. There are no signs or any indication of when, if ever, the fountains and water features might be operational. On the upper tier of the park, what little grass that exists is overgrown; meanwhile, what should be a grassy surface is often little more than dust and rocks, the field and sod long in need of rehabilitation. The overall feel of the park is of neglect and disinvestment.

Farther south in Dupont Circle, the fountain there too has been dry for weeks, with no indication of a timeframe for repair. Instead, the fountain’s basin is full of foul, stagnant water that, again, is an ideal mosquito breeding ground. The bushes surrounding the benches around the fountain are often overgrown, and many are dead. Meanwhile, weeds grow through cracks in the pavement while overflowing trash cans contribute to garbage and litter.

My wife and I live in Ward 4, a couple of blocks from Fort Slocum Park. That park is rarely mowed, leading to overgrown grass and knee-high weeds that make it difficult to walk through, much less spend time in. There is frequently garbage and litter around the park, including drug paraphernalia, empty containers of alcohol and condom wrappers. Making the park even more unsuitable for use, two full sides of it lack any sidewalk, forcing park users to walk through the un-mowed, tick-laden grass and weeds. Fort Slocum is surrounded on three sides by houses, many containing families with children, while a school borders it on the north. Nearby residents are being deprived of what could be a wonderful amenity via the ongoing neglect of the park.

There are, I am sure, countless other examples that people elsewhere in the city could point to. The overall point is that NPS is abjectly failing in its responsibilities at maintaining the parkland scattered across our city. I moved to the D.C. area in 2004, and I can say beyond any doubt that the conditions of the city’s NPS-controlled parks are the worst they have ever been since I came here. Compounding this problem is the NPS bureaucracy. It is unclear which individual(s) at NPS District residents should contact about upkeep and maintenance issues in District parks. NPS’s structure is opaque, and the agency does not typically engage via social media channels. As a District resident, I feel powerless to raise issues and concerns with NPS as I do not know whom to contact, and the agency does not engage in community outreach.

I raise all of these issues in the hopes that you will raise these concerns with the appropriate people at NPS and elsewhere, with the hope that an increased degree of focus and attention will result in noticeable and desirable improvements in NPS-controlled parkland in D.C. The citizens of this city should have access to parks that are attractive, inviting and accommodating. Currently, far too many of our parks do not meet these criteria, a tremendous disservice to the city’s residents and a shameful commentary on our inability to maintain our public spaces. We all deserve better service than what NPS is providing.

Thank you in advance for your time and attention to this matter.

Cordially yours,

Benjamin Harris

Harris is a Ward 4 resident who, along with his wife, formerly ran the blog 14th & You.

by Alyse Mier — June 29, 2016 at 3:30 pm 0

Rakuya 1

A Japanese restaurant in Dupont Circle is looking to reopen with a new look and a new menu next month, according to one of its owners.

Rakuya — formerly known as the sushi joint, Raku — could open its doors at 1900 Q St. NW as early as mid to late July, said partner Marcel The. Signs for the new eatery went up about three weeks ago.

“We are very, very close,” The said. “The construction portion of it is on its last week. We’re gearing up for final inspections.”

When the restaurant reopens, diners can expect a menu that includes “sushi, skewers, some Japanese small dishes, braised meats and ramen,” The said. Rakuya will also serve sake and shochu, he added.

“The menu is still in the works,” The explained. “We’re going to start out dinner only, then progress into lunch.”

Though Raku announced it planned to temporarily shutter the Q Street sushi joint last year, The and the restaurant’s other co-owners planned to rebrand the restaurant for a while.

“We had plans to do a Japanese concept somewhere for a long time,” The said. “When we decided to finally stay and renegotiated the lease, we realized that this Dupont space is actually a perfect location and size for us to do this Japanese concept.”

by Alyse Mier — June 29, 2016 at 10:30 am 0

Bikeshare Columbia Heights(Correction: It appears as though Bikeshare moved its station at Florida Ave. and R St. NW in Bloomingdale, not Florida Ave. and R St. NW in Dupont. We’ve corrected this article to reflect that.)

Some cyclists in Columbia Heights and Bloomingdale will have to rent Bikeshare bikes from new locations, at least temporarily.

The hubs at Florida Ave. and R St. NW and 14th and Harvard streets NW have been relocated nearby so workers can install permeable pavement, according to Capital Bikeshare.

Over the next two months, several Capital Bikeshare stations throughout the district will be temporarily relocated or removed, according to a Bikeshare press release. The stations are set to be relocated “within sight of normal location,” the release reads. Each adjustment is expected to last up to one week.

Here’s a full list of the stations that will be affected:

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