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by Tim Regan — December 6, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

They call him “Mr. Holiday.”

At least eight times a year, Dupont resident Greg Nelson beautifies his 16th Street home and front yard with an absurd amount of holiday decorations. Around Easter, the house has colorful flowers and bunnies. Fourth of July means red, white and blue. Fall, naturally, brings pumpkins and scarecrows.

But Christmastime is perhaps Nelson’s favorite season. Each year on the day after Thanksgiving, he lugs candy canes, twinkling lights and Santa Clauses out of storage and into his front yard.

Setting up takes about three days, Nelson said, but creates a dazzling yuletide display that draws crowds of curious onlookers every year.

“Our electric bill goes up about 400 percent during the month of December,” he said. “It’s thousands of dollars. I don’t like to think about it.”

It’s a tradition that Nelson and his partner, Jose, have carried out for roughly a decade, and much to the delight of the surrounding neighborhood.

“We have people who come for every holiday,” Nelson said. “We have had people use it for their holiday card. We have people who’ve dropped off a bottle of wine.”

People often come by and ring the doorbell. Once, Nelson found a group of women sitting in his living room. They thought it was a hotel.

“They don’t know if it’s part of the church, if it’s an embassy,” he added. “You get people who ask, why do you do this?”

But when people do ask, Nelson responds it’s because he’s just glad to bring a smile to his neighbors’ faces.

“Life is better with a theme,” he likes to say.

Earlier today, Nelson came home from the dog park to find a note taped to his front door. The letter was from a boy who passes the house on his way to and from school. The boy, with the help of his mom, asked Nelson questions like, “where do you get your decorations?” (Ebay, post-Christmas sales at Home Depot) and “did you grow up in a house that decorated like this? (Nelson grew up in Minnesota, “where decorating for Christmas is basically a rite of passage.”)

Upon seeing the letter, Nelson said he nearly cried.

“It’s [nice] to spread some Disney pixie dust on a city that all too often takes itself too seriously,” he said. “That’s what I try to achieve.”

To keep up with the home’s latest decorations, follow Nelson on Instagram at MrHolidayDC.

by Tim Regan — December 6, 2016 at 1:30 pm 0

Santa Crawl, photo via Project DC Events

Thousands of people wearing red suits, elf getups and reindeer costumes are expected pack more than a dozen Dupont Circle bars during a holiday-themed pub crawl this weekend.

This year’s “Santa Crawl” takes place Saturday, Dec. 10., from 2-10 p.m.

“Participants are encouraged to dress in whatever best expresses the holiday season, whether it be a full-body candy-cane suit, a snuggly turtleneck, or tinsel-streaked hot pants,” organizers wrote on the bar crawl’s website.

Tickets cost $30-40 and get attendees a “refillable signature Santa mug,” drink specials and entry into a raffle. (more…)

by Tim Regan — December 1, 2016 at 2:30 pm 0

Jack Evans and SantaWho needs to watch the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony when you can share a sweet treat with an immortal yuletide wizard?

Santa Claus himself is slated to appear at the annual Dupont Circle holiday tree-lighting ceremony scheduled to kick off in front of La Tomate at the corner of of Connecticut Ave. and R St. NW at 4 p.m.

The event — which is put on each year by Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets — celebrates the beginning of the holiday season with the lighting of the neighborhood’s own holiday tree. The festive gathering also includes caroling, cookies and an opportunity for attendees and their pets to get a photo with Santa.

Last year, dozens of people including Ward 2 D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans showed up to participate in the tree-lighting ceremony.

by Tim Regan — November 29, 2016 at 3:25 pm 0

RCPG Rendering of 1415 22nd St. NW

Construction crews will soon break ground on a project to redevelop a former gay nightclub in Dupont Circle.

Phase 1, which opened at 1415 22nd St. NW in 2012, was known primarily for being the Northwest outpost of the famed Capitol Hill gay bar. But the club quietly closed last year, and developer Rock Creek Property Group swooped in to purchase and transform the property soon after.

Now, the company has plans to turn the historic building into office or retail space by next April.

From Rock Creek Property Group:

To preserve the property’s intended design, the original carriage house doors will be replicated, the façade repaired, certain windows will be restored and others replaced in a manner sensitive to the property’s historic nature.

To create a modern interior, skylights will be integrated into the building on the second floor, and soaring 10- to 15-foot ceilings will open up the space. Additionally, at the rear of the property there will be a large roof deck, accessed by the second floor. The property’s façade is currently covered by a concrete wall addition that was added in the 1940s, when it became a tire and car shop. To open up the front and expose more natural light, the building will feature a glass NanaWall system stretching through most of the property’s street front.

“Our goal with this property is to bring it back to life,” said Rock Creek Principal Gary Schlager in a press release. “After years of neglect, the original grandeur of the architecture was lost.”

The company is currently looking for a tenant to fill the space.

Rendering courtesy of Rock Creek Property Group

by Tim Regan — November 28, 2016 at 3:40 pm 1 Comment

A plan to build a nine-story development at the site of a historic landmark in Dupont has drawn some criticism from D.C.’s Historic Preservation Office (HPO).

Developer Marx Realty seeks to redevelop a lot at 2200 P St. NW in order to build a new nine-story mixed-use development. The lot currently holds a Sunoco gas station that has a historic limestone building known as the Embassy Gulf Service Station, which would be moved and restored under the developer’s plan.

The proposed redevelopment would also include two stories of underground parking, the plans show.

(more…)

by Andrew Ramonas — November 28, 2016 at 12:50 pm 1 Comment

2900 block of Georgia Avenue NW (Photo via Google Maps)A group of thieves wearing black ski masks robbed a man at gunpoint in Park View early on Thanksgiving, police said.

The armed robbery occurred on the 2900 block of Georgia Avenue NW about 3:30 a.m. Thursday.

The victim was walking about a block north of the Howard University campus when three masked men came up to him, according to authorities. One of the men then ordered the victim to hand over his belongings, but he declined.

(more…)

by Tim Regan — November 28, 2016 at 10:50 am 1 Comment

A beloved Dupont Circle book shop now has a little more breathing room.

Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe (1517 Connecticut Ave. NW) unveiled its newly renovated space over the weekend. We first reported the shop was expanding into the former Willie T’s Lobster Shack space at 1511 Connecticut Ave. NW earlier this month.

The expanded space is stocked with dozens of tomes in all kinds of genres. Workers were busy putting the finishing touches on the new area when a Borderstan reported visited earlier this morning.

The shop is also adding new kinds of books, a coffee bar and more space for events, Kramerbooks owner Steve Salis told The Washington Post. Renovations are scheduled to continue at the store over the next 18 months.

“There’s so much history here,” Salis told the Post. “My goal is to bring back some of that flair and energy.”

by Tim Regan — November 18, 2016 at 3:10 pm 0

Pedestrians can now help generate a little electricity by merely strolling through a new “pocket park” near Dupont Circle.

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Golden Triangle BID today unveiled the “the Connecticut Avenue Overlook,” a new park just steps away from the Dupont Metro station’s south entrance.

The panels, which are made by green energy company Pavegen, generate electricity via kinetic energy to power nearby LED lights.

From DDOT:

The plaza includes a pilot project that features Pavegen pavers, a pioneering flooring technology that converts kinetic energy from people’s footsteps into electricity. The energy is stored in batteries that illuminate accent lights in the park from dusk to dawn. Made from recycled polymer and truck tires, the pavers are both durable and eco-friendly. The pilot project was funded by a $200,000 DC Office of Planning Sustainable DC Innovation Challenge grant.

“[D.C.] is the first city in the nation to deploy this state-of-the-art technology in the outdoor environment,” said DDOT Director Leif Dormsjo during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the park.

PaveGen CEO Laurence Kemball-Cook also gave a short speech about the company’s new kinetic tiles.

“Our plan is to make this the same price as a normal sidewalk,” Kemball-Cook said. “Every major city in the United States will be able to use the energy of the millions of people walking around.”

by Tim Regan — November 17, 2016 at 3:55 pm 0

"D.C. Resistance" banner

Earlier this morning, a band of dissidents hoisted a banner over the side of an overpass just north of Dupont Circle.

“Trump & Friends, DC isn’t stupid. Good luck!” the banner read. The group that put it there calls itself the “D.C. Resistance.”

Despite the name, it’s not a resistance in the traditional sense. There will be no sabotage or midnight raids, for instance. But there will be lots of public art, said  “J,” a group member who declined to give his full name. Borderstan was able to confirm his group made the banner.

“It’s an ongoing campaign against normalizing Trump’s policy,” J explained. “White nationalists and climate deniers come into D.C. to dismantle our community.”

President-elect Trump has frequently promised to “drain the swamp” in D.C., though exactly what that means isn’t totally clear. Since the election, Trump has set off a firestorm of criticism for his appointment of former Breitbart head Steve Bannon as chief strategist and his transition team’s reported consideration of a plan to create a registry for Muslim immigrants.

The D.C. Resistance exists to remind us that none of this is politics as usual.

“They’re coming in to run the government based on an ideology of white nationalism, climate denialism and a whole host of other values that aren’t lined up with the community we’ve created,” J said. “These people are not normal and they shouldn’t feel welcome.”

The group — made up of “dozens” of members — will resist normalizing the Trump administration through displays of “creativity, art, and solidarity,” which may mean more banners or public art in the coming weeks, J said.

“If the resistance had a message for the incoming administration,” J said, “it’s that the swamp is a great place to live and they’re in over their head.”

Those who want to keep track of the D.C. Resistance can follow its newly created Twitter account.

Photo courtesy of D.C. Resistance

by Andrew Ramonas — November 17, 2016 at 10:30 am 0

Three men sought in a robbery and pistol-whipping in Dupont Circle last week have appeared in surveillance footage, according to authorities.

The armed robbery occurred on the 1700 block of N Street NW about 4 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 6.

Video police released today shows three men getting in and out of a light-colored sport utility vehicle and walking in an alley.

Four men were near the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle when three other men flashed handguns and ordered them to get on the ground and hand over their belongings, according to a police report.

The victims complied with the demands of the men, giving them money, cellphones, keys and other items. The men with the guns then took turns pistol-whipping a victim in the head before they fled.

Anyone who can identify these individuals or who has knowledge of this incident should take no action but call police at (202) 727-9099 or text your tip to the Department’s TEXT TIP LINE at 50411.

Video via YouTube/Metropolitan Police Department

by Tim Regan — November 14, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

There’s a new spot for chicken tikka masala and palak paneer in Dupont Circle.

An offshoot of Richmond’s Lemon Cuisine of India opened at 2120 P St. NW earlier today. The new restaurant occupies the space once filled by Crios Modern Mexican, which closed in February.

The eatery serves Indian fare “made from scratch,” said owner and chef Gurjeet Singh.

A walk through the restaurant’s menu reveals crowd-pleasers like chicken tikka masala, palak paneer and six types of biryani. Diners can also order tandoori-roasted lamb, shrimp and several types of naan.

“I’m using my own spices that I create,” Singh said. “All made from scratch, all fresh and healthy.”

Lemon Cuisine will also serve beer, wine and cocktails as soon as it gets its liquor license, Singh added.

This is the first expansion of the Richmond Indian restaurant, but likely not the last. A Lemon Cuisine of India branch is also scheduled to open soon in Los Angeles.

by Tim Regan — November 10, 2016 at 3:15 pm 1 Comment

kramerbooks-nov-10-2016

It’s official: Kramerbooks is expanding into the space next door.

Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe (1517 Connecticut Ave. NW) is building out the former Willie T’s Lobster Shack space at 1511 Connecticut Ave. NW, according to Kramerbooks COO Jamie Galler. We first caught wind of the expansion last week.

Galler talked about the company’s plans during a meeting of Dupont’s ANC 2B last night.

“We are expanding into the space next door,” Galler said. “We anticipate opening to the public… probably the week after next.”

The expansion will “give business, particularly the cafe, some more breathing room,” Galler said. As a result, the shop will have more room to sell a wider variety of books.

A representative for the book store didn’t respond to a request for additional details.

by Tim Regan — November 9, 2016 at 1:00 pm 2 Comments

Dupont Circle at nightDistrict residents in need of a post-election hug will be able to find one in Dupont Circle this evening.

A “solidarity hug-in” is scheduled to take place around the Dupont Circle fountain at 6:15 p.m., according to a Facebook event post.

Locals participating in the hug-in are instructed to turn on their phone flashlights when they arrive to show they’re in need of some TLC.

More information from the Facebook event page:

As an attempt to overcome the politics of hate and fear, let’s all get together and hug. If enough people show up, we’ll hold hands and sing, “This land is my land.” With some radical acceptance and love, maybe we can start understanding one another better and work together for a better world. I know a lot of us are feeling alone and distraught.

This is a simple way for us to remind ourselves that we are still here and we are still capable of love and hope. When you arrive, turn on the flashlight on your phone on so we know you’re there with us.

Those who can’t make it to the event but still want to participate can take a photo of themselves hugging someone and tag it with the hashtag #hugyourneighbor.

by Tim Regan — November 9, 2016 at 10:30 am 1 Comment

If Dupont Circle park looks a little less green these days, it’s not just you.

Workers hired by the National Park Service spent the morning and afternoon yesterday digging up rows of pyracantha shrubs in the circle. The plant removal work is part of an ongoing effort to help purge rodents from the park, said NPS spokesman Mike Litterst.

“With the shrubs removed, it will be easier to treat the rat burrows this winter, then the shrubs will be replaced in the spring with a variety that is less appealing to rats,” Litterst said.

So far, the rat abatement effort seems to be working, he added.

“In the first month of our agreement with [the D.C. Department of Health] to assist in treating national park sites, they report that the number of burrows at Dupont Circle went from 150 on October 1 to just 20 on October 29,” Litterst said. “Hopefully, between the D.C. Health efforts and the removal of the shrubs, area residents should be noticing a difference.”

by Tim Regan — November 8, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

A new dance club will bring Britney Spears, Coolio and Madonna to Dupont later this week.

Decades, a dance spot centered around “retro” music from the 2000s, 1990s and 1980s, is set to open in the former Midtown space at 1219 Connecticut Ave. NW on Thursday, according to managing partner Antonis Karagounis. The club had its soft opening over the weekend.

The club is meant to harken back to the days of D.C.’s long-gone 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 told us in July. “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.”

Decades is scheduled to kick off its regular event lineup by hosting a “Throwback Thursday” event on Nov. 10 at 10 p.m. The party will feature three DJs, drink specials, games and “hip-hop from all eras and more blasting through the world class Funktion One sound system available on all four floors.”

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