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by Daniel Levitt — July 27, 2015 at 2:30 pm 436 1 Comment

MidCity Dog Days

MidCity Dog Days is set to return to the Borderstan area this weekend.

The annual neighborhood sidewalk sale will take place this Saturday and Sunday on 14th Street NW from Thomas Circle to Florida Avenue NW and along U Street from 7th to 17th streets NW.

The sales will start at 9 a.m. and last until 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Though the festival started in 2000 with six businesses, more than 70 business are expected to show up this year. Participating retailers include Home Rule, Lee’s Flower Shop, Crown Pawnbrokers and Urban Essentials.

MidCity Business Improvement District Formation Director Aaron DeNu says the event has become an area tradition.

“The Dog Days Sale and Festival has been a central unifying event that brings together otherwise disparate efforts,” DeNu said in an email.

“We’re excited to continue this tradition and expand upon its base in the future.”

MidCity BID is a nonprofit that aims to create and explore business opportunities in the area.

by Jared Holt — July 16, 2015 at 10:00 am 398 0

NY Bagel Cafe

Construction will start soon for a new bagel shop on U Street.

New York Bagel Cafe & Deli announced via Twitter that it is going to build its first D.C. location on U Street NW.

The shop will serve bagels, coffee drinks, sandwiches,  soups and salads.

Photo via NY Bagel Cafe & Deli’s Facebook Page

by Jared Holt — July 8, 2015 at 11:45 am 4,978 14 Comments

buildings-8

A longtime family-owned Caribbean restaurant and lounge has left U Street.

The Islander last week set sail from its location at 1201 U St NW after 46 years of operation.

The closing follows the June departure of “Da Queen” Chef Addie, who worked as the restaurant’s chef since its opening in 1970.

A Borderstan reporter met The Islander owner Curtis Green yesterday afternoon, but Green said he’d rather comment at a later date.

Green did not say what might replace the business.

by Tim Regan — July 7, 2015 at 10:00 am 351 0

500 block of U Street NW, photo via Google Street View

Police are on the lookout for a white sedan after three people were robbed at gunpoint in a car on U Street NW just before midnight last night.

According to the police report, three people were sitting in a parked car on the 500 block of U Street NW around 11:50 p.m. when a white sedan containing four people pulled up alongside them.

The four people then exited the white sedan, drew handguns and robbed the three people in the parked car.

The four suspects fled in the white sedan, say police.

Police made no arrests related to the crime.

Photo via Google Street View

by Tim Regan — June 30, 2015 at 1:35 pm 679 1 Comment

(Updated at 5:16 p.m.) The FBI is seeking an armed man who allegedly robbed the SunTrust bank at 1250 U Street around 12:30 today.

Authorities say a man entered the bank, approached a teller and passed a note
that demanded money. He then exited the bank and fled on foot.

Authorities are on the lookout for a tall man–roughly 6’5” feet tall–wielding a gun and wearing a lime green construction vest with an “H” on the back, a dark-colored long-sleeved jacket, light-colored blue jeans, a khaki-colored fisherman’s hat with a black and gold band and white gloves.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the identification, arrest and conviction of the bank robber.

SunTrust bank employees confirmed the branch will be closed for at least the rest of today. The SunTrust ATM adjacent to the building remains open.

The FBI/MPD Violent Crimes Task Force is investigating this robbery and requests that anyone with information call the FBI at 202-278-2000 or MPD’s tip line at 202-727-9099.

Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to the police department’s TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411. 

If you have any information concerning this case, please contact your local FBI Office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate. You can also submit a tip at: tips.fbi.gov

by Tim Regan — June 29, 2015 at 3:30 pm 0

brixtonPatrons who visit The Brixton this Saturday had better be hungry for hot dogs.

The U Street bar will host its annual Fourth of July hot dog eating contest this Saturday at 4 p.m.

The prize for choking down way too many hot dogs: One ticket to this year’s Landmark Music Festival in September.

The bar will also sling $4 Bud Lights and $5 shots of Fireball from noon to 9 p.m.

by Jared Holt — June 25, 2015 at 4:30 pm 118 0

Although Ryan Neal may be a new face on U Street, he’s no stranger to the vaping industry.

Neal is an electrical engineering and the maker of a brand of “box mods,” which are battery packs for e-cigarettes that produce more wattage — and therefore more vapor — than standard vaping devices.

He’s also the owner of District Vape Supply, a vape supply shop and lounge that opened at 1007 U Street NW three days ago.

“D.C. presents a lot of challenges as a small business owner, so no one really wanted to mess with the D.C. thing,” Neal said. “But I was like, I wanna mess with the D.C. thing.”

Like other vape shop owners in the District, Neal is holding his breath over a D.C. budget that could impose a 70% wholesale tax on his suppliers.

“It’s very ominous. No one is going to want to sell to us. That hundred bucks is going to cost a distributor $170 to send to us,” he said. “I don’t know if I could even afford my own juices in D.C., even with top-tier pricing.”

Neal said he agrees that there should be tax and regulation on vapor products, but that 70% is too high to do anything but drive small business out of the District.

“At the end of the day, I hope that it becomes a little bit more reasonable,” he said. “It’s above and beyond our neighboring states, and its the kind of thing you do when you want to prevent something from happening.”

by Borderstan.com — June 22, 2015 at 3:45 pm 121 0

People's Choir, Photo via facebook.com/APeoplesChoirDC

A crowd of strangers will sing in unison this Thursday evening at Stetson’s on U Street, but it won’t be a sporadic event.

Instead, the sing-along is organized by A People’s Choir DC, a monthly meetup group devoted to hosting public singing sessions.

“A People’s Choir DC is a casual sing-along,” reads the event’s Facebook page. “It isn’t a performance; it’s a group effort.”

The idea works like this: People get together at a bar, order drinks and sing loudly over popular songs. And, well, that’s about it.

Each month, the group belts out tunes related to a specific theme. This month’s sing-along is an ode to D.C. weather, and as such, the group will sing along with such songs as Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby,” AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck,” and “California Dreamin'” by the Mamas and the Papas.

Attendees will receive a lineup of the night’s songs and a printout of the lyrics at the door.

Though you might be skittish singing in front of people you don’t know, People’s Choir D.C. founder Jenny Koch says it’s really not a big deal. If you don’t know a song, make up the words. If you want to sit one out and chat, that’s okay too. And newcomers are always welcome.

“Although we have a bunch of people who come regularly, we also get lots of new people every time,” she says.

The singing begins at 8 p.m. at Stetson’s, located at 1610 U Street NW.

Photo via Facebook.com/APeoplesChoirDC; This post features reporting by contributor Octavia Silva

by Jared Holt — June 17, 2015 at 5:00 pm 562 0

Thrill-seekers in the U Street neighborhood will have a place to rent scooters starting this weekend.

Andre Esser and his crew at U Scoot are revving up for their grand opening at 12 p.m this Saturday at Vermont and U streets, steps away from the U Street Metro station.

Though the store is currently open and selling merchandise, Esser says it will not start renting out its 20 electric-blue bikes until Saturday.

Rentals work like this: Customers with a valid driver’s license and credit card are allowed to ride the bikes wherever the included gallon of gas in the tank can take them. Esser said he only asks that customers stay in the District, even though the bikes can travel up to 100 miles on that gallon.

Tentative rental rates are $25 for one hour, $49 for three hours and $99 for a day, but that those prices are still being finalized. Rates will go up to $39 per hour during prime time hours from 6-12 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights.

Esser says his goal is to have over 100 scooters at the new location within a year.

In addition to renting out scooters, the store also sells folding electric bikes, helmets, clothing and locks.

Esser says he hopes his business will bring a new crowd to the U Street neighborhood.

“Having an added attraction down here is going to bring in people who might not usually come to U Street,” Esser says. “Where they might usually go to Adams Morgan or Georgetown, now they might come rent scooters for an hour or two and then they’ll go have dinner on U Street.”

by Tim Regan — June 17, 2015 at 3:40 pm 0

Silent Disco Party, photo courtesy of Silent Dance Society

Borderstan residents will soon be able to participate in yet another “silent disco” party.

VIDA Fitness, located at 1612 U St NW, will host a rooftop silent celebration in partnership with silent disco event company Silent Dance Society this Friday at 8 p.m.

During the event, three DJs will spin tunes that can only be heard through wireless headsets. Dancers can switch between the DJs and control the volume to their liking.

This is the third such event for the Silent Dance Society, which has also held similar rooftop parties at the Graham Hotel in Georgetown and at the Embassy Row Hotel in Dupont Circle.

Tickets are $20 and must be purchased in advance.

 Photo courtesy of Silent Dance Society

by Tim Regan — June 17, 2015 at 1:55 pm 191 0

Red Onion Records storefront

(Updated at 4:03 p.m.) Beloved indie record store Red Onion Records is moving to a new store at 1628 U Street NW, says owner Josh Harkavy.

The store is currently located at 1901 18th St NW, and is one of the city’s only independently owned record shops.

When reached by phone this afternoon, Harkavy confirmed the store will be moving to U Street, but said he had nothing else to add at this time.

Photo via the Red Onion Records Facebook page

by Tim Regan — June 8, 2015 at 8:35 am 737 0

1400 Block of T Street NW, Photo via Google Street View

(Updated at 2:40 p.m.) Police say two men and two women were stabbed in a domestic dispute that occurred Sunday night on the 1400 block of T Street, close to the bustling 14th and U street corridors.

The alleged assailant has been identified as 70-year old Manuel Antonio Ramos, of Northwest D.C.

Police confirmed this morning the attack left one woman dead, who they have since identified as 64-year-old Santos Ventura.

Police say one other victim was in critical condition this morning. The other two victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Ramos was apprehended at the scene of the crime and has been charged with first-degree murder while armed.

Photo via Google Street View

by Laetitia Brock — June 1, 2015 at 1:10 pm 0

U Street is paying homage to american actor, singer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson with “Living Timeline,” a new mural currently in the works on the 1300 blocks of U Street NW.

ART B.L.O.C is an art collective founded by Cory Stowers. As reported by the Washington Post, the collective received a $50,000 city grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to paint the tribute on the side of the Hung Tao Choy Mei Leadership Institute at 1351 U Street NW. The work looks almost complete.

Currently, two large portraits of Robeson occupy the two opposite ends of the dark grey wall. Between them, a series of seven round vignettes depicting Robeson at various stages of his life are scattered throughout the wall.

Above the vignettes, passers-by can read a quote widely attributed to Robeson:  “I make no distinction between my work as an artist and my life as a human being.” According to drawings and plans for the mural, the vignettes still need to be linked by a timeline, with important dates in the life of Robeson.

An interactive component of the mural will allow Washingtonians to scan a photo of the mural into an app on their phone to gain access to stories of the different stages of Robeson’s life included in the timeline.

My favorite is the last one, which depicts him in front of the Eiffel Tower, a reference to the trip he took to France to attend the Soviet Union-sponsored Paris Peace Conference.

This will be the second tribute to Paul Robeson in the city. “(Here I Stand) In the Spirit of Paul Robeson,” a public artwork by artist Allen Uzikee Nelson, can currently be seen at the intersection of Kansas Avenue and Georgia Avenue NW, in Petworth.

Laetitia Brock grew up in Paris and landed in D.C. to get her masters at George Washington University. During the day, she works for a trade association near Thomas Circle, but in the evening and on the weekends, she loves discovering new street art around town and exploring the district’s bustling restaurant scene. In addition to contributing to Borderstan, she writes about her favorite DC spots for the travel website Spotted by Locals, and on her own blog, FrenchTwistDC.

Follow her on twitter at @laetitiabrock.

by Tim Regan — June 1, 2015 at 9:00 am 112 4 Comments

Good morning. Borderstan is back.

We probably look a little different than you remember. That’s because, in April, Local News Now LLC, the publisher of ARLnow.com, acquired Borderstan from founders Matt Rhoades and Luis Gomez. Since then, we’ve worked with Matt and Luis to map out how we can build upon what locals loved about the site the first time around.

And based on what we’ve come up with, we think you’ll be pleased.

Moving forward, we plan to cover everything Matt and Luis did well, from arts and entertainment, crime and politics, to local businesses and dining. We’ll also add to that mix up-to-date breaking neighborhood news coverage in a large swath of Northwest D.C., which includes the areas around Dupont Circle and Logan Circle, up to U Street, Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights.

Our site editor is Tim Regan, who has covered local news, restaurants, oddities and the arts for Washington Post Express, Washington City Paper and Thrillist, among others. He’ll occasionally be assisted by Andrew Ramonas, the editor of our sister site, Hill Now, Local News Now managing editor Bryan Doyle and a stable of stalwart freelance contributors.

Have a suggestion? Want to contribute? Drop us a line at [email protected]. Or, if you have an idea for a story we should write, call our tip line at 202-930-3546 to leave a message about what’s going on in your neighborhood. Be sure to connect with us on Twitter and Facebook, and check back with us frequently. We’ll be updating the site daily.

by Borderstan.com — May 7, 2015 at 12:45 pm 0

Dupont Circle fountain, turned on for the season May 7, 2015

Borderstan.com will be back before you know it, delivering comprehensive neighborhood news coverage of Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, the U Street area — and now Columbia Heights.

We’ll relaunch Monday, June 1 with editor Tim Regan at the helm. Tim has covered local news, restaurants, oddities and the arts for Washington Post Express, Washington City Paper and Thrillist, among others. Most recently, he was assistant editor of two magazines on the housing market and home renovation, ProSales and Remodeling.

Local News Now LLC, the publisher of ARLnow.com, acquired Borderstan.com earlier this year from founders Matt Rhoades and Luis Gomez, as we announced last month. In the meantime, we’ve been working with Matt and Luis to map out how we can build upon what locals loved about the site the first time around, from August 2008 to June 2013.

You can expect up-to-the minute, community-based reporting on breaking news, development, restaurants and more, in the areas Borderstan previously covered. As part of the relaunch, we’ll cover Columbia Heights, too.

Questions, comments, scoops or inquiries about becoming contributor? We can be reached at [email protected].

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