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by Tim Regan — October 8, 2015 at 12:35 pm 0

Lettie Gooch Pop-up 2U Street boutique Lettie Gooch will have a new life in Shaw.

Though the boutique announced in August it would close its doors at 1517 U St. NW and host a weekend pop-up store in Union Market, the store announced today it will be back at The Shay (8th St. between T St. and Florida NW) in November.

“We’re so excited to unpack our bags and settle back into the neighborhood where we began in 2006,” reads the press release. “We are making big plans to celebrate our Shaw homecoming and reopening with YOU!”

When it opens in the mixed-use development, Lettie Gooch will join businesses such as Warby Parker, Kit and Ace, Glen’s Garden Market and Compass Coffee.

Photo courtesy of Lettie Gooch

by Sean Meehan — October 2, 2015 at 3:50 pm 430 0

A documentary by professors at American University and George Washington University examines gentrification in the U Street area, Columbia Heights and Petworth.

The documentary, called Dog Parks and Coffee Shops, aims to make locals aware of how income inequality and buying decisions can hurt integration.

“Back in the day, Washington D.C. was America’s first city with a Black majority population, and many neighborhoods were predominantly Black,” says a narrator in the film’s trailer. “Today, many of those same neighborhoods have experienced significant demographic shifts.”

Sonya Grier, a marketing professor at AU and a co-producer of the documentary, said that consumption habits are one of the largest source of headaches in rapidly changing neighborhoods.

As the notion goes, gentrifiers move in to traditionally low-rent neighborhoods, open middle class destinations such as dog parks and coffee shops, and in the process cause tension among longtime residents by way of rising rent and a higher cost of goods.

“If you have people living in separate consumption worlds, that doesn’t support harmony, integration and unity within communities,” Grier said. “It supports what we observed, what we call faux diversity.”

Grier, who lives north of Petworth in Brightwood, said the idea for the documentary came from a trip she and co-producer Vanessa Perry, a marketing professor at GWU, took to U Street. The two professors noticed that, despite the racial diversity of the neighborhood, people of different ethnicities weren’t actually mixing.

Instead, groups of similar people tended to go to the same destinations. On the outside, Grier said, neighborhoods like U Street and Columbia Heights might look diverse. But walk inside businesses and restaurants and the crowds tend to be more homogenous. And that, she said, can lead to problems.

“One of the issues we identify in the film is that there’s not a lot of interracial discussions in these areas and that can lead to mistrust,” Grier said. “In the Shaw neighborhood, they have a campaign to get people to say hi to their neighbors. The fact that they need that campaign actually says a lot.”

The documentary will be part of the Reel Independent Film Extravaganza at the Angelika Pop-up Theater at Union Market next weekend. The filmmakers will also hold a free screening and discussion of the film at the Northeast Neighborhood Library at 330 7th St. NE at 2 p.m. Oct. 11.

Grier said she and the other filmmakers behind the documentary hope to use it as a tool to spur discussions between old and new residents and across racial lines.

“Something is going on where people aren’t interacting,” she said, “and we hope the film can act as a stimulus to get people talking about these issues.”

by Sean Meehan — October 1, 2015 at 10:25 am 0

Two persons of interest in connection with a theft near U Street NW have been caught on video.

Surveillance video released today by D.C. Police shows two men entering a hallway on the 2200 block of 11th Street NW. One of the men appears to see the security camera when he enters the hallway and attempts to cover his face with his t-shirt. The other man is wearing a backpack and has the bottom half of his face covered.

It’s unclear from the video where the men are, but the block is mostly residential, with a Children’s Health Center about halfway between W Street NW and Florida Avenue NW.

Crime Solvers of Washington, DC currently offers a reward of up to $1,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for a crime committed in the District of Columbia. Your assistance is appreciated by your community.

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 to 50411.

Video via MPD

by Tim Regan — September 30, 2015 at 4:25 pm 118 0

Parking meters(Updated at 4:41 p.m.) People who park in Adams Morgan and on U Street will have to feed parking meters for two more hours, but not for a while, it seems.

Though the D.C. budget approved earlier this year called for parking meter enforcement in some areas of the city to occur from 7 a.m. to midnight, a new story by WTOP says the change in hours likely won’t take effect until next year.

When the changes do take effect, Adams Morgan and U Street will be among eight “premium demand zones,” that will have longer hours of parking enforcement and more costly meters than most other parts of the District.

The zones, which also include the National Mall, Georgetown and Penn Quarter, have meters that charge $2 per hour. Outside of the areas, meters charge 75 cents per hour and operate from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

by Sean Meehan — September 30, 2015 at 1:00 pm 165 0

Mayor Muriel Bowser, Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau and other local politicians cut ribbons at 14 Shaw- and U Street-area businesses during a “ribbon cutting roundup” organized by Shaw Main Streets earlier today.

Duffy’s Irish Pub (2106 Vermont Ave. NW) and U Scoot (1949 Vermont Ave. NW) were two of the businesses honored with a ceremony.

“We’ve been open since June, but it feels like it’s official now that they’ve come here and cut a ribbon,” U Scoot owner Andre Esser said.

Bowser was scheduled to cut ribbons during the openings, but had to cancel many appearances — including ones at U Scoot and Duffy’s — at the last minute.

Duffy’s general manager and former owner Andy Duffy laid out dozens wings in anticipation of Bowser’s arrival, but when he cut the large red ribbon, he was joined only by Nadeau, new Duffy’s owner Casey Callister and Shaw Main Streets Executive Director Alexander Padro.

As attendees left the pub with to-go boxes packed with wings, Duffy and Callister said they were just happy to be recognized, even if the mayor herself couldn’t make it.

“We’re very grateful to have that kind of support,” added Callister. “I think it shows that we care about businesses here in D.C. and our politicians care.”

Blocks away at U Scoot, Esser echoed the positivity. “It was a success,” he said. “[The mayor] wasn’t here, but it was still nice.”

Photo of Mayor Bowser via Twitter/MayorBowser

by Tim Regan — September 26, 2015 at 7:15 am 842 0

Stabbing on U Street NW

(Updated at 8:08 a.m.) D.C. Police are investigating a stabbing that occurred on the 1700 block of U Street NW around 12:55 a.m. this morning.

Third District Commander Jeffrey Carroll said the victim, a man, was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Photo courtesy of an anonymous Borderstan reader

by Jennifer Currier — September 24, 2015 at 1:30 pm 0

VIDA U Street Fitness Expo via VIDA Fitness

(Updated at 12:05 p.m. on Friday) Though Thanksgiving is still two months away, VIDA Fitness (1612 U St. NW) wants D.C. residents to prepare for the annual onslaught of indulgence.

The fitness center will host its first-ever holiday health expo next Thursday from 5:30-9:30 p.m. During the expo, attendees can move between 25 booths with interactive exhibits and receive free consultations from personal trainers and dietitians. Free zumba, bootcamp, barre and candlelight yoga classes will start every hour, on the hour throughout the evening. Consultations with VIDA Fitness staff and classes are open to all attendees, not just club members.

Other perks include Sweetgreen salad samples, juice samples, hair consultations and mini acupuncture sessions

The expo is part of the fitness center’s larger effort to get locals into the habit of going to the gym — and buying gym passes — by teaching them fitness tips.

“After last year’s holiday season, we decided we wanted to do something for people to latch on to,” said VIDA Fitness representative Greer Hunte. “Healthy habits and exercise is something people can make a part of their daily lives all year round.”

Guests are encouraged to RSVP for the expo in advance.

Photo via VIDA Fitness

by Tim Regan — September 24, 2015 at 10:15 am 542 0

Police CarAn underage person was violently robbed at the intersection of 14th and V Streets NW yesterday afternoon, said D.C. Police.

Police said the robbery occurred around 4:27 p.m. Though a police spokesperson wouldn’t provide specific details about the case over the phone, the department confirmed the crime was classified as a robbery of “force and violence.”

Third District Commander Jeffrey Carroll told Borderstan via e-mail that the case was “closed with an arrest.”

The robbery is the latest in a series of recent violent crimes at the intersection. 29-year-old Delany Christopher Epps was shot and killed there on Tuesday night, and a man was stabbed there earlier this month.

According to police statistics, 27 violent crimes — including 2 homicides — were reported within 1,000 feet of the intersection between Jan. 1 and Sept. 24. The area saw 46 violent crimes but no homicides during the same period last year.

by Tim Regan — September 23, 2015 at 4:30 pm 2,748 0

Pope Francis cruising down U Street

Pope Francis took an unexpected detour today.

His Holiness was spotted cruising down U Street in his trademark Fiat earlier this afternoon. Was the pope hungry for a U Street taco? It’s unclear. What is clear, however, is that his appearance came as a surprise to many.

“We thought it was a bank robbery or something,” said Andre Esser, who owns U Scoot at the corner of Vermont Avenue and U Street NW. “They were yelling at a guy to get out of a van, all these cops.”

“Next thing we know, the pope comes driving by in a Fiat,” Esser added.

Esser said that although police presence had been heavy around the area all day, officers only started to block off the street five minutes before the pope’s arrival. And then: pope.

“I was actually getting ready to leave,” said Esser. “And as I’m leaving, I’m like… there’s the pope coming by. It was a huge surprise.”

“It almost looked as if he was blessing my business,” he added. “I was going to put that on my Facebook, the pope just blessed my business.”

Photo and video courtesy of U Scoot

by Tim Regan — September 23, 2015 at 10:20 am 134 0

D.C. Police are seeking a man filmed in connection with a knife assault that occurred on U Street earlier this month.

A person was assaulted with a knife near the 1300 block of U Street on Sept. 12 around 1:35 a.m., said police. In a blurry video released this morning on the MPD Youtube account, a man allegedly connected to the assault can be seen arguing with at least one other person.

Police are currently seeking to identify the man in the video.

DO YOUR PART TO HELP PREVENT AND SOLVE CRIME. Crime Solvers of Washington, DC currently offers a reward of up to $1,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for a crime committed in the District of Columbia. Your assistance is appreciated by your community.

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 to 50411.

Video via MPD

by Tim Regan — September 21, 2015 at 1:30 pm 104 0

A new cafe is now open on U Street.

Amsterdam Cafe and Lounge opened for business last week in the former Indulj space at 1208 U Street NW.

Co-owner Belay Abere told Borderstan last week that he wants the eatery to be more low-key than the once-notorious Indulj was.

“We’re concentrating more on the cafe than the bar,” Abere said. “We hope people are looking forward to a nice coffee shop where they can bring their laptops, sit down and be comfortable.”

The cafe’s menu includes chicken wings, burgers and sandwiches — all $10 — and a long list of hot and cold drinks and smoothies. The bar will  also serve cocktails, beer and wine when it receives its liquor license, said Abere.

Additionally, Abere said he will turn the building’s second floor into a lounge area and open a rooftop deck when the bar receives its liquor license.

by Tim Regan — September 21, 2015 at 10:50 am 0

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser joined Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau at an event on Saturday meant to drum up support for a planned mixed-use development near the 9:30 Club.

Developers MRP Realty, Ellis Development and JBG Companies are set to begin construction on the building soon, provided that the D.C. Council gives its approval during a vote tomorrow. If constructed, the building would bring  106 affordable housing units, retail space and a new Whole Foods to a long-debated parcel of land just north of the U Street corridor at 965 Florida Avenue NW.

Dozens of local residents and several ANC 1B and 2F commissioners flocked to the empty lot before noon for free coffee, breakfast sandwiches from Whole Foods and tunes from local band Brass Connection.

Nadeau took the microphone to voice support for the forthcoming development.

“It’s taken a while to get this through the council,” Nadeau said. “You don’t have to write to me and say to vote for it because I’m going to vote for it.”

“This mayor has been fighting for this parcel since she got into office,” Nadeau added. “She took a good deal and she made it better. Because of her, this site is going to have more affordable housing than it did in the original plan.”

Nadeau said that squabbling among councilmembers was to blame for the delay in approval.

“The reason this deal hasn’t moved forward as quickly as we’ve wanted it to is not because of your mayor, it’s not because of your councilmember, it’s because of some other dissent on that council,” Nadeau said.

Mayor Bowser focused on the forthcoming development’s affordable housing units in her speech.

“Because we work very hard, we’re able to make sure that this project will not only include Whole Foods, but it will have 106 units of affordable housing,” Bowser said. “I look forward to not only breaking ground, but also cutting the ribbon on this very exciting project.”

by Tim Regan — September 18, 2015 at 3:00 pm 1,784 0

Stetson's neon

A landmark U Street bar is going away for good. Stetson’s, which has existed at 1610 U St. NW since 1980, will close its doors on Oct. 31, said assistant general manager Tommy Osborne.

Osborne, a D.C. native, has worked at the bar since 2005. In just a decade, Osborne has seen it all. “There’s a ton of memories,” said Osborne. “I’ve been the assistant general manager here on and off since 2005.”

Some of the memories, like the time Osborne found a vintage liquor bottle label affixed behind an old refrigerator in the basement, are charming reminders of a bygone era.

“I was pulling out this old fridge from the ’40s, and on a support post behind it was a whiskey label for John Morris rye whiskey, and it had our address on it dated 1914,” said Osborne. “I was so excited, I ran upstairs and said, ‘Guys, guys, look what I found.'”

Other memories he likes to share are a little unbelievable.

“Some years later, in 2011, I was contacted by a couple who had been vacationing in the Mojave Desert,” Osborne said. “They saw a bottle sticking up out of the sand and pulled it up and brushed it off, and it was another John Morris bottle with the year and our address on it. Talk about total kismet.”

The couple mailed the bottle to Osborne, who stashed it away in a safe.

“The next year, I had commissioned a friend of mine to do a mural of the bottle on our back patio,” said Osborne. “He pulls it out of the box and says he’ll get to work, and he literally has it in his hands for 30 seconds and it slips out and breaks.”

Needless to say, Osborne’s friend gave him a discount on the mural.

Osborne also likes to tell the tale of how his bar has a penchant for getting politicians in trouble.

“Over the years, we used to be a big Democrat bar,” he said. “This was the place where they could come and be incognito. Several people whose names don’t want to be mentioned publicly used to hang out here and get tore up.”

“Like, they throw down like five one hundred dollar bills to let them stay until you have to pour them into a cab,” Osborne added.

And then, there’s the infamous bit about the Bush twins.

“At one point the Bush daughters went [underage] bar hopping, and this is one of the places they came,” Osborne said. “We got into all kinds of hot water. We were threatened with being shut down for good, but I think they didn’t want to make it a big thing.”

Osborne could go on all day. Chuck Brown once played an impromptu show at the bar. A murder-mystery reality show filmed an episode there. There are actual bullets in the ceiling. It’s memories like these that gives Stetson’s its status as a primo neighborhood hangout, Osborne said.

But memories alone couldn’t keep the business afloat. Osborne said the bar was sold to developer Douglas Development this summer after losing money for years.

“I don’t really know what’s going to happen,” said Osborne. “It could end up gutted. At least the historical society will make them keep the facade.”

Still, Osborne isn’t optimistic about the bar’s future. “It most likely will be a piece of D.C. history that’s just going to float off into the ether just like so many other places have before.”

Those wishing to say goodbye or pay tribute can do so two ways: Osborne says the bar will have a blowout goodbye DJ night on Oct. 29. He’s also selling pieces of the bar’s history — mementos and tokens yanked from the walls themselves.

“All the stuff on the wall is up for sale,” Osborne said. “I’m using the money to give a last hurrah to the staff.”

Osborne said he’d like former patrons to stop in for one last drink before the bar changes hands.

“We want everyone to come in and have one last hurrah.”

by Jennifer Currier — September 17, 2015 at 4:30 pm 122 0

OCULUS 2013 PARK(ing) Day Display

Some parking spots throughout D.C. won’t be occupied by cars tomorrow. Instead, they’ll be home to pop-up parks.

PARK(ing) Day is a national event that businesses, organizations and residents throughout the District every year. The city celebrates the event by turning parking spaces into these pop-up parklets.

Dupont Circle-based Rails to Trails Conservancy is participating in the event for the first time. According to Director of Communications Elizabeth Striano, they’ll set up shop near at 1400 New Hampshire NW and host bike accessory raffles, free giveaways, a bike repair station and pass out drinks and ice pops.

Bicyclists can also stop and get a Polaroid picture in front of a backdrop of a bike trail the organization helped build.

“We’re taking up two spots, so this year we’re feeling it out to see what works and what doesn’t,” Striano said. “Being able to safely bicycle in the city is critical, so we’re excited to help promote healthy places and people.”

There are 10 parks expected to go up in northwest D.C. Each will have a different theme, purpose and activities.

The locations and sponsors for the parks are:

Dupont Circle

  • 2000 M St. NW (Island Press)
  • 1400 New Hampshire Ave. NW (Rails to Trails Conservancy)

Logan Circle

  • 1440 P St. NW (OCULUS)

U Street

  • 1250 U St. NW (District Department of Parks and Recreation

Adams Morgan

  • 2424 18th St. NW (BicycleSPACE)

Columbia Heights

  • 3407 14th St. NW (Washington Area Bicyclist Assocation)

K Street

  • 2020 K St. NW (Golden Triangle BID, Gensler)
  • 1830 K St. NW (ZGF Architects)
  • 1612 K St. NW (Project for Public Spaces)
  • 1200 K St. NW (HKS Architects, Inc.)

Many of the parks will be open from about 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year, there will be approximately 30 pop-up parks throughout D.C., more than double the amount from last year. Click here for a full list of where to find the parklets across the city.

Photo via Flickr user Aimee Curtis Photography

by Jennifer Currier — September 14, 2015 at 3:00 pm 210 0

Amsterdam Cafe and Lounge (1208 U Street NW) is nearly ready to open, says one of the owners.

The new business is set to open in the former Indulj space within the next two weeks or as soon as a liquor license transfer goes through, says co-owner Belay Abere.

A little background: Abere owned Duke’s City Lounge in the early 2000s before subleasing the space — and transferring the liquor license — to the former owners of Indulj.

“We’re concentrating more on the cafe than the bar,” Abere said. “We hope people are looking forward to a nice coffee shop where they can bring their laptops, sit down and be comfortable.”

Abere added that the cafe and lounge will be open from approximately 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.

In the morning, the cafe will sell coffee, teas and breakfast food. When the sun sets, Abere said the space will transform into a live jazz lounge that sells light food and drinks.


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