The first problem occurred when a train broke down — WMATA closed off access to the station to prevent crowding. That makes some sense, because it can easily escalate from a crowded platform to a dangerous platform.
Less tolerable is the malfunction that caused all three escalators to become stairs for thirty minutes during the evening commute.
The likely culprit? A false fire alarm that automatically shuts down escalators. When I rode past the station on Thursday, there was a little mobile unit for emergency response outside the south side entrance. Here’s hoping for a smoother rest of the year.
RIP, Dupont South Metro Entrance
Just for about a year, anyways. If WMATA is to be trusted, and I will let you draw your own conclusions about that, it will not be resting in peace during 2012. No, intrepid workers will be toiling to bring the escalators up to snuff. Full story at DCist, including a justification of why the entire entrance is closed, rather than just one escalator at a time.
Vastu’s Studio Designs Highlighted
Vastu, the design and furniture store on 14th Street, knows their neighborhood — quite a few small studio apartments owned by people with big ideas and social lives. Check out this piece in Express to get some design ideas of your own. Some tips: make your furniture multi-functional, mount your bookshelves and use glass. Also in the piece are some great pics of the small spaces. And if you want even more, check out this video of a tiny apartment that turns into 24 different looks in Hong Kong.
DC Brau, Pizzeria Paradiso Turn Beer into Bread
It’s not exactly what Jesus did, but it is certainly in line with the charitable spirit. DC Brau owners Brandon Skall and Jeff Hancock decided to try their hand at bread, by using the leftover grains from the beer brewing process and Pizzeria Paradiso’s ovens. The results were reported to be like a rich whole grain bread. All loaves were donated to Bread for the City. Washington Post has the full story on their future food plans and other beer news. Good neighbor of the week award to DC Brau and Pizzeria Paradiso!
District Taco Finally Coming to District
Your days of staring at Food Truck Fiesta, willing District Taco to cross the bridge from Arlington, will be over soon. The first brick and mortar location will take the place of FunXion at 1309 F Street, Washington Post reports. While that location is a bit outside our coverage area, I’m willing to bet several of you work nearby. And the better news? The owners, Osiris Hoil and Marc Wallace, are scouting out additional spaces, including Dupont Circle. That’s good news to those still mourning the loss of Tomatillo Taqueria, the best (IMO) tacos in the area by a long shot.
DC Streetcar Plans Deliver Some Promise
The DC Office of Planning released their Streetcar Land Use Study, and TBD has issued some early approvals for the plan. Imagine a world where 50% of DC’s population lives near a streetcar stop! I am dreaming with wistful sighs, after enduring the commute from hell on the Red Line this morning.
The author considers this as well, but seems to envision a world in which all transit systems could come out as winners. I can see that, I guess. Streetcars may provide public transportation to areas previously served by spotty bus service and make new areas of town more desirable. If that translates into a more vibrant urban area with affordable housing (hello, tax base), then everybody wins. It has the potential to do so, but the devil’s in the details, and execution.
Washington’s Pot Culture
The usually somewhat staid Washingtonian has devoted the February issue to marijuana. Specifically, the city’s plans to legalize medical marijuana this year are up for discussion as writers “get blunt.” Ahem. Ward 2 (that’s us!) has the highest marijuana usage in the city, so congratulations are in order. But with the bust of Capitol Hemp still fresh in many people’s minds, it remains to be seen how police will handle the new law and if Congress plans on leaving us the hell alone.
The Rent is Too Damn High, MoCo Style
Greater Greater Washington features a dilemma most Washington area residents face at some point in their first three months here. Where the heck can you rent a place that allows you to be in a safe neighborhood with some urban amentities that allows you to get to work in a reasonable commute…that you can actually afford?
In Montgomery County, the problem is even worse. The build outs represent what young families want, namely detached housing, parks and some single-car garages. But the fastest growing population in MoCo are millenials, who are desperate for affordable units near Metro stops. The author has some ideas on how to address both challenges, and they aren’t half bad.
That’s right, the The Washington Post reports that the south entrance escalators will close on February 1 for approximately eight months. The closure has been planned for quite some time and given the number of signs around the southern entrance, it shouldn’t take anyone by surprise.
However, there are plenty of reasons to enjoy the north exit! You are closer to Sweetgreen, Kramerbooks and Shophouse. Consider this WMATA’s way of helping you out on your diet by adding some steps to your daily Krispy Kreme. And if all that doesn’t make you feel better, there’s a lovely liquor store near the Q Street exit.
No Resolution to Last Year’s Metro Deaths
Washington Examiner looks into the still mysterious death of Lou Stancari, found last year at the Farragut North metro station. After a dinner in his neighborhood of Capitol Hill, his fare card was swiped at Dupont Circle. Everything else is mystery, including what and/or who inflicted the blunt force trauma that was ruled the cause of death. Was it a drunken stumble, an assault, a suicide attempt or other foul play? His friends are confused and frustrated with the investigation.
It is a bizarre death that is made even odder by its similarity to the death of Benoy Chacko, who was ruled an accident. Investigators in that case think he decided to walk along the tracks and was clipped by a passing train. In a system that is attempting to better prevent and handle fatalities, these investigations do not bring much hope or optimism to 2012. Is anyone else surprised that there is not video evidence, or video surveillance at all, of either of these events?
New Street Signs to REPLACE EXISTING ONES
Mixed case design comes to street signs near you (or not). Mike DeBonis at the Post outlines the reason for the gradual roll-out of the mixed case (both upper and lower case, as opposed to the previous all caps design) signs — President Obama had to step in to prevent localities from rioting over the costs and tight deadline to switch out signs. DC can now replace the signs at their own pace, which DDOT indicates will be slow. They will replace the signs as needed, and the shelf life of a street sign is about 10 years.
Rush Limbaugh: “This Mary Cheh Babe” = Sexist Liar?
That’s the opinion of a few after reviewing Rush Limbaugh’s comment about Councilwoman Mary Cheh today. He referrred to her as ‘babe,’ which brought out Media Matters. They have previously been on his case for using the term to dismiss and diminish a number of powerful, intelligent women. The The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis reports his tirade on the misrepresentation of a bill that would ‘relocate’ rat families found by exterminators to the state. He also incorrectly identifies Cheh as the “woman behind the DC plastic bag tax;” she was a supporter, but not the original author. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II was the interview guest, who is standing by his characterization of the bill after a response from Cheh (all in the article). So, Rush Limbaugh may or may not be a liar. But he doesn’t seem to think much of women.
ACLU Sues WMATA
You may recall the incident at the U Street metro station last year, where a man in a wheelchair was thrown to the ground by Metro Transit Police. The Transit Police said the man, Dwight Harris, was intoxicated and disruptive. What you may not know is that another man, Lawrence Miller, was arrested for inciting violence after asking the police what they were doing and soliciting aid for his friend. 9 News Now reports that those charges were dropped, but now Miller is suing, with ACLU assistance, for violating his First Amendment right to free speech and expression. WMATA doesn’t comment on these type of legal matters, so I guess we will wait to hear their defense in court or in settlement papers.
Melody Records Owner Speaks Out
The Washington Examiner nabs a quick interview with Jack Menase, owner of Melody Records. They cut right to the chase, starting out the interview with the “why are you closing” question. Unfortunately, it’s been asked and answered, and it seems that record stores may be going the way of bookstores. In a day where your personal phone can let you preview music, download a book or follow playlists of everyone in your social network, it seems hard to fathom that our beloved indie hideaways stand much of a chance against pocket rocket tech.
Politics of Booze in DC
While Derek Brown plugs his own bar and a few other non-political bars, he does give some decent advice. In the “places that are old DC”, Dupont’s Tabard Inn makes the list in this piece by TVNZ. Yes, Derek is talking about local boozing to a New Zealand media outlet. The Gibson gets a plug as well for “local colour.”
Poor Timing for WMATA’s Fare Hike?
It may never be a good time to raise the Metro fares, but this may be particularly poor execution on their part. TBD chronicles all of their misadventures last week, from a suicide to stunning workday delays and a host of other issues. Now, after we’ve already found out that they essentially made up the length of time for escalator repair at Dupont Circle, they have advised us we can pay more for the pleasure of riding Metrorail. It made me think of this recent piece by the Washington Post on our previous system…which may or may not have been less reliable.
Pay Up, Disabled Motorists
If you are a disabled motorist, you have been able to park at meters for free. Not anymore. DDOT announced the policy change on Tuesday, citing widespread abuse of the policy as the reason for its repeal. New ‘red top’ meters will designate meters that serve disabled drivers; they still must feed the meter, but get twice the time. MyFOX broke the story and cited several downtown workers that said the excessive number of hang tags made it difficult to find parking for workers or customers.
Historic Shots of U Street
U Street Girl has some great snaps of what U Street looked like back in the day. She culled them down out of Lydia DePillis’ full link and interview with the Streets of DC author in the Washington City Paper. I know I’m a bit of sappy sentimentalist, but I think quite a few of these look much better than the buildings that took their place, either in construction or color choice. Hey pea green and mustard yellow complex by the 9:30 Club, I am side eyeing you. Hard.
Pimp Your Parking Spot
A new website will help frustrated drivers find parking spaces, but only if you are in the market for a permanent (or at least monthly) rental arrangement. The site, parkatmyhouse.com, began in the UK and is just emerging stateside. WTOP has more info about the service and what to expect in terms of location and pricing in our area. It also provides info you can use if you have an alley spot you are not currently using.
BTW, don’t be a parking pig. Are you one?
Councilman Harry Thomas Likely to Plead Guilty
According to the The Washington Post, who got it from the courthouse files, Councilman Harry Thomas, Jr. was charged with embezzlement and filing a false tax return on Thursday. The type of filing indicates he has agreed to plea guilty, which corresponds with rumors that Thomas met with friends to discuss the sentence this week. Thomas is alleged to have embezzled over $300,000 of funds intended for youth sports programs between April 2007 and February 2009.
If you are wondering what he purchased with at least a portion of the funds, take your best guess based on his colleagues expenditures. If you guessed an expensive sport utility vehicle, you would be correct! Given his tax fraud, he also must forfeit a motorcycle and a Chevy Tahoe. Given how beholden our Councilmembers are to their expensive motor vehicles, is it any real wonder that DC’s public transportation is suffering from neglect and underfunding?
Single Tracking All Weekend on Metro
It’s almost as if it was on cue! WJLA reports that the Red, Orange, Blue and Green lines will all experience single-tracking in one or more locations this weekend. For those in Dupont headed north, your train will single-track to Friendship Heights. Green line folks around Petworth, expect delays as those trains single-track between Petworth and Ft. Totten stations. The work begins at 10 p.m. on Friday evening and will continue throughout the weekend.
Confederate History in Logan Circle
You may have seen a small, pretty red brick house sandwiched between an office building and apartment building in Logan Circle and wondered what on earth it was doing still intact in that location. A fun article (hey, I’m from Virginia and was raised by a U.S. History teacher, I think it’s fun) in the Washington Times Community section may indicate one reason why the home endures: it was the home of one rogue or heroic, depending on which side of the Mason-Dixon line you were raised on, Col. John Mosby. He was known as the Grey Ghost for the particular hit and run skill of his calvary unit and his Confederate greys.
WMATA: We Want to Lower Expectations
Done! Cross that one off your New Year’s resolution list. We kid, we kid. But in all seriousness, Metro told TBD the “reason” they estimated a full year for the repair of the two Dupont South escalators was to lower expectations of riders, so they could hopefully beat the timeline for completing repairs. This is probably a pretty good strategy, but I think it only works when you don’t tell people that it’s a gambit. This is precisely the point of the TBD piece, which is (IMO) pretty well done. Thanks for talking to us more, Metro. We know those escalators have more fail in them than the Twitter Fail whale. Now quit yer yappin’ and show us some more men at work.
More Closings Blamed on Rents
Melody Records in Dupont Circle is closing (story from Washington Business Journal). Georgetown’s Barnes and Noble has already closed, we learned from DCist. What do the two have in common? It appears, according to blog Urban Spaces and Places, quite a bit despite their different retail footprints. As commercial space is generally over-valued in DC, they argue, this leads to increased rents and even higher expectations of earnings at such retail locations. It may have little to do with the profit margin of the store, and much more to do with the market and new players with deep pockets, often in the food industry. If you started thinking about high-end burger concepts from out of town, well, that makes two of us.
But a New Opening in an Old(er) Space
Whiskey is back on the menu at the space that formerly housed Porter’s, a bar beloved by many Terp alumni and M Street bar crawlers. Irish Whiskey Public House is due to open this Friday and got a pretty nice renovation, from what we see on Urban Daddy. For anyone nostalgic enough to miss the dilapidated interior of the dive bar, you can still see small touches in the new photos but overall, this is a much more aesthetically pleasing place to grab a drink. Oh, and there are over 60 types of whiskey if you want to toast to the past, present or future of the 18th and M Street strip.
And More Sammiches!
Taylor Gourmet junkies can feast their eyes on the first peek from the The Washington Post. The new 14th Street location is open for business in the former Ruff and Ready space. I’m guessing the cold kept most sandwich connoisseurs at bay today, but am a little surprised at the total lack of a line. Have we reached sandwich saturation?
New Year’s Resolutions
I can’t resolve to complain less, because then you would have nothing snarky to read. But I did resolve to have more fun and take things less seriously. Step one: get thee to Riot Act Comedy Theater with me tonight to see the guys from Gaylarious take the stage. This time, Chris Doucette and Zach Toczynski can be snarky for me and I keep my resolution longer than the first one (ordering pizza on New Year’s Day and skipping the gym is probably not in compliance with “eat better and exercise more.”) (Full disclosure: the boys were kind enough to comp me after I said they were “sort of” hilarious.)
Cleveland Park Targeted With Anti-Semitic Literature
Sometimes we venture outside our ‘hood when the news compels us. And the distribution of anti-Semitic posters to what appears to be targeted households in Cleveland Park, as per reports on the Cleveland Park listserv, compels us. In an account posted to the list serv, and confirmed by other members, a number of households had homemade flyers, covered in copy-pasting anti-Semitic language and references, delivered to their front doors. This kind of hate mail is bad enough, but is made worse by the fact that not all households received this little gift. On more than one street, it was only delivered to houses where Jewish families, or those that “looked Jewish,” lived. The flyers and incidents were reported to the police on Monday evening.
Joan of Arc Gets Waxed
The Joan of Arc statue in Meridian Hill Park is getting a little TLC. According to one observant reader (hat tip to Chris Siddall), the statue is getting a few new pieces, including the replacement of a sword. She is also getting some work done, including a new coat of patina and a wax. As you can see from her glamor shots in DC Memorials, this is a long overdue update for the French lady. I bet Carla Bruni approves.
Farragut North Station to Stay in Disrepair
Well, at least for now, as WMATA is focusing their attention on the Dupont Circle station. The Red Line, as we all know, has more than its fair share of issues and the Examiner reports that Farragut North has perhaps some of the most pressing. You know about the water leaks if you ride through the area and if you read any papers at all about a year ago, you know they found asbestos in the ceiling panels while beginning the renovation. While that remediation has recently ended, don’t expect a smooth ride through these two stations on the Red Line for awhile.
Drag Queens, High Heels and Running for 25 Years
Send in your gosh darned pictures from last night, already! Share them on the Borderstan Flickr pool. Borderstan’s beloved Halloween tradition of drag queens, wanna-be-queens and a few competitive runners was held last night on 17th Street: The High Heel Race. This year’s winner, Craig Williams, won for the second time, also winning in 2008. Runner-up Stephen was the 3rd Place finisher last year. Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans was the official judge at the finish line and trophy presenter. The trophy this year was a hand-blown glass slipper full of brandy.
WTOP gave a quick preview of the event, including some good nuggets of history like the date of the first run (1986), its origins (a bet, no surprise there) and some early expectations for crowds. If you have lived in DC for more than a Halloween, have a sense of humor and enjoy some serious pageantry, you pretty much have to go next year.
Red Line to be a CF This Weekend
If you are planning to support friends at the Marine Core Marathon, go out around Dupont or do anything else on our part of the Red Line, just don’t bother. The Metro’s track maintenance schedule will cause single-tracking between Dupont Circle and Judiciary Square to create a safe work zone at Farragut North, says The Washington Post. That station definitely needs some work, and I guess it’s not rush hour but man, what a bummer. Trains will leave the end of the line every 20 minutes or so, and will go through the work zone (one train in each direction) every 20 minutes.
Saving the Other Theatre in the Area
Greater Greater Washington shares the story of the Ontario Theatre at 17th Street and Columbia Road NW. It’s been abandoned, neglected and may ultimately disappear in what historians (or GGW) feel is a blow to history. Sound familar? It should — seems similar to the plight of the Lincoln Theatre. The difference, of course, is that the Lincoln is currently functioning as a theater.
The Ontario, once a neighborhood theater showing first-run movies, one of only two in DC. It was ravaged by the riots after Dr. King’s death, became a Latino community meeting place and then became home to performances by The Clash and Blondie. A building that is more than 60-years-old, which embodies the changing history of the neighborhood and is also a pretty sweet architectural structure? That sounds like historical preservation status-worthy to me.
DC Forgives Your Expired Registration, Sort Of
That’s right — my fellow procrastinators need not worry about getting ‘cuffed for expired tags. DCist reports that fines will replace arrests for expired registrations, thanks to emergency legislation passed by the City Council. The Council will have 90 days to discuss the change and make it permanent (or not). It’s nice to know that the City Council can move quickly when enough hysterical media headlines mount into something that resembles public outcry.
Transforming (Not Gentrifying) Georgia Avenue
The Washington Post has a pretty interesting piece outlining some of the resident groups that have formed to take some decision-making power back for themselves as Georgia Avenue NW is developed and redeveloped. The Georgia Avenue Community Development Taskforce is doing some pretty cool things on the Avenue, including art installations in abandoned storefronts. The community pride and focus on improving their community, without rolling over to gentrification, is not a new concept in the district, and it will be interesting to see how the Taskforce does in meeting their goals. We’re rooting for you!
How to Survive U Street During Howard Homecoming
The Post has a a fair number of blogs within its coverage, and one of those is the Root DC, a blog aimed at African-American audiences. A Howard alumna penned a blog post which I found rather amusing about how to survive Howard’s homecoming. When someone writes this, ” If you remember when the U Street area was extra cracky, you should not attend any events where rappers (born after 1975) are scheduled to perform. Doing so means you’re the old man or woman at the club,” I cannot help but be entertained.
Spotting Suicidal Metro Jumpers
Our friends out on the Orange Line will not soon forget the aftermath of an alleged suicide attempt last week. Neither will Metro, as they are planning to train workers on identification and intervention. It is a program long in the making, reports Washington Examiner. The paper also reports the man who jumped in front of the train last week passed away from his injuries just moments after writing this round up, which seems to indicate the program should start immediately. The man was the 11th jumper in 2011.
I Predict a (Wine) Riot
What to do with your Saturday? How does tasting 200 wines sound? If you don’t like that, well, I don’t like you either. If you do, check out the post at We Love DC. Look for unique sips, some food from Luke’s Lobster and bottomless refills for your approximately $60 ticket. It coincides nicely with the events of DC’s Wine Week, founded by the delightful @DCEventJunkie and @VanessaFrench. Some of those are happening in Borderstan, so get your terroir on in the hood if you missed last night’s event at Kramerbooks.
By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and tell her your news on Twitter @MichLancaster.
Anderson Cooper at Logan Circle Vida
How did I not know about this? Washington Examiner tells me, long after the spotting, that Anderson Cooper was working out with a male friend at the Logan Circle Vida Metropole. Loganites, is he still at Vida this week? TAKE SOME PICTURES!
Please share all your upcoming events, deepest thoughts and April limericks with me on Twitter @MichLancaster.
Opening Day 2011 — Cold, Rainy and a 2-0 Loss
Apparently quite a few Washingtonians braved the rain, the cold and the impending sense of another tough season at the Nationals Opener yesterday. The The Washington Post has the full report on the day’s activities. There was no joy in Mudville today for political officials either, as DCist reports Mayor Gray was booed throwing out the first pitch.
Dupont LOVE Sign a Virginia Tourism Stunt
I’m claiming it — we broke the story and it was in our comments the Virginia Board of Tourism first ‘fessed up. Not that anyone besides me cares… but here’s the link to DCist, with a full explanation of the program.
Garden District Won’t Reopen This Spring
A hat tip to 14th & You for reporting that Garden District won’t reopen for business this spring after owner Joe Carmack posted the news on the store’s website. The business was in bankruptcy in November 2009, but Carmack reorganized and moved the store across the street to the current location last year. The original location was the site of the soon-to-be Standard hamburger place on the northeast corner of 14th and S Streets. (Garden District also briefly had an indoor plant store where Estadio is now located, at 14th and Church.) A certain member of the Borderstan team reports that he will sorely miss being able to walk over to 14th and pick up plants for his garden. Garden District was open for 10 years.
Worst Week in Washington, Solved? Mayor Gray Decides Background Checks Needed
By all accounts, the Gray Administration has had a tough week or two between vehicles, terminations and police in tiny buildings. We applaud his move, reported by the Post, to now require background checks for political hires. Or, in their words, “it is clear that the approach was not thorough enough to address all relevant issues and questions for Excepted Service appointments.”
From Michelle Lancaster
Bomb Scare Closes Red Line during Monday Rush Hour
You may have been one of the many hundreds of people waiting for a single tracked Red Line train Monday afternoon. This one wasn’t a simple malfunction – a passenger alerted the authorities after believing they heard another passenger whisper they had a bomb. Full story is at the Washington Post.
College Crime: Georgetown and AU in the News
American University professor Sue Marcum was found dead Monday morning in her home. TBD.com has the story, complete with real-time updates, as the details continue to emerge on her recently recovered vehicle and nature of the crime. Across the city, police continue to investigate the drug lab found Saturday morning in a freshman dorm at Georgetown. For the full story and quotes from students, with an astounding number of ‘likes’ for such an esteemed institution, check out TBD.com again.
16th and U Developments: Von Storch Takeover
Results Gym is out, to make way for a renovation of the building that will include all four Von Storch enterprises – VIDA, Bang Salon, Aura Spa and Capitol City Brewing Company. Fellow blogger DC Mud has the details of the planned renovation. I wonder how neighbors Local 16, Chi Cha Lounge and Stetson’s feel about Cap City moving in – I’m reserving judgment until I see how it impacts one of the best rooftop bars and favorite secret patio in the city.
What do Glenn Beck, Jon Stewart and Bed Bugs have in common?
They all had their Saturday summit in D.C. this fall. Yes, as DCist reports, the Department of Health has named Saturday, January 11, 2011, the date of the summit, entitled “Bed Bugs Are Changing Our World.” I’m sure attendance will be similar to the previous two summits.
Drag Queen High Heel Race Storms 17th St.
You better not have missed this! What did you think of this year’s two innovations, the live feed at Duplex Diner and the VIP box at Church St.? Stay tuned as we post photos from the event today.