Thanks to a friend of mine for sending this incredible link to a flickr series called ‘Hidden Washington DC’. The description says:
“From 1985 to 1988 I wandered the streets of Washington DC photographing the unseen and vanishing moments of the city. These images lay dormant in the archives until I realized that they needed to be brought to life before the persons and spaces are totally lost to entropy and time.”
They are absolutely fascinating. See them all here.
And many thanks to Mr. Horsley for allowing me to post.
My friend, Sean, shared some scuttlebutt with me that is so sweet that I had to make it the Friday Question of the Day. First the scuttlebutt: he writes, “I was at Trader Joes and I asked the manager when they would open up another DC location and she said they were actively seeking a space near 14th and U (Streets, NW).”
So for the Friday Question of the Day, at the risk of shattering my dream, what are the odds of this happening? Do you think there is an appropriate space/lot near 14th and U that could host a Trader Joes?
If one did open at 14th and U (for those that live relatively nearby) would you ever shop at Giant or Safeway again? How much parking do you think would be necessary for a Trader Joes? If they were able to open up at 14th and U – from how far away would this attract people. I know living up in Petworth I’d definitely patronize the store.
Lately some Twitter users and especially Washington City Paper contributor @jasoncherkis have been kicking around Columbia Heights. Cherkis tweets:
“Columbia Heights has got to be the ugliest gentrified neighborhood in D.C.”
“What’s the difference between Columbia Heights and Silver Spring? Silver Spring has two movie theaters. CH just has the chain stores.”
“w/ Panera, IHOP, and Panda Express, Columbia Heights is turning into a food court or an airport.”
While I don’t even live in Columbia Heights I will not deny the fact that I love it – warts and all. I found the above tweets emblematic of how some people misjudge Columbia Heights.
At the risk of being oversensitive and since it’s Friday, please indulge me and allow me to address a few of the above claims.
Number 1: Columbia Heights is not DC USA. It is commonly accepted that Columbia Heights’ boundaries are 16th Street to the west; Spring Road to the north; Georgia Avenue to the east; and Florida Avenue to the south. DC USA is the mall that is located on 14th St, NW between Irving and Park Rd. And the fact that a mall has chain stores – I know is shocking and appalling to some – but it is a freaking mall. Stunning, stunning revelation.
Number 2: Mr. Cherkis – if you actually walk around Columbia Heights you will find some beautiful architecture, sculptures, parks and even independent shops, bars and restaurants (particularly on 11th St, NW). Looks are of course in the eye of the beholder but to call the neighborhood ugly, well as Bob Marley sang – “in the abundance of water the fool is thirsty.”
Number 3: Columbia Heights is not filled with only chain stores and the chain stores it does have are not evil. Oh all you super cool guys and girls who scoff at IHOP and Chipotle… You who purport to be advocates of the disenfranchised, well, the fact that you can’t see how a Chipotle and IHOP serve the residents of Columbia Heights is obnoxious and condescending to say the least. I dare you to walk by either space and not see the most diverse of clienteles representing the entire neighborhood.
Number 4: In the last 10-15 years Columbia Heights (like many of DC’s neighborhoods) has become a more beautiful and perhaps more importantly a much safer place to live and visit.
Number 5: I like Silver Spring.
Number 6: DC USA and its shops have made Columbia Heights a more convenient and livable neighborhood.
Number 7: Of course many who live in and visit Columbia Heights would like an independent bookstore and movie theater. But since those stores are failing all over the city, unless a philanthropic angel who doesn’t care about profit – comes to Columbia Heights it ain’t gonna happen.
Number 8: Columbia Heights is still defining itself and getting better and better. Like all neighborhoods it will continue to evolve over the coming years. I already alluded to the many great businesses of 11th St, NW. Well many many more are en route. For just one example – the new endeavor from the folks behind Tryst and the Diner chose Columbia Heights for a reason – because they were looking for a real community. And it didn’t take them long to realize that had found just that in Columbia Heights.
“MAJESTIC WONDER ON THE AVENUE! Older rehab of large home only steps to U St. Large & one of a kind! Definite fixer upper but worth it! Large rooms with open flr plan, sizable expandable yard with parking! this is the opportunity to own unique property for homeowner! Acquistion/Rehab money available! Property sold “as is” and seller may refuse all offers.”
Normally I don’t like to post homes without pictures but I think this one deserves an exception. It is a really unusual home in a great location. Obviously, it’s going to need a lot of work but I’m curious what you think about the price. It says it was assessed for $917,000 in 2008. The asking price is $775,000. Do you think that seems like a good deal given all the work it likely needs? Think it will be bought and divided into condos?
A reader writes in about the snowball fight at 14th and U. Word on the street is that apparently it started in good fun but then someone hit a Hummer driving by belonging to a police officer and then the reader says multiple patrol cars responded. Anyone else witness this around 3pm Sat.?
I saw this guy Sunday night and can’t really get it out of my mind and want to know if others saw him/if this is a repeat offender… I was in my car, making a left onto 14th street from Irving, directly across from the CH metro, when I glanced out the driver’s side window and saw a completely naked man jogging down the sidewalk and turning onto Irving. Not only was he naked, but he was totally hairless and covered (as in, all over) in tattoos. The most disturbing part was that literally nobody else on the crowded sidewalk seemed to notice him and/or care. Was I hallucinating?”
What are some different, off-the-beaten-path, or other things to do in DC other than the usual monuments or museums? list can include free, paid, tours, restaurants, delis, wineries in the area, etc.”
Wow that’s a general question! But I like it. I like it because one person’s “off the beaten path” activity my be obvious to some but not to all. So I hope this will be a good repository for the fun not so obvious things to do around town. So the picture I chose above may seem obvious to some – the National Zoo is not exactly off the beaten path but I know tons of people who’ve never visited the Amazonia House – which is my favorite part of the zoo. Back in July ’09 we also had a general discussion of fun things to do – but I’d say we’re do for a refresh.
So for the Friday Question of the Day – let’s say – what are your top three not so obvious favorite things to do/eat/see in DC?
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of interviewing DC’s most prolific blog commenter – Monkeyrotica. Anyone who is a regular reader of DCist or many of DC neighborhood blogs will surely be familiar with this nom de plume. He was even featured in the City Paper’s mock lawsuit against City Paper readers. Those who are familiar with his comments will know that he is iconoclastic and irreverent to say the least. Based on his comments I was fairly certain I was going to meet someone from the fringes of society. I couldn’t have been more wrong. You know most people think that prolific blog commenters live in their mother’s basements and haven’t had a date or any social interaction in years. Well with Monkeyrotica this couldn’t be further from the truth. When I entered Duffy’s for the interview I spotted an all American family and slapped my face a few times in disbelief. Who would’ve guessed? Monkeyrotica is a family man!
I actually found Monkeyrotica through his wife’s blog, Nylonthread. Pictured above are Monkeyrotica, 41, his wife Nylonthread, 38, daughter Rosie, 6, and son Dash, 3. Ed. note: I have to add that throughout the entire interview I was regaled by Dash’s recollections of recent movies he had seen, particularly the Lord of the Rings trilogy. His knowledge was amazing.
Monkeyrotica is a lifelong DC area resident. He has lived in Capitol Hill, Mt. Pleasant, and Shaw though since 2003 the family has lived in Alexandria, VA. He explained his love/hate relationship with DC as such: “I love the city but she’s expensive and needs to clean her shit up, but you know she never will, but you still love her even if you want to punch her in the face from time to time.” Did I mention that some people find him offensive? (more…)