Wednesday, August 1, 2012

For posterity

I recently moved out of Brightwood, so I must retire this blog. I will leave it online (I often receive emails from potential new residents who are looking for information about the neighborhood and who tell me that the blog has been a good resource, so I would like for future residents to be able to refer to it).

Thank you all for reading. I hope following this blog has strengthened your understanding of what’s happening in this community, which is rich in stories yet underrepresented in the media.

I’m still happy to answer questions you may have about the neighborhood and Ward 4; I can still be reached at thebrightwoodian@gmail dot com

Now off I go. It's been a wonderful stay, Brightwood.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

MPD's Beat the Streets block party today from 3:30 to 7:30, 5500 block of Illinois Avenue NW

The Metropolitan Police Department is holding its Beat the Streets event today from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the 5500 block of Illinois Avenue NW (between Georgia Avenue and Kennedy Street). The Beat the Streets project is a collaboration between MPD and various community organizations and aims to dispel violence and encourage people to live more peacefully by making community services accessible. Nonprofits and agencies that plan to have representatives attend include HandsOn Greater DC Cares, Daddy's Corner, Washington Humane Society, DC SANE, US ARMY, US Marshalls, Samaritans Feet, DC Water, the Department of Health and Human Services (Family Services) and more. I hear there will be music and food as well, but I was unable to obtain a list of performers, so you'll have to just swing by to hear for yourself.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Summary of the Bicycle Advisory Council's Ward 4 bike accessibility tour

Jameel Alsalam, the D.C. Bicycle Advisory Council's Ward 4 representative, led a tour on June 23 that focused on ways to improve bike facilities and connectivity in the ward. Among the areas explored were the roads surrounding the site of the planned Walmart development at Georgia and Missouri avenues and the area surrounding Walter Reed. Tour participants also assessed the signed bike route on Eighth Street NW and other streets that run parallel to Georgia Avenue that are often used as alternatives to that main arterial by cyclists. Additionally, they evaluated the challenges that crossing Rock Creek Park presents to Ward 4 cyclists needing to access Ward 3.

The summary, which includes the committee's recommendations for improving bicycle connectivity at the sites mentioned above, can be found on the Bicycle Advisory Council's blog.

Monday, June 18, 2012

SMD meeting for 4B04 residents Wednesday, June 20

An SMD meeting for ANC 4B04 residents will be held this Wednesday evening. The owner of Chez Aunty Libe restaurant (6115 Georgia Avenue NW), who has recently applied for a Class D liquor license, has been invited to attend and answer your questions regarding the application. (ANC 4B will vote on the application at its meeting on June 25.)

Where: Emery Recreation Center, 5701 Georgia Avenue NW, Room 200
When: Wednesday, June 20, 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bicycle Advisory Council's Ward 4 tour set for June 23

Have ideas for improving bicycle access and facilities in Ward 4? Here's a good opportunity to express them. From Jameel Alsalam, the Ward 4 representative on the DC Bicycle Advisory Council:

Please join the Bicycle Advisory Council's Facilities Committee (BAC-FAC) on a ride or 'rolling meeting' on Saturday, June 23, 2012. The ride will begin at 1:30 PM near the Capital BikeShare station at the corner of 9th Street and Upshur NW.

On this ride, the Committee will examine bike accessibility and connectivity to commercial areas in Ward 4, particularly along Georgia Avenue NW and including the Walter Reed and Walmart development sites. BAC-FAC would like your thoughts on what bicycling facilities should be considered for this area and your concerns about road safety, signage or other issues.

Please contact Jameel Alsalam or Jeanie Osburn if you have questions about the ride.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Why is Walmart still distributing promotional materials asking for support from District residents?

I came home on Saturday to find this postcard wedged into my storm door. It's a condensed version of the mailer that Walmart sent to D.C. residents just over one year ago, in May of 2011. One neighbor mentioned that she saw a small group of people gathered at the Curtis Chevrolet site on Saturday afternoon carrying clipboards; it looked as though they were about to set out canvassing in the neighborhood. I assume they were the ones who left the postcard at my door, and had I been at home I might have had the pleasure of speaking with them face to face. If anyone reading spoke to the canvassers directly, I'd be interested in hearing what was said.

I'm really surprised that Walmart is still distributing promotional pieces like this, as all of the conversations I've had with the developers have led me to conclude that Walmart fully intends to build stores at both of its chosen sites in Ward 4 (the Curtis Chevrolet site at Georgia and Missouri Avenues NW, and the planned Fort Totten Square development at Riggs Road and South Dakota Avenue NE). However, the distribution of this postcard indicates that the company still feels it's necessary to try to assuage community opposition to their projects. Are both Ward 4 Walmart plans really done deals, as the company has been insisting they are?

Side 2

Thursday, May 31, 2012

3 Stars Brewing grand opening tomorrow

We’ve been waiting a long time for 3 Stars Brewing’s facility to arrive, and we’re finally there. Their grand opening celebration will be held on Friday, June 1 from 3 – 8 p.m. at 6400 Chillum Place NW.

In addition to brewing its own beer, 3 Stars’ facility will include a home brewing supply shop. According to, "the shop has all the ingredients, supplies, and specialty items to make any brew day great." Very happy to welcome them here!

Edit: Dave Coleman of 3 Stars clarifies: "We are having the Grand Opening of our Homebrew Shop tomorrow. The brewing operations for 3 Stars should commence within a week or so, so that launch (the brewery, not the homebrew shop) will actually be in the beginning of July. Tomorrow we are opening our homebrew retail space at 3 o'clock. This will be DC's first homebrew shop and will provide local homebrew enthusiasts a shop that is metro accessible instead of requiring a 30 minute drive to one of the shops in MD or VA."

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ward 4 State of the Schools meeting tonight at Takoma Education Campus

DC Public Schools chancellor Kaya Henderson and Ward 4 councilmember Muriel Bowser will host a State of the Schools meeting this evening.

When: Thursday, May 24, 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Where: Takoma Education Campus, 7010 Piney Branch Road NW

From DCPS:

Parents and other interested community members will have an opportunity to:
  • Hear what DCPS plans to accomplish next year and over the next five years in our public schools
  • Learn more about the progress and areas of growth for schools in Ward 4
  • Interact with central office and school leaders in Ward 4
  • Meet fellow parents and community members.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Upper Georgia Avenue Business Assistance Program launches

Good news for businesses in our area that have been hit hard by the closure of Walter Reed: the D.C. Department of Small and Local Business Development and the D.C. Chamber of Commerce Foundation have announced the launch of a new business assistance program for Upper Georgia Avenue, from Fern Street to Eastern Avenue NW.

According to a press release, the program will help area businesses "identify challenges to retaining and expanding their businesses; offer consultations with subject matter experts to help business owners improve their operations, expand their markets, and reposition their goods and services to remain competitive; improve storefront appearances to strengthen their brand; market businesses to increase sales; and promote the commercial district to target markets."

Upper Georgia Avenue businesses interested in participating in the program should contact Margaret Singleton at the D.C. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Walter Reed small area plan community meeting Thursday, May 17

Walter Reed Small Area Plan Community Meeting
WHEN: Thursday, May 17, 6:30-8:30pm
WHERE: Shepherd Elementary School, 7800 14th Street NW

On January 17, 2012, the Office of Planning hosted a Community Workshop to present the Small Area Plan (SAP) components for the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center site (Walter Reed), including urban design principles to guide future development, as well as obtain additional community input on the Base Reuse Plan. On January 25, 2012, the Walter Reed Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) Committee made final recommendations to the Mayor and Council on the Homeless Assistance Submission and Base Reuse Plan by motion. The approved land use program was then presented by the LRA at a Town Hall meeting on February 2nd. The Base Reuse Plan has been submitted to the Council, and a Council Public Hearing is anticipated in late May.

The Small Area Plan process is ongoing, as the SAP is required to determine Comprehensive Plan Land Use Designations for the site so that zoning can be established for future development. While the SAP will not propose any zone categories, it will focus on characteristics that a zone should have, such as building form, setbacks, height and stories, and Floor Area Ratio (FAR).

Please attend the May 17th Community Meeting to:
* Review and provide input on the proposed urban design guidelines for each Sub-Area of the site, and
* Review proposed Comprehensive Plan Land Use Map Designations for the site

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Stolen bike dealer operating out of Brightwood

Read the full story on DCist.

A D.C. resident says he stole back his bicycle after it was taken from his friend's porch Sunday night and then posted for sale on Craigslist the following morning. And the vendor who attempted to sell that bike is also listing several other cycles for amounts well below their suggested retail prices.

Danny Lesh said that he loaned his Cannondale hybrid to a friend who lives in the Brightwood neighborhood. The friend attempted to secure it to her porch using a cable lock, but on Monday morning woke up to find that the bike had been boosted. She filed a police report and notified Lesh of the theft.

"It was the first bike I ever bought," says Lesh, who purchased the bike in Chicago in 1998. About midday yesterday, while at his job at a labor organization, Lesh was notified that a bike matching the Cannondale's description was being offered on Craigslist for $100. He took a glance at the want-ad and immediately recognized his old ride.

"I looked at the pictures, there were stickers that I put on the bike," he says.

Lesh called the number on the want-ad and arranged to meet the vendor, who is also located in Brightwood. On the cab ride over from Dupont Circle, he also gave the Metropolitan Police Department's Fourth District a ring, asking if they could spare a plainclothes vice officer to observe and potentially make an arrest. After several phone calls, Lesh says he was told no officer was available.

Disturbing that he was told no Fourth District officers were available to help him.

First the Caribbean Carnival left Brightwood, now it's leaving DC...for Baltimore

Last year, the annual Caribbean Carnival was forced by financial problems to truncate its parade route. The shortened route bypassed Brightwood completely, moving its start point over a mile south, from the intersection of Georgia and Missouri Avenues to the 4400 block of Georgia Avenue, near the intersection of Webster Street.

The 2012 festival came very, very close to being cancelled altogether due to ongoing debt issues. The festival organizers have since found a solution, but unfortunately it involves taking the festival out of the District altogether. According to a press release that was posted on the festival's Facebook page, the program has been "modified" this year: a Pan Jam will be held on the weekend of June 23-24 at the Crossroads Entertainment Complex in Bladensburg, Maryland, and on July 14, the DC Carnival will be held in Baltimore, having been invited by the organizers of that city's annual Caribbean festival.

Festival organizers had tried to negotiate with Mayor Gray in order to keep the event in the District, to no avail.

Horace and Dickies opens this week at 6912 Fourth Street NW

From the Old Takoma Business Association:

Washington, DC Institution Opens New Location at 6912 4th Street, NW, Washington, DC

Horace and Dickies is the latest addition to the growing number of independent restaurants on Old Takoma’s Main Street. Using the formula that has been successful at the original Horace and Dickies, an institution on the H St Corridor in Washington, DC for over 20 years, the new location will open this week at 6912 4th Street, NW in the Takoma neighborhood of Washington, DC.

Owner Simone Shannon, with the blessing from her Dad, Richard “Dickie” Shannon, will be expanding the family business and bringing the same favorite menu to Old Takoma which includes fried fish, shrimp, crab cakes and chicken plus soul satisfying sides like collard greens, macaroni and cheese, french fries, potato salad and slaw. Homemade cakes and pies round out the menu as well as a new addition to the Takoma menu - fish tacos.

Known for their reasonable prices, large portions and quality food, Horace and Dickies has attracted not only the Washington, DC community, but also Adam Richman and Man v Food on The Travel Channel which also helped to develop a steady flow of visiting tourists.

About Horace and Dickies: Horace and Dickies is a family business which has been bringing fresh made food to the Washington area for over 20 years. The original location is at 809 12th St. NE (at H St.) Washington, DC with hours: Mon-Sat 10am-2am and Sun 11am-7pm. The new location is located at 6912 4th St, NW, Washington, DC with hours: Mon-Fri 10am-9pm and Sun 11am-7pm. For the latest news, follow Horace and Dickies on Facebook and Twitter.

I've reached out to ask if they have a specific opening day nailed down, and will update this post when I obtain that information.

Update: Opening day will be either Thursday or Friday, according to Laura Barclay of the Old Takoma Business Association.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Police arrest a man in connection with recent assaults in Petworth

From Chief Lanier:

Following a series of assaults in the Petworth neighborhood in the past 72 hours, we deployed several teams of undercover officers to the area. Last night at approximately 9:00 PM, members assigned to our Narcotics and Special Investigations Division, Strike Force was patrolling in the 800 block of Gallatin Street Northwest when they heard someone yelling for help. They observed a female on the ground suffering obvious injury to the head. As they approached the victim they observe a subject a short distance away in the alley, holding a dark colored bag. As the officers made eye contact with the subject, he began running and was pursued by the officers. During the pursuit, the officers observe the subject discard the backpack. The pursuit continued to the 4800 block of Illinois Avenue where the suspect was apprehended.

A claw hammer, believed at this time to be the weapon used in the assault was recovered from the back pack discarded by the suspect.

The suspect has been identified as 19 year old Michael Davis of the 900 block of Emerson Street, NW. At this time he has been charged with one count of aggravated assault.

The victim in this case, who is not being identified, is a 19 year old female. She has suffered a serious head injury and remains hospitalized.

At this time, we are continuing to investigate and process evidence to determine if this case may be linked to the prior three cases that occurred in the Petworth neighborhood over the past 72 hours.

It goes without saying, we are extremely proud of the officers and detectives involved in this apprehension. They have certainly demonstrated their commitment to the safety of our community and the mission of the Metropolitan Police Department.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The 6300 block of Piney Branch Road can be yours for $699,000

Images from

Thanks to Housing Complex for pointing out that the large lot in the 6300 block of Piney Branch Road NW is for sale. This is the lot that has been the site of the Brightwood Day community festival for the past few years.

Plans for temporium spaces in the Central 14th Street corridor taking shape

DC's Office of Planning is preparing to launch a series of temporium projects in vacant spaces along the Central 14th Street corridor, which stretches from Spring Road to Longfellow Street NW. The project is funded by a $250,000 grant from ArtPlace, a collaboration between federal agencies and private foundations that seeks to revitalize commercial corridors through arts-based uses. The same grant money helped to fund the Lumen8Anacostia series of events (which had a very successful opening day last weekend).

The Office of Planning is partnering with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the 14th Street Uptown Business Association on the project, which is being referred to as Summer of the Arts. OP has enlisted the assistance of the arts planning collective Rebar to assist with designing the temporary spaces (which is exciting, as Rebar has implemented lots of innovative projects all around the country).

The project was developed in coordination with the recommendations of the Central 14th Street Revitalization Strategy Plan, which calls for creative uses of the commercial spaces along the corridor in order to spur revitalization.

Two events this weekend will kick off planning for the project. Both are free and open to the public:

When: Friday, April 20, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Where: Sorg Architects, 918 U St NW
Panel discussion on how commercial corridors like 14th Street can use art to bolster neighborhood vitality.
Moderator: Donald Russell, executive director, Provisions Learning Project/Provisions Library
John Bela, founder, Rebar
Liesel Fenner, public art program manager, Americans for the Arts
Julian Hunt, AIA, Hunt Laudi Studio
Linn Meyers, artist
Suman Sorg, Sorg Architects
Harriet Tregoning, director, DC Office of Planning

When: Saturday, April 21, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Where: The plaza in the 5500 block of Colorado Avenue NW
From the Office of Planning: "Community residents will re-create a temporary art-plaza in the 5500 block of Colorado Avenue and 14th Street (in front of the old Colorado Dry Cleaners). This will be a hands-on and fun activity using chalk, stencils and plantings to create a short term art plaza as recommended in the Central 14th Plan. After the mock-up, everyone is invited to join Rebar and business owners for a hands-on discussion on how street furniture will help with revitalization. The discussion will address the following questions: How are sidewalks currently used? Could street furniture support a more active and engaging street? What are the needs of businesses to attract more visitors? This discussion will take place from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at 5538 1/2 Colorado Avenue (Linn Meyer's studio)."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Zoning variance extension requested for Beacon Center project at Georgia and Quackenbos

Rendering of the Beacon Center from

DC Mud reports that Emory Beacon of Light has requested a two-year zoning variance for the development of its Beacon Center mixed-use project at Georgia Avenue and Quackenbos Street. Construction has been delayed due to changing architects last year (Torti Gallas and Partners took over the project from PGN Architects), resulting in the need for the extension. According to DC Mud, Emory president Hazel Broadnax hopes to break ground by the end of 2012 and complete construction within 24 months.

The current plans, according to the Beacon Center's website:

We will be simplifying the project and building in two phases. Due to the current economic climate, we haven't been able to secure $3 million for the 2-story gymnasium. That interior space will now be multi-purpose ministry space (sanctuary level) with housing units above it. In addition to the 5,700 square feet of retail space, 10,600 square feet of office, meeting and classroom space and two-levels of garage parking with 96 spaces there will be a variety of housing needs accommodated:

Building A includes
15 Transitional Family Housing Units and 45 Affordable Family Housing Units

Building B includes
32 Permanent Supportive Housing for Veterans and 17 Transitional Housing Units for single men

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Caribbean Carnival organizers: it's not quite over just yet

Posted on the DC Caribbean Carnival's Facebook page:

This morning the DC City Paper wrote an article that states DC Carnival is Cancel(led). This is not true. We attended a meeting last night with the lower Georgia Avenue Business Community to provide an update on DC Carnival 2012. We express(ed) the financial challenges the Carnival is facing with respect to City services and that we are exploring alternatives to Georgia Avenue this year. We never mentioned canceling the Carnival but I guess this makes for bigger and better news. This confirm(s) to us that we are facing an uphill battle to sustain our culture in this ever changing DC community. We no longer can depend on the City to help us. This is a wake up call for us to help oursel(ves). If we do not mobilize as a community and show the City that we are important and we do make a difference then the headlines might prove to be true.

In other words: it might be premature to say that event is cancelled altogether, but if it does happen, it's likely to be very different from the festival we've grown accustomed to.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Caribbean Carnival cancelled this year due to budget issues

At tonight's Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force meeting, DC Caribbean Carnival organizer Roland Barnes announced that the event will go on indefinite hiatus starting this year, reports Housing Complex:

"Unless someone is able to wave a magic wand in the next 24 hours, there will be no parade on Georgia Avenue," Barnes said mournfully. "The reality of the last few years was that donations and sponsorships were in one direction, and costs were in another direction."

The parade is still about $200,000 in debt to the city, Barnes said, and would need at least that much again in order to put on the parade, which had been scheduled for June 23 and 24. While previous mayors have done what it took to make the event happen, this administration isn't interested.

"We have seen a 180-degree turn in terms of support for this event," added the event's executive director, Loughton Sargeant. "It was only a matter of time before the city was going to pull the plug."

The news comes after the release of a study by the Howard University School of Business quantifying the Festival and Parade's impact on local businesses. Researchers estimated last year's attendance at 400,000 attendees—which seems high—and figured they spent $21,637,166 total, generating $1,298,230 in sales taxes. Needless to say, every single one of the 50 businesses surveyed was in favor of continuing the parade, and even extending its route (it had to be cut short on account of finances last year).

Update: DCist reports that the festival itself may happen, just not the parade.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The 14th Street bus lines are being restructured, and the project team wants your opinions on the plans

Two public meetings that will focus on the planned changes to the 52, 53, and 54 bus routes have been announced.

These meetings will be conducted a little differently than most. ("The meetings will be 'open house' style, meaning that participants may arrive any time between 5:30 pm and 8:00 pm. No presentation will be given; instead, participants will be able to speak individually with the project team about options for improvements that are now being evaluated.") Good opportunities to speak directly with the restructuring team about the changes that are in store.

Here's the full announcement from WMATA:

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is pleased to announce the second round of public meetings as part of the Metrobus 14th Street Line Study.

This study is part of the Metrobus Priority Corridor Restructuring Series, and is being conducted in partnership with the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT).

The first meeting will take place on:

Thursday, April 12, 2012
5:30 pm to 8:00 pm
WMATA Northern Division Community Room
4627 14th Street NW (at Decatur Street)

The second meeting will take place on:

Monday, April 16, 2012
5:30 pm to 8:00 pm
Columbia Heights Community Center
1480 Girard Street NW

Both meeting locations are on the 14th Street Line and open to all members of the public. No advance registration is required.

The meetings will be “open house” style, meaning that participants may arrive any time between 5:30 pm and 8:00 pm. No presentation will be given; instead, participants will be able to speak individually with the project team about options for improvements that are now being evaluated.

Metro and DDOT are relying on feedback from participants so that the options can be refined and preliminary recommendations can be made later this spring.

A Spanish translator and visual materials in Spanish will be provided for those who prefer them.

These public meetings are the second in a series for the 14th Street Line. At the first public meeting and focus group this winter, participants offered input about recurring problems with service on the 14th Street Line and made suggestions on how to address them.

The 14th Street Line Study will culminate in a set of recommendations that will be presented to the public and the Metro Board for approval in summer 2012.

More information can be obtained at the project website.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The state of Brightwood real estate - April 2012

Here's what's been going on this past month real estate-wise in Brightwood. Thanks to realtor Eric Brooks for compiling this information!

Active properties on the market
24 properties are for sale now (up from 31 last month)
Ranging from $39,900 to $589,900
Two of these are foreclosed homes, one is a short sale

March Active

Properties that went under contract in the past month
24 homes are currently under contract (the average property is in the high $200K's)
These homes should settle over the next 30 days
Ranging from $129,000 to $529,900
3 of these are 'bank owned' homes and 9 are short sales

March Under Contract

Properties that sold in the past month
Four homes sold in the month of March
Ranging from $175,000 to $545,000
All were normal sales - no REOs or short sales

March Sold

Info provided by Eric Brooks, a Long and Foster Real Estate agent who works to deliver exceptional results for his clients in Brightwood and beyond.
Contact him to set up an appointment: 301-986-6476 or

Monday, April 2, 2012

Primary election is tomorrow; free rides to polls available for seniors

Don't forget to vote in the primary election tomorrow!

MV Transportation is offering complimentary rides to seniors who vote at the Hattie Holmes Senior Center (Precinct 57). To schedule a ride, seniors can call coordinator Lindsey Fell at (202) 495-0542. MV Transportation will be running accessible vehicles between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Two suspects arrested in connection with shooting at Takoma Recreation Center

From NBC Washington:

Two people have been arrested after a shooting near a D.C. recreation center that briefly suspended early voting Saturday afternoon.

Police were called to the intersection of 3rd and Van Buren Streets outside the Takoma Aquatic Center at around 3:30 p.m. Saturday after the shooting was reported. Officers found the shooting victim and transported him to a local hospital with a gunshot wound to his shoulder. Authorities say the victim was "conscious and breathing" and his injury is not life-threatening.

After further investigation, police say the shooting victim was actually a robbery suspect. Investigators say he was one of three masked men who tried to rob four people along the 300 block of Van Buren.

Police say one of the robbers had a gun which went off and hit one of his accomplices. The four robbery victims fled the scene, unharmed. The suspect who was struck and another suspect were arrested and charged with armed robbery, according to investigators. A third suspect is still at large.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Shooting at Takoma Recreation Center this afternoon

From NBC Washington:

Police are investigating a shooting at a D.C. recreation center that briefly suspended early voting Saturday afternoon.

Police were called to the Takoma (Recreation) Center at around 3:30 p.m. Saturday after the shooting was reported. Officers found the victim in the center and transported him to a local hospital. Authorities say the victim was "conscious and breathing," but there is no specific word about his condition.

Police are on the lookout for four suspects, all wearing black and bright-colored shoes.

From Councilmember Muriel Bowser:

MPD continues to investigate a shooting on the grounds of the Takoma Recreation Center which occurred at approx. 3:30 pm, which appears to be related to a robbery attempt. An adult male was transported to the hospital with a gunshot wound.

Voting at the early voting site was interrupted for about 20 minutes, but now continues through 7 pm. MPD, Parks and Rec, and Board of Elections officials responded quickly and professionally. Deputy Mayor Quander, Assistant Chief Groomes, and Board of Elections Director Tatum responded immediately to the scene.

Update from Fourth District Commander Kimberly Chisley Missouri:

Investigation into this matter revealed the following: Four complainants were in the 6500 blk of 3rd St NW when they were approached by three masked male suspects who attempted to rob them. One of the suspects brandished a firearm. A gunshot is heard and one of the robbery suspects suffered a gunshot wound to the upper torso. Two of the robbery suspects, adult males, have been arrested and charged with attempted armed robbery. We are working to identify the third robbery suspect as he fled the scene prior to police arrival. The complainants were not injured and no property was obtained. This case is still being actively investigated by Detectives. Anyone with information is asked to call 1-888-919-CRIME.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Final Ward 4 candidates forum before the primary, Thursday 3/29 in Brightwood Park

This is the last Ward 4 candidates forum (that I know of...please email me if you know something I don't) before the April 3 primary election.

Ward 4 Candidates Forum
Thursday, March 29, 7:00 pm
Where: Brightwood Park United Methodist Church, 744 Jefferson Street NW

Presented by ANC4D01 Commissioner Monica Green and Pastor Gerald Elston of Brightwood Park United Methodist Church. Moderated by Mark Seagraves of WTOP.

In advance of the event, your questions can be tweeted to @SeagravesWTOP with the hashtag #AskMark, or emailed to him. For further details, email 4D01 commissioner Monica Green.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gray, Bowser, Tregoning to speak on retail revitalization this Thursday at YES! Organic

Please join Mayor Vincent C. Gray,
The D.C. Office of Planning and Streetsense
For a media event introducing

D.C. Vibrant Retail Streets Toolkit
A progressive guide for reviving and invigorating D.C. retail

- Speakers Include -
Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Washington, D.C.
Council Member Muriel Browser, Ward 4
Harriet Tregoning, D.C. Office of Planning
Heather Arnold, Streetsense

Thursday, March 29th - 10:00am
Yes! Organic Market of Petworth
4100 Georgia Avenue, NW


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Upcoming At-Large and Ward 4 candidates forums

We're getting closer to the April 3 primary. Mark your calendars for the following opportunities to hear the candidates discuss the issues that are facing us.

Washington City Paper/WPFW At-Large Forum
Tuesday, March 20, 8:00 pm (that's tonight!)
Where: The Black Cat, 1811 14 Street NW
Moderated by Loose Lips columnist Alan Suderman, WPFW DC Politics host Chuck Thies, and NBC4's Tom Sherwood.

Featuring candidates:
Sekou Biddle
E. Gail Anderson Holness
Vincent Orange
Peter Shapiro

Ward 4 Democrats At-Large Forum
Wednesday, March 21, 7:00 pm
Where: Emery Recreation Center, 5701 Georgia Avenue NW
This is a candidates forum only and will not include a vote to endorse a specific candidate. Moderated by Mark Seagraves of WTOP.

ANC4D Ward 4 Candidates Forum
Thursday, March 29, 7:00 pm
Where: Brightwood Park United Methodist Church, 744 Jefferson Street NW
Presented by ANC4D01 Commissioner Monica Green and Pastor Gerald Elston of Brightwood Park United Methodist Church. Moderated by Mark Seagraves of WTOP. In advance of the event, your questions can be tweeted to @SeagravesWTOP with the hashtag #AskMark, or emailed to him. For further details, email Monica Green.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

New owners reopen the Cork 'n Bottle

In the fall, the Cork 'n Bottle quietly closed its doors, and for a while its fate was uncertain. But Ledo Pizza owner Kelly Shuy tells me the store has reopened under new ownership, and will be having a grand opening party tomorrow:

The Cork n Bottle has reopened and will have a Grand Opening celebration
tomorrow, Friday, March 9. Mrs Singh, the new owner, will be on hand to meet and
greet. There will be wine tastings, great giveaways and special discounts on beer,
wine and spirits from 2 - 7pm.

Cork n Bottle
7421 Georgia Ave NW
(between Geranium & Hemlock)
Washington DC 20012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

More candidates forums next week

If you're unable to make it to tonight's candidates forum, you'll have other opportunities next week to pose questions to the Ward 4 and At-Large Council candidates:

Ward 4 candidates forum
When: Tuesday, March 13, 8:00 pm
Where: Domku Cafe, 821 Upshur Street NW
Sponsored by Washington City Paper

At-Large candidates forum
When: Tuesday, March 13, 7:00 pm
Where: The Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW
Featuring candidates:
Sekou Biddle
E. Gail Anderson Holness
Vincent Orange
Peter Shapiro

Ward 4 candidates forum
When: Thursday, March 15, 7:00 pm
Where: Brightwood Education Campus, 1300 Nicholson Street NW
Sponsored by Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4A. Panelists: Dorothy Brizill of DC Watch; Mark Seagraves of WTOP and ABC-7. Submit questions for the candidates in advance to ANC 4A.

The state of Brightwood real estate - March 2012

Time for a look at the past month's real estate activity in Brightwood, courtesy of realtor Eric Brooks...

Active properties on the market
21 properties are for sale now (down from 23 in January)
Ranging from $44,900 to $550,00
Two of these are foreclosed homes and three are short sales (down from five last month)

February Active

Properties that went under contract in the past month
15 homes are currently under contract
These homes should settle over the next 30 days
Ranging from $129,000 to $545,000 (average is the high $200K's)
Two of these were foreclosed homes and six are short sales (down from 10 last month)

February Under Contract

Properties that sold in the past month
Nine homes sold in the month of February
Ranging from $274,900 to $649,000
Eight sales in the past month were normal sales (one was a short sale)

February Sold

Info provided by Eric Brooks, a Long and Foster Real Estate agent who works to deliver exceptional results for his clients in Brightwood and beyond.
Contact him to set up an appointment: 301-986-6476 or

Monday, March 5, 2012

What's left of the Brightwood car barn

These photos were taken on Saturday, March 3. I expect that the part of the building's facade that remains standing will be down by the end of the day.

At-Large and Ward 4 candidates forum, Tuesday 3/6, Takoma Park Baptist Church

A forum for candidates for the At-Large and Ward 4 Council seats will be held tomorrow evening.

When: Tuesday, March 6, 2012, 6:30-9:30 pm
Where: Takoma Park Baptist Church, 635 Aspen Street NW (corner of Aspen Street and Piney Branch Road NW)

Sponsored by:
Takoma D.C. Neighborhood Association
Northwest Neighbors Incorporated
Brightwood Neighborhood Association
Shepherd Park Citizens Association
Concerned Neighbors Inc.
Promised Land Baptist Church

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Unofficial results of tonight's special election: ANC 4B04 commissioner Doug Smith recalled

The results of the special election for the recall of ANC 4B04 commissioner Doug Smith are as follows: 75 votes in favor of the recall, 59 votes against it. Sixteen absentee ballots and eight special ballots still need to be counted; according to the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics, a final count will be held on March 9, and certification is scheduled for March 13.

This means that Smith, who also serves as ANC 4B's treasurer, will have to win at least 17 of those 24 outstanding votes in order to keep his seat.

At the Metropolitan Police Department's Fourth District Headquarters, where the special election was held, Smith's supporters clustered together in one circle while supporters of the recall effort, most of whom are members of the civic group Concerned Citizens of Brightwood East, congregated in another. When the results were posted on the door of the police station's community room around 8:20 pm, both groups anxiously converged upon them, and neither group went away with a sense of satisfaction. Nobody wanted to wait ten more days for the official results, but such is the way of extremely close elections.

ANC 4B01 commissioner Sara Green was there to lend her support to Smith. Upon seeing the results, Smith offered to turn in his office key to Green, who is also ANC4B's chairperson, and told her that she should think about her next treasurer. She asked if he would consider running again should the recall become official; he said he would consider it but that he "really wasn't feeling it." A 4B04 resident chimed in with: "Think of it this least you won't have to deal with these nasty people anymore."

For more background on the recall, see Behind the effort to recall ANC 4B04 commissioner Doug Smith.

ANC 4B04 residents: please don't forget to vote in the recall election today

The recall election that will determine the fate of ANC 4B04 commissioner Doug Smith is being held today at the Fourth District Police Headquarters, 6001 Georgia Avenue NW. The polls are open until 8:00 pm. Please stop by the station and cast your vote.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Bike House is moving to Annie's Ace Hardware

From the Bike House:

After three years inhabiting the alley behind Qualia Coffee, the Bike House has found a new home. Beginning March 10th, you will be able to find the Bike Housemates tirelessly teaching classes and cranking their wrenches at Annie's Ace Hardware, just a few blocks northwest of Qualia at 1240 Upshur Street NW. We will be offering the same open clinics and classes as before - be sure to check out our website for additional information about the services we offer.

Come learn how to fix your bike for free!

Ward 4 town hall on affordable housing, Tuesday 2/28, 6:30 pm

The Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development and the Transitional Housing Corporation are co-sponsoring a town hall on Tuesday evening to discuss ways to keep housing affordable in Ward 4.

When: Tuesday, February 28, 6:30-9:00 pm
Where: Christ Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall, 5101 16th Street NW (corner of 16th and Gallatin)

For further information contact Elizabeth Falcon, 202-745-0902 x205.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thursday: Brightwood Business town hall; Crestwood Neighborhood Assn. candidates' forum; 14th St. bus line study

Two Three events this Thursday, February 23:

Crestwood Neighborhood Association Candidates' Forum
Thursday, February 23, 7 pm to 9 pm
Where: Zion Baptist Church, 4850 Blagden Avenue NW (just off 16th Street, south of Colorado Avenue)
Candidates for the Ward 4 Council seat will present their platforms and answer questions. Moderated by Tom Sherwood.

Beacon Brightwood Business Alliance Townhall Meeting
Thursday February 23, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Where: Emory United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 6100 Georgia Ave NW
The Beacon Brightwood Business Alliance convenes the Brightwood business community and other stakeholders. An agenda will be emailed to registrants on Wednesday, February 22. Please register here.

Metrobus 14th Street Line Study Public Meeting
Thursday February 23, 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm
Where: WMATA Northern Division Community Room, 4627 14th Street NW
The purpose of the meeting is to hear directly from riders of the 14th Street Line about issues with the 52, 53, and 54 routes, and potential improvements that would address them. The meeting is open to all, and no advance registration is required. A rider survey for the 14th Street Line was conducted in January 2012, and about 600 responses have been received so far. The preliminary results of the survey will be discussed. The project website has more information about the 14th Street Line study.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Demolition of Brightwood car barn continues in earnest

Having been stalled for several months due to a historic landmark designation application that was ultimately voted down by the Historic Preservation Review Board, demolition of the Brightwood car barn, on Georgia Avenue between Missouri Avenue and Peabody Street NW, continued today. This is the site of one of the six proposed Walmarts in the District.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Can Georgia Avenue get enough liquor?

Looks like the Georgia Avenue Food Barn at 6205 Georgia Avenue got the Class "A" liquor license they applied for, and they're proclaiming that fact with these large "Liquor! Liquor!" banners.

I walked into the store the other night, and a clerk who I speak with regularly said proudly, "Have you seen our new stuff?!" as he pointed me toward the store's new liquor section, and explained that this will make up for the grocery sales which drop every year. I asked him why he thinks grocery sales are dropping; he replied that he's not sure, but that patrons who seem to have no problem putting $50 down on numbers will often recoil in horror when told that, for example, a loaf of Wonder bread is going for $2.59 these days.

Several incredulous emails were sent to the Brightwood listserv when the store applied for its Class "A" license, many of which questioned why yet another liquor license should be granted for a business on Georgia Avenue. From my conversation with the clerk, it sounds like liquor is a necessary product for a bodega to sell, if the bodega is to survive.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A performance space with a lot of history resurrected at 1365 Kennedy Street NW

Image from

You may know the basement of 1365 Kennedy Street NW as the site of the two most recent DC Grey Markets, but the residents of the Madison Terrace Cooperative have more plans for creative uses of their space. It's my pleasure to introduce you to Back Alley Theater and its new Tumblr, which contains a list of planned events at the space (mark February 16 on your calendars for an evening of bass performances with Thomas Helton, Brit Powell, and Luke Stewart).

The new blog also contains a really interesting history of the space. Here's a short excerpt:

The Back Alley Theater was born in 1967 in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Naomi Eftis started the theater in the garage in the alley behind her house at 1929 Lamont St., NW. She started it because she wanted to give kids in the neighborhood the experience of theater.

In 1968, the theater moved into St. Stephen’s Church, at 16th and Newton Streets, NW. They then moved briefly into the Church of the Reformation on East Capitol Street on Capitol Hill, before settling in 1969 into permanent quarters in the basement of an apartment building at 1365 Kennedy Street, NW.

In 1981, the tenants who lived in the apartment building that housed the Back Alley Theater joined forces to collectively purchase their building from their landlord, forming the Madison Terrace Cooperative. Thirty years later, in 2011, Madison Terrace Cooperative members began to resurrect the Back Alley Theater for musical performances and community events.

Very exciting to see a new(ish) DIY space dedicated to community performances and events spring up in the neighborhood.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sneak preview of Three Little Pigs, Brightwood Park's new charcuterie

Artist Colette Butfiloski at work on Three Little Pigs' chalk mural. She said she'll return every few months to switch the mural up.

Jason and Carolina, owners of Three Little Pigs, have been busy building out their space at 5111 Georgia Avenue (just north of the corner of Georgia and Gallatin Street) over the past few months, and on Saturday they invited the public in to see their shop.

It's impressive, to say the least. They showed off all of their new equipment and food preparation spaces (from the Koch CookMaster II smoker to the sausage-stuffer to the freezer and aging rooms), and said that their wares will also include marmalades, pies, wine and beer (eventually...they don't have their ABRA license yet, but it's in their future plans), and even a CSA service for vegetables (which was really exciting to hear about, since as far as I know our neighborhood isn't served by any CSAs at this time).

When I asked how they decided to locate their shop in the neighborhood, Carolina told me that her father purchased the building six years ago when he realized Georgia Avenue's development potential. Carolina and Jason, both graduates of the Culinary Institute of America, took a look at the building's layout and saw that it was the perfect space to fulfill their dream of owning and operating a charcuterie. They're really excited to be a part of the neighborhood and have been actively taking note of things residents might be interested in (after noticing the number of dog owners that walk by the shop with their canines, Carolina and Jason are looking into selling pig ear dog treats).

They intend to open in about four weeks; you can keep up to date on their opening plans by following their Facebook page.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The state of Brightwood real estate - February 2012

Time for a look at the past month's real estate sales in Brightwood, as well as properties that are currently on the market and under contract. Thanks to realtor Eric Brooks for compiling the information!

January Active properties on the market:
23 properties are for sale now (down from 32 in Nov)
Ranging from $52,900 to $549,900
2 of these are foreclosed homes and 5 are short sales (up from 3 last month)

Janurary Sold

Properties that went under contract in January:
19 homes are currently under contract (the average property is in the high $200K's)
These homes should settle over the next 30 days
Ranging from $124,900 to $649,000
2 of these were foreclosed homes and 10 are short sales (up from 9 last month)

January Under Contract

Properties that were sold in January:
7 homes sold through the month
Ranging from $124,900 to $785,000
7 were normal sales; 2 were REOs.

Janurary Sold

Info provided by Eric Brooks, a Long and Foster Real Estate agent who works to deliver exceptional results for his clients in Brightwood and beyond.
Contact to set up an appointment at 301-986-6476 or

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ward 4 candidates forum tonight at Emery Rec Center

The Ward 4 Democrates will host a candidates and endorsement forum tonight at Emery Recreation Center (5701 Georgia Avenue, NW) beginning at 7:00.

Information on tonight's event from Ward 4 Democrats:

At this important meeting, we will conduct a Candidates and Endorsement
forum for Democratic candidates running for the position of Ward 4
representative on the Council of the District of Columbia in the April 3,
2012 Democratic Primary Election.

We will convene promptly at 7 p.m. and address preliminary issues. The
Candidates Forum will begin at 7:30 p.m., and each candidate will be given
the opportunity to make a two minute opening statement. Questions will also
be entertained from the audience. The total time allotted for the Candidates
Forum is 90 minutes.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Walter Reed reuse plan approved by LRA, will be presented at public meeting next week

The final reuse plan for the Walter Reed site was approved by the Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) at its meeting on Wednesday evening. The plan will be sent to the City Council as a bill for approval before being sent to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The LRA voted unanimously to include language in the final plan that will prohibit a bus storage or bus maintenance facility on the site. However, when it was suggested that language prohibiting a streetcar maintenance or storage facility should be included as well, the LRA decided against it, as not enough is known about how the streetcar infrastructure on Georgia Avenue will work. Including language prohibiting streetcar facilities could potentially hurt the system in the future.

As for a timeline for the development, the southeast corner of the site, at Georgia and Aspen, will be first, with construction projected to begin in 2014. The northeast corner of the site, at Georgia and Fern, which is slated for commercial development, is projected to begin in 2018. Planners stressed that these timelines could change according to market conditions. Estimated cost of the entire redevelopment is between $625 and $640 million. More details are available at Housing Complex's report.

The plan will be presented to the public at a special presentation next week:
When: Thursday, February 2, 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Where: Tifereth Israel Congregation, 7701 16th St NW
Childcare will be provided during meeting hours

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

DC could really use small business incubators for culinary entrepreneurs. Til then, we have the Grey Market.

Lately I've been hearing quite a bit about the District's need for shared kitchen spaces that would help independent food businesses get started. Cake Love owner Warren Brown mentioned this need at a Ward 4 small business panel convened by Max Skolnik last month. And the Office of Planning, in the recently released draft revitalization strategy for upper 14th Street, mentions food incubators as one of several possible uses for the vacant storefronts within the commercial nodes on 14th (the plan even includes a photo of Boston's Crop Circle Kitchen culinary incubator as an illustration of what could be).

Shared kitchen spaces aren't a reality in upper 14th Street's commercial buildings yet, but this Saturday we will be graced with the next best thing: for the second time, the DC Grey Market, a pop-up culinary incubator, will be setting up at 1365 Kennedy Street NW (located on the northwesteast corner of Kennedy Street and Colorado Avenue). Despite some problems during the last Grey Market at this location (most notably a power outage), organizer Maya Robinson told me that her experience there was extremely positive (thanks to host Amanda Huron) and that she was looking forward to returning.

The last Grey Market was very well-attended. I hope this week's event is an even bigger success, and draws further attention to upper 14th Street as a good location for food incubators.

The DC Grey Market, Saturday, January 28, 1-4 pm, 1365 Kennedy Street NW (entrance at northwesteast corner of Kennedy and Colorado). Admission $2 (ticket can be purchased in advance here).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Link roundup; Walter Reed LRA meeting this Wednesday

The Walter Reed Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) will hold its penultimate meeting on Wednesday, January 25 at 7:00 pm at Fort Stevens Recreation Center (1327 Van Buren Street, NW). The public is invited to observe the meeting. The LRA Team will present the proposed final Re-use Plan and NOIs for a recommendation vote by the LRA Committee. The Final Re-use Plan will be presented on Thursday, Feb. 2, 7:00 pm (location will be announced at a later date).


Monday, January 23, 2012

More information on Takoma Central (formerly Ecco Park)

Via DCMud, further thoughts on the effect Takoma Central, the development formerly known as Ecco Park, will have on our area's growth:

The development may fill in a key gap between the bustle and activity of the Metro station and the quarter-mile walk to Carroll Avenue along Takoma Park's main street with well-kept sidewalks and quaint Victorian-era street lighting.


The construction of Takoma Central will go a long way to renovating a corridor on both sides of the Metro line that the District and Maryland have been seeking to make ripe for transit-oriented development projects.

On the West side of the Metro line, the District Office of Planning has (been) looking at possible enhancements to the neighborhood near the dormant Takoma Theater and its surrounds since Anthony Williams' tenure as Washington D.C.'s Mayor.

The Office of Planning's 2002 report shared the puzzlement over why TOD near Takoma Metro wasn't forthcoming. "Neither Carroll nor 4th Street have developed the critical mass of retail, commercial and housing that their Maryland neighbor enjoys, despite being anchored by the most heavily used pedestrian Metro transit station in the District of Columbia."

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What happens when politicians delay their snow shoveling duties

This morning, Ward 4 Council candidate Max Skolnik and a team of volunteers set out to do the good civic duty of clearing snow and ice off of our sidewalks. Around 11:30 am, they came across the unshoveled sidewalk on the west side of the 4300 block of Georgia Avenue...which happens to be right in front of incumbent Muriel Bowser's campaign office. A golden political photo opportunity ensued. These are the photos sent by Skolnik and his campaign manager Johnny Mathias via Twitter, along with a few other astute comments:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dog shot by MPD officer at 14th and Tuckerman

From the Post:

The dog was shot near 14th and Tuckerman streets NW, about a half mile south of the old Walter Reed Army Medical Center, about 5:45 p.m., police said. The dog, a German shepherd, got loose from a yard and bit a man and woman. The dog then attacked a man in a wheelchair, but did not bite him, a police source said.

Watch NBC4's report here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Ecco Park sold to Federal Capital Partners, plans for "Takoma Central" announced

Federal Capital Partners announced today that they have acquired the project that we've known as Ecco Park. Apparently the name of the development has been changed to Takoma Central. Read the press release after the jump.

Public meeting on planned modernizations of Coolidge and Roosevelt High Schools, Jan. 18, 6-8pm

Councilmember Muriel Bowser, Council Chairman Kwame Brown and Ward 4 State Board of Education representative D. Kamili Anderson are holding a special community meeting next week to discuss the planned modernizations of both Coolidge High School and Roosevelt High School.

From an email:

WHEN: Wednesday, January 18, 6-8pm
WHERE: Calvin Coolidge High School, 6315 5th Street NW

Are these plans in jeopardy? COME FIND OUT!

Will Roosevelt be renovated as scheduled in 2012, and Coolidge in 2013? COME FIND OUT!

Are closure discussions in the works for either school?

And most importantly, come and let us know where YOU stand on the education of our high school youth in Ward 4!

We ask that all alumni, neighbors, and parents of Roosevelt and Coolidge High School come out to attend. Also, anyone concerned about education and educational equity in the District of Columbia -- please join us!

For additional information, please Ebonee Price in Councilmember Bowser's office, 202-724-8052

You ask, Golden Heart Yoga listens: prenatal yoga classes begin January 22

In my previous post introducing Golden Heart Yoga, I mentioned that they've received lots of requests for prenatal yoga classes and were working on getting those started. Well, it turns out that Golden Heart works awfully fast: per their Facebook page, prenatal classes will begin on January 22.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A look inside Georgia Avenue's new Golden Heart Yoga studio


Golden Heart Yoga opened at the beginning of January at 4804 Georgia Avenue NW (right across the street from Restaurant Row, which includes Fusion, Moroni & Bros, and Ras, as well as Art Under Pressure). Owners Elizabeth Lloyd and Julie Eisenberg live in Petworth and are already proving their dedication to serving their own community. They employ five teachers, and most live in the neighborhood. Their clientele so far has included mostly residents of Brightwood, Petworth, and 16th Street Heights.

The space, a former funeral home, came with perfect wood floors for yoga (when I saw the floors I assumed Julie and Elizabeth had them installed specially, but Julie assured me that they were already there). There are three separate spaces which can be used for classes and other client services (Julie noted that one of the rooms would be perfect for offering child care while mothers are taking classes; that service isn't offered yet, but it's part of Golden Heart's future plans).

Perhaps surprisingly, the majority of clients so far have been beginners, so Golden Heart has added more beginner level classes to its schedule. They also provide training in Kundalini, a form that very few DC studios offer. Another yoga style that has been requested by several clients so far: prenatal, which Golden Heart will begin offering next month.

Golden Heart is running a grand opening special throughout the month of January: you can get an 8-class pass for $40 (cash only, please). All classes have to be used by January 31, but purchasers are eligible to roll it over into a $75 unlimited monthly pass. Not a bad deal.



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New residents and arts spaces could spark Ward 4's 14th Street

Can 14th Street north of Columbia Heights become a lively and successful commercial area once again? A new plan suggests finding spots to catalyze development, possibly including the WMATA bus barn or surrounding properties, and making a piece of the corridor into a place for artists to live and work more cheaply.

This part of DC boomed in the mid-20th century, spurred by population growth and easy access to transit via the 14th Street streetcar line. The corridor began to decline after 1970, as the District's population decreased. As a result, the commercial nodes of central 14th Street have struggled for several decades.

Now, as the city's population begins to grow once again, DC's Office of Planning studied ways to make the area more attractive for residents and businesses, both old and new. After a series of community workshops in 2010 and 2011 with residents and stakeholders of the central 14th Street corridor, OP has released its draft plan and is looking for public comment until February 3.

New bar at 441 Kennedy Street looks close to opening, albeit with a most unfortunate name

I've been keeping my eye on 441 Kennedy Street for the past couple of months, as the buildout of what one of the contractors told me would be a sports bar progressed. The interior is looking pretty nice (sorry I have no interior photos to share). When I passed by yesterday I saw that exterior signage had been installed, which is great, although I have to admit that the name of the establishment makes my heart, um, ache just a does the misspelling of the word "restaurant".


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Senbeb Natural Food gets a new facade, as well as an interior renovation

Senbeb Natural Food and Cafe, at 6224 3rd Street NW, has a newly-painted facade.


As you can see, they're also busy renovating the interior. They'll be working on it all night tonight, and plan to open for business tomorrow. Here's what the exterior looked like before:

senbeb old

Senbeb is a neighborhood treasure that often gets overlooked due to its somewhat off the beaten path location. If you've never sampled it, give Senbeb a try. I particularly like their black bean burger.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

New CrossFit gym, Second Wind Training, opens at 14th and Longfellow


Second Wind Training opened at the end of last week at 5509 14th Street NW (a storefront at the street level of the Longfellow Flats). The CrossFit facility offers boot camps, personal training, and endurance coaching.

The space was built out pretty quickly. Owner Steve Dolge signed his lease in October, and since then work progressed steadily in order to open in early January (high season in the gym business).

Second Wind began in the spring of 2009, after Dolge was laid off from his job of 15 years at WTOP. His venue was Lafayette Elementary School in Chevy Chase DC. When he started looking to expand into his own space, his main goal was to locate within a reasonable distance of his Chevy Chase client base. He sees Brightwood as a perfect location, as it's convenient for his Chevy Chase clients while having potential to gain new members from Brightwood, 16th Street Heights, and other surrounding neighborhoods that have been sorely lacking gym facilities.

He also noted the advantage of being within easy running distance of Rock Creek Park, where he intends to hold training sessions in the spring.

Dolge hopes to eventually buy the space and "continue to be a part of the improvement of the neighborhood," he said.

The interior looks very good. I was particularly impressed by the shower facilities:


Friday, January 6, 2012

Vida Senior Residences opens at 1333 Missouri Avenue NW

A ribbon cutting was held yesterday at the new Vida Senior Residences in Brightwood. The building, located at 1333 Missouri Avenue NW, contains 36 units of affordable housing, with rents ranging from $286 to $851 a month, based on income. With the opening of its Brightwood location, Vida hopes to alleviate overcrowding at its original location at 1842 Calvert Street NW in Adams Morgan.

According to The Washington Post, 300 people have already applied for the 36 apartments. The building will be fully occupied within six months.

The state of Brightwood real estate - January 2012

Time to check in on the past month's home sales, properties under contract, and active properties on the market. Thanks to realtor Eric Brooks for compiling this information.

December Active properties on the market:
21 properties are for sale now (down from 32 in November)
Ranging from $84,999 to $549,900
Two of these are foreclosed homes and three are short sales

December Active

Properties that went under contract in December:
20 homes are currently under contract (the average property is the high $200K's)
These homes should settle over the next 30 days
Ranging from $52,000 to $785,000
Two of these were foreclosed homes and nine are short sales (up from five last month)

December Under Contract

Properties that were sold in December:
11 homes sold in the month of December
Ranging from $212,000 to $679,900
Nine sales from the past month were normal sales (two were REO's).

December Sold

Info provided by Eric Brooks, a Long and Foster Real Estate agent who works to deliver exceptional results for his clients in Brightwood and beyond.
Contact to set up an appointment at 301-986-6476 or

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Muriel Bowser calls for Harry Thomas Jr.'s resignation

Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser has released the following statement in response to the felony charges that have been filed against Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.:

“With sadness for what this means for our City and the people of Ward 5, I call on Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr. to resign. The Council must return its focus to the business of governing our City: creating jobs, accelerating education reform, and delivering high quality services to our residents."

HTJ Resignation

Fire in Curtis Chevrolet building early this morning

At about 3:30 this morning, the above messages were sent from the Twitter account of the Washington DC Fire Fighters Association Local 36.

I stopped by at about 8:30. There was minimal noticeable fire damage from the front of the building.

This is the second time this week that a vacant building on Upper Georgia Avenue has caught fire. Early yesterday morning, fire fighters quelled a blaze at 7203 Georgia Avenue. That building is a two-story carport in the rear of the lot. No injuries were reported.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Robbery last night, 900 block of Longfellow St. NW

From MPD:

At approximately 10:45 pm in the 900 block of Longfellow St., NW, a suspect brandished a handgun and demanded money from the complainant. Two other suspects participated in robbing the complainant. The suspects fled in an unknown direction. There were no injuries to any parties.

Anyone with information regarding this or any other crime is asked to call 1-888-919-CRIM[E].

Lookouts: (All suspects were wearing ski masks)
S-1: 18-21yr, BM, 5’7-5’9”, 160lb, Black coat blue jeans – ARMED with handgun
S-2: 18-21yr, BM, 5’7-5’9”, 160lb, Black coat blue jeans
S-3: 18-21yr, BM, 5’7-5’9”, 160lb, Black coat blue jeans

- Lieutenant Mike Whiteside