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Preview: The 42

The 42

from the windows of the 42 bus in the district of columbia

Updated: 2017-09-11T22:02:36.781-04:00


Thanks and See You on the Other Side (of Town)!


Find me on The X2 and at @TheX2BusDC!

Hey Mount Pleasant, it's been great!

Here are some of my favorite neighborhood photos from the blog, set to Tuscadero's The Pink Album gem, "Mt. Pleasant."


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This is the End #1


After 13+ years living in Mount Pleasant and 8+ years writing this website, this is the end! Until I get The X2 site is really up and running, I wanted to look back at some of the most memorable posts from the last eight years of writing The 42. Post #1 is from 2011. It was impossible to pick the #1 most memorable post. Out of the 1,600+ written over the years, there was no way I could narrow it down. Some got lots of web traffic, others were more personal, and many marked important public events.But, my favorite type of post were these; Mount Pleasant community events. This one from below, Lamont Street Halloween Party, epitomizes how the community, made of neighbors, can organize (with or without government help), staff, market, and program a great event. There were so many of these: the Temporium, Mount Pleasant Music Festival, Mount Pleasant Day (RIP), Cheap Art Sale, Holiday Tree Sale, Puppet Underground.... the list goes on. These are the times when the idea of "community" were made real. Of all the press releases, random events at embassies, store openings, restaurant closings, new condos, old condos, so on and so forth, really what it boiled down to was this: seeing Mount Pleasant, hearing Mount Pleasant, and putting that to page.*     *     *     *     *Halloween Party on Lamont Street is Oct 31DC's best Halloween block party is happening again this year, in Mount Pleasant. Lamont Street NW between 17th and 18th will play host to hundreds of candy seeking kids (and sometimes their parents). Yes, this is the event at which our house gave away over 2,000 pieces of candy in 2007.In a minor change, I'll be collecting candy this year, not giving it out. So, bring some for me. Also, look out for music, marshmallow roasting and of course, the costume contests. No word on the zombie walk, but ever since I started reading World War Z, I can do without this year. Huge thanks to the organizers who filed the paperwork, planned the events and made this happen; it's a great tradition!The details:Who: You, your friends, Mt Pleasant residents, other invited costumed revelers.What: Lamont Street Halloween Block PartyWhen: Monday October 31, 2011; 6:30-9:00PMWhere: Lamont St NW b/t 17th and 18th in Mount Pleasant, DC[...]

This is the End #2


After 13+ years living in Mount Pleasant and 8+ years writing this website, this is the end! Until I get The X2 site is really up and running, I wanted to look back at some of the most memorable posts from the last eight years of writing The 42. Post #2 still resonates 8 years later. The fire at 3145 Mount Pleasant Street altered lives of the displaced residents, tied the city up in a financing and housing mess, and generally, was the subtext to gentrification issues in Mount Pleasant and beyond. Tenant rights, condo conversion, absent owner/landlords, and building code negligence were all a part of this tragic fire, which resulted in no loss of life, thankfully. But, a church that was burned out moved to Maryland (with the building now becoming condos), and the new Oscar Romero apartment building houses just a fraction of the original residents.*     *     *     *     *Our Friends and Neighbors; the 3145 and Meridian Hill Church FiresRight now our neighbors from 3145 Mt Pleasant Street and the Meridian Hill Baptist Church are trying to begin the process of putting their lives back together after the fires of Thursday morning. According to NBC 4, small fires were still smoldering in some parts of the gutted building at 11:30 last night, nearly 24 hours after initial 911 calls. Investigators may not get access to all reaches of the building for at least a week. We can all be thankful that not one person was killed or seriously injured in the 3145 building (the Winston) or the at Meridian Hill Church. Those who were using the shelter housed in the basement of Meridian Hill now have a temporary home at Sacred Heart Catholic Church across 16th Street. The shelter was and is run by Catholic Charities. They accept donations online.The 42 and this blogger are thinking good thoughts on behalf of all Mount Pleasant and wishes a speedy return of everyone involved to their homes in 3145. Thankfully, there are several ways to help out if you are so inclined. Thanks to Hear Mount Pleasant, Neighbors Consejo, Pfeiffer's Hardware, La Casa and other local groups and individuals.Cash Donations are probably the most helpful right now; possibly more than clothes and toiletries. Make a cash donation to be used for emergency shelter, medications, etc. For now, Pfeiffer's Hardware (3219 Mt P Street) is accepting cash donations on behalf of Columbia Heights/Shaw Family Support Collaborative.Volunteer you time or offer up a place to stay for residents of 3145, again through CHSFSC.Donate food, clothing or both at Neighbor's Consejo. Its at 3118 16th St, only a few doors down from Meridian Hill Church, but you can donate NOW online.Eat and drink; Don Jaime's (3209 Mt P Street) is donating 20% of this weekend's breakfast sales and aMarch 18 wine tasting at Marx Cafe (3203 Mt P Street), sponsored by Mount Pleasant Main Street; a portion of the $15 entrance will be donated to victim support.[...]

This is the End: #3


After 13+ years living in Mount Pleasant and 8+ years writing this website, this is the end! Until I get The X2 site is really up and running, I wanted to look back at some of the most memorable posts from the last eight years of writing The 42. Post #3 is from 2008. By mid-November that year, Obama-mania had swept DC, and the prospect of a record breaking Inauguration was becoming more real. One byproduct was the explosion of people attempting to rent out essentially any property they owned, or even leased. This was really before the proliferation of Airbnb, so most of the listings were on Craigslist. Many people thought hey could get a king's ransom for a bed (or often, floor), access to a bathroom, and a mile walk to the Metro. I wish I could have saves a database full of the actual listings because they were just golden. Folks were a little bit more reasonable in 2013, but not by much!*     *     *     *Inauguration Rental ShenanigansAmong the phenomena related to last week's Presidential election is this: Washington area condo and home owners are now somehow convinced that the world is ready to shell out tens of thousands to be in DC for the Inauguration. Yes, I know, I know--its historic, there are limited hotel rooms and money is no object to some people. However, will even a small percentage of these people really get the thousands of dollars of which they are asking?I wanted to see what was being offered and how ridiculous people could get in the name of providing a room for a fee. Here are some of the most interesting inauguration rental offers I have found. I based my listing on how loudly and long I laughed after first reading the posts.:...$40000 / 1br - Loft Style Luxury Condo for Rent during Inauguration week (Jan. 17-22) (DuPont Circle): This inauguration rental requires a $10,000 deposit. Its in the DeSoto, a newish building across from Whole Foods on P Street, near Dupont. One bedrooms here normally rent for about $2,500 a month. At $10,000 per night this a 12,000% increase over the normal rent. Ouch.$75000 / 2br - Inauguration Special - Entire Week - First Come (Bethesda): This entry amused me for a few reasons. 1.) So little information is offered: I'd like to know a lot more before I called about a $75,000 one week investment. 2.) Apparently its in a "building primarily used for low-income housing." Gives new meaning to the term buy low sell high. And 3.) Like many other entries the author takes liberties with lines like "a stone's throw away from all the DC action," when this place is adjacent to NIH-Medical Center.$250 1 Bedroom plus Den for Inauguration Week (Mt. Pleasant): This one was is one of several offers out of Mt Pleasant. Its really not that remarkable. Some listings for Mt Pleasant were vastly overpriced and stretched some of the facts, but this one actually seems reasonable, relative to the rest. Still more than I would normally pay for a night at a decent hotel.$2200 / 3br - Luxury condo during Inauguration week -- walk to balls, dining, Metro (Dupont/Kalorama): I'm sorry, but there is no house or apartment which is both "a block from the Washington Hilton" and "a 10-minute walk from the Omni Shoreham Hotel." Equally questionable is the statement that this house is "a 5-minute walk to both the Dupont Circle Metro and the Woodley Park/Adams-Morgan Metro;" maybe one, but not the other. Many of the posts have little white lies similar to this one. On the face, not that egregious of an exaggeration, but the little things matter at such high prices. This place is $2200 per night.$5000 / 4br -Inauguration Rental Just 2 Stoplights to DC! (McLean): Again, this is one of the misleading entries. I mapped the route out, and its true! One could get to DC, stopping at only two traffic lights, both on Glebe Road. The author forgets to mention that you'd then have to travel an additional 7+ miles from Chain Bridge to downtown DC. T[...]

This is the End: #4


After 13+ years living in Mount Pleasant and 8+ years writing this website, this is the end! Until I get The X2 site is really up and running, I wanted to look back at some of the most memorable posts from the last eight years of writing The 42. Post #4 is, and I hate even bringing this up again, but it's about... the Real World. When the fading, ratings-loss-leader, poor-excuse-for-reality-show came to DC I was skeptical that MTV was playing this straight. Like, you're sending people to DC for this show? How could we top NYC? SF? Chicago? Denver? Let's be honest, there was a Real World Key West before they came to DC. Anyway, I speculated on what the show would look like in various DC neighborhoods. Fun stuff!*     *     *     *     *MTV's Real World House in Mount Pleasant?Haha, no. But the show looks (again) like it may come to DC. Seems like every few years there is a rumor that the "reality" show--which had been around for 21(!) seasons-- will make it's way to the nation's capital. Who knows if we'll get the gig. Maybe we'll lose out to Real World Louisville, or Real World Boise this time around.Who wouldn't want to have a chance to live with the likes of Tami "it wasn't not funny" Roman, Eric "the Grind" Nies, or Mike "yes, The Miz is his wrestling name" Mizanin. If the show does make it to DC I've got my money on Adams Morgan as the location. But what would the show look like? Hmmmm...Real World Mount Pleasant: Shenanigans ensue when the seven strangers realize that because of the economy they're living in the basement of a group house already occupied by seven other strangers, all interns.Real World Columbia Heights: Savvy housemate vows to get involved with the community by starting online petition against gentrification; from the roof deck of the Kenyon Square Condos, where the Real World DC loft is located.Real World Georgetown: Only on the final episode is it revealed to the roommates that Georgetown is actually part of DC and not its own, supremely dignified, sovereign city.Real World Petworth: The southern belle from Atlanta goes bananas on the first episode to voice her displeasure at having to live only a block away from Sherman Circle.Real World Van Ness: Nothing happens. Nothing. Really.Real World Dupont: Latent racist and homophobic cast member from the Midwest slowly learns to treat others with dignity and respect after an incident in which ...yada yada yada... repeat any episode from any of the previous 21 seasons of the Real World.Real World Brookland: Cast members settle down to start that family, never leave DC, buy an SUV and a lawnmower.Real World Capitol Hill: Angry Hill neighbors TP the Real World house in protest of MTV's garish paint job of the circa 1890 building.Real World Adams Morgan: House meeting called on the first episode after innocent newcomer's mind blown that Wednesday night = start of the weekend and that pizza slices can be bigger than your head.Real World Foggy Bottom: Entire cast, all 21 and under, mixes in with GWU students, never to be seen again.Oh we could go on and on. Feel free to get creative and add some more in the comments.[...]

This is the End: #5


After 13+ years living in Mount Pleasant and 8+ years writing this website, this is the end! Until I get The X2 site is really up and running, I wanted to look back at some of the most memorable posts from the last eight years of writing The 42. Post #5 is from early 2011, but I'm not even sure I believe some of these anymore. I mean, cupcakes?*     *     *     *     *You Are Very DC If....First of all, this concept is being shamelessly ripped from my hometown alternative newspaper, Style Weekly. They have run a "You Are Very Richmond If..." column once a year for as long as I remember. So, to Style: I recall that old saying and hope you agree; "not suing me is the sincerest form of flattery."Moving on, yeah, what are our major shared quirks? Bad drivers? Know-it-alls? Snow wimps? What about the good ones... Pretty smart all around? Opinionated? Super fit & healthy? Tolerant?Whether you are born and raised or a post-college transplant, if these are true about you, you're can safely declare that you are a true Washingtonian. These are ours!You are very DC always stand on the right and walk on the left, even at shopping malls and care 100x more about what our crazy City Council is doing than what our crazy Congress is doing....your job doesn't exist outside of've accepted that DC DMV has just one car inspection station for a city with more residents than an entire've heard 5 different stories explaining DC's height know that PR at Partners is not in the business of public relations....the line outside of Ben's Chili Bowl does not apply to don't think twice about throwing down $30 for 8 cupcakes....Real Housewives of DC made you wonder how they got to use the letters "D" and "C" in the title....your Netflix queue has movies like The Fog of War and State of Play....there are dozens of really great exhibits you'll never see because you refuse to endure the National Mall....when you hear the word "motorcade" you think "OMG, the traffic!!!" instead of "OMG, the President!!!"...a protest is a protest is a protest; you'll watch any from the office have at least two opinions on other people's have either an extreme love or an extreme hate for inauguration week, regardless of political party....right around September 1st, you start to think the Washington football team has a chance to win the Super Bowl....right around October 1st, you start to think they'll get it together for next love going to Nats games, but only if the Cubs or Red Sox are in you, the Capitals are Alex Ovechkin and everyone think the Wizards should go back to being the consider Jazz in the Garden a BYOB've been ice skating at the city's other know The Awakening's true home is Hains Point....DCA will always be Washington National to you....your favorite TV celebs are Jim Vance and Sue Palka.[...]

This is the End: #6


After 13+ years living in Mount Pleasant and 8+ years writing this website, this is the end! Until I get The X2 site is really up and running, I wanted to look back at some of the most memorable posts from the last eight years of writing The 42. #6 is from September 2010. By all accounts, La Casa was a needed, last chance respite for men on the streets of Columbia Heights and surrounding neighborhoods. It was a shelter in the basic sense of the word, but consisted largely of temporary trailers and an aging cinderblock main building. When the city made a deal to redevelop the property into a state-of-the-art social service and living facility, the turnover of every parcel adjacent to Columbia Heights metro station was complete. And between the years of 2005 and 2011, the entire block of Irving between Hiatt Pl and 14th St (both sides) had completely turned over [DCUSA, Highland Park Apts, La Casa Shelter, Highland Park Apts II].This was, also, and not coincidentally, the post after which I disabled comments. Sometimes folks weren't so nice about commenting and giving feedback. I decided that comment moderation was not something I wanted to deal with in the long run. So, the site became more personal web log and less community forum, which it wasn't very good at being anyway, tbh.*     *     *     *     *Shelter Closing, Apartments Plannedrendering of proposed towersLa Casa, the closest shelter to Mount Pleasant, is closing. I first read about the possible closure a few weeks ago in a copy of Street Sense. Obviously they editorialized against the closing noting that as of last year, there were over 6,000 homeless in DC per the annual count. They anticipate that number to increase for 2010.  La Casa, at 1436 Irving St NW, is a 90 bed facility, houses only men, offers bilingual services and is open 7pm until 7am daily. According to the Street Sense article, there are currently 72 men in the shelter and the adjacent trailers. It will close as of October 15, 2010.The paper trail on the new project spans a few years and is somewhat contradictory and incomplete.  However, this is my understanding:After La Casa closes, it will be torn down and replaced with two new buildings: an addition to Donatelli Development's Highland Park Apartments and a community based residential facility.Highland Park was originally built as a condominium building and went rental, like many other DC projects during the economic downturn. Apartments there currently rent from $1,800-$3,900 per month.The land under La Casa shelter (and adjacent lot) is owned by the District of Columbia.  They have a deal with Donatelli to allow an extension of Highland Park, but also to build an 82 bed community based residential facility (CBRF) on that land.  What is a CBRF? From the proposal: "Community Based Residential Facilities (CBRFs) are single room occupancy facilities for homeless residents in the District. These facilities combine living quarters with job training, housing placement, case management, and other needed services that promote self-sufficiency."La Casa is currently operated by the District and the DC Coalition for the Homeless, a non-profit. No indication of who would run the CBRF (the city, another non-profit, a private entity?) or if it would serve any of the same people housed at La Casa. The CBRF would be in the rear of the property (see rendering).  The new apartment tower --dubbed Highland Park West (HPW)-- would front on Irving Street and be physically connected to the original Highland Park, sharing a courtyard.  Both CBRF and HPW were proposed as seven floo[...]

This is the End: #7


After 13+ years living in Mount Pleasant and 8+ years writing this website, this is the end! Until I get The X2 site is really up and running, I wanted to look back at some of the most memorable posts from the last eight years of writing The 42. #7 is from March 2008. Do you remember when DC taxis charged by zone? No? Good. Feel lucky. It was a rigid, often confusing system (you fare was different if the ride began on the north side vs south side of U St, for example). This was pre-Uber/Lyft/other car-sharing services. So, I have more sympathy for taxicab drivers in today's environment, but back them I just wanted them to give in and accept the meters.*     *     *     *Open Letter to Taxi DriversListen, we don't want the zones. We want meters. If we JUST got rid of the zones, I think most DC residents would be happy. But we also realize that there is a strong need for a fair and equitable way to charge passengers for a service and compensate drivers for effort and time. We don't need to reinvent the wheel. Most other major cities use the time/distance meter. Its not rocket science! Cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago all have millions of residents who are OK with metered taxis. We can just copy off of their papers. Cheating is allowed in managing municipal agencies. Its called best practices.Forget the pleas of some taxi drivers about how much money they'll lose because of meters. When the debate began last year, many drivers complained that customers would pay MORE under meters. So we'd pay more and they'd make less? Come on taxi drivers.Mayor Fenty originally set the date of April 6, 2008 for all taxis in the District to have operating time/distance meters. Recently, he pushed that date back to May 1st to give drivers a chance to install equipment; and apparently to try and derail the process through multiple day long strikes and an on-line petition. I support workers all over the city, especially those in the service industry. However, unfortunately for taxi drivers, its a regulated business. There are reasons why some industries are regulated and the reasons behind regulating cabs, taxis and limos are obvious. We were just long overdue in revising some of our regulations. Its up to the Mayor to make sure we stick to the decision made last fall; banish the zone system, bring on the meters.The zone system was old, open to fraud and just plain unfair, even if applied lawfully. Remember when Metro got rid of cashiers at parking decks? It was an unpopular idea to lay off workers, but ended up saving Metro and all of its customers millions of dollars because SmarTrip card readers don't steal. The city is making a similar correction. Some short term pain is a necessity in order to fix this crucial transportation option for the long run. Get on board drivers, get on board.[...]

This is the End: #8


After 13+ years living in Mount Pleasant and 8+ years writing this website, this is the end! Until I get The X2 site is really up and running, I wanted to look back at some of the most memorable posts from the last eight years of writing The 42. #8 is from July 2007. This was about six months before DCUSA was finished and we were all wondering what the hell would happen to Mount Pleasant when this thing opened. I can't overstate how huge of a deal this was at the time. No one really knew how much it would eventually change Columbia Heights. And this is crazy: eight years in, DCUSA has never --I repeat, NEVER-- been fully leased. And they never got that promised whole foods (or McDonald's for that matter).*     *     *     *     *Out and About: DC USA in Columbia HeightsUgh. Yesterday it rained. And rained. And rained. We needed it though. No rain today, but a killer humidity that means August is around the corner. Good thing I took the photos for this post after work late last week. And next year at about this time, I'll be able to ditch the heat and wander around the air conditioned sterility of DCUSA, a project underway a few blocks from here.DCUSA, just off of the 42 bus line, in Columbia Heights, is a can't miss, monster construction and development project. At the corner of 14th and Irving, its massive aura is only tempered by the other projects that are finished or nearly finished around it (the Tivoli, Park Triangle, Highland Park and Kenyon Square).If you really want to get a feel for what the 14th St development may become, look no further than Harlem USA (pictured at right), another project competed by one of DCUSA's main developers, Gotham Organization. Harlem USA is very similar to DCUSA in some telling ways: its a major one-time injection of hundreds of thousands of retail square footage into a perceived-as-undeserved market; most of the retail spaces and all of the "anchors" are national chains; the location of the development is away from the traditional downtowns of the cities; both are near public transit and to hear the developers tell it, both will benefit the residents of each neighborhood tremendously.One difference between the two is obvious. Harlem USA is in New York, on Manhattan. Any relative impact of that amount of retail is diminished and somewhat absorbed by the sheer population level and density of New York's retail options; one can get to shopping fairly easy from anywhere in Manhattan. Harlem USA weighs in at 275,000 square feet. It includes a Disney store, Modell's Sporting goods, HMV (music retailer), Old Navy, two banks, Magic Johnson Movie Theater and a handful of other stores. The Target at DCUSA will be 180,000 square feet of retail alone. DCUSA will weigh in at over 500,000 square feet of retail, most of which is spoken for as of this post. Target, Best Buy, Washington Sports Club, and Bed Bath and Beyond are a few of he majors who've signed up. And unlike Harlem USA, DCUSA will have dedicated parking, 1,000 spaces worth.Arguably the impact of DCUSA will be greater than even that of Harlem USA. Harlem USA is smaller and while it is serving a part of Manhattan that was previously ignored by major retail and most chains, those residents still had access to at least comparable retail options via mass transit or a short drive. Residents of midtown DC have never seen a retail project of this scale. Most of the retail options available at DCUSA aren't foreign to the area; many can be reached downtown or just outside of the city limits (Marshall's in Silver Spring, Target at Prince George's Plaza).However what will become of the local restaurants, shops and other retail remains to be seen. There are several established corridors of retail in the surrounding areas that may be a[...]

This is the End: #9


After 13+ years living in Mount Pleasant and 8+ years writing this website, this is the end! Until I get The X2 site is really up and running, I wanted to look back at some of the most memorable posts from the last eight years of writing The 42. #9 is from November 2007. There had been a really ridiculous de facto ban on live music in Mount Pleasant establishments. The ban was linked to the controversial voluntary agreements, which were essentially a list of rules bars and restaurants agreed to follow in order to get support from the ANCs and other residents in exchange for support when petitioning ABRA or DCRA. Long story short; this show of support was key to breaking the restrictive covenants and is the reason we're able to do basic, bit fun stuff like seeing a live band in a neighborhood restaurant.*     *     *     *     *Mt Pleasant Residents Show Support for BusinessesOn a chilly night with temperatures in the mid-40s, nearly 200 Mt Pleasant residents gathered in Lamont Park to show their support for the immigrant-owned businesses that line our main street. The apple cider was being consumed by the cupful (I had two, don't tell) and many business owners like Haydee of, well, Haydee's, were standing with a good cross section of our neighborhoods other residents. The group gathered in Lamont Park and made a powerfully silent march over to the Mount Peasant Branch Library.A little background may be in order here. The demonstration was organized for this night because the Mayor of the District of Columbia, Adrian Fenty, was meeting with the Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Alliance. The meeting was taking place at the Mount Pleasant Branch Library. The MPNA is one of several groups and organizations that operate as a voice for some residents in the neighborhood. There are others, like the ANC and Hear Mt Pleasant. That's by no means an exhaustive list. They are essentially interest groups that exist to project the voice of the people to a place where it can be heard by the decision-makers: in this case, the mayor and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.At issue is whether or not the MPNA should act as the official voice of the neighborhood for city-legislated and regulated issues with binding implications for businesses and residents. On the official MPNA flier for tonight's meeting, there is a call for contributions "to our legal fees to help fight those who want to terminate our Voluntary Agreements." That's in reference to the Voluntary Agreement, a quasi-legal agreement between a business and some form of resident group (or individual residents) that determines whether or not the resident group will protest or support the business' Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration standing. In short, the decision of the neighborhood group to oppose or endorse a business' ABRA licensure is essentially a decision to make or break the business. The businesses agree to certain terms, like operating hours, conditions of operation, and so on and the resident group agrees to support the business at its ABRA hearing.One of the conditions for all taverns, bars and restaurants on Mt Pleasant Street is that there be allowed no live music in the establishments. Some even interpret this to mean no karaoke as well. To understand Mt Pleasant is to understand that it is a neighborhood with a rich, long, and nuanced history weaving together cultures form all over the U.S. and all over the world. It is very diverse. The Latino community is one of the many that make up the backbone of the neighborhood, literally populating our main street with service and financial institutions, shops, restaurants and salons. Years ago, mariachi bands roamed the streets and haunted the establishm[...]

This is the End: #10


After 13+ years living in Mount Pleasant and 8+ years writing this website, this is the end! I'm moving across town to Carver Langston. I haven't moved just yet, but am already missing Mount Pleasant, terribly. It's actually very, very sad and I kind of don't want to talk about it. Not the leaving part anyway.On the other, much more optimistic and exciting hand, I'm overjoyed thinking about all the new adventures that await in my new neighborhood. I'm looking forward to chronicling things I see from the Anacostia River to the White House and everything in between. I'll do some of that on my new site The X2 Bus. I'll still cover downtown, Penn Quarter, and Judiciary Square, but also  H Street NE, Carver Langston, and anywhere within walking distance of the indomitable X2 bus route.Until I get The X2 site is really up and running, I wanted to look back at some of the most memorable posts from the last eight years of writing The 42. #10 is from January of 2011 and its about all the different types of people you encounter on the bus:*     *     *     *     *What Kind of Bus Rider Are You?Most riders are great! A select few... not so much.As much as I love biking around DC and walking around DC, I'm usually on the bus when I need to get somewhere quickly. Yes, often choosing the bus over Metro. Almost all of us who ride regularly are great folks; working class, students, day laborers, party kids, commuters, whomever. We just want to get where we're going safely and on time.However, we have various ideas about bus etiquette and the unwritten rules of public transit. Here are some of my favorite quirky riders and the tendencies that make me notice them as soon as I pay the fare and start to look for a seat.The Leg Spreader - Almost always a man. You like to take two seats, but you don't use bags or packages. You use your legs. Spread as wide as possible. Feelin' the breeze. Sweet dude.The Traveler - You refuse to take a cab to the airport, despite having to utilize all 5 bags of your 5 bag luggage set. You can barely carry (drag) them all, but you know you can save some cash by taking public transit. Even though it will take an extra hour. You take up, at the very least, two seats.I Only Take Calls on the Bus - You only take cell phone calls on the bus. You are loud and at some point have to drop in a line like "Whaaat!?! Oh my gawwwwd, I was just in Prague."I Only Take Sensitive Calls on the Bus - Very much like "I Only Take Calls on the Bus," but your conversations are likely to involve a variation on "Oh, thank goodness - yeah, test came back negative. You too?... Want to come over later?"Driver's Buddy - Most bus drivers really only want to talk to you if they know you or if you are asking a bus related question. You like to engage the driver in some irrelevant topic which they have no interest hearing or talking about. Usually a twisted take on local politics. Or sports.The Outside Seater - Obvious etiquette dictates that the first person to sit move to the seat closest to the window. But you refuse, standing your ground in the outside seat until the bus is literally full. Then, you may relent and move over the the empty inside seat. But only if glared at, asked to move or climbed over by another rider. Use of bags to cover the empty seat is a common tactic.Backpacker - I know what your backpack tastes like. It's hit me in the mouth 5 times, even after I pushed you away and you said "Oh, I'm sorry!" Still hitting me. Still. Now, even. Yes.What's SmarTrip?[...]

Ace Hardware Opens in Adams Morgan


Ace Hardware Adams Morgan opened yesterday at 1706 Columbia Rd NW (the Ontario 17 building). This store is one of 11 stores in the DC-Baltimore region owned by A Few Cool Hardware Stores including Logan, 5th Street, and Glover Park. A Few Cool Hardware Stores operates in a co-op partnership with Ace, which is definitely a nationally known brand. 

The hours of operation for the Adams Morgan store is 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM Mon-Sat and 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM on Sunday.

A Little Help for Our Friends at Bell HS


Columbia Heights Education CampusOur friends over at New Columbia Heights tipped me off to a campaign by some seniors at Bell Multicultural High School. The students at Bell want every one of the seniors at their school to be able to take part in all the cool right-of-passage stuff seniors do: prom, graduation, and of course, the senior trip. They are seeking any help they can get to offset the costs of making the senior trip to NYC possible for all of the seniors. I didn't go on my senior trip to Cancun for the same reasons, cost! That, and I was dead-set on our original plan to go to the Summer Olympics (which in hindsight was laughably impossible, but hey, we wanted the world). Anyway, I missed Mexico, but these kids' goal of New York should surely be achievable. If you care able, send them a few $$$ here.Senior class president Saba Amare writes:Hello, We are the Senior Class Student Government representatives at Bell Multicultural High School, a public school in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington D.C. This year, our graduating class has been working tremendously, in order to raise enough money to decrease the cost of our senior fees of $300/per student.  This total only accounts for the each students Cap and Gown, Graduation Announcements, Yearbook, 1-Prom Ticket, Senior Class T-Shirt, and a Senior lunch. This amount is extremely expensive, considering this total does not include the Senior Trip to New Jersey and New York, currently priced at $350/per personAlthough our Senior Class fees have decreased over the years through fundraisers, donations, and etc., we refuse to simply sit around and pout! Although, this looks perfect in our heads, unfortunately we are struggling economically, and thus apprehensive about the possibilities of graduating with this debt. More than 80% of students in the senior class receive free/reduced lunch and receive other public benefits. The economic instability of many of the students’ households further hinder the affordability of these fees. As Student Government representatives, our job is to voice the concern of our peers and figure out solutions. That is why we are reaching out to people who are compelled to support us! School Bake sales are just not cutting the costs lower enough and considering we have to pay these fees by May 20th, we do not have much time! Hopefully you can support the 211 students graduating this year, by your generous donations! Any amount is of service, as it accumulates, and inevitably makes a vast difference. On behalf of the Bell Multicultural Class of 2016, I would like to say THANK YOU in advance!Best,Senior Class PresidentSaba Amare[...]

Streetcar Opening: Photos


End of the line: Oklahoma Ave NE. Our trip from Union station to Oklahoma Ave took 21 minutes.My best guess: no fares until 2017.Maybe people are catching on: park inside the red lines.There are only 8 stops for now.The car barn and maintenance facility aren't quite complete just yet. 26th & Benning Rd NE.Saturday's trains were packed with curious riders, young and old. Lots of kids, because who does't love trains?The streetcar "turning around" (really just the operator moving form one end of the train to the other) near Benning Road bridge.[...]

Mount Pleasant's Streetcar



Each Peach



Choo Choo Seven: Streetcars, Hashtags, and DC's Best Situation Comedy


Yesterday the Mayor announced that the long awaited DC Streetcar would begin operation next Saturday, February 27. After years of delays, millions in cost overruns, four mayoral administrations, and loss of much public goodwill, the 2-mile long section of track will finally open for passenger service in Northeast DC.That's all well and good and you can skip to the end of this post for some details of the operation and whatnot. However, I'd be remiss if I didn't address how the Mayor announced the news.The flyer created to advertise the opening was simple enough. OK, it did feature a mishmash of font styles, font sizes, and incongruent graphical elements. But, the point was made. Be at 13th St and H NE next Saturday morning.It also made a discombobulated attempt at a clever hashtag, "#Choo/Choo!7" #Choo/Choo!7 is everything. Mostly due to the fact that it can't technically function as a hashtag, I didn't realize it was a play on words until hours after the announcement. Choo Choo = 22 and that shape next to the streetcar is, in fact, the number seven. Choo choo seven. Two two seven. 2/27. February 27. Opening day. OK, finally, it makes sense.But, 227 also has another meaning for DC. It was the title of one of the great American sitcoms in the 1980s. 227 was a television adaptation of a 1970s play set in Chicago. But the TV version was set at "227 Lexington Place," in Washington DC. The show centered on the everyday life stories of residents in the 227 building, but mostly Marla Gibb's character, Mary Jenkins. You'd probably also recognize Jackée Harry's character Sandra, and Helen Martin as Pearl.I got nostalgic and started watching 227 episodes last night. An episode from season 3 is apropos to DC's sometimes cruel real estate landscape. "There Goes the Building" (embedded below) touches on the very timely conflicts around tenant-landlord relations, homelessness, rising rents, and displacement of the poor. 227 was a sitcom, but like a lot of the good ones from the 1970s and 80s, it managed to directly confront real life inner city issues in a competent, adult manner. Enjoy. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"> *     *     *As for the streetcar, the initial rides will be free! For how long...? Unknown. I'm guessing for the first year or so. The hours of operation will be 6:00 AM - 12:00 AM on Mon-Thu, 6:00 AM - 2:00 AM on Fridays, 8:00 AM - 2:00 AM on Saturdays and 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM on holidays. Shockingly, there will be no Sunday service at the outset. That's a decision I don't understand at all. Just... why.The trains will run along H Street NE and Benning Rd NE from Union Station to Oklahoma Ave. It's quite a short route at 8 stops, it runs in mixed traffic, and the route is redundant with the X series buses. All that being said, I'll see you on the 27th! For all the cynicism and nay-saying, I'll be excited to ride and, I don't know, I feel like I'll be riding it more than I anticipated in the past. Of course I'll give a full report and photos from day one. Have a great weekend everyone![...]

The Bottle Shop Open in Adams Morgan


A new wine and beer shop opened recently in Adams Morgan. The Bottle Shop has replaced the cute, bodega-like mini market known as Home Food Store, at 2216 18th St NW. Home Food Store had a bit of everything, like a good corner market always does. It will be missed.

The Bottle Shop has no grocery; it's all adult beverages. Bottle Shop is open 12:00 PM - 10:00 PM Mon-Thu, until 11:00 PM Friday, and until 6:00 PM Sunday.

&pizza to Columbia Heights, Yamas Open in Adams Morgan,


Yamas Mediterranean Grill opened recently in Adams Morgan. The Greek cuisine focused, fast causal eatery already has a District store at New Hampshire Ave and U St NW. The new location is at 2418 18th St NW, formerly occupied by Shwarma Spot. The Yamas menu features a lot of vegetarian friendly options including falafel, vegetarian burger, and a selection of vegetarian mezze.

ABRA Public Hearing signage is up for the &pizza ("and pizza") location in Columbia Heights. The DC-based quick-serve pizza shop has over a dozen locations in the Metro area. The new shop would have a total occupancy load of 46 in addition to a sidewalk cafe of up to 32 seats. &pizza has great veggie and vegan options including multiple choices for crusts, sauces, Daiya cheese, and plenty of toppings.

The address is listed as 1375 Kenyon St NW on the &pizza website, but you may know the location as the former location of 826 DC. It is located on the first floor of the Park Triangle apartment building and bordered by Pollo Campero and FroZenYo. 

Typically, &pizza opens at 11:00 AM, but closing times vary by location and day. I'd expect this location to have similar hours as the U Street store: 11:00 PM close through Thursday and midnight on weekends. No word yet on opening day.

Modell's Will Replace City Sports in PQ


Signs are up announcing Modell's Sporting Goods as the replacement for City Sports in Penn Quarter/Chinatown. The small City Sports chain closed all of its stores after declaring bankruptcy last October. Modell's is actually acquiring leases from three former City Sports locations, including one each in Philadelphia and Boston. 

Modell's is based in New York, NY and has over 150 stores in the Northeast; from Virginia all the way up to New Hampshire. Modell's already has 3 stores in the District: DCUSA in Columbia Heights, Hechinger Mall in Carver-Langston, and a limited access store inside of the Verizon Center in Penn Quarter.  

The new store will be located at 715 7th St NW and should open sometime this spring.

Photos: Washington Auto Show


The show was blizzard shortened, but busy on the final weekend.Suicide doors... everywhere. Every car maker has a model with them.This was a fuel cell concept and take on Doc's DeLoreanNot sure what this was supposed to be... no seating, no console... just chrome and wheels.Seen this city one-seater concept for a few years in a row now.Can't beat classic Mustangs.Wait, actually you can. Classic Cadillacs.This pinball machine was popular.Just liked this shot of a racing Lexus.[...]

We Don't Need High Priced Homes for High Quality Neighborhoods


We can have a high-quality-of-life neighborhood without having the highest priced homes. It's not the monetary value of real estate that define the neighborhood. It's the people who live and work here.Redfin, a web-based residential real estate company, recently created a blog post about which U.S. neighborhoods they consider the "hottest." The methodology was pretty simple; they base the rankings on the number of page views for homes in the neighborhood and number of "favorites" (you can mark individual home listings to monitor pending status, price changes, etc). By these metrics Mount Pleasant was the 5th "hottest" neighborhood in the United States.But, they also note that the median sales price for a home in Mount Pleasant in 2015 was $760,000, more than any other among the top ten hottest neighborhoods. Number 8 on the list, Hamden (Baltimore), had a median home price of $198,000. A $760,000 home with a 30 year mortgage and 4% interest rate, would result in $3,628/month payment. If you wanted to put 20% down, you'd need $152,000 in cash. The $3,628/month does not include taxes, mortgage insurance, HOA/condo fee, or utilities. Assuming those costs totaled $4,000/month (v. conservative), and you aimed to spend a third of your take-home income on housing, you'd need to be making a yearly salary of $144,000, after taxes, to afford the average home sold here in 2015.According to BLS, the median hourly wage for all occupations in the District (in 2014) was $31.20, or about $64,900 per year. You'd need more than two of those salaries to afford the median priced home in Mount P. For DC workers in office and admin support occupations, the median hourly wage was $21.90. For workers in food prep and food service, it was $10.82. The current minimum wage in DC is $10.50 per hour.Look, I agree with Redfin. Mount Pleasant is an awesome neighborhood. We kind of have it all:Mixed-use zoning resulting in our own "Main Street" with neighborhood grocery and other needed retailWide variety of housing options including large multi-family buildings, single-family rowhomes, rentals large and smallInteresting and varied architectural stylesWalkable to an elementary, middle, and high schoolWalkable to a Metro stationTwo buses to the city center (S and 42/43), two cross-town buses (H3/4 and H8)Circulator stopBikeshare stationRock Creek ParkMount Pleasant LibraryEngaging historyFarmer's marketSeem like a perfect place for workers, professionals, artists, single people, coupled people, big families, students, children; pretty much anyone. That's why the $760,000 number is so disheartening. Where are the new mid-range and human-sized housing options? With Howard University recently moving students from Meridian Hill to make way for "luxury apartments," boutique hoteliers planning to upend Union Arts artists, the city's controversial plans for Barry Farm, and the legacy of the Deauville fire displacements --among other examples-- its seems like the ability for average person to just stay put is eroding. It's not just that one can't afford to purchase the priciest condos, it's the alarming idea that just staying where you are, even if you have paid on time/followed rules/done due diligence since day one; even the ability to just exist as-is can come into question.For all the great transit infrastructure, unique retail options, pizza shops, and restaurants, it's really the people that make our neighborhood. Not page views, bids-over-asking, or fewest days on the mar[...]

Phila's HipCityVeg Coming to Chinatown


HipCityVeg will be located between Shophouse and It's Sugar
Philadelphia Business Journal is reporting that HipCityVeg is coming to DC. And I. Can. Not. Wait.

The all-vegan, fast casual restaurant is slated to open at 712 7th St NW in burgeoning Penn Quarter, near Chinatown. The 712 address was previously home to a Ruby Tuesday and very briefly a FroZenYo.

The DC restaurant should open some time this spring and will be HipCityVeg's third or fourth, depending on when the new Philadelphia location opens. They currently have two Philadelphia locations, one in University City and another near Rittenhouse Square.

For the owners, I have one recommendation, one request, and one reflection...

Recommendation: Be ready for people to buy a lot of food. Whatever the daily totals are for the existing stores... throw those numbers out.

Request: Bring Charlie Was a Sinner and Bar Bombón with you! Dying to eat at both of these places.

Reflection: I was totally prepared to hold up the line ordering this off-menu Grilled Chick'n Club, but I see you put it on the menu! Thanks in advance.

Looking forward to visiting this summer. Good luck y'all! 
712 7th Street NW was most recently occupied by FroZenYo

Snowzilla: Photos


Mount Pleasant Street NWSnow Service | No service16th St NWLamont ParkMount Pleasant LibraryColumbia Heights Metro station; closedColumbia Heights Plaza[...]

T-minus 364 Days: Inauguration


Yes, I know it's way too early to be thinking about Inauguration. But, yesterday marked one year until we celebrate another peaceful transfer of power from one President to the next. A year form now, the 45th President will be embarking on their second day of work, and we'd be in the middle of what would probably be a three day weekend with Inauguration falling on a Friday in 2017 (January 20). Other dates to look forward to before then:
  • February 1: The first presidential primary: Iowa Caucuses.
  • March 1: Super Tuesday: Fifteen states have presidential primaries/caucuses on this day.
  • March 12: District of Columbia Republican Caucus. FYI - This is on a Saturday. 
  • June 14: District of Columbia Democratic primary. Yes, literally the last primary in the U.S.
  • July 18-21: Republican Convention in Cleveland.
  • July 25-28: Democratic Convention in Philadelphia.
  • September 26: First presidential debate.
  • October 4: Vice presidential debate.
  • October 9: Second presidential debate. 
  • October 19: Third presidential debate. 
  • November 8: Election Day.
  • December 19: Electoral College meets in each state to cast official votes for President & VP.
  • January 6, 2017: Joint Congressional session to tally electoral votes.
  • January 20, 2017: Inauguration of new President.