Welcome back – Fun New Years Facts

As everyone comes back from their holiday celebration and preps for News Years, I hope you are all happy and healthy. I am ‘working’ this week but will have some time to post I hope.

Fun New Year facts to impress your friends: First, did you know that we did not start celebrating “New Years” until the conversion to the Gregorian Calendar in the 15th Century. The had to leap forward almost 2 weeks due to missing days in the old Roman Julian Calendar instituted by Julius Caesar. At that time, the Pope changed the celebration of the new year from March to January. American Colonists being the prickly protestants that they were, refused to move to the new calendar until the 1700s and RUssia did not switch until the Russian Revolution in 1917.

Time Zones were not instituted in the US until the railroad revolution in the 1870s. Trains hated having to change the time at each new city they arrived in. Each city had it’s own time which was communicated by the dropping of a ball at noon in the center of town. A tradition that continues in Times Square on New Years. Train schedules demanded that a standard timekeeping system be established. States joined a time zone depending on what time their partner companies worked in. So Indianapolis is part of the Eastern Time Zone because they worked with New York so often. Farmers in western Indiana are part of the Central Time Zone because they needed the sun for farming…..

Flea Market to end Jan 31….

To those who know the Flea (Thieves) Market at 9th & Florida, you know it has been a pawn shop for many things stolen in the neighborhood. You will be happy to note that JBG the developers of the site, will end the market on Jan 31st and instead provide parking until they break ground on their new 6 story buildings.

Sorry once again an anitquated computer so I need to insert the hyperlinks

DC is growing more than the states! (http://www.princeofpetworth.com/2011/12/dcs-population-grows-2-7-to-617996/) From April 2010 to July 2011, DC gained 16k people or 2.7% which makes it a faster grower than any state. That follows a decade where DC gained population for the first time in 50 years. It seems DC is becoming a mecca for more than politicos. (Of course that could be because we are the only economy growing in the US.) 

More Cab news: Luggage fees (http://www.princeofpetworth.com/2011/12/dear-popville-dc-taxi-luggage-issue/) will end under the terms of the new taxi fee which is nice but why are they using $2.16 as the per mile charge? Are cabs really going to have  pennies to make change?

Beware the lost package! Borderstand has a good article on always requiring signature on packages sent to you. My building has had problems with packages stolen in the past and I wish our building manager would actually collect them for us but to no avail. I end up running an informal doorman service for my neighbors when I see a package. I usually will collect it and then send them a text or note letting them know I have it for them. It’s a good way to ensure safety your your packages and good neighbors.

Neighborhood news: (http://dcmud.blogspot.com/2011/12/affordable-housing-in-shaw-hits-snag.html) Lincoln Westmoreland, the affordable housing development at R between 7th & 9th is fighting a devloper over air rights around it’s complex. I did not know it was a church founded development but I will be curious to see how it works out. Like most affordable housing trends I think less density versus more is the better idea. JBG (http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/print-edition/2011/12/16/jbg-closes-on-753m-fund-to-acquire.html) has closed on $753 Million dollars in financing for their various projects which includes District Condos and the lots along 8th Street at V and Florida.

The Howard Theater progresses despite the trouble the Lincoln is having. The redesign looks great. Hopefully they can keep the operating expenses down to make it profitable – a problem the Lincoln has had. http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post.cgi?id=13095 The best idea seems to be that it will not have permanent seats in the orchestra. This is allow it to be used for more functions than the Lincoln.

CaBi http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post.cgi?id=12941 is in a delimma over whether to expand existing stations and make them bigger or creative lots of little stations. Expansion costs $13k whereas a new station costs $36k. I like th idea of bigger stations because I believe in most areas their saturation is appropriate but as you move into VA that may be different.

Do we need to curb newspaper boxes? I have said before I woudl like to see more streetside bodegas mostly because I think DC newsboxes are out of control: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post.cgi?id=13021

I am off to the ‘rents tomorrow until next week so please have a great Festivus or whatever holiday you celebrate……

Mystery….

Does anyone know what is up with Bemini Hardware? I see some stock in the window but in the 5 years I have lived in the hood I have never seen it open.

Taylors Sandwich shop has started it’s countdown until opening in the old Rough & Ready space. I am scared to think how much time it took to fix up that place.

Unfortunately Habitat at 15th & U is closing. Good to see the Congolese embassy is abiding by their agreement with the city to break up the payment in the front yard. Blackbyrd gets reviewed by PoP fans.

Films on U Street!

The Mayor’s office has announced that the Lincoln Theater will host a 4 week run of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. The sponsor, Landmark Theaters who run the E Street Cinema, are donating proceeds back to the city for upkeep of the theater. I think this ia a great idea. Congratulations!

Why does DC have so many hotels? Tourists and conventions maybe? Do brick sidewalks encourage car break ins? I think they are nice when well maintained. But when the ground settles, they can be hazardous for wheelchairs and even walkers.

The Post Office at 14th & Wallach has been saved until February when it'[s lease technically runs out, but there are still no proposals for a facility after that

Housing / Construction updates

Great News: Trader Joe’s is rumored to be looking into the-formerly-known-as Utopia building. I am not always crazy about their products but I love their cheap wine!

The U Street Neighborhood Association has a great synopsis of the recent construction proposals for U Street.

Sherman Avenue – the streetscape is way behind.  They may be 6 – 8 months behind, as they were supposed to finish phase 1 in November and they are only part way through.  DDOT says PEPCO delayed them.  Residents say traffic on streets around Sherman (11th & Georgia) is awful.

Howard Theatre – T Street and Witlburger.  This HAS to be completed by the Howard Theatre opening, but work hasn’t offically been awarded yet.  It has to be approved by who knows who, before they can start.  DDOT presenter says the contractor can get in done.  Someone brought up that T Street in from of the Howard was supposed to be closed with limited car assess.  As of now, no one knows how that will happen or the effect closing T will have on any other streets nearby.

U Street – Phase 1 (9th to 14th).  Supposed to awarded in December with construction starting in April.  Projected to take 8 months and will be done a block at a time.  DDOT says there will be no effect on traffic and NO NEED to worry about traffic going on side streets to avoid construction.  Robin Schuster of the Wallach and 14th and U Farmers Market asked that Phase 2 on the NW corner of 14th and U be scheduled for when the Farmers Market is closed (December – April).  I was also assured that U Street construction would not be as disruptive as Adams Morgan 18th Street.

The last presentation was on GA Ave.  There is no local money for GA Ave, which has been planned in meetings for years for Petworth to FL AVenue, but the FHA (Feds) will pay to do FL Avenue to Barry Place, which we all thought was ludicrous.  It then got heated, and I left before it was over.

Here is an analysis of the housing marketing in DC for 2011. The November numbers were especially strong. Which is good for the new Yale West development down in Mt Vernon Square breaking ground next week.

Here are two ways you can measure up! How does the DC cost of living compared to salaries. Here you can give input to developers, what businesses you’d like to see in your hood.

Sad news: Dollar coins are going away, not that I ever used them…..

This looks funny….

I loved Borat and remember seeing him in Results Pride parade float years ago. Sasha Baron Cohen has a new movie called the Dictator which looks very appropriate given the rash of overturned Middle East Dictators lately.

On a more serious note, if we are warning pedestrians to stay alert when walking, can’t we put signs like this on the blocks with the most auto break ins? It seems like the old Vegetate site on 9th street is cursed. The third restaurant in 3 years has closed. The Park Service is still looking at what to do with the Georgetown Waterfront. Given that it took them 25 years to finish the park there. I don’t expect action soon. Also cab fares are due to go up by 30%. I think we have benefited from cheap fares for the past 2 years. Fares probably should go up but some of the other rules can go away like additional passenger / baggage fees, etc.

Personal note: There is no way America will allow a cell phone ban in cars. NTSB is noble to propose it but I think it is unreasonable. But as an older neighbor pointed out last night, they never thought 55mph would become the law of the land. AND as we now know, it’s not – thank you for 65mph zones….. An interesting fact from San Fran: congestion parking rates don’t necessarily improve parking availability. As I think of it, street parking is always so much cheaper than a garage. It is always a better option.

On a positive note, a cool house built behind Union Row is highlighted in PoP. The new Z Burger in the Tivoli theater in Columbia Heights has done a great job restoring the murals on the theater walls. Check them out. Also in ColHt, the building across from Giant is due for a complete gut and re-do. Costco will be in the District but the end of 2012? – Dare I hope?!?!?

Borderstan has some good ideas for charities to support as stocking stuffers or accessory shopping locally. They also have a lessons on proper etiquette for the holiday season.

The Marion Barry movie, which has signed up Eddie Murphy to star, also has Spike Lee as Director. That is impressive I just hope he can bring the many facets of Marion’s personality. It seems Marion is willing to help……

Marion Barry Movie?

Check out this new travel game in London: Chromaroma. The local travel authority gives access to traveler information but doing that could also lead to some insights on how to manage rush hours better.

This is another thing that could improve DC: Newstands. I would love the chance to buy a magazine or newspaper on the corner. When my Economist subscription ran out, it took me forever to find a shop that carried the magazine. I wish we had more of the simple businesses.

Speaking of business: What is up with the Wonderbread Factory? Work has started on the new restaurant at 14th & V Streets. DC has 2 of the best bars in America according to Food & Wine.

Did you know DC came in second in cities with the most parkland. New York came in first but I think that’s because of all those wild areas out by Kennedy Airport.

Rumor has it that Eddie Murphy is interested in playing Marion Barry in a HBO movie. This could be great!