Walkabout: Taking a Peek at the Progress on New Ben’s Chili Bowl


George's Place (before photo, courtesy Google)

George’s Place (before photo, courtesy Google)

Went on a neighborhood walkabout this morning and snapped a few photos of the construction at the new Ben’s Chili Bowl coming to 10th and H Street NE.  Surprisingly, almost the whole building is now gone, and it’s a big change from the former George’s Place, a men’s fashion store that occupied the corner for decades.  Compare the before photo above with these photos from today:








Reader photo: Church Service at Starburst Park

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Thanks to a reader for sending in the above photo.  A local church held a service at the Startburst Park (Bladensburg Road @ Morse St NE) last weekend, taking advantage of the good weather.

Great to see it getting used!

Upcoming Event: Twerk & Rumble



It’s hard not to notice this upcoming event- “Twerk & Rumble” is coming to Tony’s Gym (a local boxing gym on Mount Olivet Road) on April 20th from 4-11pm.  If you need the details, they’re on the above poster, or you can probably find a similar poster stapled to a tree on your street (they’re all over the place).

Anyone ever been to Tony’s Gym for an event?


Weekend Plans: Local Art Gallery Open House Saturday Afternoon

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open studio

From a reader comes word of a cool sounding weekend art event at 411 New York Avenue NE, just behind Union Market:

hey there, just wanted to let you know about our studio launch taking place this weekend over in the hood behind union market.

coverage from pink line has the basic infos:






A Visit to New Columbia Distillers

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The gorgeous weather this week afforded ample opportunity to get out and about, so a reader stopped by New Columbia Distillers, the new neighborhood start-up that’s distilling gin.  Here are some photos from his visit/tour, including descriptions of the process.  The distillery is open for public visits from 1-4pm on Saturdays on Fenwick St NE in Ivy City.  From their website:

In 2011 John and Michael were the first to bring craft distilling to DC. After a brief apprenticeship with Dry Fly Distillery, they located a home for their distillery in a 90-year-old warehouse near the Art Deco landmark Hecht Co. warehouse on New York Ave.

“The gin starts with wheat, sourced from a farmer in the Northern Neck area of Virginia.”


“To start the process, wheat is ground in this machine, then pumped to the fermenter, where it’s combined with yeast and water.”


“After fermentation, the mixture is moved to the distiller, where it is heated to about 100 degrees.  Alcohol evaporates before water, and the alcohol vapor passes through bags containing herbs that give the gin its signature flavor.”


“Green Hat gin gets  its flavor from these 12 herbs and spices that are infused in the alcohol during distillation.”

“After a couple of distillation passes, the product is almost ready.  It’s cooled and stored for a week, then bottled.  Something cool they offer is the opporunity to help them bottle the gin.”

“And then the bottles are boxed and ready for distribution!  The distillery has bottles for sale on-site (during the day Mon-Fri, and 1-4pm on Saturday), and it’s also available at a few stores locally (including Schneider’s).”


Walkabout: Maryland Ave Shell Station Coming Along


It looks like the Maryland Avenue Shell gas station is moving along.  They now have a completed awning, and are working on the brick facade for the building.  The station, located at 14th and Maryland Avenue, was the site of contention for years.  In 2005, a used car company called Calink rented the property for their auto dealership, but a local ANC commissioner noted that they were occupying public space and the city cracked down on them, shuttering the car lot.  After that, it remained vacant for years, save the occasional squatter.  When DAG Petroleum announced plans to build a new gas station at the site, many neighbors protested, even creating a “Shell No” campaign that cited the lot’s blight as one of several reasons to oppose the new gas station.  It appears that some of the concerns, such as the gas pumps not being covered, have been mitigated.

 When I asked a construction guy about the timeline, he said they should be open in a couple months.

So, what do you think?  Will this turn out better than expected?  Or is it still considered a detriment to Capitol Hill?

Walkabout: photos from Halloween


DC’s flag carved into pumpkin

Two of many cute trick-or-treaters!

Kids, upset by a lack of candy at this home with a lit porch light.

Egg left on the front porch of a home with a lit porch light but no candy.

Walkabout: Post-storm photos

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I went walking around early this morning to take a look at the damage.  We’re mostly fine- damage seems limited to a few downed trees & branches, and a lot of leaves.  We’re very fortunate.

The mayor’s riding around in a motorcade with a bunch of military Humvees, which seems to be an overkill for damage that consists mostly of leaves and the occasional downed tree (courtesy @MattAckland):


Huge tree down at Montello and Oates St NE (courtesy Twitter user @msweitze):


Downed tree blocking Neal Street NE at Trinidad Ave NE:



This car was nearly hit (but spared) by this large tree limb in the 1400 block of Oates St NE:



Even the late-night tire shop closed up for the weather, perhaps a first:



Something that definitely survived?  All those campaign signs:

And here’s a live view from the #TrinidadDC weathercam, which will stay active through today:


Broadcasting live with Ustream

What damage have you seen?  Let us know in the comments.

Walkabout: The George Mason Memorial


Did you know DC has a George Mason Memorial?   On my weekend walkabout in DC, I stumbled across this sweet memorial near the Tidal Basin.  Here are some photos. 

From the Natioal Park Service:

Dedicated on April 9, 2002, honors the little known but widely felt contributions of an important founding father.

I’m thinking the landscaping could use a little TLC, but it was still pretty nice.

A fountain greets visitors to the George Mason Memorial.