Monday, December 18, 2006

A Bigger Burke

BeforeAfterThere's more Edmund Burke School these days than there used to be. Located on the corner of Upton Street and Connecticut Avenue in the Van Ness area, the new addition is standing on what used to be a patch of grass. The original portion of the school is on the extreme right of the "after" photo.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Whaddya say we skip work today?

The bus arrives! Metro rail was closed this morning (November 16, 2006) between Van Ness and Farragut North causing crowds of people to wait on Connecticut Avenue for shuttle buses.

It seems there was a loss of power between Dupont Circle and Woodley Park causing a train to stop. The approximately 75 passengers had to be Waiting for a bus at Van Ness.led back to Dupont on a catwalk that runs beside the track. If any of those 75 are bloggers, I expect they'll have a catwalk story to tell a little later today.

Metro is now trying to find out why there was a loss of power.Another packed bus takes off for Farragut North.

Buses are also bringing people north to Van Ness and dropping them off so they can continue northwards on the train.

Lucky Van Ness to be the site of all this activity at 7 in the morning!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

CVS Listens

CVS window in Cleveland ParkI don't know if the concept of "the customer is always right" ever went away, but if it did, well, it's back. We're living in an age where the customer gets what he wants or he goes elsewhere.

The Paradox of Choice pointed out the astonishing amount of options consumers have available to them on the shelves and also in the amount of places to buy those items whether in traditional stores or on the Web. Any organization that's unresponsive to today's customer might not stay in business for long.

An example of businesses working to keep customers happy, at least locally, can be found at the CVS in Cleveland Park. The store had large, colorful panels in its windows facing out to the street. You might have seen them: mostly red pieces, about 20x24 with CVS in yellow (or white) letters. Inoffensive, impractical, eye-catching blotches of color.

The Cleveland Park denizens, however, didn't much care for them and let CVS know that the windows might be even more attractive if the panels were replaced with photos of historical Cleveland Park. Well, lo and behold, fast-forward a few weeks and suddenly there's old-time Cleveland Park right there in the windows of CVS.

The photos are accompanied by short captions that are actually drawing passers-by in to examine the pictures and read the captions.

I don't think CVS burned any bridges or lost any customers by agreeing to this request. Well done CVS!

By the way, there's an egregious error on one of the captions. Get down there and see if you can figure it out!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

This just in!

We're very excited to imagine that Van Ness just might become the new leader in the race for the coveted title of Sandwich Shop Capital of the World.

The opening of Potbelly in late September brings the total of sandwich emporiums to seven on a strip of Connecticut Avenue about, oh, 150 yards long. Coming south from Albemarle Street we have Quiznos, Schlotzsky's, Subway and Potbelly (across the avenue from each other), Epicurean (actually a cafeteria style restaurant plus a bar but also heavily into sandwiches so work with me here people), and, maybe to stretch it a little, there's also Burger King and KFC/Taco Bell.

If we could just get another dry cleaners to go along with the four existing ones: Zips, Parklane, Diplomat, and Embassy, in that same strip of connave we could potentially get the Dynamite Double of Sandwich Shop and Dry Cleaner Capital of the World!

Where could Van Ness go from there? Well, a decent bar wouldn't go amiss.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Run it up the pole

Pole cameras have made an appearance on Connecticut Avenue. Well, I've actually only seen one (pictured) and this one is close to the Broadmoor in Cleveland Park. The camera is pointing northwards seemingly aimed directly at the middle of the avenue. The police have said that the cameras are not for catching red light runners but are there as a crime deterrent. So, if you happen to get mugged in the middle of Connecticut Avenue just north of the Broadmoor, rest assured the perp will be be captured for posterity -- at least on camera.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Rumblings From Down Under

OK, this isn't strictly about ConnAve, it's about Metro. But hey, the train goes under ConnAve and that's close enough for me.

I've ridden Metro for the last month so obviously I'm now an expert. This is not an anti-Metro rant; you can find plenty of that elsewhere. You want to hear about elevators and escalators that don't work? Late trains? Single tracking? Sorry, wrong blog.

What I have is a list of the things I find particularly annoying about my fellow travelers along with some advice for them. I suppose a “Ten Worst” list would be appropriate but I don’t have ten, I have nine. No anger management necessary here!

In no particular order:

1) Don't sit on the outside of seats in an attempt to keep me off "your" seat unless you want me crawling all over you. You're not really "special" enough to deserve that seat to yourself.

2) If you are the driver that says, "All aboard! Doors are closing." when actually, they're just now opening, and then repeat it at every station, and I mean EVERY station, well, don't be surprised if I run up to the front of the train one of these days and rip out your little microphone.

3) Keep your foot off that vertical pole when you're sitting on the inward facing seat unless you want your lower leg amputated.

4) What about the people who are so enormous that they take up two seats on their own. Do we need bigger seats? Or smaller humans? We already have seats designated as being available for people with disabilities or the elderly, maybe we should have fat seats that stretch most of the way across the train so the 300 pound and up crowd have a place for themselves.

5) Face front, and keep those feet tucked in! When you sit on the outside of the seat and stick your feet -- both of them! -- out there in the aisle, don't be shocked if those naked little tootsies get stomped on.

6) Hey! People that leave newspapers on the train! Why don't you save the paper and tomorrow, give it back to the person that gave it to you?

7) To the crowd of folks who get up two stops before Metro Center and stand next to the door so they can be first in line to burst out the doors and sprint off to another platform. Have you tried getting an earlier train?

8) To Mr. Hard O'Hearing who won't be happy until he's achieved total deafness, and so listens to his music at full blast so we can all hear that annoying, repetitive, tinny, racket all over the train. Thanks a lot Mr. O'Hearing! Here's to your eventual happiness. Come to think of it, why can you only hear the bass from a passing car when the volume is up at the deafening level, but it's only treble that leaks out of an iPod?

9) Please. Let's all liberally apply deodorant and suck on breath mints before boarding a crowded train.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Giant people seen at Van Ness

Seven months after closing for renovations and enlarging, the Giant at Van Ness has re-opened and so far it looks good, at least on the first weekend. The place is considerably bigger than the previous incarnation, more colorful, inviting, friendly, and with a much larger choice of products. There are still two entrances, one from Connecticut Avenue and one from the Veazey Street garage. There are 12 checkout lanes, three of which are self-checkout.

The variety of drinks alone is astonishing. And over 200 types of cheese. Enough choice to drive a maximizer insane.

I read somewhere that Giant brings in experienced employees for store openings to ensure smooth running as well as the training of permanent staff so all bets are off what the place will be like in a couple of months but for now, welcome back Giant, you're looking good.

Egg Heaven

My idea of a treat in Cleveland Park on an occasional weekend morning is an omelet from Firehook Bakery.

Walk into 3411 Connecticut Avenue across from the Uptown Theater between 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m on a Saturday or Sunday and right inside the door you'll find the lady waiting to take care of your omelet desires.

She has more toppings than you'll need including ham, two types of cheese, red peppers, onions, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms. You can also go for bacon and hash browns on the side. A slice of freshly baked bread tops it all off and whaddya know, it's only $5.50. With or without toppings.

The bakery is a long, skinny place with two rows of tables and, way at the back, an outdoor area with some more places to sit and enjoy the food and some quiet time. Firehook's omelet is one of those treats you might not know about if you don't live in the area but it's well worth traveling for.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Put a lid on it!

One of the Cleveland Park Metro exits got a Cleveland Park Metro gets a new roof.
new roof over the escalator this weekend. I don't know a lot about escalators but you've got to figure that rain and escalators don't go together too well. And that probably goes a long way towards explaining those unintelligable announcements about escalator outages. At least I think that's what they're about. Maybe after they've settled on a new "Doors Closing" voice, they can give some thought to that voice that sounds like it's telling us something important but gets lost as it reverberates throughout the stations.

The escalator outage situation is so chronic that Metro has an Electronic Elevator Notification system in place where you can be sent electronically (as long as it stays dry and remains working), messages telling you of the current escalator status. Metro calls it ELLEN although I'm not sure how you get ELLEN out of Electronic Elevator Notification.

Back in 2001, Metro held a competition for the design of a canopy which was eventually won by a Silver Spring architectural firm. What is it with Metro and competitions? First canopies, now voices. How about they have an internal competition to see how safe and reliable they can make public transportation?

Anyway, before I get off track (no pun intended), Metro has figured out this escalator/weather problem and so Dupont Circle, Woodley Park, and now one side of Cleveland Park have all sprouted these rounded canopies. Metro says that 53 outdoor entrances will have canopies eventually.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

So where should we drink tonight?

There's been some odd naming of bars in the Cleveland Park area just lately. The Uptown Tavern for one. In most places, this wouldn't be a problem but when people refer to "the Uptown" in the Cleveland Park area, they're talking about the theater. So why try and compete with that? It's forcing us to use two words when bars should be known by one name, preferably with a maximum of six letters. Nanny's, for example. An odd name for a bar to be sure but when someone says, "I was at Nanny's last night," or I'll meet you at Nanny's at ten," chances are they're not talking about their grandmother. Try saying, "I'll see you at the Uptown on Friday night" to somebody and suddenly you've got a totally unnecessary conversation on your hands.

There's a load of restaurants in Cleveland Park that adhere to the one word name: Ardeo, Lavandou, Palena, Dino, Indique, Alero, Yanni's, and Spices for example. Pretentious sounding for sure, but the latest batch of watering holes could learn from their fancier, yet more simply named, brethren.

The late, lamented (at least by me) Bricks was another great name that caused no confusion. But the new owners decided to rename it the Cleveland Park Bar & Grill. Rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it? Five words and a mighty twenty-two letters. So what's the shorthand of that? CPB&G? Try saying, "I'm off to the CPB&G" out loud. Go ahead, I'll wait.
A common response will be, "what?" Or, from the less verbose, "huh?" And once again you have to explain yourself.

Even the Four P's (as everybody called it), though technically two words I suppose, didn't violate the six letter rule. But now, weighing in at three words and fifteen letters, the Four P's has become Four Green Fields. The best I can come up with is The Fields mainly because I know of an Irish bar in San Diego called The Field and that's a fun little place.

Still, whatever happened to Joe's?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

So long, Ireland's Four Provinces . . .

The Four P's is no more -- at least not in Cleveland Park. But fear not you Guinness swilling, wild, wild rovers. The bar is still there, it's just changed owners and got itself a new name. It's now known as Four Green Fields and has been bought by longtime Four P's General Manager, Frank Hughes. Part of the deal was on the understanding that the business name would be changed so as not to conflict with the Falls Church version of the Four Provinces.

So what do we call them? The Four G's? The Fields? Something tells me they'll be known far and wide as the Four P's for a while yet.