Thursday, January 10, 2008

Draft District of Columbia Department of Transportation 15th Street, NW, Configuration

Here is the introduction to the draft report. For the entire draft, see the link below.

"In the 1960's, transportation officials converted many of the District's two-way streets to one-way traffic to move large number of vehicles in and out of the city. Such was the case with 15th Street, NW, and its southbound sister street, 17th Street. Back then, moving cars was the priority.

"In the 21st century, however, the situation looks different. People are moving into the District. Residents enjoy biking and walking to nearby destinations and to downtown. 15th Street itself, with one-way, high-speed traffic, resembles an urban freeway and does not reflect the neighborhood through which it flows. The capacity of the street (four lanes, one-way) is more than necessary for the traffic volume, particularly since the street narrows to one lane at the north end.

"In order to reflect its residential character and make walking and bicycling safer and more convenient, the District Department of
Transportation (DDOT) is examining the possibility of adding bicycle lanes and converting the operation to two-way traffic.,a,1249,q,643030.asp

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A View from the Corner Office

By late afternoon today, the heat index had reached 106 degrees. By sundown, however, a thunderstorm arrived with little advance notice. Here is a shot taken from the third floor on the northwest corner of 15th & U Streets, NW. The building in the lower right of the shot is Extra Space Storage at 1420 U Street, NW. It has to be at least 100 years old, although they renovated it last year.

Friday, August 24, 2007

U Street Poetry Scene

Today's Washington Post had a great article about the U Street poetry scene.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Weekend To-Do List: Plan Party; Brush Up on Local History

Although I’m not in the market for custom-printed keychains, giant pink stuffed bears or bulk quantities of fake dracula teeth, I stopped at Monarch Novelty at 1331 14th Street, NW, this morning to chat with the store's owner, whom I often pass on the street.

If you decide to venture inside and under the 53-year-old painted wooden sign, you may find that Monarch has a decent selection of standard party decorations, like balloons, streamers and signs, along with party handouts, like hats and noisemakers, at prices lower than you are likely to find anywhere else in the city. I asked what they have for Halloween parties, and was shown a gold-fringed “Happy Halloween” banner and bags of small, inexpensive toys to pass out to trick-or-treaters instead of candy. What a great idea.

While most of Monarch’s business comes from bulk sales to churches, law firms and schools, I’m told that they do a fair amount of walk-in retail business. The most popular selling items are large rolls of double-counting tickets, which churches and PTAs use for raffles. They also do custom printing on those goodies you pick up at conferences, like business card holders, pocket calendars and tote bags. One firm had coffee mugs printed with the citation to a case they had just won.
Monarch carries an interesting stock of buttons from the 1960s, which it acquired from A.A.A. Novelties, after that store was demolished to make way for construction of the J. Edgar Hoover Building on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Monarch is not a high-tech operation. They still use a rotary telephone. Orders are taken on a pad of carbon paper.
The business is family-run and has been in operation since 1941, when it was in a house on 1st Street, NW. Monarch later moved to 2020 Rhode Island Avenue, NE, before relocating here. It has been at its current location on 14th Street, NW, for 53 years.

Monarch Novelty Company
1331 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005-3610
hours: Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm; Saturday 9am – 1pm

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Construction Update

The first photograph is of the construction pit that flanks the former Paradise Liquors site at 1900 14th Street, NW (the corner of 14th and T Streets, NW) to the north and west. It looks like the construction firm is in the process of laying a foundation. The other photograph is of the storefront that remains intact at the corner for historic preservation reasons. I liked the urban feel to it, from the dirty glass block, the iron bars, the padlock, and the signs plastered over the glass door, which probably was never washed since it was installed. A writer for the Washington Post observed almost two years ago that the at-the-time impending closure of Paradise Liquors was emblematic of the ongoing transformation of the neighborhood.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday Morning Mystery: Did They Bolt?

Regulars at the Jolt ‘n Bolt at 18th and T Streets, NW, had a jolt this morning. A completely new staff was behind the counter. JnB is probably the closest thing we have to an East Village café. The outdoor patio is ideal for reading the Times with a smoothie and a bagel on a sunny day. It’s never crowded in the morning, and they open earlier than most other cafés. They also have real bagels. The new manager assured me that Helen is on vacation and that the new staff is only filling in while she is away.

Jolt N Bolt Coffee and Tea House
1918 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009

Sale Today at Ruff and Ready Furnishings

At 1908 14th Street, NW. This chair is too fabulous for me, but it looks like a very good deal, for the right person.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Sparkys' R.I.P.

Here's the sign in front of Sparkys' mentioned in an earlier post. Despite the sign, they were not open today. What a loss for the neighborhood. They knew how to make really great espresso.