Monday, January 31, 2011

Old Post Office to become a hotel?

We have long been advocates of the secret of the Old Post Office Pavilion.  Go to the top of the clocktower for free and see basically the same sight as those who wait in line for hours at the Washington Monument to peer out of those tiny windows.

Of course, the Old Post Office could be so much more.  It's well-located and has a food court/mall inside in an open space with high cielings and skylights that could cater to area businesspeople and residents.  But it's mostly mired with low quality food and dirty tables.

However, that could all change.

The Washington Business Journal reports that the General Services Administration is trying to move all the federal workers out of the building and open it up to private development.  So far, hotel developers have been clamoring to get into the space.

Of course, this is a process that started long ago and has hit a lot of speed bumps. 

The location is great for a hotel, however.  Or maybe a hotel/residences combination?  Did someone say apartments with room service?

Hopefully whatever development comes of the place will include street-level retail and will make use of the food court area and the observation deck.

New development coming to H street

You may have noticed that next to Vapiano on H Street there is some empty space.

But now that space is going to disappear and more vibrancy will make its way to Penn Quarter.

Monument Realty has announced, and the Washington Business Journal has reported, that they are planning to build an 80,000 square foot office and retail building in the space.

They are looking for an investment partner, but hope to break ground later this year.  What retail would you like to see here on H street?

Microsoft comes to Penn Quarter

Penn Quarter is rapidly becoming the tech center of D.C., with behemoths such as Living Social and Facebook moving into the neighborhood.

Now, add Microsoft to the list.

The Washington Business Journal reports that Microsoft has leased 20,000 square feet of space at 9th and K Streets N.W.

The space is said to include not only offices, but an "innovation center" with touch displays, Xbox 360s, and a Kinect Living Room, where hill staffers can play video games.

Microsoft is moving from 14th and Eye Streets N.W.

Red Velvet introduces breakfast muffins and gives them away free

Red Velvet is expanding their product line.  The cupcakery at 7th and E N.W. is now offering breakfast muffins.

To celebrate, they will be offering free muffins tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The cupcakery announced the event via twitter:

Monster Jam at the Verizon Center: Awesome.

This weekend Monster Jam was at the Verizon Center, and PQ Insider was there (like we'd miss this).

The Verizon Center was packed with fans, even most of the luxury suites had people in them.

The event featured free style competitions, where the trucks are given time to crush things and make the crowd go wild, and head-to-head races (over stacks of cars of course).

There were also races between two teams of All Terrain Vehicles.  One team was from New York, which has sufficient trash talk about our fine town, and the other represented D.C.  In the end, D.C. won of course (as in life).

Instead of the real Grave Digger, however, this Monster Jam featured "Grave Digger The Legend," a throwback to the original Grave Digger.  This one has a simple paint job and muted colors, but retains its hearse shape:

Why the different Grave Digger?  It was probably more than just for the sake of nostalgia.  We happen to know that Monster Jam was also holding events this weekend in Anaheim, Orlando, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Greenville (S.C.), Uniondale (N.Y.), Little Rock, Wichita, and Roanoke

Friday, January 28, 2011

Redline to introduce iPhone app for ordering

We make no secret here at Penn Quarter Insider that Redline is our new favorite Penn Quarter bar.

Fritz Hahn of the Washington Post recently reviewed the "gastropub," as they like to be called, and largely agreed.

They report that Redline has free wifi and plans to introduce an iPhone/iPad app that allows customers to order and have food delivered to their table.  We love that plan.  Last night, Penn Quarter Insider noticed that when you are at a table with your own beer tap, the wait staff tends to (understandably) pay less attention to you.  Penn Quarter insider was hungry.  An iPhone app soon to the rescue.

The full review is available here.

Washington Post reviews Cuba Libre

Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post has reviewed Cuba Libre, and it wasn't all smiles.

He complains about being briefed at the beginning of each meal--which we agree with, but all-in-all, Cuba Libre is a tourist restaurant.  So it's usually everyone's first time.  He also tells the staff to ease up on the sales pitches, which do get beyond annoying at the 9th and H restaurant.

He also says his food has gotten worse each visit.  That is what we expected of a tourist restaurant, but have not experienced like he has.  Contrarily, our food has gotten better and better.

Sietsema complains about the noise in the restaurant--a complaint that we have heard frequently and sympathize with.  However, he also reports that the restaurant's owners are investing in $30,000 worth of sound absorbers.

He concludes with these words: "Cuba Libre looks like a place for tourists -- and too often lives down to that archetype."

The review is available here.

Hill Country BBQ progresses . . . slowly

Hill Country BBQ claims to be opening in Winter 2011; however, the project has been delayed multiple times.  Once they received a citation for working after hours and were ordered to cease working.  So their attempts to speed things up may have cost them time in the end.

PQ Insider took a peek behind the plywood that has become a stable landmark on 7th Street.

There is a glass wall up, which will be the exterior of the restaurant once it is open.  Beyond that glass wall, however, the space is still mostly gutted and it looks like their is quite a bit of work to do:

So will it be open by March?  Only time will tell.  But November is "Winter 2011," too.

Village Vines offers dining deals

A website called Village Vines is offering 30% off your entire bill at select restaurants.  The catch?  You have to pay $10 to make the reservation.  However, Washington restaurants do not make it difficult to make up that $10.

Village Vines offers the deal at many Penn Quarter restaurants, including:
  • PS7's
  • CoCo Sala
  • Zengo
And several other nearby restaurants:
  • Againn
  • Lima
  • Tuscana West
  • Aqua Al 2
  • Bistro Bis
  • Vidalia
And of course restaurants in all the other parts of town.  You can sign up here.

Try some new places or get a discount at your old favorites!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cowgirl Creamery Review reviewed Cowgirl Creamery, the cheese shop on F street.

The review was entirely positive, and is available here.  Full text after the jump.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Penn Quarter road conditions & snow plow tracking

Be VERY careful.

The snow has been coming down too fast for plows to have any meaningful impact.  Even the President had to sit in traffic for an hour as D.C. was locked in gridlock.

Be careful of sidewalks, too.  We saw many businesses shoveling their side walks tonight, but there are still several bad patches.  The watery snow runoff could also freeze and turn into ice.

You can track the progress of D.C. snow plows and salt trucks here.

Although it is continually changing, Penn Quarter is largely salted right now, with plows catching up.

Metro will operate normally today despite snow

WMATA says that rail and bus service will operate normally today, despite forecasts for several inches of snow.

Of course "normally" isn't always a good thing.  The Federal Government was released two hours early today, and as the 5pm crowd left work (at 3pm), we have heard several reports that Metro was not in rush hour mode.

As it approaches 5:00 p.m., Metro should be adding more trains and more cars to those trains.

Be careful on the platforms, as they may be slippery.

Metro will suspend above ground service only if it snows more than 8 inches because electrical power cannot get to the train.

DC Circulator Live Map is Live is up!

That means you cannot only conveniently see the different Circulator routes, but there is a live map telling you where each Circulator is.

This is especially convenient for Penn Quarter residents who are in the middle of a lot of Circulator routes.  You can also assess whether you should go to the 9th and F stop, for example, or whether it will be faster to hop down to 9th and Pennsylvania.

Here is a map of part of the route from the Convention Center to the Southwest Waterfront.  The arrows are actual buses and their direction of travel (you can see them move on the screen on the website):

There is also a list of each stop on each route and the time until the next Circulator gets to that stop.

Washingtonian profiles The Source

Wolfgang Puck, left, and his deputy in charge of The Source, Scott Drewno
Washingtonian Magazine has done a piece on The Source and why even other chefs like it. 

They talk a lot about why it stands out among a city (and neighborhood) with an increasing amount of celebrity-chef restaurants and chains from other cities.

You can read it here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Street Closures for State of the Union

If you're heading east out of Penn Quarter tonight, be aware that streets near the Capitol Complex will be closed beginning at 7 p.m.  They will re-open once the State of the Union address is over and the President has exited the area.

The following streets east of Penn Quarter will be closed this evening:

  • D Street, NE between 2nd Street, NE & Louisiana Avenue, NW
  • C Street, NE between 2nd Street, NE & Louisiana Avenue, NW
  • Constitution Avenue between 2nd Street, NE & Louisiana Avenue, NW
  • Delaware Avenue between Columbus Circle & Constitution Avenue, NE
  • New Jersey Avenue between Louisiana Avenue, & D Street, NE
  • Pennsylvania Avenue between 1st Street, & 3rd Street, NW
  • East Capitol Street between 2nd Street, & 1st Street, NE/SE
  • 1st Street between Columbus Circle, NE & C Street, SE
  • 1st Street between Louisiana Avenue, NW & Washington Avenue, SW
The best alternate route is to go north and around. 

Do not try to cross over to the other side of the mall and then go east, as several streets on the south side of the Capitol will also be closed.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Penn Quarter to get another Chipotle-like restaurant?

There is Chipotle on Seventh Street.  Then there is Merzi, which has been called the Chipotle of Indian Food, and does have a similar setup:

Now the Chipotle of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Food? 

Capitol Hill's Cava Mezze is opening a quick-service restaurant in Bethesda a lot like Chipotle  and is looking for a location in Penn Quarter.

TBD reports, "The grill's menu staples are pitas, bowls, and salads that average about $7, and the ordering-style will be much like Chipotle's."

There is plenty of open retail space in Penn Quarter, and new restaurants are always welcome.  Here is a picture of the new concept at their Bethesda location:

Eagle Bank opens in Penn Quarter

A new branch of Eagle Bank opened today in Penn Quarter.  The new branch is located at 700 Seventh Street N.W.

There will be two ATMs there, which are sure to draw Eagle Bank customers and non-customers alike with its location near the Verizon Center and Penn Quarter's ever-growing nightlife scene.

The branch will be open, Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pothole on 7th Street gets worse

The massive pothole on Seventh Street now has a deeper, smaller pothole within it.

We have seen this "surprise" many cars, especially as they try to get through the light at D Street.

Watch out!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Free Cupcakes at Union Station today

As you may recall, Crumbs gave away 1,000 free cupcakes when they opened their Penn Quarter store at 11th and F Streets.
Today, the Crumbs at the other end of Penn Quarter, in Union Station, is open!  It is located in the train concourse.

And guess what they're doing?  Giving away 1,000 free cupcakes!  Get 'em while they last!

Their hours at the new store will be 6:30 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. every day except Sunday, when they will open at 8:30 a.m.

Crumbs has put a photo on facebook indicating that a line for the free cupcakes had already formed by 7:30 a.m:

Elena Kagan moving out of the neighborhood?

Our readers have indicated that Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan lives in The Lansburgh.  This is not that surprising, particularly since she moved here as Solicitor General at the Justice Department, and The Lansburgh is just a hop, skip, and a jump from her old office. 

In fact, many Justice Department notables have lived at The Lansburgh, including Attorneys General Janet Reno and Michael Mukasey.  We have even heard that Senators Bob Corker and Sheldon Whitehouse live there, too.

Not surprisingly, Kagan has often been spotted in the Penn Quarter area, most recently at Merzi.

But Above the Law reports that Kagan may be moving!  

Kagan was reportedly spotted with two other women looking at a townhouse in the Logan Circle neighborhood.  The townhouse is reportedly valued in the low 7-figures, which makes sense because Kagan sold her home in Cambridge for $1.53 Million.

Being the justice she is, Kagan apparently asked a lot of questions during her tour of the townhouse.

We'll miss you, Justice Kagan.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Washingtonian Magazine profiles Penn Quarter

You might want to check out this classic Washingtonian article about "Five Good Outings" in Penn Quarter.

It mentions what you might expect, but packages it into a romantic date, a casual date, girl's day, guy's night out, and kid's day.

The full text of the article is available after the jump . . .

Special discount for readers of

Ford's Theatre's newest show begins this Friday. 

The Carpetbaggers Children was written by Horton Foote, who also wrote the Academy Award-winning screenplay for To Kill a Mockingbird.

The Carpetbaggers Children stars three actresses: Nancy Robinette, Holly Twyford and Kimberly Schraf.  Over the course of the play each of the actresses, who play sisters, tell their personal version of the family’s history: how they attempted to maintain their Texas farm which was acquired by their father after the Civil War.

But here's the deal - Penn Quarter Insider readers get a special discount if they actually live in Penn quarter. 

You get 20% off of tickets to The Carpetbaggers Children by simply using the promo code PENNQ.

Tickets are available here, or by calling 202-397-SEAT.

However, you must show proof once you get to the box office that you actually live in Penn Quarter.  According to Ford's Theatre, "the Penn Quarter neighborhood is defined as the area bordered by 15th Street Northwest and the Center Leg Freeway (Interstate 395) to the west and east, and between New York/Massachusetts Avenues and Pennsylvania Avenue to the north and south."

Enjoy the show!

Celebrity Sighting

Politico's Amie Parnes reports that Michelle Obama celebrated her birthday (with The President of course) at The Source on Monday.

The Obamas ate in an upstairs room with the blinds closed.  They were there about two hours.

Happy Birthday, Michelle!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bus stop at 6th and E ABOLISHED

The bus stop at 6th and E streets N.W. has been abolished.

The sign that has been placed there indicates that it has been abolished because of a "major construction project."

No word on what that major construction project is in the heart of Penn Quarter - but we're working on it (let us know if you know).

For now, you can catch the bus at 6th and F Streets N.W., just a block north.

Living Social, Target coming to Penn Quarter

You may have heard that Facebook is expanding its DC presence and moving into space at 1155 F Street N.W.

We now hear that chain superstore Target will be moving into that building as well - though they are simply relocating within the neighborhood, moving from 500 8th Street N.W.  Other tenants of that building include Home Depot, Simpson Thacher, and Novo Nodisk.

The new news is that online deal site Living Social is also taking up more space in Penn Quarter.  They are moving into 718 7th Street N.W., where they will occupy 12,500 square feet.

Living Social already occupies two buildings in Penn Quarter that they intend to keep--829 7th Street N.W. and 702 H Street N.W.


Yeas & Nays reports that 30 Rock's Grizz Chapman had lunch on Saturday at Carmine's.

Chapman is a spokesman for the National Kidney Foundation and was in town for the Health and Fitness Expo at the Convention Center

He ate with his manager and Washington Redskins linebacker Lorenzo Alexander.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


D street between 6th and 7th is closed for construction.

There is some heavy equipment taking up the entire street.

Friday, January 14, 2011


PQInsider has been tipped that Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan was at Merzi on Wednesday night.  No word on what she ate.

Someone at Merzi confirmed the report.

He added "we're hoping to get Michelle Obama."  This Merzi worker was well-aware that she has eaten at Rasika around the corner more than once.

New Development across from City Vista

Across the street from City Vista, on the Penn Quarter side of K street (though technically just outside of Penn Quarter), there is currently this large parking lot:


In that area, there are a lot of parking lots.  An area that was supposed to boom after City Vista and other developments were built, it was somewhat stalled when the recession hit, causing development to slow down a bit.

Douglas Development is about to change that, at least at this one parking lot.  Hopefully their new building will connect Penn Quarter to City Vista with more continuity of development.

Their new mixed-use development at 450 K Street N.W. will look like this:


Construction is set to begin this year.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Authentic Ramen noodles coming to Penn Quarter

From the co-owner of the popular Sushiko in Glover Park, comes an authentic ramen noodle venue.  The restaurant will be at 705 6th Street N.W.

Yes, that's an empty lot.  Daisuke Utagawa will be building a building there and hopes to introduce bowls of authentic Japanese noodles. 

Utagawa is partnering with Yama Jewayni, the proprietor of 18th Street Lounge.  The venue is expected to open this time next year.

Soon 6th street will be the new 7th street - with this noodles restaurant right next to Mike Isabella's Graffiato on a block that needs the sprucing up:

901 restaurant names chef ahead of opening

You have probably read about the new restaurant coming to 9th and I

We now have word that the chef at that soon-to-be restaurant will be Tom Hall, the renowned chef from nearby restaurants such as Ceiba and Acadiana.

The Washington Business Journal reports that Hall's focus at the new 901 Restaurant will be "tapas-style dishes with an international twist, such as Wagyu beef meatballs and Thai lettuce wraps."

The restaurant will be in the Renaissance Hotel at 9th and I streets.  It is being opened by David von Storch, who also operates Capital City Brewing Company.

Museum of Censored Art opens outside the portrait gallery

We previously posted about the Smithsonian's Portrait Gallery removing some artwork after outcry.  The art was anti-religious in nature.

Well that work is on display again, albeit not at the Portrait Gallery.  But not far, either.

Saddled up to the curb outside of the portrait gallery, much like a food truck (the Sauca truck is just a few spots away), is the Museum of Censored Art.

The museum is in an unheated trailer showing the works of art that have been banned from the Smithsonian's gallery.

425 Mass unveils its residential auto charging station

We previously posted about 425 Mass's residential charging station, the first in D.C.

They held an event yesterday to unveil the charging station, along with Tesla Motors, and here are some pictures from the event:

The car charging station at 425 Mass, with a Tesla roadster.

Up close view of the compact charger

The charging input on the Tesla Roadster

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

PS7 introducing drinks that support your New Year's resolution

PS7 has added a list of cocktails that are under 100 calories to their menu, The Washingtonian reports.

Their mixologist, Gina Chersevani, lost 50 pounds last year and realizes that drinks can quietly add to your daily calorie count.  That's a real problem in Washington, where getting drinks is part of the business culture (if you can call it business).

Chersevani didn't stop at a low calorie-count; her drinks also include ingredients that are healthy (such as a chili that speeds up metabolism, which is infused in vodka) and that encourage slow sipping of your drink - meaning even fewer calories.

Chersevani even makes her own simple syrup, a common and calorie-loaded ingredient in many drinks, with calorie-free Splenda

So now you can celebrate in Penn Quarter without breaking your New Year's resolution - we'll drink to that.

The available 100-calorie (or less) drinks are:
Ant-EYE-ox-A-dent: Sobieski vodka, homemade cranberry-pear juice, green tea, and bitters.

The Chili Flip: Stoli Pomagranik, lemon, and Kashmiri chilis

Dark & Skinny: Sobieski vodka, coco, and vanilla.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Virgil's Real BBQ looking for space in Penn Quarter

The Washington Post reports that Virgil's Real Barbecue is looking for space in Penn Quarter.

Virgil's is of the same ownership as Carmine's.  I guess they have come to realize the inevitable success of good food in Penn Quarter.

We imagine Virgil and Hill Country BBQ will be competitors - in the same neighborhood here, and they both come from New York.

Odd to see so many New York barbecue places.  New York is known for a lot of things, but barbecue isn't one.

After many delays, Hill Country could open as soon as March.  That is a big could though, and we have heard these rumors before.

Monday, January 10, 2011

First residential auto charging station coming to 425 Mass

The first electric car charging station at a Washington residence is coming just steps from Penn Quarter at the 425 Mass Apartment Building.

That's right - charge your car right at home.

On Wednesday, the building will be showing off their shiny new charging station with a few borrowed Tesla Roadsters.  The event starts at 10 a.m. and includes free snacks from Firehook Bakery.

BET Honors event coming to Penn Quarter on Saturday

This Saturday (January 15), the BET Honors will be held at the Warner Theatre.  The host will be Gabrielle Union.

DDOT has issued a warning about streets and sidewalks that will be closed, as well as parking restrictions.  We have it, after the jump . . .

701 celebrates its 20th anniversary with 3 deals

The Washington Post is reporting that 701 Restaurant (701 Pennsylvania Ave N.W.) is celebrating its 20th anniversary with three deals and offerings that last all month:
  • A three-course $20 lunch that includes menu items such as: chestnut-and-mushroom soup with quince and tarragon; house-made pork-and-cheddar sausage with beer-braised cabbage; and mocha crème brûlée.
  • A lemon poppy seed birthday cake with saffron citrus salad from Pastry Chef Melanie Parker.
  • A $20 "big 20" cocktail that can serve two.
Happy Birthday, 701!

D.C. Library hosting an evening of street art and jazz tonight

Tonight, the Martin Luther King Memorial Library will be hosting an event entitled Street Art and Jazz: Celebrate Community and King's Legacy.

The event is being labeled a "community reception" with a showcase of Martin Luther King-inspired images that were submitted through Flickr and a youth activist photography exhibit. 

The event will also include a jazz concert featuring music from King's era with singer Akua Allrich and bassist Herman Burney.

There will be light refreshments and the event will last from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

Penn Quarter Deals!

Happy Monday!  Hopefully we can make Monday a little better for you with some neighborhood deals:

$60 for $120 worth of jewelry at Mia Gemma (933 F Street N.W.) - get it here.

$12 at the Spy Museum for admission, a key chain, and 15% off merchandise (800 F Street N.W.) - get it here.

$35 to get Wizards v. Raptors tickets valued up to $89 (Verizon Center) - get it here.

$2 for a $12 Mojito at Zengo (781 7th Street N.W.) - get it here.  And let us add that the mango mojito at Zengo is the best drink in town.  If you haven't tried it, get one for $2.

Moment of silence today for the victims in Arizona

If Penn Quarter seems unusually quiet today at 11 a.m., this is why.  The President has issued the following statement:

“Tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. eastern standard time, I call on Americans to observe a moment of silence to honor the innocent victims of the senseless tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, including those still fighting for their lives.  It will be a time for us to come together as a nation in prayer or reflection, keeping the victims and their families closely at heart.”  
Many local businesses are participating, including Congress.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Daily Deal at Asia Nine

Washingtonian's Daily Deal today (though it really lasts 9 days) is for Asia Nine.

The Deal:
You pay $30 and get $50 at Asia Nine (a 40% savings); however, you can only redeem it for a three-course prix fix dinner (menu here) and a drink.

You can get the deal by signing up here.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Journalist Tyler Green kicked out of Gallery Place Metro after someone puts out a cigarette on his foot

Journalist Tyler Green tweets about his recent experience in the Gallery Place Metro Station.

Apparently, someone on the metro platform put out a cigarette on his foot, which (not surprisingly) caused him to jump.

That, however, was enough for Metro Transit Police, who promptly kicked him out of the station.

We haven't heard from Transit Police or anyone else with another side of the story; if you have a different view please email us!

Penn Quarter Deals and Rewards Programs

Who doesn't love a good bargain?  For those who live or work in Penn Quarter, a lot of our neighborhood restaurants have loyalty programs.  These programs might work to your advantage, especially if you already regularly eat at these restaurants anyway.

Here is a sampling of the programs available to you:

Austin Grill

The Deal: 1 point for each dollar spent; $15 reward for 100 points earned.  You also get invitations to special events, a birthday present, and double-points promotions.

Gordon Biersch

The Deal: This program costs $20 to join, but you get a $20 gift certificate in the mail about a month after joining.  You then get 1 point for each dollar spent.  The points differ based on how many you want to redeem, but 350 points gets you a $25 gift card.   You also get moved to the top of the waitlist, a birthday present, and other promotions.


The Deal: Bruegger's offers a bottomless mug that you can buy (or you can simply get a card or keychain card) that gets you free coffee (hot or iced), tea, and soft drinks for the entire year.  This can save you a lot of money if you use it often.

California Tortilla

The Deal: 1 point for each dollar spent; 50 points gets you $5 burrito bucks.

More after the jump . . .

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pothole on 7th Street causing headaches

Maybe it's too big to be called a pothole.  In the southbound lane on 7th Street approaching D street there is a massive pothole right in front of the future Hill County BBQ.

The pothole is often hard to see (despite its size), causing many cars to hit it hard, especially as they try to make it through the traffic light at D street.  Other cars are practically coming to a stop to roll through the hole at a slow rate of speed, causing a traffic backup.  Some cars are even stopping completely there, waiting for a pause in northbound traffic, and going around the pothole on the other side of the double yellow line.

We don't know if the pothole is related to the construction at Hill Country BBQ, but it is definitely man-made.  Be careful if you're heading down 7th Street--both for the pothole and for cars going around it.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Dennis Kucinich tours the Portrait Gallery

Congress is it out of session, and Dennis Kucinich is living it up in Penn Quarter.

According to Roll Call, Representative Kucinich and his wife strolled through the Norman Rockwell exhibit (from the Collections of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas) at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on Sunday, holding hands the entire time.

The exhibit closed yesterday, and the Kucinichs were there for the final peek about thirty minutes before closing time. 

Not many people recognized the Congressman (or they live in D.C. and don't really care), but a security guard did seem starstruck and chatted up Kucinich before he dashed into the gift shop.

Mount Vernon Square is both a metro stop and a bathroom

For those who maybe venture into the neighborhood to our north and find yourself at the Mount Vernon Square Metro Station, you may be pleased to hear that metro drivers are using the pocket tracks there as a lavatory!

A "pocket track" is an area of track where a metro train can park and/or reverse directions, and Unsuck DC Metro reports that an Inspector General Report (available here) says that drivers are using the pocket track to relieve themselves.

So that's why Metro smells like that . . .

December Penn Quarter Crime Statistics

As we do at the beginning of each month, Penn Quarter Insider has (with the help of MPD) compiled the crime statistics for the previous month in Penn Quarter.

The good news: December brought figures showing a 37% decrease in violent crime compared to December 2009.

The bad news: We saw a 14% increase in property crime, and a 4% increase in total crime.

There was only one robbery with a gun and 10 without a gun.  No assaults with a gun, and only 5 with some other weapon. 

On the property side, both burglaries and thefts from autos surged by over 200%.  But stolen vehicles declined by 33%.

Here is a map detailing where the thefts from autos occurred, where you can see a large concentration in the heart of Penn Quarter:

Here is another map showing every instance of crime:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Shuttle from Gallery Place to H Street N.E. coming to an end

The money has run out - a theme from 2010 that seems to be continuing into 2011.  The shuttle that launched in August 2009 to take people from Gallery Place to H Street N.E. will no longer be in operation this year.

The D.C. Council says the funding for the shuttle has simply run out, and it made its last trip on December 31st.

However, we previously posted about the new X9 express Metrobus, that should make the commute a little easier.

Plans to revitalize H Street N.E. will continue:

A rendering of what the completed H Street N.E. corridor will look like

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Old Ebbitt Grill New Year's Eve Party a BUST

PQInsider attended Old Ebbitt Grill's New Year's Eve Party -- though pricey, we expected a great time.

We were wrong.

We got there to find that the front door staff was friendly and the coat-check staff even friendlier.  There was a framed sign saying they don't accept tips--right beside a hat full of tips

The party was minimal.  The drinks were weak.  The food sparse.  The DJ unskilled.

The "open bar" that was supposed to last until 1:00 a.m. (for $130 per ticket), ended at 12:30 p.m.

There was fake gambling, but there was no room at any gambling table.  The chips you won were supposed to be exchanged for a chance at a raffle; however, the raffle table was manned by rude hosts who made it difficult to put your ticket into buckets and most attendees were unaware any raffle took place.

New Year's Eve is expected to be a disappointment.  For that reason, many people skip the sponsored parties and went to the well-known name: Old Ebbitt Grill.  In this case, it didn't pay off.

How was your New Year's experience?  Let us know at