Thursday, June 30, 2011

DC Bar Method in Review

As we've reported, Bar Method DC officially launched yesterday, and Penn Quarter Insider was there stretching, flexing and lifting along with our neighbors on opening day.

First things first: the studio entrance is on H St. despite it's 9th Street address.  Trying to get in through the front entrance to the Victor Building on 9th will only irk the security guard, as we found out. 

After our gaffe, we made our way into the building to fill out our forms.  Be sure you arrive early, as they are sticklers for late entrants to class. 

In fact the confirmation after you schedule your class online has a warning: "New students must arrive at least 10 minutes before class. Experienced students arriving 10 minutes or more after class has started will not be allowed into class."  So if you were thinking you'd buy the unlimited package and get there when you get there and leave when you need to, that's not an option.

After throwing our things in a locker (they provide keys to their lockers at no additional charge, but there does not appear to be a place you can permanently leave items if you wanted to keep shower products or socks - though we could have missed that), we entered class.  The studio is beautifully appointed with plush carpeting and mirrors, and they had a nice selection of hand weights, mats, medicine balls, and other fitness accouterments. 

Our quick appraisal was that there were around fifteen people (14 girls and 1 guy) and that class was full.   Our teacher, Kate, took everyone's names and immediately was on a first name basis with everyone in the class - we were very impressed!    Kate used the full hour to work our arms, thighs, glutes and abs with tiny (but incredibly targeted and effective) movements. 

Bar Method is probably not for true workout beginners, but almost all of the exercises can be modified for any and all body types.  You use only very light weights for your arm exercises (2 and 3 lb weights) and you can stretch to your own abilities.  The point: don't feel like you need to be a weight-lifter or a ballerina to fit in.  

At the end of the hour, class emptied into their beautiful locker room.  There are two showers if you need them (you get a little sweaty, but not terribly so).  The locker room is pretty small, particularly when all fifteen students are in there, so you are best off coming and leaving in your workout outfit (pants or capris are required, as are socks).

There are two studios in the building, which will enable them to expand from their current schedule, we imagine.  The woman at the front desk told us they had been busy - so we recommend signing up for classes online before you head over. 

Penn Quarter Insider is already feeling results by way of soreness - but plans on going back soon!

W Hotel death probably a suicide

The Washington Post is reporting that the woman who fell from the W Hotel rooftop last night, and was pronounced dead on the scene, probably committed suicide.

Witnesses reportedly saw the woman hanging by her hands from an overhang below the rooftop at about 11:00 p.m.  While the death is still under investigation, one D.C. official told the Post, "It looked like it's going to be [ruled] a suicide."

The woman was 47 years old, and as of this afternoon, police still had not located her next of kin.

Theatre Lab to premiere On The Town

The Threatre Lab (733 8th Street N.W.), the largest independent theatre school in Washington, has a four-week intensive training program for teens ages 13-19.  As part of that program, they are putting on a production of On The Town, with music by Leonard Bernstein.

On The Town originally premiered on Broadway in 1944 and closed in 1946, but since has been revived twice.  Now you can see it right here in Penn Quarter.

But the production won't last long - it will go only one weekend, July 14-16, with performances at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee on July 16 at 2:00 p.m. 

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, and can be purchased here.

Ten Penh closing with deals for you

We reported awhile ago that Ten Penh is closing today, so we thought a reminder was due.

DCist is reporting that they are closing with some deals for you.  So you can sneak in that last meal just in time and enjoy half-priced wine with the purchase of an entree as well as $2 beers all day.

Ten Penh is closing because they couldn't come to an agreement on their lease, but they have no plans to relocate elsewhere.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Smoke in the basement of the Dirksen Senate Office Building

In other Fire Department news, there is reportedly smoke in the basement of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

No word on the source, but we'll let you know more as soon as we know more.

UPDATE:  There is no fire.  Dust set off the smoke alarm.  We apologize for the false alarm!

Person falls from POV and dies

D.C. Fire and EMS has reported that someone has fallen from the roof of the W Hotel, likely from POV restaurant.

The W Hotel is 10 stories tall and Fire & EMS arrived to find an adult female on the ground below.

They didn't even transport her to the hospital and she was pronounced dead on arrival.

Penn Quarter gets its bike stations

The Triangle Blog reports that the Capital Bikeshare station that was planned for 4th and E at Judiciary Square, is finally there.  Apparently the delay was because they had to phase out a SmartBike station, which was removed a few months ago.

That means all the Penn Quarter bike stations are there except for the one that is supposed to go on 7th Street at the Navy Memorial - a pretty convenient spot to pick up a bike.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Penn Quarter scores RAMMY awards

Last Sunday, the RAMMY Awards were given to the area's best restaurants.  We previously reported about the number of finalists that Penn Quarter had in the running, and now we are happy to report Penn Quarter restaurants rose to the very top.

The following awards were given to Penn Quarter related entities or people:

  • Duke Zeibart Capital Achievement Award: Jose Andres

  • Fine Dining Restaurant: The Source

  • Restaurant Employee: Ryme Lansari of Cafe Atlantico/MiniBar

  • Power Spot: Carmine's

  • Your Favorite Restaurant: Carmine's

Sculpture Garden steps up security for alcohol enforcement

Friday evenings' Jazz in the Garden at the Sculpture Garden has grown immensely popular.  There has always been a rule that you can't bring in alcohol, but come on -it's outside!  For years, that rule has gone unenforced and people have quietly brought in small bottles of wine to enjoy while they soak in the summer weather with some cool jazz.

Now, however, TBD reports that the Sculpture Garden is stepping up enforcement on the outside alcohol ban, confirming rumors we have heard recently.

They are now searching bags as you enter the garden, ensuring you have no alcohol.   What is this, the airport?

Not only that, but the Sculpture Garden doesn't have the capacity to handle the event without outside alcohol.  Lines have reportedly been overly long in the summer heat to shell out your hard-earned dollars and buy alcohol there.

Furthermore, past experience has shown us that their wine--and especially their sangria--is not only overpriced, but it tastes terrible.  Nooo thank you.

Last Friday, many of us here at Penn Quarter Insider left Penn Quarter for Yard Park, where each Friday there is a concert with a live band on the water.  It was awesome, and we brought our own alcohol.  The band schedule is available here.

Interest in National Press Building sold for $16.6 million

Resource America, Inc. has sold a 25% interest in the National Press Building for $16.6 million, making a profit of $7.7 million on the sale.

Resource America originally bought a defaulted first mortgage on the building in 1999, according to CityBiz, and later sold a controlling interest to Quadrangle Development Corporation.

Alan F. Feldman, Senior Vice President of Resource America, said, "This transaction allowed the company to complete the final stage of our 12 year investment in the National Press Building and realize a significant profit. Resource Real Estate continues to seek out discounted real estate opportunities across the country, leveraging our management and underwriting platform."

Monday, June 27, 2011

More signs of life at the SoHo space

When we reported last week that Flip Burger had tried to sublet the Wagamama space and is now looking for new space, we speculated (and it was pure speculation) that the SoHo space at 9th and E might be the spot, based on a general cleaning up of the space and lights that were left on.

Over the weekend, we noticed the door to the old SoHo was ajar:

It seems like something is going on in this space, which is very large and has been left empty for years.  What it is, we do not know - but it definitely could be Flip Burger.

Graffiato in Review

Graffiato, with Mike Isabella working in the back

Maybe the most anticipated restaurant-opening of the year has finally happened, and from the looks of things, we weren't the only ones excited to try Mike Isabella's Graffiato.

You walk into Graffiato and you see a long bar (full of people) that turns into a pizza bar--the only distinction is the pizza oven behind the bar.  Late at night, when only the pizza oven, and not the actual kitchen, operates we imagine the downstairs becomes on lively bar/pizza scene.

Mike Isabella works at his restaurant
But when you arrive, the hostess is likely to quickly whisk you upstairs where there is a larger space with tables packed into the room.  There, on the upper level, is the open kitchen, and it is there you will see Mike Isabella himself, pen behind ear, working feverishly to the side of the kitchen.   You can see his eyes darting back and forth, making sure every dish that comes out is to his satisfaction and making sure everything operates smoothly.  Every so often he takes a short break to work the room, going table to table to shake everyone's hands.  Often, he sits down with patrons and talks to them.

The decor is minimal.  Exposed brick, wood benches at the booths (no cushions) and plain, wood tables.   The tables in the middle are plain as well, and have cold, metal chairs surrounding them.  As one person at our table said, "I guess they're really focused on the food."

Prosecco didn't
stay full long enough
to snap a pic

But before we get to food, the most important thing is the prosecco.   It's on tap.   Prosecco on tap is an amazing concept, but the obvious question is will it be good?  And, it turns out, the answer is yes.  This is not prosecco that you sip on, this is prosecco made for gulping.  And something about it being on tap makes you feel like ordering more and more - and so we did.

The most disappointing aspect of the restaurant is the portions.  They are small - really, really small.   Realize when you look at the menu that the prices aren't as good as they seem.   A plate of spaghetti is what a side of spaghetti would be at most restaurants.  It would take about four or five of these portions to fill you up.  The spaghetti is mostly noodles with a cherry tomato cut in half on the plate.  There is no real sauce.

The famous chicken thighs with pepperoni sauce  come with three pre-cut bites of chicken - and we mean "bites" literally.  They are not doused in Isabella's famous sauce, but there is a little sauce underneath them that you will spend most of your time trying to sop up as much as possible onto the chicken.

The pizzas are larger

The pizzas, however, are bigger.  Much bigger.  One pizza could easily be enough for a person, and we imagine in the future prosecco and pizza will be our meal.  The pizzas come with creative ingredients, but most of them do not feature pizza sauce.  So they are more of a flatbread.   The crust is light and fluffy, and the ingredients are fresh.

 While the food was somewhat of a disappointment, especially from a celebrity chef (to be fair, we did have high expectations), the service is really great at Graffiato, especially for opening week.  The wait staff is always there when you need something, but otherwise doesn't hover over your table.  There is a huge support wait staff too, constantly filling your glass with complimentary still or sparkling water - a nice touch.  They even come around and clean up the mess you made with the pepperoni sauce before you stick your arm in it trying to eat your next dish.

Graffiato is fun.  The scene is vibrant and loud.   Being open late adds a lot to the neighborhood, and a late night pizza and prosecco after a Verizon Center event will be fun.   The food could use a little work, and we hope it will be perfected.   It's not bad, but nothing you will crave going back for.  And expect to leave a little hungry.

DC Bar special ends tomorrow

DC Bar Method, coming to our neighborhood on Wednesday (with free preview classes before that), is offering a special that ends tomorrow.

Until tomorrow, you can get 30 days of unlimited classes for $100.   This does mean you may have to purchase the deal before you try the preview classes, but starting on June 29th the price for 30 days will be $125.  Your thirty days starts rolling when you attend your first class.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Full band at 7th and F

Its a beautiful Saturday in Penn Quarter today.

Here's a short clip of the full band at 7th and F that is attracting quite a crowd.

UPDATE: oops!   The video failed to upload from our mobile app.  Here it is!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Street closures for the National Capital Barbecue Battle

We finally have word from DDOT on the hours and exact locations of street closures for the National Capital Barbecue Battle.

The following streets will close on Friday, June 24th at 7:00 p.m. and will reopen on Sunday, June 26th at midnight:

  • Pennsylvania Ave N.W. from 9th Street N.W. to 14th Street N.W.

  • 10th Street N.W. from Constitution Avenue to E Street N.W.

  • 11th Street N.W. from Constitution Ave to E Street N.W.

  • 12th Street N.W. from Constitution Avenue to E Street N.W.

Liberty Place sold

The entrance to Liberty Place

Liberty Place, the building at 327 7th Street N.W.,  has been sold.  Beacon Capital Partners sold the building to the Paramount Group for $139 million, or nearly $805 per square foot, the CoStar  Group reports.

The building is 94% leased and includes tenants such as The American Hospital Association, National Retail Federation, the C2 Group, and Pfizer.  There is about 100,000 square feet of tenant space in the building--not to mention an awesome view from the roof.

The view from the rooftop at Liberty  Place

Safeway Barbecue Battle comes to Penn Quarter this weekend

The Safeway Barbecue Battle will be in Penn Quarter on Saturday and Sunday this weekend, resulting in the closure of Pennsylvania Ave between 9th and 14th Streets.

The attraction will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday and from 11:00 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.

CNN has named the festival one of the five can't-miss summer festivals in the United States.  There will be free food samples, cooking demonstrations, celebrity chefs, talent shows, the world's largest grill (it's a truck), and the national pork barbecue kickoff, with contesting competing for the $40,000 prize.

More information is available here, and ticket are available online for $10 here, but you can also buy them at the event.

D.C. Bar Method offering FREE preview classes

So you have read about D.C. Bar Method coming and you are excited for its June 29th opening.  But you don't really get it and you're not sure if it's really for you.

Well, you're in luck.   D.C. Bar Method is having several free opening sneak preview classes.  They are on the Monday and Tuesday (the 27th and 28th) before the opening at the following times:

  • Monday, June 27th, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

  • Monday, June 27th, 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

  • Tuesday, June 28th, 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

  • Tuesday, June 28th 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
You have to sign up for the classes, which you can do online here.  See more about pricing and structure for future classes at our previous post here.

Flip Burger tried to sublet Wagamama space

We posted recently that Richard Blais is looking for space to put a Flip Burger restaurant in Washington.  We had learned that he previously tried to get space in Penn Quarter, but that negotiations fell through.

We have now learned from a reliable source that the space that fell through was the Wagamama space on 7th Street.   Blais tried to sublet the vacant space from Wagamama.  Obviously, that didn't work out in the end, and Wagamama is allegedly still coming.

Nonetheless, Blais is looking for new space, and it is likely to be in Penn Quarter since he previously wanted space there.  However, the Wagamama space is large. 

We have noticed the lights on in the very large space that used to be SoHo at 9th and E - could that be a Flip Burger?

The former SoHo space that has sat empty for years

DC Bar Method opening June 29th

We reported earlier this week about the D.C. Bar Method coming to Penn Quarter at 750 9th Street N.W.

We now have an opening date for the Bar studio - it will be opening next Wednesday, June 29th.

See more about the bar method here, or check out their website here.

One class is $24, but your first class is only $10, making it more economical to try out.  Then there are a number of packages you can get, some that go by the amount of classes (10 classes for $210, for example) and some unlimited packages ($125 for 30 days unlimited, for example - but sign up before the 29th and it's only $100/month).   The prices are available here.  The best part is you can schedule and reserve spots online.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wagamama Rumors

We have it on pretty good authority that Wagamama corporate says they plan to open the 7th Street store in January.  Of course, they haven't started construction, so that means they will probably open in June or so in reality.

However, the real news here is that they do still plan to come.  The delay apparently happened when the (international) company went through some management changes.  They are still paying rent on the 7th Street space though and do intend to open a store there.

We'll believe it when we see it, but this is encouraging.   2010 seemed so far away when the Wagamama 2010 signs went up, it would be nice to have something (anything!) in that space.

More hotels coming to Convention Center area

The Marriott Marquis being build beside the convention center is set to be the second-largest hotel in the District.   But it's still not enough.  The city wants 1,600 hotel rooms surrounding the convention center.

Therefore, Marriott has plans to build two more hotels next to the Marriott Marquis, reports DC Mud.  They will build a Marriott Residence Inn and a Courtyard by Marriott, which cater to different customers and generally are priced at a different level.

The Marriott Marquis will have 1,175 rooms, and the other two hotels are expected to be smaller.

That adds to a number of other Marriott properties in the area, including the Courtyard by Marriott at 9th and F, the Renaissance by Marriott at 9th and Eye, the Marriott Metro Center, and the J.W. Marriott.

The Marriott Marquis is expected to open in 2014, and the other hotels will open later.

Jaleo cooking demonstration at the farmer's market today

It's Thursday - both opening day for Graffiato and Farmer's Market day.

The Washington Post has the farmer's market specials for today and, as always, we pass them along to you:

  • Red Apron Butcher will have salami

  • Clear Spring Creamery will have skim milk, cream, and butter.

As a special treat at the Farmer's Market today, chef Ramon Martinez of Jaleo will perform a cooking demonstration at 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pictures of the inside of Graffiato

If you just can't wait until the opening tomorrow, has pictures of the inside of Graffiato.  You can check them out here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Ellipse to get a redesign

The Washington Business Journal reports that the Ellipse, as well as the surrounding parks that make up President's Park South, is getting a redesign.

The new design is supposed to ease the eye-sore of post 9/11 security enhancements and improve the visitor experience.

The National Capital Planning Commission unveiled five proposals for the renovation, and plans to announce the winner of the competition on June 30th. 

You can see all five proposals online here, and they are also viewable at the White House Visitor Center (1450 Pennsylvania Ave N.W.).

Metro announced expanded service for July 4

July 4th is quickly approaching, and our neighborhood will undoubtedly be inundated with visitors. 

To facilitate moving about on this busy day, Metro has announced that they will operate from 7:00 a.m. until midnight, with "near rush-hour service levels" from 6:00 p.m. until midnight.  The fireworks show on the mall is at 9:10 p.m.

The Smithsonian Station will be closed most of the day on July 4th.  That means the crowds are more likely to be pushed to our neighborhood stations, particularly for the fireworks on the mall.  However, Smithsonian will re-open at the conclusion of the fireworks show.

Metro expect to provide more than 500,000 rail trips on July 4th

The Bar Method coming to D.C.

The Bar Method is a workout routine that "integrates the fat burning format of interval training, the muscle shaping technique of isometrics, the elongating principles of dance conditions, and the science of physical therapy" according to

Bar studios are sweeping the nation and D.C. is the next stop.  Bar Method D.C. will be opening in Penn Quarter at 750 9th Street N.W. "within the next two weeks," we are told.  An opening date has not been finalized yet, but we will let you know as soon as we do.

The studio at Bar Method D.C.

Henry King's place

If you have ever wondered why RFD has such an ornate building on 7th Street, once again Streets of Washington has our answer.

The building was once the pride and joy of Henry King, Jr., one of Washington's most prominent retailers in the late 1800's.   King didn't come to America until 1850, and became a citizen in 1855 at the age of 21.  King opened a clothing store that became quite a success, even selling hats to Mary Todd Lincoln and Julia Grant while they were in the White House.

His store changed locations a number of times before settling at 814 7th Street N.W. in 1878.

More about King's Place and the church across the street is available here from Streets of Washington.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Graffiato on OpenTable, late night hours confirmed

Graffiato is now on OpenTable, so you can make your reservations to try Penn Quarter's newest restaurant online.  However, they are not accepting reservations by OpenTable until Monday, June 27th.   And many of the earlier reservations are already gone!

Their OpenTable page also confirms what we have reported before, while the restaurant will close at 10:30 p.m., 11:00 p.m., or midnight (depending on the night), the pizza oven and bar will be open until midnight, 1:00 a.m., or 2:00 a.m., making Graffiato a late-night eatery and a late-night bar.

The hours of operation are as follows:
  • Sunday to Tuesday: 11:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m., pizza oven and bar until 12:00 a.m.
  • Wednesday and Thursday: 11:30 a.m. until 11:00 p.m., pizza oven and bar until 1:00 a.m.
  • Friday and Saturday: 11:30 a.m. until 12:00 a.m., pizza oven and bar until 2:00 a.m.

Central Liquors delivers to your door

We have previously posted about the new management at Central Liquors, which is now on E Street.  We have heard the store has greatly improved under the new management, as well.

Now we have found out that Central Liquors will deliver to your door.   That's right - your wine and spirits can come to you.

The minimum purchase for delivery is $50 and they charge $10 for delivery.  However, if you are only ordering a few bottles and you live within a block or two (and many of you do), they typically discount the delivery to $5.

New Restaurant coming to 4th and Mass Ave

A new wine bar is coming to 4th and Mass, as was first reported by Prince of Petworth (h/t The Triangle Blog).

The description on their liquor license application says the space will be a "European cafe with wine bar.  Breakfast and lunch with bakery.  Small plates during dinner and wine bar, no dancing."

The restaurant is expected to hold 75 people and will have a "summer garden" that holds 40.

Graffiato to open June 23rd

The much-anticipated Graffiato restaurant from celebrity chef Mike Isabella finally has an opening date.  The restaurant will be opening this Thursday, June 23rd.  Dinner service will begin at 5:00 p.m.  The restaurant will be open seven days a week, and will open for lunch a few weeks down the road.

The menu of the two-story restaurant will include artisanal pizzas, chicken thighs with pepperoni sauce, and king crab legs with sea urchin.  Appetizers include warm, fresh-stretched mozzarella, locally cured hams, and spiced red beets with pork fried almonds.

And a secret for readers of Penn Quarter Insider: when you go, you won't find zeppoles on the menu.  Order them anyway.  For those in the know, Isabella will be preparing 15 to 20 orders of sweet fluffy dough balls each evening which will be dusted with strawberry powdered sugar and served with balsamic chocolate dipping sauce.   The item won't be on the menu, but is reserved for neighborhood guests who know about it.

The second floor also has a ham bar.   The wooden counter will feature cured meats and fresh-stretched mozzarella.

Graffiato is not yet on Open Table, but the menu is available here.

Previous Posts about Graffiato:

Friday, June 17, 2011

Red line delays at Gallery Place

There was an "earlier problem" at the Gallery Place-Chinatown metro stop today causing red line delays, according to WMATA.

Apparently that problem has been resolved, but there is now another "disruption" at Gallery Place.  This disruption is causing delays to Glenmont.

Allow extra time or avoid the red line today if you can.

Tacklebox coming to Penn Quarter

Tacklebox, the enormously successful self-described "lobster shack" in Georgetown and Cleveland Park may be coming to Penn Quarter.

The Washington Business Journal reports that Jonathan Umble is looking to expand the restaurant, particularly in Penn Quarter and Montgomery County.

With Luke's Lobster and Tacklebox we may soon be overrun with lobster -- a great problem to have.

You can check out Tacklebox's menu here.  It includes lobster rolls, shrimp rolls, oyster rolls, and clam rolls, as well as a number of fish items and even wood grilled cheeseburgers and chicken.

Elisir files for liquor license

We have reported on the slow progress at Elisir, which was supposed to open this month.  However, some movement is being made.  While the construction seems to continue, the restaurant has filed an application for a liquor license, according to Prince of Petworth.

The restaurant describes itself as "European flares specializing in the sale of fine Italian food with culinary classes from time to time."

As expected, the restaurant will hold 117, with a sidewalk cafe adding an additional 26 seats.

More about the restaurant and its concept is available here.

See Bad Teachers for free at Gallery Place

The Arch Campbell Show has free tickets to see Bad Teacher starring Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake at Regal Gallery Place.  The screening is on June 22 at 7:30 p.m.

To get them, go to and enter the code NEWS814.  Then you can download your tickets.  More details available here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Today's Farmers Market Specials

It's already Farmers Market day again, and the Washington Post has a list of today's specials:
  • Block Rock Orchard, Toigo Orchards, and The Farm at Sunnyside will have cherries

  • Copper Pot Food Company will have peppery pappardelle

  • Anchor Nursery, Mountain View Farm, and Sand Hill Farm will have green beans and squash

  • Red Apron Butchery will have Toulouse sausage and pork sugo.

Graffiato to have prosecco on tap

The much-anticipated Graffiato will be opening "in a few weeks," we hear from the restaurant itself.

But now, more good news - TBD is reporting that the restaurant will have Montelvini Prosecco on tap.  Yes.  Prosecco on tap.  Now Penn Quarter has really made it.

We are really looking forward to seeing the scene at this restaurant, which will feature pizzas--made in the middle of the restaurant by Mike Isabella himself--and will be open late.  Prosecco and pizza?  Don't mind if I do . . .

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Riot Act coming in "a few weeks"

The comedy club coming to 8th and E, Riot Act, is set to open "this summer."  We were hoping for a June opening, but a peek inside makes it clear it's not quite there:

However, Riot Act's twitter feed promises they will be open in a "few weeks."  Maybe they'll open in time for July 4th weekend?  It certainly looks like they have a bit of work to go though.

Judge robbed at Gallery Place; Police beat up by suspect

Last Friday, D.C. Superior Court Judge Stephen G. Milliken was waiting for his train at Gallery Place, iPhone in hand.   A "youth," reports the Washington Post then grabbed the phone from him and ran.

Metro Transit Police said they have seen a spike in snatch-and-grab robberies lately, and we have previously reported that Gallery Place has more crime than any other metro stop in the District.

Unrelated: Two days later, WTOP reports, two on-duty police officers were beaten with a pipe by a homeless man near the Gallery Place Metro Station.  Additional officers were called and eventually arrested the man.  No word on injuries of the officers, but they were not life threatening.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

D.C. plagued by structurally deficient bridges

D.C. is a city of many bridges, and also a city that does not rank high in bridges that are structurally sound.  13% of the District's bridges are "structurally deficient," which amounts to 2,353 bridges.

Some of these are bridges you probably take all the time.  For example, the 9th Street Bridge that crosses I-395 is labeled structurally deficient by Transportation for America.  That bridge was built in 1961 and carries 8,900 cars a day.

The 14th Street Bridge that crosses Outlet Channel, which was built in 1942 and carries 55,700 cars a day was also labeled structurally deficient.

Here is a map of the bridges in D.C., a red icon means the bridge is structurally deficient (click to enlarge).  Though there may be problems with the others as well.   You can get more details on specific bridges here.

7th Street closed for police activity

DCist is reporting that 7th Street is closed between D and E Streets (between the Clara Barton and Lansburgh buildings).

It is reportedly closed off for "police activity," though police in the area are not saying why.  Neither pedestrians or vehicle traffic is being allowed down the street.

DCist has a picture of the police tape here.

UPDATE: It's a suspicious package that is causing the street closure (surprise!). 

If anyone who lives or works on that block knows any more, please email us.

UPDATE 2: TBD is reporting (by twitter)--and Jose Andres has confirmed-- that the suspicious package is near Oyamel.  There is apparently a very large police presence, including th FBI Terrorist Unit.  Andres has taken a video from Oyamel, which you can see here.

We are not sure what the motive would be for a bomb at this location, so it's probably not one.  However, many high profile people do live in those residential buildings, though they are probably not home now.

Probably unrelated: Last night, a man was found near the Pentagon with a gun and a suspicious package.  He was taken into custody, and the package was found not to be explosive.

UPDATE 3: The road is back open, and the package as been cleared as unexplosive.  Another video from Jose Andres:

National Building Museum to begin charging for admission

While D.C. has largely weathered the recession better than most, we aren't going to go unscathed.  The National Building Museum has decided to begin charging an admission fee for the first time since it opened in 1985, TBD reports.

The museum will begin charging $8 for adults and $5 for children and students beginning June 27th.

They have already been charging $5 for the exhibit Lego Architecture: Towering Ambition, which opened last July.  So far, 130,000 have forked over the cash to see it.

Street closures on Sunday for the D.C. Triathlon

The 2nd Annual D.C. Triathlon will cause road closures in and around Penn Quarter on Sunday - though not too many.  The majority of the closures are in the West End.

From 5:00 p.m. on Saturday until 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed from 3rd Street until 6th Street.  Note that this closure lasts over 24 hours.

The rest of the streets will only be closed on Sunday from 5:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.  They are:
  • Constitution Avenue from 3rd Street to 14th Street N.W.

  • 14th Street N.W. from Independence Avenue to Constitution Avenue

  • 3rd Street from Maryland Avenue to C Street N.W.

  • 9th Street Tunnel

  • Pennsylvania Avenue from 1st Street to 3rd Street N.W.

Monday, June 13, 2011

3rd Street Tunnel closure

Two northbound lanes of the Third Street Tunnel are currently closed.  This closure was an unexpected one, a car hit electrical conduits.  The lanes will be closed until DDOT can remove the wires from the roadway and secure them.

DDOT does not believe this work will be done by the end of rush hour today - so avoid the Third Street Tunnel until tomorrow if you can.

Richard Blais's flip burger coming to D.C.?

The winner of Top Chef All Stars, Richard Blais, has made plans to bring a Flip Burger to D.C., the Washington Post reports.

And Penn Quarter might be the spot.  Blais already had plans to open his store in Penn Quarter, the lease negotiations fell through.

Hopefully that means he has set is heart on our neighborhood because he says he has already signed a letter of intent for a new space (at an undisclosed location).  And he says the Flip Burger could open its doors by the end of the year.

He says the Flip Burger will establish a relationship with local farmers here and have its own flavor.  It will carry the same name, but will be different than his other Flip Burger restaurants.