Friday, September 30, 2011

Reported Gunman at Georgetown Law Campus

We are hearing reports from WeLoveDC's Dave Stroup that the campus has sent an SMS text and email to its students saying that a black male with a gun was seen on Georgetown Law's campus. Students have been advised to stay inside and away from windows.

We will keep you posted as we know more. For now, keep your distance from the police activity.

UPDATE: The Capitol Police have left the scene, saying they found no indication of a gunman on campus. A representative did say that a gun was found near a tree near First and Independence, but that it was not related to the Georgetown Law search.

MLK Jr. Library WILL be open on Sundays!

As part of the 2012 budget cuts, the library had announced its plan to close on Sundays. The change was to have gone into effect this Sunday, October 2nd. This morning, Mayor Gray announced that the $316,000 needed to keep it open has been found in the budget, and the Library will remain open from 1p-5p, as it has since the library opened in 1972.

This Sunday at 1pm, you can catch Mayor Gray, Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), who chairs the Council’s Committee on Libraries, Parks, Recreation and Planning, and Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper, who will be on hand to welcome District residents.

$19 Cab Fare Cap No More

D.C. Taxicab Commission Chair Ron Linton announced today that the $19 fare cap on taxicab rides within the District will be lifted within the next two weeks. We pity the fool going from Penn Quarter to Friendship Heights...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Galileo III Closed

Citing bad press and a bad economy, Roberto Donna has shuttered his latest endeavor - Galileo III. The news came as a surprise even to Donna's landlord, who, despite long-running litigious relations, noted that they had not asked Galileo III to vacate the space.

The restaurant didn't even make it a year, having opened in October of 2010. There's no word on where Donna will go next, or what will go into the space at 14th between F and G.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

MLK Jr. Library No Longer Open on Sundays

Here in Penn Quarter, we've been fortunate to have the main DC Public Library just steps away at 9th and G NW. We've become recent devotees of the library (in addition to their expansive book collection, they have a substantial number of DVDs for lending, as well as downloadable eBooks, video and music), so we were saddened to learn that effective this Sunday, October 2nd, the library will no longer have Sunday hours.

The new hours will be:
Monday-Tuesday: noon-9 p.m.
Wednesday-Saturday: 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Sunday: Closed.

A representative from the library said, "when faced with having to reduce library hours as a result of the FY2012 budget, closing the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library Sundays, as difficult as it is, was the least painful option." According to the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, the budget figure needed to keep the library open on Sunday was $316,000.

The MLK Jr. Library was the last of the DC libraries to be open on Sundays. Need a fix on a Sunday? Looks like the closest Sunday library to Penn Quarter is Arlington's Central Library.

SEPTEMBER 30 UPDATE: The library WILL remain open from 1p-5p on Sundays. See our story here:

Construction Projects to Snarl Traffic East of Penn Quarter

As anyone who travels from our neighborhood to Union Station or beyond knows, crossing over 395 can be a hassle. We hate to be the ones to tell you this, but the hassle is about to get worse.

Right now, E Street going eastbound is closed for construction of the National Law Enforcement Museum.

And now, DDOT has let us know that construction will be taking place on the Massachusetts, H Street and K Street overpasses to 395, starting in early October. Construction activities are scheduled to take place Monday through Friday between 9 am and 4 pm and may also occur on weekends as needed. At a minimum one lane will be kept open per direction on each of the bridges. The construction will last eighteen months.

The project will rehabilitate these bridges, upgrading the bridge surfaces and improving the drainage system, traffic signals, street lighting and sidewalks. Electrical-mechanical upgrades will also be made to the Air Rights Tunnel below the bridges. The upgrades will provide better lighting and air exchange within the tunnel for travelers who use the tunnel (The Air Rights Tunnel is part of what is commonly referred to as the 3rd Street Tunnel). We're hoping that these upgrades will pave the way, so-to-speak, for the project we reported on last April - developing the space above 395 into green space and retail/office buildings, but we have no official word on that yet.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

An Up-Close-And-Personal Inspection with the Washington Monument

The August 23rd earthquake set all of Washington shaking - but the most notable damage was to the Washington Monument. In this video, you can watch the inside of the Monument as the 5.8 quake rumbles through. The Monument has been closed since the earthquake, and the National Park Service reports that while the closure is temporary, there are no current plans to reopen it.

Today, the Monument gets a check-up by way of one brave engineer, who is rappelling the building now. See the live video, courtesy of the Washington Post. We are hoping that today's expedition brings us more information from the NPS regarding the Monument's reopening - we will keep you posted as we know more.Link

Monday, September 26, 2011

Metro falls behind on offering cell phone signal

One of the most annoying things about leaving out of the Navy/Archives/Penn Quarter Metro stop is that the cell phone coverage is terrible.  For AT&T customers, it is non-existent.   Though service is available and strong at Gallery Place and Metro Center, Navy-Archives falls short.

The Washington Examiner reports that promised upgrades to cell service in stations is falling behind schedule.

Metro is required, as part of a deal with Congress, to upgrade the system for better cellular service.  In exchange, they get $1.5 billion in federal funding.

Metro, however, blames the wireless companies, saying it's up to them to make the upgrades.  Those companies are paying WMATA more than $50 million over 25 years to make the upgrades, but WMATA still insists it is up to them.

The legislation in the deal with Congress, however, set deadlines.  By October 2009, Metro was to have service in the 20 busiest underground stations. By October 2012, it is supposed to have the entire system wired and active.  Metro, however, had promised that the remaining stations would have service by this fall.

"We are not in a position to know when it will be done," Metro spokesman Dan Stessel told The Washington Examiner.

Metro does, however, say that this work has priority over all other projects, except those that are safety-related, of course.  The problem is that they have to have specially trained metro employees accompany the wireless companies in the tunnels, and there are a limited number of these employees.

Senators stroll into Graffiato

Graffiato has opened with a bang, and seems to continue to go strong (our review of the restaurant is available here).

A group of Senators were spotted at the restaurant last Thursday, reports Yeas & Nays. Seen there were Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, and Frank Lautenberg.

The best part about their visit--and clear evidence that Senators are people too--they didn't eat. They only stopped by to try the prosecco on tap.

Deal Roundup

Looking for a fun, cheap night out in Penn Quarter? Then let us suggest:
See the Heir Apparent at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Tickets start at only $19.50 through bloomspot. The show has truly gotten rave reviews, but only runs through October 3rd, so start planning.
After dinner, stop by neighborhood tapas favorite, La Tasca. For $20, you get $40 of food and drink, or for $27 you get 3 tapas and a pitcher of sangria. Get the deal here.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Call for Playgrounds in Penn Quarter

Several readers have emailed us about a new initiative taking hold in Penn Quarter: a call to bring playgrounds to the neighborhood.

One reader said the following:
Although this is a wonderfully family-friendly neighborhood in so many ways, the children need a place to play. In the past few years, many children have moved - or been born - into the neighborhood. Hundreds, if not thousands, of additional children go to preschool or elementary school here. And, many thousands of children come to this neighborhood each year as part of their family vacations. Yet, there are no public playgrounds, even at the local schools.
Though the group recognizes that space is difficult to come by in our neighborhood, they are making strides daily. A group of concerned parents met yesterday with Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells, Chairman of the Committee on Libraries, Parks, Recreation and Planning to discuss their initiatives.

Want to get involved? Join the group in a "parade" down 7th Street on Saturday. (Meeting point is Calvary Baptist Church at 755 8th St NW... pick up t-shirts there at 10:30am). The group will be walking to the Children's Pavilion and Storytelling Stage at the National Book Festival. (See our earlier post on the Festival). While you're there with the kids, be sure to catch Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play (10a-4p).

Not around this weekend? Sign their petition to help the cause.

Get more information at the Downtown DC Kids website.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Farmers Market Specials Today

KCC Farms will be making its debut today with farm-raised quail and partridge (no pear tree necessary).

You can expect all your old favorites to be there until 7p as always: Anchor Nursery, Black Rock Orchard, Blue Ridge Dairy Co., Bread Ovens at Quail Creek, Chris' Marketplace, Clear Spring Creamery (NEW!), Copper Pot Food Co., Dolcezza Gelato, Endless Summer Harvest, Everona Dairy, Floradise Orchids, Groff's Content Farm, Harmony Creek Farm, Harvest (NEW!), Mountain View Farm, Red Apron Butchery, Sand Hill Farm, Springfield Farms, The Farm at Sunnyside, The Mushroom Stand, Toigo Orchards, and Wollam Gardens.


Book Festival This Weekend

Now a two day event, the National Book Festival descends upon our fair Mall this weekend. You can catch the events from 10am - 5:30pm on Saturday and from 1pm - 5:30pm on Sunday. For those of you with kids, consider arriving at noon on Sunday to catch former NFL-er Chris Draft kick off the "Get Outside... and Read!" program.

More than 100 authors will headline the weekend, including David McCullough, Russell Banks, Dave Eggers, Terry McMillan, Pulitzer Prize-winners Siddhartha Mukherjee and Jennifer Egan, Garrison Keillor, Amy Chua & Toni Morrison.

Government Shutdown looms again

It's that time again - the current congressional continuing resolution expires at the end of this fiscal year, on September 30th, and not passing a new one will mean a government shutdown.

The House has already rejected a new plan after a disagreement about spending cuts and FEMA funds.   There will probably be a session this weekend to resolve the problem.

If the resolution gets through the House, we still have the Senate to satisfy, of course.  Which could reject the House's plan and send their own plan to the House.  All of this with only 8 days left.

These things tend to be akin to the boy who cried wolf, but it's something to keep an eye on as our neighborhood will probably be affected by a shutdown.

For more, see our posts from the last threat of a shutdown (feels like yesterday, doesn't it?):

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Things to Do Today

It's a rainy Wednesday but that doesn't mean you should stay inside. Instead:

- Stuff the Bus between 12 and 3 at Chef Geoff's (on 13th between E & F). It's your last chance to do it in the neighborhood, and if you get there between 1 and 2, you can meet Chef Geoff Tracy. He's tweeted that he'll have a gift for anyone who donates. See our earlier post on things needed. Winston Lord, of the deal site has reported to PQ Insider that after only 4 days they've been able to get 2,500 pounds of food! Keep up the great work, Penn Quarter!

- Meet Bobby Flay at Sixth & I Synagogue tonight at 7:30. The Food Network star will be signing copies of his new book, Bar Americain Cookbook. Tickets are $40 and include a copy of the book. Buy tickets here. (And, for what it's worth, we here at PQ Insider absolutely love Bobby's Burger Palace which just opened up in Foggy Bottom... it's worth the trip across town!)

If you can't make the book signing, you can still buy the book here:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Stuff the Bus - Donate to DC Central Kitchen Downtown Today

Want to help the homeless (and maybe also see Mike Isabella while you're at it?)

DC Central Kitchen
has partnered with Venga in their Stuff the Bus initiative. Today you can catch them at 7th and F to donate the following:

canned tomatoes (stewed, diced, paste)
canned beans
boxed pasta
granola bars, trail mix
applesauce, fruit cups

The bus (and Isabella) will be there until 3, so hurry on down!

Don't have food with you today? You can catch them in front of Chef Geoff's on Wednesday, or use the virtual market that is set up next to the bus to donate.

$5 = 1/2 dozen heads of hydroponic bibb lettuce
$10= 1 free range roaster chicken
$25= 1 case of plump Shenandoah Valley tomatoes
$50= 80 servings of hormone free, pasture raised local ground beef

Alleged Hidden Bathroom Camera at the Starbucks on 7th and Indiana

While visiting DC last April, a Norfolk family allegedly discovered an unwelcome surprise at one Penn Quarter Starbucks: a hidden camera pointed towards the restroom toilet. Now, the man and his five-year-old daughter who reportedly found the camera are suing Starbucks for one million dollars. For our lawyer-readership (this is DC, we know there are at least a few of you), you can take a look at the complaint here.

The camera, which was at the Starbucks on 7th and Indiana, was confiscated by the police last April. As the case moves forward, we'll keep you posted. For now, Starbucks has said that they can't directly comment on the investigation, but that they "monitor the seating areas and rest rooms in our stores on a regular basis to identify potential safety or security concerns."

Be careful while getting those pumpkin spice lattes, Penn Quarter!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ford's Theater Discount for PQ Insider Readers

The Tony-award winning musical Parade opens on September 23rd at Ford's Theater, and we're looking forward to checking it out.

As a reminder, residents of the Penn Quarter receive a 20 percent discount on tickets to all Ford's Theatre performances (excluding A Christmas Carol). Ford's Theater defines Penn Quarter 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. You'll have to show proof of residence at the Box Office once at the theater.

These tickets may be purchased in advance through Ticketmaster by calling (800) 982-2787 or by clicking here. Use promo code PENNQ. Limit of two per person.

Neighborhood Deal Roundup

Funxion, arguably Penn Quarter's healthiest restaurant, is offering a $40 for $20 deal and a $110 for $50 deal. Buy it now!

Mia Gemma is offering $200 for $100 today through Rue La La. Get the deal here.

Groupon's got two local deals for you today:
Cheap tickets to Taste of DC, an event with over 60 local vendors, concerts, and other great things on Pennsylvania Avenue October 8-10. Check it out!

They also are offering $26 tickets to preseason Caps games on Sept 26, Sept 30, or Oct 2. Hockey's on sale here.

Let us know in the comments if we're missing any neighborhood deals today - we always love a good local bargain!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reports that Eataly Has Lost Interest in DC

Remember all the hubbub about Eataly coming to DC? If the Washington Post is to be believed, the hubbub may have been for naught.

The Post has reports from an anonymous real estate broker, who says that Eataly's proprietor, Mario Batali, simply can't find the 40,000 square feet of space (plus 8,000 square feet of rooftop for the rooftop beer garden) he'll need for Eataly to be a true success in DC.

We're still hoping. If they can make it work in New York...

New Bus Route to the Southwest Waterfront

About a year ago, we reported on Circulator service to the Southwest Waterfront, but with all the new growth and events out there, we're glad to see Penn Quarter get another easy mode of transportation.

Starting September 25th, the 74 - Convention Center/Southwest Waterfront bus will start operating. During peak hours, you can catch the bus every 18 minutes -- 24 minutes all other times.

Penn Quarter's stop is at 7th and Pennsylvania, NW, but you can also catch the bus at the Convention Center, Gallery Place Metro, the Verizon Center or the National Mall. From there you'll make stops at L'Enfant Metro, Waterfront-SEU Station, Nationals Park, Half & O Streets SW, Fort McNair and Buzzard Point.

Additionally, Metro will be launching Next Bus real-time destination screens along the route to make your waiting time a bit more bearable (or at least predictable).

Bikeshare's First Birthday Party - Sept 22

What better way to celebrate Car-Free Day next week than by attending Capital Bikeshare's First Birthday Party!

Pick up a bike at one of Penn Quarter's many locations and cycle on down to Yards Park between 6 and 9 PM on September 22nd.

The party will feature FREE Sprinkles Cupcakes and Honest Tea. New Belgium Brewing (makers of the ever-popular but impossible-to-find Fat Tire beer) will be on hand to celebrate their entrance into the DC market, as will some food trucks: Red Hook Lobster Pound, Doug the Food Dude, Eat Wonky, Rolling Ficelle, Carnivore BBQ and Dippin’ Dots.

There will also be tons of games, giveaways and even the NatMobile will be making an appearance.

What a way to spend a birthday!

Penn Quarter Happy Hour TONIGHT

Stop by Riot Act tonight between 5 & 7:30 PM for a happy hour in and about Penn Quarter.
The event will focus on plans for the upcoming Penn Quarter Bodega, and will introduce neighbors to Riot Act and each other!

After having a few drinks and snacks, stick around for the comedy act: Riot Act is having a Buy One Get One Free promotion for tonight's performance of "Allah Made Me Funny" at 8:30 PM.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Carmine's dinner for Trust for the National Mall

The Trust for the National Mall's L'Enfant Society is best known for their Ball on the Mall; however, on October 4th, Carmine's will be holding a dinner to kick off this season's fundraising campaign.

The dinner is on October 4th from 6:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.   Tickets are $25, but if you are a L'Enfant Society member, you attend for free!

More details are available here.

Some photos from Arts on Foot

A couple photos from Arts on Foot this past weekend, which we think was an enormous success.   Anyone disagree?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Flooding in and around Penn Quarter

We thought that we'd be done with nasty, rainy weather - at least for a week or so - when Hurricane Irene left us.

Today is proving us very, very wrong. The entrance to the 9th Street tunnel at Constitution has been blocked off by police due to excessive flooding.

WJLA is also reporting that the 14th Street bridge has been closed in both directions due to flooding. You can keep an eye on it, live, for yourself here:

9th Street Tunnel

14th Street Bridge

We will keep you posted as we hear updates. Stay safe out there, Penn Quarter!

Traffic alert: the 14th Street Bridge IS NOT CLOSED. However, traffic is very heavy & 395 NB is closed once you get on DC side.

Arts on Foot this weekend

We have been waiting since the dates were announced in July for Arts on Foot.  And the weekend is now here.

Arts on Foot is this weekend.  The festival will take place on F Street between 6th and 9th and on 8th Street between E and F.

It will feature over 100 artisans featuring their work as well as live music on two different stages.

On Saturday, Safeway wines will have a wine tasting at Riot Act (Admission $10).  On Sunday, there will be a number of food trucks ready to serve patrons while they enjoy the festival.

The festival begins at 11:00 a.m. and ends at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday and at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Hill Country profiled in Brides Magazine

Brides Magazine did a profile of country and barbecue themed wedding featuring Penn Quarter's own Hill Country BBQ.

You can check out the article here.

They focus on the New York City location, but we all know the wedding would be just a little better if it was in Penn Quarter.

Metro track work this weekend

Metro track work this coming weekend will affect our neighborhood more than usual.

Red Line trains will share one track between Dupont Circle and Judiciary Square.   They are replacing fasteners and installing new emergency phones.  The single-tracking will begin at 10:00 p.m. on Friday through the end of Sunday.

On Saturday and Sunday between 9:30 a.m. and 9 p.m., Red Line trains will depart approximately every 10 minutes from Shady Grove and Glenmont. Every other train leaving Shady Grove station will terminate at Dupont Circle. Every other train leaving Glenmont will terminate at Union Station.  At all other times during the weekend, Red Line trains will depart approximately every 20 minutes from Shady Grove and Glenmont.

Blue and Orange Line trains will single track between Eastern Market and Stadium-Armory.  They will be installing new rails.  

Keep this in mind if you are leaving Penn Quarter for 9/11 festivities or if you are coming in for Arts on Foot.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Washington not so manly afterall

Combos, the pretzel snack, assembles a "board of manliness" to rank America's cities on how manly they are.  The board includes actor Lou Ferrigno, baseball pitcher Rollie Fingers, comedian and actress Judy Gold, world beard champion Jack Passion, former professional wrestler Sgt. Slaughter, and professional lumberjack Mike Sullivan.

The board assesses the manliness of a city by measuring the concentration of home-improvement stores, manly occupations, steak houses, and motorcycles.  Rankings can also go down by cupcake stores, fancy furniture stores, and the like.

The proliferation of cupcake shops might have hurt the District, which dropped 23 spots in the lastest list, reports the Washington Business Journal.  Washington is now the 45th manliest city.

Nashville is number one.  Washington ranked just ahead of Chicago and behind Oakland.

Baltimore also dropped significantly--23 spots--but they are still ranked above us at number 28.

Foggy Bottom getting a Whole Foods

Photo by TBD's Jenny Rogers. Customers can order sandwiches, pizza,
burgers, sushi, and noodles from this kiosk and skip the cash register.
Foggy Bottom is getting a Whole Foods, which is opening on September 6th.   The Whole Foods packs a bunch of stuff into a small space, with cart escalators, salad bars, and tons of frozen food.

TBD has a lot of pictures of the new space before it opens.  If you want to drool and dream, check them out here.

Penn Quarter Sports Tavern a good place for College Football

The Washington Post profiled the best places in (and around) the District to watch College Football.  They found 6 places (4 of them actually in D.C.) and only one Penn Quarter establishment: Penn Quarter Sports Tavern.

The Post says that PQ Sports Tavern is committed to college football with dozens of replica college football helmets, old photos, and 30 flat-screen TVS, all at least 55 inches.

They also say that several TVs are visible from the patio, which is open year-round.

Labor Day concert details

Labor Day means the end of summer, but it also means a free Labor Day Concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol.

The concert is presented by the Kennedy Center, and takes place on Sunday (September 4th) at 8:00 p.m.  Gates open at 5:00 p.m.  

Because of security around the Capitol, parking might be tough.  So walking or taking the Metro are probably your best bet.

In case of inclement weather, the concert will be moved from the West Lawn to the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.  You can call 202-416-8113 after 2:30 p.m. on the day of the concert if you suspect the weather might preclude the concert.

Admission is free, and no tickets are required.