Splash Yards in August 2014 (Photo courtesy of The Yards)

Boozey snow cones, hot tubs and ice sculptures are headed to The Yards.

Next weekend, the organizers of the 301 Water St. SE development will hold a winter version of the popular Splash Yards party they threw last summer. Attendees age 21 and up can expect an afternoon of fire pits, live music and winter-themed video games.

Ice Yards, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 17 from 2 to 6 p.m., is the winter take on the event about 2,200 people attended in Navy Yard in August, said Gary McManus, a spokesman for Yards developer Forest City.

“It will have a ski chalet vibe,” he said. “We want people to chill.”

Organizers have high hopes for the event they started promoting earlier this week on social media. The winter weather doesn’t have them worried, McManus said. Everything will take place under tents, some of which will be heated.

In addition to snow cones made by an Absolut Vodka mixologist, revelers can expect a beer garden and food from local restaurants. Admission is free and food and drinks will be sold.

Photo courtesy of The Yards


Eastern Market (Photo via Flicrk/NCinDC)

A plan seems to be inching along to improve parking near Eastern Market on weekends.

District Department of Transportation representatives will speak at a community meeting tomorrow night (Wednesday) about ideas to fix the weekend parking clog, reviving discussions that have gone on since at least 2011.

Fixing parking problems at Eastern Market — an area that, unlike much of the District, is less crowded on weekdays but inundated on weekends — has long been a priority for ANC 6B, transportation committee chair Kirsten Oldenburg said. The commission pushed for expanding performance-based parking, which allows the city to charge higher costs during times of peak demand. Such systems are already in place around Nationals Park and on the H Street Corridor.

However, DDOT failed to act on an expansion of performance-based parking, even as District Council members joined in support for the plan, Oldenburg said. The department told ANC 6B they could not expand the performance parking plan without additional review.

“It was a very frustrating process for all of us,” she said.

Still, Oldenburg said she looks forward to hearing what DDOT has to say and to start working toward a solution.

“[The meeting] will begin plans for the coming months,” she said.

The meeting will be held tomorrow at 7 p.m. in room 314 of the Hill Center, at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. The DDOT representatives expected to speak tomorrow night declined to discuss the presentation they’ll give.

Photo via NCinDC/Flickr


Capitol Hill residents tried their best to go about life as usual this morning (Tuesday) despite waking up to snowfall and slick roads. We took a stroll around the neighborhood, and here’s what we found.


H Street NE will soon have more condos.

The 16-unit building at 1115 H St. NE is near completion, according to a statement the developer released today (Monday).

The units starting in the mid-$300,000s are being marketed toward would-be renters by the firm Urban Pace.

“The new condos at 1115H will offer more District residents the opportunity to purchase their own homes in the hip H Street corridor for less than the cost of renting comparably sized apartments in many DC neighborhoods,” Urban Pace President Lynn Hackney said in a statement.

Floor plans for 1-bedroom units show about 650 square feet of space. The units feature recycled glass countertops, hardwood floors, GE stainless steel appliances and triple-glazed windows. Some of the units have Juliet balconies.

A listing by the firm Weichert shows a 651-square-foot unit asking $349,000.

The five-story building has a rooftop terrace, electric car charging stations and covered bike storage. The ground floor will have 3,000 square feet of retail space.


Duck confit (Photo via Flickr/adactio)If one of your New Year resolutions is to become a better cook, then the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital might be the place for you.

This month, the community center at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE will offer a variety of cooking classes to delight your inner foodie.

On Jan. 15 and 29, Gérard Pangaud, a 2-star Michelin chef, will teach how to make a classic French dinner of three courses: endive, avocado, beet and goat cheese salad; macaroni and cheese with duck confit and wild mushrooms; and his mother’s chocolate cake.

On Jan. 16, Chef Wendi James will take you through making some favorite Thai dishes: green papaya salad, chicken satay with peanut sauce, beef in red curry with rambutan and broccoli, and coconut bananas.

On Jan. 17, Jose Adorno of  the 6th Street NW restaurant Graffiato will explore Italian-inspired cooking. The menu will include a carpaccio duo, Caesar salad, roasted cauliflower, roasted red snapper, hand-tossed pan pizzas and coconut ginger flan.

The January offerings will wrap up with Bill Schindler, an associate professor of anthropology and archaeology at Washington College. He will teach how to best use animal fats in your cooking. Participants will learn how to make butter, render lard, roast marrow bones to make marrow butter, make goose confit and make the salumi called lardo.

The class costs range from $65 to $85 per person. Those who are interested can register at hillcenterdc.org.

Photo via Flickr/adactio


Mr. Henry's Restaurant (Photo by Jessica Estepa)We reported on renovations to Mr. Henry’s Restaurant earlier this week and readers asked us on our Facebook and Twitter accounts about the kids’ night and all-you-can-eat brunch that used to be popular there. We circled back with the manager, and here’s what we found out.

Kids’ Night at Mr. Henry’s, which drew families around Capitol Hill every week with free meals, ended in the fall, and there are no plans to bring it back, Mr. Henry’s manager Mark Steele said. Instead, the Hill institution wants to work with local schools to host monthly fundraisers, like hosting buffet dinners. Most of the proceeds would go to the participating schools. The fundraising events are still in the works, but Steele said he hopes to meet with school PTAs soon.

“We do want to reach out,” he said.

There are also no plans to bring back the all-you-can eat brunch on weekends. The restaurant serves a breakfast small plates menu that has been popular, Steele said. He is considering the possibility of a gospel or jazz brunch in the future to take advantage of the newly renovated upstairs space. But for now, the focus at Mr. Henry’s is on nighttime entertainment, with jazz nights set to start next week.

Additionally, Mr. Henry’s is not planning on installing televisions in the downstairs bar area. One TV is available upstairs, and it may be used during sports or political events, Steele said.


Mr. Henry’s Restaurant will be spiffed up in 2015.

Construction on the Capitol Hill institution (601 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) is expected to include new tables and chairs, and upgrades to the downstairs bathrooms, general manager Mark Steele said. Work also may be done on the restaurant’s bay windows.

The work will likely start in January, as the restaurant’s owners and managers figure out what project to tackle first, Steele said. As the first floor is restored, the newly renovated upstairs area will be open with a limited menu, he said.

The goal of the work is to stay true to the bar and restaurant’s atmosphere while giving it some much needed maintenance.

“The essence is still there,” he said. “But it’s fresh, new and pretty.”

Keeping the restaurant that first opened in the 1960s open is crucial said Steele — whose wife is the niece of restaurant owner Larry Quillian.

“The marketplace here has changed a lot, but Mr. Henry’s has a longstanding tradition,” said Steele, who worked for years in restaurants in Delaware. “A lot of people really love the place, and we want to rejuvenate the business.”

That reinvigoration began in August, when Steele came on board following the retirement of longtime managing parter Alvin Ross. Steele started working on long-deferred maintenance projects around the restaurant. The work in the past few months focused on the second floor, including restoring the wood paneling, redoing the ceiling and installing a new draft beer system.

Mr. Henry’s management also installed a new stage and electrical system to allow for performances. The restaurant will host music nights every Friday starting Jan. 9, with a focus on jazz.


The Old Siam, Dec. 29, 2014

D.C. Water says the broken water main on 8th Street SE has been fixed, but the Thai restaurant The Old Siam is still coping with damage.

The basement of the 406 8th St. SE restaurant was inundated with two feet of water because of the water main break Christmas Eve morning, manager Nikkie Likitvanichkul said today (Monday). The flooding broke the heater for the entire building, and forced the restaurant to close for most of Wednesday.

“We probably lost a lot of business,” Likitvanichkul said as crews worked again this morning — just feet from The Old Siam’s front door — to repair the 12-inch pipe that flooded Barracks Row.

The Old Siam is open today but on Wednesday had to stay closed until 5 p.m. They usually open at 11:30 a.m. The Thai and sushi restaurant was able to operate for three hours before they were forced to close again.

The restaurant doesn’t yet know how much damage was done and is awaiting an insurance assessment, Likitvanichkul said.


Christmas tree seller Elliott Warley Jr.

Elliott Warley Jr. never expected to go into the Christmas tree business. But once a year, he takes a month off work to sell trees outside Eastern Market.

After all, it’s a family tradition that stretches back more than three decades.

His father, Elliott Warley Sr., started the stand in 1983 after he bought a farm in West Virginia.

Warley Sr.’s accountant told him he could pay lower taxes on the land if he started a business. When he noticed some firs on the property, he decided to try his hand at selling Christmas trees.

Since its inception, the younger Warley — now a D.C. firefighter — has toiled at the stand. He was a teenager when his father started the business. He concedes that at the time, he would have rather hung out with his friends.

“It kept me out of trouble, though,” said Warley, now in his 40s. “Pops knew that.”

Three years ago, when it came time to take over the business for his father — who worked in the president’s Office of Administration — Warley jumped at the chance.

Warley and his crew can be found outside Eastern Market’s North Hall every year from Black Friday to Christmas Eve. It isn’t always bright and cheerful. Business was slow this year. Last year was his best year selling trees, and this year may be his worst, he said.

One pitfall of selling trees throughout the holidays is Warley has gotten little time to enjoy the festivities himself. Still, he looks forward to every time he can make a sale.

“I like giving somebody a nice tree, something they can really enjoy,” he said.

Warley expects to sell trees outside Eastern Market for as many years as he can. When he’s done, he knows who’s next in line: his 24-year-old son.

“He doesn’t know that yet,” Warley said. “And he probably doesn’t want to. But I didn’t want to do this at first either.”


Charles Allen, Nov. 4, 2014

Ward 6 Councilman-elect Charles Allen is hosting a party, and you’re invited.

Allen announced today (Friday) that he’ll host an inaugural open house after he’s sworn into office on Jan. 2

District Council members and Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser will take their oaths of office then at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (801 Mount Vernon Place NW). The ceremony is open to the public and will begin at 9:30 a.m.

Afterward, Allen will host the open house at his office in the Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW), Suite 406. People can RSVP to the event here.

Laura Marks, who worked as chairwoman of Allen’s campaign, said the event is a tradition for Council members and gives people who attend the swearing-in ceremonies something to do between when Council members take their oath in the morning and ANC commissioners and State Board of Education members do in the afternoon.

Allen will get the chance to show off his new office and meet with people, she said.

“Over the last several weeks, I’ve been working during the transition period to ensure I will hit the ground running, meeting with education, public safety, housing and small business leaders,” Allen wrote in his invite.

Allen will sit on the Education, Transportation and the Environment, and Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs committees.

Also in his invite, Allen said he plans to announce his staff in the coming weeks.


DDOT ribbon-cutting ceremony

The District Department of Transportation installed a record nine miles of new bike lanes this year and more are on the way.

DDOT officials celebrated the milestone this morning (Wednesday) at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new 4th Street bike lanes. The lanes stretch from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to School Street SW, providing a connection to the waterfront.

“With the 4th Street bike lanes, residents and visitors can bicycle from National Ballpark, across the Mall to downtown and beyond,” DDOT Director Matthew Brown said.

This year, in Ward 6, the department installed protected lanes in NoMa along 1st Street NE, plus lanes on 11th Street SE. The District also did resurfacing projects on G and I streets NE to prepare for more bike traffic once the D.C. Streetcar starts operating on H Street NE.

No plans have yet been made for what bicycle projects DDOT will tackle in 2015, but proposals will be reviewed in the coming weeks, said Sam Zimbabwe, DDOT associate director. The department takes into account demand, safety concerns and the nature of the work that needs to be done, he said.

“We want to continue this momentum,” Zimbabwe said.

The number of District residents who commute to work by bike has grown to 4.5 percent, or 15,000 people, DDOT says. This percentage is likely higher on the Hill, where many residents use bikes as their main mode of transportation, Zimbabwe said.

Ward 6 has about 18.8 miles of bike lanes within its boundaries, DDOT said.

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NoMa Harris Teeter

The Harris Teeter store in NoMa could open as early as Wednesday, a manager reached by phone said today (Monday) as a corporate representative declined to give a reopening date.

The 1201 1st St. store closed last Monday following sightings of mice by a District health inspector and customers. The District Department of Health cleared the store to reopen last Wednesday, but Harris Teeter opted to close and sanitize the store.

Employees could be seen working on restocking shelves this afternoon. Workers were stripping every case and shelf in the store to ensure that they meet the company’s pest control and sanitation standards,” company spokeswoman Danna Jones said.

“Any product that does not meet our strict quality guidelines will be discarded,” she wrote in an email.

The store pharmacy has remained open, letting customers pick up their prescriptions, Jones said.

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Menorah lighting (Photo courtesy of Capitol Hill Business District)

The Christmas tree near Eastern Market will be joined tomorrow night by a 9-foot-tall electric menorah.

The new menorah will be lit on the first night of Hanukkah by the local Jewish group Hill Havurah and the Capitol Hill Business Improvement District.

Since the BID began lighting a Christmas tree near Eastern Market about eight years ago, people inquired about when the BID would light a menorah, marketing director Kelly Maslar said.

“This is going to be a new tradition,” she said.

A blessing of the menorah will take place at 5 p.m, at 8th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue SE. Latkes from Ted’s Bulletin will be given out, and the BID’s “Men in Blue” workers will serve jelly doughnuts, hot chocolate and coffee.

The BID bought the menorah earlier this year as a tribute to Paul Pascal, who stepped down as board chairman in February, Maslar said.

Photo courtesy of Capitol Hill Business Improvement District 


NoMa Harris Teeter (Photo via Flickr/John M)

The Harris Teeter store on 1st Street is closed indefinitely after a District health inspector and shoppers spotted mice.

A manager reached by phone today (Friday) said store officials are aiming to reopen the store early next week, but no firm date has been set.

In an email sent to customers, Harris Teeter said it is stripping every case and shelf in the store to “thoroughly clean, sanitize and restock product.” Products that don’t meet the store’s guidelines will be discarded.

“We are doing this out of an abundance of caution to ensure we are operating at the highest possible standards,” the store’s customer relations team wrote. They did not immediately respond to an inquiry.

The 1201 1st St. store closed Monday after a District Department of Health inspector found a live mouse in a storage container.

Inspectors found a number of violations, and saw three mice in a trap near a refrigerator, rodent feces on food equipment and flooring in the pizza area and on shelves in the bakery area.

Additionally, inspectors reported flies in the deli, produce and meat prep areas, unclean surfaces on cooking equipment in prep areas and containers of Oscar Meyer deli meats that were past the sell by date.

The store was cleared to reopen on Wednesday, but Harris Teeter chose to close and sanitize the store, a manager said, declining to provide his name.

NoMa resident Aisha van Ter Sluis spotted a mouse at the store on Wednesday night, shortly after Harris Teeter reopened. The local activist, who lives in an apartment above the store, was shopping when she saw a mouse scurry past her in the cereal aisle. She left her cart and walked out.

She said she had repeatedly seen vermin in the store since moving into the building in Feb. 2013. Despite the convenience of having the Harris Teeter an elevator ride away, she said she often opts to take the Red Line all the way to the Whole Foods in Tenleytown.

“You find bugs or you see a mouse and you say you’re never going back, but that lasts for two months, and then you slowly start to pick up a few things,” she said. “It’s just too convenient.”

What worries van Ter Sluis most is the idea that the vermin could get into her apartment building.

“If they have this huge warehouse infested with mice, how long until that gets to where we live?” she said.

Photo via Flickr/John M.


Marie, Cole and Devin Gemmell (Photo via Facebook/Ken Gemmell)A Hill resident is collecting donations for the Gaithersburg, Md. father and daughter who lost three members of their family and their home in the plane crash that killed six people on Monday.

When Hill resident Kyra DeBlaker-Gebhard heard news of the crash, she contacted a friend of the Gemmell family to ask how she and her neighbors could help Ken Gemmell, who was at work when the crash killed his wife, 3-year-old son and six-week-old son. His 7-year-old daughter was at school at the time.

“I’m just helping to facilitate what I’m sure we’re all thinking: let’s give to this family in need during a time of true giving,” said DeBlaker-Gebhard, who is a writer and editor. “I needed to do more than donate to the GoFundMe, which I did as soon as I learned about it … We are an amazing network of professionals and families, who I know would want to help by offering donations but may not be able to make the trip out to Germantown or Gaithersburg.”

Starting today, Hill residents can drop off donations at Metro Mutts (508 H St. NE and 407 8th St. SE) or contact DeBlaker-Gebhard by emailing [email protected].

The Gemmell family has asked for the following items:

  • Gift cards to fast food and sit-down restaurants, coffee shops, gas cards, Visa gift cards
  • School supplies
  • Second grade-level books
  • Toys for Arabelle

The family has received many clothing donations and is not accepting those now. The online account had raised more than $413,000 as of 3 p.m. today (Thursday).

“It’s not about me wanting to help. It’s about a little girl who will grow up without a mother. It’s about a father and husband who has to bury a wife and two young sons. It’s trying to help others who feel helpless in face of this tragedy,” DeBlaker-Gebhard said.

Photo via Facebook/Ken Gemmell


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