Friday, April 14, 2006

Speaking of McMansions...

Speaking of McMansions, you know one is going to go up when the realtor doesn't even bother to provide a picture of the existing house, like in this listing for a house on Sligo Creek Parkway.

Looks like they want to build some McMansions in Four Corners as well:

Developers, too, are eyeing South Four Corners. One has proposed demolishing a house on a large parcel of land bordered by University Boulevard, Gilmoure Drive and Brunett Avenue. The plan is to build six houses, to sell from the high $800,000s.

More garbage from "luxury" condo websites

I've already expressed how much I despise the descriptions used on the websites of these so-called "luxury" condos going up around Silver Spring, but it annoys me that they can't even use proper grammar.

From the "Aurora" website:

If you haven't been to Silver Spring lately, you've really been missing out. On the new excitement, energy, and style of the new Silver Spring.
Who do they get to write these things? First graders?

In addition to poor writing, they lie about Silver Spring:
When the Silver Spring Shopping Center opened in 1938, it was the first retail development in the nation to include a parking lot, a radical notion at the time.
Sorry, but the Silver Spring Shopping center wasn't even the first in the area. Try the Park and Shop in Cleveland Park, which opened in 1930. Besides, is the nation's first strip mall something to be proud of?

Also, according to the neighborhood map on the website of the Galaxy (another new SS condo), Caribou Coffee is one-of-a-kind:

Well, except for their hundreds of other locations, of course.


Sadly, I will be away from Silver Spring for a week or two with limited access to a computer, so my postings during that time may be infrequent or nonexistent. I promise a complete recap of Silver Spring goings on upon my return along with some new features and additional "Silver Spring: Back in the Day" installments. See you then!

Can we get a law against McMansions in Silver Spring, too?

Let's see... no McMansions in Chevy Chase... no McMansions in Takoma Park... where are they going to go now? One thing that is nice about Silver Spring is the relative scarcity of McMansions, especially the 'tear-down' variety. Unfortunately, Silver Spring doesn't have it's own independent lawmaking body, so unless the county passes some sort of blanket law restricting their construction, additional McMansions will be coming to a Silver Spring neighborhood near you.

Washington Post: Authority To Set Size Of Houses Advances

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

I've been out-of-town recently, so I haven't been able to keep abreast of the most recent goings on in Silver Spring, but here are a few items of interest:

- MoCo wants to use the empty apartments near Blair High School Silver Spring International Middle School to house homeless people with mental and drug problems. I know I used to pass by that building quite frequently as a kid, as it was between Ertter's and Fairway Pharmacy (anyone remember that place?). They had to expect that this idea was going to go over real well. Besides the school issue, people are quite conscious of the potential effect on property values, but they can't use that as their justification publicly, of course.
I do think this is an excellent idea:

Alan Bowser, a lawyer who has lived in the neighborhood for 12 years, said he would rather see the building turned into condominiums that teachers, police officers, firefighters and other county employees could afford.
How about school bus drivers, many of whom now have to commute from West Virginia?

UPDATE: Here's the official proposal from the MoCo Housing Opportunities Commission.

- The Purple Line from Silver Spring to Bethesda may be getting the shaft (again) in favor of a Metro line to BWI if some Maryland officials get their way.

- The Silver Spring Historical Society will be conducting their walking tour of Downtown Silver Spring on Saturday, May 6th:
Tour participants will meet "under the clock" at the 1938 Silver Spring Shopping Center, located on the corner of Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road (between Red Lobster and Romano's Macaroni Grill). The tour will conclude around noon at the historic 1945 Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station, 8100 Georgia Avenue, which will be open for visitation until 3:00 p.m.

Reservations are NOT required and the tour will be conducted rain or shine. For more information, contact the SSHS at 301.537.1253 or email

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

Not a whole lot going down in The Spring today...

- The Gazette has a profile of the Woodmoor Pastry Shop in Four Corners. Yum. I used to get all my birthday cakes from there (and still like to).

- There's a couple interesting articles in the Silver Spring Voice - a commentary on the future of the "green carpet" area in DTSS, the other is regarding the efforts to bring the Birchmere to Silver Spring.

- A PG County restaurateur is suing the MoCo police for $5 million over a traffic stop in Silver Spring.

- The new Silver Spring Downtown website, which was supposed to be up over a month ago, is still "coming soon".

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Hidden Silver Spring Gem - White Oak Lanes

There used to be a number of places to bowl in Silver Spring when I was a kid, but many have been demolished or converted to other uses. The alley at Piney Branch Rd. & University Blvd. has been transformed into a grocery store and restaurant while the Bowl America in downtown Silver Spring has been gone for a few years now.

Still going strong is a hidden gem of Silver Spring - the White Oak Duckpin Lanes, located in, or technically underneath, the White Oak Shopping center at the intersection of 29 and New Hampshire Ave. This place is definitely "old school". There is no manual scoring (it must be done with pencil and paper) and you have to clear after each roll by pressing a button. It really doesn’t look any different than it did when I used to go there for birthdays many years ago. I think they may even have the same video games.

Duckpin bowling, which purportedly originated in Maryland, uses smaller balls and gives you three shots to knock down the pins. It’s definitely more challenging than standard tenpin bowling, and there are a lot less lanes to be found. It’s also fun because you can hurl the balls a lot faster than standard-size balls.

Don’t feel like reserving a lane for $75/hr at the Lucky Strike downtown or waiting two hours at Strike Bethesda? Try the cosmic bowling offered at White Oak Lanes – just $12 all-you-can bowl plus free shoe rental from 10:30-1AM. (The website actually says “free show rental”, but it’s clear what they mean.) A large beer is just a few bucks and there are tons of junky snacks available to munch on. I would just be prepared to feel like the oldest person there if you are over 18.

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- Looks like the new Silver Spring library will have free parking after all. The MoCo council voted to "have taxpayers (i.e. you) pick up the parking tab".

"If we do not see libraries as part of our free education system, we have a problem," said council member Michael L. Subin (D-At Large), who supported the proposal. "Libraries have been free since the time of Ben Franklin."
Did Ben Franklin park his carriage in a garage and have someone else subsidize it? I doubt it. Besides, the library is still free - that was never an issue, despite Mr. Subin's claims to the contrary. God forbid anyone should have to walk, ride a bike, or take public transportation to the library. Or even (gasp) pay fifty cents to park across the street! I don't know why this bothers me so much, but there are certainly a lot bigger issues that people should be getting outraged about.

- First it was Jack Abramoff, now another high-profile Silver Spring resident is in hot water. This time it's Brian J. Doyle, a deputy press secretary for Homeland Security. He was arrested yesterday at his Silver Spring home and charged with "using a computer to seduce a child". Creepy. (Link)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- DCist has a positive writeup today on Silver Spring's Red Dog Café. I dined at Red Dog for the first time this past weekend, and while I can't speak for the whole menu, the salad and pizza I ordered were excellent. I initially planned on going to the old standby, Parkway Deli, but once I arrived I decided to try out the new kid on the block. After all these years of going to Parkway, I have a bit of a guilty concience, like I was cheating on it right in front of it's face...

- Here's a couple recently-posted Silver Spring shots on Flickr: a scary storm brewing last night over DTSS and the Metro bridge underpass bereft of penguins.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Silver Spring Penguins getting a much-needed bath

Looks like "phase 2" of the penguin mural restoration is now underway. Flickr user TerryMcT managed to catch the removal of the remaining panels this past weekend.

Whadda ya know... more "luxury" condos!

Will Silver Spring be movin' on up to a deluxe apartment in the sky? It will if KSI Services has anything to say about it. They developer is planning a 20-story "twin towers" complex called Midtown Silver Spring that will house 350 "luxury" condos. They still need to get county approval for the project, but the official website is already up. The proposed site is off Ripley Street, between Georgia Avenue and the railroad tracks.

According to KSI's Don Hauge:

"It would be a higher-end project, with all the bells and whistles," he says. "We'll have a pool on the roof, a substantial fitness center, a game room and a conference area for people with home-based businesses. And we're looking forward to some spectacular views."
I hate to break it to you Don, but the original Twin Towers in Silver Spring also had a great rooftop view until someone built a row of office buildings in front of it, so this might only be temporary. Also, for what it's worth, Twin Towers also has a pool on the roof.

Personally, I just think it is funny that Silver Spring now has a "Midtown".

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The original Silver Spring logo?

In an earlier post, I discussed how Silver Spring seems to have an excess of symbols/logos. You probably wouldn't ever notice it unless you were looking for it, but the 1937 building on Georgia Avenue which now houses Tires of Silver Spring features what might be the first-ever logo for Silver Spring:

I am not aware if this Art Deco style spring symbol was ever used anywhere else, but I noticed that a colorized version will be used as part of the 'sprucing up' of the B&O railway bridge: