Thursday, November 30, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

I've been extremely lax about posting these last couple weeks, so if there's anyone still reading, here's a few Silver Spring tidbits:

- So Rockville doesn't want to name their library after Doug Duncan? Fine with me - we can wait and name the future Silver Spring library after him. If anyone deserves to be honored in Silver Spring, it's Duncan, who vowed to "fix Silver Spring or die trying", and helped bring Discovery, Birchmere, AFI, etc. to the downtown area. If Paul Sarbanes can get a transit hub named after him, a library is the least they can do for Duncan. Hey, so what if he "went out of his help fund the Rockville library"? It's not like the man who fired 11,359 air traffic controllers doesn't have an airport named after him.

If you haven't already read it, here's the Duncan lovefest from the Post.

Library side note: Looks like your tax dollars will be paying for lazy and/or cheap patrons of the new Silver Spring library after all. That is, provided it is ever built. See my earlier post on this subject.

Politician side note: look for Bob Ehrlich's cameo on The Wire this week on HBO.

- Another residential construction project is in the works for Silver Spring on Bonifant St., reports Silver Spring Scene. To make room, the two bungalows-turned-stores on that block would be demolished. It's difficult to see from street level, but the original roofs of the houses are visible on Google Maps. I feel bad for the tenants who might lose their lease, but tearing down this building wouldn't be a huge architectural loss for Silver Spring.

- References to the Old Dominion Brewpub, which has been "coming soon" forever, have been removed from the Downtown Silver Spring website. I don't know what the deal is with these guys, but they seem to take their sweet time opening up new locations. The Old Dominion in Mt. Vernon Square was supposed to open by summer 2005, but at least based on the lack of mention on the company's website, has yet to open.

- A new coffee shop and bakery, Tiramisu, has opened up on Eastern avenue in South Silver Spring. I haven't been there myself, but the South Silver Spring Neighborhood Association gives it high marks.

- If you're a smoker who lives at The Blairs, better find a new place to live. The complex is banning smoking, and anyone who won't sign a non-smoking agreement will have to move once their lease expires. The article notes that the Blairs has abandoned its no pet policy. Perhaps this is because their own employees who lived on the premises apparently kept dogs...

- Still no further word on the mysterious car explosion in Four Corners. Why the cover up, MoCo??

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Car Bomb in Four Corners?

There were shades of Baghdad in Four Corners early this week when a Ford Focus mysteriously exploded near the Dennis Avenue & Procter Streets near Four Corners early Monday morning. I live far enough away that the explosions didn't wake me, but I certainly heard quite a few emergency vehicles headed in that direction.

An eyewitness account was sent to me by Patrick, who lives near the scene of the explosion:

At around midnight last night my wife and I were awoken by the sound of an explosion. It was a loud, long BOOOOM that we could actually FEEL. It was just an unforgettable sound.

We darted outside, as did several of our neighbors, to find flames rising high into the air. I ran back inside and called 911 (as did apparently my entire neighborhood). We then walked toward the spot where the sound came from (dozens of people had come out of their homes to see what happened), and about a block from our house, at the corner of Dennis Ave & Procter St, a car had exploded. This was no ordinary car fire. I've seen car fires before. This was an explosion that shook the neighborhood. So I'm guessing it was set intentionally.

While car fires are not uncommon, non-Pinto cars don't generally explode (except in movies), as they are designed specifically NOT to do that. No one in the neighborhood has claimed the car and the authorities can't determine what caused the car to explode in the first place. All of this is quite mysterious. Is there an Al Qaeda sleeper cell operating in Silver Spring?? (If there is, it is a really lame one.)

A side note: Michael Ealy, the star of Showtime's Sleeper Cell series is from Silver Spring.

UPDATE: The photo in this post is not actually the car fire/bomb from Four Corners, but is of an exploded car in Iraq used for dramatic effect. Apparently there was some confusion about this. Unfortunately I don't have a photo of the actual car, but if someone does, PLEASE send it!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving News N' Notes

Sorry for the lack of posts lately - it's been a busy couple weeks.

- Somehow I manage to miss the Silver Spring Thanksgiving Parade every year, and this year was no exception. Here's some photos of the event I found on Flickr. (Photo on right courtesty of WashingtonGardener.)

- Is Silver Spring a "creative outpost"?

- Someone's selling a pair of 1962 & 1963 Blair yearbooks (featuring Goldie Hawn) on eBay. If the bid price seems low, check out the obscene shipping costs.

UPDATE: DAMN! The winning bid for the yearbook was $123.50 (plus the $25.86 shipping!) Someone must be a big Private Benjamin fan.

- Some Silver Spring restaurants were recently featured on the WETA program "Neighborhood Eats!" Mayorga, Mrs. K's Toll House and the Tastee Diner were all visited by the program. It's only on once more, so set your TiVos to record:

Sunday, November 26 2:05AM

[via the SSHS.]

- South Silver Spring to become "more walkable".

Have a great Thanksgiving!


For the love of God, SOMETHING needs to be done about the jaywalking epidemic in downtown Silver Spring. Now, I’m not talking about crossing Fenton when no cars are around – my complaint is those who behave like crossing major streets like Georgia and Colesville is an opportunity to play a real-life game of Frogger.

Some people apparently think that pedestrians “always have the right-of-way” and that they can walk across Colesville Rd. during the middle of rush hour and have the oncoming traffic screech to a halt to accommodate their leisurely jaunt to the opposite side of the street. To make things worse, they often do this at night and/or in the rain (while wearing black!). Sometimes they get in the middle of the road, see you coming, and second guess their decision to cross, but can't decide whether to go back or continue to the other side. In their indecision, they remain in the middle of the street scampering around like a squirrel.

My personal favorites are the people that for some reason wait to cross at a crosswalk until the cars get a green light, walking directly in front of them when they expect to start moving. I've missed lights because of these idiots.

Granted, I jaywalk all the time in that area, but I make damn sure no traffic is coming in either direction. These people will look, see you approaching them at 40MPH and then walk out right in front of you, expecting you to stop or merge into the next lane. Sometimes they don’t, and the results aren’t pretty. Not only do you risk your own life, you risk the life of drivers and their passengers. Provided they survive, they will likely be traumatized for life by the image of your body flying over the hood of their car.

I’ve never seen the county cops do a damn thing about jaywalkers, not that the county hasn’t recognized that something does need to be done. In 2002, in response to increased pedestrian deaths, they formed a “blue ribbon panel” on pedestrian safety. They found that for all pedestrian fatalities during the period of the study, 69% were not crossing in crosswalk. (Interestingly, part of this could be a cultural thing - more than half of the pedestrian fatalities were people born outside the U.S.)

Some of their recommendations:

• Special emphasis should be placed on "cluster areas" such as Central Business Districts (CBDs) and high collision "hot spot " locations by targeting them for increased pedestrian-traffic safety enforcement.

• Enforcement efforts should also focus on pedestrian compliance.

With a quarter of all pedestrian deaths in the county occurring in downtown Silver Spring, I think that preventing dangerous jaywalking should be a "point of emphasis" for the county cops around here. I've never heard of a pedestrian ever getting a ticket for jaywalking in Silver Spring. Heck, at least put up signs:

UPDATE: Just days after I posted this, there was another pedestrian struck in Silver Spring due to flagrant violation of pedestrain laws:

A 19-year-old Silver Spring man was hit early Sunday morning by a car, according to Montgomery County Police, who said the victim apparently ran into traffic.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Monday News 'N Notes

It's been a little slow around Silver Spring lately...

- Was there some crazy accident around Four Corners this past weekend? It looks like a car drove off of Colesville Rd. and crushed the bus stop in front of the Woodmoor shopping center. A crossing light also seems to have been thrown into the black shopping center sign on the northeast corner of University and Colesville. Anyone know what happened here?

- The City Paper discusses the effect of chef turnover on the cuisine of the Quarry House.

- There are plans for a skateboard park to be built in downtown Silver Spring.

- Jerry Rice, of Dancing With the Stars fame (I hear he used to play some sport or another, as well) was at Discovery this past week. Why? Beats me.

- Washington Gardener wants to produce acorn-shaped hats for downtown Silver Spring "Acorn Heads" to wear, kind of like a cheesehead hat, only not. You can get acorn hats (for kids) on eBay or make them yourself if you know how to do stuff like that.

This might be a good thing to produce and hock at the upcoming Thanksgiving parade.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Results are In!

With 100% of precincts reporting, the new (unofficial) name of City Place is...


It wasn't even close, with Silver Plaza taking 37% of the vote, more than twice its nearest competition, "Bling in the Spring".

Yeah, so what if it's already taken? It's not like anyone calls that area by that name, anyway. They should surrender the name to the mall for the good of the neighborhood.

The next step is to somehow get the mall management on board...

Complete Results:

Answers Votes Percent
Bling in the Spring 14 13%
MoCrap for MoCo 5 5%
The Mall that Used to Have a Nordstom Rack 4 4%
Hecht's Center 7 7%
Montgomery Mall 4 4%
Silver Plaza 39 37%
The Galleria at Veterans Field 7 7%
The National Mall 2 2%
Ye Olde Shoppes at Silver Sprung Towne 11 10%
The Shopppes at the Turf 12 11

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election Night Hangover

Damn, I'm tired after watching six straight hours of campaign coverage. The good news is that voters finally gave "Warlord George Walter Bush" the big "up yours" he so richly deserves. Of course, it would have been nice if it hadn't taken them six years.

It has been a good week:

Note that the polls for City Place's new name remain open through tonight. Be sure to vote and let your voice be heard!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vote for a new name for City Place

In honor of election day, I've added a poll on the right listing potential new names for City Place. The options were culled from reader submissions made in comments on this post.

Let the voting begin!

Election Day Notes

- I can breath a sigh of relief today, now that I have voted and no longer need fear Diddy's wrath. I voted at Highland View before work, and the lines weren't too bad - the process took maybe ten minutes start to finish.

- I love the illegal signs sprinkled amongst the campaign signs along the side of the road that read "illegal signs".

- P.G. County gets Clinton, and we only get Al Gore?

- The subject of City Place seems to get people all sorts of fired up, based on the comments to posts here, here and of course, here. This weekend was one of the rare occasions that I actually saw the inside of City Place, and it was only from the upper level of McGinty's. From what I could tell, there were more people in the bar then in the entire mall at that time. Not to mention some of the people in the mall had just stepped out of McGinty's in order to make a phone call. A conversation I overheard in McGinty's says a lot about City Place:

McGinty's customer #1 (looking out the window into City Place): "What is that out there?"

McGinty's Customer #2: "I think it's a mall."

Thursday, November 02, 2006

News 'N Notes

- I've added a new section of links on the sidebar for local (neighborhood, building, complex, etc.) associations and message boards. Note that many of the Yahoo! groups included in this list require you to join before you can read and post messages. If you are aware of any additional groups/websites that you'd like to see added, please let me know via email.

- Al Gore and Martin "Carcetti" O'Malley will be at the Student Services Center of the MC Takoma Park/SS campus on Monday, November 6th. UPDATE: Because apparently only old people vote, this event has been moved to Leisure World. Weak.


Here's the event details:

2:00PM - Vice President Al Gore to Campaign with Martin O’Malley and Anthony Brown at Leisure World

Club House II, Leisure World, 3701 Rossmoor Blvd, Silver Spring

- Governor "crush me with student loans" Ehrlich's appearance at the Silver Spring Metro didn't start out too well:

"You're going to lose, big time," the first man to shake Ehrlich's hand said before walking off to catch a bus.

- Speaking of Ehrlich, that transit commission he moved out of Silver Spring has a grand total of six employees. I'm sure that will be a boon to the economy of P.G. County and deliver a large number of votes. I bet those six people are thrilled about having their offices moved from Downtown Silver Spring to the New Carrollton Metro...

- Don't forget to submit your suggestion for a new name for City Place.

Renaming City Place

A commenter on this post over at Silver Spring Scene suggested that City Place needs to be re-named. I think this is a fantastic idea. Why?

1. City Place has been (justifiably, IMO) maligned for years. In order to be re-born, it needs to cast aside the shackles of its present name.

2. Silver Spring is not a city. Therefore, the name makes no damn sense.

3. "City Place" rhymes with "Shitty Place". Enough said.

This being said, I am hereby putting out a call for new names for the mall currently known as City Place. Of course, I have absolutely no say in the hypothetical re-branding of City Place, but perhaps by some miracle your suggestions could make their way to the management company and inspire them to make the change.

Some tips on mall re-naming:

- If you are going to give a mall a new name, at least make the name make grammatical sense. Can someone please explain to me what the hell "The Mall at Prince Georges" means? (It will always be P.G. Plaza to me) The county name, Prince George's, is possessive. Where'd the apostrophe go? Unless they are referring to a different prince whose name is "Georges", it is wrong. Also, how can it be "at" a county rather than in one? Really, the name should be "The Mall in Prince George's [County]". Then again, what should we expect from a county whose school system rivals that of Baltimore City for worst in the state?

- Generic, management-company-branded names are lame. (i.e. "Westfield Shoppingtown Wheaton")

- Just because it's near a landmark, don't name it after said landmark if it conjures up unpleasant images in people's heads. (Beltway Plaza)

- It doesn't hurt to include words like "park" or "galleria" to make it sound upscale.

- Don't repeat the mistakes of the past (see #3 above). Make sure the new name can't be rhymed with any derogatory words. It's like the episode of the Simpsons where Homer and Marge are deciding on a baby name and Homer declares, "nothing rhymes with Bart!"

Of course, any re-naming would amount to nothing more than lipstick on a pig if the mall fails to attract any upscale tenants. It's a good first step, though.

So, what are everyone's suggestions??

[FLASHBACK - an older post about City Place]

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hump Day Update

- I tell you, there is no better deal in Silver Spring than the jerk chicken sandwich at Negril. A piece of coco bread (delicious on its own) is stuffed with what seems like an entire chicken. On top of that is a tasty Jamaican jerk sauce and a piece of lettuce. This is MORE than enough for an entire meal, and the cost is just $3.45. Not that long ago it was only $2.25. For this you get far more food than you would get at Potbelly's and astronomically more than offered by and sandwich from Subway. If you are really, really, hungry, you can add on a beef patty and really gorge.

- Hey, the Gazette has a story about a Silver Spring castle for sale on eBay. I feel like I've heard something about this before...

- A so-called "Katrina Cottage", which is slightly smaller than the aforementioned castle, will be open to the public at the Gwendolyn E. Coffield Community Center on Lyttonsville Rd. through November.

- Soon-to-be-lame-duck Bobby Haircut is taking the The Washington Suburban Transit Commission offices from Silver Spring and giving them to PG County. "Governor Robert Ehrlich says the January move from Silver Spring to New Carrollton is part of his commitment to bring government agencies to Prince George's [at the expense of Montgomery]." I think a few years ago his main commitment was to maximize the amount of my student loans. :(