Friday, June 30, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- According to the propaganda for the Aspen Ridge townhouses, Silver Spring is Montgomery County's "sweetheart city", whatever that means.

This is good, too: "In fact, living in Montgomery County, there are few of the world’s pleasures you can’t find within a short trip from your home" (Via Just Up The Pike)

- United Theraputics' new drug manufacturing plant at the corner of Spring & Cameron Streets in SS opened yesterday. It's good to see the drug business is making a comeback downtown!

- Overheard in Silver Spring:

Silver Spring Metro: Tourist (attempting to push bill through station manager's window): "A one-way ticket to Gallery Place, please." (From DCist)

Personally witnessed at Home Depot paint counter: (Man turns to his wife, incensed that Home Depot is attempting to con him) "Look at this ad - six dollars off one can of paint and thirty-five dollars off five cans of paint. Six times five IS thirty-five!" This sure 'aint Bethesda.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

New Bogus Apartment Description Hall of Famer

There are some really bad descriptions of so-called "luxury" condominiums/apartments in Silver Spring out there, but I have discovered one building that trumps them all - the Enclave Apartments in White Oak:

Live the dream... We set out to create an extraordinary residence. Using concrete and steel and glass as our canvas, we soon discovered that our creation had transcended our vision. More than a living space, we had captured the dream of a living space. Having come into existence, there could be no other name for it: The Enclave.
Great, except there WAS another name for it - Berkshire Towers. Before that it was called the "El Dorado". Can an apartment building hide from it's past by continually changing it's name? I bet that's what the owner is hoping. Here's some highlights ("lowlights"?) of comments from past and current residents on the building from

- "We have lived here for a year. In that time there have been multiple stabbings and a rape."

- "It's routine to have the fire alarm go off in the middle of the night."

- "Bottom line: don't even think about living here."

- "These apartments really need to be imploded, like they do the old casinos in Las Vegas."

- "This has to be the worst place in Silver Spring"

- "Negative 15 on a scale of one to five"

- "This place is pure, unadulterated hell."

- "The worst place ever."

- "Last night I found 4 dead rats in the hallway, and 2 were eating on them."

- "The environmental Protection Agency said in their 18 years in Montgomery County they had never seen Mushrooms growing inside the walls."

Live the dream? Sounds more like a terrible nightmare. These are just a very small sampling of the reviews. If you want hours of entertainment, be sure to read the rest.

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- Silver Spring has a "Downtown Boomtown".

- Guess what, more condos:

Condominium units. Cypress Realty Investments LLC, Washington. A site plan for 210 units on 1.8 acres, on the east side of Georgia Avenue between Burlington Avenue and Stoddard Place in Silver Spring.
It will be right next to the train tracks- nice and quiet. This is the current location of the National Association of Dyers and Cleaners building. I'm not sure what the fate of that building will be.

- DCist has an interview with Rock N' Romp (of Silver Spring) founder Debbie Lee. She discusses the upcoming Rock-n-Romp Showcase at the Quarry House.

- There is a "puppet walk" scheduled for July 9th in Downtown Silver Spring.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- Owners of 'niche' shops are getting priced out of Downtown Silver Spring, according to the Gazette. Starbucks always seems to get picked on in these articles, as if there is going to be six straight blocks of them:

‘‘‘As much as I love Starbucks, does anyone get excited about them?” he said. ‘‘When you’re walking down the street, do you say, ‘Oh, a Starbucks — I haven’t seen one of those in five minutes’?”
Really though, if I had a business, I'd WANT a Starbucks next door. Like it or not, that will bring a lot of foot traffic to your area.

- Silver Spring Scene has photos of the new artwork at 8045 Newell. Here's an "Old School Silver Spring" style piece of art that also went up recently.

- There are discussions about a 'Rapid Bus' service down Georgia Ave/7th St. from Silver Spring to the National Archives:
As planned, the service would run between the Silver Spring Metrorail station or Eastern Avenue, NW, and the National Archives via Georgia Avenue and Seventh Street, NW. The existing Georgia Avenue/Seventh Street 70/71 Metrobus route transports 22,000 passengers daily between Silver Spring and Buzzards Point. Recent studies show passengers along this route would benefit from a service in addition to the regular route bus service. The service would feature distinctive, low-floor vehicles and provide faster service with fewer stops.
Is the Silver Spring Metro Station on Eastern Avenue??

- Inexplicably, most of Sligo Creek Parkway is closed off, even though the street itself doesn't seem to be damaged. The trail wasn't as lucky, and this blogger laments the recent storm damage to the Sligo Creek Trail.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- The double-O-negative blog believes that Silver Spring's revitalization has caused it to jump the shark, so to speak. Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space also weighs in.

- Check out these pictures of flood damage to Sligo Creek Park.

While we're on the subject of Sligo Creek floods, did you know that a 1969 creek flood killed two firemen? There is a memorial to them on the bridge where Sligo Creek Parkway meets New Hampshire Avenue:

Monday, June 26, 2006

Northwest Branch bridge still closed

The bridge over the Northwest Branch between Four Corners and White Oak is still closed due to mudslides. They've been out there all day with big trucks trying to haul it away, so hopefully it will be gone by rush hour, but I wouldn't count on it.

When that stretch of road is closed, it is traffic hell. There is no good detour to get over that particular body of water, so the backup probably stretched all the way up to Columbia this morning. I remember last year there was a bad accident in almost the same place, and for whatever reason they left the body lying there for hours during peak rush hour and no one was allowed to drive by in either direction. I had to get out and start walking down the street (right past the body), which was particularly hard because there is inexplicably no sidewalk on that stretch, despite the fact that they have located a bus stop halfway down the road. You have to stand on a small hill while cars go by at 50 MPH a few feet from your face.

Arrrrrr! Pirates be comin' to Silver Spring

Reader Larry M. brought to my attention that the building at 8402 Georgia now has notice of a county liqour license and a sign advertising a website for "Piratz Tavern".

The website bills Piratz as "Silver Spring's newest treasure". There's some crazy music, and if you click on the parrot he lets out a pathetic caw. There's not really any info on the place, but they are advertising for jobs. Note that a Google search for "piratz tavern" came up with no results, so I'm guessing it isn't a chain.

If I hear anything new, I'll be sure to post.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- A New Republic contributor writes today in a column discussing the resignation of Doug Duncan that Downtown Silver Spring used to be "unsafe for habitation". OK, it wasn't THAT bad. Thanks to Doug Duncan, the author writes, "Parents can allow their children to go there on weekends without fearing for their lives." Note that this guy lives in Silver Spring.

- The Silver Spring Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station will be open this Saturday for "Heritage Days".

- Speaking of the station, someone built a scale model of it and surrounding buildings:

(Click for larger picture)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

-Wheaton doesn't want to be like Silver Spring? I sure as heck don't want Silver Spring to be anything like Wheaton.

Downtown Wheaton merchants would rather keep their ethnic eateries than make room for a Starbucks.
Sorry, Wheaton already has TWO Starbucks. Besides, the Post already wrote this article two months ago. Seriously, though, there are some businesses in Wheaton that just deserve to go (and those that don't). There was (is?) this crappy furniture store on Georgia Avenue that for months had a large, presumably professionally printed sign in all the windows that read "GOING OUT FOR BUSINESS SALE". It was obvious that they meant to say "out OF business", yet no one corrected it and that sign must have been up for at least six months. I guess it wasn't going out of/for business that quickly. In general, though, isn't the objective of all sales to "go out for business"?

- Check out the first ever Rock-n-Romp Showcase on Thursday, June 29th at the Quarry House Tavern in downtown Silver Spring.
You will get to see awesome music played by some RnR favorites, have a couple of beers (excellent selection, btw), eat good food and support some fantastic bands who have played or are scheduled to play Rock-n-Romp! Some local lucky few of you may even get to stumble home on foot after the show!
The bands Spoils of NW, The Chance, and Greenland will be performing.

A regular Rock-n-Romp event (kids invited) is scheduled for June 25th. Check out this FAQ for more info on RnR. These photos will also probably give you a good idea on what Rock-n-Romp is all about.

- President Al Gore was living it up last week in Silver Spring:

For Sale: 2BR/1BA Windmill - Walk to Metro!

The Alexander Company, one of the developers responsible for renovating the Forest Glen Seminary, will be selling some of the sorority houses to private buyers who would then be responsible for completing the renovation themselves.

It would be several years, Vos says, before his team could turn its attention to the small sorority buildings that were designed to look like such things as a Swiss chalet, an Italian villa and a Dutch windmill.

Therefore, Alexander decided to sell off the properties. Prospective buyers have to show that they have a qualified architect, a contractor and the financing to pull off a historic rehab true to the buildings' history.
Oh, and start saving now if you want to own the coolest house in Silver Spring:
The Alexander Co. is saving the best of the properties for last. In lieu of a construction trailer, the developer is working out of a three-story Japanese pagoda built in 1904. Once the project is nearly complete, Alexander will likely put the pagoda on the market as well, Vos says.
Related post: Remember Forest Glen?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Look into the future of Silver Spring

Curious what Silver Spring is going to look like in five years? I've put together a Flickr photoset of various development projects currently in the works for Silver Spring. I didn't search too hard, so there may be some more out there to be added in the future. Most of these pictures (and project descriptions) are taken from the MNCPPC website.

Seriously, though, what's with the pedestrian clipart in this particular picture for the Galaxy Condos? This family looks like they are fleeing something in terror. The mother appears to be in shock. Maybe she just visited the sales office and saw the prices for two bedroom condos. Perhaps the guy in the suit is the sales rep chasing her, desperate for a sale.

And check out this tool:

Nice hat, dude. Also, peep the high-tech hardware he's packing. Is that a pre-release beta version of the Sidekick III he's rocking on his belt clip? No, it appears to be an ubercool cassette Walkman. Was the contemporary clipart too expensive for the developers? Were there no post-1991 images available?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Colesville Road to get "Walk of Fame"

He may have never won an Oscar, but director Martin Scorsese has now been accorded an even greater honor - the first spot on the future Walk of Fame on Colesville Road. Unlike it's Hollywood counterpart, this Walk of Fame will actually retain some standards. I can assure you that no star with the name of Ryan Seacrest will ever adorn the streets of Silver Spring.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Plasmajacking in Silver Spring

No matter how many new luxury condos you build, you can't bury the old Silver Spring. You may get a free plasma TV thrown in, but you better keep it chained up. Courtesy of the South Silver Spring Neighborhood Association Yahoo! group:

At 7AM this morning (sat), I saw what I'm pretty sure was a robbery at 8045. (A guy throwing a flat screen tv out a window.) I called 911 and the cops came. You may have heard or seen them.

Silver Spring mentioned in New York Times again

- In his column in this past Sunday's New York Times, Ben Stein briefly talks about his childhood in Silver Spring:

So was the sight of [my father] sitting out on the deck overlooking Sligo Creek Park behind our house in Silver Spring, Md., smoking, drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon, listening to the Senators play ball and realizing that a man was entitled to rest after a day's hard work.
This is the second time in a week Silver Spring has been mentioned in the NYT's editorial section.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- Jackie's and Mandalay made Washingtonian's Very Best Restaurants list for 2006.

- Silver Chips has a recap (with photo) of the unveiling of the mosaic under the B&O bridge.

- Follow up: The Silver Spring Downtown website has updated their "Restaurants" button, replacing the now-defunct Half Moon Bar-B-Que with Crisfield:

- Here's a Flickr photoset from the just-opened 2006 Silverdocs film festival.

"Veterans Field" to become "Veterans Plaza"

Thank you to those readers who enlightened me on the future of Veterans Field:

Veterans Plaza will be an attractive public space that includes a pavilion of about 7,000 sq feet that will be used for ice skating in the winter and for concerts and other outdoor events in the summer. The Plaza will include a memorial design by Toby Mendez, the artist who did the Thurgood Marshall memorial at the State Capital in Annapolis.

Since the artifical turf was put in as an interim installation so the site could be used until construction starts early next year, it was called Veterans Field (as a temporary name) in anticipation of the Veterans Plaza.

Friday, June 09, 2006

AstroTurf "lawn" = Veteran's Field?

Since when did the AstroTurf SoftLawn carpet at Ellsworth and Fenton become "Veteran's Field"? Was there some sort of ceremony or was this done in secret? A Google search returns very few references to any "Veteran's Field" in Silver Spring. I'm all for recognizing veterans of current and former wars, but can't they do something better than this, especially if they are going to take it away?

"Thanks for serving in Iraq. Yeah, we tore down the armory to make way for a parking garage, but we've honored you with a green polypropylene carpet instead. Well, at least until we put an replace it with an ice rink." (Does it then become Veteran's Rink?)

Speaking of which, the restaurant business in Silver Spring is going to take a bit of a hit when they close down Walter Reed.

Washington Post: Green Means Go

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- A crime spree at the Silver Spring Metro?

- DCist discusses the upcoming opening of Ray's the Classics in Silver Spring.

- Ladies, start your engines...the DSW opens up in DTSS today.

- Arrrrrrgh! According to WashingtonGardener, a "pirate bar" has applied for a liqour license across the street from the Quarry House on Georgia Avenue. (What the hell is a pirate bar???)

- The ribbon cutting ceremony for the Silver Pass is tonight at 6.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Lewis Black on Silver Spring

There is some brief discussion of Silver Spring in Lewis Black's chat yesterday on

Frederick, Md.: Mr. Black: Do you ever return to Blossom Lane, S.S., Md? You and your friends enjoyed growing up there, even though you were not a very good football player.

Lewis Black: I will hopefully be doing a fundraiser for my alma mater, Springbrook High School, sometime in December.

Silver Spring, Md.: Hey, thanks for taking the time. You are hilarious on "The Daily Show," and we've seen you live at least twice. You are hilarious live, also.

We have a quick, quirky question, and then just one or two about Silver Spring. First, how much does AC/DC get paid every time "Back in Black" is played for your segment?

Regarding Silver Spring: What part of Silver Spring did you grow up in, do you still have friends from that area in that area today, and how often do you make it back to visit there?

Thanks again for taking the time to do this.

Lewis Black: I'm not sure.

White Oak, Md., if it's still called White Oak. Yes, I have a number of friends still there. I make it back a couple of times a year.

Maryland: Do you miss anything at all about Maryland? Would you ever want to move back (despite its proximity to the political slime in D.C.)?

Lewis Black: I miss my friends. But I wouldn't move back.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

Not a whole heck of a lot going on in Silver Spring, hence the dearth of posts of late.

- Thomas L. Friedman writes about Blair's graduation ceremony in today's New York Times. Of course, you can't read this unless you have a subscription to TimesSelect, which I don't. However, I did track down the following portion of his column:

The commencement was my daughter Natalie’s, the high school was Montgomery Blair in Silver Spring, Md. There were some 700 kids receiving their diplomas, and as I sat there for two hours listening to each one’s name pronounced, I became both fascinated and touched by the stunning diversity — race, religion, ethnicity — of the graduating class. I knew my daughter’s school was diverse, but I had no idea it was this diverse.
- The Bubble Meter blog, which spends quite a bit of time maligning the Mica Condos in DTSS, notes that the condos have resorted to hosting an all-you-can-eat crab feast to attract potential buyers. (Personal note: as a person who plans to buy a new home shortly in Silver Spring, I hope to God they are wrong.)

- This blogger has an analysis of the pedestrian crossing light at Georgia Ave & Forest Glen Rd, which, of course, was named the worst intersection in MoCo.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Things to do in Silver Spring

In case you're looking for something to do today:

- There will be a large multi-family yard sale held from 9-1 at Eastern Middle School. The school is located at the intersection of University Blvd. & E. Franklin St.

- As I mentioned before, there will be a walking tour of South Silver Spring today. The tour leaves at 10AM from the old B&O train station.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- There's been another home invasion in Silver Spring, this time on the 11000 block of Navahoe Drive. I'm not entirely sure where this is, and Google Maps says it doesn't exist. The truly shocking thing there must be so many home ivasions these days that NBC 4 actually has created multiple logos: 1 2

- In case you missed it, Doug Duncan held a news conference on the "carpet" in downtown Silver Spring yesterday. The Erlich cutout is creepy.

- The "American Taliban" grew up in Silver Spring. How did I not know this?