Monday, July 31, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- Does anyone pay attention to the signs at the entrances to the Strosniders/Whole Foods parking lot that read "patrons only"? The signs claim that violators will be towed, yet churchgoers park there all weekend long. Has anyone ever actually been towed? I seriously doubt it. I was personally responsible for creating a hole in the ozone layer over Silver Spring Saturday after circling endlessly looking for a spot. A great number of the parking spaces were occupied by guests of a wedding being held at the church next door.

- Silver Spring will be getting its first Five Guys (Washingtonian's "Best Burger") soon. It will be located in the shopping plaza currently under construction near the intersection of 29 and Tech Road. Kind of an annoying location, at least for me. Why not put it in downtown Silver Spring?

- Some of the Falkland Chase apartments on East West Hwy. are to be demolished to make way for high rise apartments and a supermarket. Let's hope that its a Wegmans, at least. (via Silver Spring Scene)

Friday, July 28, 2006

"Big Box" housewares coming to City Place?

- Silver Spring Scene reports that Shitty Place, ur, um I mean City Place, is in negotiations with a major retailer of housewares. Linens-N-Things? Bed, Bath & Beyond? Anyone got the 411?

What I think would be great is if the old AMC City Place 10 was converted into a Landmark Theatre (like the ones currently in Bethesda & D.C.) that showed limited release films. Like, by tomorrow, so I can go there and see A Scanner Darkly.

UPDATE: Per WashingtonGardener, the chain in question is Bed, Bath & Beyond. I can finally use my 20% off coupons without going to Rockville!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- In a comment on my previous post, someone noted that D.C. mayoral candidate Adrian Fenty complained that D.C. residents are forced to look at the Silver Spring signs at the district border. Anyone have more detail on this (or a link to the exact quote)?

- There was some discussion of the service (or lack thereof) at Mandalay in yesterday's chat with food critic Tom Sietsema. I've never personally had a problem with the service there, but even if I did, the food would still make it worth going. This comment caught my eye:

As wonderful as Mandalay may have been on that one occasion, that does not excuse their POLICY of turning off the lights and blasting "Closing Time" at 5 minutes before their posted closing time.
I've never been there at closing, so I don't know if they are saying that someone comes on and says "closing time" or they actually play the Semisonic song of the same title. I hope the former is true, because the latter would be really lame, even at some cheesy college bar.

- Thanks to $500K of federal money, the south entrance to the Metro station will finally be opened. (Its hard to walk around the corner!) Speaking of the Metro station, it also has new bike posts.

- MoCo will be deploying more cops in Silver Spring in response to an increased number of killings and robberies in certain parts of the county.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

Not a lot going on...

- The Gazette has an article on the sale of the old Silver Spring fire station. Initially, $2.5 million seemed like a lot to me, but when compared to the $1 million asking price for a newsstand on the same block, it seems like a bargain. Then again, I know squat about commercial real estate.

- A couple of friends have produced a play about the 70 Metrobus, which runs between Silver Spring and the Southwest Waterfront.

- I noticed someone on Sligo Creek Pkwy had a Linda Cropp for D.C. mayor sign in their front yard. Don't we have enough local races to worry about?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- The planning board has given final approval to the construction of "The Ellsworth" condos. Yipee. We've heard how these condos are going to be the "Last Word in urban convenience, comfort and style". At least it will draw some eye candy to DTSS, as (based on the pictures from their website) everyone that lives there will be really hot. I'll just be happy when they remove their stupid ads that dominate the corner building at Ellsworth and Georgia.

- Just in time for the opening of Piratz Tavern, a "sobering center" will be established in Silver Spring.

- Crossing Georgia is a whole website dedicated to the intersection named the most congested spot in all of Montgomery County. Maybe it didn't qualify for the survey, but the Whole Foods/Strosniders parking lot in DTSS is EASILY the most congested place in MoCo, if not on Earth. (via Hello, MoCo)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

What's with all the Christian music in DTSS?

Just up the Pike noted earlier this month that the music being played over the PA in Downtown Silver Spring was Christian rock. Now reader Erika informs me that they have begun playing gospel music outside the Chic-fil-A. This should come as no surprise, seeing as the company's official purpose is to "to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A." Maybe they are just trying to prepare everyone for the upcoming End Times.

I suppose there's no problem with this, provided they balance it out with music from other religions. How about some Hasidic Jewish reggae from Matisyahu?

It sounds like Silver Spring may have already felt the wrath of God based on this description of storm damage from the Gazette:

The storm damage obliterated the Wayne Avenue bridge, ripping the structure from its sinews along the park path and tossing sections of it into the rocks and rubble in the creek below.

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- Bubble Meter points out that adjoining townhouses in downtown SS are both for sale, despite the fact that the listing for one of them indicates that this is a "rare opportunity".

The main problem with these townhouses are their immediate neighbors. They are surrounded by the Worst McDonalds Ever™, a courthouse, a highrise office building and a parking garage. You pretty much have a crappy view no matter where you are. Not to mention the random people that I imagine knock on your door or peer in your window at all hours of the day. It is interesting to note that most, if not all, of these units prominently display security system signs out front. Who did the zoning for this block, manatees?

I seem to recall these places going for around $150K when they went on sale awhile back and thinking, "who would pay 150,000 for a place in downtown Silver Spring"?. (Now they are asking $679K.) The structures themselves do look nice and they are about as close to the Metro as you can get. They just seem so out-of-place.

- There's a new MoCo book in the "Images of America" series. Not sure how much Silver Spring is featured, but it might be worth checking out.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- The Internets have been abuzz over the shark, and even the Post has finally caught on. For those of you interested, here's what it looks like on the inside.

- DCist has jumped on the Piratz bandwagon.

- I feel a great disturbance in the Force. According to Just up the Pike, the so-called "Death Star" house on Cedar Road is set to suffer a fate more ignominious that the actual Death Stars'. How can they turn that poor little house into such a monstrosity?

- Apparently some of the "exceptional amenities" the Silverton Condo refers to in its website include crooked walls and uneven floors.

UPDATE: According to an eyewitness who has been in the unit in question, both the walls and floors are in fact quite level, as are those in the remainder of the building. Perhaps the original poster's head is just crooked.

- The grand opening of the new Silver Spring fire station is this Sunday. There will be an open house starting at 1:00 PM and a ceremony starts at 2:30. What would be really cool is if they'd raffle off the old one. (via the Silver Spring Historical Society)

Monday, July 17, 2006

NEWS FLASH: Piratz Tavern website is live!

Great news for all of you anxiously awaiting the launch of the Piratz Tavern website - it's up!! Not all the areas of the site are fully operational, but you can get a good idea of the decor and outfits from the gallery page.

Check out the the staff costume:

We're gonna need a bigger boat.

In case you haven't seen it, the Discovery Building has a ginormous shark protruding from it today to promote Discovery Channel's Shark Week.

(photo blatently lifted from Flickr.)

Piratz Tavern should buy the shark head when Discovery is done with it and install it on their roof facing upward. How cool would that look on Google Maps???

Other Shark Week promotions in Silver Spring:

- Local restaurants will have "shark-themed" menu items.
- The AFI Theatre will showing Jaws through the 20th.

Here's some more Shark pics:

More shark data from Washington Business Journal:

Discovery says it took 6.65 miles of fabric to create the inflatable fish and 36.7 miles of thread to sew him together. And if it were real, the shark would weight about 84,000 pounds.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- TheWashCycle blog has a good post analyzing the Purple Line proposals from a biker's perspective.

- The "88 Degrees" party will be hosted tonight by the Gallery Restaurant in so-called "SoPo" Silver Spring. (That's short for "South Point", for those who aren't aware of all the made-up neighborhood names around here.)

According to the 88 Degrees website, "Joining the artistic fray will also be several area fashion designers with their wares on hand for you to try on and buy." This would be the second fashion-related event in two days in Silver Spring (who knew?) after last night's "Koolskool Art Party", also at the Gallery.

Friday, July 14, 2006

For Sale: Silver Spring Fire Station

Now that the SSFD has moved into its new digs across the street, the old Silver Spring fire station is being put on the market.

From the Silver Spring Historical Society:

This coming week the Silver Spring Volunteer Fire
Dept. Inc., owner of the historic 1914 Silver Spring
Volunteer Fire Dept. #1 (located on "Main Street"
Georgia Avenue at the corner of Silver Spring Avenue),
will place the landmark firehouse on the market.

The minimum offer the seller will considered is $2.5
million dollars with the highest offer to be accepted.

I informed the real estate broker that it was
imperative that ANY prospective buyer understand that
the structure is listed in Montgomery County's
Locational Atlas & Index of Historic Sites (which does
NOT preclude the structure from being demolished...
any changes to the structure would have to go through
a regulatory review process) and that we (SSHS) would
work with the broker to find a sympathetic buyer.
I'm not sure what types of uses that kind of building would be good for. Perhaps it could serve as an alternate location for the new Birchmere. I'd personally love to buy it and convert it into a badass house (does it still have a firepole??) but 2.5 mil is a bit out of my reach. I would hope they wouldn't tear it down, but at that price it might be hard to find someone who could use the current structure and make it financially worthwhile.

The bad news is that this comes at a time when there might be a "tidal wave" of new building proposals in Silver Spring, thanks to the recently-passed Workforce Housing Proposal. That location might be too tantalizing for luxury condo developers to pass up. Especially due to it's close proximity to the new pirate bar.

No matter what happens, they need to keep that big glowing red "1" up somewhere.

For those interested, you can get SSFD "ENG1INE" t-shirts from their website. (Although they are sold out at the moment.)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The 411 on Piratz Tavern

There's been a lot of interest expressed in the soon-to-be-open Piratz Tavern at 8402 Georgia Avenue, but very little information available about the establishment. I was able to get the following information from the Tavern's "Task Master", Tracy:

The full [website] will be up by COB this Friday, and we plan to re-do the windows to include a bit more information as well as a now hiring notice. Full info, including menu, etc. will be on the web, but in the interim I can give you a few details.

We plan to open by the end of the month (hopefully). The tavern is a family oriented restaurant with a (obviously) pirate theme. The decor is pretty outrageous and the food and wine will be original, international and reasonably priced. We will have a full bar, live international music (reggae, moroccan/berber, pirate, etc.) and remain open at night as long as the county will allow. We have a fairly large terrace that has a caribbean/tropical theme. Our chef was born in the Canary Islands and raised in New Zealand and Portugal.
Sounds sweet!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What's going on with the fountain??

Reader Sarah poses the question: "What's going on with the fountain??" For those of you who hadn't noticed, the fountain in the DTSS area (official name "Spring Creek") has been out of commission for some time.

My original theory was that some Bethesda lawyer's kid fell down while playing in the fountain and skinned their knee and they closed it to put in some woodchips or something. However, after a little research I found this letter to "fountain enthusiasts" (???) on the Downtown Silver Spring website:

Dear Fountain Enthusiasts:

The interactive fountain is closed due to cracks and chips in the mosaic tiles. Ceramic tiles have been ordered from Italy to replace the entire mosaic. We are hopeful that the mosaicĂ‚’s artist will begin the reinstallation in May and that the fountain will be open sometime in July. At this time we cannot provide a specific date for opening the fountain. We regret that the fountain will not be open sooner, but we believe that the changes that are being made during the reinstallation process will help to ensure that we have a safe and beautiful fountain that can be enjoyed by all for many years.

Thank you for your patience!
Perhaps people were a little too "interactive" with it. Let's hope the re-installation has a longer life than two years.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- The MoCo smoking ban has resulted in a boom for the restaurant business. Tell that to Dietle's Tavern.

- Does anyone have any information on Piratz Tavern besides what little is available on the website? People seem to be excited about this new bar but seem to know very little about it.

- Here's some more photos of the Sligo Creek flood damage. Speaking of which, why is the stretch of Sligo Creek Parkway between Piney Branch and Wayne still closed? I drove down it the day after the floods and the road seemed fine at that point. It was closed the following day and remains so as of this morning. It is particularly annoying to me as it is part of my commuting route.

Well, sir, there's nothing on earth like a genuine, bona fide, electrified, six-car monorail!

This guy
thinks Silver Spring should build a monorail. Who is he, Lyle Lanley? (via Just up the Pike)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Silver Spring News Recap

I've been out of town for a week, so I'm just catching up on recent Silver Spring news. This is just a small sampling from the last few days. I will follow up with additional stuff when I get a chance.

- Silver Spring has a baseball team (sort of). The Silver Spring - Takoma Thunderbolts play their games at the Montgomery Blair baseball field. According to their website they are planning on building a "new stadium". Where that would be, I have no idea. The site also strangely refers to the Four Corners area as a "small town setting". Also, why is it necessary to include Takoma in the name?

- A Post editorial promotes a Purple Line which would run between Bethesda and Silver Spring (and beyond?).

- According to this Channel 9 story, the Birchmere will be coming to Silver Spring at some point. (See this earlier post for more details on the Birchmere plan.)

- Beginning this week, NIH will be sponsoring a free film festival with shows every Wednesday at the AFI Silver Theatre. I have personally never heard of any of these movies. I wish they'd move the NIH Outdoor Film Festival that they have every year in Bethesda (and in "North Bethesda" after 9/11) to "Veterans Field" in Silver Spring. They have a lot more summer popcorny movies at that one. They already showed a film on the field during SilverDocs.

AFI will also be showing Raiders of the Lost Ark, which I have heard of and which is playing this week at the AFI. Sadly, those showings aren't free.

UPDATE: There IS an outdoor film series planned for Silver Spring. The lineup isn't quite up to the NIH standards, but it's a start.

- DCist sings the praises of Silver Spring, and thinks Silver Spring may be turning into "what Clarendon wanted to become". Be sure to read the comments section - there are quite a few interesting opinions. One reader claims that in Silver Spring, "helicopters hovering overhead with searchlights aren't rare". OK, I've never seen "ghetto birds" in Silver Spring, but I have seen them in "nice" neighborhoods in DC around Rock Creek Park.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- The Post has more details on the "Rapid Bus" route proposed for Silver Spring to National Archives route:

It takes nearly one hour to travel the 54 stops along the corridor between Archives and Silver Spring on Metrobus routes 70 and 71. The Rapid Bus, with about 15 stops, would cut travel time to between 38 and 45 minutes.
- Bubble Meter continues to deride the flippers at the Mica Condos.

- Just Up the Pike wonders if DTSS is proselytizing to shoppers.

- Holy Cross Hospital "Struggles to Serve".