Tuesday, October 31, 2006

News 'N Notes - Halloween Edition

- Someone has carved a pumpkin to look like the Canada Dry / Silverton Condo building:

[Via the Silver Spring Historical Society]

- In the spirit of Halloween, the Silver Bee real estate blog has more great stories about haunted and/or disturbing houses in Silver Spring

My personal favorite:

The Buyers were excitedly inspecting the house on their final walkthru before settlement. Upon inspection of the attic the buyers and their agent discovered Jack, the missing husband, His mummified remains were hanging from a rafter in the attic.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Monday News 'N Notes

- OK, why couldn't Silver Spring do this? The Washington Capitals' recently-completed practice facility was built on top of Ballston Common mall. Perhaps this facility could have fit in City Place on the floor that used to house the AMC City Place 10 theatres. It would have been great - we could have an ice rink, not lose "The Turf", have a pro sports team headquartered here plus have a venue that can host all sorts of ice events year-round. Maybe this wouldn't have been practical for reasons I am not aware of, but it strikes me as something that would have been perfect in downtown Silver Spring.

- It may or may not be haunted, but a house on Woodbury Drive that was the site of a grisly suicide scares the bejesus out of real estate agents.

- DCist reviewed Cubano's last week. Personally, I agree with the commentor who writes, "You'd figure a place named Cubano's would have a decent Cuban sandwich, but that's not the case." I suppose it's OK otherwise, but when I first heard that there was a Cuban restaurant, I was excited to get a great Cuban sandwich but was ultimately disappointed with the limited sandwich options on their menu. What I'd love is a a more casual place that specializes in sandwiches. On the off chance that anyone's ever been there, Gordo's in Tallahassee, Florida is a perfect example.

- This Flickr user has posted some interesting photos from around downtown Silver Spring.

- A Silver Spring native is on the U.S. Women's soccer team.

- Reader CT reports that CNN was filming a report yesterday in downtown Silver Spring. Anyone got on any details on what this was all about?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Why don't we have a real "Taste of Silver Spring"?

I have always wondered why we don't have a formal "Taste of Silver Spring" event. The Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce has something tonight that is nominally a "Taste of Silver Spring", but is a limited, indoor, business networking event that costs at least $40 to attend.

What Silver Spring needs is a real, open-to-the-public event held annually like those held in Georgetown, Arlington and Bethesda. Hell, even friggin' Wheaton has one.

It does look like this has been attempted in the past (at least in a limited fashion) back in 2000 and during that whole street festival that Discovery & AFI put on a few years back.

This would be a great way for a lot of the Silver Spring restaurants that AREN'T on Ellsworth to get noticed by that group of people that think that Silver Spring's culinary offerings begin and end with Red Lobster and Macaroni Grill.

We have the perfect place to hold it - Ellsworth can be shut off like it is for any number of other events and each participating restaurant can have their own tent. Anyone out there who can get this organized?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Express (heart) Silver Spring

The Express has a nice, long (for them, at least) article today on how great Silver Spring is.

I'm a tad confused about their geography, however...

Take a walk down Ellsworth Drive and find everything from Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican and Jamaican cuisine to chain joints such as Chipotle, Red Lobster, Macaroni Grill and Eggspectations.

Where is there Jamaican food on Ellsworth? I assume they are referring to Negril (on Thayer). And how much did Mica have to pay to get called "upscale" and "luxury"?? They also might be a little premature in announcing the future arrival of City Homes, whose construction appears to have been tabled, at least for the time being.

OK, I'm picky, but I follow these things far too closely. All in all, it's nice to see The Spring get some props.

Catching Up

Sorry for the dearth of posts lately... it's been a busy week.

- Amid all this discussion of ice cream options in Silver Spring, it looks like an original may be returning to challenge the new jacks. According to this article in the Examiner, Neal Lieberman, co-owner of the Gifford's brand, is "hoping to open near sites of the original Gifford’s, which included Arlington and Silver Spring". I've mentioned rumors of this before, but this is the first time I've heard of anything directly from the company itself.

- Another article on "The Turf" in the Post, this time from columnist Marc Fisher. Personally, I was ambivalent about the whole "Turf vs. Rink" issue for awhile, but I think I've swung into the Turf camp recently. HOWEVER, I do think that the turf would need to be upgraded if an open, "grassy" space were to remain there. I think they should look into getting some high-quality artificial grass rather than the cheap carpet they have now.

- There was a small global warming demonstration over at the NOAA building on EW Highway on Monday. While only two people, they did manage to hit the national news wires with their stunt, so I would imagine they would consider their protest a success.

- Here's some more details on that arrest at The Blairs that I mentioned last week.

- Wait, someone from East Silver Spring actually wants development?

- The Examiner thinks that Blair's color-coded ID badges aren't such a bad idea. I object to the phrasing of this particular sentence: "With school shootings almost commonplace, security on the Silver Spring campus is a significant concern." It makes it sound like there are regular shootings at Blair. Just because a pedophile in Pennsylvania goes nuts doesn't mean that Blair students need to be color-coded. Of course, it's common knowledge that the real cause of school shootings is the teaching of evolution in school...

More on the IDs from the Gazette.

- Does Silver Spring need a dog park? This person thinks it does.

- "Silver Spring is all chains like Red Lobster." I'm so sick of hearing ignorant crap like this.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday News 'N Notes

Is it the weekend yet??

- Traffic in Silver Spring was a total nightmare yesterday evening. Just in time for rush hour, a tree fell over on 29, knocking down power lines and hitting two cars near Crestmoor Drive. As you can see from the map, this is the absolute worst place this can possible happen, because if 29 is closed on that one block, your only other options to cross the Northwest Branch are to go all the way up New Hampshire to Randolph or go the other direction to the Beltway. I can tell you that my commute was an absolute joy last night...

- Has anyone else noticed that the sodas at Jackie's taste a bit funny? There have been multiple occasions where I had to send drinks back. (And their replacements didn't taste any better...)

- A resident of the Blair House is not happy about the management's hypocritical pet policy.

- Eastern Middle School gets a mural. When I was in middle school ("intermediate school" back then) at Takoma Park we used to call it "Leastern". Also, Sligo was nicknamed "Sluggo". What does that have to do with the mural? Absolutely nothing. It's just funny to think that middle schools had rivalries.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- Capt. Jack Sparrow shares her account of a Secret Service bust at The Blairs early Wednesday morning.

- Milwaukee hearts Silver Spring. Or not.

- The (obviously desparate) Baskin-Robbins on 16th St. is having a "Grand Re-opening" next Thursday. While I realize that it was unseasonably warm yesterday, is late October the best time for an ice cream parlor to have their big "attract new customers" event?

Seriously though, why the heck would you ever go there, unless you got one of the "free cone" birthday coupons in the mail?? You have Ben & Jerry's and Cold Stone Creamery downtown, Moorenko's in South Silver Spring, and a few blocks down from Baskin-Robbins you've got my personal favorite, York Castle. Not that I didn't used to go to the Baskin-Robbins on Piney Branch Road all the time when I was a kid. Of course, options were limited back then. I think it's some off-brand ice cream joint now.

- Annie "Bigger Than Afghanistan" Leibovitz graduated from a Silver Spring high school. Did not know that.

- The Rock-n-Romp Halloween show is coming to McGinty's Public House from 3-6 PM on Saturday, October 28th. Admission is $5 for adults and kids are free.

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

I tried that once, it don't work. You get four guys fighting over who's gonna be Mr. Black. Since nobody knows anybody else, nobody wants to back down. So forget it, I pick. Be thankful you're not Mr. Yellow.

- Montgomery Blair students now get color coded badges and lanyards to indicate what their status is at the school. There are so many things wrong with this. Who wants to be branded as a freshman and/or ESOL student? Or as a member of the science magnet? (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Of course, sometimes you don't need to be color-coded for people to know you're White & Nerdy.

- Piratz Tavern gets its first semi-official review from the Diamondback Online. If Piratz wants to enhance their decor, they ought to be bidding on this. UPDATE: This review is a modified version of the review that appears in the Silver Spring Voice. The Voice version also includes photos.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Just for the heck of it


UPDATE: I just want to put this video into context for those who were wondering what the hell this is all about. If you grew up in Silver Spring or anywhere else in the D.C. metro area in the 80’s, this ad is permanently burned into your psyche. Frankly, I believe it is the single greatest advertisement in the history of television. 20+ years later, anyone who has seen it can still remember the music and dialogue verbatim, as well as the phone number for Jhoon Rhee (which is still active, BTW). I suppose this strong recollection can also be attributed to the fact that we all saw it 100K+ times during after-school cartoons.

I have been trying to describe this ad to transplants for years, but until recently was never able to find it online to show to them. This post and its comments section over at DCist motivated me to renew my search, and it turns out the video had recently been posted on Jhoon Rhee’s own website.

UPDATE #2: A little know fact - this song was written by rocker and Montgomery County native Nils Lofgren. (He even has his own day in MoCo.) [Thanks to "terry in silver spring" for the tip!]

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Monday Morning Notes

- Here's another "review" of the Downtown Silver Spring development. It's fairer than others, at least.

- At least wannabe carjackers appreciate the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere".

- This article is about a different Silver Spring, but the headline certainly sounds familiar.

- Ever wanted to own your own "castle"? There's one in Silver Spring, and it's for sale on eBay! Nice and cheap, too. Does the garbage strewn in the roundabout come with the house? It even has a moat!! (At least in the plans... I can't see it in the photo.)

If anyone happens to know where this is or anything about it, please let me know.

UPDATE: Dan over at Just up the Pike did some sleuthing and managed to locate the "castle".

UPDATE #2: If you want to know who would build a "castle" like this, it's this guy.

UPDATE #3: Realtor Debbie Cook informs me that "this 'castle' has been on the market (on and off) for the last 2 years with 3 different realtors and real estate companies. The price started out at $3,199,000 and when it was withdrawn from the MLS system on Oct 2, 2006 the asking price was $2,499,000."

Here's the full listing.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Friday Wrap-Up

- A lot of this may be old news to most of the people who read this and other Silver Spring blogs, but yesterday's Post has an article about the continiung development of downtown Silver Spring.

- The official ribbon cutting for the new "Wheaton" Best Buy is today. I'm sure the ceremony will be attended by dozens of Wheaton luminaries.

- On Monday, a 13-year-old girl was sexually assaulted at the White Oak library. White Oak is not a good place for kids these days.

CORRECTION: The van incident didn't actually happen in White Oak... it was in Long Branch. Long Branch seems to be the other place in Silver Spring where bad stuff tends to happen frequently.

- Here's some interesting photos on Flickr taken of the "models" in the wig shop on Georgia Avenue. This guy is my favorite.

- Remember, the Panda Motorcade will be at the Silver Spring Metro this afternoon at 2:30.

Three lucky people will receive a specially marked ticket entitling them to a private visit with giant pandas Mei Xiang, Tian Tian, and Tai Shan, along with an exclusive VIP tour of Asia Trail and Fujifilm digital camera!

- I've created a small "store" for books about Silver Spring. As you can see, there aren't many out there, and a good portion of them aren't even in print...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hump Day Update

- There's at least ten places in Silver Spring that are haunted, according to "ghost hunters" Lynn Koiner and Barbara Finch of Baltimore / Washington Paranormal Investigators. Among them is Mrs. K's Toll House:

Blanche lives in Mrs. K’s Toll House on Colesville Road. Sometimes you can hear her calling out the waitresses’ names. Sometimes she’ll playfully push them.

A ghost "lives"? Anyone have any Silver Spring ghost stories?

- It's a little creepy when logs show that someone arrives at your site after searching Google for "body found in silver spring" when a body hasn't turned up...

- Gazette readers respond to last week's article about the lack of green space in downtown Silver Spring.

- The Post has more on the hidden camera incident and profiles the Ovis-Yobis Bakery on New Hampshire Avenue.

- To do this weekend: the Silver Spring Library Bookfest. You can find some good, cheap used books, but go early to beat the cherry-pickers.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- A photographer was arrested for filming women changing in the bathroom of his Silver Spring studio. Creepy.

- Are you a "broke graduate student" in an old Civic or "Mr. S__t-Eater" who drives an Audi? Have you been buzzing bicyclists on Colesville Road? If so, this guy would like to have a word with you.

- Silver Spring is getting a Best Buy. Sort of. The Former site of the Wheaton Toys R Us on Georgia Avenue is in the process of being converted into the most recent addition to the big box chain. (I always considered this Wheaton, but Google Maps identifies it as Silver Spring.) No word on the opening date, but I imagine the doors will be open before the holiday shopping season. Whether it's Wheaton or Silver Spring, it's certainly a lot more convenient than Rockville.

Friday, October 06, 2006

What Silver Spring Needs - Mini Golf

I’ve decided that Downtown Silver Spring needs a miniature golf course. While all the new restaurants and movie theaters are great, we need some additional recreational options in that area. This is a outdoor activity that everyone can do and is great for dates, birthday parties, etc. I don’t remember this, but I was told that the building that used to house Champion Billiards was previously home to an indoor mini-golf course.

In recent years, development in MoCo has come at the expense of courses that were somewhat convenient to Silver Spring:

- The mini-golf course at White Flint Golf Park (which I played quite a bit) in Rockville was turned into a parking lot, which I presume is just a precursor to becoming the location of more "luxury" condos. Hell, that's not even Rockville anymore, it's "Bethesda North". The course is still viewable on Google Maps (for now).

- The Putt-Putt further up Rockville Pike, at which I attended many a birthday party as a kid, was leveled for condos as well. (Pic)

There are still a few options left, but none of them are particularly convenient to DTSS:

- You can drive way up 29 to Laurel to the Rocky Gorge course.

- Mid-Atlantic Golf center, nominally in Silver Spring, has one, but that's a bit of a hike as well.

The only other mini-golf courses in MoCo, at least to my knowlege, are in Gaithersburg , Germantown, and Kentlands. But why would anyone want to go all the way up there?

Interestingly, the District is home to one of the oldest, if not the oldest, mini-golf courses in the U.S. at East Potomac Park. Some claim that the East Potomac Park course is the oldest operating mini-golf course in the country, athough there are other courses that make the same claim. Of course, Hains Point, is literally the farthest away from Silver Spring you can get in D.C.

Where would the mini-golf course go in DTSS? What would be great is to put it on top of City Place, but that space is now taken. The future ice rink could be converted into Mini-Golf for the warmer months. I believe that's what they do at the Kentlands rink. Anyone have any other ideas?

UPDATE: Ballston is getting a mini-golf course. If they can build one, so can we. [Thanks to Dan @ Just up the Pike for the tip.]

It'd also be great if Silver Spring had its own Lucky Strike, but let's be honest, if they instituted the same dress code as the downtown location, no one in Silver Spring could get in...

Of course we did have a bowling alley right downtown for quite a long time, but it was ultimately closed because "Silver Spring's new, more affluent crowd will want sushi instead of bowling". It's now an expensive health club. You can still go play duckpin bowling in White Oak, at least.

Friday Wrap-Up

- The lamest bank robbery attempt ever occurred in Silver Spring this past Wednesday:

The suspect entered the front door and announced the robbery to a bank employee. The employee explained that he was not a teller. The suspect then left the bank without obtaining any money.

This guy's a regular Neil McCauley from "Heat". Nice outfit for a bank robbery, too. Was he on a lunch break from his mailroom job when he decided he needed a little extra spending money?

- The National Zoo's Panda Motorcade, unless I've completely misinterpreted their clues, is coming to Silver Spring next Friday.
If you really need to get ahead,
You can hop on a line that’s colored Red.
Buy a farecard—this is where they’re sold—
At a station whose city is Silver, not gold.

- Ray's the Classics gets its official Washington Post write-up.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

It's been a slow week...

- South Silver Spring (no, I will not call it SoPo) residents and businesses lament the dearth of parks and parking in that area, according to the Gazette. The Gazette also has an article on the continued redevelopment of the downtown area with quotes the usual bevy of locals who oppose it. Just Up the Pike weighs in on both.

- Silver Spring gets a new police commander.

- Becca's Run, a 5K run & 2 mile walk starts at 8:00 this Saturday morning in Four Corners. Registration information is here.

- The circle of life continues. As one retaurant closes, another one opens.

- Rumors of another new restaurant opening in Silver Spring from Tom Sietsema's Washington Post chat:

Silver Spring, Md.: Hi Tom, Is it true that the chef at Colorado Kitchen is opening a new restaurant in Silver Spring?

Tom Sietsema: If that's true -- SURELY the chef would call me in advance (hint, hint) -- Silver Spring would be very lucky.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- I briefly checked out the Magical Montgomery Fair this Saturday. There were quite a few people down there, including a number of politicos making stump speeches.

(As a side note, there were entirely too many area events scheduled this past weekend, many of which I would have liked to attend, but there's no way to do them all: Magical Montgomery, National Book Festival, Takoma Park Street Festival, Crafty Bastards, Fiesta D.C., etc.)

Here's someone else's post about the Fair and quite a few photos.

- The Phillips Famous Seafood Express on Ellsworth is now gone and big red letters on window proclaim "Coming Soon! Moby Dick's House of Kabob". That's an upgrade as far as I'm concerned. In case you're curious, the restaurant is called Moby Dick's because "[the bread] puffs up like a miniature white whale when it is pulled out of the oven". Chain haters take note - not all chains necessarily survive in DTSS.

- Another retailer on that block might be in danger of going out of business. The parent company of Storehouse Furniture is in Bankruptcy. Should Storehouse ultimately vacate that spot, what would everyone like to see there? Perhaps some more hair and nail places? Um, but really, how about an Apple Store? Or is Silver Spring not "Bethesdaey" enough for one of those yet?

- There's some concern over at Silver Spring Scene about the behavior of the dog owners who have recently moved into the Silverton Condos.