Thursday, November 20, 2008

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- The annual Silver Spring Thanksgiving Parade is this Saturday, with participants (PDF file) ranging from the Redskins Marching band to Lenox Park apartments. (A major omission, of course, is zombies.)

Chris Van Hollen, U.S. Representative from Maryland's 8th district, will also be in the parade. I was a little confused at first, because I was under the impression that downtown Silver Spring was actually within the boundaries of the absurdly gerrymandered 4th district.

In fact, downtown Silver Spring and the immediately surrounding neighborhoods are bisected by the border of the two districts. This is of course supremely stupid, but that's how you get treated when you are an unincorporated area of a county, I guess. On the bright side, one could say that downtown Silver Spring has two representatives in Congress.

Unless the map I am referring to is inaccurate, when Van Hollen's car enters the parade at Sligo Avenue, he will be in his constituency. When the parade reaches Thayer Avenue two blocks later, he will have entered the 4th district and he will be in someone else's turf..

Note that 4th district representative Donna Edwards isn't among the list of participants. Presumably, she is in some PG County parade.

- Steve & Barry's ist kaput. While the City Place location survived the first round of store closings, it looks like the entire chain will be going out of business for good. That was the one thing that got me to go into Shitty Place in the past year. God only knows if/when that space will get filled once S&B's is gone.

- The transit center construction may be a total nightmare, but at least they went through the trouble of creating cute signs. What I want to know is where the station's Kiss & Ride is now located, if it still exists at all. I've been telling my wife to go one more stop to the Forest Glen station, since I have no idea where to stop and pick her up in Silver Spring without (justifiably) provoking the fury of rush hour drivers.

- What is all this "Prezco" business? Their yard signs are all over town, but said signage doesn't really give any indication as to what this organization is. I figured maybe I was just out of the loop. After some Googling, I was able to find a short description: "an umbrella group of 12 inside-the-beltway civic associations representing more than 7,000 households." Their website doesn't work, so I wasn't able to find out much more.

- I may have mentioned it before, but Ghar-e-Kabab is now the clear leader in the ongoing contest to be my favorite restaurant in Silver Spring. If you haven't already done so, try it. Unless I come in and need a table. Then you should get up and leave.

I can only hope that its apparent success doesn't lead it down the path taken by other popular local restaurants (which shall remain nameless) that raised prices, shrunk portion sizes and let service go to hell.



36 comments:

Saucy Sauce said...

Prezco is the President's Council of Silver Spring and is, as you said, an umbrella group of civic associations. It's unclear who the "President" is, or why his sole goal is to clutter up Silver Spring with ugly signs.

I have been mulling over an anti-Prezco-sign campaign for weeks--I keep tripping over the things as I walk my dog (it's dark when we go out). They are actively detrimental to my safety as a pedestrian, and make it harder for me to "Walk Safe".

Anyone want to join?

Mike said...

Prezco, as it became affectionately known, was born about 10 years ago by a group that believed "Silver Spring" was limited to neighborhoods inside the Beltway. Somehow, they were different from, say, Woodmoor, South Four Corners or Northwood/Four Corners neighborhoods. Or so they said.

As near as I can tell from years of observing the local civic community, they churn out thew occasional letter to County Council about controversial issues such as planting more trees, but that's about it until a recent flurry of signs, most of which disappeared almost as soon as they went up.

baj said...

I need to slow down - this is what I read "A major omission, of course, is zombies. . . Chris Van Helsing. . . "

Also, certain nameless local restaurants appear to have coked-up monkeys dousing dishes with liberal amounts of pepper these days. Just dumping whole tablespoons of black pepper right in the middle of the dish, like, say, pad see ew.

silver spring penguin said...

I like those transit-center signs, too.

Brent said...

Prezco is, in short, NIMBY Central. The combined power of near-downtown civics that oppose virtually every effort at density, sensible transit, etc. One key concern right now is that many "outsiders" are "cutting through" Silver Spring en route from "suburbia" to DC, and vice versa. (As if we don't cross other people's "turf" to get in and out of SS.)

FYI -- the Kiss n Ride lot is not inside the parking garage across the street from the former K&R. Yeah, a bear to find and to enter-exit. We have resorted, for the duration of the construction, to doing our drop offs (when we don't walk) at Kinko's (but don't tell them I said that!).

Brent said...

OOOPS.

Kiss and Ride is NOW inside the parking deck. (a big different from the other no- word that I used in earlier post!)

Sligo said...

So PREZCO is esentially a Legion of Doom for NIMBYs.

Easley Does It said...

I second the Ghar-e-Kabab endorsement. Not only is the food good, but the service we've gotten has always been impeccable. I hope they're doing well, because it's often nearly empty when I walk by, which concerns me.

Thomas Hardman said...

Baj: coked-up monkeys doing bizarre things to people's food is a fine MoCo tradition. That's one of the main reasons I mostly rely on TV dinners and eating out of cans.

Brent: I freely admit that I drive right through Silver Spring on my way downtown from Aspen Hell. I'm not sure what Prezco wants, other perhaps that maybe I should stop in and pay ridiculous prices to have coked-up monkeys do bizarre things to my food, though I have to admit that I'd feel robbed when I was served something I'd refuse to eat. But as crazy as that sort of service is, that's no more crazy than Prezco bitching about pass-through traffic. That sort of griping is like people who move into a house at a freeway cloverleaf intersection and then bitch about traffic noise. The generally accepted thesaurus entry for that kind of crap is "absurd", or perhaps "patently ridiculous". Maybe a multilingual thesaurus would include "chutzpah".

ian.swank said...

So how many people will try to hit Van Hollen up for Inauguration tix along the parade route?

I also love Ghar-e-Kebab. Went there on my b-day for the first time, and it was amazing. That and Langano (Ethiopian) have to be my favorite two places to eat in DTSS, although I'll admit that I have yet to try any other Ethiopian around there.

Thomas Hardman said...

So, maybe someone could tell me where I can get a nice to-go hummus in DTSS?

Hummus is so good as a snack or a small meal, you'd think that it would be on the menu of every drive-through. But no, you have to go sit down and enjoy the atmosphere.

Has anyone done a website on restaurants in DTSS? Something that just list all of the places that you can get food?

I mean, if I can take the time and energy to do this for Aspen Hell -- which actually has several decent restaurants, even if the place isn't all that "walkable" -- you'd think that someone somewhere has a comparable reference and resource for DTSS.

So, where is it?

Thayer Avenue said...

At the beginning of December, there will be a new brochure coming out as part of the Buy Local Silver Spring initiative. There will be a pretty comprehensive list of restaurants and general locations, and that list will eventually migrate to the Web, I believe.

And I gotta do it and call out Mandalay on the smaller portions, lower quality and poor service.

Ghar-e-Kebab is really no good. Please don't go. Or order take out. And don't bother with delivery. They never deliver anything. Please stay away.

Anonymous said...

Thomas Hardman said...

So, maybe someone could tell me where I can get a nice to-go hummus in DTSS?


The closest I've found is take-out hummus from Lebanese Taverna. However, the portions were big, the handmade warmed pitas were a nice touch, and it was delicious

-Ann

Mike said...

The Regional Center maintains a site with everything SS, included restaurants. Go to http://www.silverspringdowntown.com/dining

Thomas Hardman said...

That's right, you have a Chamber of Commerce in DTSS.

In Aspen Hell, we don't have any such thing. Indeed, it's a pretty glaring weirdness of the place, one of many.

A lot of the functions you'd expect to be handled by a Chamber of Commerce or a Business Association have to be handled by individuals or associations. There's a sort of lawlessness to the place that specializes mostly in total lack of accountability. At least in DTSS you know who to blame, or at least to whom correspondence and complaints may be sent. In Aspen Hell, it's clear that "someone somewhere is up to something" and that it's probably damned well organized, and it damned well doesn't want to be held accountable.

I think I will go back to my blog and write that up.

Vagrarian said...

I nearly went mad on Saturday morning...I got an early-morning call from the boss, who was on a business trip to Florida. Some bigwig from the organization was demanding a set of documents from the office...NOW. I had to go in, pack them up, and arrange same-day delivery through UPS. (A 15-pound box of worthless papers cost about $400 to deliver...effin' ridiculous!) Now...my office is at Georgia and Wayne, right in the middle of the parade route! It was interesting trying to tell the delivery people about that...but luckily, by the time the truck arrived, the parade was over and traffic was back to normal. Ugh.

Springvale Roader said...

I'm a big Ghar-E-Kabab fan too. Lemme let you in on a little secret: it's not on the menu, but you can ask them for a vegetable (vegetarian) vindaloo, and they'll make it!

It being a vindaloo, I recommend you order several Taj Mahal beers ahead of time to put out the fire.

Nikki Smith said...

The day after Thanksgiving, the Garden of Lights festival starts at Brookside Gardens just up the road. It's a walk-through event that features about 850,000 lights. This might be a good way to entertain holiday company.

Find out more here:
http://www.whgmag.com/index.php/381-brookside-gardens-led-lectrical-parade

WashingtonGardener said...

Washington Gardener Magazine will have a Contest for free passes to Brookside's Garden of Lights next month. See www.washingtongardener.com. :-)

A few tips on visting the light show:
~ Go to the Visitor Center first and buy the 3-D glasses for the kiddies and yourselves -- makes for a really fun evening and you can take the glasses home to stare at your own tree and neighborhood lights.
~ Go on "off" nights - this year they are open Mon-Weds -- the line of cars is much shorter and it is $5 less than the busier nights.
~ Car or van pool! Fit in as many folks as you can as the price is per vehicle not per person.
~ Bundle up - you'll be walking outside for 30+ minutes or so - and for your own sake, don't wear heels.
~ Look down - the path is dark and there are unexpected steps - especially be careful on wet or icy nights.

skijmpr said...

Hi everyone, I just moved to Silver Spring a couple of weeks ago from Arlington and am loving it so far. Although Arlington is nice, SS is so much more colorful and "weird", which I love. I realize from reading this blog and a few related ones that it has its share of problems, but overall it seems to be a great place to be.

Now that I've got that out of the way :) I just wanted to comment on Ghar-e-Kebab as well, since I've eaten there twice now. I'm somewhat of an Indian food connoisseur, knowing how to make a few dishes myself, and I have to say that I thought their Lamb Rogan Josh is quite good. I agree with the place being empty a lot; there haven't been many others there the times I went. Regardless, I had good experiences both times so I will keep going. The last time I was there I noticed that the menu said "organic", though I didn't see that mentioned anywhere else. Can anyone else confirm or deny whether they are in fact an organic Indian restaurant?

Anonymous said...

I don't know anything about Indian food but welcome to Silver Spring, skijmpr. It's a little weird, but in a good way. Usually.

Anonymous said...

Hey- I'm jumping on the anti-Prezco sign bandwagon. Why are all those otherwise respectful homeowners trashing up the place with awful signs with bad grammar? Whose behaviour are they trying to alter, and why would their signs alter anyone's behaviour anyway?

Thomas Hardman said...

Anyone want to lay odds that eventually we find out that all of these "civic associations" actually turn out to be run by Realtors, who on the one hand want crime or dissatisfaction to cause citizens to move away almost as fast as they move in, and on the other hand want it to appear as if something is being done, so that people will want to move in at all?

And the County would tend to support this sort of thing, after all, the faster properties turn over, the faster they can take in recordation taxes...

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