Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hump Day News 'N Notes

No, I have not succumbed to the Swine Flu. Rather, I have been away on vacation (not in Mexico). And lazy. Anyhoo, here's a few random Silver Spring tidbits to digest whilst I re-motivate myself.

- My current favorite Silver Spring restaurant, Ghar-E-Kebab, is starting to get noticed outside the community. This past Friday, the Post had a writeup of the small Indian/Nepalese restaurant on Wayne avenue. Let's hope the new publicity doesn't lead to smaller portions and higher prices like it has with certain other local restaurants that shall remain unnamed.

Damn, just thinking about the smell of the place makes me feel the need to eat there tonight...

- On the subject of food, SoCo Eats has a review of the new pupusería on Georgia Avenue. I really love to say the word "pupusa". Completely off topic, but I remember many years ago when the Pizza Movers in Langley Park closed and the new tenants covered over the "pizza" portion of the sign and made it read "Taco y Pupusa Movers". To this day the name of that place still makes me laugh for some reason. (Pupusas are fine and all, but for goodness sake, someone please open up an empanada joint.)

- Unfortunately, there will not be a Crafty Bastards show in Silver Spring this year. Those bastards! Instead there will be something called the "Handmade Mart" on May 31st. The description of the event sounds an awful lot like Crafty Bastards, so I guess it's a wash.

- Someone got stabbed this morning at the Silver Spring MARC station. Nice.

- Don't miss out on this year's Free Comic Book Day at Alliance Comics on Fenton.

- Need a hockey fix before this Saturday's Caps-Penguins game? Check out the final showing of Slap Shot this Thursday at the AFI.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ritz Camera Ist Kaput

Unfortunately, my speculation on the fate of the downtown Ritz Camera has come to fruition, with the store on Fenton Street now scheduled to close following a liquidation sale. Beltsville-based Ritz Camera is liquidating 300 stores and our location made the death list. While certainly not its biggest customer, I did patronize Ritz at least a few times, which is more than I can say for a lot of stores in Silver Spring (e.g. all of City Place) so I do lament its passing somewhat. The Ritz Camera up 29 in the Burnt Mills Shopping Center seems to have escaped the ax for now.

The liquidation sale is scheduled to start tomorrow. Those thinking you will be getting a great deal on a DLSR camera should be forewarned that these liquidation sales are a scam. The liquidators will raise the price to full MSRP then "discount" it from there, resulting in a new price that is actually higher than Ritz was selling the item for prior to the liquidation. You could potentially get some deals toward the end if there's anything left besides ugly picture frames. I'm going to try and buy some discounted 120 film, if possible.

So what could you possibly find to replace the Ritz these days? How about a GameStop? Sure, they may have the most annoying employees on Earth, but it's one of the few retail chains doing well in this economy, and right now there's nowhere around to buy video games. Just my 2¢. Hopefully they will find replacements for this and other departed stores. God forbid we end up anything like The Boulevard at the Capital Centre.

Speaking of troubled retailers, you may see some changes at our Borders, where they are re-focusing on books by reducing their selection of music and movies. Borders isn't in bankruptcy yet, but that day could come soon.

At least there's some positive retail news for Silver Spring. In a long-overdue development, two older buildings on Georgia Avenue are finally getting rehabbed and being made available for lease. One is the former armed forces recruiting center which until now had trees growing inside of it. The other is down a few blocks at Ripley street. It's odd that now that we are in the midst of an economic downturn these are finally being renovated. You'd think this would have been done years ago, especially in the case the recruiting center building, which is an eyesore and an embarrassment to what is supposed to be a "revitalized" downtown. (Ironically, it is right across the street from the "Silver Sprung" office...)

Here are the two buildings in their pre-renovation states: