Saturday, May 28, 2011


I can confirm that the FroZenYo on Ellsworth is now open for business. Be careful, the only size cup they offer is extra large so it's very easy to go a bit overboard.

I can personally recommend the strawberry lemonade flavor:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

Photo by Flickr user karindalziel
- After a long wait, Silver Spring's new frozen yogurt dispensary, FroZenYo, is finally set to open on Ellsworth this Thursday. The beauty of frozen yogurt versus, say, ice cream, is that the former is "healthy", so you can consume a pound of it covered with an equal amount of crushed peanut butter cups and feel completely guilt-free afterward.

- Drat, the apocalypse is now scheduled for October 21st, just one day before this year's Zombie Walk. Perhaps we should move the date up a week.

- A book was returned to the Springbrook High library 42 years after it was due. With the all the fines accumulated during that time, perhaps the school library could use the funds to build its very own bridge.

- Unsurprisingly, there exists a band named after the Silver Spring Monkeys.

- That $1.6M house with the 50' pool in Woodside Park has sold. I expect to be receiving my pool party invite any day now.

- The National Pinball Museum, which once kind-of operated out of Silver Spring, is vacating its Georgetown Park home after just five months. I still think Silver Spring's Secret Movie Theater would have been a ideal location for the museum. For $300K I bet he could have fixed the place up adequately, plus there's probably little threat of a landlord evicting you from a basement that hasn't had a tenant in thirty years.

Speaking of underground pinball, do any long-term Silver Spring residents recall there once being a video/pinball arcade located in the basement of what is now Vicino Italian Restaurant on Sligo Avenue? We're talking the Pac Man and Donkey Kong era here. This may very well be one of those hazy, not-entirely-accurate early childhood memories, but I swear it was real (as was Santa Clause at the time). In reality, said arcade might very well have not existed, but in my research on the subject I did come across this 1975 newspaper ad for a club that at the time had recently opened in that same basement:

This appears to have been exactly the type of establishment one frequent commenter believes Silver Spring now sorely lacks.

- Finally, I know this happened last week and it occurred in SSINO, but it is still fantastic:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday News 'N Notes

- Want to know what will ultimately become of the giant construction site in the center of Silver Spring? Greater Greater Washington has a wealth of information on our future transit center.


- Evict the rudeness, serve the cannoli. Bethesda Magazine, which must include this sort of content for Bethesdans who like to go slumming, has an article on the Pacci’s Trattoria and Pasticceria that will open up in the former General Store.

- The Gazette has more details on the new residential building that will be replacing the downtown Silver Spring post office on 2nd Avenue.  If you're too lazy to click through, here are the highlights:
- It will have 300 rental units.

- Even the post office doesn't know where its new location will be.

- The Community can officially start complaining about the project next Wednesday at 7:30 at the Woodside United Methodist Church.

-  $500K/yr. in property taxes from the apartment building > $0/yr. from the post office.
- This weekend: Fenton Street Market (Sat.), Farmers Market (Sat.) and Taste the World in Fenton Village (Sun.).

- Despite efforts by The Community, The MoCo Planning department has recommended (PDF) that the request to re-zone the area currently occupied by the Chelsea School be approved. This would allow for the construction of townhouses on this property. Remember when the school was going to contruct a new, ultramodern building? That was realistic.

- Finally, Happy trails to Jennifer Nettles, who will be stepping down from her post as manager of DTSS after four years. Hopefully her successor will be as supportive of the Zombie Walk as Jennifer was. (Dear Peterson Companies: Hire me. I have some spectacular plans for DTSS...)

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Bye Bye Post Office, Hello Apartments

About a year ago I mentioned that the main Silver Spring post office on 2nd Avenue was on the market. Well, it looks like that particular federal property has now sold and in its place will arise...wait for it...more apartments!

It would be nice for a change if a developer constructed additional office space so that there might be jobs based in downtown Silver Spring rather than in some godforsaken office park up I-270, or even worse - Virginia. Even when there are plans to build office space downtown, they ultimately change them in favor of building apartments. Perhaps this phenomenon is the result of the current business climate, but all these people that live in these apartments and condos have to work somewhere. Why can't it be here?

It'd be nice if another significantly-sized company like Discovery decided to re-locate to downtown Silver Spring, but it's unlikely MoCo would bribe - sorry, "provide incentives" - to any corporation enough to make this happen. Virginia is much better than Maryland at that, which is why you see countless office buildings springing up way out by Dulles Airport and beyond. So what if there's no public transportation there whatsoever? They got a nice tax break, so you employees can suffer through a one-hour commute and like it.

Sure, there are already a fair amount of offices in dTSS, including the new headquarters of United Theraputics, but all this new residential construction threatens to tilt Silver Spring more towards becoming some sort of urban bedroom community.

So why did the USPS unload the post office anyway? Is selling this federal asset part of some deficit reduction plan? So far, there's no word on where the post office will relocate, if anywhere, though I can't believe their only presence downtown would be that tiny office on Colesville. God help those needing postal services if it is.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Friday News 'N Notes

- It's official, or at least as official as the creation of a Facebook page makes it: Pacci's Trattoria & Pasticceria will be opening at the old General Store spot in Forest Glen. For those not aware, a pasticceria is a pastry shop. Incidentally, this is the second Italian word I have had to look up in as many days for the purposes of a blog post.

- Next weekend marks the first ever Taste the World in Fenton Village, scheduled for Sunday from 2 to 5 PM. Despite its fictitious name, this area is not or has never been the site of any village. However, as the name of the event implies, it is indeed home to a wide variety of ethnic restaurants, many of which will be participating.

More than 15 participating restaurants will offer appetizers or small tasting plates for $5 or less, in the restaurants. Among those participating are Jackie’s, Addis Ababa Ethiopian and Ghar-E-Kabob. Hosted by the Silver Spring Citizens’ Advisory Board and Downtown Silver Spring, the free event will feature musical entertainment and an outdoor market featuring local businesses. Taste the World passports that can be picked up at the parking lot on Fenton St. at Silver Spring and Thayer avenues will be stamped at each restaurant visited and turned in at the end of the day for a special drawing.
Kudos to Downtown Silver Spring for sponsoring an event promoting businesses located outside of its territory.

 - The Fenton Street Market returns tomorrow after its grand opening last weekend. Not that I have any particular use for it, but along with some other other random items I picked up a 1959 street map of Paris at last week's event. If you look closely enough, you might something at the market you didn't know you wanted. Also, crepes.

(When the crepe cart operator immediately recognizes you after a long winter layoff, you realize that perhaps you consumed too many crepes the previous summer.)

- The Handmade Mart returns on May 22nd. Here's a list of vendors for this year's event.

- DCMud provides the current status of the long-delayed Falkland Chase project. Despite early hope that this development would include a Harris Teeter, that particular deal has yet to be inked.

- Radio One is moving their headquarters from Lanham to downtown Silver Spring. It will be located directly across Wayne from the Discovery HQ.

- Godspeed, Mr. Chicken. After less than a year of operation the rotisserie chicken joint on Georgia has closed its doors. Can't say I ever ate there, but for what it's worth their reviews on Yelp! weren't terrible. It will soon be replaced by a Thai restaurant.


From 12-5 on Sunday, Veterans Plaza will host life-sized, radio-controlled mock-ups of characters from the Pixar Cars movies. According to the press release, "the cars are the largest radio-controlled models ever built".

Photo by Flickr user kmchavez08
While Cars was certainly one of the lesser Pixar films, I'm still somewhat geeked about this.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Some Silver Spring Real Estate Porn

Not that I have intentions of moving anytime soon, but one of my hobbies has become browsing Silver Spring real estate listings for any unique properties that might be on the market, be they pagodas or houses with English pubs in their basements.

Springtime is always a prime period for real estate transactions, and there's a few prime listings in Silver Spring that recently caught my eye:

This house at 1108 Woodside Parkway appears fairly unassuming in this photo taken from its front yard...

...but the virtual tour reveals why this eight bedroom house is priced at a cool $1.6M (originally $1.9M), likely placing it among the most swanky properties in and around downtown Silver Spring. (In Chevy Chase, this would be considered a starter home.) To put the price in perspective, the most expensive house sold in the 20910 ZIP code in the last three years went for $1.2M.

For starters, check out the the library. For someone whose books are presently stored in a collection of mismatched Billy bookcases in his basement, this sun-drenched room with a vaulted ceiling and built-in bookshelves is like a dream.

The house even has a loggia, an architectural feature so fancy I had to look it up. The only loggia I knew about was Robert.

And, to top it all off, there's a 50' heated pool in the backyard. Whoever ultimately buys this home, please invite me to your pool parties. No, really, please.

UPDATE: as commenter Joel S. points out, this home is Pepco-proofed, with two generators:

Not quite as grand, but still nice is this house on Sligo Creek Parkway that just hit the market for $1.3M. This is one of my favorite houses in Silver Spring, and I have long wondered what it might fetch on the open market.

While the house itself is attractive, a decent portion of the asking the price may be associated with the fairly large lot on which it sits. (Note that this house also has a pool, albeit a more humble one.)

For those who prefer multi-unit dwellings, one of the penthouses of the Mica Condos is on the market at $875K. The Mica may not be the newest of condo buildings, but its location towards the edge of downtown does provide some upper-floor residents with sweeping views of Washington.

Its terrace would be a sweet place to host parties. Again, future owners, please invite me.

Also, a brief follow-up to my recent post on International Style houses: the one on Flower Avenue recently changed hands. The fact that no photos were included in the listing and the words 'as-is' and 'fixer-upper' were used means it was pretty dumpy, but hopefully the new owners do a decent job cleaning it up.