Monday, January 30, 2012

Greatest Thing Ever Happens, 20 Years Too Late

If, many years ago, you had told my middle school self that Guns N' Roses was going to perform a club show in downtown Silver Spring, my head would have exploded. And I don't even mean that in the figurative sense - skull fragments would have had to be extracted from the walls.

Well, it may be twenty years after they were last relevant, but GNR will indeed be performing at the Fillmore on February 23rd. Of course, what passes for Guns N' Roses these days is in reality Axl Rose and a rotating cast of musicians.

In Better Days
In my fantasy scenario, Slash, Axl, Duff McKagan and Izzy Stradlin will miraculously work out their differences over a couple of beers at the Quarry House before the gig and agree to perform a one-time-only Guns N' Roses reunion concert before the band name is forever retired. (This is clearly an obsession of mine, as I have written about this multiple times on this blog over the years. The only difference now is that the GNR concert is no longer hypothetical.)

Though that series of events is unlikely to occur, it may still be worth the price of admission to get a glimpse of Fat Axl. Seriously, this is Axl Rose in March of last year.

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- The Post has published a list of properties, many of which are located in Silver Spring, that will be either partially or fully condemned as a result of Purple Line construction. Presumably this list has been on display at the state planning office in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'. Of course, these homeowners and businesses have nothing to concerned about, as the chimerical Purple Line has no chance of being constructed during their lifetime.

- Who would have thought that a post about the generally-unloved Skew Works closing would elicit 46 comments (and counting)? There were some arguments that Skew Works' location was detrimental to business, but Ghar-e-Kebab, located just a few doors down, was able to more than double the size of its dining area last year. This kind of belies the location argument a bit - I think if its food was better, Skew Works would still be around today.

- The Hilton hotel on Colesville road had recently been renovated and re-branded as a DoubleTree.

- Hey Groupon, don't think no one noticed that you had multiple offers for businesses in "Silver Springs" a couple weeks back, even though some of the descriptions have since been corrected. Plus, this movie theater IS IN WHEATON.

- The February issue of Washingtonian Magazine (the one with the giant pot leaf on the cover) features a "Best of Silver Spring" section. Washingtonian doesn't generally make current content available online, but 8407's Facebook Wall has a preview of the first page.

- The parcel of land at the corner of Thayer Avenue and Fenton Street is up for auction next Monday. The auction will be held "on the premises". Does that mean in the old gas station?

Let's hope the buyer does something with this area ASAP. Right now, the weedy lot is nothing but an eyesore. Of course, any new plans could be indefinitely stalled if the service station is deemed 'historic'...

(Thanks to anonymous commenter on the last post for the tip).

- Radio One recently installed a sign on the building that houses their Georgia Avenue headquarters.

- Is Ike Leggett trying to kill the Metropolitan Branch Trail between Silver Spring and Takoma Park?

- UDPATE: Thank you to another anonymous commenter for pointing out that a La Madeleine will be opening downtown.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Skew Works Didn't Work

Owly Images
Thanks to Twitter user @kscrivs for the photo!
Ah, Skew Works, we hardly knew ye. The Asian grill on Wayne Avenue, which opened less than a year ago, has closed its doors. Can't say I'm particularly surprised - it was alright, but with all the other options around it didn't really distinguish itself in any way. I only went once myself.

Hopefully this space will soon be occupied by a worthwhile tenant whose color scheme will not cause severe eyeball pain. (Perhaps the last proprietors were fans of "The U"?)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Latest City Place Propaganda

This may have been around for awhile, but it's the first time I've seen it.

I really hope their plan succeeds.

Long Transit Center Nightmare to Continue (at least) Until Summer

Construction in October 2010. Photo by Flickr user jmlwinder

It's hard to believe that the groundbreaking for the Sarbanes Transit Center occurred during the last presidential campaign.  Over three years later, bus stops for the Metro station are still scattered all over downtown Silver Spring and pedestrians have to walk hither and thither to get to their train. Now comes word that the opening of the center will be postponed until this early-to-mid-summer. Generally, delays in completing construction projects around here are due to some combination of Montgomery County bureaucracy and obstructionism from "The Community", but this latest prolongation is a result of a contractor error:
[David Dise, director of Montgomery County's Department of General Services] partially attributed the most recent delay to an error that resulted in the concrete not being thick enough around the structure's steel reinforcement bars in eight areas of the facility's upper deck, which construction crews realized when the concrete began flaking off over the last several months. The concrete is supposed to protect the steel from bad weather, Dise said.
Were this project being constructed in Guangzhou or Dubai, they'd have probably have had this baby up in six months. Here, we've been forced to deal with the hassle for at least an extra year. This thing has been such a headache, they ought to rename it the Sarbanes-Oxley Transit center (rimshot, please).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

Eleven55 Ripley
 Wow, actual blog posts!

- Ground has broken on the Eleven55 Ripley project, which will be the tallest building in downtown Silver Spring when it is completed in 2013. One thing I don't get - what exactly do they mean when they claim the building will feature a "state-of-the-art theatre". Is it some sort of cinema available for use by the building's tenants? How exactly would that work?

- Welcome back SoCo Eats, which has returned following a six-month hiatus and, which returns after a somewhat shorter break. (Not that I can talk.)

- Hey, look, Virginia is stealing even more jobs from Maryland, this time from right here in Silver Spring. God, I really f'n hate Virginia. We should cut off their supply of drinking water, since it comes from OUR river, which they don't feel the need to keep clean.

- It's apparently been open for a few months now, but until very recently I was unaware of the existence of Jewel of India, the new restaurant in Hillandale from the owners of Langley Park's Woodlands Restaurant. Unlike the all-vegetarian Woodlands, which I have been to countless times, this new restaurant serves northern Indian cuisine (meaning it has meat dishes). Has anyone tried it yet? The Post liked it.

Silver Spring's 'Best Restaurants' Now Up to 3

I don't put a whole lot of stock in Washingtonian's "100 Best Restaurants" list, but the fact is that people love subjective rankings and do make real dining decisions based on the contents of the magazine's annual 100 Best issue. With that said, it's still nice to the total number of Silver Spring restaurants on the list increase by one with this year's addition of  8407 Kitchen Bar.

The number of Silver Spring restaurants on the list has fluctuated between two and three over recent years, with five different eateries making the cut, two of which no longer exist:

2007: Jackie's, Ray's the Classics, Ceviche
2008: Jackie's, Ray's the Classics
2009: Jackie's, Ray's the Classics, Nicaro
2010: Jackie's, Ray's the Classics
2011: Jackie's, Ray's the Classics
2012: Jackie's, Ray's the Classics, 8407 Kitchen Bar

Of course, one could say 8407 is in some ways a reincarnation of the old Nicaro (not to be confused with the now-defunct "Newcaro"). Ceviche was of course was doomed to failure because that concept "does not work in malls".

Though they lie just outside of Silver Spring, it should also be noted that both Nava Thai and Ruan Thai, located just blocks from each other in Wheaton, also made the cut.