Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Haunted Garden Returns, in Highly Concentrated Form

The battle's done, and it kind of won, so the Haunted Garden sounds its victory cheer. The Garden (In our house it's the "mushroom house with the itsy bitsy spider") has received the go ahead from a county judge to operate on two nights - the 25th and 26th of October.

Have their efforts to suppress the Haunted Garden backfired on The Community? Sure, they may have ultimately gotten the number of nights down from the planned five, but now the event has been been widely publicized through multiple newspaper articles, local TV news, popular drive time radio programs and national morning TV shows. So now we're taking all the original visitors, adding all the ones made aware of the Garden through this whole process, and putting them on the street over the course of just two nights. Should be fun.

As a nearby neighbor, I was okay with the original plan, but to be honest I'm starting to get a bit ambivalent about the whole thing. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Love Triangle Leads to Stabbing Death at the Blairs

Early Sunday morning, an altercation between two high school friends at the Blairs left one dead and the other charged with murder. Mark Waugh, a Georgetown law student, was allegedly stabbed to death by his friend Rahul Gupta, reportedly after Gupta walked in on Waugh with his girlfriend. There's no need for me to rehash the entire case, as you can read all the sordid details here and here.
On a side note, this sentence in the Post article stood out to me (emphasis mine):

The case began for police at 3:25 a.m. Sunday, when they were summoned for a report of unknown trouble inside an apartment in the high-rise in Silver Spring’s revitalized downtown.

I find the authors' need to qualify downtown Silver Spring as "revitalized" in this context somewhat strange. Is the implication that, based on common misconceptions of Silver Spring, readers might expect violent crime to be commonplace? Are they assuring them that "no, no, it's really not the 'hood anymore"? I await the day when Silver Spring finally get to shed this qualifier - the "revitalization" has been going on for more than a decade now. Of course, in the same article they used the phrase "bloody stabbing", so it wasn't the only superfluous adjective to be found.

Separately, the Daily Mail managed to make this double blunder when referring to Silver Spring. One half is expected, the other one may be a first.

Thanks to MV for the heads up on the Daily Mail article.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Neighborhood Spat Now National News

Of course, this is really just a promo for Modern Family disguised as a news story.

Surprisingly, they didn't end the segment with "reporting from Silver Springs, Maryland".

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Haunted Garden Episode IV: The Community Strikes Back

It's October, which means it's time for another battle in the ongoing war between The Community and The Haunted Garden. For those unfamiliar with the The Haunted Garden, it's a Halloween event which has been held each year since 2010 in the yard of a house at the corner of Worth and Hamilton Avenues in Silver Spring. Since the beginning, The Community has sought to shut down the Garden, claiming that it is a commercial enterprise in disguise that creates traffic and parking headaches throughout the surrounding neighborhood.

This year The Community was prepared, launching a preemptive strike by proxy in the form a restraining order from the County requiring that the event be cancelled immediately. The event is now in limbo until a hearing scheduled for October 15th. Though it affects a fairly small number of households in Silver Spring, this is clearly a divisive issue, as evidenced by the number of comments on this Washington Post story.

As someone who lives fairly close by, I agree that it does bring a lot of cars into the neighborhood, and on a few occasions I have returned home to find all the spots in front of my house occupied. While somewhat annoying, it's only for a few days a year, and to their credit the organizers implemented significantly improved traffic management last year. And while there may or may not be some advertising benefit to the organizers, ultimately it's, you know, for kids. I took my one-year-old last fall, and while some of the scarier areas might have been a bit too much for him, they did have activities and treats available for little ones. I was looking forward to taking him this year, but who knows if I'll be able to. We drive by it twice a day on my commute and I've been pointing out to him the giant mushrooms they've constructed on the front lawn. Now I may have to tell him he can't go. (Of course, The Community feeds on baby tears to maintain their eternal youth, so they will be delighted.)

One has to wonder if all this could ultimately result in a kind of Streisand Effect, where the publicity resulting from opposition to the Garden could attract even more visitors to the event, should it be allowed to proceed. It's already made the Post (again) and the local newscasts. If The Community is successful in keeping the Garden closed, this will be the kind of Big Win they've been looking for after their defeat over the Chelsea School townhouses.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- The Action Committee for Transit is holding a contest to estimate the opening date of the Transit Center. The prize is dinner at 8407, though you have to pay for a membership to be eligible. They will probably have to pony up for a lot of meals if "never" proves to be the correct answer. (Which it is.)

- Substations needed to power the Purple Line (also never happening) may be disguised as single family homes along its route. People are complaining, of course. This idea is nothing new, as there's a number of Pepco substation houses scattered around the area, some of which are now occupied by actual people.

- Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the Mini Maker Faire at the Civic Building last weekend, but by all accounts it was a smashing success, with over 10,000 attendees. Let's hope they bring it back next year.
- A woman from Silver Spring was one of the survivors of last week's terrorist attach in Nairobi, Kenya.

- Kaldi's, the new coffee place on Silver Spring Avenue is now open. Has anyone tried it yet? They have a Facebook page, were, strangely, they have posted a Starbucks promotional video.

- The AFI Silver Theatre is offering free popcorn to furloughed government workers. I'd certainly be catching up on movies were I forced to stay home this week. (Though today I'd be at the Majestic for Gravity on IMAX.)
- Adios, Quiznos. The Fenton Street location has closed after ten years of operation in downtown Silver Spring. I don't particularly like Quiznos, but at one time it was the few options in that immediate area prior to all the DTSS restaurants opening, so I have eaten there a few times.

That block just won't be the same without dozens of Quizno's banners and signs, including the "grand opening" sign that was displayed for years.

- Remember how Pedro Matamoros (formerly of Nicaro and 8407) was going to buy the Golden Flame Restaurant? Not so much. Not only did he not buy the place, he's not even the chef there anymore.

- There was a AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit yesterday with Bar Rescue host Jon Taffer, who famously failed to re-brand Silver Spring's Piratz Tavern. He had a few choice words regarding the Piratz Tavern management (who, to their credit, are still there).
Q: Which bar rescue was the most difficult one for you?

A: Pirates comes to mind because it was so bizarre, and uncomfortable every minute I was there. I can't really say this about any other bar that I've rescued, but I did not like those people, candidly. And I did not enjoy one minute that I was there. It was my most difficult in that regard.

Q: Who was the most entertaining owner to work with? Do you keep in touch with any owners long after the shows?

A: I've developed very good friendships with some of them. With the exception of Pirates, I've left everyone in a good relationship.
He did get called out by a few commenters for purposely antagonizing the owners with his selection of a "corporate" theme for the revamp. I do agree that he must have been trolling them.