Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- There's a movement out there to convert a portion of the as-yet-undeveloped area adjacent to the Transit Center into a public park in lieu of constructing a hotel as originally planned. Let me be the one to say it: no. Just, no. Throughout history, very few things located next to bus stations have ever been described as "nice" (case in point: the McDonald's across the street), and I have serious doubts that a park in that location would be particularly appealing as a place to relax. The county needs to stick to the plan and accept the cash flow generated by the 7% hotel occupancy tax. Considering the money pit next door that a hotel would overlook, the last thing the government needs to do now is leave money on the table.

- Anyone have an update as to the status of Kao Thai? It closed for "emergency repairs" last week, and as far as I know has yet to re-open. The windows have been covered up with paper, which is a bit odd if it's just a maintenance issue. What's there to hide?

- Why does Scion, open for nine months, still have a vinyl banner hanging over its door rather than permanent signage? You'd never know it was there if you drive by at night, and even if you're looking for it, it's not easy to spot.

- I had wondered why St. Michael's church had posted large, ugly "no skateboarding" signs around its entrance until I happened by Sunday evening and saw a dozen skateboarders ignoring said signs and jumping off the church's front steps. (It's because we didn't build them a large enough skate park, right, Sk8ter Mom?) Since a lot of churchgoers ignore the "Parking for shopping center only" signs in the adjacent lot, I don't have a ton of sympathy. And yes, they do, because I see it with my own eyes as I sit idling in my car waiting for a spot to open. No offense to parishioners that obey the rules.

- There has been reportedly been an increase in graffiti in Silver Spring as of late, and I have noticed that a number street signs around my neighborhood have been tagged. At least if our "graffiti artists" had some sort of artistic talent or creativity, it might be interesting, but it's usually just a few hastily-sprayed letters. The only tag that is remotely memorable is the angular smiley face guy. And what is the point in tagging playground equipment? Is this some sort of toddler gang marking a slide as their territory? Should my two-year-old be watching his back after using it?

- This frequently-hit crosswalk sign on Sligo Creek Parkway lasted a bit longer than expected, but it finally succumbed to the effects of relentless vehicle strikes and has lain in pieces along the side of the road for a few weeks now. When it was in place, people would stop when they didn't even need to. Now drivers don't stop at all. I recently stood at this crossing with a stroller (something which usually compels people to brake) as half a dozen cars drove past.

- The sledding at Seven Oaks Park must be pretty brutal/fun, as melting snows revealed a muddy hill with shattered and broken remains of countless sleds strewn across it. Someday I'd like to create an exhaustive list of sledding hills around downtown Silver Spring along with ratings for each. When I was a kid, Holy Cross Hospital was the place to sled, but they ruined that hill with their expansion years ago.

Friday, February 14, 2014

OK, This is Just Egregious

I mean, come on, "Silver Spring" is half the name of your business! Maybe this is part of some mass conspiracy to troll me. That is the only reasonable explanation.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cake Unloved

Last Wednesday Silver Spring's Cakelove location closed with little notice or fanfare. There was nary a mention of the closure on Cakelove's Twitter feed and only a last-minute notice sans explanation on their Facebook page. Cakelove had been in downtown Silver Spring for seven years, initially in FrozenYo's current spot, eventually moving around the corner to Fenton Street in 2011.

Will it be missed? I'm sure there were some loyal customers, but the store never seemed particularly inviting or busy when I passed by. I had one or two of their cupcakes over the years, and was unimpressed. Mediocre ratings (at best) on sites like Yelp! and Urbanspoon seem to show that my opinion wasn't outside of the norm. Given the proliferation of cupcake bakeries in recent years, it would seem that there's still money be made in the "overpriced urban bakery" segment if you're doing it right. As much as the place annoys me, if there were a Georgetown Cupcake in that spot I'd begrudgingly patronize it - provided I didn't have to wait in line.

So, what's next? Knowing DTSS, it's likely they already have a tenant lined up. I'm surprised no one has attempted to open another coffee shop - I'd think one would do quite a bit of business. Does Starbucks have an exclusivity deal with Peterson? Just don't let it be another mobile phone store. I believe Verizon is the only major carrier without an official store downtown, and I'm sure it's just a matter of time until they set up shop.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

We're Number 13/ Number 1!

While "best of" lists on the internet are generally nothing more than clickbait, it is still satisfying to note that the Movato Real Estate Blog recently rated Silver Spring the thirteenth "Most Exciting Suburb" in America. This ranking was higher than that of any other DC suburb, with Alexandria (#16) the only other one making the list. Bethesda, which failed to crack the top 50, was all like, "my mom says I'm cool!".

"Exciting" could mean a lot of things, but these were the criteria used to determine the rankings:

  • Nightlife per capita (bars, clubs, comedy, etc.)
  • Live music venues per capita
  • Active life options per capita (parks, outdoor activities, etc.)
  • Fast Food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)
  • Percentage of restaurants that are fast food (the lower the better)
No doubt a number of frequent commenters will have have plenty to contribute regarding the quality of nightlife and restaurants in Silver Spring, but whatever. Sure, these rankings may be meaningless, but let's just enjoy it for today.

Via Curbed DC, which doesn't often acknowledge the existence of Silver Spring.