Friday, March 11, 2016

Thanks and See You on the Other Side (of Town)!

Find me on The X2 and at @TheX2BusDC!

Hey Mount Pleasant, it's been great!

Here are some of my favorite neighborhood photos from the blog, set to Tuscadero's The Pink Album gem, "Mt. Pleasant."


Thursday, March 10, 2016

This is the End #1

After 13+ years living in Mount Pleasant and 8+ years writing this website, this is the end

Until I get The X2 site is really up and running, I wanted to look back at some of the most memorable posts from the last eight years of writing The 42. 

Post #1 is from 2011. It was impossible to pick the #1 most memorable post. Out of the 1,600+ written over the years, there was no way I could narrow it down. Some got lots of web traffic, others were more personal, and many marked important public events.

But, my favorite type of post were these; Mount Pleasant community events. This one from below, Lamont Street Halloween Party, epitomizes how the community, made of neighbors, can organize (with or without government help), staff, market, and program a great event. There were so many of these: the Temporium, Mount Pleasant Music Festival, Mount Pleasant Day (RIP), Cheap Art Sale, Holiday Tree Sale, Puppet Underground.... the list goes on. These are the times when the idea of "community" were made real. Of all the press releases, random events at embassies, store openings, restaurant closings, new condos, old condos, so on and so forth, really what it boiled down to was this: seeing Mount Pleasant, hearing Mount Pleasant, and putting that to page.

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Halloween Party on Lamont Street is Oct 31

DC's best Halloween block party is happening again this year, in Mount Pleasant. Lamont Street NW between 17th and 18th will play host to hundreds of candy seeking kids (and sometimes their parents). Yes, this is the event at which our house gave away over 2,000 pieces of candy in 2007.

In a minor change, I'll be collecting candy this year, not giving it out. So, bring some for me. Also, look out for music, marshmallow roasting and of course, the costume contests. No word on the zombie walk, but ever since I started reading World War Z, I can do without this year. Huge thanks to the organizers who filed the paperwork, planned the events and made this happen; it's a great tradition!

The details:

Who: You, your friends, Mt Pleasant residents, other invited costumed revelers.
What: Lamont Street Halloween Block Party
When: Monday October 31, 2011; 6:30-9:00PM
Where: Lamont St NW b/t 17th and 18th in Mount Pleasant, DC

This is the End #2

After 13+ years living in Mount Pleasant and 8+ years writing this website, this is the end

Until I get The X2 site is really up and running, I wanted to look back at some of the most memorable posts from the last eight years of writing The 42. 

Post #2 still resonates 8 years later. The fire at 3145 Mount Pleasant Street altered lives of the displaced residents, tied the city up in a financing and housing mess, and generally, was the subtext to gentrification issues in Mount Pleasant and beyond. Tenant rights, condo conversion, absent owner/landlords, and building code negligence were all a part of this tragic fire, which resulted in no loss of life, thankfully. But, a church that was burned out moved to Maryland (with the building now becoming condos), and the new Oscar Romero apartment building houses just a fraction of the original residents.

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Our Friends and Neighbors; the 3145 and Meridian Hill Church Fires

Right now our neighbors from 3145 Mt Pleasant Street and the Meridian Hill Baptist Church are trying to begin the process of putting their lives back together after the fires of Thursday morning. According to NBC 4, small fires were still smoldering in some parts of the gutted building at 11:30 last night, nearly 24 hours after initial 911 calls. Investigators may not get access to all reaches of the building for at least a week. We can all be thankful that not one person was killed or seriously injured in the 3145 building (the Winston) or the at Meridian Hill Church. Those who were using the shelter housed in the basement of Meridian Hill now have a temporary home at Sacred Heart Catholic Church across 16th Street. The shelter was and is run by Catholic Charities. They accept donations online.

The 42 and this blogger are thinking good thoughts on behalf of all Mount Pleasant and wishes a speedy return of everyone involved to their homes in 3145. Thankfully, there are several ways to help out if you are so inclined. Thanks to Hear Mount PleasantNeighbors Consejo, Pfeiffer's Hardware, La Casa and other local groups and individuals.

  • Cash Donations are probably the most helpful right now; possibly more than clothes and toiletries. Make a cash donation to be used for emergency shelter, medications, etc. For now, Pfeiffer's Hardware (3219 Mt P Street) is accepting cash donations on behalf of Columbia Heights/Shaw Family Support Collaborative.
  • Volunteer you time or offer up a place to stay for residents of 3145, again through CHSFSC.
  • Donate food, clothing or both at Neighbor's Consejo. Its at 3118 16th St, only a few doors down from Meridian Hill Church, but you can donate NOW online.
  • Eat and drink; Don Jaime's (3209 Mt P Street) is donating 20% of this weekend's breakfast sales and aMarch 18 wine tasting at Marx Cafe (3203 Mt P Street), sponsored by Mount Pleasant Main Street; a portion of the $15 entrance will be donated to victim support.

This is the End: #3

After 13+ years living in Mount Pleasant and 8+ years writing this website, this is the end

Until I get The X2 site is really up and running, I wanted to look back at some of the most memorable posts from the last eight years of writing The 42. 

Post #3 is from 2008. By mid-November that year, Obama-mania had swept DC, and the prospect of a record breaking Inauguration was becoming more real. One byproduct was the explosion of people attempting to rent out essentially any property they owned, or even leased. This was really before the proliferation of Airbnb, so most of the listings were on Craigslist. Many people thought hey could get a king's ransom for a bed (or often, floor), access to a bathroom, and a mile walk to the Metro. I wish I could have saves a database full of the actual listings because they were just golden. Folks were a little bit more reasonable in 2013, but not by much!

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Inauguration Rental Shenanigans

Among the phenomena related to last week's Presidential election is this: Washington area condo and home owners are now somehow convinced that the world is ready to shell out tens of thousands to be in DC for the Inauguration. Yes, I know, I know--its historic, there are limited hotel rooms and money is no object to some people. However, will even a small percentage of these people really get the thousands of dollars of which they are asking?

I wanted to see what was being offered and how ridiculous people could get in the name of providing a room for a fee. Here are some of the most interesting inauguration rental offers I have found. I based my listing on how loudly and long I laughed after first reading the posts.:...

$40000 / 1br - Loft Style Luxury Condo for Rent during Inauguration week (Jan. 17-22) (DuPont Circle): This inauguration rental requires a $10,000 deposit. Its in the DeSoto, a newish building across from Whole Foods on P Street, near Dupont. One bedrooms here normally rent for about $2,500 a month. At $10,000 per night this a 12,000% increase over the normal rent. Ouch.

$75000 / 2br - Inauguration Special - Entire Week - First Come (Bethesda): This entry amused me for a few reasons. 1.) So little information is offered: I'd like to know a lot more before I called about a $75,000 one week investment. 2.) Apparently its in a "building primarily used for low-income housing." Gives new meaning to the term buy low sell high. And 3.) Like many other entries the author takes liberties with lines like "a stone's throw away from all the DC action," when this place is adjacent to NIH-Medical Center.

$250 1 Bedroom plus Den for Inauguration Week (Mt. Pleasant): This one was is one of several offers out of Mt Pleasant. Its really not that remarkable. Some listings for Mt Pleasant were vastly overpriced and stretched some of the facts, but this one actually seems reasonable, relative to the rest. Still more than I would normally pay for a night at a decent hotel.

$2200 / 3br - Luxury condo during Inauguration week -- walk to balls, dining, Metro (Dupont/Kalorama)I'm sorry, but there is no house or apartment which is both "a block from the Washington Hilton" and "a 10-minute walk from the Omni Shoreham Hotel." Equally questionable is the statement that this house is "a 5-minute walk to both the Dupont Circle Metro and the Woodley Park/Adams-Morgan Metro;" maybe one, but not the other. Many of the posts have little white lies similar to this one. On the face, not that egregious of an exaggeration, but the little things matter at such high prices. This place is $2200 per night.

$5000 / 4br -Inauguration Rental Just 2 Stoplights to DC! (McLean): Again, this is one of the misleading entries. I mapped the route out, and its true! One could get to DC, stopping at only two traffic lights, both on Glebe Road. The author forgets to mention that you'd then have to travel an additional 7+ miles from Chain Bridge to downtown DC. That includes the countless traffic lights in Kent, the Palisades, Burleith, Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, West End, GWU, the National Mall and SW/Federal Center on the way to the Capitol Building.

$10000 Upscale Apartment for Inaugural Week (Wash DC (5 mins from)): This is one of the many entries which promises accommodations that are "5 minutes from..." everything. This apartment is even 5 minutes from "Regan" Airport and the Convention Center, which I learned is "on both blue and yellow metro lines..."

$188000 / 3br - Quaint, Luxurious Inauguration House - Early Bird Special -Furnished (Damascus, MD): OK, I wasn't sure if this price was for buying the house outright, or for renting it during the inauguration. It features amenities such as "dial-up internet service" (hello, 1992? dial up!?), a "quaint" gravel driveway, but no refrigerator (its "down"). And its 25 miles outside the beltway! Perhaps there was a typo and the owner meant to offer it at $188 for the week.

Oh goodness, I could go on and on and on. This is fascinating! Its like a dam broke and all these want-to-be capitalist entrepreneurs spilled out. Don't believe the hype people! No one is paying ten grand to rent your worn out townhouse in Bowie! A $3,000 security deposit on a five night rental is absurd! I don't even smoke, but for $2,000 a night you bet I want to light up in your house and do whatever else makes me happy.

I love it, all these fools saw some news story and thought they could get a piece of the action. Fantastic. More comedy for me I guess. Keep it coming DC home owners, keep it coming.

This is the End: #4

After 13+ years living in Mount Pleasant and 8+ years writing this website, this is the end

Until I get The X2 site is really up and running, I wanted to look back at some of the most memorable posts from the last eight years of writing The 42. 

Post #4 is, and I hate even bringing this up again, but it's about... the Real World. When the fading, ratings-loss-leader, poor-excuse-for-reality-show came to DC I was skeptical that MTV was playing this straight. Like, you're sending people to DC for this show? How could we top NYC? SF? Chicago? Denver? Let's be honest, there was a Real World Key West before they came to DC. Anyway, I speculated on what the show would look like in various DC neighborhoods. Fun stuff!

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MTV's Real World House in Mount Pleasant?

Haha, no. But the show looks (again) like it may come to DC. Seems like every few years there is a rumor that the "reality" show--which had been around for 21(!) seasons-- will make it's way to the nation's capital. Who knows if we'll get the gig. Maybe we'll lose out to Real World Louisville, or Real World Boise this time around.

Who wouldn't want to have a chance to live with the likes of Tami "it wasn't not funny" Roman, Eric "the Grind" Nies, or Mike "yes, The Miz is his wrestling name" Mizanin. If the show does make it to DC I've got my money on Adams Morgan as the location. But what would the show look like? Hmmmm...

Real World Mount Pleasant: Shenanigans ensue when the seven strangers realize that because of the economy they're living in the basement of a group house already occupied by seven other strangers, all interns.

Real World Columbia Heights: Savvy housemate vows to get involved with the community by starting online petition against gentrification; from the roof deck of the Kenyon Square Condos, where the Real World DC loft is located.

Real World Georgetown: Only on the final episode is it revealed to the roommates that Georgetown is actually part of DC and not its own, supremely dignified, sovereign city.

Real World Petworth: The southern belle from Atlanta goes bananas on the first episode to voice her displeasure at having to live only a block away from Sherman Circle.

Real World Van Ness: Nothing happens. Nothing. Really.

Real World Dupont: Latent racist and homophobic cast member from the Midwest slowly learns to treat others with dignity and respect after an incident in which ...yada yada yada... repeat any episode from any of the previous 21 seasons of the Real World.

Real World Brookland: Cast members settle down to start that family, never leave DC, buy an SUV and a lawnmower.

Real World Capitol Hill: Angry Hill neighbors TP the Real World house in protest of MTV's garish paint job of the circa 1890 building.

Real World Adams Morgan: House meeting called on the first episode after innocent newcomer's mind blown that Wednesday night = start of the weekend and that pizza slices can be bigger than your head.

Real World Foggy Bottom: Entire cast, all 21 and under, mixes in with GWU students, never to be seen again.

Oh we could go on and on. Feel free to get creative and add some more in the comments.