Recently we received an e-mail request to post some information regarding neighborhood dog parks, dog walkers and pet-friendly establishments. This rather vague post is more so a call for information since I am not a dog-owner and have had a pretty difficult time finding pet-related resources downtown. It seems to me that despite the many pet owners in my building, downtown is not a very pet friendly place. Do our four legged pals have but mere tree boxes to relax in? Are they welcomed at any of our neighborhoods businesses? Most importantly where do people exercise and play with their dogs?
Share with us your knowledge about downtown doggie living.
In the meantime here are a few links relating to Dog-related news in the district:
Adams Morgan Dogs – Supporting Dog Runs in the District with specific focus to Adams Morgan
DCDOG Dog Park Task Force – Petition to enact new dog friendly public park regulations
MetroPets – Directory listing of pet sitters and other pet-services
Doggeeks – Dog parks in Washington D.C.
While the reverse may not be true, I imagine much of the readership of this blog reads Penn Quarter Living. Yesterday they had a post recapping recent news on the development bids for the 5th and Eye location. You can also find out more details at DCMud.
The PQL post sparked dialogue about the potential retail in each of these proposals. For the purpose of this discussion I’m using retail as a catch all term for restaurants, amenities and retail. On the one hand you have people that selected Mount Vernon Triangle for it’s proximity to Penn Quarter’s retail, the retail that will be at City Vista, and the potential for more retail as the neighborhood continues to be built out. The flip side is the Not in My Back Yard (NIMBY) contingent. They are opposed to anything that could possibly make noise within range of their units and would prefer that retail be instead located “down the street”.
I have a few thoughts on this subject I wanted to share. I will focus my comments with regards to the Boutique Hotel with Jazz club proposal. That seems to be the most polarizing of the proposals that we actually have any details on. I also don’t believe anyone arguing against a basic restaurant or cafe has a foot to stand on – this is downtown city living folks!
Any new venue could lack adequate parking to support it’s customer base and we’d be OK to veto it. Whether it be a Fitness club, Restaurant, Hotel, or Jazz club. Any venue could also implement something that would be genuinely distracting such as the enormous red neon Kenny Rogers Roasters sign in the Seinfeld episode “The Chicken Roaster“. But at this early stage I think the more interesting discussion is on the merits of the individual retail concept than speculating on fine implementation details that we don’t even know yet.
Nearly the entire Triangle is new construction. Presumably our new condos have more sound proofing than if we lived in decades old construction. A new jazz club would also be placed in a venue built for it’s specific use rather than clumsily stuffed into a property not originally designed for music. Moreover, the proposed Jazz Club is described in the DCMud article as a restaurant jazz venue, which is more similar to U Street’s Bohemian Caverns, than a big live entertainment venue like House of Blues.
Given that, I don’t believe noise from the venue is as big an issue for this specific type of club as some suggest. Also I don’t think this sort of venue lends itself to binge drinkers exiting at 2AM and yelling “I’m so drunk right now” while urinating in a tree box. It would be mostly people talking to their friends as they walk to metro or wait for a cab.
Perhaps on the 1st and 2nd floors may get some of this street noise. But you don’t buy a unit downtown on the 1st or 2nd floor if you can’t handle this. People pay premiums to live higher up the building. In this area we aren’t paying that premium for views as nearly every view will be obstructed in the near future by another 130 foot building. We pay the premium for the investment purposes and to be above taxi exhaust and street noise.
The District’s master planing for the Mount Vernon Triangle area designated that 5th street as the “5th Street Retail Corridor”. So retail IS coming. I could learn more about any of these proposals and become concerned but I think at the moment we should continue to be open minded. The community is not going to become more diverse and vibrant if we pass judgment hastily on anything that is different.
I was reading the NYT and came across this interesting article about big name architects being featured prominently in new developments across the city. There are many exotic, beautiful, and sometimes groundbreaking new designs going up in Manhattan and many of them in the residential sector. Now why is it that we seem to not have ANY of these headed our way? What little “starchitecture” we do have is woefully diluted and dated. Where are the hot young talents of today? Wouldn’t you like to see them flourish in our fair city?
Architect Jean Nouvel stands in one of the apartments at 40 Mercer courtesy of New York Magazine
Why not put DC developments on the map?
This scary post on DC Housing Prices today was enough to raise the hairs on the back of my neck. I’m not quite sure what to make of it… do you?
“If I owned a unit at the Sonata, I think I’d be a tad unhappy that the developer is lowering prices 6.4 – 14.4%, less than a year after I closed on my unit.”
DC Housing Prices Blog
Same concept as the previous post. This time from looking at the City Vista Plot. Vantage point is West to East.
Yesterday Penn Quarter Living had an interesting post comparing Satellite Images from years in the past to the most current images. I thought it would be interesting to do the same for Mount Vernon Triangle.
Using the Bird’s eye view feature of Microsoft’s Local Live I pulled up some images of Mount Vernon Triangle. These focus on the area around Madrigal Lofts, the Sonata and the Dumont.
I recently contacted ‘Mediocre Bad Guy‘ about his open invitation for people to join the blog as contributors. It was an attractive opportunity for me because I found the various neighborhood blogs of DC invaluable as I contemplated the move from the inner suburbs (Arlington) to the downtown life in the District. In the last few months I have visited Prince of Petworth, DCist, Penn Quarter Living, DCMud, JDLand and other blogs with great frequency. I look forward to the chance to be apart of that larger DC blog community while growing the Mount Vernon Triangle blog with insights and discussion.
Please welcome our new writer, FourthandEye, he’ll be contributing to the Triangle blog and telling us a little more about his slice of the pie.
We look forward to adding more neighbors who wish to contribute to the blog in the future. If you’re interested drop me a line, we would love to be able to represent all of the condominiums in the Triangle!
and again, if you live at 400Mass, Yale Laundry, The Meridian, or 300 Mass, you are most definitely part of the Triangle community so don’t be a stranger!
This is the start of a post that I’ve been contemplating how to write for a while, responding in part to my blogging cohort’s recent post about the Madrigal Loft’s facade, and in part to recent discussions on the MPD-1D mailing list about about noise and traffic and the like. More generally, this is a post about expectations. I’m going to keep it a bit short, because otherwise it will become a rant—and I don’t want that—as well as because this should be part of a more substantial conversation.
Starting with the pictures posted the other day of bare tyvek and concrete on the Madrigal Lofts facade. Two preliminary comments: I’ve been wanting to discuss this with the developers to have a more concrete answer, but haven’t had time, so this is not necessarily an informed comment. And I’m making it now in large part because of Paul’s comment, because I think it’s important that he and others have a counterpoint.
Bottom line on the facade issue is that I think it’s no big deal. If anything, my hunch is that it suggests construction is nearing actual completion. Over the past few weeks pieces of facade have been coming down and being replaced. Just this afternoon I saw two more tyvek panels that I’m almost certain weren’t exposed this morning. This suggest to me that they’re going over and replacing any facade pieces that were damaged during the initial installation. It would be nice if there weren’t such damage—but that would be an unresonable expectation. And I do know that many of the facade pieces need to be custom manufactured or shipped in before they can be installed. It makes far more sense to leave the damaged pieces up until the end of construction and to replace them at the end, than to delay construction while waiting for new pieces.
More generally speaking, I have more sympathy for the engineers, builders, and lawyers than for the architects. Not that I have anything against architects, I promise! But I’ve almost never encountered a construction project that was completed “on time”—and the rare cases where they were finished “on time” involved substantial incentives. You can be looking at paying premiums on the order of half the construction cost or more to get a guaranteed completion date. There are good reasons for this, which I won’t get into here, but the point is that it’s unrealistic to expect “on time” completion.
And similarly, with new construction it’s unrealistic to expect construction to be complete when people start moving in… for the simple reason that many people, myself included, are perfectly happy to move in before construction is complete. Buying into new construction is more akin to a commercial transaction than a residential transaction: I guarantee than a company moving into a new building wouldn’t wait for the building to be complete before they started moving into new space.
And people, we live in a city. Cities have traffic and noise. Mind you, I’m not a huge fan of the bohemian bustling noisy art district vibe, or the windows & doors open everyone knows your business community. But I’ve no problem with the noise and traffic inherent in a city.
There was some discussion about how difficult it is to cross Mass at 5th during rush hour the other day on the MPD-1D mailing list. Huh? I cross that intersection during AM and PM rush hours most every day, and I’ve got to say, it’s one of the tamest intersections that I’ve ever had to regularly cross. So, if anyone from the MPD reads this: please don’t waste any money on this intersection. Spend that money and those resources elsewhere. Dear pedestrians: we do not own the city streets, we share it with cars and busses and bikes. The city has traffic problems, yes. This doesn’t mean that pedestrians should be coddled. It means that the broader traffic problems should be fixed. (And, if anyone with the power to unilaterally implement policies that I agree with reads this: please impose a substantial toll on all cars entering the city during rush hour.)
And again to discussion about noise complaints coming from residents of 555 Mass about a band practicing in the studio on the 400 block of Eye… well by this point you know what I’m going to say. It’s a city, and those are your neighbors. Don’t complain, especially without having first tried to remedy the problem privately. If you’re not willing to invest enough energy to ask the band to turn down the bass, it’s probably not enough of a problem to get the police involved, let alone to suggest an ordinance needs to be passed.
Feel free to disagree with me… I’m certain that many if not most people will. But I’ve been hearing people complain along these lines since moving to the area, and especially over the past few weeks. Given these rumblings, I think it’s important to put in a counterpoint. Otherwise, some people might never hear the counterpoint; others in the community might not realize that these complaints are not unanimous; and people outside of the community might only hear the complaints and think “what a crummy place to live!” And really that would just be a shame.
Following up on my post about grocery delivery services from a few days ago, I conducted an experiment. The day after that post, in which I asked whether anyone had experience with the local Peapod service (which partners with Giant) or the Safeway.com delivery service, I saw a Peapod truck delivering groceries to my building. So I, being the contrarian that I am, decided to give Safeway.com a try. Well, that's not the exact thought process that went through my mind… I did some pricing of things that I needed, and found that the Safeway.com prices and availability were generally a bit better, so I decided to give them a try.
Here's my evaluation.
First, at least for my shopping needs, Safeway.com's prices seem better. And their delivery was right on time, near the beginning of the 4-hour window that they gave me. The fellow who brought the groceries to my unit was very quick and nice.
Second, Safeway.com's delivery charge is higher, at least from what I remember Peapod's deliveries in Chicago costing. But, they do not let drivers accept tips, which effectively makes the delivery cheaper. (Query: what's an appropriate tip for the delivery? My roommates and I used to do $5 per delivery, unless it was a really big delivery. And we frequently had the same few guys making the deliveries and they seemed to like us.)
That said, two of my eggs were broken, and a few of the items were unavailable. That never once happened with Peapod. They delivered eggs with the cartons in super-duper bubble wrap and they were always prisine, and I never had an item that was unavailable. Also, I really like Peapod's frozen ("cryofreeze" or something) meats, which will stay fresh until thawed for about 80 years or so (great for stocking up during sales!).
The other comments that I would have are about the actual web interface for placing orders. Peapod's is much easier to use! Very much so. Perhaps the better focus would be on how difficult to use Safeway.com's interface is. Seriously, if I weren't pretty sure that I was using it the way it was intended to be used, I'd be certain that I was using it wrong.
Of course, it's entirely possible that Peapod's DC presence isn't as good as its Chicago presence. But I think that I'll be finding this out next time I order groceries! Since Safeway.com didn't give me a top-notch experience, I think that I need to try Peapod, even if it's slightly higher-priced. If the service is on par with Safeway.com, I'll go back to Safeway.com—but if its service is on par with how it was in Chicago, then Peapod has just retained a customer (for you corporate accounting geeks, that makes me a non-cost win-back).
PS- Forgive any formatting peculiarities in this post—this is my first post-by-email. Life's been too busy lately to log into blogger to post. But if this works, hopefully you'll be hearing more from me.