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Food, Drinks, Art.

Food, Drinks, Art.

As Tonic has just finished a renovation, it has space to hang art, and District Playground has a great idea. This non-profit is looking for submissions from people who a) live in Mt. Pleasant and b) work in the restaurant/bar industry. You can find out all the additional information here.

District Playground “provides opportunities for less advantaged members of the Washington DC community to participate in the arts and reconnect with creative outlets commonly left behind in elementary school.” SWEET. I fortunately have no lack of creative outlets, much to the dismay of my family and friends, but, honestly, have you ever heard of a cooler organization?

Thanks to Prince of Petworth for posting this great tidbit about Mt. Pleasant on his blog yesterday.


On Friday: We spotted a film crew shooting driving scenes for the television show Bones.  Though the show is mainly filmed in Los Angeles, the story takes place in Washington, DC, and one of the characters is purported to live above Sportsman’s Liquors, necessitating the Mt. Pleasant filming.

On Saturday: We picked up tomatos, basil, fresh-cut flowers, and free-range pork from the farmers market before heading over to Ramona’s Day Spa for excellent pedicures (details to follow).  At night, there were a whopping four of us at the Intercambio at Dos Grigos (which, at a 100% increase of last week’s two, is pretty excellent progress).

We have incredible news! The Mt. Pleasant Community Garden is up and running! The garden was organized by community activist Rachell Williams, who attended PTA meetings at Bancroft Elementary and lobbied the school for permission to build the garden on school grounds. Permission she received, and today six plots line Mt. Pleasant Street north of Newton.

Together with Lee Cain, an Environmental Educator for the Anacostia Watershed Society, Rachell hoed, dug up rocks, and built the terraced gardens. The wood that encases each plot was generously donated by Community Forklift, an organization that recycles salvaged building materials. The wood is all organic, beneficial for gardens to keep contaminants away from the growing plants. The entire garden, in fact, is organic and eco-friendly, Rachell even hopes to install rain barrels on the side of the school to catch runoff to be used to water the plants.

Rachell opened the garden first to Bancroft parents and neighbors in the immediate area and many were interested, so all of the six existing plots are claimed. There is, however, plenty of room for garden expansion. Rachell plans to build several more plot as well as a communal herb garden at the top of the hill. Each plot is $25, which covers only the cost of the materials (like nails and mulch) used to build the garden. And although Rachell is willing to help, interested individuals must be willing to get their hands dirty in the plot construction process.

If you’re interested in having your own plot in the Mt. Pleasant Community Garden, or you just want to volunteer to help, email Rachell at (Also email her to tell her how much you want to attend a garden grand opening party. I’m going to make deviled eggs.)

DCist and The Examiner are reporting a surge in rapes in the District that MPD is now attributing to one offender.  In the latest in a series of four similar cases, a woman was raped in her home in Mt. Pleasant.  On Thursday around 4am, a young Hispanic man broke into her home on 18th and Park Road, the woman reported, raped her and stole some of her belongings.

Though this case may not be related to the previous three, the police see strong enough similarities to consider the possibility of a serial rapist.  The reports of these three earlier rapes occured on May 16, May 25, and June 26.  In each case, the man broke into the woman’s home in the early morning hours.  None of the women report having known their attacker, which makes this offender especially dangerous. 

This attacker is still on the loose, so please, be safe.  The women are not aware of exactly how the intruder entered their homes, so it is important, despite the nice weather, to keep doors and windows locked, particularly at night.

I started salivating this morning when I received the email with the list of all of the delectable deliciousness that will be available at the Mt. Pleasant Farmer’s Market Saturday morning.

This week there are too many good fruits and veggies to count: peaches, raspberries, blueberries, arugla, plums, cucumbers, eggplants, apricots, the list goes on. Also, lots of good herbs, eggs, free-range pork products, as well as breads from locally-owned Breadline.

Stop by the manager’s booth to get a taste of gooseberries! They’ve promised me you’ll be a convert. I’m waiting to be convinced as I thought gooseberries were something that only existed in Willy Wonka. Additionally, if you were disappointed last week when you couldn’t buy feta, yogurt and chocolate pudding at Keswick Creamery, don’t worry, they are back this week.

From here on out, every Friday morning (okay, okay I know I’m late today), I’ll post my picks for the Lamont Park Farmer’s Market. I can’t wait for the whole array of produce, meat, bread and cheese I’ll be purchasing at Saturday’s market.

C’mon on out, meet your neighbors, buy local and celebrate the summer sun.

Meet you there! Save some okra for me!! (and yes, if you want to make me that recipe, I will marry you and restore your historic home in Mt. P)

Mt. Pleasant Farmer’s Market
Lamont Park

I’ve been perusing the Mt. Pleasant Transportation Study for a couple of weeks now, trying to summarize the almost 90 page report into something cogent to write about.  Never did I think that a tragedy would illustrate the importance of discussion about one particular section of the study: pedestrian and bicycle safety.

As I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, 22-year-old Mt. Pleasant resident Alice Swanson was killed while biking to work Tuesday morning.  In the aftermath of such an untimely death, it is impossible not to think about the pedestrian and bicycle conditions in the city, to consider what could have happened differently to prevent Alice’s death, and to determine what can be done to make our streets safer in the future.

Mt. Pleasant, especially the 16th Street corridor, is a high traffic area for both cyclists and pedestrians.  According to the study, more than 600 pedestrians an hour traverse Irving Street during peak times and an average of 30-50 bicyclists an hour cruise down 16th Steet.  This kind of traffic certainly makes The Mount a high risk area for pedestrian/bicycle crashes. 

According to this illustration provided by the study, 15 crashes occured between pedestrians/cyclists and cars between 2004 and 2006.  That number doesn’t seem terribly high, but the study points out that this data takes into account only those crashes that were reported, so generally minor ones aren’t included.  This data also fails to take into account “conflicts” defined by the study as a “pedestrian, bicyclist, or driver taking evasive action to avoid a collision.”  In other words, there are certainly numerous near-misses that are unaccounted for.

The study does offer some solutions.  The fact that 14th Street has a bicycle lane north of Newton Street and 16th Steet does not, despite the significantly higher cycling traffic on 16th Street, is discussed in detail.  The report suggests that either the city add a bike lane to 16th Street or that bikers utilize the 14th Street lane for increased safety.  The Washington Area Bicyclist Association agrees.  It is one of the association’s top priorities to greatly increase the number of bike lanes throughout the city and they provide bike-safe routes to destinations across the region.

The city, by collecting data like the Mt. Pleasant Transportation Study, seems to understand the gravity of the problem and is taking steps to fix problem areas.  Until then, be safe.  Use the 14th Street bike lane if at all possible; it’s just two blocks out of your way.  Of course, wear your helmet and keep your eyes open to potential problem spots so that we can avoid losing another Mt. Pleasant resident in another horrible accident.

Keep an eye out down the road for a new roof deck at Marx Cafe. We spoke to one of the owners, Haris Dallas, who told us that permits are in the works. Once those permits are in place (which, unfortunately, could take up to a year), Haris assures us that the deck can be built in as little as 3 weeks. Waiting around aside, this is really exciting news! Finally!! A venue for al fresco dining on The Mount (besides, of course, Dos Gringos and the two tables outside Heller’s). We’ll keep and eye on the permit process and be sure to let you know when deck plans progress further.

Oh, and while we were there investigating the roof deck rumor, we (of course) ate. At the suggestion of our reader, Jess, we ordered the saganaki, a Greek dish where cheese is flambeéd tableside. It was incredible (we do love you more now, Jess, just like we knew we would). We also ordered the fried calamari (they also have grilled) which was only, frankly, middling. We really enjoyed the caprese salad (though it was described as including red peppers and had none) and the eggplant rollatini (eggplant both stuffed with and covered in, what else, cheese).

The place was quite packed for a Tuesday night, and the overwhelmed bartender gave us slightly slow service at first that improved steadily during our meal. The cafe also has a different special or event each night of the week, like 1/2 price wine on Mondays and open mic on both Mondays and Tuesdays. Check out their website to see a full list of specials and events.

Marx Cafe
3203 Mount Pleasant St. NW
Washington, DC 20010
Monday-Thursday: 5pm-2:30am
Saturday: 11am-2:30am (Brunch 11am-3pm)
Sunday: 11am-1:30am (Brunch 11am-3pm)

Has anyone noticed the water bubbling up from the street on Park Road recently? The Department of Public Works is remedying the issue as we speak. A DPW employee informed me that a leaky water valve was causing a hydrant to leak, which created the ongoing flood in the street.

The sidewalk and part of the street has been temporarily removed on Park Road between 16th and Mt. Pleasant Streets and, consequently, that block of Park Road has been closed to facilitate the repairs. The road will likely be closed until 10pm tonight.

At the behest of our reader, Erin (Thanks, Erin, keep up the great suggestions!), Courtney and I headed over to Bancroft Elementary this morning to investigate the garden plots that have been constructed there. The gardens lie on the east side of the school’s property, on Mt. Pleasant St. just north of Newton St.

Graves? No! GARDENS!!

Graves? No! GARDENS!!

Unfortunately, though, the gardens are not for community cultivation. They were built solely for the benefit of Bancroft Elementary students, who will use the plots to learn to grow plants and vegetables. The Bancroft secretary I spoke to said that the children are very excited about the opportunity. The venture will certainly also benefit the community as a whole, improving the landscape and aesthetic around the elementary school.

The project is spearheaded by community volunteer Iris Rothman, the woman who is also credited with bringing American University students to Bancroft to volunteer during the University’s Freshman Service Experience, a week-long volunteer program that introduces new students to the city while strengthening their sense of community in their new home. I haven’t been able to speak to Rothman about the gardens yet, but stay turned. I will update you, Internet, as soon as I am able.

UPDATE: Turns out that these plots ARE for community use!  Thanks to Devon for letting us know.  The kids’ gardens are on the west side of the school; these are on the east.  So some of us aren’t that great at the compass rose, back off.  I will try to get in touch with the leader of the Mt. Pleasant Community Garden (that’s right, it has a name) to find out how anyone who wants to can get involved!

Last night around 10pm, several police cars descended upon Marx Cafe questioning patrons about supposed gun shots fired in the area.  Though no customers had heard said gun fire (they were far too engaged in the ‘revolutionary cuisine,’ no doubt), the police continued through Mt. Pleasant investigating the reported disturbance.  

I’d really really (really) like to say this is related to DC handgun ban repeal (see below post), but that’s probably not the case.  Though maybe I’m right; perhaps the offending individuals were celebrating the repeal by firing off their now legal weapons. 

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Please email us tips about what's going on in the neighborhood, questions you have about Mt. P, and pictures to post on our blog! We love Mt. Pleasant, but obviously are not experts, so we'd love your help and we'd love to hear from you. climbingthemount@