Off the Tracks

Stick Up at the Bank

March 5, 2012

The goodies in the vault (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) The goodies in the vault

Georgetown residents gathered at TD Bank on Wisconsin Avenue Saturday night to support the CAG Summer Concerts in the Park and to help solve the mystery of the missing artwork …

It seemed like a typical Georgetown cocktail party – except it was in a bank.  And the vault was wide open, with a Katherine Sable etching and Dianna Broussard necklace on open display.  And the teller stations became a bar. The theme was The Thomas Crown Affair and suspects circulated through the party.  Did you see Jack and Michelle Evans looking suspicious?  Did Carol Joynt leave her pink backpack (!) in the vault? Does John Lever always attend a party pulling a roller bag?  And when does Nancy Taylor Bubes have time to play a guitar?

Two suspects (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Two suspects

In the end, National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts president Ray Ficca, who played the ‘detective’ asked the question – was it Jennifer who stole the etching to curry favors from the mayor?  Or Nancy Taylor Bubes – hoping it would help stage that house on 31st Street that needed that special something …

Masterfully concocted and executed by Kelly Doolan, Amy Kuhnert and the board members of the Concerts in the Park, the party was hosted by Georgetown TD bank manager Christian Videla

I think it was Miss Scarlet with a candlestick in the vault (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) I think it was Miss Scarlet with a candlestick in the vault

A special champagne toast and caramels from Fleurir were served in celebration of CAG's and Elizabeth Miller’s 10th anniversary of the Concerts in the Parks. 

The evening concluded with late night gourmet meatballs served hot in the bank parking lot, from the new food truck, BALL or Nothing.

Elizabeth Miller, Amy Kuhnert, Marnie Kenney, Nancy Taylor Bubes (Photo by: CAG) Elizabeth Miller, Amy Kuhnert, Marnie Kenney, Nancy Taylor Bubes

Gregory Doolan, Mehdi Fateh, Kelly Doolan, Stephanie Fateh (Photo by: Elizabeth Miller) Gregory Doolan, Mehdi Fateh, Kelly Doolan, Stephanie Fateh


Click here to share your thoughts.


P Street Business Owners Want Construction Project Done

February 21, 2012

Mr. Coe of New York Cleaners says he had 10-15 morning customers who would drive.  He now averages 3-4 per morning, all of whom walk. (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Mr. Coe of New York Cleaners says he had 10-15 morning customers who would drive. He now averages 3-4 per morning, all of whom walk.

On February 13th, a meeting at the The Georgetown Club was held to clarify the next phase of the O&P street rehabilitation, and at the same time to listen to concerns from the business owners on the east end of the 3200 block of P Street.

 “The mix of residential and business properties on this block presents concerns and potential impacts unique to the project thus far,” city officials stated.  The main concern was parking for the businesses that depend on customers moving in and out during the day.

Phase 1, on the north side of P Street, is well under way (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Phase 1, on the north side of P Street, is well under way

The construction plan was presented in two phases.  The north side (Phase 1), will take four to six weeks.  Phase 2, the south side, will take three to five weeks.  Several business owners were concerned that parking would be impossible for the entire length of time, and an alternative plan was discussed - to finish both sides of the residential portion of the block, then add phase 3 and 4 to finish the business section.  Other owners were concerned that adding the extra phases would lengthen the project by two months, taking over 4 months in total.

Salon L'Eau impacted by parking, noise (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Salon L'Eau impacted by parking, noise

“We have over 100 people (clients and employees) in and out of the salon on any given day,” Lo-Ann Lai, the owner of Salon L’eau commented.  “We want it done – over with as fast as possible.”

For residents, alleys will not be accessible for much of this time, and street parking not at all. 

Trash will be picked up on 33rd Street – supervisors on the job will help move trash if needed, and all cans should be properly marked so they can be returned.

Newspaper delivery and trash collection has become challenging for residents (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Newspaper delivery and trash collection has become challenging for residents

After further discussions, the original two-phase plan was kept in place, with the end of April as the targeted completion date.  

 

 

 

 


Click here to share your thoughts.


OMG, They're not cobblestones!

February 9, 2012

Exciting times on P Street as the tracks and cobblestones are being repositioned on the finished roadbed.   But wait – as it turns out, they’re not cobblestones at all, but setts.

Setts?  In the 17th century, river stones used as ballast in ships were dumped in ports upon arrival, and ended up being used to create roads.  These river stones, or cobblestones, varied in shapes and sizes and had been smoothed by the flow of water.

Cobblestones on Prince Street in old town Alexandria may have been ballast on a ship from England in the 1700s (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Cobblestones on Prince Street in old town Alexandria may have been ballast on a ship from England in the 1700s

The cobblestones were set in sand and had the advantage of being permeable paving - of flexing rather than cracking with extreme weather and movements in the ground.  But because of the excessive noise of horse’s hooves and carriage wheels on the irregular stones (and the rough ride!), builders switched to granite setts, sometimes referred to as Belgian block.

Alley off 34th street in Georgetown, combining cobblestones and setts (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Talylor) Alley off 34th street in Georgetown, combining cobblestones and setts

A sett is a quarried rock, usually cut into the shape of a brick. Sett paving is believed to have originated centuries ago with the Romans, who used the specially shaped rocks for road paving, and called the quarried stones ‘sanpietrini,' or little stones of St. Peter‘s.

Setts, Belgian Blocks and in Scotland – cassies or nidgers  (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Setts, Belgian Blocks and in Scotland – cassies or nidgers

In most historic cities in Europe, South America and Mexico, granite block has been used for centuries.  Laying setts is not an art that has been revived in these cities, but one that has been ongoing for hundreds of years.

Prague, April 2011 (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Prague, April 2011

Moscow, October 2011.  Working next to the Bolshoi (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Moscow, October 2011. Working next to the Bolshoi

(Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor)

Georgetown 2012 – Ramiro Batista (above) and supervisor Abel Pereira.  Having moved from Portugal 26 years ago, Abel Pereira is from a family of stone paving experts.  Abel learned the craft from his grandfather and father, and his brother is currently working on a similar project in Braga, Northern Portugal.


Click here to share your thoughts.