Monday, November 14, 2005

ODDS 'N ENDS: Ruins of Fasika's, Open City's Almost Open to the City and Preservation Battles

WALKING DOWN 18TH STREET NW this morning, I discovered that the Ethiopian restaurant Fasika's is pretty much out of commission after a fire that I think happened last night. The charred remains of the restaurant's interior furnishings sat outside on the sidewalk, as you can see in this photo at right. While I'm sure the remains were fully extinguished, the sidewalk still smelled of smoke, wafting down the block.

>> "Fasika's Ethiopian Restaurant" [ City Guide]

RIDING THE L2 BUS down 24th Street on Saturday night, I saw that the folks over at the yet-to-open Open City were busy in a training meeting in the prime corner location at Calvert Street that was once occupied by Washington Gourmet. This will be the third location of the Constantine Stavropoulos empire (Tryst and The Diner on 18th Street NW in Adams Morgan are the others). According to On Tap, it'll be part coffee shop, part bar, part diner. Essentially mixing the best of The Diner and Tryst for the residents of Woodley Park, and guests coming to and from the Omni Shoreham hotel.

As a Woodley Park resident, I hope this place does well and won't be run over like The Diner and Tryst are at most hours of the day. Our neighborhood needs more neighborhood establishments, instead of restaurants and bars that cater to the hotel community.

>> "What's New, Notable and No Longer a Part of the DC Bar/Restaurant/Lounge Scene" [On Tap]

IN THE NEW YORK TIMES this morning, there is an interesting piece in the Arts section about a New York City Council subcommittee meeting today that should be of interest to anyone in the historic preservation community. Nicolai Ouroussoff writes about how the city council may be shaking up the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which has been criticized over its handling of the renovations debacle over Edward Durell Stone's 2 Columbus Circle.

From The New York Times:
The bill ... would require a public hearing on any building that has been determined eligible for listing on the state register of historic places. It would also allow the City Council to demand such a public hearing in a majority vote.
It seems that the saga of 2 Columbus Circle is not over yet, though scaffolding is supposed to rise in the near future. It looks like it will probably be sacrificed, but the battle over the building has become a modern-day preservation rallying call, much like Penn Station was in the late 1960s.

>> "Turning Up the Heat on a Landmarks Agency" [The New York Times]
>> "Checks and Balances at the LPC?" [Curbed]
>> "America's 11 Most-Endangered Historic Places 2004" [National Trust for Historic Preservation]


At 11:34 PM, Blogger Lonnie Bruner said...

Rumor has it that Fasika's got the previous occupants---Hinkley Pottery Studios, now just a couple of blocks away---kicked out for fire code violations.

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