Cafe Azul Adds Outdoor Art

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Cafe Azul added some outdoor art to its Arts District space.

The Venezuelan restaurant along Route 1 brought in Baltimore street artist Michael William Kirby to add three new paintings to its exterior.

Previously, the space had signs up advertising the Arts District.

Another piece by Kirby, called “Fashion,” was installed on the side of the old Professional Coffee Shop building just down the street last year.

Both works of art were done through the Hyattsville Community Development Corp.’s Biz-Art Match-Up program, which pairs local businesses with artists.

Kirby is a good pick, managing to straddle the difficult line between acceptable and edgy. The works have character but aren’t too far out there for public art.

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Home Improvement for Kids

photo 6 1024x768 Home Improvement for Kids

Here’s an unlikely place to take your kids for fun: Home Depot.

But like other stores in the national chain, the Hyattsville Home Depot offers a free monthly program for kids to learn how to use tools while putting together a small project.

At a recent session, most of the kids were young girls, while the project was a birdhouse kit (pictured above) designed to look like the house from “The Wizard of Oz.”

The kids hammered small nails into pre-cut pieces of wood, then added stickers and paint, all under the direction of two younger helpers and a friendly staffer.

The program is offered on the first Saturday of each month. Kids get to keep an orange apron and the project that they made.

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The Hyattsville Saucer’s New Home

Screen Shot 2014 08 23 at 2.45.19 PM 1024x465 The Hyattsville Saucers New Home
No one knows exactly where the saucer will land, but it’ll have a home.

The funky saucer canopy at the Hyattsville Public Library has been spared and plans drawn up by an architectural firm for the county show it relocated and used as an accent feature on the new building.

The treatment of the Saucer has changed dramatically. A Space Age flourish that now mostly covers the occasional smoker at the aging library building, it was at one point planned to be torn down with the rest. The new plans refer to it as “iconic.”

That’s in part because of the creative Save Our Saucer campaign and Hyattsville residents speaking up. The community notes on a recent presentation from Grimm+Parker include comments like “saucer is an important architectural feature and a community icon” and “the spaceship draws kids to the library.”

Otherwise, the plans are not that dissimilar from the original, calling for lots of lighting, community space and modern approaches to energy conservation.

At the end of the day, the fight over the Saucer represents the best-case scenario for historic preservation: keeping a link to the past while also providing for the needs of the present. Other good local examples: Franklin’s brew pub, the Crossover Church in the old Armory and the Lustine Center.

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BonChon Hyattsville is Hiring

photo 1 1024x768 BonChon Hyattsville is Hiring

The Hyattsville BonChon Chicken is getting closer to reality.

A flier posted on the door of the location next to Regal Cinemas at University Town Center said that the South Korean fried chicken restaurant is hiring servers, bartenders and order takers.

Although the interior has not showed any signs of change since Hank’s Tavern and Eats closed in April, the fact that the restaurant is hiring shows it won’t be long.

The Hyattsville location will join other BonChons in Woodbridge, Fairfax, Centreville, Herndon, Annandale and Arlington in Virginia and Rockville and Ellicott City in Maryland.

The flier includes this email for people interested in jobs: bonchonhyattsville@gmail.com.

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Life, the University of Maryland and Everything

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Photo by Flickr user carmichaellibrary http://bit.ly/1ravjE8

The University of Maryland is home to one of the higher education’s most powerful supercomputers — and one of its nerdiest jokes.

According to the Washington Post, the university’s supercomputer, deepthought2, was named the 14th most powerful one owned by an American college:

Deepthought2 is an array of computing equipment able to process 300 trillion operations every second, making it — in computer-speak — a 300 teraflop machine. That capacity is the equivalent of about 10,000 laptops working in concert, university officials said.

The supercomputer’s name comes from Deep Thought, a fictional computer in Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series which was designed to find the answer to “life, the universe and everything.”

The answer, for those who haven’t heard, is the number 42.

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The Saucer is Saved, But Not the Library

IMG 8338 1024x768 The Saucer is Saved, But Not the Library

It looks like the saucer will be saved, but the library behind it will not be.

According to an article in the Gazette, the architects in charge of designing a new public library in Hyattsville will keep the iconic entryway. But, to the disappointment of some local activists, they still intend to tear down the aged building it’s attached to:

“We heard loud and clear that the saucer is important to the community as both an architectural feature and as a community icon that people have grown up with,” said Melanie Hennigan, president of Grimm + Parker, the Calverton-based architectural firm hired by the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System to design a new Hyattsville branch library.

All three options presented by Grimm + Parker at a community meeting kept the saucer, either as an entryway or else as part of a mini-park on site.

The architects also plan to do a “feasibility study” of renovating the existing building, but given the problems of meeting modern standards for access for the disabled and more natural lighting, this is likely just so much window dressing so that local politicians will seem responsive to the community.

The Hyattsville Wire has said all along this would be the best outcome — respecting the city’s past and keeping it funky while also putting the needs of library patrons first.

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Hyattsville’s New Comic Hero Playground Opens

photo 1024x768 Hyattsvilles New Comic Hero Playground Opens

Hyattsville has a new superhero-themed playground, thanks to Landscape Architecture Supervisor Brenda Iraola and others at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which held a grand opening last week.

The new Comic Hero Playground is colorfully designed in red, yellow, and blue steel and has a variety of activities for kids of all ages. It’s located behind the Home Depot in Heurich Park at 6001 Ager Road in Hyattsville.

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Vigilante Coffee Brings Attention to Hyattsville

IMG 5849 1024x682 Vigilante Coffee Brings Attention to HyattsvilleVigilante Coffee has brought new attention to downtown Hyattsville.

The coffee roaster, which had its grand opening Saturday, was recently featured in Time magazine’s list of things to do while in Washington, D.C.

And its new Hyattsville location got a lengthy write-up in the Washington Post:

From the coffee bar, which is decorated with skateboards showing the stages of coffee production, customers can watch raw beans go into the roaster before being weighed and packaged for sale, or ground and turned into a pour-over coffee or a cup of Flat White. “A lot of people don’t get it,” Vigilante says of the setup. “They’ve never seen raw coffee. I wanted to put on a show.”

The flat white is the latest sign of Hyattsville’s hipness, joining the bikram yoga studio in Riverdale Park, Busboys and Poetsthe upcoming Whole Foods Market, wheatpaste artthe cupcake shop in the Arts District and organic food dumpster divers.

For the uninitiated, a flat white is a coffee drink made with two shots of espresso and steamed milk, first popularized in Australia and New Zealand in the 1980s. Basically, it tastes like a latte, but with more hipster cachet now that even McDonald’s sells lattes.

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An Interview with Green Owl Design

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Photo courtesy of Green Owl Design.

Downtown Hyattsville will get a little more funky this Saturday.

Interior design firm Green Owl Design will hold a grand opening from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at its new location inside the renovated Model T dealership on Gallatin Street next to the post office.

The Hyattsville Wire spoke with owners Erica Riggio and Angela Justice by email about their new business.

What does Green Owl Design do?

We are a full service interior design firm specializing in boutique commercial design and select residential projects. Our boutique showcases a variety of home décor items and local artists’ creations ranging from custom furniture, fine art, vintage finds and clothing to jewelry and more.

Where did the name come from?

The name was conceived in an effort to capture the philosophy of using local resources for design and retail and creating original and unique spaces. Owls are wise, nocturnal, and they represent the type of creative creatures that we are. Our friend graciously took the liberty to create a logo for us, and we loved it. A green owl is original and doesn’t exist, this represents a more creative entity that speaks to our unique approach to design.

Why did you choose to locate in Hyattsville?

There is a great emerging art scene in Hyattsville. Here, artistic people are really recognized. This is a community of creative people that need more businesses to showcase local talent. There is no other shop like Green Owl Design. We have completed residential and commercial design projects in this area. And last, but definitely not least, Hyattsville is a “great place to live and work!”

Where did you work before here?

During and after attending graduate school for interior design, Angela Justice worked for a luxury kitchen and bath design company. The economy took a downturn which greatly affected the company. She then made the decision to begin her own design firm which she ran since 2009 called Space 26 Designs. Her firm completed numerous residential and commercial design projects.

Erica Riggio previously worked for commercial and residential design firms, but ultimately knew she wanted to begin her own business. Shortly after graduating from graduate school for Interior Design, she began Riggio Design. For over 6 years, her firm completed residential and commercial projects of all sizes spanning across the U.S.

What do customers think of your building?

Most people we have encountered are very pleased with how the building has been renovated. Since we our celebrating our grand opening this Saturday, we will then get a better gauge of how the community receives our concept and our boutique.

Personally, we are very pleased with the renovation of the Palmer building and think it is a testament to how a building should be revamped to fit the growing needs of the community. We assisted the owner whenever possible and are pleased with his attention to detail and commitment to creating a solid, quality commercial business space. We love the space and our neighbors with whom we share the address!

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Soft Opening for Hyattsville’s Vigilante Coffee Co.

20140707 124308 1024x768 Soft Opening for Hyattsvilles Vigilante Coffee Co.

Hyattsville’s new Vigilante Coffee Company opened earlier this week with limited hours, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., through July 18 as part of a soft opening with doors to officially open on Saturday, July 19.

The Hyattsville Wire caught up with Christopher Vigilante, owner and founder of the shop, who was enthusiastic about opening up a new location in Hyattsville.

The new coffee shop is located at 4317 Gallatin St. downtown next to the post office in the renovated gray brick building on the side facing the alley. There isn’t an exterior sign yet, but we imagine that will be coming soon.

Vigilante himself has an interesting background in coffee tracing all the way back to Hawaii where he lived and worked. You can read all about it here.

The new Hyattsville location is both a roastery and café.

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