Wednesday, December 26, 2007

silver spring's jazz man moving to prince george's

Local recording artist Marcus Johnson (left) - with Councilwoman Valerie Ervin and developer Bruce Lee at a Purple Line fundraiser last fall - plans to move to National Harbor.

Yesterday may have been the last Christmas in MoCo for jazz pianist Marcus Johnson, who told the Post he's packing up and moving to a plush condo in National Harbor, the mega-development rising on the Potomac in Prince George's County. He's released over eight albums, five of which made the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Top 20; played last year's Silver Spring Jazz Festival; and while emceeing a Purple Line fundraiser in October, waxed romantic about riding the Z2 Metrobus while attending Blair High School.

Johnson may have claimed that Montgomery County's vast bus system "opened more opportunities for me than I would've imagined," but we can't blame him for moving to (dare we say it) a swankier locale (at right). He'll be trading in his bus pass for a, um, yacht pass as he enjoys the high life on the Potomac. Not to mention that his new home will be just around the corner from Ashton Kutcher and Tara Reid, whose L.A. restaurant Ketchup - featuring a full menu of different ketchups to go with your meal - will be opening a second branch in the neighborhood.

A rendering of National Harbor from a story in the New York Times.

The musician will be another cross-jurisdictional snag for the Peterson Companies, which has already grabbed both "The Awakening" sculpture and the National Children's Museum from the District. Developer Milty Peterson - who first brought us Downtown Silver Spring - says he's staking his reputation on National Harbor, which is set to open next year.

Johnson's departure may be a blow to Silver Spring's burgeoning Contemporary Jazz scene, but we can only hope he'll make the forty-five-minute drive back up here fo next year's Jazz Festival. That is, if he can pull himself away from the ketchup.


Terry in Silver Spring said...

I was born and raised in Oxon Hill/Fort Washington. I am shocked and very happy that you described National Harbor as "swankier" than Silver Spring (my current home). There are a lot of great people and things to do in that part of southern PG, but I can't think of a time in it's entire history when Oxon Hill has been described as "swanky". Oh, maybe when Sumner Wells, FDR, and Churchill met at Oxon Hill Manor, but that was a while ago.

Silver Springer said...

I don’t understand why you continue to think that Silver Spring and National Harbor are direct competitors. Last time I checked they were both in the same state.

They do not compete they complement each other, I’m grateful for National Harbor (it still has some levels to go to prove itself) as well as what has happened to Silver Spring (revitalization isn’t over yet). What this means is a STRONGER MARYLAND.

The only ones that need worry is Northern Virginia and I’m not sure why you aren’t doing a competitive comparison between Alexandria and National Harbor than Silver Spring and National Harbor, the latter doesn’t make much sense considering that Alexandria tries to play waterfront (even though Maryland owns the Potomac river) and is less than 10 minutes away.

The fact that Montgomery and Prince George’s continue this infighting has really put us at a competitive disadvantage, that’s why we get called a stupid name like Suburban Maryland (could you not apply that name to many other parts of the state and many parts of “Suburban Maryland” are quite URBAN) because the two counties won’t share an identity, it always one against the other or the other acting like one doesn’t exist.

All Marylanders will benefit from the revitalization of declining areas. We need to have ONE MARYLAND.

jeuill said...

Amen Silver Springer! Being a new reader of this blog and a Prince Georges resident, I always felt there was a pro-Silver Spring bias on this blog. I love what Prince Georges County is doing, but I also love what Silver Spring has done and is doing. I live in northern Prince Georges between College Park and Silver Spring. I have the best of both worlds in the new Route 1/Hyattsville developments and downtown Silver Spring. I live no more than 10 minutes from both.

When family and friends visit, I take them to Downtown Silver Spring. Now that the University Town Center is coming online, we've started going there for movies (it's just more convenient). Pretty soon, we'll also have more restaurants to go to.

I still go to Downtown Silver Spring for Borders and WSC. I will also attend the new Fillmore if I like who's playing. When the Birchmere is built I'll have more options.

What's good for Silver Spring is good for all of us and what's good for Prince Georges County is also good for all of us. Our counties are only so big. We each can't have it all. I love the DC area and all that it has to offer.

I'm not sure why a few people in Montgomery county feel as though they need to compete with Prince Georges. Prince Georges, for reasons I won't get into here, has been ignored for decades. We're just beginning what Silver Spring started 30-40 years ago. It's unfortunate to constantly feel as though there is a desire to keep Prince Georges county decades behind the rest of the region.

Dan Reed said...

Jeuill, if you live in Hyattsville and are willing to hang out in Silver Spring - or if I, in Silver Spring, can spend a night out in Columbia, Rockville, D.C. or even Nat'l Harbor, it shows that any mall/lifestyle center/whatever has a regional market. (In fact, that's the only way they can survive.) Thus Silver Spring and Nat'l Harbor could be considered competitors, but that really has nothing to do with what I wrote about.

I'll be the last person to bring up that MoCo-vs.-P.G. crap, and I'm surprised that my post incited those kinds of accusations. I believe in regionalism - and that's why I'd even think to write about a somewhat-famous local person moving to another county, or about the redevelopment in Hyattsville. Because people in MoCo probably aren't paying attention to what's happening in Prince George's, and they should. Arts District Hyattsville and Nat'l Harbor will raise the profile of Prince George's, and it's going to be awesome.

Does my blog have a Silver Spring-bias? Where have you been? Silver Spring is my home! Of course I'm going to write about things from a "Silver Spring perspective." But I understand Silver Spring is part of a metropolitan area of eight million people and owes its success to the region as well.

Let's not start making accusations! I think we're all on the same side here.

jeuill said...

Well said. I apologize for the accusation. It's just a feeling I get from reading through a lot of blogs. It is great to be a part a metro area that is experiencing so many new developments.

Silver Springer said...

The benefits of a revitalized Prince George’s County outweigh the costs, which I think are insignificant, as long as the two aren’t seeking to derail each other by stealing too many important assets.

That’s why I think it doesn’t do any good to mention the two jurisdictions and competition in the same sentence. There are bigger fish to fry. The two counties too much play the role of the "red headed step child" in this region to be going against each other. And even more so I don’t see what Downtown Silver Spring has to do with National Harbor, they are still more compliments far more than competition. What will happen if the East Campus in College Park opens, what will National Harbor do to that? What will East Campus do to University Town Center? It’s pointless. I would rather have these places revitalized than continue to go on the decline; bad perception has a way of manifesting itself even if it’s exaggerated and that really hurt the Maryland region as a whole.

And before Montgomery and Prince George’s agree to a sense of “regionalism” they need to realize that they’re being short changed in this “region”. These two (and other Maryland jurisdictions like Frederick) have to combine forces if they want to maximize their economies (they should be sharing colleges, industries and marketing). They need to find a new strong identity that ties them together; they need to drop a stupid name like “Suburban Maryland”, all it says is that “we can’t identify you so we’re going to keep you small and insignificant.”

Dan Reed said...

I don't really disagree with anything you're saying. It's not like I want Hyattsville to stay in a decline, or Nat'l Harbor to remain a swamp, nor did I suggest either.

How are Montgomery and Prince George's counties being shortchanged? MoCo is the nation's seventh-wealthiest county and Prince George's, while still suffering from a bad reputation, has become a magnet for business, high-end retail and increasingly well-off people like Marcus Johnson.

Silver Springer said...

The National level is a whole nother matter, it's not a good measure for what goes on locally and which matters so much more. I'm talking about the region not the nation as a whole.

When it comes to jobs and office development, that really grabs those "increasingly well-off people", we're definitely short changed, and that's just the half of it.

Just read the report below and ask yourself what the reasoning is for this to happen. The actual report is even ore disturbing.

While Prince George's County is gaining retail and residential (ALOT of residential), look at the details of these projects and it is not gaining what it really through quality office development.

Every year Montgomery County slips down the ranking as one of the wealthiest counties in the Country (wasn't it sixth last year?). Soon it wont be on the top ten anymore, but this is partially the fault of Montgomery County and the State.

If I was Montgomery I would wake up and smell the coffee.

jeuill said...

Hopefully the BRAC development at Andrews AFB and M-Square Research Park will draw more white collar defense and science jobs respectively to Prince Georges County. I do agree that residential development is a bit too much. That just gives more people who work in DC and VA a place to live, not work.