Saturday, October 06, 2007

St. Martin's Housing Project to Break Ground in February

I am still unhappy with the development and the way Rev Kelly characterizes the neighborhood resistance. I particularly like the holier than thou attitude (pun intended) despite the projects underwriters like GE and Fanny Mae who will receive huge tax deductions for their investments.

To reiterate, I am pro affordable housing. But that housing should be done in a way that doesnt drastically change the neighborhood. Adding 4-500 people in one block is a huge change.

All of that said, the city has made their decision, and my bitching is all for naught. On to the article from dcmud.

After an onerous battle between Bloomingdale (COMMENT: Eckington really) residents and the parish of St. Martins Church, plans are being finalized for groundbreaking on the new 178-unit workforce housing development on 116 T Street, NE, projected for completion in the first quarter of 2010. The apartment complex, totaling 241,000 s.f., is being designed as a Class A apartment building. It will hold 50 junior one bedroom units reserved as public housing for residents earning 30% of the Area Median Income with the remaining 128 units being comprised mostly of two bedroom apartments, available to residents who earn 60% of the Area Median Income. The project should break ground in February of 2008.

Upon completion, the project will serve as “the largest affordable housing project in DC,” said Reverend Michael Kelley, the pastor and leader of the project. “The bad news is that no one else is doing this type of thing,” he added. The reason for a lack of affordable housing developments in the District might be due to the clamor that these types of undertakings tend to cause within the community. St. Martins serves as the perfect example: when some of the neighboring residents discovered what was being constructed on the corner of Summit and T streets, a massive amount of lawyering commenced; they found a way to get an old convent, which would have been destroyed to build the apartment complex, classified a “Historic Building” with the Historical Preservation Society, effectively halting the development process. According to Reverend Kelley, some of the neighbors had a problem with “greed, race and class.”

Most of those community problems have been assuaged thanks to some tricky engineering and cunning design strategies by project architect Grimm & Parker and development manager NorthStar Consultants, who found a way to include the now historic convent (pictured) into the project by moving the massive structure 80 feet eastward. The move will be so astounding that U.K. based documentary program Mega Movers contacted Reverend Kelley to film the convent’s relocation. If the development schedule for the project can coalesce with Mega Movers’ production schedule, St. Martins could appear on the History Channel’s new season of the hit show.

The $41 million project will take the convent, which once served as a housing complex for nuns who taught at the St. Martin’s grade school, and merge it into the design of the apartment building. In 1990, the age-old convent was leased to DC-based Catholic Charities for use as a recovery location for drug-addicted mothers. Then in 2001, Catholic Charities began using the space as subsidized housing for recovering homeless men who needed supportive services and were unable to afford rent at market price. Now, Catholic Charities and St. Martin’s parish have decided that the building, which appears increasingly dilapidated with each passing day, the parking lot and the rest of the property would bode well as affordable housing for struggling adults. According to Reverend Kelley, it fits with the church’s mission – public outreach and social stewardship. Reverend Kelley added, “This speaks volumes about how the Catholic Church is putting Gospel beliefs into practice, or how we say here, taking our faith to the street.”

Monday, September 17, 2007

Development Update

Check out this comprehensive update from DC Mud Blog on Eckington

Attracting decidedly less media attention, Eckington, its immediate neighbor to the north, has nonetheless been discovered by local developers not quite ready for an Akridge-sized purchase of air rights over railroad yards, but who view the more than 10 million square feet of commercial space being built on its southern edge as an invitation to develop the residential market.

The whole article is here

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Response From DCFD on Fire Hydrants

As you are aware the DC Fire Department undertook an accelerated fire hydrant risk assessment program after the recent fires in Georgetown and Capitol Hill.

The Fire Department Testing Program was designed around the 33 Engine Companies local alarm districts throughout the city. The list just effecting Ward 5 can be broken out however it will take a few days to process this request.

I can report to you that DCFD has tested 10174 fire hydrants in the District of Columbia with 1098 were placed Out of Service. As of today there is less then 300 fire hydrants in the city that remain Out of Service. DC WASA is the agency that is responsible to schedule the repair or replacement, in 5-10 days.

With a fire hydrant that is out of service, I can understand your concern for the safety of yourself, family members and others. The District of Columbia Fire Department has trained our commanders to make tactical decisions that modify our alarm assignments to adjust for a fire hydrant being out of service. Please remember your safety is our concern!

I would like to thank Lt. Egan for this report

Thursday, June 14, 2007

An Outcome Neither You or I Would Receive

Washingtongon Post article- D.C. Council member (and Mayor for Life) Marion Barry was acquitted yesterday of driving under the influence and three other traffic-related charges after he testified that he had a glass of wine and took at least five different medications on the night of his arrest.

What do you think would happen if you or I were pulled over near the White House, slurring, going in reverse on a one way street with booze on our breath? There is however something hilarious about MB rolling in a 1995 Camaro.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Review of Colonel Brooks

BROOKLAND- Area man dines at "dangerous restaurant" and survives.

The author of this blog visited COL Brooks Tavern last night after dark (gasp) to review its fare and spirits. All of the tables were full, so my friend and I pulled up a chair at the bar. We were greeted by a young hipster type, who was happy to pour us a draught beer from their selection of about 15.

Any good tavern worth a damn has to have a good burger, especially a place like the COLs. The old wood paneling and benches lend themselves to pitchers of beer and burger. I ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger, which was cooked to temperature, and tasted wonderful. The bun was good too. The fries were well seasoned but limp. All in all, the burger was just what I needed, and give it a solid thumbs up. It is unlikely that I will order the seared tuna here, but that may have more to do with me, than them.

The Gridskipper article mentioned a lot about the clientèle in their piece. Mentioning specifically a grizzly murder several years back. The piece makes it seem that this pub is much more dangerous than elsewhere in the city. However, many of you may remember that the city is the city, and crime can strike anywhere including the bastion of white rich folk, Georgetown. The article also mentions thieves and drug dealers. My experience was slightly different. there was a posse in the bar. A posse of retirees who had all of the menace of a bowl of oatmeal. I didn't get too close, as to avoid any offers of drugs. These folks were less likely to be shilling crack or meth, but viagra or vioxx. Either way, I kept my distance.

As for the entertainment, the Jazz band that plays every Tuesday has been doing so for 26 years. They are really good, and the volume is not too loud, so you can enjoy chatting with the theology professor or one of the "repressed CUA co-eds" at the bar.

I highly recommend this place. Swing by and give it a chance. 9th and Monroe NE

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Review of a Ward 5 Pub.

The following review was in national Gawker Media site Gridskipper

"There are some good things about Colonel Brooks' Tavern, right off the CUA/Brookland Red Line stop in DC. Those good things include fantastic burgers, cheap beers, and repressed Catholic University coeds."

The rest of the article however, mentions a murder a few years back, drug dealers and thieves who also frequent the joint. I plan on visiting this place this week, to provide another segment of NE DC business reviews.

For better info on Brookland, please visit the newly famous Brookland blogger at Stop Blog and Roll.

Update on the "New" Lincoln Apartments

The Apartment Building at 1903 and 1905 Lincoln Rd has been under demolition for the last several weeks. This dilapidated collection of apartments was sold for $4 million late last year.

their crew must have been busy yesterday, as between the time I left for work in the morning, and the time I returned home in the evening, the first building (Facing Lincoln and T) had been primed or given a first coat of paint.

Only a block away, the new Century Court condos are open after a remarkable rehabilitation.

With more development, and more people, and the upcoming construction of the St. Martin's project, this will be a very different Eckington in the years to come. So much so that Eckington has landed on the "Most Endangered List" for 2007

Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday Odds and Ends

-Neighborhood Yard Sale (Eckington - DC)

Come help us find our old items new homes!

Various items for sale: furniture, clothes, household items, etc.

Saturday, June 9th, 2007
300 Block of V St. NE (Between 3rd and 4th St. off of Rhode Island Ave. NE)
At the Greater Victory Baptist Church Yard
10:00am - 3:00pm

If you are a Eckington resident and would like to participate in the yard sale, please email Sandra Rivera at srivera009@yahoo. com.

-Big Bear Cafe is OPEN!!! Please show your support and get a latte or 3. If you are in the market for a job, they are hiring too.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


"The verdict is in on strip bars and gay clubs in Ward 5.The D.C. Council weighed two issues that affect nighttime entertainment and the quality of life in the District yesterday but made a decision on only one. It voted to allow the continued operation of a handful of nude entertainment clubs, putting off a measure that would tighten controls on drinking establishments that attract minors.

The decision to allow the relocation of clubs that involve nudity, explicit dancing and private booths involved a compromise that blocks creating a strip-bar zone in a run-down warehouse section of Ward 5. Under the compromise, only two of six displaced clubs can move to any one ward."

In a great political move, the Elder Statesman Gray, brokered a deal between Thomas and Graham on the agreement. Notice that once the councilmen determined there were enough votes for the motion to carry, Thomas voted no. This allowed him to save face with his district, and building the foundation of political power.

-In other news, Kudos to MPD. Yes, you heard it right, Kudos. Last night there was a domestic disturbance that turned into a potential knifing. I called 911, and a cruiser showed up in less than A MINUTE.... yes indeed. Not certain of the outcome, but the response of 2 cruisers in so short a period of time is encouraging.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

"Illegal Dumping"

This photo needs no introduction.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Racism Exists

There are very few times that I have felt discriminated against. Once I was passed over for a job because the potential employer was looking for someone older. That is pretty much it. However, there have been two events in the last few months that have really made my blood boil.

-St. Martin's informational meeting in February. I was providing an opinion and following the rules of engagement and trying to do my best to show that both sides had similar feelings and morals. I praised their convictions and faith. The next woman who spoke, took the opportunity to ignore all that i said, and instead focus on the color of my skin, and apply blatant stereotypes and generalizations to me and my character. The moderator seemed to have no problems with this hate speech. Did anyone else? A council member told me later "just let it roll off your back". There is some sage advice there; but should these types of speech and racial name calling have any place in a public (or private for that matter) meeting?

-Florida and NY Ave NE, this weekend. I was traveling home from a friends house on the hill, when I heard a horn from behind me. Unsure why this happened, i raised a hand in the air as if to say "what"? When both of us arrived at the light, we began discussing what she perceived to be the problem with my driving. She was yelling, and then swearing. Neither of these is a big deal, and neither offend me. She did however offend me when she said you are a stupid (insert color) mother_ucker. Now, she doesnt even know my mother, and may need a while to make that kind of determination. But the fact that race came into the argument really made me mad. It also made me wonder how precarious our race relations are in this city.

It is not ok to use racial slurs, or bring up race in an argument like this. It just isn't.


-Sean’s Bloomingdale blog has a great article with photos of the McMillan filtration site. I am sure that the Walmart and Olive Garden will fit perfectly in there….(sarcasm)

-Summer is back, and unfortunately so is the crime

Shooting other gang members isn’t enough, time to start firing on kids on the PLAYGROUND!

Have you seen this man
, who robbed a woman at the Bank of America on 9th and RI?

Disgruntled Youth want to find an outlet for their art through tagging Borf, Magic, Nehi and Inca on everything they can find. I say, commission a mural.

And last but not least, people still hate homosexuals in Ward 5, and have gotten Tommy Thomas to introduce “Emergency Legislation” to stop gay and lesbian clubs from opening in the vicinity of W.Virgina avenue in Ivy City.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Cool Photo from NYC

Around the Block

- An update on the proposed relocation of GLBT clubs to Ward 5 is covered by Frozen Tropics here

- (Ted McGinn) talked to a crew which starting surveying the McKinley field today. This project will bring the McKinley field back as it was in the past a premiere location for High School sports.

-The District of Columbia's longtime status as a majority-black city appears to be diminishing, even as Maryland and Virginia continue to experience a dramatic rise in their minority populations, according to census estimates released today.
The 14 percent increase in non-Hispanic white District residents and 6 percent decrease in blacks from 2000 to 2006 are probably the result of the gentrification of once-affordable city neighborhoods, demographers said.
The impact on the city's racial makeup is noticeable. In 2000, blacks made up 60 percent of the District's population. By 2006, that figure was 55 percent.

-Just a note to urge people to contact the NCRC about vacant homes in their area. If we all keep calling, our neighborhoods will be healthier and safer.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Housing Market

This article is in today's USA Today. Of interest is that median home prices in Washington DC are up 8.9%, even as sales volumes have dropped.

The house at the bottom of the page looks like it is in Eckington or Bloomingdale. Anyone know where?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Bloomingdale Farmer's Market- Take Note

Thursday, May 10, 2007

NIMBYISM in Ward 5

I am quite certain that this post will get me in hot water.

The debate du jour in Eckington is the proposed relocation of GLBT clubs and strip bars that have been displaced by construction of the new Nationals Baseball stadium, to be relocated and allowed to operate in Ward 5 (specifically Ivy City).

-These were legally operational businesses that were closed and sold due to eminent domain for the stadium.

-The stadium (which I support(ed)) has been subsidized by DC residents and businesses at the cost of nearly $600M

-Creation or in this case, recreation of businesses, improves the tax-base, adds dollars to the economy and in many cases can spur growth.

-People do not want to move on this issue for a couple of reasons: its politically risky for the church-going parishioners of Ward 5 (and PG county for that matter*) and that there is still rampant discrimination toward the GLBT community.

-Provided that the area is zoned to accommodate such businesses, there is no reason for these clubs not to operate.

-Partisan politics shouldn't be at play here either. If you are a Repub, you should see the importance of business in the community and the role of Smith's laissez-faire . If you are a Dem, you need to realize that the GLBT community is struggling to have the personal freedoms that others enjoy with little to no repercussions.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Office of Tax and Revenue Sucks

This isn't really a big shocker. Most people dislike the overly competent DC government taking money from them. I certainly do. Just like I hate the fact that we pay federal taxes without having a rep, or a senator. "Death and taxes", got it.

Our friends sent out an assessment on March 1, 07 on property tax assessments. I was more than a little shocked to see how much they had raised the assessed value of my property. However, I just got around to looking at the increases in values for my street. See here

How in the hell do they figure out all of these things, and how can the range be from 7% to over 3X that amount (23%)?

I had planned on appealing the decision, but April 2 was the deadline.... Oh well.


-Development seems to be all over the place in the terribly named NoMa area. Office buildings, rumors of Justice and other agencies moving in, ATF to open soon, the Gateway hotel project on NY Ave. Its popping up all over the place. What will Eckington look like in 10 years?

-There hasn't been the huge up tick in crime that usually occurs when the weather breaks. However in the latest crime report, two suspects were arrested on the unit block of S St for kidnapping and possession of a controlled substance.

-I called the City two weeks ago about two abandoned houses in my hood, and no call back from them. I am shocked. One of the homes has been vacant for over 3 years, and houses feral cats.

-Parking. Available spaces in my hood are getting rarer. And this is before the property on 1901 Lincoln and the St. Martins project are completed. It is going to be like Adams Morgan in NE before we know it.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Bad Day

I just received word from a friend and IT Guru, that my devoted hard-drive, which has been with me since 2002, has died. It even broke the disk repair machine. So, there is more than a little sadness in losing nearly 80gigs of music and all of my photos from Iraq, Bosnia and other places......

Cue taps....

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Looking for a Roommate

After a great school year, my current boarder/renter/roommate/new friend Dr. God* is moving out in a few weeks to search latin america for the next Lazarus. This means that unless my mortgage company plans to reduce my monthly payment (unlikely) I need a new roommate.

The room in the house for rent is cozy (8 x 12) with a large closet. Huge bathroom with washer and dryer is shared. Remainder of the house is furnished with free phone, wireless internet and cable.

House is close to 80 and G8 bus lines and about 15 minute walk to RI ave or Shaw metros. Close to Howard, Trinity and CUA.

Looking for a laid back, responsible, mature and clean tenant. I am a SPM who has enough spare time to blog, and a job good enough to afford bottled beer on occasion and a grill to prepare meat and veggies on.

Please email me at for more information.

(*PhD student in theology at CUA, thus the name)

(EDIT: Potential renters, obviously I am cool enough for this post to be picked up by Wonkette, so you know its a great place to live. As for the P, perhaps it is a reference to Naughty by Natures piece de resistance from the 1990's) Thanks for the shout guys!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Trash, Trash Everywhere.

Spring has finally sprung. Tulips are up, the sun is out, and people are spending time outside. In general, spring in DC is beautiful, my favorite time of year. However, there is an underside to all of this, as is usually the case. Trash. We are still beset with the following forms of trash;

-illegal dumping in the alleys off R St.
-Neighbors leaving trash cans on the streets
-unofficial bulk pickup items strewn on the sidewalks
-take out containers, cans, bottles, condom wrappers and crack bags
-campaign posters
-household demolition waste

I often wonder if people litter because the environment is already littered, or because they just have no sense of civic society. Do people really not understand that throwing your S*it on the ground ain't right?

I guess it all comes down to personal responsibility. Its the responsibility of members of a community not to litter. Until then, the civic minded have to keep things clean. It is our job to point out to our ANC leaders, council members, and the proper authorities when people are breaking the laws (think Lincoln Arms). And it is the responsibility of our lawmakers, and municipal workers to keep up with resident requests and enforcement of existing laws.

If there is any desire to make Eckington a clean and prosperous section of town, with businesses and a significant drop in crime, these steps are a good start.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Building Went for How Much?

More movement in the NE office building market. Check this article in CPN.

Ownership of Capitol Plaza I, a new 292,000-square-foot office building in the city's blossoming NoMa submarket, has changed hands just five months after its completion. A partnership involving the Stephen A. Goldberg Co. sold the Class A property to VEF Advisors L.L.C. in a $94.5 million transaction.

Paul's Wholesale Flowers

Over the last year, I have passed by the strip of shops on Eckington Place without stopping. The fencing and words wholesale on the front had lead me to believe that these stores were only for other florists, wedding planners and the like.

However, Leslie Manning has informed me via her blog that the store is open to the general public. She even beams "you can get calla lillies and still have enough money left for wine.

You can bet I will stop there on my next trip down Eckington Place.

Paul's Wholesale Florist
1621 Eckington Place, NE

Big Bear

The owners of the Big Bear Cafe are putting in the finishing touches of the restaurant, and over the weekend encouraged neighbors to 'pop in' and say hello. It is a great time to meet the owners, while shooing away the monotony of their chores.

First and R St NW.

Prevent Flooding Before it Happens

Where to Call In Your Clogged Storm Drains at WASA

From Bloomingdale resident Sara:

If don't already have it - add 202-612-3400 to your cell phone or Rolodex.

That is the 24/7 hotline number for WASA - where you can call in clogged storm drains. If there is standing water (on rainy days) they try to send someone same day /asap - but they get a lot of calls.

The M-F 9-5 Customer Service number is (202) 354-3600

Do your part to help - keep the curbs and catch basins (to storm drains) debris free - so they dont clog and cause flooding.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

DC North is Out

The new DC North is out on newstands and online. Visit here

Monday, April 09, 2007

A New Store for Nearby Bloomingdale

Bloomingdale resident, Scott Roberts found a flier blowing around on the street yesterday from the T Street Market. Here is the text from the flier:

We have a new look

T Street Market on the corner of 1st & T Street NW

80 T Street NW
Washington DC
Tel. 202-332-0713

Hours of operations; 9:00 am to 9:00 pm - seven days a week.

Some of the featured items include:

DC Lottery
Beer and wine
East African food
Various beverages and groceries
Health food
Household items
And lots more

What we bring to the community?

-- express service: Call us ahead of time and we will have your groceries ready for you.

-- reasonable price: We make effort to accommodate our customers.

So come check us out and give us some feedback on what you would like to see from your neighborhood market.

Easter Sunday Service

I will be the first to tell you that going to church every Sunday is not on the top list of my priorities. Usually that list includes; sleep, coffee, home depot, eastern market, or yard work. This Sunday is a special church day, so i thought it would be appropriate to go to church.

So, I went down to the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Bloomingdale, on the corner of 2nd and Rhode Island. I didn't really know what to expect, but rushed around to make the service around 7am. The church was deceptively large, considering the size of the external structure. There must have been about 350 people there for the early morning service. The choir was 60 people strong and the music bellowed through the dome of the church and out into the foyer as I entered.

I felt a few eyes on me as an usher directed me toward an open pew. One was most certainly because I arrived late. The other, well, because I was the only non African American in the place. This is not a commentary, just an observation.

The church was full of energy, great music, dancers and participatory congregation. The minister was excellent, and gave a great sermon. His dynamicism was amazing.

On the way out several people wished me a happy easter, and others asked that I make Mt. Pleasant my regular church. Which was great.

We live in a good community. Hope you all had a happy easter.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Spring is Sprung

Blooming Pear tree in Eckington

Everyone is all Gaa Gaa about the cherry blossoms this time of year, which are beautiful. However, other blooming trees add to the spring beauty; Magnolia, Pear, Forsythia. Do your best to get outside and enjoy the weather and the budding foliage. DC is great in spring.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

New Development for 1901 Lincoln Rd

The eyesore that is 1901 Lincoln Avenue NE, has been sitting for years. The boarded-up apartment building in Eckington at Lincoln Road NE and T Street NE was sold for $4,000,000; one million lower than the asking price.

Recently, there have been workers gutting the place, and obvious signs of interior work. Thanks to Kris Hammond, who has found that the "Lincoln Road" Condos are being developed by KL Properties . This is the same group who is creating a development at 300 L St NE.

I hope to report on more on this in the coming days.

Move Over Fur, Ibeza is Coming

Note this press release highlighted in the Bloomingdale listserv.


For Immediate Release

March 27, 2007 Media Contact:
Marquis Perkins
Marketing Director
1222 First Street, NE
Washington, DC
Business: (202) 234-9225


Washington, D.C. – Through the vision of entrepreneurs Jon Han, Eric Clay, Adam Needham, Allah Tung, and Aldo Vuong, Washington, D.C., will soon be embarking upon a taste of nightlife that will exceed any other nightclub experience ever imagined in the nation's capital --- Ibiza.

Ibiza, with over $6 million dollars of interior renovations, is a lavish 30,000 square foot oasis, located at 1222 First Street, NE (formerly the Sodibar Systems Warehouse). The stunning interior includes two mezzanine VIP terraces, waterfalls, a state of the art $1million dollar sound system (the only one of it's kind in the U.S.), seven bars, gourmet buffet, a 50,000 LED light wall on the dance floor, stainless steel and glass décor, and high definition cameras that will broadcast events live from Ibiza on the internet. Ibiza will open to the public in May 2007, five days a week, featuring a 6PM Happy Hour, and closing at 3AM.

Ibiza, home to some of the hottest promoters in the city, will also feature world-class DJs and celebrity hosts using Ibiza as their venue, not merely for revelry, but for endless, lavish, state of the art entertainment.

Friday, March 23, 2007

More Development on Its Way

Please check out this post by DCMUD on planned development on the WMATA grounds next to the Brentwood shopping center. This sounds like a great concept, only time will tell if the execution will match the concept.

Hopefully there will be a great mix of restaurants and stores that will turn Eckington and Brentwood into a destination.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

White Collar Litter

Many of you are aware that we had an election back in November, 2006. Many people ran for various and asundry positions. Prestigious positions like; Mayor, ANC, City Council etc. One way to advertise candidacy, and to allow supporters to show their allegiance, many candidates print and distribute lawn or lightpole signage. These signs are full of hope, pride and promise. The signs are bright and glossy, shiny and new. Now four months later, many of these signs remain.

I find it infuriating that the people who have asked for the trust and support of the community, are also the ones who are adding to the litter and shabby appearance of our neighborhoods. Those who support beautification projects of our streets have shirked their responsibilities to clean up their trash. Take some time (or pay some of the many unemployed in the city) to go around and tear down your old campaign signs. Show the residents that you really do care how our streets look, rather than leaving a memento of your own narcissism. To me, your trash is no different than a broken Old English bottle or the remains of a Popeye's three piece box on the sidewalk.

Do your civic duty.

(PS, for all of you that still have old political bumper stickers on your cars, they arent impressing anyone. John Kerry lost 3 years ago, and Al Gore 7. Get over it.)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Nehi and Inca.

No, these are not kinds of soft drinks. There has been a rash of tagging by two people in the truxton circle area; Inca and Nehi. My guess is that they are part of 5th and O, or another hood gang. Their tags are everywhere in the Truxton Circle area. Any ideas on who these people are, and how we can stop their tagging?

From Bloomingdale resident Sara:

Mayor Fenty and a "Clean DC" team / Graffiti Busters were in Bloomingdale / North Capitol Main Street Wednesday afternoon at the corner of North Capitol and R street removing graffiti on the almost end row house of the on the south side of the North Cap and R NW corner. This is the 3 story house that abuts the one store vacant "business" - where the "artists" can stand on the roof of the one story building to paint the 2nd/3rd story side of the row house.

Major Fenty mentioned this - and a short news/video clip was shown - on his weekly "ask the Mayor" segment on NBC Channel 4 local morning news. (on Thursday mornings)

They were using a a pressure washer to blast off the paint vs just covering it up again. It was reported this house had been hit several times.

Noticed also was that Graffiti Busters were very prompt in removing huge graffiti off the historic Fire House
at Quincy Place NW. Other smaller graffiti in the area remains, but the graffiti on the Fire House was hugely obvious on the commuter route.

See graffiti? Call 727-1000 and ask for the Graffiti removal. The graffiti around the Bloomingdale Business district has been called in.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sunset in NE

This photo was taken this fall in Eckington. Even with all of the bad things that happen in the hood that I report on, I still love it here. I live in a beautiful neighborhood with great neighbors and occasionally, a view like this will change your perspective on things all together.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Verdict is In......

As mentioned in yesterday's post, the Zoning Board reviewed the CCS St. Martin's affordable housing variance request last night. The board approved the variance 5-0 with no abstentions.

This verdict is not very surprising, but saddening at the same time. I along with the other Eckington residents who have voiced their opinions against this variance. Not because we are NIMBYists, or against affordable housing, but because the density of the project is not in line with the neighboring streets. However, it is obvious that the political power of Catholic Charities, their partners (Fanny Mae and GE), and the St. Martin's congregation was too much for the zoning board to bear.

Political third rail topics like affordable housing, race, gentrification and class warfare were all included. If one picks the wrong side, their political lives are over. Its not surprising really. Just kinda depressing. I feel like many people here that believe in the small voices of the neighborhood over the big wallets of corporations and large interests who will forever change the landscape of Eckington. Silly me and my idealism.

Anyway, here are the notes from last nights meeting as reported on by Bloomindale's pride and joy, Scott Roberts:

[ 1 ] DC Zoning Commission Votes to Grant the Archdiocese of Washington Its Zoning Variance for the St. Martin's Apartments

I and few other neighborhood residents attended last night's Zoning Commission meeting. A number of decisions were announced last night, including Case No. 05-39 -- the request by the Archdiocese of Washington to have 116 T Street NE in Eckington rezoned from R-4 to R-5-B to accommodate a new construction rental apartment building that would not be allowed as a matter-of-right under R-4.

The Zoning Commissioners who were present and who voted were: Chair Carol Mitten (who will be leaving the Commission shortly because her term has expired), Vice Chair and Ward 5 resident Anthony Hood, Commissioner Gregory Jeffries, Commissioner John Parsons and Commissioner Michael Turnbull.

Carol Mitten briefly reviewed the issues of the case:
- the design of the new construction apartment building is too dense and too tall
- the facade of the building is complex
- the use of inferior materials (vinyl siding)
- too inwardly focused. The two courtyards serve the apt. residents only and not the community
- the loading berth is too short
- traffic concerns with Hyde, City Lights and McKinley schools
- historic preservation of the convent building on the site
- excavation concerns, which are not a zoning issue

Comments from the Zoning Commissioners:

Anthony Hood:

The affordable St. Martin's Apartments are what the city is trying to accomplish. Something about being inline with IZ (inclusionary zoning).
He commented about the $45 per parking space, but it wasn't clear to me if he opposed it or what...?

Carol Mitten:

There is a struggle with IZ -- can't go as deep as the need is. Willing to grant density in order to achieve the affordable housing amenity. *Not* proferring high-quality design as an amenity. Generally in support of the project.

She commented on the elements that the opponents raised. The Applicant needs to do a better job of the parking needs. The letter from the school that indicates that the school only needs 16 parking space... well, she commented that the operations of the school needs to be looked at. A traffic expert needs to evaluate the traffice from the school. Ms. Mitten also said that the Applicant needs to revisit the assumption that the formerly homeless men *don't* drive cars. These issues can be dealt with before the final action.

Michael Turnbull:

Generally in support.
Too much vinyl in the interior.
Monotonous feeling in the courtyard.
Short of architectural elements.

Gregory Jeffries

After taking a 2nd look at the level of affordability -- the need for affordable housing outweighs the concerns that Eckington made. At the end of the day, the development program is absolutely needed.
The supportive services drove the site plan design.
"I am willing to go forward on this."
He had concerns about the vinyl until the Applicant showed them other projects with vinyl.
"I am supportive."

Back to Carol Mitten:

The Commission has a strong sense to support affordable housing. Struggle for the community.
This project has *not* crossed the line of excessive regarding building height, etc. Affordabilitly can be assured bia a Planned Unit Development (PUD).

Two questions from Carol:
1. How will the affordability be administered? She wants an additional submission on the plans for the ongoing operation.
2. The parking on the site needs to be revisited.

Gregory Jeffries said that he wanted to make it clear to the development community and their attorneys that the zoning plan would not be compromised in order to achieve affordable housing. Carol Mitten also chimed in with something like "this decision is not a green light to developers that affordable housing
trumps all."

The five Zoning Commissioners voted to approve the zoning request. Zero nays, zero abstentions.
The case will be re-opened to accept the requested items from the Applicant. The due date for the additional items is 3/26/2007. Comments from the Applicants, ANC and the DC Office of Planning are due by April 2, 2007.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Neighborhood Notes

-I installed new lattice work under my porch this weekend. it is amazing how much different the front of my house looks with it.

-New neighbors have moved into the house across the street. it seems they are renting, and they have a lot of kids. I will have to introduce myself this week.

-R St residents are extremely upset by the amount of large truck traffic on R St NE. Dump trucks and other large machines are using this residential street as a pass through from Eckinton St to North Cap, while avoiding Florida Ave. Many neighbors believe this traffic has caused structural damage to their homes. A traffic study has been completed, and the city is hoping to come up with answers. Kris Hammond is spearheading the effort. More later

-The Office of Planning will release their verdict on the zoning ordinance tonight. I will be unable to attend the meeting, but will post the results first thing tomorrow. Hopefully the efforts of the 200 footers, the ERCD and other concerned citizens have shown the zoners the impacts of this large project.

The Who Recap

Thursday's The Who concert absolutely kicked ass. The show, the seats, the company, and the band all rocked. Despite the fact that these men are in their 60's, they were able to jam out some classics and new tunes, while belting out tunes for about 2 hours. Pete Townsend is a guitar god, who takes advantage of his few opportunities to be the lead singer. There is really no one like him.

Here is the set list.

I Can't Explain
The Seeker
Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere
Who Are You
Behind Blue Eyes
Real Good Looking Boy
Six selections from the mini-opera Wire and Glass:
1) Sound Round;
2) Pick Up the Peace;
3) Endless Wire;
4) We Got a Hit;
5) They Made My Dream Come True;
6) Mirror Door

Baba O'Riley
Eminence Front
Man in a Purple Dress
Black Widow's Eyes
You Better You Bet
My Generation/Cry If You Want
Won't Get Fooled Again

Naked Eye
Pinball Wizard
Amazing Journey
Sparks (with a snatch of the lyrics about Captain Walker from the Overture)
See Me Feel Me/Listening to You
Tea and Theatre

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mama's Got a Squeeze Box

Hope to have some fun, non neighborhood news for you tomorrow. I will be attending THE WHO concert in a scant 8 hours! It should be a great show, even if they are in their 60s. check out this youtube link of Pete Townsend's kick ass version of my generation from Chicago.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Piranhas and Sharks and Gators Oh My!

One of the beautiful things about having friends with children is that they do things on weekends that one would never think of doing. This weekend was just such an opportunity. My good friend HH called me on Sunday morning to inform me that i was going to the National Aquarium, and that my arse had better be ready in 10 minutes. I am not one to argue with her, as she could kick my butt and she is great fun to hang out with.

We decended upon the oldest National Aquarium, which was founded in the late 1800's in MA. The current location is in the Commerce Building on 14th St. And what a location it is. Unlike the National Aquarium in Baltimore, this location is dark, small, and unimpressive. There are many varieties of salt and freshwater species all in small tanks. The fish looked to be very bored, and for the most part hoped to hide from any of the visitors. The some of the sharks and turtles were hiding in the corner and covering their faces, perhaps as if to say "why am I here?" and "How did Gary the Grouper get to go to Baltimore, and what does a brotha have to do to get to the Boston Aquarium."

The ambiance is that of an elementary school after dark. You expect to see Groundskeeper Willy mopping the floor. There are lots of negative things that can be said of the place. However, the kids that were there seemed to be happy with this diversion, and the opportunity to see fish and mollusks etc. So, for that alone, it is a good place to take your kids for a short visit.

Bonus points if you can find a blue tag in the gift shop.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Property Values Take 2

Part of this story is very positive. Property values going up is generally a sign of good growth in the commercial sector, coupled with stability and rising property values in the residential sector. From an investment standpoint, it is nice to know that those who have purchased homes have seen a 22% increase in property values.

This is a double edged sword though. As we are well aware, this also means that it also became that much more difficult for people to stay in their homes, or to purchase in Eckington.

Another concern is ensuring that our good friends at the Office of Taxation are calculating their tax rates and property taxes correctly. I am going to be somewhat obsessed with this issue for a while. The good old office of taxation has decided to raise my property value an insane amount. This is the second time that they have dont this. I am considering an appeal. Have any of you done this?

Property Values- Take 1

Friday, February 23, 2007

EC-12 Update

EC 12 Update From Brian Brown (Taken From Scott Roberts Bloomingdale listserv)

See this update from Brian Brown:

I apologize to the community for the delay in posting this on the 19th as I promised. I have been so focused on keeping the timelines I've set for the firehouse I forgot to forward an update.

The EC 12 Firehouse restaurant is moving forward. We have been assured that the XM/Sirius merger will not affect their working relationship with EC12.

We have worked through most contract issues with the city and we have submitted a project plan with proposed timelines to the city. The architects are working on the building plans required for the permits.

We have meet with DCRA (building permit division once) for a preliminary review and initial plan comments and soon as these comments are incorporated and the system schematics complete, we will be applying for
the building permit.


A Rant on Taxi Service

Living in NE DC is a wonderful thing. We have history, we have beautiful homes, and great neighborhoods. Transportaion continues to be a vexing problem for everyone. For some, it is the fact that most taxi companies wont come to my house in Eckington. However, this summer i realized that DC Cabs (a consortium of independant operators) would come to my hood. They often took a long time, but they would at least come to the house.

This morning, I called a cab at 8am, so i could get to work on time. My car was parked downtown. Over 1 hour later, no cab, no call, no nothing. So, i trapsed to the bus stop. Which was late, as it often is. I finally hailed another cab down on RI who took me downtown.

A couple questions: Why is it so difficult for cab companies to live up to reasonable expectations? What cab companies do you readers use to get too and from Bloomingdale, Eckington, Shaw etc? What is the new CEO of WMATA going to do about consistantly late and early bus service?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

North Cap Main Street Survey


Please participate in this survey. Many thanks

NCMS, Inc. Community Needs Assessment Survey

NCMS, Inc. is conducting a Community Needs Assessment Survey to gather residents' input regarding the neighborhood commercial corridors located on North Capitol Street between New York and Rhode Island Avenues, and at First St. and Rhode Island Avenue, NW.

The survey will only take a few minutes to complete. You can access it using the following link:

Your responses are important to us and will provide NCMS, Inc. with important statistical data that it can use to lobby for commercial revitalization funding and other important services.

Vicky Leonard-Chambers
President, NCMS, Inc

Finally Open

While The Pug is not in Eckington, and more in the , I am happy to report that the Pug is open on H St NE. The bar has been in limbo for nearly 3 years, but according to the Post is now open. I am an unabashed fan of Tony T, and Dive bars, so this is great news. Tony is a great bartender, who will treat you right. Give it a try.

Additional link at Frozen Tropics

Here is the excerpt of the article in the post:

The Pug

Since 2005, I don't know how many times I've said the Pug was "coming soon," but it's finally open on H Street NE, just down the block from the Palace of Wonders and the Red & the Black. And unlike the vast majority of the bars associated with Joe Englert's empire in the Atlas District, the Pug doesn't try to knock you out with a theme. Okay, so there are framed pictures and posters of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier and other heavyweight greats on the exposed brick walls, and a couple of TVs in the back of the one-room bar routinely show footage from classic bouts. But really, they seem like afterthoughts -- just part of the tavern's decor.

Owner Tony Tomelden -- famous on Capitol Hill for his decade of service at Capitol Lounge -- has a legion of fans that run from cops to congressional staffers, and crowds have been good so far, vying for the window seats or stools at the sturdy wooden bars. Instead of pouring pricey microbrews, Tomelden's offering Schaeffer in cans and Natty Boh in bottles, both of which pair well with shots of Jameson's Irish Whiskey, which is kept in jug-sized containers. There's no food available yet, but the kitchen should be online in the next few weeks.

Sadly, there's no jukebox -- Tomelden decided that after years of listening to other people put torturous music on the Lounge's internet jukebox, he'd rather control the songs himself with his laptop. Shouldn't be a big loss, as long as you like classic ska, punk and outlaw country.

The best thing about the Pug -- short for the pugilist -- is that it's not trying to lure crowds with sword swallowers or bands. It's a neighborhood bar with friendly staff, cheap beers and space to meet up with a couple of friends. Can't ask for too much more than that.

-- Fritz

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Big Bear Info

In an effort to support those businesses in the Eckington/Bloomingdale neighborhood, existent or planned, here is an update on the Big Bear Coffee Shop.

XM and Sirius

This has been covered all over the mainstream press including the Washpost, city paper, and the Eckington listserv. But if you havent heard, XM and Sirius satellite radio, have announced that they intend to merge. This merger is still subject to governmental review, and there are no clear signs about how this will impact Eckington, and the XM building. Some have postulated that considering the legal and statutory issues that need to be resolved, remaining in DC would be a prudent choice. However, it most certainly will be a financial analysis that will guide the CEO and Chairman to determine the locasion of the satellite giant.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Grilling in the Face of Adversity

After a slightly gluttonous trip to the grocery on Friday in which i purchased nearly 15 pounds of meat and poultry i needed to actually cook some of it. As I attempted to fire up my grill, i realized that alas, i was out of propane. I trucked it up to Home Depot to make the exchange. I was in the store for only a scant few minutes. I walked out into blizzard like conditions that would be more at home in Buffalo, NY.

Not to be deterred, I went along with my bbq, and used my rotisserie on my grill for the first time. I made my famous spice dry rub, soaked the wood chips, and smoked/grilled a chicken and a huge slab of ribs. Everything came out wonderfully. What a great way to spend a cold snowy evening.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Killerz

This topic is all over mainstream media, but just want to say "What the heck is going on with the Metrobus'?" Three people killed over the last week by buses.

Please be careful out there. The ice and snow is not helping matters.

(Updated: Pedestrians are also culpable. Yesterday during our momentary blizzard, i spied a pedestrian, dressed in all black, crossing RI avenue against the light. People need to stay in crosswalks and walk with the light. While two were killed following these rules, it still reduces your chances of getting hit by a car or bus.)

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Water Fountain of Evil

The Washington Post is reporting on additional problems with the Districts drinking water. Lead levels in 5 schools have exceeded federal levels over the last 16 months. These aren't just regular DC people, which is bad enough. These are EFFING KIDS that are being subjected to unacceptable lead levels. Why this story hasn't gotten more traction, in both the press, or the DC Government is beyond me. The Water Authority continues to endanger our kids and our citizens without abatement. They continue to lie to their customers, they have falsified reports and test to the EPA, yet nothing has been done over the last two years.

I have send letters to the mayors office, former City Council Man Vinny "the big O" Orange and Elanor Holmes Norton. Only DEL Norton responded, stating "i am in contact with the proper authorities on this issue, and will respond back in 3-4 weeks". It has been about 3 weeks since that letter, we will see what she comes up with.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Icy Mix Sucks. I spent well over an hour and a half today shoveling my stairs, walkway and my portion of the sidewalk. Even after all of these years of living in cold-climates, I still hate shoveling. But, the sidewalk is safe and passable for all. Hope you enjoy it Mr. Postman! Having the end unit means double the shoveling.

The process was also hampered by my selection of snow removal tools. My snow shovel was "liberated" last year along with other garden implements. So, i was using a square bottomed dirt shovel. After a while, I was reminded of Cool Hand Luke. If only there were a sunglassed guard to whom i could inform, "takin' it off here boss". But there is a sense of satisfaction in clearing the sidewalk that makes you feel good. Even though i am quite certain that in any moment, I may need a nap, and an advil for my back.

I haven't yet ventured out to work, but imagine that it will be quite a treat. between crazy SUV owners, and the others who seem to have difficulty properly navigating the regions roads during sunny weather, the commute should be quite a treat today. Drive Safely.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Joys of Being a Bureaucrat

I don't really thing that the weather is bad enough for OPM to let people leave early, but I certainly don't mind. Sitting at home this afternoon seems like the perfect thing to do. So, I am going to enjoy today, and inshallah tomorrow at home. Amen.

There have been several pipes bursting in the greater Truxton Circle area. Make sure your outside spigots are turned off, and that your basement is warm. flooding for you and your neighbors isnt fun.

I would like to take a moment to thank a few people for all the things they do in the hood; Mary, Steven, Joe, Stephanie, Kathy, Susan. You are all great people, and you have no idea how much I appreciate all that you do for the hood.

Tax refund- It wont be a vacation I want, nor a new flatscreen tv i "need". It will have to go right back into the house. I have the only house in DC where heat doesnt rise. My upstairs is 10 degrees colder than downstairs. this is not a good thing. And perhaps is a contributing reason why there arent very many visitors to the upstairs. So, alas, i will have to get some insulation for the attic. How lame is that?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Traffic Woes at 395 and NY Ave

My morning commute across the river was sidetracked this am as the 3rd St. Tunnel (395) was closed this am after a garbage truck flipped over and lost all of its contents. Traffic was backed up forever.

On thursday a pedestrian was hit and killed by a cement truck in the NY Ave 3rd St tunnel intersection.

And in general, what exactly is DDOT going to do about the messed up traffic in our area from dowtown to the B/W Parkway on NY Ave?

Friday, February 09, 2007

St. Martins Zoning Meeting Part Deux

According to initial reports, the second part of the zoning meeting in regard to the St. Martin's project went well for Eckington neighborhood. The presentation was apparently very well laid out, and has focused on the real problems of the project such as size, traffic and parking.

Over the coming weeks, there will be some paperwork filed and a final meeting in March for the zoning board decision. I am very happy to hear this news, hopefully an equitable decision can be reached.

I would also like to mention that all of those who have been active in this process should be lauded for their dedication and perserverance. Thank you to all of you who have worked so hard on this.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Coming Back Home-- Wishing I Hadn't

-It was extremely difficult to get on a plane this am, realizing that there was 20 degrees here in DC, a couple inches of snow and howling winds. After nearly a week in Miami, I didnt want to come home. The first reason was the weather, the second was that one of my friends lost a dear, dear friend.

- Velvet in Dupont has the best post
on our friend "Esther" who's black lab died way too suddenly this weekend. She has been in very rough shape since then. She rescued her dog, Angus from Labrador Rescue, and he became a huge part of her life. My condolences to her, and all of her friends who know how much Angus meant to her.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sexing it up

A good friend of mine told me this weekend that reading post after post about people getting shot is depressing. She suggested that I Sex it up a bit. No, this doesnt mean that I am going to become the Eckington equivilant of Velvet in Dupont. I havent been dating enough these days to even merit a dating blog.

That being said, the fact remains that there needs to be more positive posts on this blog. If you have anything to share, please let me know.

Here are a few non death related items

-A good source tells me that Sean "puff daddy, diddy" Combs has been hanging out in Eckington occasionally.
-XM is having a rat problem
-The DC parking gestapo has finally convinced me to park off-street.
-St. Martin's hearing is half over.
-Adrian Fenty has hired an Attorney General who up until yesterday wasnt even certified by the DC Bar.
-My neighbor down the street is finally getting his porch fixed after a large dead tree fell on last halloween. A similar tree in the middle of the block has not been removed by the city, regardless of numerous requests to do so.
-Eleanor Holmes Nortons staff responded to a letter i sent requesting she look into WASA falsifying the safety of DC drinking water.
-Paris Hilton is still slutty.

Thats all for now. hope to spend more time posting from here on out.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


It was just reported on ABC News that a train has derailed at the Mt. Vernon Sq/Convention Center Stop. there were 19 minor injuries, and 1 serious head injury reported. It is unclear at this time what happened. Yellow and green Lines are closed down. More details to follow

Crime Continues

y Clarence Williams and Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, January 7, 2007; Page C03


Here are the paragraphs from this article that mention a shooting in Eckington yesterday, Saturday, 1/6/2007:

Also yesterday, a man was shot and critically wounded about 3 p.m. at Fourth and W streets NE, in the Eckington neighborhood. A woman who was shot in the same incident was less seriously wounded, police said.

According to police, the woman was hit in each thigh. The man was hit at last twice in the chest, police said.

The woman, 28, of Northeast Washington, stumbled into a barber shop, and the man, who is from Southeast, fell in front of a service station, police said.

Investigators said an assailant walked up to the pair and opened fire. No motive was immediately apparent.

ANC Meeting on St. Martins.

I urge anyone from the neighborhood to attend a meeting on St Martins.

Public Forum on the St. Martin's Apartment Complex
7 pm, January 10th, at the Harry Thomas Recreation Center

Mugging on Eckington Place

Last night, at approximately 9:15 p.m., an XM employee was held up at
gun point on the 1600 block of Eckington Place. Four African-American
men, ages 18-25, held him on the ground while they took his wallet,
laptop, recording equipment and other valuables. Our colleague did
absolutely the right thing in fully complying with the demands of the muggers,
and, fortunately he was not injured in this incident. The victim in
this case lives in the area, is familiar with the risks of urban life,
and took safety precautions, such as looking up and down the street
before opening the trunk of his car, yet the muggers came out of the alley
and surprised him. If this incident isn’t a sufficient reminder of the
risks of walking in the neighborhood after dark, note that the police
believe the same muggers shot their next victim about twenty minutes
later; the assailants have not been apprehended

Thanks to JT for the info.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Another Housing Project for Eckington?

In addition to the infamous 181 occupant St. Martin's Housing project, news today has come that the decrepit and boarded up 1903 lincoln appartment building has been sold. Across the street, there are "luxury condos" being refurbished, for the bargain price of $200,000.

Here is a follow-up to an earlier post
1901, 1903 Lincoln Road NE Sold For $4,000,000

The boarded-up apartment building in Eckington at Lincoln Road NE and T Street NE
was sold for $4,000,000; one million lower than the asking price.

Here is the Remarks section of the MRIS record:
"Internet: Price also includes sale of adjacent building - 1903 Lincoln Rd. NE. Total of 24 VACANT 2 B/R APTS ON APPROX 15,500 sq ft of ground. Great for Condo Development or Planned Unit Development (PUD).Located in the heart of RED HOT Eckington. Just bocks to XM Radio, FEDEX,METRO - Easy access to downtown."
Here is the link to the MRIS entry: