Tuesday, September 25, 2007

lazy window blogging

it's not that i'm really blogging about the construction across the street, it's just that i see it when i look out the window in the morning, and my lack or creativity or energy just makes me think, "hey, let's just take a picture of the first thing you see." good thing that that first thing is somewhat interesting, eh?

anyway, when you put a dumpster out on the street, you have to expect that everyone in the area will see it and think, "hey, i can throw out that large generic item i have in my house that i've wanted to get rid of for a long time!" don't say you haven't thought the same thing yourself!

here's the dumpster this morning:i can't see the first bike that was thrown in there anymore, but it looks like another one has taken its place next to the fridge on the top. anyone want to try to fit a small car in there???

Sunday, September 23, 2007

100 seaton construction update

here are a couple pictures of the additional few feet being added to the home across the street. i'll be curious to see if the whole house gets repainted when all is done...

Friday, September 21, 2007

watha t. daniel library -- when's it coming?

well, if you live in shaw (or pass through every day as i do), you know that the double-wide trailer set up as a temporary home for the watha t. daniel/shaw branch has been sitting there at 10th and rhode island with a great big colorful banner announcing what it is, but it isn't open. it's looked ready for MONTHS, but there has been no movement. it's a shame, but it seems like the library staff is simply incapable of pushing to get the temporary location open. if you poke around on the link i provided above (and at this link), you'll see promises to have the temporary location open by july 13th. obviously, it takes at least THREE months to get an electrical connection made to a building.

i have to ask, what are the librarians doing? there must have been staff at the 7th and rhode island location of watha t. daniel before it was closed temporarily for this work, right? are they just sitting at home waiting for a new library to open? (i'm sure they've been transferred to other branches temporarily....that question was rhetorical, for those who couldn't get that themselves.) but seriously, if you were one of those librarians, wouldn't you be incensed that you can't serve the people you were hired to serve?

now, there was also the side problem of a lot of trash around the new temporary location. there's a dumpster there that was overflowing with garbage for the last couple months. i kept thinking that it would get emptied the next day, but that next day never came. so i finally contacted someone about it: jack evans.

Councilman Evans,

I know that there have been issues with getting the interim Shaw Library open, and I'm sure you're doing what you can to get that process moving along. I'm writing though about the dumpster alongside the temp. library. It's been full of garbage for weeks, and no one has come to empty it. Trash is overflowing now and it ends up blowing up and down the street. Can you get one of your constituent services people on this and make the library or contractor or whoever is responsible come and empty it. It would be nice if the entire library ordeal that we're dealing with in Shaw was just a little less of an eyesore.


surprisingly, i received this reply within a couple hours:

thank you for writing me. I am forwarding your email to Archie Williams of the DC Public Libraries for his review and response to your email. We look forward to an update from Archie on the removal of the trash very shortly.

Thank you again for contacting me.


and then archie williams emailed the councilman (and me) within the minute:

Councilmember Evans,

We will correct this immediately and stay on top of it.

Archie D. Williams

the trash was removed that day. i couldn't believe how quick the response was. now, why can't we get the temporary branch open that quickly? i received this email separately from mr. williams:

We are in receipt of an issue with the trash dumpster at the Watha T. Daniels Interim Library, as well as, your concern with it being an "eyesore". We have addressed the dumpster issue as of yesterday. We will pay more attention to the outward appearance of this facility. Please be assured that we are doing all that we can to open the Watha T. Daniels Interim Library which will address the most pressing concern.

We do thank you for your patience and your interest in the Watha T. Daniels Library. Please feel to contact me if you have any concerns with the Watha T. Daniels Library or DCPL. If you would like, I will contact when the Watha T. Daniels Interim Library opens.

Archie D. Williams

so i emailed him back:

Mr. Williams,

Thank you so much for the quick action with the dumpster! I know that sometimes you just need the eyes of the citizens of the city to keep a look out for things in order to help you all do your job and direct effort where it's needed.

I appreciate your candor and openness in talking to me about the issues with the library. I do have one other question. There has been an ongoing chain of dates for when the old library is going to be demolished. The latest I saw was a promise that the building would be removed by the end of July. That obviously didn't happen. Do you forsee any movement at the corner of 7th and Rhode Island before the end of 2007?


and that led to this response:

You are correct and when a citizen brings an issue to our attention we will address it as soon as possible. The demolition contractor has applied for a demolition (raze) permit. Honestly, I am somewhat mystified as to why it takes so long to get these permits and not just for the Watha T. Daniels Neighborhood Library, but three others. To address your question directly, this building will be demolished before the end of the year.

Archie D. Williams

so, that's something. but the library is still not open. until that happens, this is still overall a sad example of how, no matter how far we've come in DC, we still have a LONG way to go.

yes! organic market is taking over DC

i'm not kidding. these people have world domination on their mind, i'm sure of it.

yes! opened their brookland location last year, their fourth in the district. now, i read in the last two days that they have a location planned for both u street and petworth. that's a pretty much continuous chain of neighborhoods now from cleveland park (through rock creek) to adams morgan, u street, petworth, and brookland (guess capitol hill is the outlier here). how soon until we get our own yes! here in bloomingdale?

an argument against voting rights

alright, after seeing the title to this post, you're probably thinking, "what, are you on crack?!? how could you, as a resident of the district be against your right to have representation equal to the other citizens of the united states!?"

here's why (and it's the lamest of reasons): see that italicized word above? i love saying "the district".

now, in all honesty, i am not arguing against voting rights at all here. i'll gladly give mitch mcconnell a pop in the nose if i ever meet him for not letting the senate actually debate the voting rights bill. in all seriousness, we can't tell if the bill is constitutional or not until the courts have a chance to rule on it. so, since honest people can disagree, why not just pass the bill and let the courts rule on it, mitch? if it's unconstitutional, we district residents will accept that. it would be good to have closure on that route. then, we'll just have to go for the whole hog: an amendment to the constitution that will give us our fair share (and yes, i'm pushing for two senators. if wyoming can have a senator for every 257,502 people, then we certainly deserve one for every 290,765 washingtonians!)

of course, if we were to follow the route that a lot of people are advocating for (statehood), we'd lose the ability to call ourselves "the district" (unless we'd be willing to keep the same name for a state instead of something like "new columbia"). and that would be a shame, because it just sounds so damn cool.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

UPDATE: another old house lost?

update #2: here are two pictures showing today's work towards creating the extra room on top of this house:


the original post is still below, but here's an update. i spoke to a man outside of the house on my way to work this morning, and he says the turret will be put back on the house. they are raising the roof 4 feet behind it in order to create another livable floor (this is a big house that's just getting bigger, but that's fine with me). he said emphatically that it will NOT be like the house across the street.


is another house losing its top in bloomingdale?this is 100 seaton place nw (the southwest corner of 1st and seaton nw). there's been a little bit of work done on the roof in the last week, then yesterday, the turret was taken off. i hope this is just temporary, and that the frame gets placed back where it belongs and gets reskinned. it's a great octagonal turret, and losing it would be a shame. the house across first street, on the southeast corner, already lost its turret a few years ago.

southeast corner of 1st and seaton nw

Sunday, September 16, 2007

cleaning up dc's streets

yesterday, i participated in the shaw neighborhood monthly clean up sponsored by treebox vodka and shaw main streets. here's a picture of jason and ethan (let me know if i messed up names!) prepping a tree box in the 1900 block of ninth street for liriope planting.
we picked up trash in the 1500 and 1900 blocks of ninth street and planted liriope in the treeboxes (added mulch too). lots of people from shiloh baptist church and other neighbors came out to thank us for the work and comment on how good things looked. the positive response we got from nearly everyone who walked by made us feel great (the great weather yesterday didn't hurt either!)

then, when i got home, i found this:
the whole east side of first street between seaton and t street had been weeded and mulched! i'm not sure who did it, but it looks a lot better than the two-foot high weeds that had been hiding plenty of malt liquor and vodka bottles beforehand. if someone wants to take credit for the clean-up of first street in the comments, go ahead and take a bow! good job!

so much for the met branch trail

the metropolitan branch trail, the bike trail that is supposed to someday parallel the red line from silver spring down to union station, looks like it just took a step backwards, at least temporarily.

those are construction trailers for the new marriott hotel up there on the stub part of the trail that's been already completed. (this picture was taken from florida avenue looking south-southeast towards the new york ave. metro station.) it's a nice view of town from up there, especially at sunset, but i guess it's been taken out of commission for at least a year while this hotel gets built (which, incidentally, given its proximity to the trail, will obliterate said nice view....)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

mpd all over the place

the last couple of nights, there have been MPD cruisers all over the place, tearing up and down 1st street and seaton place. there have been police staked out on the corner here, both in their cars and out on foot. and you know what? i'm reeeeeallly happy to see them. while i hope this recent show of force is actually doing what i think it should be (cleaning up the mess at north capitol and seaton and north capitol and t street), it's good to at least see that we've gotten the city's attention with regards to the recent uptick in violence. with that in mind, i hope not to see the officers around here in such force too much longer, because i hope we can get to a point where it's not necessary for them to have to be...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

signs of life

remember the trolley fire in logan circle? there was a small willow oak that got torched by the conflagration, but it's trying its damnedest to survive.

one little branch sticking out there. does anyone know if the tree will be able to kick new sprouts out of the old branches in the fall, or did the fire damage them beyond the point where they could come back?

updated DC government website

check out www.dc.gov.

it looks like the site has been given a little bit of a facelift, with an animated feature on the front page touting the main news stories, along with cleaner-looking headers for the some of the other sections and a new banner across the top (just a stylized DC flag instead of the scenes of things around town).

it's an evolution, not a whole new page, but it looks nice.

Monday, September 10, 2007

crime on our street

living on seaton place has led to a lot of good-natured joking from some friends lately, as people from bloomingdale and beyond have heard about some of the troubles we've had with the thugs at the end of the block near north capitol. at the pig roast/concert/farmers' market/neighborhood party on sunday, my roommate and i got a chance to talk to john salatti of the ANC about the meeting that took place last week about what's being done to stop this uptick in crime.

(i would have linked to the anc 5c webpage here, but the site seems to be down.)

he told us about a future meeting involving the mayor and the chief of police, and told us about some of the things that the MPD is planning to put into place to help catch the drug dealers and other scofflaws up that way. it sounds like there is some serious effort being put into draining that swamp.

i have noticed a lot more police cruisers heading up and down the block the last few nights. i don't know if this is directly related to trying to tamp down street crime on seaton, but it sure seems like it is, and i say bravo! no one should have to worry about their safety while walking their dog or sitting on their stoop in this neighborhood.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

pictures from the 'haitian invasion'

here are some pictures (taken by my roommate) from the concert given by the haitian students today at the bloomingdale farmers market. click on each one for a larger image:
some bloomingdale neighbors lounging in the park before the concert begins.

people getting some bbq from the pit outside big bear.

here's the bbq pit.

and here's the operation that was set up to distribute the bbq. it was amazing, there were literally hundreds of sandwiches being handed out to anyone who came up and asked for one.

les petits chanteurs are getting ready to sing.

here's some of the crowd taking in the show.

another shot of the crowd watching the children sing.

and here are the children singing.

i don't have any pictures from the string ensemble that played afterwards. my friends and i hurried up at that point over to adams morgan to get a little bit of am day fun in as well. all in all, a great day for hanging out in the city!

another business complaint

i don't want to turn this blog into a better business bureau-type rant thing here. but i have to give another rant in a follow-up to the note about giant last week.

i went to merchant's tire in college park this morning to get an oil change because they sent me a coupon for a $12 oil change and tire rotation. i thought "good deal" and, since i needed an oil change, i thought i'd head up there. now, i don't drive my car much anymore, but it was overdue for new oil, so i figured it was worth it.


go elsewhere if you can. don't be attracted by the low prices. the service there was terrible. they didn't even rotate my tires properly. they only did the driver's side tires. i let it go because i'm going to get a proper alignment and probably 2 new tires soon anyway, but i sure as heck am not going to get that done at merchant's.

all in all, there have to be a hundred other places inside the beltway that can change oil and rotate tires. i'll be checking them out in the future, as the indifference and laziness i saw at merchant's just isn't worth my time (or yours, i would wager).

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

i'd hate to think what it would be like if giant wasn't on my side.

i had to stop in the shaw giant on the way home tonight, and it was about 6:30. you know the drill....12 checkout aisles in the store, and six were open. it's ALWAYS busy in there for a couple hours at the end of the workday, and there are never enough cashiers. you'd think the management would have figured that out by now, but i doubt they ever will.

i'm really looking forward to the new giant being built into the old O street market, but unless some new management is brought in, i fear it'll just be an example of a sow's ear being sewn into a silk handbag.