Sunday, December 23, 2007

end of the year -- pick up your trash

well, it's been just over a year since i started this blog, and i've been pretty happy overall with the amount of participation from others, and the amount of little silly neighborhood things that i've been able to document. it's time for me to pack up and head to the airport in a few hours, so i'm going to sign off for 2007 and say "see you in '08!"

a final thought though:

- garbage in the neighborhood. i know it's such a little thing, but keeping our streets clean is, in my mind, the only outward difference between our little part of the city (bloomingdale, eckington, ledroit, shaw) and some of the "fancier" neighborhoods further west.

it's not difficult, when walking along, to pick up the few pieces of trash you might see on the sidewalk along the block. there are trash cans on almost every corner in the neighborhood, and you can deposit the detritus you find in those cans without having to carry things too far.

there are three kinds of people in the neighborhood by this calculus:

1) those who drop garbage on the street. these people have no respect for the neighborhood. they suck, period.

2) those who see it and do nothing. hey, it's your neighborhood. even though it isn't your trash, you should have pride in the area and do what you can to help.

3) those who pick things up. of course i'm in this group, and i'm bragging about it. go us!

finding tallboys and chip bags on the street sucks....people shouldn't be animals with their droppings (anyone ever heard the phrase "don't shit where you eat"?). i wish there was a way to shame those people into cleaning up after themselves, but generally, they don't care about themselves, other people, or anything else, so there's really nothing you can do but provide garbage cans and hope that they use them. as for everyone else, keep fighting the good fight, and have a happy new year.

adios (for now)....

Thursday, December 20, 2007

northeast corner of seaton, boarded up

they've boarded up the front door of this old abandoned store, after leaving it with just a metal gate since i'd moved in.

is it bad to leave an exterior wall unfinished?

it's a rhetorical question, of course. this is 100 seaton place nw, and i wonder why this has gone since september with no action whatsoever. the rain that has fallen in the months between must have had a chance to seep between cracks and exposed bits here and there to potentially cause water damage, i'd think. anyone know if i'm off base here?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

can't make everyone happy at a community meeting

i went to the ddot sponsored public meeting tonight regarding the reconstruction that's going to happen around the old howard theater soon. this project will include repaving 7th street from n street all the way up to florida avenue, as well as total reconstruction of the alleys adjacent to the theater and wiltberger street. a large sculpture will be placed near the corner of t, florida and wiltberger in the concrete space that's now known as edward kennedy "duke" ellington plaza. here's a picture i took of from the powerpoint presentation of what the 20 foot high sculpture might look like (sorry for the poor quality):

that's meant to be mr. ellington sitting at a stylized piano with the keys spreading off into thin air, representing the music floating away on the breeze (so i'm not an art curator....sorry).

and here's a picture of part of the display they had on one wall showing what will be rebuilt around the howard theater:

go ahead and click on it. the dark roads are ones that will be completely rebuilt. the brick texture will be where special pavement will be used, and the lightly-shaded roads (7th street) is where repaving will take place.

now, the big deal here was apparently that one woman in particular was quite angry that she wasn't consulted directly about all of this. i got to the meeting after most of the presentation was finished, and the floor was opened up to community member's comments. and boy, where there comments! from what i gathered (again, i was late), the artist who has been commissioned to create this sculpture is not from DC, and i'm not sure if they're african-american or not. but one woman at the meeting was incensed that someone with a deep connection to "7th and t" wasn't chosen to do this sculpture.

i can't pretend that i feel such a strong connection to "black broadway", because i don't have that connection. i know the story behind u street, the howard theater, and how the whole area was the center of the african-american community when the city was segregated. i also know that the middle- and upper-class african-american communities abandoned u street once the city wasn't segregated (legally) anymore. that's not to say that the neighborhood didn't stay majority black until recently, but it wasn't the center of african-american culture in the city anymore. once people could go anywhere, spend their money anywhere, and live anywhere they wanted in the city, those with the means to leave left the city. i won't bore you at length with talk about white flight, etc., but the fact is that black flight is another phenomenon that has occured (look at all the middle-class african-american families that have moved to PG county), and it has negatively affected the vibrancy of parts of the city.

anyway, i am no sociologist (just a geographer!), but....where was i going with all of this. yeah, this one woman wasn't going to be happy unless the sculpture was done by someone who lived in the neighborhood. she even tied it in to the martin luther king, jr. memorial that's being built on the mall (by "chinamen", she said, before correcting herself and saying "chinese"). it's sad, i think, that people have such a narrow mindset.

yes, i understand that there would be something symbolic and spiritually fulfilling to have the artist who creates a tribute to another artist be from the same neighborhood as that first artist, but the project was set up to be open to artists from the whole country. i really get miffed when people try to throw around the "i'm a native, only i can be right about what happens here" crap.

by luck of birth, this woman is a washingtonian, and she believes that only others who were blessed with this luck have the right to discuss the future of this city. i've lived here for 4 years, and i'd like to think that, since i pay taxes here, vote here, and care about this place deeply, i should have the right to have my opinion heard too. i didn't choose where i was born, and she didn't either. but we can choose where we want to live once we're adults, and i've chosen DC. don't tell me that i don't have the right to express an opinion about what's happening here because i haven't been here for 50 years. that's nativist, and it's ugly.

speaking of being buried in leaves....

it's intrigued me that there's this stretch of vermont avenue just south of logan circle where the leaves are practically eating the cars, and they haven't been raked out of the way (and the city hasn't cleaned them up yet. this woman practically had to swim through them to get to her car!

last images of watha t. daniel library

for those of you who might be nostalgic (don't know who that just might be), here are your last shots from this morning of the watha t. daniel/shaw library before the demolition. hopefully the bunker will be down soon and work on the new, happy, airy, wonderful library that shaw deserves can begin soon!

follow-up on sidewalk rant

it might have been a little mean for me to call out one house for not cleaning up the sidewalk behind their house a few days ago, but click on the photo to the right to see what i'm talking about. a few inches of leaves, combined with all the garbage that those leaves have managed to snare, makes for an ugly sidewalk.

now look at the sidewalk past that. notice how you can actually tell that this is a brick sidewalk? it's like that for the rest of the block.

please get with the program!

Monday, December 17, 2007

1st and seaton - a.k.a. neveradullmomentistan

so here's the view yesterday, when the dark clouds were still overhead and the sun was setting. if i had a decent camera, i'm sure the contrast between the lit façades of the houses would be more striking (i haven't captured just how cool it looked here).

and here we are tonight, at about 9 p.m. seven police cars (the last one is just off the right of the picture) were sitting here on the corner dealing with three young men who were in a big old buick roadmaster (haven't seen those much around here, but damn were they popular back in michigan with the retired set). anyway, there were a bag or two of white stuff laid out on the hood of one of the police cars, and all of the dozen or so officers gathered around to look at it. hopefully they caught a dealer here tonight!

(too bad the drug-free zone signs expired two weeks ago.)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

convention center restaurants closing?

haven't seen this covered anywhere else, so i thought i'd give it a quick mention here (i know it's not in bloomingdale, but it's close).

the old dominion brew house and the mongolian grill/tokyo sushi bar, as well as the euromarket cafe, have received eviction notices over a dispute about rent. read the article here in the washington business journal.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

calling neighbors out

this might become a semi-regular feature where i can gripe about things from the safety of my computer, since i'm a wimp and don't want to get in a fight out in the street...

anyway, the neighbors i'm calling out today are people who live on rhode island avenue and whose back yards open onto seaton place and t street. i walk around the neighborhood a lot, and one of the things i notice quickly is who takes care of the public space around their house, and those who don't.

it seems like these houses (and condo buildings) aren't doing a good job of keeping the weeds down in tree boxes, or picking up garbage, or, in the case of one specific house between 136 and 140 rhode island ave nw, raking leaves on the sidewalk, leaving it dangerous enough for people walking down the street to slip and fall, and maybe leaving themselves open to a lawsuit in the process...oh heck...138 rhode island ave., please rake the leaves behind your garage on seaton place!

Monday, December 10, 2007

o street market moves forward!

i'm sure the shaw and mount vernon square blogs will have more to say about tonight's zoning commission meeting, but the key point is this:

the o street market will be moving forward! the commission voted 5-0 to allow it to go to a public hearing. the date for that will be figured out in the future, but for now, we know that the project has been pulled off it's potential deathbed and allowed a further chance to prove its worth.

councilmember evans was there along with probably 20-25 community members and other stakeholders to show support for the project. the zoning commission recognized that, and the chairman, anthony hood, even made a comment that, when the hearings do commence, there should probably not be a column for people to sign in as opposition to the project, since he recognized that the entire community is behind this project wholeheartedly!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

what can we help you find? -- apparently nothing

file this under too strange to be true:

my roommate is checking to make sure that he's registered to vote here in the district. like any computer-literate person these days, he decides that a good source for information might be an official website of some sort.

so, he checks out, our city's award-winning portal.

right there in the menu bar across, the top, he clicks on 'RESIDENTS', figuring that might be a good place to start.

lo and behold, that brings you to a page with a search function at the top with the polite question "what can we help you find?" there in bright red letters. and, in a matter of perfect harmonic convergence, the polite question offers an example, that example being "Register to Vote".

"PERFECT!" my roommate thinks, "just what i'm looking for!"

ah, but this is DC, my friends, where nothing is ever perfect.

go ahead try it yourself. enter "register to vote" into that field and see what you get.


a multitude of questions come to mind, but i think the first and foremost would be this: don't you think that those who created our city's award-winning website would have checked to make sure that, when creating a search function like this and offering up a concrete example, they would have checked to make sure it actually does what they promise it does?

(as a public service, if you want to figure out if your voter registration is up to date (especially if you live in anc2c, just sayin'), check out this tool on the website of the dc board of elections and ethics.)

Friday, December 7, 2007

this is a dangerous neighborhood! yuppies stay away!!!

ok, just kidding....figured the title might draw a little attention.

check out this sign (which is one of many that was taped up and down first street. there are always a lot of guys who congregate in groups of two or more out here in the street (usually not to sell and buy drugs, but sometimes i'm not so sure...), but i've never seen the police telling people to move along, etc.

anyway, the enforcement period ended last weekend, so i'm thinking the police should take the signs down. i would volunteer to take these down, but it says if i tamper with them, i'll get in trouble. so, might as well just stay away for now....because CHIEF CHARLES RAMSEY might come and get me...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

a tale of two ANCs

look at the report for tonight's meeting for anc2f, and then look at the report and video of anc2c.

two groups that share a common border, a (supposedly) common mission, and absolutely nothing else. i can only imagine what developers and others coming in to present at these meetings must think.

it's quite obvious that the chair doesn't know parliamentary procedure (and thus, to her credit, she has brought in a parliamentarian there to tell her what to do at all times). i've seen student council meetings run more effectively in grade school. 'tis a shame...

purple place at night

they've put lights up on the façade of the empty purple space on first street. looks nice at night (would look better with a nicer camera, i'm sure). new planters out front too. still nothing in there though.

dumb pedestrians in bad weather

leaving work this time of year means it's going to be dark when you step outside. if you're walking, paying extra attention when crossing the road is even more imperative, because it might be hard for traffic to see you. when it's snowing out and visibility is impaired, your chance of getting hit by something goes up even more. but you know this, you're reading this blog, so you must be smart! ;)

if you're the guy in the long black coat i almost hit today, you're not that smart. in fact, you might just lack common sense and an understanding of common courtesy.

(here's the deal: check out this map. open it in another window to follow along.)

so i was biking home tonight. in the snow. i've got lights on my bike, and know how to deal with the bad conditions. i went to school in michigan, this is nothing to me. anyway, if you look at the map (you do have it open, right) you can see three points and a line. i was biking on that line up rhode island avenue. traffic was driving along in the lane to my left, cars were parked ahead to the right, and there was this guy in one of those long black coats that look somewhat formal standing there off the curb all the way out in the lane i was biking in.

i couldn't see this paragon of intelligence until i was almost on top of him. if he was paying attention, he had to know i was coming, because i had my headlight on. he had to know that i couldn't move out into the lane to my left to avoid him because i would get run over. so i called out (and not rudely) "i can barely see you!" he took a step back as i passed, and i figured that was that. i thought about saying "you should wear brighter/reflective clothing" but eh, who cares right?

then, as i'm biking away, i hear him call out (in response to my "i can barely see you") "open up your eyes then"...

"open up your eyes then"?

i wasn't about to turn around, i had places to be, but boy oh boy, what an ass. i was doing this guy a favor, letting him know, in case he didn't already, that he was invisible for all intents and purposes standing there in the middle of the road when opposing traffic had a green light and it's snowing outside. and he's a smart-ass about it.

i wish i had a quicker wit, because a witty rejoinder would have been wonderful here. or turning around to see him hit by a truck, that might have been a decent comeuppance.

let this be a lesson...if you're a walking (which i do a lot myself), stay on the curb until you get the walk signal. that extra two steps you can get by stepping off the curb ahead of time isn't worth the risk.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

going to get the new recycling bin

i updated my post below about a recycling bin when mari over at found me a new recycling bin (ok, slightly used, but not a big one else was using it).

on the way to her place to pick up the new bin, i took a few pictures:

leaves, leaves everywhere. i was going to ask what we need to do to get the leaves off of the sidewalks, because it seemed like a lot of houses weren't doing their job and clearing the sidewalks in front of their houses (let's you know who probably won't be clearing snow off if we get any this year). the wind over the last two days has pretty much taken care of this for now. but i'm sure it's an issue in some places where the wind wasn't as strong.

i'm a little confused with the rosale condominiums at 1st and randolph. a couple days ago, this sign said, "Hurry, Just 4 Left", then "Just 2 Left", and now "Just 3 Left". can they make up their minds? how are there more available now than a couple days before? are people backing out of deals here? are more condos magically appearing out back?

finally, here's three d motors in the small triangle on the west side of the florida and R intersection. i hope they're paying the city rent for that part of the sidewalk they're taking over. actually, i would hope they would take their cars and high-tail it out of here. little crappy car lots like these around the city are an eyesore. the falling-down chain-link fences are ugly, and the vibe around places like this is just pure sketch. move on and build a house there instead!

Monday, December 3, 2007

the view just outside the neighborhood

i took the long way biking to the giant at the rhode island ave. metro station, and got these three photos:
here's the house at 26 P street NE. they are actually stacking two more floors on this house! it looks like they'll tip over on one of the houses next door. i'm hoping for two things here: 1) that the addition is made to look like it really should be part of the house architecturally, and 2) that the neighbors do the same thing, otherwise this is just going to look damn ridiculous.

here's the central building at the florida avenue market. just some exterior TLC (fix up that sign, good god! and repair the lightning rod-looking poles, replacing the missing ones and getting the existing ones that are listing like the leaning tower of pisa back upright) and this building could look 100 times better.

finally, we're at the point just south of new york avenue where brentwood and mount olivet split. this sign really made me laugh. apparently, you bear left to stay on brentwood, bear right to take mount olivet over to trinidad, and drive straight ahead through the grass to get on new york avenue. of course, that means you'll have to go through the grove of trees straight ahead...

Sunday, December 2, 2007


there are flyers going up around the neighbohood, and i thought i'd reproduce one here to see if it helps! (it's getting smeared from the rain, so that explains the weird-lookingness behind the cat's ear.)


is this your cat?

cuddly, calico, cute cat.
found 12-1-07
on randolph place, 100 block, 7 pm
very hungry, nails clipped...
is homesick... call 202 550 6950

old tena market no more

well, no longer will i refer to this building on the southwest corner of 2nd and rhode island NW as the old tena market. apparently, it will be the timor market now (read that in scott roberts' bloomingdale email this morning). so, it's gone from being named after a town on the amazonian frontier in ecuador, to the newest country in southeast asia. and that's your geography lesson for the day. :)

(i was hoping it would be a restaurant called timor, and we'd be getting southeast asian cuisine....darn.)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

traffic control on unit block of seaton nw

looks like speed humps (sounds dumb, oh well) have finally come to the unit block of seaton place nw. there are a few of them spaced out over the length of the block. i watched a couple cars really slow down to go over them today, so it looks like the days of using seaton as a racetrack are over, unless someone chooses to ignore them and go flying off into the stratosphere (which i'll bet happens at some point).