Tuesday, July 28, 2009

more information about 'first on 1st'

last wednesday, i told you about the art walk coming to first street on august 1st. here's some more information for those who have been asking:

The Pink Line Project

NCMS partners with The Pink Line Project to bring you First on 1st Street in Bloomingdale, Art + Music Walk . . . featuring contemporary and cutting-edge yard sculpture (for puchase) from local artisans and International Music provided by Pep Rally for Peace.

Featured Activities

* Guided walking art tours
* International Music
* Art Hunt (participate in the Art Hunt and receive free beverages/discounts to local NCMS Bloomingdale businesses)
* Check out local businesses along the tour for free samples -- food, drinks.

First on 1st Art + Music Walk

Bring your blankets, lawn chairs, freezbies (do that still do that?) . . . camp out in the park, enjoy the music, take the tour, stop and shop . . .

LisaMarie Thalhammer (the muralist behind Boxer Girl)
BK Adams
Margaret Boozer
Peter Wood
Chris Tousimis
Patty Firestone
Amber Robles-Gordon
Ten Miles Square
Serinity Knight
Megan Blafas
Ann Bouie

Gospel Rap Vocalist Michael Trotter
R & B Hip-Hop Vocalist Senetra Bridgette
Ethiopian Sound Sensation of Tek X Millennium

Plus . . .
Kenneth Smith
3rd Generation Band
Melanie Roberts
Joy Dion
Fatso Hip-Hop

For info: 202-905-6039

North Capitol Main Street, Inc. is funded through the DC Main Streets Program under the Department of Small and Local Business Development.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

UPDATE—police activity on rhode island avenue in bloomingdale

UPDATE: whatever the situation really was is unknown to me, and it would appear to be over with. false alarm? who knows. but the police have cleared out and traffic is back to normal.

ORIGINAL POST: lots of police activity on rhode island avenue between 2nd street nw and north capitol. eastbound rhode island avenue traffic is being rerouted onto seaton place and 2nd street.

rumor is that there is a suspicious package at north capitol and rhode island. updates to come when i get more concrete information.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

flooding at scott circle

this afternoon, this was the view looking south down 16th street towards the white house from a point just south of scott circle. you can see that the road was closed off. why?

here's why. a whole bunch of water!

now, ddot just redid the circle a few years ago. dug everything up, installed new drainage, etc. why isn't the water draining then? i have a sneaking suspicion that the drains aren't being kept clear of debris. it's called maintenance, people. it's a shame that dc isn't so good with that. we build new roads, new buildings, new infrastructure, then just walk away and let it fall into disrepair...

parking rules still don't apply to everyone

i just finished a 3 and a half week stint serving on a jury in a civil case in the DC superior court system. spending every single day at the e. barrett prettyman courthouse gave me an appreciation for the mess that passes for parking around the courthouse complex. i saw a lot of examples of police cars like the one above, parked in a crosswalk, double-parked, or blocking an intersection.

this story has been discussed in the press recently, and it doesn't seem to have a solution, outside of digging out more parking underneath john marshall park, because i'm pretty sure that these police aren't going to be convinced to take public transportation to the courthouse.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


trees are dying all around the city. see this post from yesterday. the lack of rain we've had since late june is esepcially stressful to the young, newly planted trees lining our streets.

just because we had a very wet may and june doesn't mean that the ground has stayed wet around the roots of these young trees. street trees need 20 gallons of water a week, and they need it now. go outside tomorrow when you have 5 minutes and pour a bucket of water over the roots of the tree in front of your house. if you have an outdoor hose, run it out there and soak the roots for a few minutes. keep doing this for the rest of the summer!

these pictures show a tree at 14th and R streets nw, with an 'ooze tube' around the base. unfortunately, there's no water in this ooze tube. it serves absolutely no purpose if it's not filled with water.

you can see that this ooze tube says "the mayor's green summer job corps" on it, as well as a logo for ddot. it's great that the city is installing these ooze tubes on trees, but let's be real for a minute here—they need to fill them up upon initial installation and coach the people who live next to these trees (or the adjacent businesses) how to use them.

as it stands, these are just pretty brown plastic doughnuts that serve absolutely no purpose...

please, mayor fenty and the dc government, invest a little more effort into the trees you've spent so much money to plant along our streets. it's criminal to not take care of such a valuable investment!

bloomingdale art and music walk - august 1

i promised a post about the 1st street art program that was being sponsored by the north capitol main stret group. here's the flyer:

The Pink Line Project, in conjunction with North Capitol Main Street invite you to:
First on 1st, Art + Music Walk
Saturday, August 1st, noon to 4 pm
Along First Street NW (between Florida and Rhode Island Avenues)

For More Information contact:
Garry Clark
Executive Director
1703 North Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

watha t. daniel-shaw library construction update

here's what the construction at the watha t. daniel-shaw library looks like right now. it's a hole in the ground, sure, but it's progress!

eventually, there's supposed to be a live construction camera here. nothing exists for this project yet, but you can look at other DCPL construction projects around the city.

ashtray, planter, garbage can—all of the above?

the planters in front of the dc mini market are frequently used as garbage cans (i haven't seen plant life in some of them for ages). apparently this one got tipped over and shattered. it sure would be nice if north capitol main street, as part of their storefront improvement project, could help make the area in front of this store a more inviting place.

here's a recommendation—some benches or tables. if there are going to be people hanging out in front of the store all the time, might as well give them a place to sit...

a tale of two trees

ok, this is really about more than two trees. it's really about two sets of trees, but i liked the dickensian title, so there you go.

first, look at these cherry trees in the median of rhode island avenue between 11th and 12th streets in logan:

click on the images and take a closer look. these trees are all mulched, have clearly been watered, and are thriving. now, look at these trees between 7th and 8th streets in shaw:

they're almost dead. no much, no water, the leaves have yellowed up and are falling off.

why did this happen? the trees are all on district land, and no property owner was obligated to take care of these trees. but, the people who live on the 1100 block of rhode island avenue clearly took the time to care for the trees that they see out their front windows. they care.

you just can't say the same for the poor trees on the 700 block. 7-11 clearly isn't interested in aesthetics. the people who live on this block haven't taken the initiative to adopt the trees either. they're likely doomed to die, unless they get some serious and sustained water immediately. isn't this something that the mayor's conservation corps could and should help rectify?

the (formerly) purple house at 1st and U

the house on the southeast corner of 1st and u streets nw (featured to illustrate a city paper article about emergency and transitional housing in ward 5) used to look like this:

after a paint job, it's looking much nicer! (click on the photo and take note of the red trim around the doors and the new crosswalks on 1st street).

Monday, July 20, 2009

update on the beautiful house at 4th and florida

dc metrocentric brings word that the amazing home on the northwest corner of 4th and florida nw is under contract (not sold yet, though). sure hope this building can be brought back to its the glory of its heyday. they didn't have a photograph of the fencing that has gone up around the building, but i captured it in a couple shots last friday. here they are:

tonight's bloomingdale civic association meeting—notes

here are some rough-and-tumble notes from tonight's bloomindale civic association meeting (which was attended by nearly 50 people!):

  • there will be no august meeting, the next one is in september
  • cassandra costley handed out information about the selective service, where she works. her job entails finding jobs for conscientious objectors (like mennonites or quakers) if there was a draft.
  • massie ritsch, a neighborhood resident who lives on the 200 block of rhode island and is the deputy assistant secretary for external affairs & outreach at the department of education, gave a short talk about goals for the department in the coming years. he specifically mentioned that either the secretary (arne duncan) or an assistant secretary would hold a 'listening session' in the district in the fall to hear from DC parents about schools. he took a couple questions from the audience, which focused on charter schools.
  • aakash thakar of eya gave a quick presentation of where things stand with the mcmillan project. basically, they are still working to have something approved by the council at the end of the year, finalizing the deal that will allow them to go forward with the project. it was noted that clint jackson from the mayor's office was invited but did not show. i thought it was notable that this was the first time that i heard any of the principals from the development groups mentioning light rail or circulator buses as a transit option for the area.
  • in what was (i believe) the most interesting news of the evening, barbara wilson, who lives at 2203 1st street nw, gave an update on the status of neighbor's complaints regarding the 'boxer girl' mural at 73 w street nw. apparently, the money for a mural was initially meant to paint something at 1st and rhode island (here?), but due to challenges, that didn't happen. the owner of 73 w then gave permission to have her house painted instead. alice thompson, from the mayor's office of community relations & services, stated that the mayor's office had contacted the muralist and asked them to "change" the artwork. the muralist has not been back in touch with the mayor's office...
  • leah lemoine from the district department of the environment gave a quick presentation about the river smart homes program. dc residents can sign up for grants of up to $1200 towards rain barrels, landscaping, pervious paving, and other means to help keep water from running off your property. this is especially important in bloomingdale given the propensity for basement flooding in the neighborhood after moderate rainfall.
  • cassandra costley talked about feral cat colonies in the neighborhood. efforts continue to trap and release cats to keep them from reproducing. residents are reminded to contact the humane society, who will come to the neighborhood to do the work necessary to trap cats, give them the necessary medical attention, and safely return them to the neighborhood. she reminded us not to leave food out for cats for a long period of time, as it attracts rats. a thomas street resident let us all know that his 1.5 year old english bulldog died as a result of eating rat poison-laced peanut butter that a neighbor left in the alley to bait cats. everyone was reminded not to try this, as it's illegal (ed.-besides being pretty damn immoral)
  • vicki leonard from harry thomas' office spoke, mentioning some of the councilmember's recent activity.
  • john salatti wanted to let people who live around crispus attucks park know that he'd be sending letters to people regarding animal issues around the park. the department of health has been looking at the situation there, and homeowners who are not maintaining their property will receive tickets for creating situations conducive for harboring pests. john also asked everyone to remember to water street trees. in addition, he is working with the city to identify up to a dozen new parking spaces in the neighborhood, is happy to help people get speed humps on their blocks (everyone seems to like them), is looking to get a new backboard for the basketball courts at 2nd and w, and is having block meetings with individual blocks in his SMD. there will be a neighborhood safety walk this friday.
  • alice thompson announced that there has been a lot of clean-up activity in the neighborhood lately, and that photos of new crosswalk striping will be coming to this blog in short order.
  • gerry clark from north capitol main street announced the "1st on 1st" art program (this will get its own post soon) which will be taking place on august 1st from noon to 4 pm.
  • bertha holliday announced that planning is underway for the fall bloomingdale house tour. the theme will be "the victorian secrets," and will take place on october 24th. tickets will be $20 in advance, $25 on the day of the event, with between 15 and 20 houses participating.
  • the civic association's beautification committee is looking for more members.
  • the north capitol collaborative announced that, on august 12th, they would be taking 63 neighborhood families to cameron run park for a back-to-school event. they are headquartered at 113 q street nw.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

reminder—7/20—bloomingdale civic association meeting

Bloomingdale Civic Association, Inc.

You are cordially invited to the

July Monthly Meeting

Next monthly meeting: September 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009


St. GeorgesEpiscopal Church

2nd and U Streets, NW

Washington, DC 20001


Special Guest Speaker:

Massie Ritsch

Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs & Outreach

U.S. Department of Education

[15 minutes]

I. McMillan Reservoir Development Update – 10 minutes

II. DC Arts Commission Mural PresentationUpdate – 10 minutes

III. Bloomingdale Flooding Update – Mitigation StrategiesUpdate – 10 minutes

IV. 2009 October House TourUpdate – 10 minutes

V. Feral Cats in BloomingdaleUpdate – 10 minutes

VI. Reports from:

A. Office of Councilman Harry Thomas, Jr.

B. Executive Office of the Mayor

C. ANC Commissioner John T. Salatti

[15 minutes]

VII. Community Announcements – 5 minutes

Robert Vinson Brannum, President

Friday, July 17, 2009

mural in downtown bloomingdale?

there has been an enormous amount of discussion about the 'boxer girl' mural on w street in the northern part of bloomingdale. a local tv station has even covered the story, and it's been all over the neighborhood listserv, with a large number of people expressing vehement opposition to the artwork, calling it 'graffiti', and deriding the fact that it was produced (partially) with public funding.

personally, i love the mural, and i think it adds a bit of color to a grand old rowhouse.

the reason i bring this up is the message that was posted to the bloomingdale listserv a couple days ago:

From: Lyons, Nancee (DPW)
Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2009 9:28 AM
Subject: Request for Graffiti Mural Site Recommendations

Good morning, I’ve passed the following package onto your director as well. DPW would like to move forward quickly to begin selecting potential sites for graffiti murals. These walls are typically privately owned, highly visible and have been the target of graffiti in the past. I look forward to your assistance in identifying locations in your jurisdictions that would be a good fit for this valuable project, which has helped to reduce illegal tagging in neighborhoods across the District. I welcome your suggestions and guidance. Thank you!

Nancee Lyons

Public Affairs Specialist
DC Department of Public Works
2000 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 671- 2637, 671- 0642 (fax)
now, there are not too many places in bloomingdale outside of alleys that i've seen regularly tagged with graffiti, other than the roll-down doors on the commercial space in the old sylvan theater.

there is a great, big, open blank wall on the side of bloomingdale wine and spirits, though:

i think this would be a fantastic spot for a mural. it's just a big, dead wall otherwise.

what do you think? are there other places in blooomingdale that you think would be a great spot for a mural? share your thoughts in the comments!

baraki construction update

you can see that they're well on the way to getting the outdoor-seating area leveled off, and finished with a short brick retaining wall that is highest on the 1st street (and lowest) end of the property.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

URGENT—meeting july 9th to help make shaw a better place

(for the record, i am clearly in favor of a park, not a parking lot, for this space)

there has been a TON of back-and-forth regarding the future of the parking lot behind the old bundy school in shaw (located on the 400 block of P street NW). it's clearly led to some frayed nerves for both proponents and opponents of a more public use for the space. either way, come out and make your voice heard at a community meeting tomorrow (thursday) evening, at 7 pm at the scott montgomery elementary school, located at 421 P street NW.

click on the flyer below, or check out the language from that flyer below the image:

Would you like Green Space or the Largest
Private Parking lot in Shaw at Bundy Park?

• The City’s plans for private parking for government officials
exceed the needs for the Bundy School building

• DC government building codes indicate that there should be
only one parking space for every 600 sq ft of floor space; the
Bundy School should need no more than 25 parking spaces

• The City has not offered a compromise on their parking plans

• Careful planning can accommodate the convenience of the
building employees and the needs of our community

• Help us get rid of a dark, desolate, dangerous eyesore locked
away from the community and a haven for crime

• Within the past month, two people have been shot within
yards of the Bundy Park

• The Friends of Bundy Park support a green space for neighbors
to replace the vacant lot at 400 P Street NW

• We support a place for the community to safely come together

• More eyes and feet on the street will deter crime

• Replacing a vacant lot with green space will bring a lively and
friendly activity to a deserted stretch of 400 P Street NW

Stop the Parking Lot!

Come to the Office of Property Management public meeting
7pm, Thursday, July 9, 2009
Scott Montgomery Elementary School, 421 P Street NW

new crosswalk striping coming to 1st street nw

photo by Dan_DC

here's an email passed along from alice thompson of the mayor's office of community relations and services:
Great news community!! As promised from the Mayor's Walk-Thru in the Bloomingdale Community in December 2008; a safer First Street, from Michigan Avenue NW to New York Avenue NW has arrived as of today.

As we all know -- speed humps can not be installed on First Street. Thus, we have elected to install Car Box Lines and Pedestrian Friendly crosswalks.

DDOT has started lining from the south end of First Street NW.

The Car Box Lines will guide and assist our citizens with parking closer to the curb. It's major feature will give the allusion that the street is narrower. Thus, drivers will slow down because it appears -- they are too close to parked autos.

The extra, extra wide crosswalk stripes will also slow drivers down; thus making them more conscious of the pedestrian.

Please give a shout out to DDOT Gloria Bosse-Kouabo, for her diligence in pursuing this much needed safety feature for our community.
i'm personally excited to get (what sounds like) the zebra-stripe (or piano-keys, whatever you like to call it) crosswalks. automobile drivers seem to ignore standard crosswalks in this city, but they tend to notice if there's more white paint on the street letting them know without a doubt that there is a space where pedestrians have the right to cross the street.

some will argue that the zebra-stripe crosswalks instill a false sense of security in pedestrians, leading them to step out into the street without paying the utmost attention to oncoming traffic. i agree that this is a concern, but i also believe that we have more to gain than lose by seeing pedestrians gain at least a little more attention in the eyes of our city's traffic engineers.

well. george will is weird #8

it's been months since the man has graced us with the world's best one word non-sentence sentence, but thankfully, it has returned! check out the beginning of the next to last paragraph here. i was beginning to think he had cured his tic. guess not!