Wednesday, December 31, 2008

1918 13th Goes Office

The Board of Zoning Appeals met on December 9th to recommend that 1918 13th Street be allowed to change from residential to office use. I couldn't make the public hearing, and I'm not against this change. However, as a low-density neighborhood it is important that we retain and add as much residential as possible. Does a live/work zoning category exist? If so, maybe that would have been most appropriate.
The applicant has requested zoning relief to convert a single-family residential building at 1918 13th Street, SE for use as an office. The property is 2,160 square feet in size and is improved with a vacant semi-detached house. The applicant completed renovations on the building in 2007. No additional construction is proposed or needed to facilitate the requested change in use.

The applicant currently operates an office for his construction business about a block away at 1111 Good Hope Road. The applicant hopes to relocate this office to the subject property, as the existing office location is intended to be redeveloped.
this paragraph caught my attention, as it is further proof that we need to return 13th Street to a two-way road, as well as add stop signs along its length so that its on-ramp appeal is lost:
In this location, 13th Street, SE is a oneway, three-lane street with no onstreet parking and serves as a primary westbound entrance for the 11th Street Bridge.
All in all, this is a fine zoning change. A restored building, an office user who is choosing to stay in the neighborhood, and a glimmer of hope for more development at the Gateway.

Does this mean that there is progress being made at Anacostia Square, or that property owners on the 1100 block of Good Hope are finally giving in to both development and eminent domain pressure? Let's hope so.

these signs give the bare details

Click Here for PDF of the Office of Planning's report

photo by DG-rad

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

ground broken for the new library

where the front steps will be, the before picture

ground was broken last week on the new Anacostia Neighborhood Library on Good Hope Road, and the word from the top is that it should open in Spring of 2010. Here's to hoping that some real progress gets underway soon!

Reminder: this was the original "final" design:

clean lines, bold tower

and here is the more busy / less appealing design they surprised us with more recently:

distracting signage, minimized tower, less bold

if, like me, you'd like to see the beacon "tower of light" regain its prominence, the design get back its clean lines, and a flag to be raised saying that our community really cares about this new neighborhood asset, please send an email to the team by Clicking Here. (customize as you wish, and don't forget to fill in your name at the bottom)

We only have one chance to get this right.

photo by DG-rad

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

classy Christmas porch

the candy cane columns are a nice touch. As is the exterior restoration, paid for by the DC Government. Grant Applications Due January 5.

sweet shot - just across the 11th Street Bridge

this is pretty great for a few reasons:

1. it is a fantastic shot of winter. this photo is cold.

2. because the capture isn't my own, i see the scene for what it is - this intersection still looks windswept and relatively uncared for, even though I've become used to seeing it this way. i mean, why do we have a boarded-up and crumbling hole as the welcome mat to Historic Anacostia? we can't get used to this stuff or it won't change.

3. the corner highlight serves as a good reminder that we still have a ways to go, and a front and center opportunity right here to change first impressions for the so much better.

the photo, My place of birth, by Flickr user marques_haven

Sunday, December 21, 2008


14th Street SE, at the heart of historic anacostia

Why Fix a Broken Window, by River East Idealist
personalizing the broken windows theory in DC's River East, and the importance of aesthetics for the way our places are perceived

DC welcomes its first legal Dog Park, via the Examiner
and every corner of the city has applied for them, except in Wards 7 and 8. Is this something we want?
If so, Click Here for more info on how to get one

Artomatic 2009 is headed to the Ballpark District, via JDLand
DC's multimedia art fest / crazy cool mega-gallery will anchor just across the river from our hood in one of the bourgeoning Navy Yard area's empty office buildings

Want a fresh coat of paint, a new front porch, restored windows, or a total exterior home makeover?
Historic Homeowners Grant applications are due January 5th. Email me if you want pictures or help with the application

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

FiOS coming to Historic Anacostia

not that this is the end all, be all of awesomeness, but last night the DC Council approved legislation to bring Verizon FiOS to the entire city over the next nine years.

Nine years?!

OK, here's the good part: a select few neighborhoods will begin getting the fiber optic cable television and internet services by the end of 2009, including Barry Farm, Fort Stanton, and Historic Anacostia.

graphic courtesy of

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Frager's Hardware: also where it's at

I profiled Community Forklift a while back, which is a great resource for building materials new, old, and outa-control affordable. But let me tell you, Frager's Hardware -just across the 11th Street Bridge- has everything you could ever need in the "buy it new or rent it" home improvement category.

there is something ridiculously refreshing about shopping locally (and leaving completely satisfied)

If, like me, you are sick of even the thought of trips to nightmare NE Home Depot or the Alexandria Lowe's, Frager's is the perfect alternative. It may not be the size of seven city blocks (although it does take up about half a block of storefronts), but what it lacks in square feet it more than makes up for in personal service, people that actually know what you need and know exactly where it is, and the total convenience of being just two minutes from Anacostia.

the paint store is right at the corner, and even has a Color Consultant

Frager's is made up of four departments: hardware & home goods; landscaping; rentals (trust me, they have it); and paint, and can be found at the corner of 10th and Pennsylvania Avenue SE.

photos by DG-rad

Sunday, December 14, 2008

the purple house

i'm a big fan of colorful houses, so am glad to add "the purple house" to the anacostia repertoire.


kinda dumpy looking, but with a certain charm


the porch re-build

off with the old imitation-brick shingle siding, in with the old(er) wooden clapboard


new porch, new paint, new outlook on life

and i'm holding off on a full profile of the house to the right until it's totally done, but clearly it is looking mighty swell.

(yet another example of the power of the Historic Homeowners Grant Program. Deadline to apply is January 5 ~ and hey, knock on your neighbor's door and help them get it done, too!)

funky and fresh, curly numbers edition

yes, that is a wooden parrot hanging from the porch.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


thanks to all who sent emails and came to the meeting. the general vibe was of support for preservation, as long as it does not completely inhibit development of the building. Commissioner Fuller's support for creative preservation over demolition will certainly help the anacostia cause.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

1357 Good Hope Needs Your Help

For my detailed post on this endangered building, Click Here

Historic Anacostia's ANC Commissioner Greta Fuller is requesting public opinion on the preservation of 1357 Good Hope before voicing her support in the matter. She is hosting a meeting tonight to discuss whether to add the building to the existing Historic District, to designate it as a landmark, or to allow for its demolition.

Clearly the building isn't a grand civic structure or a ridiculously unique work of architecture. Instead, it is a beacon of the Historic District at 14th Street, one of the primary gateways into the neighborhood; it is the last existing building of an Anacostia architect; and it does not need to be demolished in order for development of the adjacent lots to take place.

Think of the neighborhoods that have the most charm: they are the ones with old buildings, good craftsmanship, and are built to a human scale. Friends, development will happen in Anacostia. It's our responsibility to make sure it is done right, and destroying the few examples of commercial architecture will only serve to make our neighborhood a less interesting and desirable place to live, work, and play.

Click Here to email your support of 1357 Good Hope to Commissioner Fuller

Tonight's meeting:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008 at 6:30 P.M.
UPO - Anacostia
1649 Good Hope Rd SE
photo by DG-rad

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bury Building to get Makeover

in March I posted on this building at 2200 MLK, and asked that a reader please restore it to its original grandeur. Well, that is exactly what's happening. Thanks to the help of $1.1 million in TIF financing from the city, developer Four Points LLC will give the building a total back-to-the-future makeover:

then, July 4th circa 1919:

I wish the building next door still had its crown


I will be glad to see this mural go

future, 2009-2010:

drawing not entirely to scale

loving the restored windows and doors

old photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, new ones by DG-rad, and renderings courtesy of Four Points, LLC

Friday, December 5, 2008

do-on't stop, belie-ieving

just a little clapboard restoration to get the morning started:

...It goes on and on and on and on...

photo by DG-rad

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

recap of last week's Point meeting

the Poplar Point meeting last week was really great. Biggest complaint: the city still has not figured out how to publicize these meetings (no mention of it on the city website, no way to sign up to receive emails, etc). Regardless, Birney Elementary was filled with people eager to learn more about the awesome future we all want in Poplar Point.

Very different from meetings in the past that involved PowerPoint presentations and table discussions, this was much more focused on getting the public's opinion on the separate elements that will make up the 150-acre development: landscape design, neighborhood scale, waterfront features, views, and memorial design.

Picture this: lining the walls of the school's auditorium were booths and tables representing all of those elements, each with a great variety of pictures and diagrams depicting the potential options in each category:

Which do we prioritize more, the view from the Metro station to the Capitol, or the view of the river from Good Hope Road? Do we imagine the waterfront park looking more like Battery Park City in NYC or Millenium Park in Chicago? For the dedicated memorial space, are we thinking more along the lines of the new Pentagon Memorial, or something like the statue at the center of Logan Circle?

The truly remarkable part about the meeting was that at each of the booths there were principals and employees from the firms assigned to them: someone from William McDonough & Partners, a Charlottesville-based sustainable architecture and design firm; a number of people from Torti Gallas, the architecture and urban design firm of places like Skyland, Shirlington, Bethesda Row, and Columbia Heights; representatives from EDAW, one of the landscape planners; etc, etc.

Public participation was in the form of small stickers that the public could place on pictures and ideas that they liked best, with a color-coded system that placed greater priority on certain visions over others. It is a very cut and dry way of getting public opinion, but it certainly allows for a realistic sense of what people are looking for. And while the city still needs to do a better job of getting the word out, the team is certainly doing an amazing job of being transparent as well as open to the oftentimes-monster that is public opinion.

There will be many more meetings as the months and years go by (yes, this will take years). Fortunately, we are off to a great start.

to the team's credit, there is a website for the Poplar Point EIS which has details, meeting announcements, and more...

Monday, November 24, 2008

if this house were an old man...

...the giant awning would be his crazy mustache.

Community Forklift is where it's at


Located in a sweet old warehouse, Community Forklift in Edmonston, MD (just off both Kenilworth Ave or Rhode Island Ave, Click for Map), is an amazing resource for anyone doing a renovation project of any kind.

To simplify, I usually describe Community Forklift as a "used Home Depot that also carries green building supplies", because I've bought things like doors, low-emissive caulk, a medicine cabinet, and recycled denim insulation there.

First off, the place is huge - and has stuff for sale both indoors and out:

want some doors made out of real antique books? or about a thousand other doors...

it's all here, folks

bathtubs, sinks, bricks, slate, roof tiles, fencing, etc is all in the yard

as is a ridiculously inexpensive (as low as $2.50/sf) selection of pre-cut granite and other natural stone slabs

Honestly, if you need a window, old hardwood floors, insulated pipes, glass doorknobs, antique mantles, or pretty much anything else - and want to get it at a total bargain - Community Forklift is the place to go.

photos by DG-rad

Sunday, November 23, 2008

two houses, both alike in dignity fair Anacostia where we lay our scene...

So I've posted about these houses before .. but the disparity is so ridiculous I have to show them again. The first house, which was the grant program press release star, it now almost done:

while it's next door neighbor, which is the exact same design, is still living the abandoned life:

one step at a time, I guess. Click Here for info on the grant program.

photos by DG-rad

Friday, November 21, 2008

FotoWeek ends tomorrow!

FotoWeek is awesome. What a cool thing for the neighborhood. Definitely check it out before it's gone. Click Here (or scroll down) to see my earlier rundown of all there is to see and hear in Anacostia.

Honfleur is certainly in on the FotoWeek action

photo by DG-rad

Thursday, November 20, 2008

the good kind of change

i love good change. sure, the bad stuff happens: someone builds an ugly house on your block, the city repaves a brick sidewalk with asphalt, get the drift.

then, every so often, really cool changes happen: like some of the great things happening on MLK. Take 2026 near the corner with V, for example. Used to be Tower Cleaners. Cleaners left. Building went up for sale, but nobody wanted it because it was a too much of a project, and had lost a lot of its charm as a result of some careless reno's:

get this. still for sale, but they've sweetened the deal: new windows (the nice, historic-district-appropriate kind), new storefront, new dairy-chic door, fresh look:

Wanna buy the building and do something ridiculously sweet? Here's the listing.

and speaking of good change - check out the awesome new Fireside sign. They've been working on their space a lot over the past few months, so check it out if you haven't.

got. to. love it.

photos by DG-rad

Come to the Poplar Point Meeting

So, tonight is another really important meeting. Why? The city is developing the Small Area Plan for Poplar Point which will guide the general layout and design of the largest development in the city's history. And they want our feedback. Seriously.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 from 6-9 P.M.
Birney Elementary School
2501 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, SE
Open house format meeting where the District, National Park Service, and Clark Realty Capital are seeking to gain additional meaningful input on issues such as Environment, Transportation and Connections, Parks, Cultural Significance, and the development of Neighborhoods.
Hope to see you there!

graphic by DG-rad

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hello Yellow

step one: get historic homeowners grant.

note: those are just storm windows. the house had no real windows.

step two: start scraping.

step three: let the not-so-mellow transformation begin.

step five: new windows!

step six: stand back and enjoy.

photos by DG-rad

Monday, November 17, 2008

FotoWeek DC this week in Anacostia

This week is FotoWeek DC, and the Honfleur Gallery and ARCH are hosting a variety of photographers and exhibits at each of its buildings in Anacostia. This is pretty awesome, so don't miss out.

Shows will run from noon to 8 PM, November 18-22.

The Honfleur Gallery (1241 Good Hope)
photography and artworks by John K. Lawson, author of the self published novel Hurricane Hotel and survivor of Hurricane Katrina. Lawson lost his entire life's artworks in the floods of the storm and has since recreated the work using salvaged Mardi Gras beads, snap shots, and retraced drawings encased in encaustic wax. Also, expect to see C-Prints of crumbling walls presented in a symmetrical abstract format.

The ARCH Training Center (1231 Good Hope)
the works of local photographers seeking to exhibit during FotoWeek DC. Selected local photographers will get their chance to exhibit up to four pieces at the ARCH Training Center in exchange for a few hours (no more than five) of volunteer work to help keep ARCH and its buildings open during the week-long event.

The ARCH Business Center Atrium
(1227 Good Hope)
information center and small exhibit space for short term represented photographers of the Honfleur Gallery, including works by Phil Stein, Cathlyn Newell, and Holly Andres.

Anacostia Gateway Building
(Good Hope at MLK)
unique large-scale digital photography by Jean Francois Rauzier. Coining the term “hyper-photo” for his surreal, larger-than-life photographic scenes, Rauzier incorporates extremes of scale to his advantage. While the artworks, which range from six feet wide up to nearly 25 feet, feel dramatically expansive, the minute level of detail draws the viewer in to examine the picture within inches of the surface to notice even the most subtle detail.

"poppies", by JF Rauzier

American Poetry Museum (1922 MLK)
exhibiting two generations of body work. Renee Woodward, a Washington, D.C. native, and Jean-Francois Bauret of Paris, France, will exhibit black and white photography, primarily nudes and faces, examining the body, line and light. The show will be curated by Woodward and will exemplify and contrast the two views, both generational and geographical towards this specific type of photography.

Vivid Solutions (2208 MLK)
showcasing the National Geographic Photo Camp 2008 exhibit. This display will show youths’ perspectives on the camp’s overarching theme of conservation, the environment, and connecting to the landscape. As a domestic and international program, the exhibit includes work from camps in the Bronx, New York; Santa Monica, California; the Chesapeake Bay, Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota, Costa Rica, the Appalachian Trail in Virginia; Taos, New Mexico; and, Vinalhaven and North Haven Islands, Maine.

Photo Camp strives to use photography as a catalyst for positive and constructive conversation and experiential learning, all with the help of talented mentors and professionals from the National Geographic family.

Special Events

• Tuesday, November 18 (11 AM)
Honfleur Gallery: Artist John K. Lawson will provide an artist talk and exhibition tour of his artworks for youth ages 12 years old and up.

• Wednesday, November 19 (7:30 PM)
Honfleur Gallery: John K. Lawson reads excerpts from his book “Hurricane Hotel” at the Honfleur Gallery during the American Poetry Musuem’s Intersections Poetry Series.

• Saturday, November 22 (2 PM)
Honfleur Gallery: In partnership with the Transformer, Honfleur will present a panel discussion on printing/publishing artist books.

photos by DG-rad

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Save the Date: Poplar Point meeting this Thurs.

This Thursday. 6-9 PM. Birney Elementary.

The last meeting was during one of the presidential debates, so there was a scant showing. This is take two. The developers are listening.

Click to Enlarge

Yes, it is a sacrifice of time and effort. But I know you have it in you.

now even better

these gooseneck lights were a fantastic addition to the newly redone 1916 MLK exterior:

still waiting on a tenant, though. and a sweet sign.