Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cherry Blossoms in Anacostia

Anacostia had its own little taste of the Cherry Blossom festivities this morning at Fairlawn Park, where three new cherry trees were planted, adding more pink to the existing half dozen or so more established cherry trees there.

there really were people there, I just forgot my camera for the main event..

The event was sponsored by Main Street Anacostia, and a reception at the Honfluer Gallery followed.

Reminder: Tonight the gallery is hosting the opening of its show Into the Light at 7pm. Free.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Meet Anacostia Gateway

Today I had the chance to tour Anacostia Gateway, the future home of the DC Department of Housing and Community Development, with Mike Wallach, Vice President and COO of the Anacostia Economic Development Corporation. In a perfect world, it would have been blue skies and sunny, but with this building's views, it is hard to not be impressed, however gray the day.

The Green Roof:
for some reason I didn't take any pictures of the patio part, but this roof is accessible to all building users.

you can see Grandview Estates up on the hill

a little sedum

From the 3rd Floor:

tear me down and build something in my place

good ol' mysterious Drake's

the old Green Derby. AEDC did the exterior renovation, and is currently seeking approval to build stairs out the front door

Anacostia Square:

Mike telling me about the Anacostia Square project, to be developed by AEDC and Douglas Development.

According to him, they own the entire block all the way down to the railroad tracks (except Drake's). They are currently waiting on HPRB on design issues, but it is still very much in process. Once Historic Preservation signs off on the project, then it goes into the PUD stage. (I didn't know it was a PUD until now. This is a good thing, because it means that there has to be a good amenity base in the project)

at least it can really only get better than this

Before the DDOT Building arrives:

future roundabout / traffic circle

Good Hope:

new Elks lodge signage

...and new gate: secret entrance to the Daily Planet?

From the 2nd Floor:

Honfleur Gallery! (the blue one)

FYI, they are having a show opening this Saturday called Into the Light at 7pm. Free.

I seriously hope this won't be someone's corner office

The Retail:

they are still looking for a restaurant in this corner

Industrial Bank is [purportedly] headed for this spot (dang, I was really hoping for a Wachovia..)

Lobby and Exterior:

they are still deciding which work of art to display in that back frame

Conclusion: the Gateway building is very impressive, with fantastic views of Anacostia and beyond. I am confident that once those employees move in, it will definitely inspire future neighborhood investment and growth, as well as more retail in the surrounding area.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

development potential (fake sunset edition)

these buildings along MLK are lonely:

the first is part of the Curtis/Four Points assemblage
(currently in the PUD application process)

but the second -to my knowledge- is not yet part of any larger plan.

Monday, March 24, 2008

[some of] the green houses of anacostia

must. brush. teeth. (...even the air conditioner is painted a minty-fresh shade of green)

classic sage - now that is a tasteful renovation

the contrast

confused green: being painted green from beige, from beige to green, from stucco to wood, or wood to stucco?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Big K vs. Salvation Army

In honor of March Madness, I am pitting Big K Fine Wines & Spirits against its geographically closest neighbor, the still-under-construction Salvation Army building:

I admire the new signage on Big K, but they really need to repaint the side of their building with something a little less jarring, as well as replace the metal mesh and fortress door/windows to be any kind of pleasant addition to the streetscape.

Salvation Army also has the height advantage. Then again, current underdog Big K might win out in the end because it is --despite current aesthetics-- built on a more human scale and has good potential for future retail or total redevelopment success, as it is directly across the street from the proposed 9-block redevelopment by Curtis and Four Points, LLC.

Unfortunately, this matchup won't be decided for a few years...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

on moving into anacostia

This article was published while I was out of the country in late December (still not sure sure how I missed it), but it was written by a Washington Post journalist that recently moved into Historic Anacostia. It is an honest account of the challenges, unique features, and pleasant surprises of life in our often stereotyped neighborhood.

It Feels Like Home, Faults and All, by Robert E. Pierre

Sunday, March 16, 2008

on Cedar Hill

From the Washington Post:

When Frederick Douglass moved to Cedar Hill in 1877, he had behind him a long and illustrious career as an abolitionist, women's rights activist and orator. After 40 years of struggle and activism, he was no doubt ready for a breather. And where better to kick back and relax than a nine-acre hilltop home a river away from the hubbub of Capitol Hill.

It was here in Anacostia that Douglass entertained guests and displayed his treasures, including Abraham Lincoln's cane (given to him by Mrs. Lincoln after the president's assassination), a handful of knickknacks from around the world and, most important, his library collection. A passionate reader, Douglass spent time boning up on politics, philosophy and the law, sometimes holing up with a book in the Growlery, a small "quiet time" building he constructed behind his home.

Strolling the grounds or sitting on his porch, Douglass would have been rewarded with an impressive view of the city. Check it out yourself: Start at the visitor's center, where a film will fill you in on Douglass's life. Then tour the 21-room house, which is run by the National Park Service and reopened last year after three years of renovation. Sit on the porch and enjoy the greenery or spend a moment in the Frederick Douglass Memorial Garden, which isn't much to look at in winter but comes alive in spring and summer.

And, of course, feel free to be moved by the man himself, who taught himself to read and write, escaped from slavery at 20 and went on to publish an abolitionist newspaper, write a few books, advise President Lincoln, speak out for women's rights and rouse the masses with speeches on world peace and the rights of the poor. Now that will give you something to think about.

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site,1411 W St. SE, 202-426-5961, Free.

Friday, March 14, 2008

the overhead mess, and some history

We need to solve the overhead wires issue. There are simply too many.

I was trying to find something on the Congressional ban of overhead wires throughout much of Washington, DC, but all I found was a blurb regarding overhead wires for streetcars--a topic still in the news this month as both Anacostia and H Street NE prepare for their lines.

This is from 112 years and 2 days ago:

Click to Enlarge well as some random but interesting information on a rail line to and through Anacostia (Uniontown):

Click to Enlarge

Click Here for information on the old German Orphan Asylum

Did you know: before MLK Avenue was renamed, it was called Nichols Avenue (with the section in Historic Anacostia called Monroe Street), and before that it was called Asylum Road after St. Elizabeths. Kind of creepy, but it would be pretty sweet if that name was still around.

Click to Enlarge

1886 map portion courtesy of the library of congress