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

...in 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, ..you 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. www.transformergallery.org.

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.

Friday, November 14, 2008

don't miss out...

...on the Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair tomorrow from 1-5 PM at Nationals Park. Rain or shine.

Should be a good comprehensive way to learn about what's going on around the river. Developers, city agencies, and even clowns will be in attendence.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

more on the streetcar line

Greater Greater Washington has a very comprehensive run-down of the initial Anacostia streetcar allignment. Turns out it will not be going to Bolling AFB, but will instead be from W Street to a maintenance facility just past the Anacostia metro station on Firth Stirling Ave, with additional funding under request for an extention to Good Hope Road:

View Larger Map

for BeyondDC's confirmation scoop, Click Here
also, for a video of the November 7 hearing, Click Here

more as I hear it...

map courtesy of David Alpert at GGW

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

the A is not for Anacostia

clearly the first rendering looks way better because I am sure it was more expensive to draw. and while I bet there has been some value engineering, I think the library should look about the same as the designs we have grown to love / accept. I just wish it had a little more warmth to it.

what was:

is now:

it may look like a science labratory of the future, but it will certainly be an improvement over what was there before. I just really hope it doesn't end up looking cheap.

a groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for December 15th, with completion in the Spring of 2010.

new rendering courtesy of the Anacostia Library site

the facade treatment

still waiting on some progress here:

and yep, we need to get this overhead wires mess cleaned up. the issue has certainly been raised to the local ANC, and if Brookland can get their power lines buried (albeit on their main street), then we've got some footing.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

rustic and picturesque

"dwarf-gothic" in style, built of blue Potomac stone, with trimmings of brown...

Built in 1891, the building that now houses Delaware Baptist Church was once the home of Emanuel Episcopal Church, a thriving congregation that was forced to demolish the original building on the site because it became structural unsound.

The new church was built for two reasons: First, the structure had already been saved once:
from the Washington Post, December 8, 1878:
On a gentle knoll on Washington Street (now V Street), in the picturesque little village of Uniontown, stands an unprotesting but easy brick edifice, without spire or tower or cross. English ivy and Virginia creeper clamber up its walls, while its ample grounds of grassy turf are enclosed by a fence of neat paling. It is Emanuel, the eastern outpost of the Episcopal church in the District of Columbia. In looking at the neatness of its external surroundings, and the coziness of its interior, once can hardly realize that three years ago the building and grounds formed the most unsightly object in Uniontown.

A deep, ugly excavation on the western side of the church, close to its foundation, led to the condemnation and abandonment of the edifice. At this critical juncture the present rector came to the rescue of the church and congregation, and, fathering the well-nigh hopeless little band of members around him, secured the excavated grounds and saved the building.
So when it was discovered in 1890 that the walls had begun to crack, it must have seemed too large a project to save the humble building. Also, the church was growing, and the new building was designed to hold 300 more people than the original.

The cornerstone for the new building was laid on October 7, 1891. During construction, the congregation met at the Masonic Hall.
from the Washington Post, October 8, 1891:
The plans were drawn by the Rev. H. G. Wood, of Winthrop, Mass., and the work of putting in the foundation began September 8. The building will be of the usual Gothic style of architecture, with low walls and high roof, constructed of rubble stone, giving it a rustic and picturesque appearance. It will be 92 feet deep by 64 feet at its greatest width, with a will that gives a hall in which the Sunday-school will be held. The tower will be 60 feet high and and the seating capacity 550.

...When completed, the new house will be a beautiful temple of worship, and will be occupied by a congregation that is zealously engaged in the work mapped out for it.

from early 20th C. - look how small the 13th Street ginkos are(!), as well as the wood-shingled roof. Also notice the tower and flag of the since-demolished Van Buren School in the background, and the clapboard siding of the rowhouse next door, since hidden by 1940s asbestos cement shingles. (National Photo Company Collection)

Here is a particularly interesting find:
After reading the Scripture lesson and responses, led by Rev. Mr. Davenport, the rector of the parish announced the contents of the box placed in the corner-stone, which included a copy of The Washington Post of October 7, 1891, the names of the rector, wardens, and vestrymen of Anacostia parish; of the building committee, the architect, the builder, and the stonemason; of the officers and the teachers of the Sunday-school, and the officers and members of the various parochial organizations; a number of coins bearing date of 1891, and a brief historical sketch of the church.
I wonder if that time capsule will ever be unearthed...

On August 29, 1903, the Post published a more comprehensive story of the church, newsworthy for having already planting two "daughter churches", one in Hillsdale and another in Congress Heights, and for its out-of-the-ashes history. The above sketch is from that article, which also reveals some history of their Reverend, Willard G. Davenport:
Mr. Davenport is a Vermonter by birth, but all of his thirty years' ministry, except for about four years and a half, has been spent in the South. In 1861, while a student at the Vermont Episcopal Institute at Burlington, he enlisted in the Fifth Regiment of Vermont Volunteers and served three years in the civil war, participating in all the campaigns and battles of the Army of the Potomac in Virginia, until the battle of the Wilderness in May, 1864, when he was severely wounded, and spent three months in the officers' hospital in Georgetown.
Such an interesting history we have.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

new sidewalks on Shannon Place

there's a new brick sidewalk in the neighborhood:

hopefully the sand ends up in the cracks and not in the storm sewers:

photos by DG-rad

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lighting Ceremony Tonight!

Come one, come all to the lighting ceremony for the restored Anacostia sign at MLK and Good Hope.

Friday, November 7, 2008 at 6:30 P.M.
Corner of MLK and Good Hope, with a reception at Anacostia Gateway and a Cephas & Wiggins concert ($20) at the Honfleur Gallery at 7:30 (all on the same block).
from the MSA press release - Main Street Anacostia was able to have the new sign built and installed with a storefront improvement grant from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development's Neighborhood Investment Funds. DC's own Gelberg Signs built the new sign.

The initial plan was to have the original sign refurbished, however the old sign was in such disrepair that it crumbled during transport.

"This is truly a great day in Anacostia. It's a real symbol that we are building a vibrant and exciting business corridor," says Main Street Anacostia Board Chair Max Salas.
See you there!


photos by DG-rad


this is the back side of the house from the orginal Historic Homeowners Grant Program press conference. Getting all fresh and painted now:

for information on how to take part in this free money (which sounds sketchy, but the beauty of it is that it isn't) DC grant program for historically-accurate exterior renovations, Click Here.

the deadline for the next round of applications is January 5, 2009. Email me if you need help with any part of it. Seriously. That's my thing.

the brick is back

back in March I noticed that this brick wall had mysteriously fallen into itself:

I like how official it all looked...

but we're back in the game now, folks:

photos by DG-rad

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Reminder: Auction on Monday!

2004-2010 MLK Ave is going up for public auction on Monday, November 10 at 10:30 AM at the building.

perfect layout for a grocery store. conveniently located on the not-too-distant future streetcar line. at the heart of every major development in Anacostia.

For more info, check out my previous post, some interesting history, as well as the official auction site.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


For Ward 8 DC Council, cast your vote for Yavocka Young. As the current president of Main Street Anacostia, she knows the realities of what it takes to make Anacostia and greater Ward 8 a more functional, safe, and pleasant place. She has the experience, the dedication, and the tenacity to get the job done.

Polls are open until 8PM.

As for the other races, Greater Greater Washington has a really helpful rundown on the best "urbanist" candidates.

photo by DG-rad