Tuesday, February 24, 2009

the neighborhood supermarket

this new sign was just installed in December

Anacostia gets a lot of attention for being a "food desert". We often hear about how Safeway moved out, how McDonald's moved out (thank goodness), and the perception of it being easier to cross over to Capitol Hill or even Arlington to shop than to anything in our general neck of the woods.

we share a sort of bond over here in River East - perceived lack of services, bad reputations, unknown-ness... to the point where even a full-service grocery store within the bounds of actual Anacostia is overlooked as not real enough to get a mention.

much bigger than a corner convenience store

Enter the Anacostia Warehouse Supermarket. Located at the corner of Good Hope and 14th, the store is in the old Safeway space and carries pretty much everything for not-unreasonable prices.

there's a sort of 1970s retro style on the inside... (okay, this place could pass for a period movie set)

there's even a guy (viewable through the window) who prepares the selection of fresh-cut meats

loving the old school wax polish reference

yogurt, milk, eggs, somewhat obscured by a giant banner

...but ignore the browning ceiling tiles and wood-veneer paneling and focus on the fresh produce and surprisingly good selection all around.

i was most surprised to discover the wide selection of produce

and the general freshness, despite not-awesome interior decor

To state the obvious, this isn't a corporate owned and operated grocery store. The inside could use a redo (although I'd hate to lose the mod timewarp), but this is a true local business that's pretty great for what it is.

full disclosure: I had never stepped inside until I was touring Tufts University professor Parke Wilde around the neighborhood last fall and he suggested we stop inside. His write-up and other interesting food posts can be found on his U.S. Food Policy blog.

photos by DG-rad

Sunday, February 22, 2009

we are river east

Last thursday was the REEL (River East Emerging Leaders) meet and greet at the Honfleur Gallery. With wine, music, art, and a ton of people who want to make Ward 15 (7+8) a cool and progressive place to be, it was definitely a "this is why I moved to Anacostia" evening.

a whole lot of creativity went into the event, and it exuded exactly the hip factor that a lot of us are excited to see more of

the gallery was totally packed, and all around was a great sense of energy and optimism

local duo Omar & Duff added to the chill vibe ambiance

big thanks to Honfleur's creative director Briony Evans (at left), who has the gallery staged for interior designers looking for the perfect piece

the next REEL event will be on March 18 - be sure to join the facebook group for all the latest.

photos by DG-rad

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

what's going on this week


the first in a new series called the Anacostia Waterfront Forum:“Sustainable Development, Infrastructure and the Future of the District of Columbia.”

Tonight from 6:30-8:30 PM at the Great Hall in the MLK Library (901 G Street, NW)

Click Here for more information (PDF)

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another River East neighborhood is on the brink of redevelopment, and the city is beginning efforts to make sure it is planned well. Come out tomorrow for the first meeting about the Bellevue Small Area Plan.

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River East Emerging Leaders (REEL) is hosting a meet and greet at the Honfleur Gallery (1241 Good Hope) from 6:30-8:30 PM.

REEL is all about networking, building partnerships, and realizing the potential of our part of the city. Everyone from all areas of the city are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Monday, February 16, 2009

four of a kind

this string of cottages on 16th Street SE is unique because the homes are (were / could be) all identical:

raise your hand if you're into the idea of replacing the highway-style lights with something more human scaled

i love how practical porch-sitting was that they had a roll-up shade to make the experience comfortable at any time of day

The same house today:

built in 1915, these houses have now lost many of their original features, including windows, shutters, stair treads, porch detailing, and wood siding & shingles.

old photo courtesy of the National Photo Company Collection

Friday, February 13, 2009

Mr. Douglass' Birthday is Tomorrow!

tomorrow is Frederick Douglass' 191st birthday, and there will be a truly fantastic celebration at his house (1411 W Street SE) from 10-3:30. Some real heavy hitters will be there giving talks and tours.

Schedule of Events: Click to Enlarge

Freedman’s Bank and Bureau
Mr. Reginald Washington, National Archives

Mr. Washington’s program will highlight the history of the Freedman’s Bureau and Freedman’s Bank which were established in 1865. The Freedman’s Bureau established schools and hospitals, supervised labor contracts between former slaves and their employers and sold or leased land. The Freedman’s bank served to help newly freed slaves with their financial needs and Frederick Douglass became president of the Freedman’s Bank in 1874.

Presenting Frederick Douglass
Kevin McIlvaine, Actor/ Artist in Residence

Kevin McIlvaine as Frederick Douglass performs excerpts from several of Douglass’s speeches from various periods of Douglass’s life as an historical perspective of how what Douglass was speaking about changed over time.

Douglass’s American Dream
Dr. John Stauffer, Harvard University

Dr. Stauffer, author of the recent book “Giants,” a dual biography of Lincoln and Douglass, will talk about Douglass’s American Dream and his life in the context of being a true “self made” man. Following this lecture, Dr. Stauffer will sign books outside the bookstore.

Introducing the Violin
The Levine School of Music

Douglass loved music and taught himself to play the violin and inspired his grandchild to become a concert violinist. Students from the Levine school will introduce the instrument and play selections. Program will include an instrument petting zoo at the end of the program to allow children to try various instruments.

Frederick Douglass’s Anacostia
Mr. Tony Thomas, Anacostia Smithsonian Museum

Mr. Tony Thomas will present a program on the history of Anacostia that will illustrate through maps and pictures what Anacostia was like when Douglass lived in the neighborhood.

Douglass- Watchtower of Human Freedom
Ranger Talitha LeFlouria

Talitha LeFlouria is author of a new book that focus’ on Douglass’s life during the time that he lived at Cedar Hill and her talk will illustrate various topics from her book. Following this lecture, Ms. Leflouria will sign books outside the bookstore.

Tour Mobile

Take a bus tour of the city to see other sites associated with Douglass In Washington, DC. Register in the Visitor Center. Tours at Noon and 2:00 p.m. Tour length about 1.5 hours. Cost $7 / person.

announcement clipping courtesy of NPS

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

www. trash free anacostia . com

a black plastic bag flies high above Valley Place

What's going on:
Council member Tommy Wells just introduced legislation this morning highlighting a new way to clean up the Anacostia River: charge 5 cents for every paper and plastic bag distributed by restaurant, take-out, grocery, and corner store establishments.

Sound crazy? This kind of program has seriously reduced bag pollution in cities like New York, San Francisco, and Seattle.
Why should I care:
Because we all want a cleaner place to live and play. In the streams leading into the Anacostia River, nearly 50% of the trash (sad there is even any) is bags. Considering the fact that 20,000 tons of trash enters the Anacostia each year, this is a total emergency.

Not to mention that so much of the litter on our own neighborhood streets is bags - mostly the small black plastic variety. And in this bill, those and every other non-recyclable bag would be completely banned.
How can I help:
1. Sign the Petition at www.TrashFreeAnacostia.com

2. B.Y.O.Bag. (they sell reusable bags at every major grocery store), or just opt out of bags altogether.

3. Smile. You are a difference-maker.
For additional information, check out the Post's article on the proposed legislation.

photo by DG-rad

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

retail highlight: American Shottas

this past weekend was, as stated earlier, an amazing time to be outside ramblin around town. I made my way into American Shottas for the first time (ok, I'll admit, the extra loud music from the speaker outside sort of turned me off at first). Once inside it is a vision of classic record store meets local flavor. Definitely worth a visit.

Our neighborhood has both a real and perceived lack of retail. We feel grocery-less even though we have a full-service, albeit old-fashioned-seeming grocery store within blocks (see future post), ...we want to be able to walk to a neighborhood bar or sit-down restaurant, but can't because they don't exist.

We have banks, corner stores, a florist, a cleaner, an almost coffee shop, a clothing store, and even a Subway, but it's often the case that we don't recognize them until we walk inside for the first time or need them at the last minute and finally appreciate their convenience. We want more of them, but we definitely have a few kickin local shops already.

photos / graphics by DG-rad

Monday, February 9, 2009

Barry to jail?

from the Washington Post:
Federal prosecutors today asked a federal judge to send D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) to jail for not filing his most recent tax returns.

Prosecutors alleged that Barry, by not filing his 2007 federal and D.C. tax returns, had violated the terms of his probation for previous tax offenses. Barry, 72, who pleaded guilty in 2005 to not filing tax returns from 1999 through 2004, has not filed such documents on time for eight of the last nine years, prosecutors said.

"The defendant's conduct regarding tax year 2007 is indefensible," wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Zeno in a motion filed in U.S. District Court this afternoon. "It is not acceptable for any citizen to shirk a basic civil duty, let alone a former mayor and current city councilman who has been responsible in the past and continues to be responsible for spending public funds collected from District of Columbia taxpayers."

If the judge does not want to send Barry to jail, prosecutors wrote that she should hold a hearing in which Barry can explain his conduct.
If you think it's time Councilmember Barry learns he isn't invincible, please call Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Zeno at 202-514-6957 to voice your support. If you have a council person other than Barry, please be in touch with them as well regarding your opinion on the matter.

not sure exactly what would happen in the event that he does get jail time, but it is high time Ward 8 has council representation that doesn't embarrass the constituents in a new and (sadly not) surprising way every other month.

Update: tell DC Council Chair Vincent Gray that Marion Barry should lose his council seat. he has had too many second chances: (202) 724-8032.

hat-tip to The Advocate for the news

Sunday, February 8, 2009

flip flops in february

yesterday was a glimpse of spring: perfect temperature, warm breeze, kids playing, ground thawing.

a roofer admiring his work: restoration doesn't stop on saturday

the could-be park next to Ketcham School. a wasted space that we need to open for public use.

Anacostia got a new mural last week. Inherently temporary, it is painted on plywood and nailed around the site of the Anacostia Gateway Government Center (future home of DDOT), it displays DC landmarks, sports team logos, and quotations:

true statement.

it's a bright welcome from the 11th Street Bridge

sure, all of the painted landmarks are either in NW or surround the mall, but they bring a touch of whimsy and cheer

the old signage is removed from the historic Anacostia Bank, reflecting AEDC's move to the gateway building

Big Chair Coffee - the teaser. their facade is also about to be majorly upgraded with a more historically-appropriate storefront.

future site (with this house to be completely restored) of the W Street Townhomes, below

the above house is the smaller one to the left

a certain character is lost when wood multi-paned windows are replaced with the simpler vinyl variety, and when little things like porch details are removed

a perfect day to paint a porch or two

the word on the street alley was that a dog was loose. high-tailing it outa there!

a quieter scene: three kids playing milk-crate basketball on a newly bricked and sanded alley.

photos by DG-rad, rendering courtesy of Four Points

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

just waiting on the new storefront glass...

otherwise, Tony's Place (northeast corner of 14th and Good Hope) has seen some nice upgrades in the last few months:

although the vinyl windows aren't my all-time favorite (this is outside the historic district), the new awning is a creative alternative to what is often seen

not sure I'd qualify this general take-out place as an American Diner, but to each his own:

the signs are pretty snazzy ... but does the pipe-wiring for the lights have to be on the exterior?

These are the kinds of upgrades that Main Street Anacostia helps oversee and even fund. They are a hugely important way to change neighborhood perceptions and legitimize the existing businesses along Good Hope and MLK.

photos by DG-rad