Thursday, July 30, 2009

accident at MLK & Good Hope

this afternoon a truck drove straight into the billboarded and vacant corner of MLK / Good Hope. Word from the officers at the scene is that the driver had a diabetic episode while driving and lost control of the vehicle. Fortunately nobody else was injured and the driver is okay (again, word from the officers on the ground).

Contrary to various twitter and media reports, the property that the truck crashed through was not a building. At one point it was the site of the old People's Drug, but, it has been for many years just an empty, boarded-up lot behind which is a drop down to a basement level. This little strip of MLK / Good Hope is like Anacostia's own Shiloh Baptist issue, as it is owned by the pastor of Union Temple. The corner parcel was for sale this spring, but was either pulled from the market or sold.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

friday night at the galleries

this past Friday night was the Summer Jamboree, a duel show at Honfleur Gallery and Vivid Solutions - Anacostia's two galleries. Probably the coolest thing about it was the fact that, because they're about 4 blocks from each other, people were walking between them and showing off the commercial corridor's potential as a walkable destination.

might seem corny, but just really cool to see people hanging around in and out of Vivid Solutions

the photographs were amazing. check it out if you can.

the Bellevederes soul-funked out at the Honfleur

Seriously, these galleries are a big part of what's making this neighborhood a more livable and lovable place. Listen to ARCH DC's founder Duane Gautier's interview on WAMU about how he decided to focus his organization's efforts on the arts as a tool for economic development HERE.

Click Here for Brightest Young Things' article/photos of the event.

photos by DG-rad

Friday, July 24, 2009

two year blogiversary!

well, it's been two years now and Anacostia is still getting this guy's attention. Your readership is the reason for the blog - so thanks again!

in honor of the blogiversary, here's an interview (excerpt, click below for full article) I recently did on Social Citizens about the blog, the city, and how to positively affect your community through the use of social media:

click for full interview

Why did you decide to start “And Now, Anacostia” and invest in the neighborhood?

After growing up in the suburbs of DC and watching the city’s progress from the outside, I wanted in. It’s a city that’s still very much in its rebirth phase: revitalizing commercial corridors, plethora of new housing, and a very eager 20 and 30-something crowd that grew up in the minivan generation and wants something a little more interesting. Blogs, Crocks, and strollers have been popping up in places that nobody gave a second glance towards 10 years ago.

Problem was, that energy wasn’t crossing the Anacostia River. As someone with a finger to the urban development changewinds, I saw potential in a quaint little neighborhood with a bad reputation – Anacostia – and wanted to do something both to promote its positives and to ignite conversations across the city about a part of the city that never got a lot of good press. I started the blog in July of 2007 and bought a crack house – that soon became my not-crack house – the next month. Without that personal financial investment, I doubt the blog would still be around today.

...I hope that my blog, however commonplace, is a site where readers give my neighborhood, its buildings, and its people a second glance – a normal-seeming inspiration toward a renewed appreciation for the way that physical places, design and land-use can translate into feelings and goodwill passions.

What advice do you have for others who want to invest in their communities?

Really put yourself out there: meet your neighbors, go to the local planning meetings, participate in community events, and if you can, make sure the place you live is really welcoming. Aesthetics and happiness go hand in hand, so advocate for nicer sidewalks, more trees, or a community garden. Seek out unique and local retail in funky old buildings and spend your money there rather than at the strip center next to the highway. A lot of “communities” in America look and function exactly the same because nobody spoke up. Neighborhoods become special when people demand something different than the status quo.

There are a hundred noble ways to be involved, but you don’t need to start a nonprofit to improve a community. Be yourself, use your talents, and good things will grow.

Click Here for the full interview

Thursday, July 23, 2009

this Friday is the Summer Jamboree

Vivid Solutions (new photography lab / gallery that is pretty amazing that you need to check out) and Honfleur Gallery will host concurrent arts events this Friday, July 24th. The receptions kick off at 7 PM for Chandi Kelley’s solo exhibition Timelines and for Reincorporation Jamboree, a group show featuring emerging artists looking at societal rites of passage. Vivid Solutions (2208 MLK Ave) and Honfleur Gallery (1241 Good Hope Rd) are both located in the historic district of Anacostia, just a four block walk from each other.

Timelines at Vivid Solutions DC: 7-9 PM

Timelines, a solo exhibition of works by Chandi Kelley, is a collection of photographs inspired by the theme of memory and mystery, are constructed images of bookends, antique books and wallpaper. Methodically photographed, the spines of the books function as a timeline reading from left to right. The text and image combine in a striking, evocative collection. Ms. Kelley was awarded the Young Artist Program Grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for this body of work, and Timelines is the artist’s first solo show. Exhibition dates: June 22nd – September 8th. Website

Reincorporation Jamboree at Honfleur Gallery: 7-9 PM

Clouds Diorama by Theodore Knox

Artists like Joseph Beuys have built catalogs of work looking at rites of passage. Reincorpartion Jamboree draws from the work of five young artists who have emerged from what could be considered contemporary American rites of passage like: middle school dances, under employment, financing higher education and urban survival. Curator and DC artist Steven Frost examines this emergence with a group of young artists from several regions of the US. The work of Kristina Bilonick (Washington, DC), Ben Fino-Radin (Providence, RI), Hatnim Lee (Brooklyn, NY), Sean M. Johnson (Boston, MA), and Theo Knox (San Francisco, CA) premiers at Honfleur Gallery in this incisive body of contemporary study of reincorporation. Website / twitter

The Bellevederes at Honfleur Gallery: 9 PM - ?

Baltimore-based soul music collective breathes “fresh air into vintage tracks.” Self described as “Baltimore boogaloo”, the 9-piece band is dedicated to the old-school soul and funk, and to playing it right. Drawing members from other popular regional bands (Caleb Stine and the Brakemen, The Red Vines etc), the Bellevederes have a fun, fresh sound not to be missed. Honfleur’s 2009 Concert Series is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts & The DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities. Website.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

savoy school is a'coming soon

The modernization of the Kiger A. Savoy Elementary is getting close to completion -- and both the MLK and Shannon Place buildings are looking great!

looking down MLK to Thurgood Marshall School and the metro

On MLK is the new new 26,000-square-foot community center to be opened in partnership with the DC Department of Parks and Recreation, which will include a full-sized gymnasium with bleachers, stage, separate storage rooms and offices, locker rooms, and a fitness room. (and they built it right up against the street - woohoo!)

view towards savoy and the new gym

I've been really impressed with this project and look forward to seeing the final product. I believe the school is supposed to open for this upcoming school year - and it looks like the community center couldn't be that far behind.

Click Here for more information and renderings of the project.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

raze permit for the old gas station

the long-abandoned gas station at 1234 Good Hope Road finally has a raze permit. Owned by the District, the gas station site is directly across from Honfleur Gallery and adjacent to the Anacostia Gateway office building.

Although originally planned to be part of the Anacostia Gateway Government Center, rumor has it that the project is off the table and the city is again deciding (how actively I'm not sure) how to use the site.

While they're deciding, (and believe me, I rarely advocate for parking) I think they should make an attractive temporary parking lot like they did at the old convention center downtown. Not only would it clean up the corner, it would provide some much-needed public parking near some of the neighborhood's most visited new amenities.

photo / graphic by DG-rad

Monday, July 13, 2009

Big Chair Coffee opening soon(ish)

Bloomingdale has Big Bear, but Anacostia will soon have Big Chair - Coffee, that is. The neighborhood's newest and only coffee shop at 2122 MLK Ave will open in the next 2 months, according to construction crews inside. The colorful and eclectic spot will be the new home of Murky Capitol Hill's equipment and is really starting to come together.

tick, tock ... countdown to a cooler (and caffeinated) hood starts now

upstairs will be a lounge / seating area

downstairs there will be a large bar, additional seating, and access to the side-alley seating

Big Chair Coffee is set to bring a new vibe to MLK Ave, and will (I think..?) be the first coffee shop in River East (starbucks in the safeway doesn't count). Woot woooot!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Poplar Point meeting next Saturday!

yes, the process is never-ending, but we need to keep voicing our priorities as this major some-time-in-the-future project is planned.

Click to Enlarge

Don't forget to RSVP to 202-561-3700.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

BK Adams Open House & Reception

BK Adams presents "I AM ART" July 10 - July 30 at 1348 Maple View Place SE. Opening Reception is July 10 from 6:30 - 8:30 PM.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

fire power

a fire broke out this morning at 1655 U Street SE. One person was taken to GW hospital for smoke inhallation, and two firefighters sustained minor burns. The exterior of the house appears to be largely intact, while both the first and second floors of the interior were badly damaged.

the vinyl windows are no longer (I swear this wasn't blogger arson)

teams strategically rushing in and out

Engine Companies 15 (Anacostia) and 16 (Garfield) came to the scene

it's a very good thing that the hydrant was working

a fireman soaks the growing pile of burnt furniture and junk in front of the house

Here's hoping that nobody is seriously hurt and that the house will be repaired soon!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

new house on Valley Place

this house at 1337 Valley Place SE is about halfway done. Built near the corner of Valley and Chester (there is still another vacant lot next door which abuts the intersection), it looks different than the string of brick homes to its right but will still hopefully fit in.

no windows on the side because another house will still someday go in next door

It's hard to tell at this stage how all the detailing will come together on the front, but it was approved through the Historic Preservation Review Board.

Personally, I'm pretty ecstatic that new homes are being built here. And this isn't the only one. For a neighborhood that still has never been fully developed (not even in its heydays), being around to see its completion is pretty cool.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

guerrilla art at the projects

ladder to the sky - Maple View Place

we have an artist in our midst, and his name is BK Adams. and he lives on Maple View Place.

If you haven't recently ventured to the crest of Maple View, Mr. Adams recently bought one of the large wraparound porch Victorians between Chester and High Streets. His porch has a giant wood airplane hanging from it, whimsical pipe windmills spring from the garden, and a DADAist self-defining poster of BK's face covers the front door with the words "I AM ART".

This post is about BK's first installation in the neighborhood - a ladder on top of the crumbling project-style apartments at the top of Maple View, and a collection of multi-color pipes growing from the ground in front: a sort of shrunken, localized and color-splashed Air Force memorial in our own hood.

in the rusted stairwell leading up

the ladder is perfectly balanced, and spins and sways with the wind

entitled "Sunshine Life", this more grounded piece adds a breath of fresh air to the street - the kind of hope that reaches out:

the proclamation: I AM ART

for more, be sure to check out BK Adams' open house, at his art-filled home at 1348 Maple View Place SE, from July 10 - July 30.