Saturday, February 27, 2010

2345 MLK Starting to Take Shape

this great little building (we hope .. final designs have not actually been viewed) on the corner of Talbert and MLK is really coming along. It looks like it will top out at two stories.

I like when buildings fill in empty corners

It's nice that this development doesn't take up a whole block. Sometimes it seems like small buildings don't get built anymore, but it's usually the neighborhoods with smaller building footprints (and by smaller I mean thinner .. like not taking up the whole block. Think Georgetown and Barracks Row) end up being the most loved.

this corner always has a few people hanging out .. wonder if that will change

check out the line of windows. eyes on the street, baby!

from the back ... I think this end will be shorter

I'm excited to see this building progress. Does anyone know what material they are using for the exterior?

Talking Anacostia on ReadySetDC

Last night I got to talk up Anacostia and the blog at District Lounge in Adams Morgan. Here's an interview I did for ReadySetDC the same day:

It was great meeting some of you there - loved hearing the questions and getting juiced about what makes our hood great.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Art of the Blog_ ... this Friday

this Friday I'll be part of a panel on neighborhood blogging at DISTRICT, a club in Adams Morgan. Dan from Prince of Petworth will also be there.

Click to Enlarge

ReadySetDC knows how to put a party together: Drinks, music, art, ... and bloggers. 6-8 PM. No cover. (Click Here for the facebook event page)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Clark Ray Meet & Greet at Big Chair

This isn't an endorsement, just letting you know what is going on. However, I have been impressed with Mr. Ray's interest in Ward 8. Not something you see in every candidate.

for more information, contact Moulin Desai at 202-487-3102.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ward 8's Most Public Embarrassment

Today’s release of attorney Robert S. Bennett’s report on the financial misdoings of Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry comes as a breath of fresh air in the what seems never ending saga usually referred to by the public as “what has Marion Barry done this time?”

Bennett found that Marion Barry personally benefited from a contract that he gave his ex-girlfriend Donna Watts-Brighthaupt, and that “substantial financial benefits” were given to close friends and allies through the use of Council earmarks, many to illegitimate groups formed by Barry’s employees and friends.

Although these findings do not surprise me, they make me long for a day when Ward 8 leadership is elected on the basis of who plans to do the most Good for the ward, rather than who will best perpetuate a lazy and uncreative status quo.

I have been in Anacostia for almost three years now, and have done my best to bring the neighborhood and the city up via social media, good press, community involvement, and hammer to nail construction. When I talk to people about this part of the city I usually highlight the positives – the galleries, the reviving housing stock, the coffee shop, the development plans – while also acknowledging the negatives. Stereotypes exist for a reason, but it is our responsibility to stand for a more just representation of the statistics, images, and people that make up a collective reputation.

This is why it is so difficult to be part of a ward that unabashedly allows for the continued political leadership of ruthlessly selfish people, Marion Barry and many others included. But no matter how hard it is, this city Will. Not. Get. Better. unless new people keeping running for office, keep answering the same old questions about why someone should move to Ward 8, and keep fixing the broken windows that are giving us a bad rap. Change does not happen on its own. It takes a long, patient practice of moving small stones to finally move a mountain. These things take time.

I am a proud Ward 8 resident, but I am not a proud Marion Barry constituent. I believe in forgiveness, but I do not believe there is a right to political longevity, especially in the face of legitimate charges or felony convictions. I hope you that you will join me in publicly condemning the way that Marion Barry has relentlessly embarrassed the District of Columbia, and fought more for his own preservation than for the benefits of those he has sworn to serve.

To Ward 8: keep your chins up, revere the good, and raise your voices for positive change. The wave is on its way.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

the MLK Avenue small business family

local kindness from Renae's Flower Shop to Big Chair Coffee. "Welcome!"

Monday, February 8, 2010

14th Street Twin Update

So happy to see this house get a high-quality restoration. It has gone from a vinyl-clad facade eyesore to a handsome wood-sided beaut.

but still way too many overhead wires ... wondering if they are all still active

I think they are keeping it white, which I am not opposed to

doesn't the porch look great?

This is the kind of homebuilding we need more of - and are fortunate to be getting - here in Anacostia. I'm excited to see the final product!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Next in Line for Restorations

Gray skies and wintry forecasts got you down? Never fear, the spring renovation / restoration season is near and promises to cheer you up. I've compiled a list of a few houses (I'm sure there are more, but I happened upon these this morning) that are either just starting or soon to commence their makeovers.

This house (on the left) on the 1300 block of W is part of one of my favorite twins. I bet it's going to look great when it's finished:

I mean, how classic are the sidewalk-level front porches?

High Street has, to me at least, always been a bit of a downer, but there are at least three homes on the block that will soon change for the better:

this one isn't falling apart by any means, but will see roof and trim repairs

this solid brick home is getting new windows and a restored wood-columned porch

Haunted? not sure ... but this one is getting a COMPLETE restoration (pretty much a re-build) and is going to look fantastic

the 1600 block of V has been seeing some good progress lately. New condos at the top of the block (yet to be blogged about), and a spattering of good-looking restorations in the past year. This particular house on the left is being completely remodeled and will soon (I hope) look as good as its next door neighbor:

I wonder what color they'll paint this one...

So yes, Anacostia is still very much under construction despite the downturn. Seriously cannot wait for spring.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Big Chair Coffee in the News

photo courtesy of Washington City Paper

So it's been about three weeks now since Big Chair Coffee opened, and the press has been all over it. It's encouraging to see all the websites, blogs, papers, and news shows covering the shop and giving it tons of free publicity. For a neighborhood that is usually misunderstood - or at least not fully understood - in the popular media, this has been a very good thing.

Anacostia Gives Coffee Shop Warm Reception
Washington Post Metro Section

Good to Go takeout: Big Chair Coffee n' Grill in Anacostia

Washington Post Food Section

Big Chair Coffee: Only the strong survive

Washington Business Journal

If You Build a Coffee Shop, Will the Gentrifying Hipsters Come?
Urban Turf

Big Chair Coffee: Big News for Anacostia
Young & Hungry - Washington City Paper

Ethiopian family opens a new Coffee Shop in DC's Anacostia neighborhood

Grand Opening at Big Chair Coffee n' Grill

Big Chair Coffee—Anacostia’s First Stand-Alone Coffee Shop That Anyone Can Remember—Opened Today
Housing Complex - Washington City Paper

Support Big Chair Coffee in Anacostia!
Anacostia Yogi

Big Chair Coffee!!!
Life in the Village

Freako-licious in Anacostia, Mamis!
The Penn Brangler

Big Chair Coffee & Grill Opens in DC's SE Neighborhood

Photos: Coffee and a Chair East of the River
City Desk - Washington City Paper

Big Bear, Big Chair, and the Gentrification of a Neighborhood
in bloom

What to Do This Week

Daily Candy

The Washington Informer’s Blatant Betrayal of its Own Self-Professed Community
The Washington Syndicate

New Businesses: So Far, So Good
River East Idealist

Big Chair Coffee: Coffee From Its Cradle

Big Chair Coffee is Open!
We Love DC

Big Chair Opens Today!
Congress Heights on the Rise

New Coffee Shop to Open in Anacostia
Fox 5 News

Pretty much all great reviews, too! Not bad for a place only open a few weeks. If you still haven't ventured over to check it out, its hours are 7AM to 9PM, 7 days a week.

Monday, February 1, 2010

To Do: Historical Society Reception

The Historical Society of DC and the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum are holding an opening reception for “East of the River: Continuity and Change.” Given all the plans for the future of Anacostia in the coming years, this should be an interesting reflection worth checking out to provide a little perspective of what’s to come.

Date: February 7, 2010
Time: 1:30pm to 3:30pm
Location: Historical Society of Washington, DC 801 K Street NW

photo (building has since been restored) by flickr user ellievanhoutte

cross-posted at DC Metrocentric