Gardening ain’t cheap

Yesterday I got a laurel bay plant via Ebay, and from Ebay’s I got a book on composting and I hope to soon order 1/2 a pound of California redworms for the compost heap. All of this isn’t cheap. It isn’t chichi expensive either, but leting my yard go to pot would be a cheaper alternative.

When I first moved in I had to buy several new bags of dirt to condition the soil. The soil around the house was nothing but a clayee mass. Dig more than 6 inches and there’s clay. So several runs to Home Depot for garden soil and the composting of office coffee grounds made my soil somewhat decent.

I look over at my African neighbors and see how little work they put into their yard makes me realize how much time and money I put into mine, just to make it look not ghetto. Not that they don’t do anything. Every other month the landlord tills the dandilion field that is their front yard in hopes of getting rid of the weed, only for it to sprout back up again. They had put in plants but with no spigot in the front the plants died of thirst and tough soil. They’ve recently threw some mulch on top and planted some flowers, but soon the weeds will pop up again. It is not a matter of prettying up what they have but controlling the stuff they don’t want. Weed killers, special de-weeding tools cost money.


Anyone want an agave plant? It is very small. Be the first to write a comment saying “I want your agave” and if you live in Shaw (or 4 blocks from my house) I will deliver to you a small agave plant. I can’t eat it so I don’t want it. Oh, and other contest thing to see if anyone is out there, if decide to write in the comments how you’d love to see a movie I’ll pass along my pass to see “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers” showing Dec 2 at the Mazza Gallery. You will still need to live in Shaw or 4 blocks from my house.

New Metro Station to open this weekend


I’m excited. It is not in Shaw but pretty darned close. Over on Florida and New York Avenue NE will be a new station I’m thinking about calling it NYAFAGU (Nah-YA-Fah-Gu), because of it’s incredibility stupid long name. It’s opening this weekend. Can you feel the excitement Eastern Shaw, Truxton Circle, Eckington and Mt. Vernon Sq.? Can you feel it?

WMATA has some information about the new station on it’s site. Apparently the 90, 92, 93 and X3 buses will service the station. However I am miffed that there is no bike parking at the station. BOO! There is a frickin bike trail next to the station but no bike parking. I guess I’ll have to keep my eye out for DIY bike parking like over at Mt. Vernon Square. There apparently will be no car parking there either.

My other concern is how am I going to get over there. On bike Florida Avenue is a road of DEATH. There are horrid potholes all along the right hand side where I ride. New York Avenue is another road of DEATH, but little matter as I am more likely to choose a FL death than a NY one. There is a walkable path along N or P Street (?) but only accessible by scooting through the chained gate. I did get my bike through but not worth the short cut over.

Anyway.. yea!

Restaurant Delivery

Pizza Hut hates my block. Actually I believe that Pizza Hut hates most of Shaw, because the Pizza Hut on U Street won’t deliver in spots east of it’s 13th & U location. When I was living on 12th Street it barely wanted to even deliver there claiming it didn’t go to a certain address south of me. Then I had to ‘splain to the girl on the phone that you’d had to pass my apartment to get to the end of their delivery zone.

Worse now that I have moved waaaaay east of 12th Street. Finding places I like and that deliver is very hard. Dominos will deliver. But I’m not a big fan of Dominos. There are also more local pizza chains that will deliver, but for blah pizza I could just cook my own frozen kind.

Chinese restaurants are delivery sluts. Anywhere, almost anytime for very little money. The so-so Chinese restaurant on P and 11th will deliver, as well as some others I suspect. But there is only so much Spring Onion Beef I am willing to eat.

As new restaurants open up in Logan and on U Street I do inquire about their delivery services and if possible they deliver to me. No. Rice does not deliver to eastern Shaw, too far. As far as I know Allero and Sala Thai up on U don’t deliver at all to anyone. Etheopian delivery seems pointless, just easier to walk and that spongy bread doesn’t travel well.

BL and N turned me on to a non-Shaw Indian restaurant that does deliver to eastern Shaw, LeDroit Park and Eckington, Mehak. Now I have eaten at their 7th Street location once and was not too impressed by their food at the prices they were charging. So last week I tried them out. Yea! They deliver to my house. Boo. I’m still trying to figure out where the extra $5.00 charge came from as I keep re-adding the bill. I ordered Chicken Curry, which I must say tastes way better as a leftover.

There are delivery services that will pick up a meal for me for an extra charge, but I’d prefer it when the restaurant itself delivers. Maybe I want too much.

Poverty up close and personal

I was chatting with another DC resident & gentrifier (let’s call him “Bob”) the other day about an aspect of living in a “transitional” neighborhood, the poverty. It is one thing to see the poor and the homeless on the street day to day, it is a whole nother ball of wax to live next door to people who are a mini-disaster away from homelessness.
Bob and his wife live next door to a Section 8 house and have experienced a series of troubled residents. “I’m tired of the crack heads yelling outside,” he moaned, regarding the current neighbor and her visitors. Besides that, he and his spouse have maintained a working relationship with the Section 8 neighbors. The ones before the current one, he suspects there was abuse and drug use. They were a nice enough family, but the husband would come back from the local liquor store with a bottle in a black bag and later that night there might be a ambulance to take away the father-in-law. The family would say it was the FIL’s health but Bob suspected elder abuse at the hands of the drunk husband. Then there were other things. When they family members hit Bob & wife up for money. At first it was small change that was quickly returned, then it became $10, $20, $30 and so on, that was never returned. So Bob decided to not lend them money because the excuses/lies were getting kinda blatant. He felt bad for the family, but he didn’t want to become an ATM either.
This whole living next to poor people is really new for him. He and his wife had your typical American middle class white suburban upbringing, where poor people were distant. In recent years he’s becoming more familiar with the poor’s plight but also their failings (okay maybe living near crackhead Section 8s not the best way but that’s what he’s got). Sympathy mixed with a load of frustration and downright annoyance.
This is poverty. Up close, and personal. It is next door. You can’t just pass it by on the street and think nothing of it 10 seconds later. It is there, where you live, and there is no escaping short of moving out. Second hand you experience the problems of poverty and there is nothing you can do to take your neighbors out of their predicament, and you know it. *sigh*

New Bike Trail at NY Ave Station

Metropolitan Branch Trail to Open at NY Ave Metro

Saturday, November 20th, 10am to 12pm

1st and M Street NW

Join WABA (Washington Area Bicyclist Association) this Saturday at the grand opening of the new NY Avenue Metro Station and the latest section of the Metropolitan Branch Trail(MBT). By constructing the trail along with the Metro rail station, Metro’s engineering and design were brought to bear on the problems of bringing the trail through the New York and Florida Avenue interchange, one of the most complicated and dangerous traffic areas in DC. The ribbon cutting will take place on Saturday, November 20th at the New York Avenue Metro station (red line). The ceremony will begin at 10am and feature remarks by local officals and the Coalition for the Met Branch Trail. We hope that you will come out and show your support for this exciting new project and join us in a group photo along the trail.


ANC 5C meetings


Below please find a public notice re. the next two meetings of ANC 5C.

Please share these data with your neighbors and make your best effort




Jim Berry







TELEPHONE: (202) 832-1965/1966


Monthly Meeting

Invited guests include representatives from the following





Where: Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School

1301 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.

When: Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Time: 7:00 P.M. until 9:00 P.M.

Monthly Forum

Where: Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church

605 Rhode Island Avenue, N.E.

When: Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Time: 7:00 P.M. until 9:00 P.M.

Mummy’s visit

Call the police and cite me for elder abuse. The 10 minute walk to the metro and the walk from U Street to Whole Foods and back to the U Street metro was a bit of a death march for mummy. To be fair, she doesn’t do a lot of walking, that’s what cars are for. And it was cold by Florida standards. Mummy needs to exercise more.

Due to the weather we didn’t get out much. Mom’s view of Shaw consisted of the bus ride from Union Station, the death march, and anything she may have noticed in the car leaving Shaw to go to PG County.

She made note of homeless people and black folk speaking in a language that wasn’t English or Spanish was new. I think she misidentified a man as homeless, I thought he was a crappy dresser who didn’t bother shaving.

Next time, I think we should try for summer. Less commentary about how cold it is here and no need for heavy heavy coats. Next time, I’m going to see how well mom does on a bike.

Integration & Gentrification

Posted late because I’ve been trying to tone it down.

Courtland Milloy of the Washington Post has an article in today’s paper about the price of races and classes not being truly integrated outside the workplace and schools. In Milloy’s article the price for white living in segregated neighborhoods is paying too much for substandard housing and the price for African Americans is the lack of economic development. In DC whites congregate in areas west of the park and blacks, the rest of the city, with the odd integrated neighborhoods in the middle. My part of Shaw is one of those odd somewhat integrated neighborhoods.

My version of events of why my little corner is integrated causes great concern on my part about my corner’s ability to remain integrated. Gentrification and the crazy housing prices are why I’m concerned. I can’t say that Blacks are being pushed out, as I have written before, people move around a lot on their own and when one set moves out they can get replaced by a different set. What I will say for Shaw is that you have some people moving out, and new people moving in as the natural ebb and flow of how people live. In addition you have vacant properties and new higher density development coming in, which may increase the numbers of one racial group over another. With higher numbers, when there used to be fewer, if any, it could give the impression that the new group, middle class whites, is pushing out the older poorer and middle class Afro-American residents and changing the complexion of the neighborhood. Whites are not pushing out Black residents, but they may overwhelmingly outnumber the Black residents who weather the gentrification.

I see new developments popping up like mushrooms around U Street, down Florida Ave and all around Shaw. My first thought is “ohmygawd traffic is going to be a nightmare.” But as I write this, I realize that those developments will be typically filled with non-Blacks. Typically. For some odd reason middle class Blacks tend to flee to PG County, so part of me doubts they will fill more than 50% of the mid-rise developments. For poor African Americans, these new developments, unless specifically made affordable, not an option.

I’m afraid Shaw will not be an integrated neighborhood in the future, should Black residents continue to move out (besides voting rights and bigger yards what does PG Co, have that we don’t have?). There should be a balance. The different races should be balanced in that we see each other on a daily basis and get to know each other on a human level. Yet enough of ourselves, no matter who we are, to be ourselves in our own homes.

Hypothermia Watch/ Help the Homeless

Hypothermia Watch Program

In September the Mayor announced the District’s Hypothermia Plan for

2004-2005. Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition that could afflict

homeless people living on the streets when the temperature falls below 32

degrees Fahrenheit, or the wind chill factor creates the same effect. The

plan calls for every government agency, every community and all our citizens

to get involved and protect those at risk. The hypothermia season lasts from

November 1 to March 31. Please call (800) 535-7252 if you see someone on the

streets when the temperature is below 32 degrees. The links below provide

information about the Hypothermia Watch Program and other programs that help

the homeless.

Hypothermia Shelters

Men Address

Housing Assistance Center 1355-57 New York Avenue, NE

Franklin School 13th and K Streets, NW

Emery Shelter 1725 Lincoln Road, NE

LaCasa Shelter 1436 Irving Street, NW

Federal City Shelter (CCNV) 425 Second Street, NW

801 East Building 801 Making Life Better Lane SE

Women Only Address

John Young Center 115 D Street, NW

DC General Hospital-Cafeteria 1900 Massachusetts Avenue, SE

Hypothermia Fact Sheet

* The hypothermia season begins November 1 and ends March 31.

* The Emergency Management Agency issues Hypothermia Alerts when the

temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below, or when the wind chill factor

creates the same effect. The hours of operation for the hypothermia alert

are 7pm to 7am, but will be extended until the temperature or wind chill

factor rises above 32 degrees.

* Those who do not come in from the cold when hypothermia alerts are

issued put themselves in life-threatening positions. The body enters into a

hypothermia state when its temperature is below 95 degrees.

* DHS has established partnerships with business and community

organizations to prevent hypothermia deaths. Participants wear “I’m a

Hypothermia Watch Partner” buttons, post flyers and encourage others to be

alert for those in need of assistance.

* The District of Columbia government has provided intensive outreach

and shelter services to the homeless since 1986. DC Law 7-24, the Frigid

Temperature Protection Amendment Act of 1988, was passed to assure that the

homeless are sheltered when the temperature falls below 32 degrees


* Shelter services are provided to approximately 13,480 men, women,

and families throughout the year. The current shelter system provides more

than 1,970 beds for single adults and families with children. Approximately

600 people who are at risk choose not to enter shelters.

* During the winter of 2001, the United Planning Organization (UPO)

Shelter Hotline recorded a total of 15,211 calls and provided 6,113 one-way

trips to shelters. UPO also distributed 11,226 blankets; 82 sleeping bags;

25 pairs of shoes and boots; and 1,533 hats, scarves, and gloves to the


* Twelve agencies provide the homeless who remain on the streets with

food, beverages, blankets, gloves, jackets, boots, hats, sleeping bags,

medical services, case management, and counseling.

Links to Organizations That Help the Homeless Located at

* The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness

* So Others Might Eat

* Gospel Rescue Ministries

* National Alliance to End Homelessness

* National Coalition for the Homeless

* Answers, Please!

* US Department of Housing and Urban Development

* Home Base – A Public Policy Law Firm of Homelessness

* Help the Homeless

* Hypothermia Prevention, Recognition and Treatment

* Fannie Mae Foundation

* Community for Creative Non Violence

Desi Deschaine

Community Affairs Coordinator

Executive Office of the Mayor

1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Suite 211

Washington, DC 20004

The mummy visits DC

I’m so excited mummy is going to be visiting me for a few days. She’s never been to my house. The last time she was up in DC I was graduating, pre-house, pre-Shaw. If mummy has ever been in Shaw it was to get dragged to Shiloh Baptist Church on 9th Street. Pre-gentrification 80s if that. Visiting family in DC we rarely encountered the neighborhoods, they were just driven through, not experienced.

I hope to give mummy a different experience, I will not keep her in the house, as many a DC relative has done to me and my cousins. No, provided it is not too cold, we will walk around the hood. If it is too cold then, well something inside, and no not the Smithsonian. I figure we may visit the great Shaw sights of the Ghetto Giant, the Shaw/Howard University metro, and possibly Shiloh Baptist. She probably will have little interest in the art houses and I’m thinking the restaurants over in Logan and U Street may be too far out for her. Mummy is from the land where Red Lobster and Olive Garden are considered nice. We could wander over to the bullet-proof KFC on North Cap for dinner, but let me think of something else.

So, the In Shaw blog will go dark this weekend as I entertain the great and all powerful mummy.