New Eyes

My 25 year old cousin is enjoying her stay with me, not so much for my company (I’m sure the familial bonds play a part) but because so much is happening outside. My cousin had been holed up in what she calls a ‘housing farm’ up in northern PG County, car-less. The house farm has single family home crops, townhome crops, and condo/apartment crops where she could go days without seeing another human, with her parents as the exceptions. Even on days where she doesn’t leave my house, she sees people walking, drunk guys screaming, homeless guys pushing things, kids screaming, a whole show of humanity all from her window. Maybe I’ve been here too long but the screaming people have lost their charm.
For her the neighborhood is wonderful and exciting, for slightly different reasons I find the neighborhood wonderful and exciting. For her a 2 mile walk in any direction is an enjoyable excursion, and the centrality of the neighborhood is an added bonus. For me centrality good, mixed in with several transportation options, but a >2 mile trek better not include huge highways (New York Avenue) and should have places of interest along the way. Also for me the wonderfulness rests on knowing my neighbors, something she’s cluing into. A couple of neighbor ladies stopped her on the sidewalk to interview/ interrogate/ check her out and another instance (in the middle of the day while I was at work) where she needed a tool, I told her if she didn’t find it, which neighbors were home who might lend her a plunger.
It’s been interesting getting her perspective of the neighborhood.

Where I went wrong

I had a not so great experience with a cab this week and I keep thinking back to what I could have done to make it a nicer experience. The feeling I have about the cab ride is anger, because the cabbie must have gotten his license out of cereal box or was covering for his brother who normally drives. The other problem was it wasn’t a straight shot. The Help and I had just left a jazz club nowhere near a metro and it was a little before midnight. The Help left his car at the College Park metro and the metro shuts down early on weeknights, so he had to get to the Green line and I had to get home.
So upon hopping in the cab, I ask that we go to the Shaw/Howard metro station (1.75 miles away) then my house. Maybe it was very wrong of me to think that the cabbie would know where the Shaw metro was. Fine. I told him to just go to 7th and R St. This is when the cabbie decided to argue with me and tell me there is no metro there. Gaaaaaah! Trying to explain where the friggin metro was it became clear to me that our cabbie had a basic knowledge of NW DC, he knew Connecticut Ave, and U Street and suggested those locations for dropping the Help off at those locations.
I think where I went wrong was mentioning the metro. Note, I will not do that again. I’ll just state the intersection and not even mention what’s there.
He did drop the Help off at a Green line station and I did get home, as I am very experienced in giving cabbies exceedingly clear & calm directions to my house, noting which streets he will need to turn down.
The cab system around here is sad, particularly when I think of London. I don’t just mean the cuteness of the black cabs, I mean cabbies who have the knowlege. Even the mini-cab drivers have a better clue, but then again, the mini-cab drivers have GPS.

Free Shrek showing

For some odd reason:

Film: Shrek, December 12 at Archives I

Beautiful princesses, handsome princes, witches, ogres, and fire-breathing dragons turn up in almost every fairy tale. They’re all in this computer-animated adventure, but their roles, and the surprising plot twists, are anything but expected in this fun adaptation of the children”s book by William Steig. Features the voices of Mike Meyers, Cameron Diaz, and Eddie Murphy. (2001, 90 minutes) Saturday, December 12, at noon in the McGowan Theater at Archives I.

Archives I is the National Archives downtown. I’m guessing the entrance will be the Constitution Avenue side. Too bad you can’t mix that with a little neighborhood research, as the downtown National Archives building has the censuses for DC (as well as the rest of the country), DC building permits, and a whole bunch of DC wills.

More census data- ED 104 year 1900

Don’t say the unemployed have nothing to do. My cousin whom I have tasked to give me census data in exchange for room, board, and a mictroscopic stipend is getting pressure from her unpaid internship and parents to do other stuff. But regardless I got more data, this time enumeration district 104 which covers North Capitol, parts of 1st, the alley behind 1st (so distictive it doesn’t even get a real name) unit blocks of Hanover, Bates, Q, O, and P. Here is just a taste of what I got:
46 Bates St Kraft, Annie Head White Female (born)Jul 1861 38yo Widowed (born)Maryland Ireland(parent) Ireland(parent) ???(occupation) Rented
She lived with her twin daughters aged 18, Emily & Katryn, who were hairdressers, 16 yr old daughter Mabel a saleswoman, 15 year old son Albert, a salesman for a grocery store, and 14 year old daughter Ida who was still in school. They shared 46 Bates with another family consisting of 4 people.
I still have yet to do quality control for ED 64, but it looks like I might be done with 1900 by mid January.

Friday Miscellany

PoP reported a shooting outside of Windows Cafe. An injured shooting victim was part of a Pepco crew working around 1st and Rhode Island Ave.

BACA is having December party in lieu of the usual civic association meeting this coming Monday. There will be chili and persons wanting to come are free to bring a covered dish and or a book to be donated to the library for the charter school in the Armstrong building. When? December 7th at 7pm. Where? Basement cafeteria space of the Mt. Sinai Baptist Church at 3rd and Q.

Some of y’all, like me, work for Big Brother, I mean Uncle Sam and it is CFC time. Please consider supporting two Shaw area non-profits. One being Bread for the City (CFC #61733) at 1525 7th Street NW. They have made a great effort to engage the community, not just those in need but also those who want to help. The other organization is N Street Village (CFC# 90946) at 1333 N St. I have given to them off and on over the years and they keep a clean space.

Does this mean the end of the Methodone McDonald’s?

A few days ago Scott Roberts mentioned on the Bloomingdale blog that the methodone clinic down near the messy intersection of NY and N Cap is closing. Comments to that post say that they are just going to relocate and are still open. But when they do move how much of an impact will it have on the southern TC border? And will the methadone McDonald’s be less methadoney?

Toros sauvignon

Toros sauvignon
Originally uploaded by In Shaw

Timor has a bunch of this and is selling it as cooking wine. I’ve cooked with it and it is decent. I might pick up 6-12 more bottles to round out my cooking wine supply for the winter. So ask Kim about it, he’ll hook you up with a good deal.
As far as drinking it goes, it is okay. As in ‘a little bit for the dish, a little bit for me’ wine. White wine is not my favorite but I find myself buying a lot of it for dishes that need a lot of wine as an ingredient and this fits the bill.

The past is a weird country you only get to visit via travelogues

I was chatting with my cousin about the census project. We were on the topic of occupations. Some bewilder her, like hustler and huckster and compositor. Then there are others where she was amazed at the sheer number of laundresses. Lota lota laundresses. Off the top of my head I was trying to remember the history of Washington DC domestic service, along with the history of American consumer culture and the rise of the home washing machine and indoor plumbing, which would have made a laundress unnecessary. Later, conditions changed where the “need” & “supply” for domestic servants (another large female occupation) disappeared.
She also noted the large number of people in one house, also unusual for our time, normal for then. I explained that several houses in the neighborhood were two or more units. You can see it with some of the Bates Street houses still, where there are two doors, one for the lower unit, and another for the 2nd floor unit. Regardless, there would be three generations sharing a house or a unit.
Another shocking thing I told her, not revealed in the data, but coming from the whole laundress and plumber (a biggy for white males) discussion, was the lack of running water in many neighborhood houses. Yes, not every house had running water inside. Think of all the things you use that requiring water on command (toilets, dishwasher, shower, etc) and imagine not having that. I illustrate this for her I recalled one of our late grandmother’s odd habits such as keeping a chamber pot under her bed. She had running water, but she was, eh, mentally ru-ral. The running water problem lasted up till about the late 50s or 60s in parts of Shaw.

Renting and owning in the upper TC 1900 style

This is the one chart I’ve managed how to figure out to do. I could go through the training course to figure out Access 2007, but right now I’m going to fool around with it and hope for the best. So in fooling around with the data I present the above. It is the level of ownership and renting for blacks, whites and one Chinese guy, divided by gender. Just going by heads of households, blacks outnumbered whites in the northern (1st, O St, NJ, FL & RI Aves) portion of the Truxton Circle study area, and most households rented. There were two types of ownership shown here, mortgage and free. Free, meaning free and clear, meaning no mortgage and the heads owned the house outright.
Now given that most housing is rental housing it would stand to take it that people where a bit mobile, as renting a house doesn’t tie one to a place for any longer than the lease. It will be interesting to see if I can get to the 1910 census how many people remained in the same spot for 10 years or more. I’m gonna bet very few, less than 5-10%. Looking through I know that at some point there is a large influx of North Carolina and South Carolina Afro-Americans who show up in later censuses, so far I see a lot of District natives, and people from Maryland and Virginia. And just as a note, so far no Italian borns, I’m guessing all those Italians who were around to support the Catania were living in an enumeration district we haven’t gotten to, or had not arrived. Well when I get the eastern TC data I’ll play with that too.