February 2012 Archives

Neighborhood genealogy

| 1 Comment

Right now I've fallen in love with an idea. I just wonder how long I will be in love with this idea, until I find that it just doesn't work for one reason or another. The idea is a neighborhood genealogy. Which in my mind right now is similar to the neighborhood history of the TC that I've been doing, except it is more people focused and the people and things don't have to prove any greatness or be particularly unique. It can be accepted for what it is and what it was without any pressure to conform to the great narratives.

Poking around I found a chapter in a book by essayist David K. Leff on "Neighborhood Genealogy", which as I read it is about the people who reside in the village the author lives in, their history to the place and the human relationships. In the book there are some notables who pass through. In the first paragraph of this chapter he writes:

Every neighborhood has a genealogy of engaging people, often eccentric and sometimes seemingly ordinary. The buildings that are a neighborhood's most prominent feature are merely representative of the people who occupy them. The are erected, demolished, rebuilt, sold, and passed down according to the sucesses, failures, and whims of their inhabitants. Even the plainest postwar subdivision likely has a cast of characters in its past; a farmer and his crops, an enterprising developer, soldiers returning from war, perhaps women who worked in defense plants. Like Collinsville, such places may appear ordinary, but facination pulses just below the surface of the houses and streets we see everyday.

My own work with genealogists has been limited. I hate to say that I have had a stronger bias towards the academic over the genealogist, despite the latter's greater efforts to preserve and support archives. I do remember working at the University of Florida library's microfilm department as a student when the genealogists came in to scour over the Florida census microfilm and one elderly woman was over the moon to discover a distant relative was a mule trader. An ordinary mule trader. And now, I get just as excited discovering the ordinary neighbors of the past, who lived in what is now Truxton Circle.

With a family genealogy, almost no one asks why someone does it. There is very little to prove to anyone outside of the family, unless trying for membership to the DAR. Family members are aware of the past without necessarily being trapped by it. I come from a line of Southern farmers, farm hands, slaves and sharecroppers, the Help, from loggers and lumbermen. My agricultural experience is that of one 4-H project and backyard gardening and the Help works with small slinder pieces of wood called pencils.

I've been throwing around the idea of creating an e-book based on this idea of a TC neighborhood genealogy. Mainly because the audience for this would be very, very small. But I've got to learn a little bit more about e-books (besides being able to read them on your Kindle), and if anyone knows more about them please contact me via the comments.

Changing streetscape and skyline

| No Comments
View of S St NW A view of S Street, from 6th looking towards 7th.

Census Tracts with Black Majorities

| No Comments

1934 Negro

 

As you can tell it is in black and white and there is no red. A color copier was not available. This is from the 1930-something stack of papers so it uses what I believe are the 1940 census borders and the data for most of the other maps use mid 1930s data, so I don't think this is reflecting the 1940 census.

As you can see most of Shaw is primarily Africian American. The parts above U Street and below Florida Avenue, east of 14th St. past the TC and over to the RR tracks, and north of Massachusetts Ave are majority Black. There are also other parts of DC with a black majority, Foggy Bottom, what looks like half of SW and two chunks east of the river.

Date night @ Al Crostino

| No Comments

Al Crostino
http://alcrostino.com/
1324 U Street NW  
Bus- 90, 96
Cost (with tip)- $84

Maybe for a weeknight a reservation isn't needed. But I made one anyway by calling around dinner time, being reminded why I like Opentable. The night we walked in there were a few diners at the bar, a family at a table, a few people sitting further back and us. I could see an upstairs but that wasn't being used for a slow night.

Lately, I'd been worried that I'd been getting spoiled by fine dining, only being wowed by a couple of restaurants. The joy I used to have was going somewhere, encountering a dish that I just had to have again and again, either with a return visit or an attempt to make it at home. Our meal took me back to those old joys of dining out and eating. I ordered grilled squid salad. I noticed the dressing was flavorful without being too acidic, which is a problem (according to some people) with my own salad dressing making. So I took away a lesson. The second joy of the night was the Spaghetti alla Carbonara. It's just pasta. $18 a plate pasta, but dang that was some good pasta and worth the money. It was a perfect kind of al dente. The Help had some ravioli, it was good, but I was falling in love with my plate. I tried to recreate it at home, I failed.

We've been back since and will return, until I figure out how to make perfect pasta. The $84 covered two antipasti, two pasta dishes, one glass of wine, taxes, and the tip.

Howard, Florida Ave Park, and Street Sweeping

| No Comments
Squirrel image in fenceIt was windy with a touch of friggin' cold this morning at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Florida Avenue Park. I took a couple of pictures, but not many because it was cold, and it was less cold to have my back or side to where the mayor and other speakers were speaking. Eventually a whole bunch of short little people showed up with parents and got to playing, eating Uncle Chip's cookies, and ignoring the mayor and the other speakers.
Tommy Wells, Vincent Gray, Bradley A. Thomas, Geovani Bonilla, and John Hasse are the names of some of the speakers who spoke who I could remember. Special thanks to the people at the Northwest Cooperative working with Hasse to get to this point.

Something that I hope will add to the community is the opening of the Howard Theater. I got a PR thing and let me pull out a few things of interest:
Howard Theatre will also host a weekly Sunday gospel brunch that will feature the Harlem Gospel Choir and a menu designed by consulting chef, Marcus Samuelsson (the theatre will offer a full menu designed by the chef). Blue Note Entertainment Group, the owners and operators of clubs and theaters around the world including the Blue Note Jazz Club, B.B. King Blues Club and The Highline Ballroom in New York will also be operating Howard Theatre and is dedicated to bringing quality and eclectic entertainment to the Howard stage, maintaining the theatre's amazing century-old legacy.
I see we are a 'theatre' and not a 'theater'. And Marcus Samuelson, the Swedish-Ethiopian chef, is only consulting, and the dining is not part of his restaurant group. Fine, we'll know how good or not the food and service is when that part opens. It doesn't have to be 3 stars, but it has to be good enough to be a destination.  The key in all this is that entertainment professional group is managing the venue and bringing in acts that will hopefully keep the Howard from becoming a white elephant, like the Lincoln Theater up the street.
The Howard will have a community day on April 9th and a gala fundraiser on April 12th. For the fundraiser and the first show with Wale (tix go on sale 2/27), I hope attendees will remember that there is a metro station around the corner and not try to park around here. That's can be an advertised draw, "closer to metro than the 9:30 Club."
Speaking of parking, street sweeping returns March 1st. You get to go back to moving your car 2 times a week again. Fun.

Housing and History

| No Comments

I'm looking at a Washington Post article from Jan. 23, 1972 titled "'Fair Share' Housing Beset by Problems", and there is a photo with the caption, "Dora Crowder points to fire-damaged door that was not replaced at her home at 1## Bates St. N.W."** The article starts off describing the home as having missing plaster, saggy ceilings, and rodent issues, but Mrs. Crowder said it was better than the place she lived before. The place has greatly improved since the 70s, and the 80s, and possibly the 90s. I was planning to somehow tie that in with Paul K. William's recent post about the building of Bates Street.

Yet my thoughts wander to all the various public or publically financed housing schemes that I've encountered in my general research and writing this blog. Possibly in a pile (a pile which must be in a box somewhere) there are papers, most likely from the Alley Dwelling Authority, about public housing in Washington, DC in the 30s and 40s that is so unlike what we think of public housing today. Think of Greenbelt and what it was supposed to be and what it was, and that was supposed to be replicated in DC. But something, happened. There was a war, the population of DC started going down and then jump to the housing plans of the 60s with urban renewal and the Model Cities. Then following there are various church led housing projects such as Lincoln Westmoreland and Immaculate Conception (now 1330 or 1300). There is also the building of the co-ops. Then later there is Section 8/ Housing Choice vouchers, so after 50, 70 odd years there is this hodge podge of various housing programs and plans which are still being lived out or have legacies which I wonder if anyone thought out and wondered what will this look like in 30-50 years.

In a recent WCP Housing Complex post, the Housing Authority Chief testified saying:

I don't think we have had that kind of conversation here in a meaningful way. I think that when public housing was created, it was meant to be an up and out. it was meant to be temporary, for soldiers and families. You came home from the war, and went on your merry way. And lots of different rules in the 60s and 70s changed who we housed, and how they were housed.

Honestly when I look at the housing authority papers from the 30s and 40s and the 60s, I don't really see that much forethought. I see a history of alley dwelling and slum dwelling clearance, dealing with the problems in the present and hoping that there is a gleaming future just across the ridge. 

 

** I blocked out the number because my ex-roommate lives there and I want to give a head's up.

In 1934 Downtown DC Was a Den of Iniquity

| 2 Comments

Percent of adult offenders by census tracts, 1934

This map shows the "Percentage Distribution of Home Addresses of Adult Offenders by Census Tracts, 1934" I copied a set of these for the pile. The juvie offenders map doesn't match the adult offenders. That big black splotch of adult offenders being over 40% is below New York and Massachusetts Avenues NW, and north of Pennsylvania Ave NW. Shaw, west of NJ Ave and MVSQ had 25-40% of the adult offenders, so not as bad as downtown.

Playground 2

There will be cookies.

Join Mayor Vincent C. Gray,

DPR,

5C ANC,

The Bates Area Civic Association and residents

Saturday, February 25th at 10am

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Florida Avenue Park (Florida and First St. NW)

 

Join our Community in a celebration and efforts to make the Florida Avenue Park a Community Park.

See the new play grounds, renovations and learn about the Bates Area Civic Association and Friends of The Park's plans to bring

 more activities to this beautiful park.

 

Join Us Make This a Community and Family Affair.

 

Enjoy snacks from local businesses:

Uncle Chips Cookies and Coffee

Big Bear Café

No Toilets in 1934 or 1940

| 2 Comments

This comes from a poorly marked pile and I didn't scan it, I just took a photo.

No toilets

The key is here-

No toilets

I think that census map is for 1940 but attached documents say something about 1934, so I don't know which date these are for honestly. Anyway, the dark spots show "Residental Units Without Indoor Toilets" over 4%. The area of Shaw between NJ Ave and 7th Street had over 4% of households without toilets inside. Which means you either had to pee in a pot (usually sitting under a bed) or run outside to a outhouse, or both. You can see a photo of DC 1930 era outhouses/ poopshacks here

The TC I must proudly point out had less than 2% of residental units without a indoor toilet. Same goes for  U St and Logan Circle. Considering most of the houses in the TC were built around or after 1900 (based on census info not the property tax tax database) those homes most likely had indoor plumbing, particularly the ones built by the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company and Wardman. What does 4% look like? If you are in a bunch of rowhouses, count how many townhouses are on just your block or square. If you are in Old City, more than likely more than 50 homes. Now imagine 2 of those homes where the residents dump their human waste in the backyard.

Ain't history fun?

Stuff People FROM DC Say

| No Comments
Yes, the Sh*t People Say vids have been overdone, but this one is really funny because it's done by professional comedians from the Riot Act in Penn Quarter. It was shot in Penn Quarter and U Street. I've watched this about 4 times and my favorite parts is near the end when the cab stops and the lines, "where all these white people come from?"Warning- lota bad words, enjoy.

Formistone- Fake Stone on Baltimore and DC houses

| No Comments
Paul K. Williams has reprinted his article about the fake stone that covers many a DC and Baltimorean home.

Other Stuff-
The Florida Avenue Park and Shaw Tavern are open. Head over to EastShaw's website as there is paperwork regarding Shaw Tavern over there. And for more great things like the FL Park, BACA residents need to ask the mayor to fund a small area plan.

Pizza & Coffee

| No Comments

Valentine's Day I did not feel like cooking up a romantic meal. I wasn't in the mood to cook. So I sent the Help out for pizza. He picked up a "deluxe" pizza from Italy Pizza over at 634 Florida Avenue. We sat on the couch, ate pizza and watched a movie where stuff blows up. Pizza was good, the movie was mindless, a good time was had.

Anyway, I got an email today about Italy Pizza and a new product they are offering, coffee. Since neither I nor the Help drink coffee, I'm going to copy and paste what I got:

Italy Pizza at 634 Florida Ave in Shaw/Ledroit Park is excited to begin serving coffee in the mornings and throughout the day.

We will be serving coffee and espresso beverages starting at 7am including regular coffee, lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas.

We are planning to sell bagels and other breakfast items starting next week.

We are proud to feature Gimme! Coffee, a small-batch roasting company with locations in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and upstate NY. To our knowledge no other place in DC carries their coffee. 


We are committed to providing high quality coffee and will be keeping prices very reasonable-- less than $2 for a 12 oz coffee and less than $3 for a 12 oz latte.

I'm currently a manager/barista for Modern Times Coffeehouse @ Politics & Prose Bookstore on Connecticut Ave, but I'm helping Cenk (the owner of Italy Pizza) set up his coffee service and will be a barista there in the mornings. I live two blocks away and have been a big fan of Italy Pizza for the past couple years since they opened.

Feel free to come over for a free sample. I'll be here M-F 7am-11am.

Thanks,
Anna P.

Into The Dollhouse

| No Comments
Friends of the blog banished?productions will begin perfomances of their new work, Into the Dollhouse TODAY at the Flashpoint media lab with pay-what-you-can tickets for their preview performance. You can find more information here.

As reported in the Washington Post, Dec. 7th, 1932, The headline read, " Horrified- Doctor Finds 30 Hunger Marchers in Vacant House, All Ill." The vacant house in question was at 123 Bates "street northwest".

Bates is an easy street to find in ProQuest, of course sometime one comes up with false positives as it is also a last name.

Back to the strikers, they apparently were all suffering from the flu, influenza. Dr. Benjamin Newhouse was called to Bates Street by an unnamed friend and found the people in 'horrible' condition. ""The house was unheated, " he said, "and all the people were sick and running temperatures, Five of then were in serious condition."" The Resue Squad was called as were the leaders of the hunger march who said they'd try to get the marchers to the homes of sympathizers who could care for them.

Five minutes of Google research revealed that the hunger march was a communist effort. From an issue of Class Struggle, Vol. 3 No. 1 Jan. 1933, the march was reported as so:

We then proceeded the following morning to our alternative, the Capital of the United States, Washington D.C. We arrived within the city limits of Washington but here the police were prepared for us. All the trucks were stopped on New York Avenue by lines and lines of police. We got out of our trucks. It was about three o'clock in the afternoon of Sunday December 4th and as the afternoon wore on it became clear that the police had the upper hand. Trucks from all parts of the country joined us in our encampment; up to midnight trucks came from the West from Minnesota, Seattle, San Diego, etc. This was the first time delegates had come from the extreme parts of the country. The 3,000 delegates were all virtually imprisoned. Police in front of us, police on the embankment openly displaying their machine guns, tear gas, guns and clubs on all sides. This was the situation. We were all bottled up. The owner of the Washington Auditorium had received instructions from the Federal authorities not to rent us his hall and he told the committee if they would withdraw the telegram he would rent it to us. But they certainly would not.

So there we were surrounded by the armed forces of Washington exposed to the cold, no water, no toilets. The government did not have to shoot us. They used nature against us.

In Washington the Party bureacrats suddenly pop up. Herbert Benjamin by aeroplane-Isreal Amter, James Ford, Reynolds, all looking very immaculate, well-fed and perfectly happy. Where had these men been when we slept on the floors; when we faced the police they were not there, but suddenly they come out of nowhere and proclaim themselves leaders. After taking the vanguard and exposing them to all the elements which resulted in the death of two delegates, 15 cases of pneumonia, 20 cases of influenza, sore throats, fevers and colds, these so-called leaders by what right are they the leaders of the masses? Who are they to take the lives of workers in their hands? Have they ever been in struggle themselves?

ProQuest and some house history

| 4 Comments

If you work or study at an institution that has a ProQuest subscription try this to discover information about your home.

Search the historic newspapers and limit it to the Washington Post. Then search your address in quotes, leaving off the NW or NE or whathave you. If your street address has changed names, it happens, use those too. If you are on a numbered street switch up searches with it spelled out, such as 'first' or 'third'. Also for third street, try '3d' and 2d for Kirby. You can try using your "square #" and maybe lot for searching real estate transactions, though the problem with that is lot numbers do change, a lot.

Prepare yourself for finding unpleasantries, embarrassments, and things that at the time were horribly serious that we can look back and laugh at. I found some dull things associated with my house, classified ads for occupants looking for domestic work. I found a small fire had occurred where the occupant badly burned her hands and another occupant at another time was badly beaten over on 7th Street.

Construction on 9th and P

| 1 Comment

I took these photos a couple of weeks ago. I passed by today and I see that the pace has picked up a tad so these images are out of date. This is supposed to be a Burmese restaurant Mandalay, which I hope is still coming to 9th and P, though it is a good year after the proposed opening

9th and P

 

Building at 9th and P

 

9th & P

 

Co-ops

| 1 Comment

I mentioned the audit of the 2nd NW Co-op to a friend and she responded, "that isn't right." And we had a difference of opinion. She thought that once you make a certain amount, you should leave and open up a space for someone else. I don't think people should be punished for economic success.

Also co-ops are weird things. There are plenty of them in New York City, where I gather people have a better sense of what they are all about. Co-ops are not like condos. My aunt owns a condo, she owns her unit, she has a mortgage on her unit, she owns the walls inside her unit. Co-ops are where you don't own your unit. Your membership grants you the right to rent your unit.

In my last semester of college I lived in a student co-op right off campus. I didn't own any part of the co-op. I just had the right to live there and the responsibilities of cooking and cleaning in the co-op kitchen. I also signed something saying they could bug me for money in the future. The rent was really cheap, and they were awfully close to campus, so I stayed there.

But back to non-student co-ops. There are non-equity co-operatives, where members do not get any equity in the co-op. This seems like a disincentive to make great improvements or updates. But the idea behind that is to keep units affordable. So they wouldn't reach market rate rents because there is no incentive for the co-op board to make those investments that would justify higher rents. Yet the rents currently being charged are crazy low considering members have parking.

Oh yeah, there is parking, precious, precious parking. Ever notice that most of the low income, subsidized places in Shaw have big ole parking lots? Gibson, both NW Co-ops, 1330, etc. A parking space is worth about $200 a month around here. Cars really shouldn't be subsized any more than all cars in the US are already. But that's another topic for another day.

1921- Death and neighborhood quarrels

| No Comments

In August 1921 a man named John M. Curtain, killed himself in the 2nd Police Precinct jail cell with his necktie. When he was alive he lived with his wife and three daughters at 126 Bates Street NW. The newspaper article going on about his death focused mainly on how the police (brought on by an inquiry by his 12 year old daughter) discovered the body. But what I noticed was this:

Quarrels Blamed for Deed

Neighborhood quareels are belived by the police to be the cause of Curtin's act. A "for sale" sign that was placed yesterday in the front yard of Curtin's home, which he owned, upset him considerably, the police say, and add that he brooded over continual neighborhood squabbles.

Personal Pet Peeve- Poorly locked bikes

| 1 Comment
Poorly locked bike

The only lock is just on the wheel.

2nd NW Co-op Audited and found in violation

| 2 Comments
Looking at NW Co-Op

I believe this is only about the Northwest Co-op between 5th, NJ, O and N Streets NW, not the NW Co-op in Truxton Circle. They both have nearly the same name and so there could be some confusion.

The usual Shaw activists have given an audit report put out by HUD's Inspector General ( see http://www.hudoig.gov/Audit_Reports/2012-PH-1005.pdf ) some pixels on the Shaw listserv pointing out a few features of the report pointing out some of the flaws of the system regarding subsidized low income rental housing and oversight. According to the report HUD's IG got a complaint from their hotline regarding the NW Co-op's failure to identify and remit excess income and the Co-op's problem with nepotism.

The audit found that the Co-op was undercharging rent and not paying much attention to occupants' household income, which in some cases is well above what I and the Help, and a couple of people on the Shaw listserv make. I really want to go off on a tangent of how we assume the poverty of some people and the wealth of others, but I won't.

On page 10 of the report, the annual income ranges for the sample of 25 Co-op members ranged from $39K to $127K. On page 19, the last page, of the report there is a table listing the incomes of the 25 (no names), what they paid in rent and what they should have paid in rent. I found this very shocking. Even what HUD believes they should pay is horribly low. Somebody please explain to me why someone making $129,905 should only have to pay $691 a month in rent! I'd love to see the formula of how one of the lowest incomes audited of $39,185 was to pay $759 a month. What they actually paid was $495 or $592. In all, calculating the years 2006-2010, the Co-op owes HUD $192, 977.

Then again it is a co-op, and co-ops (regardless of being subsidized) are different. Are these people part owners of the co-op or straight renters? If their agreement with HUD is that they should charge a certain amount based on income in exchange for a favorable interest rate or other subsidies, they should have done it.

I'm not even going to bother touching the neopotism thing.

Don't reinvent the wheel for house histories

| 1 Comment

Paul K. Williams, the House History Map has three cool maps he's created with Google maps.

Two of them plots out the addresses of the different house & building histories he's done for NW DC, and the other for the rest of the city. The third map is of places that have appeared in InTowner's 'Scenes from the past' since April 2001. For the house and building histories you'd just have to contact him through his website WashingtonHistory.com. He also wrote that "I share any and all reports and file copies in the local archives." So I gather it may be with the MLK or the Historical SocietyThe few links from the third map brought up a PDF of the InTowner article.

For more recent history, and probably not so nicely put together, I discovered that the DC Office of Zoning has a database where I can search for things that have come across their plate by case file, street or square. For fun I threw in Square 0521 in the TC. I got BZA case # 13942 with Yong Joon and Young Ja Park . In 1983 their case was approved for the following:

Application No. 13942, of Yong Joon and Young Ja Park, pursuant to Sub-section 8207.2 of the Zoning Regulations for a special exception under Sub-section 7104.2 to change a non-conforming use from grocery store, first floor and basement for storage, to a delicatessen and grocery store, first floor and basement for storage, in an R-4 District at the premises 301 P Street, N.W., (Square 521, Lot 40).

And I was able to look at documents submitted. Oh, DC.gov I just want to hug you. Slowly but surely you are becoming a more open government.

SOS- Bundy Dog Park Needs Your Help!!

| 1 Comment

From Thomas Petty (motpet at comcast dot net)

Dear Neighbors,

The Friends of Bundy Dog Park need your help, and all you have to do is send an email.

On Wednesday, Feb. 8, a disgruntled person called someone in the Mayor's office to complain about the dog park being constructed by KIPP School as a part of its Bundy Field improvements. As a result of that one complaint, construction of the entire project -- athletic field for the children as well as the dog park -- was suspended. After a flurry of phone calls and messages, the Mayor's office suggested last night that the City would not interfere with the project, and construction began again this morning. But this may not be the last time that someone tries to use influence to impede this project. We need to rally a broad base of support!

The Bundy Dog Park has been approved, unanimously, by the local ANC, and is supported by DC Councilmembers Tommy Wells and Phil Mendelson. And, importantly, no public funds are being used to construct or maintain this dog park [more on that later].

What we need to do RIGHT NOW to keep this project going is to show our government the support the Bundy Dog Park has in the neighborhood. I am asking you to send an email to Steve Glaude, Steve.Glaude@dc.gov, Francisco Fimbres, francisco.fimbres@dc.gov, Councilmember Tommy Wells, TWells@dccouncil.us, and/or Councilmember Phil Mendelson (who is meeting with the Mayor this afternoon), pmendelson@dccouncil.us, (and please bcc me, so I can collect a record of support emails), saying

"I am a tax-paying resident of the Shaw neighborhood, and I support the dog exercise area being constructed at Bundy Park, and appreciate the City's continued support for the revitalization of Bundy Athletic Field."

That's it -- just cut and paste. Embellish if you want, . . . put it in your own good words, . . but, really, the simpler, the better. If you don't think your one email will matter, keep in mind that it took only one phone call from one person to stop this project. So, let's get keep it going!

Thank you, and please forward this email to anyone you think would support the Bundy Dog Park.

Thank you,
Tom Petty
 
***UPDATE***  I got positive responses from Fimbres and Wells that make it seem things will be back on track.
***2/16/12 UPDATE****
Copy & Pasted from Tom Petty's email:
Dear Neighbors,

Thank you for the support that you have expressed for the Bundy Field dog park.  I'm sure the outpouring of neighborhood support and activism contributed largely to something we have never had in our years-long effort to bring a dog park to Shaw - the support of the Mayor.  Yesterday, on February 15, the Mayor's Office formally announced its support, expressly for a "park for pet owners" at Bundy Field -

Dear Shaw Neighborhood Residents,

The Executive Office of the Mayor and Office of Neighborhood Engagement is proud to announce the Gray Administration's support for the new Bundy Field construction and amenities, which will include a park for pet owners among other fixtures. We understand that this took quite an effort to accomplish, hence we sincerely thank all of those involved in making this project a reality.

We hear that the project will be completed by March 2012, which will be just in time for the beginning of the Spring and Cherry Blossoms Season.  Therefore, please enjoy!

Sincerely,

The Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Engagement on behalf of Mayor Vincent Gray

You may have noticed that the turf is now down, and completion of the Bundy Field improvements by Kipp School is only weeks away.  There is a lot of work that must be done before the dog exercise area ("DEA") is ready to be used - and that work has to be done, and funded, by us, the people who will be using and enjoying the dog park.

A few of us have been looking into what needs to be done, and we would like to get together to meet with neighbors who will commit to taking an active role in caring for the dog park.   All of you are invited to my house, at 432 Q Street, NW, at 5:00 on Monday, February 20, for a brief get together.  If you want to attend but can't make it, please continue to keep in touch via email.  

Some things to consider -

v  Kipp School has generously funded the construction of the dog park, at considerable expense.  They have asked dog owners to contribute to some of the costs unique to its use as a dog park - specifically, the installation of second fence and gate, so that dogs off leash cannot run out when the exterior gate is opened, and a couple of new concrete steps where the gates are located.   The total cost for these items is about believed to be about $3,500, and $2,000 has already been contributed.   So, . . . we have to raise an additional $1,500 to reimburse Kipp. 

v  Two dog waste cans will have to be installed in the DEA, with a continuing supply of waste bags.  We have contacted DoodyCalls, a pet waste removal service.  We are still waiting to receive a formal price quote, but we believe the costs will be as follows:  (i) the initial cost of installing two waste cans is expected to be approximately $1,100; (ii) some kind of storage will be required for supplies (we have priced outdoor storage benches from HomeDepot at $110 each); and (ii) the weekly waste can removal service is expected to be approximately $25 ($100 per month) - and who wants that job!!.  So, . . . we have to raise an additional $1.500 to buy and install the necessary equipment, and we have to commit to pay a monthly fee of approximately $100. 

v  Thanks to our ANC Commissioner Kevin Chapple, a new public waste can has been installed by DPW near the entrance to the DEA on P Street, so we will not have to incur that cost.  Thank you, Kevin!

v  Kipp has agreed to allow neighbors to donate to the dog park maintenance by making donations to Kipp (so they can be tax deductible) and Kipp will then spend the money.  We are working out the details of that.

v  Of course, we must have rules.   DC Municipal Regulations actually mandate certain rules that must be posted and enforced for all dog parks.  I am attaching a sample of some proposed rules for the Bundy Field dog park - comments are invited. 

v  Someone - actually, a lot of someone's - need to take responsibility for unlocking and locking the DEA every morning and night. 

I'm sure there are things that we are missing, and things that can't be anticipated until after the Bundy Field dog park is up and running.  But, . . . we have to start thinking, and organizing NOW!   Please come out to help - it will be easy if a lot of us cooperate - and forward this email to anyone whom you think will support the Bundy Field dog park.  

Thank you,

Tom Petty

Insulation is key

| No Comments
I finally got my electric bill. Ever since the gas furnace died last month, I've been wondering what ye olde PEPCO bill would look like. Well it showed up and it isn't that bad. Well there is some bad. It's bad in that I've used up more KWH than I think I've ever used before. We used 1400 KWH in 28 days, that is more than the 950 KWH we used in the middle of August of 2011. Last year we only used 670 KWH, so 730 KWH I'll blame on the three space heaters (2 oil filled radiator types & 1 heater fan) we have heating the house. My personal goal is to try to use less electricity. Thank goodness it has been a mild winter.
And thank goodness we have a well insulated house. If you have an old house, and many of you do, those things can keep heat like a sieve as apparently they didn't believe in insulation in eighteen-blah-dee-blah. Or they did believe in it, as the void between the walls. Insulation is horribly unsexy, so it is possible when a 100 year old house gets flipped or renovated by an absentee landlord, things like insulation (and newspapers stuffed into crevices don't count) get's skipped because you can't see it.
The houses on my row were all built at the same time, so talking with some neighbors, seeing some renovations and my own experience tells me, these houses were built with no insulation. When I renovated my house in 2007 I had fiberglass stuffed everywhere, except the party wall between us and B & IT. Another neighbor, when renovating used the foamy stuff. The only problem with that is it can over expand. Other neighbors in rentals that haven't been gutted have to freeze or blast the heat.

O street Market & Florida Ave Park

| No Comments
The O Street Market promises a bigger and better Giant in twenty-some odd months. With it lots of sharing and caring. Ok, not so much caring, but car and bike sharing.

At Monday's BACA meeting I asked when will the park be open. What I meant was normal time, 7:30 or 8, or dawn. One answer was, it will be open some mild weather day on a weekday when Mayor Gray can come out, cut a ribbon and have his photo taken doing so. Also the Friends of the Florida Ave Park are looking to partner up with other organizations, parents, and whomever that will keep the park "nice" and a positive part of the community. In other words, not a bum hangout. Speaking of, apparently the liquor store across the street from the park is losing business because all the construction sent away the clientele. This is why the entrance is way on the other side of the park, and why the new play equipment is mostly not comfortable for sleeping off a stupor.

In an alternate Mood universe

| No Comments
Blogger ShawDeservesBetter has an interesting post about MOOD Lounge and an article in the Ethopian Times, where the owners claim of being harrassed and unfairly accused of violating noise complaints. The blogger decides to go over the article bit by bit pointing out the errors. The article writer also throws in a veiled accusation of racism. Ah, DC wouldn't be DC if you didn't throw around the race card.

It happens, almost every month, same Bat time, same Bat channel. And yet, surprise.

http://batesareacivicassociation.org/2012/02/05/baca-meeting-monday-feb-6-at-7p/

Documents may be viewed and downloaded at the BACA Website

 

Notice of Community Meeting

Monday, February 6, 2012

7pm

Mt. Sinai Church on 3rd St and Q St NW

 

 

7:00 PM          Meeting called to Order

 

Agenda Items:

 

1.       Public Safety - 5th District Metropolitan Police Department to address:

a.       Recent violent crimes in the neighborhood (armed robberies and assaults)

b.      Home burglaries

c.       MPD Response

d.      Safety precautions/tips

 

2.       Economic Development

a.       Update on Excess Schools Award process (J.F. Cook and Langston)

b.      Small Area Plan

c.       Update Neighborhood Vision for Area

                                                               i.      Businesses

                                                             ii.      Schools

                                                            iii.      Traffic

d.      Attracting Developers

e.      Petition to Mayor and Council to Fund The Small Area Plan

f.        Supporting Local Businesses

                                                               i.      Revive Catering and Carry Out

                                                             ii.      Uncle Chips Cookies

g.       North Capitol Main Street - Store Front Improvement

 

3.       Friends of The Park

a.       Grand Opening Celebration

b.      Park Spring and Summer Activities

c.       Grants and fund raising planning

 

4.       Community Concerns and Updates

a.       Requests for Services

b.      ANC Support

c.       BACA petition/resolution

 

Our Business of the Month is Uncle Chips Cookies and Café

BACA DUES PAYING MEMBERS COME GET YOUR COUPON FOR A FREE COOKIE

1514 N. CAPITOL STREET NW

HOURS OF OPERATIONS M-F 7AM - 2PM, WEEKENDS 9AM - 2PM

Spite

| 1 Comment
Lydia DePillis of the Housing Complex asks why does Shiloh Baptist Church holds on to its vacant properties? Just to spite you. Nah, they are internally disorganized and doesn't speak with one voice. Also give credit for the properties they did sell on the corner of 8th and Q.

Rumor- Vp Biden & Sec.State Clinton in Shaw

| No Comments

On the Shaw listserv that the night of 2/1/12 there were a bunch of White House Cabinet members having dinner in a private home near 6th & P.

Awesome, pie after work

| No Comments
The blog Triangle reports that Dangerously Delicious Pies will be coming to 901 7th St NW.

Spike in crime

| No Comments

It has occurred to me that the Help and I were really lucky. There was another robbery in the TC and as we had come home from an evening out the police were just responding. In our case we were saved by a jazz band. A woman was robbed by two men yesterday (2/1/12) around 8:55pm near the alley that is between 4th and NJ and Richardson. We were going to catch the bus back home but on our way to the bus stop ran into a musician we knew and wound up staying to hear him play 3-4 pieces. If not for that delay, we may have been unlucky.

What gets me is there was a patrol car on that corner a few hours before.

Last night's unfortunate mugging is just one of several robberies and break ins that have occurred in and near Truxton in the past couple of weeks. Channel 7 reported the armed robbery spree that happened on 3rd and 4th Streets on Tuesday. There was the armed rape-robbery in 3D last week that has worried many around here.

The police are giving the usual advice:

We believe that the community can assist us in this fight by:

keeping cell phones, i-pads, i-phones, smart phones, and all other electronic items out of sight as you walk;

staying alert to your surroundings at all times;

keeping your car doors locked while pumping gas;

and, perhaps most importantly, calling 911 to report ANY suspicious activity in your neighborhood.

I'd add don't fiddle with your electronics at the bus stop either. While walking home, I noticed a young man taking a keen interest in a man sitting alone at the NJ and R bus stop, but his friends who were 1/2 a block ahead of him, called him to "come on". The man was totally engrossed in his smartphone and not 'aware of his surroundings.'