March 2012 Archives

Clean up this Saturday

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Wondering how to be a good neighbor or just want to meet others in the neighborhood? Get involved with the clean up sponsored by BACA this Saturday.

Saturday, March 31st
Starting at 10am, @ P and First ST NW

Trash Pick Up Sites:
P and First St NW
First and Florida Ave (park)
P and Third ST NW
TRASH BAGS ONLY
NO BULK PICK UP

Unfortunately I'll miss this one due to a moving project. When I have done clean ups in the past, I've done a bit of P Street then moved over to my own block to pick up more trash. There isn't a lot because neighbor Brian does a lot of year round cleaning. I do hit part of the alley. Then drag the yellow (they are usually bright yellow) trash bag to one of the pick up sites.

Where in the Hood is the Trashy Truck

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Junky Truck

This picture was taken back in August 2011, and this was not my first sighting of this truck. The folding bookcase holding back the trash initially caught my eye, because I had one many years ago. Also I confused this brown truck with someone else's bigger brown truck, so I thought in a week or so, the trash that filled it would find it's way to the dump and the bed of the truck would be empty. No.

It has been six months and this trashy truck keeps showing up. Sometimes it is near the store on the 400 blk of Q St, sometimes the 1600 blk of 4th or 3rd St. And the trash looks the same. A few weeks ago I spotted it near the mosque on the 1500 blk of 4th Street with a flat tire, thinking finally, it will go away. But I've been told that the tire is no longer flat and haunting another Truxton Circle Street.

So I propose a game. Not as educational as Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. Not as fun as Where in the World is Matt Lauer. I propose Where in the Hood is the Trashy Truck. I have been told, and cannot confirm, that drugs are hidden on the truck. So if you're a junkie it may make for a fun treasure hunt. Back in the bad old days the friendly neighborhood drug dealers would stash drugs among the trash on the streets and in the alleys. With the neighborhood cleaning up, I gather there are fewer trashy hiding places these days.

I would love to know what's the story with this truck if you happen to know. If you don't know, then tell where in the hood is it?

9 going on 10

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Yesterday I mentioned that the InShaw blog is nine years old and next year it will be ten and I'll move on to something else. The something else will be slightly work/profession/living related.

The Shaw I encountered when I moved to the neighborhood in 2000 and bought a house a year later is different. Everyday, it does get better. There are the odd two steps back when crime spikes up or something falls through, but for me 2012 is way better than 2000 or 2002. Way better, except for the getting older part.

In 2000 I lived in a cheap $525 a month 2brd basement apartment in Logan Circle. The Whole Foods on P was just 3 months old and the place was gentrifying like crazy when I moved out. I'm gonna say Logan, west of 9th, is pretty much gentrified, but there are still pockets of poverty that residents can agonize over if or when subsidies run out or the city decides that they can squeeze more taxes out of an area if there are people and activities that can give more than it takes in city services.

In 2001 I bought over in the Truxton Circle part of Shaw. I bought at a good time because the real estate market was just about to get crazy and unaffordable for a single woman working at a GS-9 level salary. My street was changing. Vacant houses were getting sold. Section 8 landlords were deciding to cash out. Flippers were flipping. When I first moved in I could count the number of whites on my unit block on my fingers. Now, I can't do that because of the numbers and I don't know how I'd count the biracial couples of which I am now one.

In central Shaw (the part that isn't U Street and along 9th and east) there is still much room for improvement and change. Improvement and change, as they are not the same thing. Hopefully the plans and construction on 7th and parts of 9th near the Convention Center will finally, finally after forty some odd years, will build over the rubble of the 1968 riots. Hopefully the big shiny building over the Shaw Metro on S Street will usher in a whole bunch of other commerical development that will roll down 7th and the O Street Market pick up the baton so that the Lincoln-Westmorland, in between, blends into the background.

My own Truxton Circle part of Shaw, which is mostly residential, may take much longer. Besides, our little townhomes keep this place relatively affordable and gives me hope that when our family size changes we may be able to stay in the neighborhood I have come to love.

As for my blogging I'm thinking of writing and reflecting as a person in the archival/library profession. The Help and I are in the same line of work, so we'd share what we talk about in the car and at home. I do like writing everyday, but the major change, the interesting changes in the hood that I've written about, have occured or are better covered by other bloggers. So over the next year I'll start to feed that other blog and a project I'd like to turn into an e-book, the history of Truxton Circle from 1880 to whenever. But more about that later. 

InShaw is 9 years old

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I'm sure someone else's neighborhood blog is older than mine, but this month marks somewhat the 9 year mark. Next year, is 10 and I'm thinking I should put a bow on this personal project, as it is at it's heart a personal blog.

I haven't dug terribly deep into my archives, but the first post is a crime report on March 18, 2003 found on blogspot and my server. I'm sure I've written something before that but I apparently didn't save it and if I did it's backed up on a CD somewhere, maybe. I really need to clean up some files on the server, but I know I'll keep putting that off.

Anyway, 9 years. I do like to look back at some of the old posts and remember how far this neighborhood has come and how far it has fallen short. In July of 2003 I had dreams of Shaw. North Capitol still lacks the retail desired and 7th St is just on the cusp, but as of today 3/27/2012 it isn't there yet. What is nearby, I couldn't have predicted. Yes, most of it is in Bloomingdale, but little matter. I love the Bloomingdale Farmer's Market near the Big Bear. When it is up, I love where I live more. I like the Big Bear, it is a wonderful asset, and who could have imagined a little coffeeshop at 1st & R would have changed the blocks surrounding it so much that Realtors mention it by name. Who could have imagined a guy with a couple of sparse shelves and a wonderful dairy selection, would still be here with all his quirks (side door, Kuma on the floor, etc) and a new name in four years, adding to the wonderful-ness of the hood. In our home we still call it Timor.

I began this blog to inform friends about how things were going with that house I bought over in that section of NW that no one seemed to know about (that's why I believe the crime post couldn't have been the first). I also figured it would be helpful to a few neighbors.

There is more to say, but I'll keep it for tomorrow.

Bistro Bohem- Call Ahead

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Bistro Bohem

We should have called ahead when we went to Bistro Bohem on Saturday. It is a very small place and got crowded fast. There were a few empty tables but we were told that other parties had called in ahead for reservations. Which I will do now that I know. The Bistro does have an Open Table page but it is not activated so you have to call (202) 735-5895.

We took to the common table where we stood while munching on small plates. This was welcomed since coming back from vacation where restaurants like to ply you with oversized plates of mediocre food. It was good. The Help really liked the soup. I enjoyed the lentil salad and a glass of wine. We did manage to get a table after a group left and gazed upon the street towards the LeDroit Park gate. There was a little snafu with our order, but the wait staff person was very nice and fixed the situation. With a couple of small plates and one glass of wine our bill came to about $61 for a party of 2.

It is still early and it may take a month or so before they find their rhythm, and I believe they will do well at 600 Florida Avenue NW.

Vacation

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Blue Sky & Palms

I'm going on vacation. So comments will take a while to be approved.

My cousin who has housesat for us and cat sat for our neighbors, will once again guard the house against errant mail and fliers that may randomly appear. There is a vacation mail stop, but strangely, mail still shows up. So do takeout menus and in this season, political literature. Her rates are reasonable (I think), so if you're looking for a house-cat sitting, plant waterer, who can move your stick shift car for street cleaning while you're gone, contact me.

Opening, almost there, in mothballs, and I dunno

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Today, is March 15th and Bistro Bohem is supposed to have its regular opening.

Across the street from the Bistro is Shaw Tavern. Last I checked they were in the process of trying to get a liquor license, this time without the problem person who botched up the last attempt, and probably (very likely) botched up the prospects of ....

Engine Company 12. The Eckington blog has a photo of the incomplete interior. For those of you just joining us in this drama, a certain manager who may be called May was dealing with both the Shaw Tavern and Engine Company 12. There is no need to repeat what went on with Shaw Tavern, and eckingtondc recapps May's missteps with EC12.

Third and Florida may not be getting the Snitcheye Wine Bar, but something's going on over there, but I don't know what. A dumpster trailer usually hints at something. See photo below.

3rd St NW

7th and T in the morning

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7th and T

Consumption Junction, 1936

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Consumption Junction

What's your function?

Hacking and coughing and

Infecting my friends like

(to the tune of Conjunction Junction)

I was at a small function this weekend talking with other history people and I got on the topic of a paper I wrote for a class back in grad school where I looked at deaths in Salem, MA in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. A lot of people died of consumption, which currently is called TB. So with that I'll put out the last of the color photos of 1940s Census Bureau maps and 1930something data. This is data regarding deaths from tuberculosis in 1936. It was really bad in the the central part of the city. That is not good considering it is an airborne disease. 

Death Rate from TB, 1936

Blagdens Alley and Nailors Court

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I don't have good notes for the bit below. I'm guessing it is from the Alley Dwelling Authority or some other government agency. My other guess was this was part of getting a handle on the alleys in order to deal with the "slums".Alley Squares

March Garden Post

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Mache, carrots and spring onion

I haven't posted much lately about the garden. I know it is still Winter, so one would think there isn't much to talk about, but due to the very mildness of the weather, things have been going quite well.

The image above is what I hauled in for dinner. These are carrots that should have been harvested some time ago. The big fat one, had a cavity near the bottom going up through the center, which I just cut around. Same thing for the split spot on the other carrot. I used them for part of the salad and part of the soupish base for the chicken dish I just made up. The greens made up the salad for two. They are corn salad (mache) and black seeded simpson (I think, they reseeded themselves). The onion is spring onion, but I need to harvest all my onions and leeks as there is some strange tiny black bug all over the green parts. I'd rather wash and eat the plants than concoct a pesticide to just keep the plants around longer.

Elsewhere, there is a fava bean plant in a pot in the backyard that has been chugging along and managed to survive. Two fava bean plants in two different pots survived. A third plant died, but unlike the others it was a little less sheltered. There are flowers on them, and I hope than I can get a few beans to recreate a shellfish bisque with fresh favas.

There are some peas I planted, in a pot, back in the Fall or early Winter. In the past few months of Winter, I been cutting off some of the vines for adding to a stirfry.

Spring salads are popping up and I need to start harvesting the little microgreens to make room so that the remaining seedlings grow up to become plain old salad greens. The winter salad, of which the photographed greens are a part, are begining to show signs that they are going to go to seed. So I need to grab the corn salad that hasn't, and make salads out of them. The arugula has gone to flower, and so I'll let it reseed itself. Once gone to flower the arugula leaves are too much of a bother to me, but the flowers are a nice peppery addition to a salad.

Bloomingdale History Project

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Those fine folks on the northern side of Florida Avenue, are discovering their history through the Library of Congress and other mediums, but so far, newspapers available through the LC. Give them a look see.

http://bloomingdalehistoryproject.blogspot.com/

History is everywhere.

What's going on up near the 600 blk of FL Ave

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Left for LeDroit and East Shaw DC both report two different things going on in the general area of the 600 block of Florida Ave NW.

LfLD has photos and descriptions of work going on on T Street over by the Howard Theater. But beyond just digging up former streetcar tracks, there is something about something that looks like a small park. Look at the pictures and figure it out.

At 600 Florida Avenue, Bistro Bohem, will open on March 15th. EastShaw DC reports that the hours will be 5 p.m. to midnight for the week.  Brunch is Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Boards coming off near Convention Center

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 1000 blk of 7th

I noticed the glass 2nd floor windows yesterday. Today I noticed this. For so long that building has been covered in black painted boards. This is a joy to see. I hope this bodes well for the other boarded up buildings near the Convention Center.

So far so good

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Fake grass in park

The Florida Avenue park, last time I passed by it in the day, is being used as hoped. Last time I passed by it, it was dark and the park, thankfully, was empty. When I last went by it during the day I ran into a friend and her children who were enjoying the park, running around, doing kid stuff. I noticed parents with strollers using the hard surface to go around, as were others using the red circles to excerise.

When I was in the park there were only a few more minutes of sunlight and I noticed most people were on the western end of the park. The area closer to the liquor store was less populated. One can leave the park from that end, but you can come in from there.

Wednesday Misc

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There are a number of wonderful short audio snippets/ oral histories at Portrait City, looking at some LeDroit/Bloomingdale citizens and personalities. Hollywood is a personality I don't what else you can call this literally colorful (have you ever seen him in all neutral colors?) man.

HT: Left For LeDroit

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PoP reports that the 3rd and Florida location for Snitcheye fell through. Oh, well. I don't know what's up with the owner of the property, who also owns a property on 4th St NW that has been under construction for a very long time.

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The Housing Complex mentions the Union Market over at the Florida Ave warehousey area may have a new look. Looks kinda yuppified to me.

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Not related to anything, I spotted Ken Burns in Penn Quarter yesterday. Nobody else I mentioned this to seemed to care.

DC had experienced various housing and urban renewal programs and I was wondering if it is possible to actually judge a project, particularly the Shaw School Urban Renewal Area project, which began roughly, in the 60s after the larger Northwest Urban Renewal Area project was changed and broken into parts. And that points out a problem, a project may start out as one thing, get re-evaluated and changed. There are also other factors relating to changes in personnel and governance, I'm thinking of the impact of the Home Rule Act on federally funded and headed urban renewal projects.

The goal was slum clearance. Was the slum cleared? One, you could argue if the area was a slum in the first place. I got in a binder that contains some very pale photocopies of a survey of the type of housing found in Shaw, and various other surveys documenting the number of "substandard" housing units found on each square. Like arguing 'slum', 'substandard' can be disagreed on as well. Second, who do you credit? Yes, the government poured all sorts of money into the area, but the rioters' fires and vandalism removed plenty of buildings, which may have taken tons of paperwork to approve the demolition. The rioting also changed the atmosphere, the tone and the direction of the project. Third, when do you know a project is done? The National Capital Planning Commission still references the old Shaw maps and outline. Is it done now? I don't know. I'm guessing maybe, yes.

There is a BACA meeting tonight

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Meeting Agenda

7 PM, Mt. Sinai Church 3rd and Q ST NW

 

I.          Meeting Called to Order             Geovani Bonilla , President

 

II.         Review of Last Meeting Minutes                         David Hall, Secretary

 

III.                Treasurer Report                           Margaret Stevens

 

            7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

             

IV.               Special Presentation - Carl Thomas, Mayor's Office will provide:

a.      Overview of 2013 Budget that will be submitted to City Council

b.      Explanation of 2012 Surplus

c.      Explanation of 2013 Deficit

 

V.                 March BACA Initiatives

 

a.      March 31 Neighborhood Planting and Clean Up - Volunteers Needed to

                                                   i.      Coordinate mulch delivery from DPW

                                                 ii.      Coordinate DPW tool and trash bag distributions

                                                iii.      Block captains to organize block clean ups

                                               iv.      Help pick up trash at the Florida Avenue Park

 

b.      Economic Development Committee - Volunteers Needed to

                                                   i.      Initiate Contact with All Local Businesses - Introduction to BACA

                                                 ii.      Create a Neighborhood Business Directory/Map

                                                iii.      Develop a Community Merchant Survey (assessment of merchandise existing businesses should carry)

                                               iv.      Summary survey results

                                                v.      Provide existing businesses with survey results

                                               vi.      Work with local business in developing neighborhood outreach campaign

                                             vii.      Develop Business Advisory Council

                                            viii.      Work with Office of Planning and Deputy Mayor of Planning Economic Development            

 

VI.               Committee Updates and Projects

a.      Safety - review of crime statistics and PSA 501 MPD update  

b.      Economic Development - Geovani A. Bonilla

c.      Youth Services - Miles Holloman

d.      Public Relations - Caryn Nesmith

e.      Friends of the Park  - Jon Hasse

 

VII.             Standing Invitations

a.      Mayor's Office

b.      Metropolitan Police Department

c.      Council Member at Large Office

d.      ANC           

 

VIII.           Announcements

 IX.              Adjournment

Some parts more black than others

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I found a color map showing the chocolating of DC.

 

Distribution of Negro Population by Census, 1930

The purple shows areas that are 75% and above AfrAm. The TC and other areas in red are between 50 and 74.9% AfrAmer, and the other colors are explained in the legend. I'm gonna guess no color means less than 20% Black, which geographically looks like most of the District.

I'm looking at my 1938 block by block segregation map of SW DC and this map and trying to figue out where 4th Street SW falls, as that appears to be the dividing line from the mainly white part of SW and the black part. Regardless, a lot of it was leveled with the Southwest Urban Renewal project.

Death from Syphilis Friday

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Here's another fun filled map using the 1940 census map and some 1936 data. Have a good weekend. Death Rate from Syphilis, 1936

Looking down 7th

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IMG_0927

The largest subject in this picture is the Ashbury Dwellings, which as I understand it, is subsidized housing for senior citizens. Sadly that lovely doorway serves as a hobo hangout, where homeless or drunk guys sleep it off. I almost never see anyone enter or leave from that door. I figure the residents use whatever door is closest to the parking lot in the rear.

Asbury Dwellings, used to be the Shaw School, from which we get the Shaw School Urban Renewal Area (SSURA) and the neighborhood name Shaw. Like Lincoln-Westmoreland, diangle from Asbury, it too was a church organized effort, with the Asbury United Methodist Church on 11th & K leading the effort.

My those are pretty windows.