August 2012 Archives

Jefferson Apartments

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I should have taken pictures but I didn't.
But today I spotted a signal of progress, a bunch of guys in hard hats along the alley that is behind what will be the Jefferson at Market Place. Let's see how long it takes.

Thanks to Price Benowitz

pb icon.jpgInShaw would like to thank DC Personal Injury Lawyers Price Benowitz LLP for their support.

435 R Street NW

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Coming to R St NW

I think this has been reported before. Last month this chunck of land with the neighboring closed dry cleaner was bought for $1.5 mil. A lot of that seems to have been to help the dry cleaner owners deal with the site.

The "Urban Land Company worked with an environmental remediation firm for years on the site to estimate the costs. All that paid off...we had ample data to entice both buyer and lender to pursue the project. A savvy developer managed the risk, got an acceptable phase II study during a reasonable feasibility period and settled on a great site."

It will be interesting to see how long it will take before we see any movement.

Safe Shores Opens Up

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Safe Shores, in the old Bundy School building, will have a event to show their state of the art building September 13th in the AM hours. See announcement for Coffee for Kids.

Tiny House in the Hood

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Tumbleweedy house
I think it is one of those Tumbleweed houses. I'm not sure as there are other tiny houses out there. If you have never ever, ever seen of or have heard of tiny houses check out the Tiny House blog. It's not just tiny cabins smaller than your uncle's tool shed, there are also at times posts about people living in small apartments in a cool way, as opposed to an oppressively crowded way.

Date Night Gone Rogue

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Rogue 24
rogue24.com
922 N Street NW (Rear),
Washington, DC 20001
Bus- None, walked/drove
Cost (with tip) = $240

Yes, $240 does look awfully cheap for two people at Rogue. They are still running a "Restaurant Week" type deal until Sept 1st, where the 16 course Progression w/ beverage is $100 and the 24 course Journey is $140. I hear tell the 16 course option is going away soon.

When I visited them last year it cost me, by myself, around $200. Because of that price point, I decided that I should not visit with my spouse, the Help, because it would have been a total waste on him. I didn't give Mr. 'I Love Diner Food' enough credit. He also made the reservation.

We had a wonderful time. For the beverage pairings I had the alcoholic drinks and he, as the permanent designated driver, had the non-alcoholic pairing. His drinks tasted delicious. I know because he allowed me to sample his. I was most impressed by his virgin gin and tonic with juniper berries and thyme in the glass over big cubes of ice. And the food of course was interesting. I liked that this trip we got instructions on how to eat what was presented to us. The Help really liked the big surgical tongs for the first course. The plate with snails was my favorite, so much so I wanted to lick the plate. But I didn't.

Strangely, at the end of 16 small bite courses, I was full. Not Cheesecake Factory bursting, but satisfied. Which considering how small the dishes are, is odd. I hope to come here again, after many many pennies have been saved up again, or unless another discount deal is offered. 

New Construction on P St

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New construction

I am not sure if this is going to be part of the Jefferson Apartments at Market Place project. In earlier plans for the Addision Square project, which fell through, this small parcel was supposed to be part of the larger project. Nothing recent has happened along 7th.

Update- Thanks to a commenter it seems it is a separate project by Capital City Real Estate.

Date Night @ Big Bear

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Big Bear Cafe
bigbearcafe-dc.com/
1700 1st St. NW
Washington, DC 20001
Bus- None, walked.
Cost (with tip) = $72

I've been debating if I should post anything because of something that was my fault. But I'll explain when I get to it. It wasn't so much a date night as it was a "I don't want to cook. Hey let's check out Big Bear" night. So we walked over to Big Bear one weekday afternoon at around 6 something for dinner service.

During the other times I pretty much know what to do. Go to counter, order, and grab a table. We weren't sure. So we sat ourselves down. After a little bit, I got up and went to the counter and grabbed some dinner menus. Then I was told someone would be with us. After that service was pretty good.

I was impressed with the use of weeds. As some of you know I love purslane. Love it, love it, love it. So I ordered the salad of purslane with figs. It was absolutely wonderful. I don't remember what exactly the meat entrée the Help ordered was, but it featured lamb's quarters. Also this cooked weed was very delicious.

My problem was with my entrée. About 80% of it was perfect, it would have been more perfect if I had just sent it back. But I didn't send it back, which is my fault. Since I ate most of the dish which was very good, execpt for that one little problem, and since the Help was mostly done with his meal, I didn't send it back. I don't think that should really count against Big Bear, since you can't fix what you don't know is wrong.

The dessert was ... I don't remember. It was chocolate something. We shared. 

All in all the whole thing cost $72 with only one of us drinking a glass of wine and tip. At that price it won't replace Beau Thai anytime soon as our "I don't feel like cooking" place. It's slightly more of a special occasion place where you don't have to dress up.

DDOT's tool

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Last week I came home to part of 4th Street being blocked off for an event that the mosque was having. I may have received a postcard about it. Since the whole of of the 1500 block of 4th St was blocked off, and it is an alternative route to get to New Jersey Ave, rather than R, which has a light, I wondered if DDOT had anything about the road closure on their site.

Sorta yes. There is the Public Space Permit Lookup Tool. I played around with it, and discovered old permits (just serveral months) for moving trucks, trash trailers, Pepco and Washington Gas work, and block parties. This information doesn't appear to be captured by Everyblock, but I could be wrong (i just don't see it).

I was curious about if there was a permit or any notice because long time ago, churches and at least one individual would close off streets for events without notice. Notice being those red and white placards. When I first moved to the TC there was a transgendered person who would block off part of the 1700 block of 4th St. She'd block it off with her van on a Saturday and blast music. I called 311 or 911 to see if she had a valid permit. The dispatcher was very unhelpful. Apparently it was an annual thing that she eventually stopped doing. And there is UHOP, which didn't always co-ordinate with the city for its big annual parade.

Bloomingdale Stuff

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ANC Hugh Youngblood tweeted that B&J's on Rhode Island Avenue got a DCRA notice of violation. Health code violation, I'd expect, but apparently there was an apartment below the eatery. Link for the DCRA Notice of Violation let's us see what the dollar amount is for the fines. Low ceiling will cost ya' $500.

There will be a backflow preventer workshop on Sept 6 & 8 at 301 Bryant Street NW. This will be of interest to those homeowners in low parts of Bloomingdale.

And a bunch of people are running for ANC. This covers the TC as well.

 

Credit all - Bloomingdale Blog

Bad Vine
A hardy "Thank You" to my Beltsville MD readers who spotted this photo I put up earlier in the post "Rip this one out." I really should use a better picture but there is this vine that pops up all over the neighborhood covering tomato vines, rose bushes, fences, etc, and then attracting gobs of little yellow aphids. This vine is called the milkweed vine, honey vine, or chynanchuym laeve, which would explain the hundreds of aphids.

A little canning

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Small canned tomatoes
For the past couple of weeks I've been canning tomatoes and I swear it used to be easier. I've been pressure canning them, thinking it would be quicker, but nah.
Before the tomatoes, there were the cherries, frozen cherries, defrosted then canned to make room in the freezer for peaches and blackberries. Before that, I tried my hand at blackcurrant juice with the idea that I'll add the juice to some seltzer and have a nice drink.
I look at my stash of canned by me items and think that I need to get more savory items in the mix besides tomatoes. I need to clear up the freezer. Need to get rid of all those chicken bones I've been saving for stock and actually make some stock. It's warm still so it would be crock pot stock.
But after a few weeks of having tomato pulp stuck under my fingernails and wiping tomato off the kitchen wall, I wondered if all that work is worth it.
Sorta.
I went to Shoppers and bought a bunch of cans of tomato stuff (diced, sauced, whole). For the organic stuff what I got in the tin can cost more than the box of 'seconds' I managed to put in a glass jar. Canning is time consuming, but being able to control what goes into that can is worth it for now.

Not another [insert name of DC neigborhood here]

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When some folks want to get their neighbors up in a lather about a new business opening up that they don't like they'll say that their neighborhood will become another Adams Morgan, known for no parking and loud intoxicated crowds. Georgetown is also used as shorthand, but typically more positive, eventhough it too is known for no parking.

The Bloomingdale Blog has posts about the coming sushi place, and Costa Brava a tapas place. When the Help and I drive down 1st Street on a Friday night we see the crowds sitting on the patio of Rustik, people walking from Baccio with pizza boxes in hand, and people sitting in front of Big Bear. At this rate 1st Street is going to be a destination place, but not another U Street or another crowded neighborhood. Rather I imagine it will be like an Eastern Market sans year round indoor market and craft vendors. But that sort of shorthand doesn't really work, either. Bloomingdale will more than likely carve out its own idenity as a cute neigborhood with large turreted townhomes (larger than mine) and some nice eateries and bars. Who knows in 5-10 years you may be able to say "Bloomingdale" and that would be enough.

Tonight at the ANC 5C meeting, Big Bear is on the agenda for a rezoning issue. If you so desired you could show up at the meeting and support Big Bear and in some way support the evolution of the neighborhood by supporting businesses in a primarily residential area.

Thanks to Price Benowitz

PB-logo-small.jpgInShaw would like to thank DC DUI Lawyers Price Benowitz LLP for their support.

The 1622 4th St NW saga continues

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1622 roof
Roof line between 1620 and 1622
Portions of neighboring house front hacked off

Just when I thought it couldn't get worse. I figured the new owner would have learned from the stop work order, but alas, no. And I really feel bad for the people living in the adjoining houses, because I believe what is going on at 1622 4th Street NW is endangering the integrity of the neighboring houses. Why, because this weekend, he had workmen rip off the roof and replace it with something newer but less solid.

The paint, nor the fences, nor the architectural details give an exact line of where one unit starts and the other begins. Until now we shared one big happy roof. A roof where rain and snow spread evenly across. It seems in ripping off the roof, they ripped off portions of one of the neighboring unit's property. It's concerning about how well this change will keep out rain or stand up to a heavy snowfall. Not just for 1622 but for the adjoining units, at the sections where the new meets old. The whole ball of questionable everything else does not inspire confidence.

Speaking of questionable, I did look at the posted permits in the window of 1622, which say nothing about ripping off the original roof structure. I noticed that two of the permits have the old owner's name on them, dated months after the sale of the property.

If your bike was stolen

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Bikes at shaw
Bikes get stolen in this city. And it doesn't matter if it is in your back yard, or on your balcony, if it ain't locked there is a strong chance it will get stolen. If your bike has a lock, and it is in your back yard, surrounded by a 6-8 foot tall fence, there is still a chance it will get stolen.
So what to do?
One you can go on-line to the MPD's site and use their online reporting tool.
Two, you can visit the flea market on Florida and 9th, I've heard of a few people finding their bikes there.
Three, and this is rare, you can hunt down your bike looking at every cyclist you see and chase down the bike, scream at the guy on it and take it back. This happened for a neighbor, she's small but feisty.

Wear a helmet

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A bad thing happened in a good place at a good time.
I was chatting with some neighbors and then was heading back to my house when I heard a bicycle crash over the construction noise at 1622. A guy had fell from his bike and crashed into the ground. When he didn't get up immediately, I walked over to ask if he was okay.
He didn't say anything, he just lay there twisted and making snoring like noises.
Then I saw blood coming out the side of his face.
I didn't have my phone on me and luckily the neighbors I was just speaking to were still out and I yelled for someone to call 911. At least 2 or 3 people called 911. While waiting for the paramedics (police showed up first) there were several of us keeping him from moving, keeping him talking and awake and comforting him when he gained consciousness.
There's nothing on the street that looked like a hazard that would throw a cyclist off their bike. The fallen man said it felt like something hit him. That could have been the possible concussion talking or something could have flown off of 1622 (they are doing construction on the roof). Whatever happened it was a pretty bad fall with scrapes all over. We didn't want him to move because it was possible something might have broken.
The reason why I write this is to remind y'all to wear a helmet. Your head is a bad body part to stop your fall with.

Black is Beautiful and Misc

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black is beautiful graffiti

In a beautiful world, you are.

EastShaw has info about Parcel 42 at 7th and R Sts NW. Blomingdale's Scott Roberts has some information about one of the bidders in the comments.

Speaking of Scott Roberts, he had some information about DC Water's Backflow Preventer Program (so nasty sewage doesn't flood your basement, like last time), and now some residents have issues with it.

RayM of the Shaw Neighborhood list passed on links for a film about Jewish Mom & Pop Stores and DC City Directories. A number of Jewish businesses were lost in the '68 riots.

Tonight (8/17/12), BACA, 5th District MPD, Friends of the Park, and Bloomingdale Civic Association will have a movie in the Florida Avenue Park. Show (Disney's Enchanted) starts at 8. But if you're just civic minded you can help clean up and get things ready at 7:30. Snacks will be served. Last time they had popcorn and flavored ice.

Over on 11th and R, the Lincoln Congregational Temple will have community yard sale on Sept 8th, 9AM-2PM. For more info go to www.lincolntemple.org .

Stop Work Dilemma

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Stop work order
The work has restarted at 1622 4th Street NW after a pause caused by lotsa complaints from neighbors and the stop work order. Now everyone just wants the house to be done.
The problem with stop work orders is that they can leave you with a half done, exposed and messy worksite on your street ( or next door, if you're unlucky) with no idea of when work will start up again. And because of that one may not want to push the city to issue another order again, because all you want is for the work to get done and the construction crew and their trash to go away.
So with that in mind, I'm hoping the crew at 1622 will get done quickly, despite some small and possibly not so small things that just aren't right. One of those things is still a paperwork issue and the other..... I'm not a construction professional, but whoever is the next tenant of 1622 I would not recommend putting a lot a weight on the second floor. The framing looks, odd. But you know that's what city inspectors are for, and if they are not for that, well... I'll be happy when this is all done.

History, Change, Stuff

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I guess eveyone by now interested in the topic has read Garance Franke-Ruta's Atlantic article "The Politics of the Urban Comeback: Gentrification and Culture in D.C." which mentions Stephen Crockett's accusations of "swagger jacking". Franke-Ruta points out that the building that houses the Brixton, one of the businesses of Crockett's ire, was an eyesore for a long time. She also mentions that the cries of 'gentrification' in DC may be "past its prime." 

Until we get shiny new hot spots, sit down restaurants, and modern furniture showrooms to complain about, we have to live with years of boarded up shells, carry outs with scratched up plexiglass and junky thrift shops, and complain about those. I don't miss hearing gun fire most every night. I don't miss trying to convince DPW to ticket a car that had been sitting in the same spot for weeks that I believe was stolen. I don't miss Dan's, the smelly fried fish carry out that Beau Thai replaced.

In urban settings, like Shaw, people move. They aren't like the trees. There may be a few households that are immobile, but most people move around. I hope once the TruxtonCircle.org project is all done, I can see if our perceptions about the neighborhood matches the facts. I suspect, but we'll see if it is true, that this small section of Shaw got at least half of its African American population from the Carolinas and other Southern states. I belive those folks who would have in the past settled in DC, replenshing the numbers, bypassed the city all together and headed directly for the burbs. Franke-Ruta highlighted more recent census data to show that the percentage of African Americans had been dropping long before the Brixton, Marvin, and the other swanky cool places showed up.

In the comments to the Crockett article, Crockett wrote that it, "isn't just about gentrification or the building of well run businesses, but more a look at how the businesses are using an African American ethos in a city that is now losing a huge part of its uniqueness as being an African American city." Brixton is not African American. Afro-Brit? I have no idea what people of West Indian and African descent call themselves over there. There was no large black British population here. The other places reference a period in certain notables' lives. Busboys and Poets is named for Langston Hughes, specifically his time as a waiter in DC. Marvin, I recently found out is apparently for Marvin Gaye's period in Belgium. Must the memory individuals of a particular group be kept in segregation?

 A couple of miles south in "Chinatown" (really China Block, but that's another story) there are all sorts of references to a people who have now settled in Fairfax County and shop at the H-mart. If non-Chinese opened up a Panda Express, staffed by Latinos along H or 7th Streets, I don't think anyone would bat an eye. I'm guessing the point of making Hooters, Legal Seafoods and Bed, Bath and Beyond have chinese characters on their signs is to preserve the Chinese character of Chinatown. Well we see how well that worked. You need people. Not a fancy gate. People. For Chinatown, Chinese people. To get back to the uniquiness of being an African American city, ya' gonna need more African Americans. And for some reason, like the Chinese, they keep moving to the burbs.

Help Homicide Watch

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Homicide Watch is a project created by Laura Amico and for the time the website has been there it has brought attention to every murder in the District. Not just at the time of the murder, but continuing through to the court dates as justice goes as slow as molassas, long after the print papers have lost interest.

Laura has received a fellowship from Harvard. Hopefully DC Homicide Watch will continue with interns, and is raising Kickstarter funds to keep up the good work. So I ask you to chip in what you can, because regardless of it someone is a Georgetown matron or a teenager in Ivy City, their life mattered and their murder should be accounted for.

Pizzarro DC
Pizzarro the Pizza not the Conquistador
467 Florida Ave NW
It was my night to cook and really I was busy with other stuff, like working on the data for Truxton Circle (1940 is up for the NW corner of the TC), so we decided that we could get something. Now the regular I'm too lazy/tired/busy to cook carry out is Beau Thai. Love Beau Thai, but we tend to order the same thing everytime. Bacio was too far as far as my tired feet were concerned and we'd been meaning to check out that new pizza place down the street, Pizzarro.

Before I start on Pizzarro, I need to point out that this is the good change. I have a ton of choices of nearby choices to go for decent, not behind a plexiglass wall, carry outs and restaurants. I didn't have this when I moved here. When I moved here, I and others were trying to figure out what places would bother delivering to this area. Sometimes we were conveniently just out of many pizza and other places delivery zones. Now, we've got restaurants and drivers will come to my door.

Anyway....

Pizzarro is fine. We were there to pick up and go home so I could get back to work, so we weren't planning to stick around. While we waited for our pizza and calzone, my eyes took in the place. It was kinda nice. It has the possibilities of being better. It's just missing something. Maybe that something is whatever is supposed to go in that bricked corner. Maybe it is beer and wine. Maybe it is wi-fi. Whatever it is, it was, it was missing. We were there around 6pm and it was fairly empty.

In about 15-20 minutes we had food and headed home. I got a small 10" pizza with cheese, red sauce, pepperoni, red onions, and red peppers. The Help got some sort of calzone. The Help is not that picky about his food (not a foodie) so I'll just stick to his observation regarding size. It was a big calzone. He ate half of it and left the other half for lunch. I ate a little over half my pizza and had the rest the next day for lunch.

It was good. It tasted like the kind of pizza I'd make, except I'd throw arugula on mine. I don't remember that as a choice. It wasn't greasy, as pepperoni is that kind of topping. The center wasn't doughy. The crust wasn't all that thin, which unless I want thin crust, is fine. It was good pizza.

An Old NC Main St.

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Note: This is my last year doing the Inshaw blog, which I'll wrap up in 2013. I do plan to keep blogging, as it is a nice writing exercise. I haven't entirely decided on how the next blog will work out, but below is the kind of stuff I plan on writing.

Belk-Tyler's The photograph is about two stories. For simplicity sake, I'll focus on one, my mother's story first.

My mother's segregated North Carolina school was so small (it was K-12) that everyone who can, shows up to the annual reunion. This year my mother came up to the reunion, so I and the Help came down to meet her. She was staying at her brother's, my uncle's house and so we had time to talk several times that weekend.

The Help and I had previously wandered around the town's pretty much dead as a door knob downtown and took pictures. I shared this one with my mother and asked her if the above was the entrance to the Belk-Tyler department store that she had integrated as the first colored/Black (no one was calling her an African-American back then) saleswomen for that store. She retold the story of how a white child had spat at her, but then she added that she also received unpleasant treatment from other Black people. She didn't go into detail, mainly because I then told my own story of poor treatment from customers when I was working at a grocery store.

The second story is that of the dead as a door knob downtown. Main Street is three or four blocks of commerical space bisected by the railroad tracts that lead to the train station. There were visible signs that the city was in the process of trying to revive the city center by redoing the sidewalks and promoting the downtown as a historic destination. I wish them the best, but I don't see where the life is going to come from. The downtown had been in its death throes for decades. Like many cities, the mall, hurt the downtown. The Main Street we walked town had a few thrift and low end clothing stores. There used to be a store front church there, but according to the sign, they moved to better digs. There was also the obligitary "antique" store. Mostly it was a bunch of empty storefronts, like the old Belk-Tyler's, with 'for sale' signs. Because NC was having a tax holiday, there were some people in the few open stores, but not a crowd. The light traffic and everything else doesn't seem to bode well for the future of Main St.

Good Lord, Reatig

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I'm trying to catch up with what I've been missing. Curbed DC has a little something on what the ugly from the outside Reatig building on Rhode Island (called Bailey Park, why?) is going for... $2,700 to start and it goes up to $4,500. Inside it looks like it has lots of light and hard surfaces.

Antikki

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I'm back. And tired.
But on our 12 hour drive back (Blue Ridge Parkway going between 20 and 45 mph) we stopped in some small towns. For lunch we went to Mt. Airy, the basis of Mayberry RFD. And when we realized it was 3 or 4PM we switched off to I-66 in some small Virginia town of Buchanan.
When we stopped there for gas I noticed something. There were about 3 different antique shops within spitting distance of each other 'antique' stores. There were also a few antique/antiquish shops around Main Street Mt. Airy too. And in another smallish NC city, an "antique" but more thrift shop also struggled along its dying historic main street.
What is up with the antiques?
Buchcanan Antique

Rip this one out

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Bad VineI don't know if you can make out the vine from the bush in the photo. If you can there is a vine that probably needs to get ripped out of most yards. I wish I knew its name. But I don't. What I do know is that it seems to attract yellow aphid looking buggers like crazy, in addition to choking whatever else is growing in your yard.

Thank You to Price Benowitz

PB-logo-small.jpgInShaw would like to thank Washington DC Criminal Lawyers Price Benowitz LLP for their support.

One City

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One City

@ Fort Fringe.

Evil or Cute?

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Evil or cute
You know my opinion. They are evil. Don't let the fluffy tail fool you.

Progress @ Wonder Bread

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Wonder construction

If you want to beat yourself over gentrification

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In today's Post in their Root DC section there is an article expressing dislike of the demographic changes along U Street. The tagline, "Our Events. Our Community. Our Lives." I explained to the very melanin challenged Help, "Our" is another way of saying, "not you."
It starts off with the new bar, the Brixton. Brixton is the London neighborhood with a lot of racial similarities as Shaw. I visited Brixton for one of my gentrification tours and wrote about it. Others wrote about the similarities too. But then the article accuses folks creating and patronizing places like Marvin, Eatonville, and Busboys and Poets of swagger-jacking. Would it be better to just go to the Ethiopian places instead? Or ignore the history altogether? Rename the Ellington condos!
You can't have it both ways. You can't ask people who are outside your culture to appreciate your history and then turn around and accuse them of stealing. But then again, people keep doing it all the time.

Vacation

Blue Sky & PalmsOn vacation.
Seein' family. Except for the family member who is house sitting (waterin' plants, takin' in mail) for us. So if anything is posted, it's not time related material.
Also because I'm off, the comments will be limited. I've been getting a bunch of Chinese spam and I really don't want to deal with it.

He Who Shall Not Be Named- Stirrin' it up

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I caught this on Curbed, something about a Shaw ANC being under fire. It turns out it's He Who Shall Not Be Named, making the accusations that Alex Padro is up to no good. HWSNBN was up to no good long before, but that was a few elections & a civic group takeover ago. Padro is guilty of being overly involved in the neighborhood, not only being the ANC but also heading the exceedly active Shaw Main Streets and being involved in a bunch of other stuff 'round here. I gather HWSNBN is not happy that generous funds were not directed at his groups. Strange, that such a little bity portion of the city has all these neighborhood groups competing with each other. Also the post fails to mention what is this hefty salary that Padro is taking in as these things are relative.

Is it historic enough for you

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Note: This is my last year doing the Inshaw blog, which I'll wrap up in 2013. I do plan to keep blogging, as it is a nice writing exercise. I haven't entirely decided on how the next blog will work out, but below is the kind of stuff I plan on writing.

The Help was driving me up Route 1, passing by the newish and still being constructed EYA Arts District condos in Hyattsville. I asked him if he'd want to live in that development. "No," he answered. "Why not?" I asked. He explained that there wasn't any history there. He wants to live in a place with a past. "There was a past there," I shot back. In the past, there was an auto showroom and an auto lot, where Lustine sold cars. The condo gym is the old showroom.

Not good enough for the Help, he said that the condos were just too new. He said that he wanted a place with more history.

To test him, I asked, "Well what if a house built in the 50s," as he does not consider anything from the 60s 'historic', "was halfway destroyed in the 90s by fire, and the burn part rebuilt? Would that be historic enough for you?" He gave a less than happy "yes." Then I asked if the house had burnt down to the foundation and only the foundation remained, would it still have history? He gave it some thought and was less sure.

Then he tried to turn it around and said our house had history. Yes, our home built approximately in 1874 as rental housing had history. But the only thing original to the house was the façade and the bricks and beams hidden behind the wall. The basement/cellar appears to be a late 20th century thing and in 2007 I gutted the main house down to the beams. Except for the few floorboards that were reused, there is nothing original to the 1874 house visible from inside.

So for the rest of the car ride, the question was, how much can be taken away until the sense of history, however it is defined, is gone.

1700 Blk of 4th NW
General photo of townhouses
Taken in 2005

A family, whose kids I've enjoyed watching go from infant to pre-schoolers and older, moved away. I will miss them, particularly when Halloween rolls around.

Anyway, that wonderful family did not start off on the block as a family, or even a young couple. They started off as a guy. A single guy who bought a house and figured he could fix it up.

Several years ago. In the 00s you could buy a fixer upper for about half or less of what a decently renovated place could go for. In the 90s, even less than that. There were more vacant shells, and run down rentals then.

The then single guy, who I'll call Bob, bought the house and lived in it while he worked on it. He was not the only guy doing the same thing. I knew of at least one other fellow, doing the same thing, living in a construction zone with only a ladder to get to the second floor, and no heat. One time, Bob mentioned, he couldn't understand why he was getting so little water out of the pipes. That's because his pipes were frozen and going to burst at anytime because the house was so cold.

Bob, though an office worker by day, knew how to swing a hammer. So eventually, he got it to a point where a Mrs. Bob could move in. This point in the story, it gets a little vague for me because, I remember when he was single and when he became a father to be. Everything in between.... I'm drawing a blank.

Bob was not the only single guy I knew who bought and transformed a place. One changed his place from a hovel to a 'historic' gem, then rented it out to pursue his career on the other side of the world. Sadly, the rental management company undid some of his marvelous work. Another modestly fixed up another fixer upper stayed for a very short time before he moved to follow his dream. His renters are a wonderful addition to the block.

I'm going to miss the Bob family. Who knows the neighbor you start out with may turn into the family of friends.

Basement is dry

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I know a couple of you are wondering, with the heavy rain we had Tuesday afternoon. Well the troubled basement is dry. Not bone dry. But for the most part it is dry enough to start trying to trust the basement. Money well spent.