January 2016 Archives

Snowed in the City

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I really like living in a walkable neighborhood and the worth of living here proved itself after this blizzard, snowzilla or the Blizzard of 2016 or whatever the kids are calling it these days.
Friday, I showed up to work for the Department of Fight Club with the idea that they'd kick me out of the building around noon. The spousal unit, also known as The Help, decided to join me for lunch in the Penn Qtr/Fake Chinatown area. We dined as he (my back was to the window) watched the first flakes fall and crowds for the pro-life march wander the streets.
Then after lunch we took a slow.
Slow.
s
    l
       o
           w
metro ride to Mt. Vernon Sq. to stop by the Giant for Halos, shallots, and whatever. It was crowded and completely out of yeast. But there was lots of wine. I bought a Riesling.
RStsnowedin4.jpg We walked home and the snow had not stuck enough to be a problem. The blowing wind, blowing snow in my face, that was a problem.
After we got home our neighborhood became a jewel. We decided to go to BKK at the corner of NJ and R St for dinner. The staff lives close by and they welcomed diners via their Twitter account so it made sense to us. I think Big Bear was open too. I figured there wouldn't be a lot of people, people started showing up for dinner after happy hour.
Saturday was the height of the storm and we stayed put. Sunday we ventured out for mass at Immaculate @ 8th & N. About 90% of the attendees were Floridians trapped in DC for the march for life. The Floridians after mass played and voluntered to shovel. I've been in DC too long, as a Florida native, snow no longer is this foreign magical fluffy stuff. It's annoying cold crap that falls from the sky. After mass, we wandered into the Giant. It was way less crowded than Friday. No spring onions, no shallots, but lots of potatoes, raspberries, and wine.
Our way to mass we walked along Q St where there were sections where people shoveled a path in the sidewalk and stomped down a path where it crossed an alley. On our way back we took Q then after 6th took R. R was okay in parts but it was just easier to walk in the streets.
During the last big blizzard, snowmageddon 2010, I was snowed in way up in Booneyville, MD with friends. I was able to drag myself to a mass and that was it. The nearest restaurant was 1/2 a mile away and not open. The nearest grocery store, about a mile away, also, not open. The Help and I were able to walk to a friend of his, who was also snowed in.
I'll take my hood over the suburbs of Maryland (we don't cross the river so Virginia is not an option). On Sunday after the blizzard I had shopping and dining options even though metro wasn't running.
Also this snow storm people have been great. When it typically snows I hate my fellow resident, because many of them don't bother shoveling. I was able to find routes to where I needed to go. Many people were out shoveling. People who never bothered shoveling in years past, had someone from their household do a little or a lot. Even the old guys who hang on the corner were out doing real work shoveling.

Is that thing on top new?

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Structure on NJ Ave NW

I've been watching this building as the wind slowly undresses it, ripping away the Tyvek from its plywood skin.

And today I'm just noticing the roof top access.

Is that new?

That horrible stench on the 400 blk of Q St NW

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I was walking this weekend toward the Giant and I passed by my alley and was assaulted by a smell that I've been working to keep out of my house for the past few weeks. It's hard to describe because I don't spend anytime analyzing it. I try to either run away from it or mask it. It's chemically and strong and I think it is fake weed (maybe PCP, not sure if it has the nail polish remover smell). Whatever it is, it was horribly strong, so strong I kept smelling it as I walked a block down New Jersey Avenue.
Because the smell is slowly making it's way into my house I've now had to give some thought to what to do about it. At some point I will need to talk to the source, or the owner of the house who lives in Maryland (I think). I was hoping that the build up would go away as the weather got colder, because I would smell this stench when a visitor would hang out in the basement stairwell smoking or opened up the basement door when the occupants were smoking away. The occupant hosts get togethers at least once a week or several times a week where he and his friends sit out in the back. The noise was one thing, but the smell, just makes my back yard unusable.
Have I called the police? In the past we called the Fire EMS because one time the strong smell got into the house. By the time the firemen arrived, the smell had gone. There was that time when one of the occupant's guests was dividing up pot in the back yard into smaller baggies, but by the time I could figure out what was going on the guest had a "legal" amount of marijuana (or marijuana looking like stuff) that he was mixing with an unknown white-ish pebble like substance.
Yes, I have to get around to speaking with my neighbor the occupant when I run out of candles and air freshners.

Know your public housing

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Gibson Plaza on 7thThere are plenty of places within the historic boundaries of Shaw that are mistaken for public housing that is not public housing or no longer public housing. What is public housing? That's housing "owned and managed by the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA)." And what is currently owned by the city in Shaw and other neighborhoods, compared to the number of privately owned apartments is minuscule.

I've gone down the list of DC public housing and only the James Apartments at 1425 N St NW, and possibly Claridge Towers at 1221 M St NW (it's on the boundary) are the only public housing apartments in Shaw.

The Northwest Co-Op 1 and 2, not public housing.
Asbury Dwellings on Rhode Island, not public housing.
1330 at 1330 7th St NW (formerly Immaculate Conception Apts), despite the smell of fake weed, not public housing.
The McCollough Terrace Apartments, strangely some of the few non-Suzane Reatig designed UHOP buildings in Shaw, obviously not public housing.
The Washington Apartments, not public housing.
The Gibson Apartments, (maybe formerly public housing?) but not public housing.

Now there is this other thing called Section 8, but that's for another post.

Well a New Year A New Blog

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Yes, I know I quit three years ago.

Shawbound.jpgThe In Shaw Blog as it had grown from its start in 2003 when the neighborhood was in the process of gentrifying and I wanted to describe where I lived, mainly to my friends, then other people found an interest. So for 10 years I blogged about my life in this neighborhood, the Truxton Circle part of 'historic' Shaw (see map left).
Now, 12-13 years later, I sorta wanna stick a fork in the 'gentrification' theme, but OMG it won't die. It's like one of those horror movie monsters that just keeps coming back for bad sequel, after bad sequel. But the problem isn't gentrification, it is change. People don't like change, it's jarring. I and the Help (he's my spouse & he like's the name) walked over to Glen's Market in the Shay. when we turned on to 8th St NW, I exclaimed, "Where the Hell are we?!" The feeling was that we turned a corner and somehow got transported to Bethesda? Arlington? The whole thing was discombobulating until I was distracted by fancy food.
Since I love fancy food, the change of Shaw, LeDroit and Bloomingdale becoming foodie destinations delights me, to a point. I am happy that 15 years after landing in this neighborhood that the closest food joint isn't some greasy fried take out, but somewhere with a cocktail list. I'm thrilled that the liquor stores that were like parasites have either closed, or have become better neighbors. However, fancy food and booze costs money and I (the Help is the designated teetotaler & unfancy food fan) need to resist the temptation of trying out this or that new place for the sake of our household budget. 
So I have decided to change the blog, slightly. Instead of being In Shaw (the historically gentrified blog) it will be In Shaw- Mari in the Citi. Oh, I'll still mention gentrification since it is the catch word that we throw around these parts like a hammer to describe neighborhood change. But there is change everywhere, in the neighborhoods where I travel and work and change in myself. I'm not the same woman who moved into the city in 2000. Time and the city have changed me, and I hope in a way I've helped change the city.
Happy 2016.