Vote & a note

1800 Block of 3rd St

Vote. If you don’t like anyone on the ballot, still go to the polls and write in “Nobody”. No one will know who you voted for, but they will know if you went to the polls or not.

If you’d like to inform yourself about who is running where in the District check out the Common Demonimator’s 2004 Voter’s Guide.

Ah, and a note… I’m sick. I am the germy tissue queen and I’m going to take it easy for the next few days. I might post something about the BACA Oktoberfest, but I think I’ll post again after the elections.


I have a feeling I may have written on this before but the problem with a gentrifying neighborhood is that it is too bad for a taxi to search for fares but not bad enough that you try to hail one. When I was at Ella’s I spent a good 10 minutes plus watching a group of three white people trying to hail a cab at Florida and North Cap. They gave up and hopped a bus. Note: don’t try hailing a cab on North Capitol. If you do see a cab, it is usually full. The only place I have sucessfully caught a cab on North Cap is down by Kaiser Permanente.

My cab catching attempts on Rhode Island and New Jersey have been hit or miss. They are not looking out for you. The time I did catch a cab on New Jersey I was hard to miss, I was in a full length evening gown. Other times, nothing.

Calling the dispatcher, also hit or miss. That’s why I was on New Jersey Avenue hailing a cab in an evening gown.

Anyone know of the secret street corner I need to stand at to catch a cab around here?

BACA Octoberfest

Via Jim Berry


It is with pleasure that I invite and encourage you to participate in

Oktoberfest 2004 — an event that is being sponsored by the Bates Area

Civic Association, Inc. and co-sponsored by Council Member Vincent B. Orange,

Northwest Cooperative Homes, the Metropolitan Police Department, Mount

Sinai Baptist Church, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency,

Soul Day Spa, Ben’s Chili Bowl, Polly’s Cafe, Safeway, Inc., City Year

Americorps, John F. Cook School, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Perry School Community

Center as well as the DC Department of Parks and Recreation.

Octoberfest 2004 will take place this coming Saturday, October 30 2004,

between the hours of 11:00 a.m and 3:00 p.m. at the triangle park

located at First and Florida Avenue, NW. The day’s activities will include a

Chili Cook-Off, games, raffles and prizes. In addition, there will be a

modest flea market, information tables featuring various community services;

there will be a moon bounce for the children, along with face painting, arts

and crafts and a kick-boxing demonstration.

Oktoberfest 2004 is the first of a series of events that are being

scheduled to take place in the triangle park as we continue to make a serious

and a sustained effort to transform this location into the safe space for

children that it was intended to be. Won’t you please join us in this


We are in need of plenty of volunteers to make the activity a success.

If you have some time to volunteer on Saturday, please let me know as

soon as possible. That is, if each of us contributes a little, no one will

have to do a lot.

For more information regarding the event, you may visit our website at

Looking forward to hearing from you as well as to seeing you Saturday!


Jim Berry


DHCD announces the American Dream Down-Payment Initiative (ADDI)

(Washington, DC) Stanley Jackson, Director, Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), announces the implementation of the American Dream Down-Payment Initiative (ADDI). ADDI aims to increase the homeownership rate, especially among lower income households, and tenants of public and assisted housing. ADDI also seeks to revitalize and stabilize communities.

ADDI will help first-time homebuyers with the biggest hurdle to homeownership: down payment and closing costs. The program was created to assist low-income, first-time homebuyers in purchasing single-family homes by providing funds for down payment, and closing costs. The maximum amount of assistance, under this initiative, per eligible household will be $10,000. Eligible households will receive assistance under this initiative in the form of a forgivable loan.

Eligibility Requirements:

Individuals must be residents of the District of Columbia and must have legally resided in the District of Columbia for at least one year at the time of application

Individuals must be first-time homebuyers. (A first-time homebuyer is defined as an individual and his or her spouse who have not owned a home during the three-year period prior to the purchase of a home in the District of Columbia.)

Individuals must be able to secure a first-trust mortgage from a reputable lender.

Applicants’ income must not exceed the following limits:

1 Person 2 Person 3 Person 4 Person 5 Person 6 Person 7 Person 8 Person

$40,250 $46,000 $51,750 $57,500 $62,100 $66,700 $71,300 $75,900

Community-Based Organizations will begin accepting applications for the American Dream Downpayment Initiative on November 15, 2004.

Contact the organization nearest your residence to schedule a pre-qualification interview

What do you mean by better?

I was wandering around my agency, I’ll just call the Death Star, looking to nab some extra office supplies, when I happened upon a group of Imperial Stormtroopers talking about DC housing prices. I could not help myself, I joined in the conversation. I made a comment explaining why some neighborhoods are getting so pricey in that the area was getting better. One trooper looked at me with a steely look and asked, “What do you mean by better?”

In one second I noticed I was standing on the edge of a muck hole of race and class issues, so I said, “Oh, the crime has gone down.” The trooper reflected, agreed and went on talking.

I keep forgetting the race and class issues when I say the neighborhood is getting better. Some can interpret the statement negatively, and they do have a point, as for some others “better” means doing away with the old residents of a neighborhood. I have seen articles in the Washington Post about how older residents feel threatened by newcomers who demand a different way of life. These newcomers are usually white and middle class and the old timers are black with a wide range of income levels.

But what do I mean by better? I feel safer. Whether not I actually AM safer is another thing but I FEEL safer walking down the street, going home. I can chalk it up to not seeing as many people hanging out in certain spots and the crowd of young people loitering down the block seems to have dwindled a bit. Joggers & dog walkers, they strangely make me feel safer, despite all my complaints about them.

I also mean better in aesthetics. An abandoned house is not a pretty thing. Every other house on the block abandoned is just plain ugly and depressing. Rehabbed houses, new construction, and sometimes a new paint job make it easy on the eyes when walking down the street. At times, a house can be inspiring and uplifting, far better than being depressed by decay.

Another “better” is being able to spend my money in my neighborhood. If there are more opportunities for me to go out and eat or buy somewhere near my home, that is a good thing. I am trying to train myself to go to Logan Hardware over the chaotic Rhode Island Ave Home Depot. I do try to keep an eye open for businesses close to home worthy of my money. And if it is just one thing, like milk, I will go to G&G quickie mart. Before, I had to leave Shaw to buy somethings or the mini marts had nothing I wanted to buy or were too icky to even think of walking in.

It’s getting better.

Hopefully, the neighborhood can keep all her citizens black, white and latino, working class to upper middle class, and all who work for “better”.


When does a neighborhood stop being transitional? When is it done?

This weekend, I was enjoying the city, catching 3 movies ( a record for me, oh and don’t waste money on Shall We Dance?), walking and biking around. And I saw the neighborhood in a slightly different light. Might be the uptick of people jogging in places I didn’t see people jogging before. Then there are all these people with dogs. Parts of Shaw I think are done being transitional. They still have problems, but on the surface, things look fine. But when is a neighborhood done? And what does not transitional look like?

Blogjam @ DC9

Right now I am multitasking so bear with me as I blog, do laundry and cook curry all at the same time. Okay, maybe not as I just spilled curry on open gas flame….

Tonight was Blogjam, a reading by queer bloggers. I attended in support of Jimbo and as you can tell, took pictures. The most famous of the bloggers, as far as I know, was Andrew Sullivan (below). He was not what I expected, I expected DC dweeb. I was also expecting Wonkette, as I remember she was on the line up, but with the theme of gay & male bloggers she really wouldn’t have fit, despite her great fame.

The event went well I think, though I did leave just as the dance music began.

Mr. Sullivan spoke about what he writes about best, politics. His reading of the night was on Bush’s push to add an amendment to the constitution banning same sex marriage and the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism. Dogpoet and Crisafer read off poetry, doing what poetry is supposed to do best, describing greatly, so briefly. Thankfully, Geekslut was not as bad as I thought he’d be, as I could only deal with reading two of his blog entries. Actually I found it refreshing that he was (if I got him right) was anti-crystal meth. ‘Cause really, crystal meth is so wrong, in so many ways.

Restaurant Review: B&Js

B&Js on the corner of Rhode Island and 3rd, is not a fancy place. Actually fancy doesn’t come to mind, Ben Chili Bowl looks like The Inn at Little Washington compared to this place. The food is uncomplicated and straightforward. Greens, mashed potatoes, turkey, ham, and meats between bread to make a sandwich.

It is friendly I will say. I walked in an the old guys said hello and we exchanged friendly banter. The fellow running the place has a smile that seems permanent if involuntary, it’s just there. He seemed happy to have me there and glad to show me the laser printed menu listing the various dinners at modest prices.

The decor is the big negative. It reminded me of a relative’s kitchen. Okay my grandma’s kitchen/dining room. Not the slightly out of it tumor in her head grandma, no the mean pack rat grandma. The place was cluttered, with miss-matched being the overall theme, like my grandma’s house. The counter had condiment bottles in the way, desserts wrapped in plastic and suspect Styrofoam (is it clean, is it not clean?) littered the counter. There was a table for eight taking up the rest of the floorspace. Other things like a popcorn machine and a jukebox were stuffed in the corners.

The food is average. I had crab cakes. They didn’t have a lot of filler, a good thing, as that normally makes for a good crab cake. They were made out of the stringy bits of crab meat, not lumps, which usually makes for a very mediocre crab cake. Oh, and no Old Bay seasoning, making for a less than average crab cake being served so close to Maryland. Well, the turkey dinner the fellow next to me had looked really good.

Not everything is on the menu. You could get steak, if you wanted steak. You just gotta ask what else is there. The fellow behind the counter was very patient and helpful with the suggestions of what he could prepare. You want a sandwich, he’ll make a sandwich.

Now no one else besides me and this guy was eating. One old fellow was there when I entered and he was just hanging out at the counter, watching the old TV up on the kitchen wall. Another fellow was feeding the jukebox that blasted R&B hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s, drowning out the TV. I wished the TV had closed captioning, but it was so old the volume had to be controlled with a pair of pliers. The feeling I got was that it was a neighborhood hangout for some. A little girl, about 4 or 5 wandered around the dining and kitchen area. You come, you eat, sit around, chat, listen to the music, what have you. Just like my grandma’s.

I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention a serious negative. It has been cited before for a health code violation in the past 3 years. I don’t remember what the exact violation was but I do remember seeing the blurb in the Washington Post. The clutter can give the dirty appearance and be offensive to those more accusomed to a sanitized looking dining experience. I could see where with all the things around a cite for unclean food surfaces or other such violation could be found.

Now, would I eat there again? I give you a very hesistant yes/maybe. B&J gets super duper bonus points for being friendly and homey. One or 2 points on the food itself. At least one negative for the clutter. Now I would eat there again if I had an insane desire/craving for mashed potatoes or greens.

Pissed at myself

As some of you may or may not know, I have been doing research on the Truxton Circle part of Shaw looking at the 1880-1930 census. It’s been a hodge podge job, where I do a little here for this census year and then do a little there for another census year.

Well I lost about a couple of days work of the 1880 census. I remember having it. So now I’m pissed at myself.

How I’m culling the census is super labor intensive. As I get annoyed with the long dead residents of Truxton Circle, I am collecting house by house info. I find mutli-generation houses a chore. I find houses with many boarders a pain. People with kids, bah. I like hermits and lonely widows, and old couples who live alone. I also dislike big blocks where the houses are small and plentiful, like all the blocks between Q and N, North Cap and 1st. Now work for at least 1/2 of one of these blocks is gone.

Subject matter wise, I am discovering heavy pockets of Irish & German immigrants and 1st generation Americans. It will be cool when I can plug all this data into a computer and see demographic patterns shifting.

Well I’ll have to do some of the transcribing again, and do a better job of keeping up with my stuff.