Figment of my imagination?

I thought there was a robbery at the Shaw Howard University metro stop this weekend of a male being robbed of his North Face Jacket. But I can’t find a mention on the Post or Times websites. It is too early for it to be posted on the Crimereports websites. But I swear I saw it mentioned on the local news, but even on those sites, yesterday’s news is not worth keeping up. Maybe I just imagined seeing it.

Who is standing out in the cold

This morning it was 20F again and silly me was out on the bike doing some grocery shopping. With 3 scarfs, 3 layers of shirts and jackets and two pairs of gloves, it wasn’t half bad. I wasn’t the only one one. The Latino men waiting for construction work on the corner of 15th and P were out standing around. They must really want to work! Also out by the Giant were Jehovah’s Witnesses handing out literature or just standing there as they usually do. But no dealers spotted! Then again it might have been too early for crack.

Beggars and such

This is my logic.

Draw three circles one for the homeless, one for the working poor, one for beggars, and have them intersect (is that the word I want?) with the other circles with between 5% or 75% of one circle in the other circle. And this is my logic, not all homeless are unemployed, not all beggars are homeless, not all homeless are beggars.

Last year I went on a tangent about giving to street beggars and making the point, you’re not really helping the homeless when you plop a dollar or spare change in the cup.

First, not all homeless people, which includes homeless families, have been reduced to begging on the street. If you really want to help the homeless support the institutions that support the homeless such as health clinics, soup kitchens, shelters and other programs in the city such as Bread for the City, N Street Village, and S.O.M.E. Your handouts to beggars do nothing to coax people off the streets and into programs that with address their physical and emotional needs.

Second, not all homeless are unemployed. A minimum wage job in this city will have one spending more than half of one’s pre-tax income on rent. Throw in our friend gentrification and other DC housing woes and you have fewer units that low wage earners can afford.

Last, not all beggars are homeless. Some are con-artists, some are begging to support a habit, a habit that makes my part of Shaw unwelcoming by supporting the drug dealers, and the liquor stores on EVERY OTHER CORNER!

As I said, you want to help the homeless, I mean really, really help the homeless, make their lives better, live longer to see another day? Give to the Shaw charity of your choice:

Bread for the City

Helping Hands (508 P Street)

N Street Village


Covenant House (okay not in Shaw but across the street)

Catholic Charities

But don’t give money to beggars. The only thing you are doing is supporting a chemical habit and the drug economy in Shaw and encouraging begging in the area.

Run Fenty Run

Last night a neighbor came to me with a copy of an invitation she’d

received for an Fenty 2006 Exploratory Committee for Mayor fundraiser

hosted by Jim Graham and Phil & Jan Fenty for this weekend. Well I

don’t believe I will attend but I will cut a check because of the

Council people even thinking of running for mayor, I’d pick Fenty.

Why not my Ward 5 councilman Orange? First, I am not holding that the

NW side of Ward 5 was nearly ignored by Orange against him. But I

don’t know him well enough to want him for Mayor. Yes, I like the Home

Depot and the Giant across the street, very nice. I’m sure everyone in

the northern part of the city appreciates it, and would appreciate it

more if the Home Depot was decently stocked. Yet what about my Ward 5

needs? Has he addressed things that would make my day to day quality

of life? I’m not saying he is a bad councilman, no! He is a decent


Fenty, however, has been known to focus on constituent services and

get out to hear the needs of the people living in his Ward. Face it

I’m still in love with the man for banning single sales of containers.

Don’t take much to make me happy. Look at the man’s website he is not the main focus, his ward is. The site (compared to


seems more Ward 4 specific and designed to help those in Ward 4 and

geared to help his constituents find the information they need as

residents in the city who need services.

Well anyway if you want to attend the fundraiser for the Fenty 2006

exploratory committee it’s 1/30/2005 from 4-6pm in Adams Morgan, call

202 263 4386. Or you can just send $$$ payable to Fenty 2006

Exploratory Committee, PO Box 7700, Washington, DC 20044-7700

Standing out in the cold

Took this picture this weekend when the temperature was about 20F. Notice the figure in the bottom left corner.

I just saw this guy, just standing there on the street. It’s 20F f’ing degrees out. Who the heck just stands out in the cold like that?

There is the chance that he’s just a normal guy waiting for a ride. Possible. He could be a dealer waiting for a customer. Just as possible given the block. Since I was trying to hustle back to the house, I didn’t have time (or the will) to observe him for too long. I did think the scene was just not right so I snapped this picture over my shoulder.

Neighborhood Research: What I find plodding along

No. I have not found anyone famous. Of course, I am not looking for
anyone famous for that matter. What I am looking for are demographic
patterns of the NW Truxton Circle Neighborhood in 1880. The goal was
to do 1890-1930. Sadly, there is hardly any 1890 census as it was
burned, there is a 1880 census with addresses (the main thing that
allows me to focus street by street) and there are over a thousand
people to track each census year.
Anyway, just wanted to share one of my unexciting finds from the 1880
census. I keep finding Irish and German immigrants, or their crummy
children. I do find my clusters of African Americans but so far, and
I’ve only done a few blocks, we are a minority. Understand I had a
theory going in about the racial make up of Truxton, the data is
proving me wrong and I’m a bit miffed.
One of these immigrant or 2nd generation American families were the
Clarks of 406 Florida Avenue, NW. Headed by Cornelius Clark, clerk at
the S.G. (State Government?) Office, he lived with his wife Emily,
their 5 children, his 45 year old sister Margaret (dressmaker) and
their African American servant Henrietta Majors. The Clark parents
were born in New York but were children of immigrants as Cornelius’
and Margaret’s parents were born in Ireland and Emily’s father was
German and her mother Irish. Ms. Majors, their live-in
maid/housekeeper was of Virginia as were her parents. Given Majors age
at the time of the census (21) and her home state, I’ll go as far to
say she may have been born a slave.
So far, off the top of my head the Clarks are the 3rd family I have
found in Truxton to have a live in servant. Typically it was just one
servant. I haven’t found a home so grand in our area that there was a
need for multiple live in servants. The live-ins are recorded on the
census, those who went home after their shift were not recorded, so
there might be other households with servants but that information is
not recorded in the census.

Where U At?

Yesterday I tried to make a map from the DC Gov site to figure out where different neighborhoods are. The picture on the side is of the different real estate assessment neighborhoods (tags are mine). I broke Old City 2, up into it’s subneighborhoods because it is so big.

There is a funky way of adding neighborhoods but you can’t get an outline of where a neighborhood is. You’d have to go block by block. In Old City 2 A the blocks above S Street and south of Florida are in Cardozo/Shaw. South of S, west of New Jersey is Logan/Shaw. But suprising to me Truxton Circle is east of New Jersey, south of Florida, north of New York AND (the surprising bit) includes the area on the other side of North Capitol…. according to the DC Citizen Atlas map.

Off the top of my head and skimming the newspaper databases, Shaw, as it was defined was the Shaw Junior High Urban Renewal Area. According to 5 Housing Plans Win Approval; 1,589 Housing Units Cleared Here by RLA in the Washington Post May 16, 1974. p. C1 areas in the NW side of Truxton are in Shaw.

Well that’s enough for today, I’ll investigate neighborhood borderline some more later.

Shoveling S***


I waited till the snow stopped before heading out. The snow that fell was light enough to attack with a broom. My neighbor B helped out as we shoveled and swept a wide path that connected 4 houses. A bit later, a new neighbor, who I don’t know that well since he moved in when it started getting cold (I’ll be all neighborly when the weather warms up), he shoveled more than a path, he shoveled the complete sidewalk for 2-3 houses.

Across the street the kids were playing in the white stuff, trying to get decent snowballs to whack each other with. As I said, this was light snow and not the weighty snow that makes for a really good snowball. Each throw resulted in the ball disinegrating in the air. They tussled in the snow, falling on what normally would be hard sidewalk, buffered by snow and several layers of bulky clothes. Playtime ceased when an adult figured this boundless energy could be used to shovel the sidewalk and clean off the family car.

I called a friend to figure out if I should try to go to church tomorrow. I played with the idea of trekking over to St. George’s in LeDroit.

Looking outside at snow

I’m thinking 8:30 Mass for Shut-ins @ channel 32, ’cause I’m gonna stay shut in the house.


This morning I was slightly awake already when the house alarm system went off.

I ran down to find my solid door slightly open. I checked the security door which was locked. After turning off the system I looked for the thing that set it off. The newspaper. The last time I was drawn out of bed due to the alarm going off was when the newspaper flew through the metal bars of the security door and hit the front door hard enough for it to set off the alarm.

Well there was no newspaper. And I’m just befuddled at what could have opened the door. The security door was locked and the alarm system works so I not really worried. But it did get me thinking.

When I bought my house, Sonny, the Nigerian who hires crackheads, and had worked on my house, was still on the block screwing up other houses for sale. Neighborhood gossip said that he still had keys for all the houses he had worked on and had entered one house unannounced and unwelcomed. Upon hearing that I changed almost all the locks on the doors in the house. Almost all. So I’m wondering, did I change that one on the door? Was I visited by Sonny the evil contractor? Anyway, I’ll be visiting our friends at Home Depot or Logan Hardware to change the lock on the door.

Despite this I am still thinking of changing alarm monitoring companies. $32 a month is too much in my book and just to be the people who call the police, not like they’re patrolling my house. I can get basic cable or DSL for that much a month, and I’d use it.

Change locks. Change alarm.

Trying to imagine the future

I was going to complain about ice on the southern side of the 500 block of R street, but no.

I’ve been thinking about development. There is big development going on on the other side of the North Cap, over by the NY Ave metro station and smaller, more residential development on our side, in Truxton Circle. I’ve been trying to imagine what a future North Capitol (NE & NW) would look like. I’ve tried thinking of it in terms of watching one of those time lapsed films where the changes that take over a year or two are seen in a matter of minutes. If I had a camera facing North Capitol what would unfold in front of the camera?

In my imagination I haven’t gotten a full picture, but so far I came up with a little something. The green and white bakery (can’t think of it’s name) gets a paint job, big open windows, tables and opens itself to retail shoppers. Some large piece of government owned property off North Cap disintegrates and in is place arises a mixed retail building with paid underground parking for the public. Signs directing people to parking appear along North Cap. On the NE side more large holes are dug for more paid underground parking for the employees of XM and the other office buildings and their visitors appear. Along sides of these parking garages appears more retail for the employees and residents of Eckington, Bloomingdale, NoMa and Truxton Circle. In my vision I see the neon lights for a sit down Chinese restaurant, which a little later is followed by the lights of another restaurant and a small bookstore. Traffic patterns change a the intersection of FL and North Cap. Oh boy is it a mess! Busses are rerouted and the crowds waiting for the bus are forced elsewhere while the construction is done. The gas station, the KFC and the other corner of FL and N. Cap are all taken out for the building of a small traffic circle.

What shows up in your vision?