4th Street Cleaners

A little off the main drag of Florida, on 4th it sits. It isn’t open yet, but when it does lets hope that they post hours and are decently priced. What I am hoping for is that they are not like the Majestic Cleaners in the 400 block of R that closed some time ago. That cleaner did not post hours, was not open when I was coming home from work, and really did not look like it dealt with retail customers. The hours thing is important because one neighbor sent his clothes there really needed them back for a function but couldn’t pick them up because the shop was closed as he was under the impression that the store had normal dry cleaner hours and would be open on weekends.

June Garden Report

The bad stuff
Spider mites and watering
Spider mites have done a lot of damage. Of course it doesn’t help that I’m inconsistent with the watering. So the bean leaves have been turning white and the pansies are all but dead. The insecticidal soap has had mixed results, and I used so much up that I had to mix up my own batch of Ivory soap and dish detergent. Lesson learned, don’t apply when it is still hot out, it burns the leaves. According to the books and several gardening sites it would help if I watered the leaves more. Most of my watering has been going directly to the base of the plant. Apparently, that’s wrong. So I’m going to have to use the hose more often and blast the leaves to hinder the mites because I would really like to keep with the whole organic theme.
I’ve harvested about 2 tomatoes. One had blossom end rot. This I think once again, the watering being a problem. Heat hasn’t help. Also lack of a decent rain.
The good stuff
Planting various squash plants have produced good results. One has produced nothing but male flowers. But I think this has benefited the zucchini and yellow squash, which have produced several female flowers. I’ve been taking the baby and smallish sized squash off the plant and they keep producing. Some squash I see have suffered from my bad watering practices. Little matter, because I cut off the really bad parts and the rest tastes fine. I’ve only harvested 1-2 patty pan squash, and they haven’t made it to the kitchen. I have a bad habit of eating my garden while gardening.
As mentioned, only 2 tomatoes so far. I have several green tomatoes, and I can’t wait till they turn yellow or red so I can eat them. Several co-workers in the bowls of the Death Star, where I work, ask about the tomatoes often as I had many to give away last year. Also minimal damage so far from the newspaper delivery man.
One of the neighborhood kids asked if my tomato plant was an apple tree. I guess if you’ve lived in an urban environment and never dealt with gardening I can see how a kid wouldn’t know. Leaves are green and the fruit is red, and “A” is for apple, honest mistake.
Besides the near death via spider mites, the beans are okay. I’ve collected a bunch of them, but like some squash they don’t make it in the house, again with the eating stuff while I garden.
They are getting as bad as the peppermint and going all over the place. The vines wandered over to the next pot and started to strangle the plant. So I’m trying something new. I’m going to see if I can get the plant to go up a pole rather than attacking nearby plants. So I’ve taken twine and attached the leggy portions to a bamboo pole. Let’s see what happens.
As far as fruiting goes I have more than 10 baby cukes. They are so cute and green. The flowers aren’t bad either.
Herbs such as peppermint and thyme are doing fine despite me. The in the ground peppermint is growing and taking over. I’ve harvested several batches for drying and tea brewing. The creeping thyme continues to creep and is making a sizable blanket under one of the in the ground tomato plants. I haven’t harvested any of it as it is still in flower.
The cilantro has bolted and gone to seed. So I’ve cut them down and will collect the seed and plant again.

Sights on Rhode Island Ave

As I hurried over to the Post Office at the tip of the Truxton Circle triangle, if that makes any sense, I saw a baby stroller sitting on the median between the east and west lanes of traffic. Getting a bit closer to the corner I saw the owner of the stroller, a dreadlocked and bent raggedy fellow with a sign of some sort. I gathered it said something about being homeless, as most of those types of signs do. I would have taken a picture with the Palm, but it won’t let me take pictures and listen to music, and it was a really good song. In the amount of time it took to wait for the light to change, he gathered up a bill from a passing motorist in an SUV.
My first thought was, please don’t let this be a fixture. I guess on the bright side one could say that it is a sign that the neighborhood is getting better because someone figured people around here must have enough money to give away, like Georgetown and Dupont. But really, no.
After finishing up at the Post Office I came back out and the beggar was gone. Looking down Rhode Island, there was no sign of him. I guess he got enough of what he wanted and moved on.
As I crossed I came a more pleasing sight. A fit and shirtless jogger pushing a baby buggy, with baby. Active fatherhood is so hot. Whomever they are jogging home to is one lucky soul.

Illegal renovation

Problem is somedays I just read the Style and Metro section of the Post and sometimes never get to the other parts, lucky for me DCist pointed out the article in the A section of the paper about illegal construction. A good timely reminder for me to call DCRA about a house not far from me where the contractor has been doing some work.
So besides calling the city I’m just gonna bad mouth the property here too. So if you ever buy it take a very good inspector with you, and a level.
First odd thing about the house was they tore the whole rear off. Removed all the bricks and replaced them with concrete cinder block. That was odd. It would have made sense if they built out, but no. Same dimensions. Then covered the block up with stucco. The only difference were the size of the windows and doors in the back.
After that it was on again off again construction with poor clean up work. Trash and extra concrete would make its way down the alley.
Lately the thing is working after 7pm. Legally contractors are allowed to work from 7am to 7pm. This guy would work past that time, or on other days after that time, leaving me to guess that this is secondary work. One evening, as the light has remained up until late 8ish, I noticed this guy working alone with a couple beers. Another night, well near midnight, he was doing some sawing and hammering that could be heard well in the alley. I guess it was for the deck. There isn’t much light in the alley at midnight, so it seems like a bad idea to work on an elevated (one floor) deck.
So would be buyers of 1617 New Jersey Ave NW you’ve been warned. It might be best if you are making a 400K to 1/2 million dollar investment to check the permits and maybe chat with the neighbors to see if the construction was on the up & up.

10,000 people who like Shaw

Just looking at the web reports and In Shaw has had 10,041 visitors. Okay people I’m only allowed so much traffic per month…. so shoo. Really, I’m not that interesting. If I were where’s my book deal? My trophy boyfriend/husband? Well, at least I have great neighbors (with the exception of the crack head a few doors down).

Oh and other news, which I’m sure will totally jinx it…. I haven’t seen my friendly neighborhood drug dealer for days. Has he and his crew moved on? Are they in jail? Or have they taken off for vacation? Was it the uptick in police presence? It’s like wierd. But I’m not complaining.

That firehouse on North Cap you all love

There are a couple of emails floating around on the different listservs about the empty firehouse on North Capitol NW. On the Bloomingdale DC list the RFP for the firehouse was posted. The only concern I have for it was there is a historic designation pending. I worry that it may add costs and make it a little less attractive price wise. Other wise, make it retail and so they can share parking with Soul Day Spa on that spot on the corner of North Cap and Florida.
But what is more exciting came from the Truxton Circle dispatch yesterday via the Scot Robert’s Bloomingdale listserv (wait how many f*ing listservs does Bloomingdale have?)…. Mike Benson of Cafe Saint Ex, which a bunch of you like, is interested in the firehouse. WOOT!!!
Now if my coding works there should be a link to the email regarding the RFP for the firehouse…. (okay click on comments for full post)
The following was on the Bloomingdale Listserv:
Subject: Fwd: [BloomingdaleDC] RFP coming for the old firehouse at N. Cap & Quincy NW

FYI – Bloomingdale keeps stretching further and further!
Subject: [BloomingdaleDC] RFP coming for the old firehouse at N. Cap & Quincy NW
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 02:47:08 -0700 (PDT)

See the information sheet below from reSTORE DC about the upcoming request for proposals (RFP) for Bloomingdale’s old firehouse at North
Capitol Street NW and Quincy Place NW. Susan Cheng, Konrad Schlater, and John McGaw of the DC Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development have been invited to this evening’s ANC 5C meeting to discuss the future of the firehouse. Tonight’s ANC 5C meeting is being held at Edgewood Terrace Senior Building, 635 Edgewood Street NE, 9th Floor (Crawford Hall). (Visit www.anc5c.org for more information.)
It’s exciting to see this attention over one of Bloomingdale’s beautiful buildings. Old Engine Company 12 Disposition: Information Sheet


The District of Columbia is seeking to sell or lease Old Engine Company 12, the historic firehouse located at 1626 North Capitol Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. The DC Fire Department determined that the firehouse is surplus property. In March, 2005, the Office of Property Management transferred the firehouse to ReSTORE DC, and any net sale proceeds will benefit the Commercial Revitalization Trust Fund, which assists in the retention, expansion and attraction of neighborhood-serving retail
stores. The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (ODMPED) is soliciting input on the disposition of the firehouse from the affected Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, community and civic organizations. After this process is completed, ODMPED will then issue the Solicitation of Offers, select a developer, and finally, introduce a disposition resolution to Council.

Firehouse Description
Old Engine Company 12 is a Spanish Colonial style firehouse located on North Capitol Street, NW, at North Capitol Street and Quincy Place NW. Designed and constructed by the municipal architect in 1897, it is one of the DistrictÂ?s 29 pre-World War II firehouses. These firehouses, dating from 1864 to 1939, were designed as landmarks for their respective neighborhoods. They are significant not only for their architectural merits and diversity, but also for their socioeconomic impacts on their neighborhoods, as the firehouses influenced subsequent residential and commercial development. Engine 12 moved into new quarters in 1987, leaving behind one of the finest firehouses the city has known. Today it sits vacant.

Building Properties

Property Address: 1626 North Capitol Street, NW
Legal Description: Square 3101/Lot 1 (the Â?PropertyÂ?)
Site Area: 5,000 square ft
Building Area: 12,500 square feet (estimated)

Floor-to-Area Ratio: The allowed FAR for the property is 2.5, of which no more than 1.5 can be for residential uses.

Current Zoning: C-2-A. By right development for this area is defined as a community business center district designed for medium density shopping, business, housing and mixed uses.

Historic Designation: Pending hearing

Environmental Status: There is no registered Underground Storage Tank System (UST). A 500 gallon gasoline UST was removed in 1999.

Potential Uses

Offerors have maximum flexibility in their development proposals to address the various selection criteria. Offers should address the disposition of Old Engine Company 12 as an historic building and include uses that will stabilize and enhance the neighborhood. Uses that are most desirable are those that will serve the immediate community, such as:

· Retail,
· Office,
· Housing and
· Cultural.

Of these uses, the ODMPED has a strong preference for ground-floor retail and cultural uses. These ideal uses would enable the building to retain its historic role as a community/civic landmark in the District as well as allow the building to be accessible by more of the public. Any proposal with a housing component must include a minimum 20% of housing gross floor area as housing affordable to households at no more than 80% of HUD Area Median Income. Any proposal with an office component will need a zoning text amendment, which the ODMPED would support. The ODMPED believes that office use on the upper floors would provide a greater
supply of daytime customers likely to support a ground floor retail business, especially if the proposed use of the space is for a restaurant.

Process: Tentative Timeline of Events


ODMPED will brief Councilmember Orange and staff.
ODMPED will brief ANC 5C.
ODMPED staff to conduct meetings/conference calls with community members and civic associations.


Issue solicitation by June 30 / July 1, 2005.


Responses to solicitation due by July 30, 2005.


Within 60 days of the selection of the developer, we will generate a Purchase & Sale Agreement for the property.


On behalf of Mayor Williams, ODMPED will introduce a disposition resolution to Council with the Purchase and Sale Agreement attached to the Committee of the Whole (COW).


Council holds a public hearing and votes on the Proposed Resolution by November 1, 2005.

Questions? Please contact Susan Cheng, Capital City Fellow, at 202-727-6880 or Konrad Schlater, Project Coordinator, at 202-727-6934.

Prepared by the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.

Calgon take me away

I hate my tub. There is a tub in a 5 star London hotel I want to marry and live the rest of my wrinkly skinned life in. I miss that tub. My tub, is too short even for a 5 foot 4 inch me to have a decent bath in and is generally pointless in it’s existence. So the opportunity to have an indulgent evening involving lots of water is denied to me.
So I’m looking at the two spas around Truxton Circle. First is Soul Day Spa in Bloomingdale, facing Truxton on the other side of Florida. The second is Exclusives in Shaw over on Rhode Island Ave. Problem is I’ve never done a day spa. I rarely paint my nails, waxing seems like a form of torture not approved by the Geneva code, and I grudgingly go to my hairdresser to get my hair done. But I’m dying for a professional massage and some needless pampering.
BL has been to Soul Day Spa and gave it positive reviews. I could have sworn I saw Exclusives on one of those grab people and give them a makeover shows. But Exclusives has a coupon and I’m naturally cheap.
It seems strange, there are a lot of things we don’t have on this end of Shaw, but we can go to a spa.

Beware of Big Bro, he’ll take your house

Just from the Post
The Supreme Court favored the city in the eminent domian case. This is so wrong. I need to read more about how this happened and wtf were the judges thinking.

Update: Well I was going to drown my sorrows in the court decision at a bar with Nora, but she had other plans, so I stayed home and made pina colada ice cream. Take one pint of Haagen Daz Coconut Pineapple ice cream, add lotsa rum. After that and a game of Civilization, I felt less angry.

Truxton in City Paper

Quick mention. As part of my lunchtime reading I picked up a City Paper and found an article about homemade street memorials featuring Truxton Circle on page 11. Yeah, you can’t put a timetable on grief but there is a very good reason one sits Shiva for 7 days, because the community can only bear the grief for so long as it needs to move on and the grieved need to let it do so. Yes, most of us, including myself aren’t Jewish so sitting Shiva doesn’t apply, but you get the idea, very public grief for a short while, then the community/neighborhood moves on, you can continue to grieve but the rest of us have to continue with life. Not months on end where liquor bottles and dolls get moldy.