Archive for the ‘Shaw’ Category

Section 8 Housing in Trouble?

Rob Goodspeed has a detailed examination of the Section 8 Housing in the northern part of DC, and he comes to a conclusion that could have some serious consequences for many DC neighborhoods: half the governmentally subsidized apartments are able to discontinue their contracts with the government this year, and many may well sell their properties to private development which would likely not maintain affordable housing in Northwest. Check out Rob’s article and the maps involved, it may be a bit of a clue as to what’s going to happen to DC over the next year or two as things change with the Section 8 housing.


Miss Mardi Gras? Who cares? We have our very own Carnival right here in DC – the DC Caribbean Carnival, that is!

Starting with a raucous parade this Saturday, with some 20 bands, crazy costumes, and a huge crowd of partyers, this weekend is billed as “2 Big Days of Bacchanal” and should be a hell of a lot of fun, no matter how hot it is or how many thunderstorms we survive. The carnival has been a DC institution since 1993, modeled after Trinidad and Tobago’s famed celebrations. The parade kicks off at 11am at Georgia and Missouri Avenues and ends with a concert in Banneker Field. Both days feature “De Savannah” at Banneker with tons of vendors from 2pm to 7pm.

Why not spend your weekend partying and pretending you’re in Trinidad and Tobago? Maybe you’ll see a mirage of white sands and blue waters while dancing to steel drums… ah, if only…


This morning I was running late (yes, as usual) and was a bit distracted by allergy-head fog when I got to my bus stop. There was a gentleman already sitting at the stop, drinking a soda.

The unspoken etiquette at my neighborhood bus stop is to always greet people with a smile and a “good morning” when you join them in the mutual hell of waiting for the bus. So I did just that, even though he had a look about him that was not quite friendly.

He glared at me, very deliberately turned his back and loudly spat.

Nice. This is an attitude not unknown to me – it usually happens when I walk past the little convenience store on 11th just before U. There’s always a bunch of guys loitering there who love to show their disdain by spitting loudly as you pass by, sometimes with commentary about neighborhood intruders.

As I was tired and groggy my street sense was off, so my reaction to his hostile spitting was unfortunately to giggle. At this he stood up slowly, crumpled his soda can, and tossed it to the ground in front of me, with a backward “what are you going to do about it, bitch?” glance as he sauntered away.

I picked up the can and threw it away with a sigh.

Space for All?

Sometimes it feels like the city is rapidly revitalizing, with the potential to finally become a truly vibrant international metropolis. Other times it feels like the forces of retroactive resistance threaten to strangle that dream in vitro, and keep us in the clutches of special interests that have long ceased to be of any true value.

Two particular stories have highlighted this for me lately – the ongoing battle over the religious parking policy, and the battle over a bar’s liquor license. Both affect my Shaw neighborhood and strike at the heart of my personal hopes for the city I’ve called home for half my life – space for all.

Bar Dispute Incites Hilarious Journalism

In the heart of Shaw, across from a Church, two guys decided they wanted to open a bar. Apparently, the Church took umbrage to the fact that not only did they serve the demon liquor, the owners are also participating in an alternative lifestyle, but the best moment out of all of us this comes to us from the Washington Post who highlight:

“A bar ? Across from my church?” asked Barbara Campbell, who lives on Georgia Avenue NW and for three decades has gone to Scripture Cathedral in Shaw, where she works as a cook in the church’s day-care center. “Don’t they understand that there is a day-care center in the church?”

All of a sudden I have an image in my head, a toddler with a sippy-cup full of rum.

Aren’t the hours of a bar and a day-care center just about antipodal? But that’s a whole other situation, especially when you consider the City Vs. The Churches fight that’s heading through the city like wildfire. Churches in the District are frequently exempted from parking regulations, much to the ire of the residents of the neighborhoods, and find their cars parked in by Maryland and Virginia plates. Worse still, the Mayor has granted a nearly blanket exemption for them, despite the laws on the books being clearly enforceable and enforcement being called for by the residents.

Is there a Church and State Marriage here in DC that’s restricting development and preventing the enforcement of regulations? I think that’s going a bit far, but I have a feeling the owners of Be Bar, or anyone who lives near a DC church on Sunday might disagree.



The forsythia is in full bloom at 11th Street and Vermont Avenue.
What a happy color!
This is my annual signal to attack the hydrangea and the roses with my trusty pruning shears, in anticipation of a glorious spring.
Three days til it officially begins…

Are We Really That Indifferent To Neighborhoods?

Now, I realize that Daily Candy is just trying to help out one of their sponsors, but are we as bad as the author there suggests? “Folks in these parts just don’t seem to take the same pride in their neighborhoods as those in other towns.”

Sure, we’re no Chicago or New York in terms of our love for neighborhoods and names, and the District doesn’t officially recognize the names of the neighborhoods here, but I’d say there’s some serious love for the neighborhood in DC. Jenn even feels bad she can’t get into the ANC meeting!

What say you readers? Are we as neighborhood apathetic as Daily Candy says? If you’re feeling like you want to represent, though, check out DistrictTees or

The Battle for Source

A month ago I touched on the upcoming metamorphosis of Source Theater from bankrupt blight to beer hall. It appeared the deal between Source’s management and the Bedrock owners to sell the space was brokered, full stop. Then an outcry of support from the arts community to keep the space as a theater and rising questions from the city on Source’s usage of funding began to emerge.

The city has a vested interest in Source’s fate due to the considerable financial support it has given them over the years to save the theater from ruin. This is why it isn’t as simple as Source just deciding to sell the space, and sayonara baby.

This all came to a head last Thursday at the ANC 1B meeting, replete with parading protestors from the theater community (in costume, no less) and television crews. As always the ever-reliable TheaterBoy has an excellent run-down of the Source Saga. In addition, a neighborhood friend attended the meeting and gave me some scoop…

new chef at Vegetate

Tom Sietsema reports that Sidra Forman and Derrick Bullock, the former chef and general manager at Viridian in Logan Circle have moved to Vegetate, an upscale vegetarian restaurant in Shaw. the first chef at Vegetate, who reportedly is not a vegetarian, left the restaurant at around the same time Forman, who reportedly is a vegan, left Viridian. are you following all of this? long story short, these changes seem to be a good thing all around.

i think Vegetate is a great addition to DC. it was ridiculous that DC had no upscale vegetarian restaurant in town before Vegetate opened. unfortunately, under the first chef, the food and service had been uneven. i hope these changes mean that the food and service at Vegetate will be consistently excellent. i’d love to see Vegetate become a world class vegetarian restaurant on par with my favorite restaurant Millennium in San Francisco.

now if they can only get their liquor license straightened out. how you can help, after the jump…

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