Since January, 2003
            
 Sliding from Before to After

(Warning: Navel gazing ahead!)
Even in my semi-retired state, I'd like to believe it is still worth noting that Saturday marks the 10-year anniversary of my first real photographic excursion* south of the Southeast Freeway, when on lark on a cold Sunday afternoon I had my husband drive me around while I took some furtive shots with an early generation digital camera.
There was no rhyme or reason to the pictures I took, and there certainly was no grand plan that I'd spend the next decade amassing more than 60,000 additional photos** of the changes and events along the path of Near Southeast's redevelopment.
All I knew was that were some plans to redevelop the neighborhood, especially the areas along the water as well as the public housing project a few blocks south of my house. I thought it would be cool to have some "before" photos, especially having watched other areas of the city change so radically from what I had first remembered as a high schooler and then college kid in the 1980s, venturing to the original 9:30 Club or the Tiber Creek Pub. I put a few of them up on my web site (already called JDLand, I'll have you know), mainly so that my dad could see them.
When I took these pictures, the notion of a baseball stadium anywhere in DC, let alone on South Capitol Street, was still thought of as a "maybe someday" dream, not anything that was actually only five years from opening. There was no hulking US Department of Transportation on M Street, and no public access to the entire 55-acre Southeast Federal Center with its long stretch of Anacostia waterfront. There were no parks, though there were school buses! And there were certainly no brightly colored townhouses selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
There were a couple of new office buildings built a few years earlier when NAVSEA moved to the Navy Yard, and one additional one was under construction. There was a banner announcing a coming shiny new apartment building at New Jersey and K, which my husband and I laughed at every time we saw it--who would ever want to live THERE?.
There were a lot of small businesses, a number of carry-outs and market/liquor stores, four gas stations, concrete plants, auto repair garages, warehouses, Metrobuses, and of course nightclubs, gay and straight. And a lot of trash-strewn empty lots.
I look now at the photos from those early years, and it just doesn't seem like it can really have been 10 years. I remember when the boarded up gas station at 3rd and M was demolished in October 2003, thinking "FINALLY!"
I remember working up the courage to go to public meetings, and feeling like a dingbat trying to explain who I was ("yeah, so, I have this web site, and I, like, take pictures and stuff?").
I remember walking around the neighborhood for hours on Sunday mornings in 2006 and 2007, rarely crossing paths with another human.
I remember the exhaustion of the all-details-blogging about the construction and opening of Nationals Park, especially at the end of 2007 and beginning of 2008. I laugh about how my fraidy-cat tendencies were shoved aside while I traipsed around the site in a hard hat (me! in a hard hat!), sometimes climbing rickety ladders, to get to spots where the best pictures would be had.
I think about how it seemed like the documenting of the stadium's birth was the main subject of this site, and yet I realize that I've now written about the neighborhood for almost as long with the stadium open as not.
I imagine I should have some grand What It All Means theory, for the neighborhood, or for "citizen journalism" or "hyperlocal blogging," or my life, or whatever. But, mainly I'm lucky that the stars aligned to have this particular neighborhood undergo such a transformation, in a way that tied in with my history-journalism-photography-web development backgrounds (and my obsessive-compulsiveness).
I do think it's been shown, though, that a project like this isn't as easy to replicate as it might seem (so maybe I did deserve that award!).
I'm also lucky that so many people have helped me along the way, with information, tips, tutorials on commercial real estate development and construction, and zoning, and urban planning, and all the other things I really knew nothing about before I started down this path.
And I'm really lucky that over the years people who have stumbled onto the site have found it interesting, which is what has pushed me to keep going, even if it's in a somewhat less-than-optimal fashion right now. Because, really, all I wanted was some cool pictures to be able to look back on.
Without getting into detail, my pulling back somewhat has definitely been the right thing to do, and the times when I go days or even weeks without posting aren't really just me being lazy. But the funny thing is, I still research and track all the minutiae the same way--it's just that final step of writing it out that I can't always get through.
I think, though, that 2013 is going to have a lot of the "milestones" that still propel me to post--restaurants will open, other retail may come along, and maybe some buildings will get started. And there still will be pictures to be taken. Because, even if I wanted to, I don't think I could ever really stop watching the neighborhood change, and if I'm going to watch it, and photograph it, I might as well keep blabbing on about it, and might as well share it with anyone still interested.
So go look at the pictures from January 19, 2003 (and all the others that I've put online), since that's what this was really all about. And accept my deep appreciation for being along for the ride.
*I say "real excursion", and date the blog's anniversary to Jan. 19, 2003, because that was the first time I took photos and then put them on the web, and really began this life-consuming project. But I need to note that I did also take some photos of the neighborhood back in the fall of 2000, during the reconstruction of M Street and the Navy Yard's renovation for NAVSEA, with my old film camera--but I forgot about them and didn't even develop the film until sometime in 2004 (hence the rotten quality!).
**Only about one third of the photos I've taken are actually on the web site, by the way.
Comments (7)
   
 
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Boris says: (1/18/13 10:45 AM)
Congrats, JD. I've been following you for 4 years now and love the site. As a native of DC and a former Hill staffer, I remember having to park down NJ Ave because I was so low on the office totem poll. It was a pretty scary experience. Your photo history reminds me of those days and how far this neighborhood has come. I'm very proud of being a part of it now. Thank you for doing this!


Bruce says: (1/18/13 11:01 AM)
When a few of us were on line overnight waiting to purchase at CQ in 2006, the police drove and asked us what we were protesting! We told them the story and they drove by almost every 1/2 hour to check on us....lol. There was no one else around except some "squatters" coming from the last remaining Capper apts on L and 3rd waiting for demolition.
Times have changed!


Jaybird says: (1/19/13 7:00 AM)
JD,

Now you have me all nostalgic. I think I met you at the corner of First and N. Was it 2003 or 2004?

Anyway, congrats on the big one-zero! Very few bloggers last that long, much less as prolific as you. Take a bow!



VelocityChris says: (1/19/13 10:29 AM)
Not only do I enjoy your blog as a resident now, it was a part of helping me pick this neighborhood to move to when I was researching areas! So thank you very much!


BillP says: (1/21/13 9:49 AM)
JD - Congratulations on your anniversary, Jen and I love your photos and your blog and we have enjoyed and corresponding with you as well. Here's to another few decades. Can you imagine what this place will look like then?


John Marson says: (2/11/13 12:01 AM)
Happy anniversary! I truly love reading your blog! Thank you for all the time and energy you've investing in it.


yard resident since 09 says: (2/16/13 6:29 PM)
You're amazing! Many thanks for time, effort and insight about the neighborhood. Found your site prior to us moving into Navy Yard years ago; while we wanted to be in the neighborhood, your site 'connected' us, and still does. It helps me be a more informed citizen and neighbor.

Here's to another 10 years!


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City Government Data for Near Southeast Records added or updated recently displayed here; click the "archive" links to see additional detail and older records. All data from DC Government databases and RSS feeds. JDLand takes no responsibility for errors, omissions, etc. (read CapStat disclaimer). Data is retrieved daily.

Recent Crime Incidents Archive  
400 B/O K ST SE   MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT
Theft First Degree (Stolen Auto)
 07/06/20
1200 B/O HALF ST SE   THEFT
Theft First Degree (all Other Larceny)
 07/05/20
100 B/O H ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 07/03/20
100 B/O O ST SE   ROBBERY  07/03/20
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 06/28/20
1200 B/O 1ST ST SE   MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT
Theft First Degree (Stolen Auto)
 06/25/20
1200 B/O SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft First Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 06/23/20
1200 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   ASSAULT WITH A DANGEROUS WEAPON
Assault W/i To Kill
 06/20/20
1000 B/O 3RD PLACE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 06/18/20
800 B/O SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE   ASSAULT WITH A DANGEROUS WEAPON  06/14/20
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Shoplifting
 06/12/20
1000 B/O M ST SE   ROBBERY
Unarmed Carjacking
 06/09/20
UNIT B/O M ST SE   ASSAULT WITH A DANGEROUS WEAPON  06/07/20

Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1300 4TH ST SE RU-2   
06/18/20 
AP BOWER RETAIL LLC / MELISSA BRENT
SG2000335 / CONSTRUCTION
Install 1 illuminated wall sign & 1 illuminated blade sign - JENIs ICE CREAM
150 I ST SE   
06/15/20 
SQUARE 737 LLC / BOB BIROONAK; NA; NA
SG2000323 / CONSTRUCTION
two illuminated building sign
151 M ST SE   
06/18/20 
BROOKFIELD PROPERTIES / CHRIS CRESCI; NA
SB2000292 / CONSTRUCTION
WSP will be advancing approximately 50 soil borings to 30 feet, and an additional 8 borings to 4 feet via direct push. A water sample will be collected from 3 of the deep borings. All borings will be abandoned via bentonite grout mix. Investigation derived waste will be stored in DOT 55-gallon steel drums. Private and public utility locating will take place prior to the work beginning
250 M ST SE   
06/19/20 
WILLIAM C SMITH / null
E2008622 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
06/24/20 
SQUARE 769 LLC / null
M2002834 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
06/24/20 
SQUARE 769 LLC / null
P2006931 / SUPPLEMENTAL
300 M ST SE   
06/16/20 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / null
E2008501 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
06/18/20 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / null
E2008587 / SUPPLEMENTAL
111 N ST SE   
06/16/20 
BROOKFIELD PROPERTIES / NA; CHRIS CRESCI
SB2000293 / CONSTRUCTION
WSP will advance 22 soil borings to 25 feet and 8 soil borings to 4 feet via direst push. A groundwater sample will be collected from 2 of the deep borings by installing a temporary well to be in the ground for just a couple hours. Borings will be backfilled with bentonite / grout mix. IDW will be stored in DOT 55-gallon drums. A private and public utility mark out will be completed prior to b...
861 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
06/10/20 
CXS TRANSPORTATION INC / ;
P2006604 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
06/19/20 
CXS TRANSPORTATION INC / ;
P2006843 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
06/22/20 
GREYSTAR GP LLC / KIM MITCHELL
B1903035 / CONSTRUCTION
The proposed project is three structures which are connected by a shared below-grade garage, which is one story deep on the east half of the site and two stories deep on the west half of the site. Two structures will be residential, with a total of 756 units, and the third will be a 225-key hotel. The west residential structure (Building 3) is planned to be 13 stories with ground and roof level am...
   
06/25/20 
CXS TRANSPORTATION INC / ;
P2006972 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1100 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
06/10/20 
SQUARE 742 LLC, C/O SPAULDING & SLYE/STE 100, / PAUL WHITLEY
AN1900284 / CONSTRUCTION
PROJECT CONSISTS OF: REMOVING: (2) EXISTING EQUIPMENT CABINETS, (3) EXISTING ANTENNA'S, (1) EXISTING RRU'S AND ANCILLARY EQUIPMENT / CABLE AND INSTALLING: (6) PROPOSED ANTENNA'S, (3) PROPOSED RRU'S, AND(2) PROPOSED EQUIPMENT CABINETS ON AN EXISTING TELECOM FACILITY
1111 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
06/12/20 
GALLERY CAPITOL RIVERFRONT PROPERTY LLC / TRACIE CLAXTON; NA; NA
SG2000257 / CONSTRUCTION
One Wall Mounted Sign illuminated
   
06/24/20 
GALLERY CAPITOL RIVERFRONT PROPERTY LLC / null
P2006938 / SUPPLEMENTAL
401 WATER ST SE   
06/18/20 
BROOKFIELD PROPERTIES / CHRIS CRESCI
SB2000294 / CONSTRUCTION
WSP will advance 23 soil borings to 30 feet and 8 additional borings to 4 feet using direct push. A groundwater sample will be collected from 2 of the deep borings by installing a temporary well. Soil boirngs will be abandoned with bentonite / grout mix. IDW will be stored for disposal in DOT 55-gallon drums. A private and public utility mark out will be completed priot to starting intrusive w...
AH = After Hours; B = Alteration & Repair; D = Demolition; E = Electrical; FB = Boiler; M = Mechanical; P = Plumbing and Gas; PC = Post Card; R = Raze; SG = Sign; TL = Tenant Layout; TN = Tent; RW = Retaining Wall;

Real Property Sales Archive  
No commercial transaction records added or modified in the past two weeks.


Project Directory
Completed
Thompson Hotel ('20)
West Half ('19)
Novel South Capitol ('19)
Yards/Guild Apts. ('19)
Capper/The Harlow ('19)
New DC Water HQ ('19)
Yards/Bower Condos ('19)
Virginia Ave. Tunnel ('19)
99 M ('18)
Agora ('18)
1221 Van ('18)
District Winery ('17)
Insignia on M ('17)
F1rst/Residence Inn ('17)
One Hill South ('17)
Homewood Suites ('16)
ORE 82 ('16)
The Bixby ('16)
Dock 79 ('16)
Community Center ('16)
The Brig ('16)
Park Chelsea ('16)
Yards/Arris ('16)
Hampton Inn ('15)
Southeast Blvd. ('15)
11th St. Bridges ('15)
Parc Riverside ('14)
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Cap. ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)


Overviews
Capper/Carrollsburg
Anacostia Riverwalk
New Jersey Avenue
M Street
South Capitol Street
The Yards
Lower 8th Street
East M Street
Boathouse Row





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