Since January, 2003
 (a random before-and-after moment)
June 21, 2008
January 31, 2015
2nd (West) at I, Looking Southwest (see more)

(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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Recent Crime Incidents Archive  
100 B/O CANAL ST SE   THEFT
2nd Degree
 02/24/15
1300 B/O 4TH ST SE   THEFT
Theft 1 (Theft F/Building)
 02/19/15
1000 B/O 2ND ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO
 02/18/15
100 B/O K ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO
 02/06/15
UNIT B/O K ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO
 02/01/15
1300 B/O M ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO
Theft From Auto 1
 01/27/15

Active Public Space Permits Archive  
No records added or modified in the past two weeks.

Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1011 1ST ST SE   
02/12/15 
COLIN CLARK / MICHAEL BIANCO; COLIN CLARK; MITCH PERMUY
E98099105 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1265 1ST ST SE   
02/10/15 
CAPITAL RIVERFRONT HOTEL LLC / JOHN HOMICK
E1502866 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1000 5TH ST SE   
02/24/15 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY / KIM MITCHELL CDKM CONSULTING LLC
B1412422 / CONSTRUCTION
NEW BUILDING PERMIT FOR NEW COMMUNITY CENTER INCLUDING STEEL STRUCTURE BRICK AND MASONRY BACKUP
1240 12TH ST SE   
02/19/15 
WASHINGTON GAS LIGHT CO / CARLTON W ROBINSON
E1503465 / SUPPLEMENTAL
909 HALF ST SE   
02/23/15 
23 I LLC C/O RELATED COMPANIES / 23 I LLC C/O RELATED COMPANIES; ANDREW DANCE
SB1500132 / CONSTRUCTION
A HOLLOW STEM AUGER WILL INSTALL UP TO 30 TEMPORARY DEWATERING WELLS BY ADVANCING A 12 OD / 8 1 / 4 ID BOREHOLE TO A DEPTH OF 65 FEET. AT DEPTH A 4 INCH PVC FLUSH JOINT THREADED WELL ASSEMBLY WILL BE SET AND SELECT FILTER PLACED. INTO EACH WELL WILL BE INSTALLED A 1 HP TURBINE SUBMERSIBLE PUMP. EFFLUENT WILL BE DIRECTED THROUGH A COMMON MANIFOLD TO A BAFFLED SETTLING TANK AND DISCHARGED TO THE LO...
1015 HALF ST SE   
02/09/15 
HALF ST SE LLC /
P1503333 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
02/12/15 
THOMAS AN / THOMAS AN; HYH ELECTRIC CO. INC.
SG1500156 / CONSTRUCTION
INSTALL ONE SINGLE FACE BUILDING SIGN AND ONE DOUBLE FACE BLADE SIGN
   
02/06/15 
HALF ST SE LLC / KEWAL K. KHATTA
M1501054 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
02/10/15 
EVAN OBRIEN / JOSEPH ABRESCH; EVAN OBRIEN; ROBERT HUNSBERGER
E74054014 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
02/18/15 
HALF ST SE LLC / STEPHEN R. HOLMAN
P1503532 / SUPPLEMENTAL
82 I ST SE   
02/09/15 
GREYSTAR RCP DEVELOPMENT / KIM MITCHELL CDKM CONSULTING LLC
SH1400084 / CONSTRUCTION
SHEETING & SHORING WORK FOR NEW 13-STORY RESIDENTIAL PROJECT AT EYE STREET AND NEW JERSEY AVE SE
601 L ST SE   
02/06/15 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY /
P1503289 / SUPPLEMENTAL
50 M ST SE   
02/18/15 
ENGLEWOOD LLC / FVI2020
FD1500010 / CONSTRUCTION
FOUNDATION OF GRADE RELATED TO CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW HOTEL
55 M ST SE   
02/06/15 
HINES GLOBAAL REIT 55 M STREET LLC / ANDREW WILLINGHAM BOHLER ENGINEERING; ANDREW WILLINGHAM
BCIV1500045 / CONSTRUCTION
NEW GAS SERVICE LINE INSTALL ON PROPERTY. UTILITY TRENCH FOR NEW SERVICE LINE. NO NEW BUILDING. NO NEW BUILDING ADDITIONS PROPOSED ONSITE CIVIL WORK ONLY.
   
02/24/15 
HINES GLOBAL REIT 55 M STREET LLC / ANDREW P CARAYIANNIS
M1501184 / SUPPLEMENTAL
100 M ST SE   
02/11/15 
SQUARE 743 INC. / JOHN GIUSEPPE-RAMCO
TL1500062 / CONSTRUCTION
FIRST TIME TENANT TO BUILDOUT AND OCCUPY TENANT SPACE ON PART OF THE 7TH FLOOR THE TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND AS SHOWN ON THE ATTACHED THIRD PARTY REVIEWED AND APPROVED MECH. .PLUMB. ELECT. FIRE PROTECTION AND ARCHITECTURAL PLANS BY KTA. INTERIOR WORK ONLY. NO CHANGE IN USE. NO STRUCTURAL WORK INVOLVED.
   
02/13/15 
SQUARE 743 INC / RONNIE E WRIGHT
E1503331 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
02/13/15 
SQUARE 743 INC / DAVID FLEMING
P1503495 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
02/19/15 
SQUARE 743 INC / DAVID FLEMING
P1503597 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
02/20/15 
SQUARE 743 INC / GREGORY E LIGON
E1503498 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
02/23/15 
SQUARE 743 INC / ANTHONY G SAMBURG
E1503518 / SUPPLEMENTAL
901 M ST SE   
02/19/15 
US GOVERNMENT NAVY PWC / SUMMIT CONSTRUCTION AND ES
B1504570 / CONSTRUCTION
REQUEST AND E&S PERMIT FOR WORK ON FEDERAL INSTALLATION. INSTALLING FOOTINGS AND SLAB WITH PORTCH SUPPORTS. MINOR GRADING AND SEEDING. BUILDING FOOTPRINT IS UNDER 700SF. LAND DISTURBANCE INCLUDING GRADING AND SEEDING IS UNDER 2 500SF.
100 M ST SE   
02/19/15 
SQUARE 743 INC / JOHN H THOMSON
E1503464 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
02/20/15 
SQUARE 743 INC / DAVID RAINE; SQUARE 743 INC; DAVID RAINE
P38575591 / SUPPLEMENTAL
300 M ST SE   
02/11/15 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / SAM HOLLEN RAMCO OF DC INC.
B1504255 / CONSTRUCTION
INTERIOR RENOVATION TO 2ND FLOOR CONFERENCE ROOM. PARTITIONS FINISHES MECHANICAL ELECTRICAL AND LIFE SAFETY. ICI SERVICES
1201 M ST SE   
02/11/15 
CSC / DAMON ELLIS
B1503731 / CONSTRUCTION
SCOPE OF WORK AREA IS 800SQFT TO INCLUDE MECHANICAL PLUMBING ELECTRICAL AND FIRE. NO CHANGE OF USE OR STRUCTURAL WORK BEING DONE
800 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
02/24/15 
NEW JERSEY AT H LLC / JOHN H THOMSON
E1503556 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
02/13/15 
BAKER DC / CHRISTINE LONG
AH1500246 / CONSTRUCTION
AN AFTER HOURS PERMIT IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED FROM 7:00PM THRU 7:00AM
1000 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
02/23/15 
CAPITOL HILL TOWER HOUSING COOPERATIVE INCF / SHAWN ALEX HELLER
HO1500118 / HOME OCCUPATION
HOME OFFICE (LAW OFFICE).
1200 SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE   
02/06/15 
MR BALLPARK 4 LLC / GEOCAPITOL ENGINEERING LLC
SB1500149 / CONSTRUCTION
WE PROPOSE TO DRILL SEVEN TEST BORINGS AT THE SITE TO EVALUATE THE SUBSURFACE CONDITIONS USING HOLLOW STEM AUGER METHOD. PROPOSED TEST BORING DEPTHS FOR GC-1 THROUGH GC-6 ARE 50 FEET EACH AND GC-7 WILL BE DRILLED TO A DEPTH OF 80 FEET. DRILLING EQUIPMENT WILL BE DECONTAMINATED TO AVOID CROSS CONTAMINATION FROM ONE BORING TO THE OTHERS. DRILLING SPOILS WILL BE CONTAINERIZED IN 55 GALLON DRUMS TO BE...
300 TINGEY ST SE   
02/13/15 
RICHARD CERVERA / NATHANIEL GILL
B1504014 / CONSTRUCTION
NEW SUMMER GARDEN
201 TINGEY ST SE   
02/06/15 
JBG DEVELOPERS / SKIP COBURN
TN1500042 / CONSTRUCTION
TO ERECT A TEMPORARY COMMERCIALLY-CONTRACTED 50' X 120' TENT AT 200 TINGEY ST SE ON FEBRUARY 19TH FOR AN EVENT ON FEBRUARY 20TH AND 21ST AND TO DIS-ASSEMBLE AND REMOVE THE TENT ON FEBRUARY 22ND.
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;

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