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DDOT has announced that a meeting to update the public on the progress of the M Street SE/SW Transportation Study has been scheduled for May 24, from 6:30 pm to 8 pm at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, 10 I St. SW.
The study area covers the stretch of M from 12th Street, SE to 14th Street, SW, along with the adjacent areas from the Southeast/Southwest Freeway south to the Anacostia River/Washington Channel. DDOT is looking at "how to integrate transit, bicycling and walking with motor vehicle traffic," while also trying to figure out how to balance residents' preferences for how M Street should be configured versus how visitors, workers, and commuters expect it to flow.
The first meeting, back in January, included an introduction to the study before attendees broke up into small groups to give feedback about the issues they feel need addressing.
According to the web site, a draft study report is expected this summer, with the final report and a final public meeting coming in the fall.
 

It's official! The city has declared May 4-6 to be Natitude Weekend, and the Nats have even festooned the Center Field Gate with a new Natitude Park sign. All of this to work at Taking Back the Park from the hordes of Phillies fans that will, despite best efforts, be once again descending on the neighborhood. (Though perhaps they should remember the spankings their team got the last time the teams played, during the final few games of the 2011 season.)
So, residents should be aware that there will be a whole lot more people in the area than for any game since the home opener. The schedule:
* Tonight (Friday, May 4), 7:05 pm.
* Saturday, 1:05 pm.
* Sunday, 8:05 pm. (A rare Sunday night game time, since ESPN has chosen the game for Sunday Night Baseball.)
And, as if getting to and from the neighborhood won't be congested enough, Metro has decided to go forward with a weekend of heavy track work, despite pleas from riders groups concerned about not only the Nats/Phillies game but also the Caps/Flyers game at the Verizon Center at 12:30 pm Saturday. For the Green Line, Greenbelt, College Park, Prince George’s Plaza and West Hyattsville stations will be closed, and buses will replace trains between Greenbelt and Fort Totten, but there's work on all the other lines as well.
And, even though the game isn't until Sunday night, there are also two midday events in the neighborhood that day that might be drawing people: the LivingSocial Dodgeball Tournament at the Yards Park and the Kennedy Center's "Lunchtime Invasion" street arts event at the Fairgrounds from 11:30 to 1:30.
Plus, tonight is the first of the Yards Park Friday Night Summer Concert Series, starting at 6:30 pm.
If you're coming to the neighborhood for the first time, my Visiting Nats Park page will help you with information on parking, transportation, food options, and things to do outside the park.
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More posts: Events, Nationals Park
 

This flyer, just posted on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project web site, announces that the next public meeting about the project will be on May 21 from 6 to 8 pm at Nationals Park. "During this public meeting, the concepts to move forward in the EIS will be announced." Read my post from Wednesday for more information on the whole EIS thing, and this one from the last meeting to find out more about the initial concepts that were looked at, and that will form the basis for the ones chosen to be studied further.
 

As the Fairgrounds prepares to begin its daily hours on May 4, the outdoor event space just north of Nationals Park at Half and M is also starting to promote some of its non-gameday offerings:
* The Truckeroo food truck festival will be back for another year, on five Fridays this summer: May 11, June 8, July 13, Aug. 10, and Sept. 28, running from 11 am to 11 pm each time.
* There will also be a new "Family Day" event, with a promo flyer describing it as having "carnival games and prizes, inflatable and mechanical rides, children's entertainers and live musicians," plus food trucks. Admission will be free, and scheduled dates so far are May 13, May 27, June 3, June 10, and June 24, from 11 am to 4 pm.
All have been added to my Events Calendar, for future reference.
(Perhaps this is also good timing to finally link to this Housing Complex post from last week showing what the site could look like if it ends up with advertising on the sides of the shipping containers, which WCP says Fairgrounds was soliciting.)
 

Earlier this week the Federal Highway Administration and DDOT gave notice that the in-process National Environmental Policy Act study of CSX's Virginia Avenue Tunnel project will be switching mid-stream from an Environmental Assessment to a more detailed Environmental Impact Statement study.
Since the outcome of an EA is often the instigation of an EIS, this is probably serving mainly to speed up the process and get started on an EIS that most likely would have been needed anyway. The NEPA web site mentions that "[i]f a federal agency anticipates that an undertaking may significantly impact the environment, or if a project is environmentally controversial, a federal agency may choose to prepare an EIS without having to first prepare an EA," both of which would certainly seem to be ways this project could be described.
If you want to see how extensive an EIS can be, check out the ones completed for the 11th Street Bridges reconstruction and the planned South Capitol Street corridor improvements.
The information already gathered and feedback already garnered during the EA process will be incorporated into the EIS. CSX representatives tell me that they expect the switch to add about six months to the environmental review process, and the project's web site now has a Spring 2013 date listed for the Final EIS/record of decision. CSX has always wanted the project to be done in 2015, to coincide with the opening of the expanded Panama Canal, but that timeline is starting to look a bit dicey given that construction has been expected to take 2-3 years.
The public meeting to unveil the chosen "alternative" designs that the EIS is studying is currently being planned. You can read my write-up from the last meeting to see more about the initial group of concept designs, which ranged from expanding the tunnel to building a separate parallel tunnel to leaving the tunnel untouched to closing it and having CSX reroute all their traffic rerouting the double-stack traffic and through traffic out of the city (UPDATED to fix my mistake--there is no proposal that would close the tunnel altogether). (It probably isn't hard to guess which alternatives are preferred by the Capitol Quarter Homeowners Association, with CQ's homes on Virginia Avenue standing mere feet away from any construction.) UPDATE: It's been requested that I mention that, while the CQ HoA letter above lists a group of possible signatories, at least three of them (ANC 6B, Barracks Row Main Street, and the Committee of 100) have all already voted against co-signing the letter.
For those blissfully unaware of this project (I wish!), CSX is needing to expand the 105-year-old tunnel that runs beneath Virginia Avenue between 2nd and 12th streets, SE so that a second track can be added and double-height cars can be accommodated. With initial plans calling for the extended closure of Virginia Avenue and a temporary track in an open trench to run trains through during construction, residents on both sides of the freeway have been greatly concerned about how the work will be designed and carried out, which then spurred DDOT to request a formal environmental review (despite this being a project being carried out by a private entity on a right-of-way that they own some of).
My pile of posts over the past few years on the subject may also be enlightening, or may not.
UPDATE: This flyer just posted on the VirginiaAvenueTunnel.com web site says that the next public meeting, announcing which concepts will be looked at in the EIS, is scheduled for May 21 from 6 to 8 pm at Nationals Park.
 

I've learned today that mega-developer Toll Brothers has purchased the Square 699N land directly north of the Velocity Condos building on 1st Street SE for $24 million, with the intention of building a 250ish-unit residential building.
This land has been owned by the Cohen Companies since their purchase of the entire block bounded by 1st, Half, K, and L in 2005.
In fact, the garage and below-grade structure for the Toll Brothers lot is already built--that's why you see all the funny beige boxes on the land, covering vent shafts and other infrastructure items. Cohen had planned to move forward with a sibling for Velocity soon after it completed the condo building, but that never came to fruition.
This would be Toll Brothers's first building in DC proper, I believe, but they have plenty of offerings in the Metro area. And, as I found out today, they don't just do single-family homes (White Flint Station is an example of a condo building of theirs in the area). UPDATE: SWill from across the way mentions in the comments that TB bought White Flint Station after it was completed and converted it to condos from apartments. Apologies for the assumption.
More to come on this, I'm sure. And it will no doubt be seen as another indication of the strength of Near Southeast's residential market.
[And I should add that Cohen still owns the third lot on the block, along Half Street.]
 

A press release sent out on Tuesday is trumpeting the sales of two of the buildings in the "Capitol Yards" lineup, 909 New Jersey and the Axiom at 100 I Street, the completion of a pending deal that I first wrote about in January. However, back then, residents in Axiom's sibling, the Jefferson at 70 I, were also notified that their building was under contract, but that deal apparently didn't complete with the other two. The 448-unit Jefferson was the priciest of the three offers, at about $165 million, compared to about $94 million for the 245-unit Axiom and $95 million for the 237-unit 909.
Did the Jefferson's residents go out back with metal detectors and find the $165 million needed to purchase the property themselves? Or are there a few more i's to dot and t's to cross to finish the deal? Or is something else afoot?
In the 100 I and 909 New Jersey sales, the buyers are "institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management."
The three buildings were completed by JPI back in 2008 and 2009, but the recession hit the company hard and eventually two of its executives boltered to partner with folks from Akridge to form the Jefferson Apartment Group. But 70/100/909 apparently remained part of JPI's holdings, as did the empty lot at 23 I Street where JPI's fourth apartment building had been planned, until it was foreclosed upon and picked up by Ruben Companies in late 2009. The three buildings, completed in 2008 and 2009, have been managed by Greystar ever since JPI sold its property management division to the company.
UPDATE: I'm hearing chatter that residents of 70 I did form a tenant association to attempt to buy the building themselves, which then adds some additional time to the deal to allow the residents to find financing to match the initial offer. Anyone from the building want to chime in?
 

After a west coast swing that sputtered a bit at the end, the Nationals return home today for the rest of the week, starting with a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks before the weekend's touted Take Back the Park games against the Phillies.
The $2 tickets for tonight's game against the D-backs sold out pretty quickly once it was known that this would be 19-year-old Bryce Harper's first home game in the big leagues, but it is the first night of MLB All-Star balloting, with Adam LaRoche, Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos, Rick Ankiel, Michael Morse, and Jayson Werth all on the ballot. Wednesday is $1 Hot Dot Night, and Thursday May 3 is a "drawstring backpack" giveaway for the first 20,000 fans (Half Street entrance only) as part of "MLB Network Day."
Look for big crowds over the weekend during the Phillies series, and note that the traditional Sunday post-game "Kids Run the Bases" offering will be on Saturday this week, since the Sunday game is a rare 8:05 pm start (thanks to it being ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball game). Also, the Fairgrounds will reopen on Friday, at 11:30 am.
Before Sunday night's game, the six newest members of the Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame will be honored. At the top of the list is the late WUSA sportscaster Glenn Brenner, who you DC newbies would not remember but who was much beloved before he died of a brain tumor in 1992. Other inductees include NBA star Adrian Dantley (who lived across the street from me on the DC side of Western Avenue back in the day), Redskins cornerback Darrell Green, Joe Gallagher of St. John's College High School, journalist Sam Lacy, and UDC's Bessie Stockard.
If you haven't ventured to the stadium yet this season, my Visiting Nats Park page will give you information and links on how to get there, and what there is to eat and see nearby.
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More posts: Nationals Park
 

The Yards Park folks are announcing today that the annual Yards Park Friday Evening Concert Series will be back again for 2012, running for an expanded 20 weeks, from May 4 through Sept. 14.
New this year is that the lineup of musical acts is going to be selected by OnTap Magazine, and that food will be provided by Red Apron Butchery, Buzz Bakery, and ChurchKey. (Buzz Bakery is one of the tenants slated to come to the Boilermaker Shops, and of course ChurchKey is the sibling of Boilermaker's Bluejacket brewery.)
The food options are described thusly by the press release: "Red Apron, a small-batch producer of locally-made and handcrafted charcuterie from Chef Nate Anda, will serve a variety of artisan hot dogs with housemade condiments. Buzz Bakery, a bakery and coffee shop led by award-winning Pastry Chef Tiffany MacIsaac, will offer seasonal treats such as baked goods, ice cream, popsicles and fresh juices. Greg Engert, who manages the beverage programs at Birch & Barley, ChurchKey, Rustico and other area restaurants, will oversee a weekly rotating selection of hand-selected craft draft beers and wines." There will also be a rotating lineup of second food vendors each week, such as familiar food trucks Stix, BBQ Bus, Luke's Lobster, Dutch Mill Catering and Doug the Food Dude.
The music will be a "wide range" of styles, including jazz, Top 40, country, salsa, and reggae.
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More posts: Events, The Yards, Yards Park
 

After the flurry of the past few months, real news is taking a bit of a breather. In the meantime, here's some reading material I've scraped up, so that it doesn't look like I've completely quit working:
* Joel Osteen Ministries' "America's Night of Hope" is coming to Nationals Park on Saturday--here's the Washington Post's story on Osteen and the plans for the event. Doors open at 5:30 pm and the festivities start at 7 pm, if you're wanting to plan your evening around the crowds. If you're coming to the neighborhood for it, my Visiting Nats Park page can help you find your way.
* Want to know how the Nats Park field is cared for, and who takes care of it? The Post profiles head groundskeeper John Turnour and his work.
* A reader tells WashCycle about being stopped from biking on the Navy Yard portion of the Riverwalk. That promenade has always been signed as prohibiting bicycling, but with increased publicity for using the Riverwalk as a biking trail (including Tuesday's ribbon cutting of the new bridge across the CSX tracks), the issue of bicycles along the Navy Yard/Yards Park/Teague stretch is going to keep bubbling up, perhaps even moreso when the new 11th Street Local bridge opens soon with its wide pedestrian/cycling paths making the connection between both sides of the river even easier.
* Speaking of that new 11th Street Local bridge, much streetscape work has been done recently on O Street (new pavement, curbs, and brick paver crosswalks), and it looks like the concrete should be poured before too long to complete the connection from O to where the bridge begins to rise above the river. Maybe I'll actually get over there with my camera soon.
* Speaking of streetscapes, there's a new sidewalk on L Street between 1st and New Jersey, to go with the new sidewalk on Half between I and K.
* The Capitol Riverfront BID would love it if you'd fill out either their residential survey (if you live in the neighborhood) or the employee survey if you work here.
* Jonathan O'Connell at WaPo looks at how developer Opus East hit the skids, right as it was trying to finish 1015 Half Street. (Opus was also the developer behind 100 M, but it was completed before everything truly fell apart.)
* The Mayor is having a Ward 6 Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Town Hall Meeting tonight (April 25) at 6:30 pm at Eastern High School, 1700 East Capitol Street.
* The next meeting of Police Service Area 106 is on Saturday, April 28, at 10 am at the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St., SE.
What else is going on?
UPDATE: Adding a link to Washington City Paper's profile of "The Nautical Yards", a "site-specific dance and theater piece inspired by the Washington Navy Yard" being performed at the Yards Park Thursday through Saturday (April 26-29) at 7 pm. Premium seating is $30, general admission is free.
And I should probably remind that tickets for Springsteen at Nats Park on Sept. 14 go on sale Friday (April 27) at 10 am.
 

While much of my time on Opening Day each year is spent racing around getting pictures of the festivities, it's equally important to me as the first time after a multi-month lull that I can go to the various viewpoints on the upper deck and get updated photographs of how the ballpark's immediate surroundings have changed.
On the ballpark's western side, overlooking South Capitol Street, there's now the Camden South Capitol apartment building rising out of the ground, more than four years after the lot was cleared in preparation for construction. While technically this new 244-unit building is outside of my boundaries, I've taken enough photos of the western side of South Capitol Street over the years to maintain a pseudo-project page, where you can get the basics on the development and some before-and-afters but where I'm not going overboard in documenting the building's arrival. The photos above were taken from the ballpark's northwest viewing platform, and you can see the other images I've taken from that perch since my first visit there in September 2007.
If you want some additional views to the west, I have a series of before-and-afters from the small opening at O Street near the elevators, including these looking straight out O:
Meanwhile, on the ballpark's south side, there's two changes since last summer worth getting photos of: the completed Riverwalk bridge between Diamond Teague Park and the Yards Park, and the clearing of the Florida Rock site. And, since my 2007 "before" shots are from the time that Potomac Avenue and First Street were being reconstructed, and long before the waterfront started getting spiffed up, the transformation is pretty striking, though you can tell that I had my wide-angle lens in 2007 but had to settle for stitched-together images this time:
You can browse my many variations of these before-and-after Anacostia River views, both to the southeast and to the southwest. And, note at the top of these pages the links to other "on high" photographs from various rooftops around the neighborhood.
(PS: Apologies for the site's extended outage on Thursday--a botched move by my hosting company to upgrade the hardware of my shared server resulted in what to you was a nearly seven-hour outage but to me was the equivalent of a couple of ice ages.)
 

The Marine Corps will be getting the wheels moving again in what has been a stalled quest to build a new barracks and associated support space, putting the word out Wednesday via the project web site and a newsletter that it will be using the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process "to continue the dialogue with the community of stakeholders" going forward. However, it's also now clear that "federal land acquisition will be unavoidable as a result of recent unforeseen changes in policy and a less favorable funding outlook."
In other words, the potential for a public-private development partnership as discussed in the 2010 series of public meetings is falling by the wayside, and the federal government will have to own the land that the new barracks is built on. (Though the Marines say they "will continue to investigate opportunities to collaborate with the District of Columbia to minimize impacts to the local tax base and pursue all viable options[.]")
During 2010, the site selection process had narrowed the slate down to three potential locations: the site of the Bachelor Enlisted Quarters/MBW Annex at 7th and Virginia, the former Exxon site at 11th and M on Square 976, and "Squares 929/930," the two blocks bounded by 8th, Virginia, 9th, and Potomac controlled by multiple landowners, including a joint venture between Madison Marquette and ICP Partners. Wednesday's newsletter, posted by the Washington Business Journal, says that squares 929, 930, and 976 will be analyzed in the environmental impact statement, but that the Annex site is now ruled out for the required 100,000 square feet of housing, though it could be used for the needed 60,000 square feet of "support space."
However, given that there's also mention of analysis of "any additional sites that are identified within 2,000 feet of the MBW Main Post at 8th and I," one wonders if some of the sites ruled out in the original CIMP process might come back to the table, such as the old Capper Seniors site at 7th and M ("Square 882") that the Marines coveted so much given its location just to the south of the Annex, even though the DC Housing Authority officially requested in May 2010 that the Marines stop looking at it. The Virginia Avenue Park would also fall within that 2,000-foot perimeter, but the park's devotees mobilized pretty successfully two years ago when the Marines initially eyed their turf, as did the parents at Tyler Elementary when its playing field was on the original site list.
The Marines do say they are still committed to many aspects of the original CIMP, including working "collaboratively with the community and stakeholders" (and the city), and also to the concept of "[r]educed security standoff distances for the urban environment."
Expect a formal announcement in "late summer" of the NEPA process.
If you haven't been following along (or weren't around in 2010), this site search has all come to pass because Building 20, the fortress just north of the freeway at 8th St. SE, suffers from "serious antiterrorism/force protection and quality of life deficiencies," with reuse of the site ruled out because of the expanded "standoff distances" now required in this War on Terror era. It's those new-era requirements, though, that have many in the area concerned about what sort of negative impacts a new barracks could have on its surroundings. Feel free to browse back through my many posts on the process for more details.
 

Diverse Markets Management, the company which was overseeing the "market" portion of the new Fairgrounds shipping container market and events space on Half Street, alerted its vendors and other exhibitors via e-mail that "[a]fter much deliberation, DMM has concluded it must drop out of this project, effective immediately."
In the e-mail, DMM executive director Michael Berman said he was sorry that the plans didn't work out, having had "high hopes for the venue," but: "Taking a hard look at the site, I believe it cannot support retail, vending, artists or farmers as we had imagined that it might. I think the space is well designed to serve alcohol products and that the stage, sound, and food trucks compliment that use, but the vending and retail aspect does not fit in at all, without a complete redesign, which is not envisioned."
In what is probably related news, the Fairgrounds web site now says that it will be open "daily" (i.e., operating on non-game days in addition to game days) beginning May 4. The food, drink, and entertainment portions of Fairgrounds's operations were not being handled by DMM and presumably will be continuing. I've reached out to Fairgrounds developer Bo Blair to find out whether another vendor will be brought in to try to revive the market aspect of Fairgrounds' plans, and will update with any information I get.
UPDATE: Describing the Fairgrounds team as "disappointed" that DMM pulled out after only five days of business, Bo Blair had this to say via e-mail:
"From the beginning of the Fairgrounds concept, we all were very aware that the retail aspect was going to be a difficult task. Unfortunately, DMM was not the right fit. We are fully committed to moving forward quickly with a host of other vendors, artists, real estate brokers, and entrepeneurs who see the incredible potential to create something unique and interesting on the site. We did not go out and spend over $350,000 and waste an incredible amount of time and effort to have the containers sit empty. We will fill them soon. The other aspects of Fairgrounds, such as the food trucks, The Bullpen, games, and live music have been very well received. We have many events planned for the summer and will be open daily starting May 4th. We look forward to new ideas and concepts to fill the container stores as soon as possible and are excited for the great season ahead."
 

I didn't really intend to go completely off-grid for a long weekend, but a road trip to and from north Florida didn't leave me much time or energy for blogging. What did I miss?
* I assume everyone's heard by now that Bruce Springsteen will be playing at Nats Park on Sept. 14. Tickets go on sale on Friday, April 27 at 10 am at tickets.com. (If I'm not showing appropriate enthusiasm, I apologize, but Springsteen just hasn't ever really done it for me. I think I was permanently scarred by everyone around me going so crazy for him when I was in college, during the whole Born in the USA era. I just hid in my room and listened to R.E.M., and U2, and the Smiths, and Squeeze, and Elvis Costello, and....)
* The Nats' current homestand continues for the rest of the week, with tonight being the first $2 Ticket Tuesday of the season. Then there's Neighborhood Night on Thursday, April 19, followed by the season's first Pups in the Park game at 1:05 pm Saturday, April 21, and Kids Opening Day at 1:35 pm Sunday, April 22.
* If you're not availing yourself of tonight's $2 Ticket Tuesday, perhaps you might want to check out the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce's session on real estate development in and around Capitol Hill, which will be focusing on the areas east of South Capitol and south of East Capitol, which includes Near Southeast. Tommy Wells is scheduled to be part of the lineup. It's from 7 to 9 pm at the Meader Theater (NCC's new home) at 535 8th St., SE.
* Saturday, April 21 is Lantern Making Family Day at the Yards Park, as part of the lineup of events as the Cherry Blossom Festival comes to a close. There are two sessions, at 10 am and noon, followed by a parade/procession through the park.
* It's a bit outside my boundaries, but residents and others may be interested to know that the new Anacostia Riverwalk Trail Bridge crossing the railroad tracks just north of Pennsylvania Avenue will be opening on April 24.
And, some non-event tidbits:
* Square 696, the block bounded by I, K, Half, and First owned by DRI and Jamestown and originally branded as "The Plaza on K," is apparently being relaunched as "Congressional Square," though that doesn't seem to have filtered down to any web sites just yet. It's still an 825,000-square-foot office and retail project.
* On Opening Day, I noticed a lot of cars parked in the fenced-off lot on the southeast corner of 1st and M SE that belongs to the former National Geospatial Intelligence Agency building. I asked Forest City about it, and they said that they will offer parking in that lot for certain games where big crowds are expected, but aren't planning to make it available for daily use.
* In the 700 block of Virginia Avenue, the Miles Glass building and the auto repair shop next door are no more, but at least they are now permanently enshrined as entries #168 and #169 in the Demolished Buildings Gallery. A parking lot is expected to be built for temporary use, while the National Community Church works on its plans for a larger events space on the site.
 

It was a little more difficult than it looked like it would be (and had a bit of a crazy finish), but the Nats got a win for their sold-out 2012 Home Opener, winning 3-2 in the 10th thanks to a wild pitch.
It's not hard in this world of social media to find photos from Opening Day, but that doesn't mean I can pass up the opportunity to post my own, for those of you who weren't there (or even if you were).
I have two galleries for you browse through: my shots from around the stadium (both looking inside and looking out), along with images from the opening ceremonies. (I leave the photos of the game itself to others.) And now I think I shall take a bit of a breather!
UPDATE: Shoot, meant to include links to my previous Opening Day galleries (and more), if folks wanted some memories....
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More posts: photos, Nationals Park
 

I know, it seems like the returning Nats were just welcomed home last week, but that was for an exhibition! The 2012 regular season is now underway, and the first-place (really!) Nationals will play their first home game Thursday at 1:05 pm against the Cincinnati Reds, with the gates opening at 10:30 am to help handle the expected sellout crowd. And the game isn't a one-off: the team will play at home every day through Sunday, April 22, with series against the Astros and the Marlins following the four games against the Reds.
JDLand's new Visiting Nats Park page has a whole lot of links about the stadium and the neighborhood, but here are the main ones in bullet-point form, in case you can't bear to click through:
* Getting There: Figure out where to park (and learn why "I'll just find a space on the street" probably isn't going to work). Or take Metro. Or the Circulator. Or a water taxi. Or a bike. (Dr. Gridlock has his annual "how to get to the ballpark" column as well.) My Live Transit Info page might also be worth bookmarking, to see when the next bus or train is coming, or if there's a Bikeshare bike close by to snag. (And, if you're a resident, remember that you may have to use the Navy Yard station's New Jersey Avenue entrance if you're coming home as the game is ending.)
* What's New in the Hood: See what's changed around the neighborhood and what's now on the boards since last season. Stuff is happening.
* Wander Around a Bit: Talk a walk on the Anacostia Riverwalk, now with a handy bridge not far from the 1st Base Gate that takes you directly to the Yards Park and the Navy Yard. And, while you're wandering--or even when you're in your seat--check out my mobile web app that uses your phone's GPS to show you what your location looked like not too many years ago.
* Food and Drink Outside the Ballpark: See the area's food options, current and future (including a new Potbelly Sandwich Works at 3rd and Tingey). And learn about why there's all those shipping containers on Half Street where the Bullpen(s) used to be, and what the Fairgrounds' plans are for Opening Day.
* Food and Drink Inside the Ballpark: Figure out which new dishes you're going to try. There's also an "Eat for the Cycle" promotion at Shake Shack/Box Frites/Blue Smoke/El Verano Taqueria, if the StrasBurger isn't enough for you. And here's the team web site's list of concessions, if you want to plan your attack in advance.
There will be pre-game ceremonies paying tribute to the US military, including a flyover by the 113th Wing fighter jets. There's also an Opening Day Curly W Cap for the first 20,000 fans to enter the ballpark, and there will be additional festivities on N Street.
The rest of the first weekend of baseball at home has other events planned, including "Opening Night" on Friday the 13th (eek!), Stephen Strasburg Bobblehead Night on the 14th (plus Justin's Cafe's block party over on 1st Street), and Jackie Robinson Day on the 15th. Here's the full lineup of promotions and giveaways.
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More posts: Nationals Park
 

This morning I got a quick tour of the inside of the new Fairgrounds space just north of Nationals Park this morning, where the work is buzzing along to get the area ready for Thursday's Nats home opener at 1:05 pm. I talked with Bo Blair of Georgetown Events, and these are the tidbits he passed along:
* The Fairgrounds will open by 11:30 am, with about two-thirds of the footprint being used.
* There will be 10 to 12 food trucks on site.
* Three bands will play throughout the day.
* Ten or so vendors will be set up within the containers on the north end of the block.
Blair expects to keep the larger area of the site open through Sunday (since there are games each day), at which point probably only the main area on the north end of the block (the old Das Bullpen) will be open daily until crowds pick up as the weather (and the team?) improves.
If you haven't been following along, check out my post about the new venture from when it first came to light back in February. The north end is expected to be open daily through the end of the baseball season, while the larger area will open up for bigger events (such as Truckeroo, and the DC Challenge on April 28).
In the meantime, check out the photos, while keeping in mind that it's still kind of messy, and the overcast skies weren't exactly conducive to images that "pop."
UPDATE: The lineup of food trucks: @bbqbusdc @bigcheesetruck @curbsidecupcake @DCEmpanadas @TaKorean @LobstertruckDC @TheFicelle @gofishtruckdc @Sinplicity1 @Dougthefooddude and @surfsidetruckdc. And Fairgrounds's Facebook page says these will be among the vendors: "[B]aseball inspired painters, photography, cool clothes, even baby clothes, crafts from around the world, handmade jewelry, soaps, and great produce, popcorn and pickles! in the farm stand by Half Street."
 

Because of a need to burn off some calories before digging into my "Reeseter's Bunny" (milk chocolate-coated peanut butter bunny, which the label says is four servings [ha!] at 180 calories per), I did my usual wanderings this morning to grab updated photos around, Capper, 200 I, Canal Park, and the Boilermaker Shops. Alas, I did not hide any Easter eggs in any of these shots, nor did I find any.
The framing and Tyvek-ing is underway on 3rd Street south of L, in the shadow of the 300 M Street office building, as Capitol Quarter continues its march toward completion. I also took a lot of photos of other CQ Phase II blocks, so spend some time in the Capitol Quarter Phase 2 Expanded Photo Archive (and scroll down a bit) to hop through the many (many!) before-and-afters.
Then there's the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards, where some work was being done even on Easter Sunday. The walling off the interior space for the different tenants has begun, with the studs visible--and some drywall has even gone in on the mezzanine level, as seen at right, in a view from 4th Street, through what will be the Bluejacket space.
The work is on-going at Canal Park, but continues to not be terribly exciting from a photographic standpoint, unless you're wowed by images of new curbs. But the Canal Park Expanded Photo Archive can take you for a walk around the park's perimeter to see the current views, if you don't see it every day. (I also like my barbed wire shot [above right], the result of desperation after being without photos from the east side of 2nd and L for a very long time now. But, no, I didn't jump the fence.)
I also enjoyed being watched very closely by a USDOT security guard with a clipboard as I took photos of the park's progress from the south side of M Street. "What are you taking photos of?" she finally asked, trying to sound stern. "Stuff," I replied, as I smiled and kept walking.
There's also updated shots from 225 Virginia/200 I (seen at right), with the landscaping now starting to go in.
If you want to see today's entire batch (213 of 'em), here they are, remembering to click the fun little Click to see all available photos of this location. icon if you want to see the entire range of photos for a certain location. If you want even more new-ish pictures, here's photos I took around 1st and Half Streets on Tuesday, to get the Fairgrounds exterior into the official archive.
Now I need to go find that peanut butter bunny. I think I earned it.
 

From a press release just sent to me:
"Beginning on Apr. 12, 2012 gates at the east and west end of the waterfront promenade (Riverwalk) at the Washington Navy Yard (WNY), will open for unlimited public access.
"The gates at both ends of the WNY Riverwalk will remain open for public access from dusk to dawn and will be open as a thoroughfare to facilitate access to the WNY and neighboring areas after sunset. There will be no loitering allowed between the hours of sunset and sunrise and the Riverwalk may close, without notice, to support WNY operations. [...]
"The Display Ship Barry, located along the WNY Riverwalk, will be open to the public with access directly from the Riverwalk during normal operating hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday."
The release also quotes Naval Support Activity Washington commanding officer Cmdr. David Varner as saying that this is "supporting the community's desire to have a walkable riverfront."
The Navy Yard's portion of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail runs from just next to the 11th Street Bridges down to the Yards Park.
(Note that April 12 is also the day of the Nats' home opener.)
UPDATE: For those who haven't been following along, I should note that it was last year that the Navy Yard first opened their promenade to limited public access, first just from 8 am to 5 pm Monday-Friday, then starting at 5:30 am, then to seven days a week until "official sunset."
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More posts: Navy Yard, riverwalk
 

Before everyone disappears down the Nats Opening Day/Masters/Caps rabbit holes (myself included!), here's some links to items that might be of interest.
First, a few new entries in the What's New Around the Ballpark? lineup:
* On Tap Magazine surveys the neighborhood with "The Hidden Gem That is the Capitol Riverfront." (Another jewelry metaphor to go with the Post's "Diamond in the Rough" piece from Sunday.)
* WJLA wandered around looking at the ballpark environs.
* The Post's Going Out Gurus blog checked out the Fairgrounds' sneak peek on Tuesday. (Though what's the deal with the photos that look like they were taken through a veil? Will this Instagram obsession never ebb?)
* WTOP runs down the options for arriving at the ballpark by water taxi. (American River Taxi, by the way, says that they are almost sold out for the April 12 home opener.)
Some other items:
* Two reports from MLB.com on the Wounded Warrior Amputee charity softball classic, played Tuesday after the Nats-Red Sox exhibition. The Warriors pounded their celebrity challengers 17-4.
* "DC Modern Luxury" magazine's Men's issue picks the Foundry Lofts as one of the city's "Best Bachelor Buildings." Go here, then click on the Best Bachelor Buildings subhed to get to page 62, then look at the bottom of the page. (As an aside, the write-up sounds even better if you imagine it being spoken by Stefon.)
* Or, if you like your tidbits a bit less glossy, Multihousing News has "Foundry Lofts Blazes Trail on DC Riverfront."
* Bluejacket gets a big write-up and cover photo in Beer Advocate magazine, though we don't get to read it online. You'll just have to make do with the Sept. 2011 batch of photos from inside the Boilermaker Shops the brewery has put up on their Facebook page.
* Nineteen "experts" have picked the Nationals to make the playoffs this year. No pressure!
* The 11th Street Recreation Bridge meeting happened while I was out of town, but here's Greater Greater Washington's write-up of it. But, before the meeting, WCP's Alex Baca posted four thoughts about the concept, with some items of concern worth noting (though "it is a cool idea!" is the first bullet point).
 
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