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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: January 2011
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Over the weekend DDOT sent out its latest "Eleventh Street Ledger," the official newsletter of the 11th Street Bridges project. It gives a pretty detailed update on the progress made over the past few months on surrounding infrastructure and the two new "freeway bridges," the inbound one of which now has 48 of its 54 girders set, with the outbound girders soon to follow. These two bridges will be opening in the fall, with the two-way "11th Street Local" bridge expected to open a year after that.
You can read the newsletter for all the information, but it does say (page 2) that coming soon in the 11th/12th/M/N/O corridor on the Near Southeast side of things will be the first of four new piers north of M to connect the new inbound freeway bridge to the existing freeway, and that this summer steel girders for the ramp will be placed above M Street. And the girders of the inbound bridge will soon be set to connect the new bridge itself to the northwest side of the river.
In the meantime, away from the construction zone, the National Capital Planning Commission at its upcoming meeting on Thursday is set to give its approval to the final design of the bridges, and the Staff Recommendation document gives a good overview worth reading of the general plans for the bridges.
There is also a graphic on page 5 detailing the ramps and right-of-ways that would be built in a later, currently unfunded phase of the project, with the bulk of the additional work to be done where the freeway curves at 11th Street. There would be a new wider flyover to take outbound traffic to the bridges; there also would be a change in the current Pennsylvania Avenue approach with a new ramp down to 11th Street, where drivers would go through a streetlight-controlled intersection to either turn left or right on 11th or continue forward toward Pennsylvania Avenue on the new "Southeast Boulevard" (which is what drivers know today as the below-grade route to and from Pennsylvania Avenue and Barney Circle). There would also be new approaches north of M between 11th and 12th to take drivers exiting off the inbound freeway bridge up to Southeast Blvd., where they could turn either left to get to 11th Street or right to go to Pennsylvania Avenue.
These additional routes were all called for in the EIS, but if you came in after the design/build phase of the bridges got underway, you might be unfamiliar with these other connections that DDOT hopes to eventually add, which will make the intersection of 11th Street and Southeast Blvd. quite a happening juncture. This intersection will actually get its start during the bridge's first phase, as within a few years there will be a new ramp allowing northbound traffic on 11th Street to turn left and enter the Southeast Freeway--no more zooming down Virginia Avenue for eight blocks to the 3rd Street ramp. And traffic coming from Pennsylvania Avenue on the first iteration of Southeast Blvd. will be brought to this new 11th Street intersection as well.
The NCPC document also says (page 8) that the path on the local bridge for cyclists and pedestrians has been widened in the final design to 16 feet from 14 feet. And the design is still configured to allow for streetcars to run on the local bridge in shared lanes, with lighting fixtures and other design elements configured for overhead wires, should they be necessary.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges

Here's what's on tap over the next two weeks in ANC Land:
* Tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb. 1), ANC 6B's Planning and Zoning subcommittee will be getting a first look at the construction plans for the Bavarian Beer Garden 8th and L, SE, as the owner has now begun the Historic Preservation review process, required because the site is within the boundaries of the Capitol Hill Historic District. This meeting is at 7 pm at the Caesar Chavez Public Charter School at 714 11th St., SE.
* Then, on Wednesday, Feb. 2, ANC 6D's Alcohol Beverage Control subcommittee will be meeting at 7 pm at King Greenleaf Rec Center, 201 N St., SW, with an agenda item that says "proposed expansion into adjacent space for The Bullpen at 26 N St., SE." This is the outdoor bar just north of Nationals Park on the footprint of Akridge's Half Street project. I assume that an expansion would be northward, across a little alley and staying within Akridge's land; to expand westward would mean going across Van Street into Monument's property on the old BP Amoco site at South Capitol and N, and to expand eastward would mean going across Half Street into a very big hole.
* Both of these items, along with plenty of others, will then be on the agendas at the ANC's official monthly meetings--ANC 6B's is at 7 pm on Feb. 8 at the LDS Church at 522 7th St., SE, and 6D's is at 7 pm on Feb. 14 at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at 600 M St., SW (the agenda for which probably won't be available until very [very very?] late this week).

Both the Washington Post and the Washington Business Journal (subscribers only) came out with stories this week chronicling the rise and fall and now re-rise of Monument Realty. They both describe Monument's high-flying ways during the real estate bubble of the early 2000s with "high-risk, high-return deals and an aggressive, cowboylike approach to development that rubbed the old guard the wrong way," followed by their near dissolution thanks to the collapse of their backer, Lehman Brothers. But thanks to some new deals around the region with different financing partners, Monument appears to be rebounding.
There's not been an announcement from Monument that I've seen, but the WBJ article says that Monument has signed the Federal Aviation Administration to a 55,000-square-foot lease at 55 M Street, which I believe would bring the building to about 90 percent leased. (At the time Monument announced their deal to lease 150,000 square feet to DDOT, they said the 275,000-square-foot building's office space was 70 percent leased.)
However, in detailing what it says are $500 million in new Monument projects around the Metro area leveraged from a $10 million deal with Atlas Capital Group, WBJ makes no mention of any intentions for construction to get underway on Monument's remaining Half Street plans just north of Nationals Park. The well-known hole in the ground, dug in 2007 when 55 M was built, is eventually supposed to be 330 residential units and a 200-room hotel, which you can see a rendering of on my project page or on Monument's Half Street web site. Monument also owns all of the land on the east side of South Capitol between M and N except for the self storage building, as well as the 50 M street lot on the northeast corner of Half and M.

Two events on the horizon (one near, one far) that might be of interest:
* On February 2 at 8 pm, Arlington Independent Media is hosting a showing of Chocolate City, the 2007 documentary by Ellie Walton and Sam Wild about families who were displaced by the redevelopment of Capper/Carrollsburg. There will be a conversation after the screening with Walton. (It would be interesting to know whether any of the families portrayed in the movie have since come back to the area by moving into any of Capitol Quarter low-income units, since the movie was filmed and completed before any of the construction at CQ started.) Tickets are $6, and the movie begins at 8 pm at the Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd., in Arlington. (h/t reader P)
* Coming to the Yards Park in April is Sensorium, a "culinary and sensory experience featuring creative atmosphere and cutting-edge production." According to the press release, this will be a "sophisticated 12-course culinary production" from Executive Chef Bryon Brown, founder of Artisa Kitchen and the DC Supper Club series. A temporary structure (called a "geodesic dome" by the producers, but described to me by the BID as a tent) will be set up on the eastern side of the park, just south of the Trapeze School's tent, and there will be audio/visual and performance elements woven through the 12-course meal. (Cirque du Soleil meets Top Chef?) Each show will have only 30 tickets available, with two seatings per day (5:30 and 9 pm), running for six weeks beginning on April 12. Tickets are $150, but are discounted to $125 for the first four shows.

A Sunday morning checklist: Variably sunny? Check. Temperature 22 degrees? Check. Winds 15-20 mph? Check. Then clearly it was time to walk around taking the photos I forgot to take last week.
Signage is up on both New Jersey Avenue and I Street for Harry's Reserve, the upscale wine and spirits store coming to the ground floor of 909 New Jersey, and a peek inside shows a big space with lots of dark wood cabinets. Don't know if they'll hit their Feb. 1 target date for opening, but they do look like they're in the homestretch.
Meanwhile, the framing is done and exterior walls are starting to go up at Little Red Building v2.0 (or Lot 38 Espresso, which is apparently the new new name), and it's interesting to see that the profile of the new building is pretty similar to the old one--maybe it'll be like an actress of a Certain Age, getting rebuilt from the ground up while trying to not look like she's had any work done. No timeline at this point for when the shop might open. UPDATE: I heard from Lot 38's owner today, saying that he's now looking toward an April opening for the coffee/sandwich shop.
I also took a pretty full series of photos of 225 Virginia (soon to be 200 I), not to document any changes but to get what might be a final set of "before" images, since the word had been that construction was supposed to start in December, and then January. (There are a few piles of construction fencing now on site, but I wouldn't expect work to be truly imminent until that firetruck parked on site at 3rd and I disappears.)
You can browse the entire batch of Sunday's photos, clicking on the icon to pair any shot with its "before" image. There's also last week's new photos, in case you missed them, showing the progress at Capitol Quarter, 1015 Half, and the Foundry Lofts.

From DDOT, an announcement of two overnight closures of the outbound 11th Street Bridge this week, from 10 pm Wednesday (Jan. 26) through 5 am Thursday (Jan. 27), then again at 10 pm that night (the 27th) through 5 am on Friday the 28th. "Setup activity" for the closures will begin at 8 pm. The closures are to allow for overhead girder construction work.
The inbound bridge will remain open. For detour routes and other information, see the press release. It does note that if there's inclement weather, the closures will be rescheduled to the same overnight hours on Sunday, Jan. 30. And, given the Wednesday night forecast, it is possible that slot will get rained or snowed out (more likely rained).

It's becoming a Friday tradition (think of it like the magazine that comes in your weekend paper) -- my father has sent along another batch of memories of living on Capitol Hill, during the Kennedy years of 1961 to 1963. He even briefly mentions Near Southeast (mainly to say they hardly ever ventured south of Virginia Avenue), as well as lots of other landmarks of the city at the time, like the Marine Barracks, the beer garden at Griffith Stadium, biking to DC Stadium to see the Redskins, and the various places in Maryland and Virginia that he bowled. (Bowling was very big at the time, and a good way to meet chicks, as he explains. One bowling beauty in particular caught his eye.)
There was also touch football, which of course was practically a requirement during the Kennedy era (and I've added a home movie clip to make this a true multimedia offering). He also talks about the old Oakland Inn just over the line in Maryland, famous for its fried chicken and to which I even remember being taken once when I was probably in junior high.
And, sadly, as with any memories of the era, it includes the events of Nov. 22, 1963.
I just can't help but picture the cast of Mad Men as I read all of these! I'm passing the comments that people have sent back to Dad (and I think he's peeking in as well), so thanks for the continued indulgence--I think it's a nice little side project during the less newsy winter months. And it's especially nice for me since I don't have to do the writing. Or pay him. :-)
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More posts: Rearview Mirror

It's time once again for me to take a step back from the minute-by-minute piecemeal nature of news blogging to summarize all that's been going on in Near Southeast over the past 12 months, as well as to make some not-legally-binding guesses about the near future. Yes, it's my 2011 State of the Hood, and admittedly, like most addresses of this kind, it's not an essay of soaring prose, but more of a laundry list to help readers catch up with the the big milestones, especially those folks who don't obsessively follow every twist and turn by closely reading blogs that obsessively follow every twist and turn.
I don't want to give away too much (just read it!), but the theme is similar to what the neighborhood saw in 2009: there still haven't been any big non-publically funded holes in the ground dug since 2008, but the residential population continues to grow, office leases are picking up, stalled projects re-started, and the Yards Park's many events will be bringing lots of visitors to the neighborhood. (That big building where the Nationals play might continue to draw some folks, too, even in a year that will be mostly Strasburg-free but may still become Werth-y of attendance.)
You'll see the latest residential occupancy numbers (*spoiler*: buildings are almost all full up), lists of all the projects underway and completed, a reminder that new retail offerings aren't completely unheard of, and other highlights and lowlights of the year (9th Most Dangerous Neighborhood? Really?). It wraps up with a look forward, with the projects that are said to be starting in 2011, along with other milestones that might be in the offing. In other words, it's not short.
You can also browse back through the previous SOTH posts (2010, 2009, 2008, 2007) to be reminded of how much this neighborhood has seen in what really is a very short period of time.
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More posts: JDLand stuff, SOTH

Like a batty old relative pulling out the photo albums for the umpteenth time, I'll take a moment to mark today as the eight-year anniversary of my tracking the changes that were starting to take place south of the freeway. The 63 photos I took while Mr. JDLand drove me around aren't a complete archive of every building in the neighborhood at that time, because frankly all I was doing that day was getting a few shots for myself and not planning the launch of an obsessive compulsive project that would suck up almost all of my free time and energy for years to come. But I came home and put them on my web site so my father could see them, made up a page with some links so I could easily go back to sites to check for updates, and off we went.
And now maybe it's just as noteworthy to mark Jan. 19, 2003 as the day I took the shot of the Little Red Building standing alone, since that's become the somewhat iconic shot of where the neighborhood was compared to what it was about to become.
Anyway, it's been quite a ride for eight years, with a lot of words and a lot pictures (about 50,000 of them), and I hope that people are continuing to find the site useful and interesting. Thanks for reading, commenting, and sending me news and tips! Hopefully 2011 will be a bounty of news and happenings.
[PS: Is it a sign of a marriage that's getting long in the tooth that I swore the anniversary was actually tomorrow until I saw the "Today in (Recent) Near Southeast History" box on the right side of the home page? So--oops--I guess my State of the Hood is going to be posted on my eight-year-and-one-day anniversary. And I'll also note that today is not the actual anniversary, because I've had my own web site since late 1994 and bought the JDLand domain name in 1996. Old-timers may remember that I didn't even give my Near Southeast stuff the main URL until 2007.]

Within the past few weeks the city has received raze application permits for the five old buildings on the east side of 1st Street between K and L--the three little car repair shops on the north end of the block, and the Market Deli buildings on the south end. This stretch is all owned by Akridge, with these five buildings having been bought at various times in 2008 to go along with the mid-block empty lot with the Akridge sign that they've owned for a long time. (They also own the empty lot on the northeast corner of the block, at New Jersey and K, and at one time had an agreement to buy the lots on the southeast corner, at New Jersey and L, but that was allowed to expire with no sale.) There's so far never been any announcement from Akridge about what they plan to do with the site.
Razes aren't always immediate after the filing of a permit application, but keep your eyes out. And, if you feel like seeing the 160 buildings that have already been demolished in Near Southeast since 2003, browse the gallery.
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More posts: marketdeli, square 740

Some recently Tweeted items, and a few new ones, worth wrapping up into a quick post:
* Last week I heard from the owners of what will soon be the Harry's Reserve "upscale" wine and spirits store at New Jersey and I, saying that they hope to be open by February 1.
* This year's NatsFest at the baseball stadium will be held on March 30, the day before the Opening Day home game against the Atlanta Braves. The schedule of events is still to come, but hopefully the decision to better tie in the event to the hoopla surrounding the start of the season won't be offset by it being on a Wednesday, when it's harder for kids to be there. (Especially kids who may already be playing hooky the next day!)
* The Yards Park web site now has information about renting space for public, private, or community events. And if you wander through the calendar, you can see what events might be on tap for this year, though the main calendar shows what's been confirmed, such as the Capitol City Beer Festival on May 28, the previously discussed DC Music Festival on May 7, the MetroDash obstacle course race on July 9, and a monthy Art Market.
* Stephen Strasburg, working on his degree while rehabbing, has written a thesis on the effects new stadiums have on neighborhoods, with a focus on Nationals Park. If he was looking for information on what the neighborhood looked like "before," I hope he found it! (And no, the thesis isn't available anywhere.)
* The National Capital Planning Commission will be looking at the final 11th Street Bridges site and building plans at their February 3 meeting. Gosh, I hope they like where the bridges themselves are placed in the designs!
* Off-topic, but the hunt seems to be back on for a new DC United stadium location, with one of the potential spots being across South Capitol Street at Buzzard Point in Southwest. (Please note that I said Buzzard Point. There is no s on the end. In case you missed 642 tweets about it today.) SWill has some additional information.
And, coming on Thursday (I hope), my 2011 State of the Hood roundup of the past 12 months' worth of activity, and what might be on the horizon. (I'm telling you this to force myself to actually get it done.)

I'm not quite as obsessive about taking photos around Near Southeast as I used to be, mainly because back when I started very few people lived or worked in the area, which meant photos were important to get across to readers the scope of the changes. But that's not the case now, and I figure most readers are seeing this stuff every day, which gives me a great excuse to not pull out my camera when it's 30 degrees and the winter sun angles make for less-than-optimal shots. But the mood struck me on Sunday, so now my photos are updated and my guilty conscience can be eased ever so slightly.
If you haven't wandered down to Third and Tingey lately, you won't have seen all the new windows in the Foundry Lofts building, which look pretty spiffy. When it opens this fall, it will have 170 apartments and ground-floor retail. (While I was there, I updated my 4th and Water Before and Afters, now that the area of the Yards Park south of the Trapeze School is landscaped and close to being finished.)
It hasn't been officially announced as "completed," but I always figure when the sidewalks open next to a newly constructed building, it's as good as done, so I went to get some After photos of 1015 Half Street, the 440,000-square-foot office building on the site of the old Nation nightclub. No tenants have been announced yet. (You can also see the expanded archive of before-and-afters for more shots, especially if you're more interested in remembering Nation.)
Taking photos of poured foundations in weak winter light is not really a recipe for exciting images, but I figured I still had to document the progress being made on the northern of the three Capitol Quarter Phase II blocks. The first framing of houses on this block could happen this month. (And before long it'll start to be apparent that this block is going to be split into two blocks, with the new 3rd Place running north to south.)
Alas, I only just now realized that I totally forgot to take any photos of the new construction at the old Little Red Building site. Will have to do that the next time the sun is out.
Here's the complete batch of Sunday's photos, with the See All Photos of This Angle as your guide to see the full set of before-and-afters for any photo.

Seeing in the city's public records feeds that three building permits have been issued for the blocks encompassing Canal Park, I checked in with Chris vanArsdale at the park's development association for an update, and he says that they are "planning to begin major construction by mid-February." With the previously announced timeline of 12 to 14 months from start to completion, this would put the park's opening into late winter or early spring 2012.
(The wording of the permits might be of interest as well--the two northern blocks are described as "construction of a new park on a vacant lot to include site grading sediment control storm water management and construction of pavilions," while the southern block, at 2nd and M, adds "and construction of an ice rink main pavilion landscape and water fountain." (They aren't big on punctuation in these things.)
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More posts: Canal Park

It's almost the weekend, there's not much news, so it's as good a time as any for another installment from my dad of his memories of living on Capitol Hill in the 1960s. JFK's run for the presidency and inauguration, the Monocle, Mark Russell at the Carroll Arms Hotel, Capitol Hill "security," run-ins with the construction workers building the Rayburn House Office Building, becoming a Hill biker, forays into Southwest, and cases of beer stashed in snowbanks are on the menu for this latest entry looking at life the early 1960s. And there's more to come, because Dad is now really getting into his "writing assignment." I'm really enjoying reading these, and I hope one or two folks out there are as well.
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More posts: Rearview Mirror

At Tuesday night's ANC 6B meeting, two south-of-the-freeway issues were voted on (remember, the section from 7th Street to M Street eastward is 6B04, not 6D07):
* By a 7-3 vote, 6B will now support the liquor license application by the Bavarian Beer Garden at 8th and L streets, SE, provided the Voluntary Agreement hammered out by 6B and BBG is approved by ABRA. (Back in December, 6B had voted to not support/protest the license until a VA was agreed to.) Under this agreement, the beer garden's overall hours of operation will remain from 11 am to 1 am Sunday through Thursday and 11 am to 3 am Friday and Saturday, but there are now slightly amended hours for entertainment. Entertainment indoors is approved from noon to midnight on Sundays, 6 pm to midnight Monday through Thursday, and noon to 2 am on Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays. Hours for "summer garden entertainment and dancing" are from noon to 11 pm Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and 11 am to 1 am on Fridays, Saturdays, and Holidays, with none allowed outdoors on Mondays.
Kirsten Oldenberg, the 6B04 rep in whose single-member district the beer garden will be located (and who now has a blog!), expressed lingering concerns about allowing a tavern license in this location, while David Garrison reminded the meeting that there are residences on 7th Street whose backyards will be directly across from the outdoor garden. Norm Metzger mentioned that this establishment doesn't exactly fit in with the ideas for revitalizing the area as seen in the Lower 8th Street Visioning Draft Report. But despite the concerns, the liquor license application will be moving forward, with only new 6B chairman Neil Glick, Garrison, and Metzger opposing.
The commissioners still have not been shown any designs for the beer garden; however, while the lot's co-owner, Mark Brody, told the commission last month that he planned to build a temporary structure as quickly as possible with a permanent building coming (perhaps) in a few years, it's now been determined that since the block is in the Capitol Hill Historic District a temporary building is not allowed. So there will have to be a "real" building, and its design will be subject to historic review by all applicable organizations before it can move forward.
* New 6B02 rep Ivan Frishberg brought to the commission a draft letter to DCPS in support of reopening Van Ness Elementary, since interim chancellor Kaya Henderson said last month that the school system is "committed" to making a decision on the school this month. There was a lot of discussion, and a lot of questions brought up by David Garrison about the boundaries of the school, how it might impact the schools on the Hill, costs to get the school reopened, and more, but in the end the commission voted to approve the letter. (I *think* the vote was 7-2-1, but am trying to get it confirmed.) UPDATE: Oops. The vote was 9-0-1.
UPDATE: Here's another wrap-up of the meeting from The Hill is Home, who could hear what was going on a lot better than I could....

This has been hinted at throughout the fall, and property records now reflect that the National Community Church/Ebernezers folks have added to the Miles Glass site on Virginia Avenue they bought in August by purchasing an empty lot around the corner on 7th Street, SE, for $875,000 in December. This now gives them about 19,000 square feet of land on Parcel 906, if my math is correct.
If you look at the satellite view of the block, you can see how NCC's holdings--the Miles Glass building, the empty lot just to its west, now and this separate empty lot on 7th across from the Marine Barracks--are connected. And one certainly has to wonder if the car shop on the corner of 7th and K/Virginia, now surrounded by a single landowner, is going to be staying in that spot much longer. (The other empty lot on the block, at the lower right, is where the Bavarian Beer Garden may be going in, creating the Saints and Sinners stretch along 8th.)
If you haven't been following along, the church's head, Mark Batterson, wrote on his blog in late August about the purchase of the 8th and Virginia site, saying that church is running out of space for services and staff at Ebenezers near Union Station, and since his vision for NCC is 20 locations and more than 100 staffers, they're looking at "going vertical" and constructing a building with about 50,000 square feet of space. They have been doing some "visioning" to figure out their plans for the site, and Batterson told City Paper in November about ideas of "two performance spaces, one at about 500 seat capacity and another at a thousand, with at least one level of underground parking to handle the crowds," but nothing specific has been announced yet.
The empty lot on 7th was once going to have a small apartment building constructed on it, but was foreclosed on in 2009 and sold for $400,000 at auction.

* I skipped out on the first ANC 6D meeting of 2011, not seeing any Near Southeast-specific items on the agenda. I did check in with Damon Harvey of DDOT before the meeting, though, to find out what he was going to be speaking to the ANC about, and it was to tell residents that 2011 Visitor Parking Passes will be sent out in the middle of March (right before baseball season starts). If you have any feedback or questions on the parking passes (which were instituted in 2008 as part of the stadium Performance Parking Pilot), you can contact Damon at damon.harvey [at]
* Tonight (Tuesday) is ANC 6B's meeting, at Brent Elementary at 7 pm. The agenda indicates there could be some news about the Bavarian Beer Garden proposed for 8th and L, SE, so I'll be there to check it out.
* SWill across the way has the news (via Bisnow) that Camden's long-delayed 1345 South Capitol Street residential project across the street from Nationals Park is reportedly going to finally get underway during the first quarter of this year. The design that was approved back in 2007 showed a 276-unit apartment building with about 3,300 square feet of ground-floor retail. I used to track this building, but pulled my coverage boundaries back to the South Capitol Street median when SWill hit the ground running with the "Southwest... The Little Quadrant that Could" blog. So while I'll probably mention milestones on the project, I'm going to leave the laser-like focus on it to Will.
* Newly minted ANC 6D07 commissioner David Garber was featured this past Sunday on HGTV's My First Sale, documenting his not-altogether-smooth road to selling a house he renovated in Anacostia. I don't see any repeats in the listings, but eventually the episode should be posted online.
* The city's web site about the various Anacostia Waterfront Initiative projects,, is going to be decommissioned as of Feb. 1, with content about projects like the 11th Street Bridges, the Douglass Bridge, and the Anacostia Riverwalk having already been rolled into the DDOT web site. The new URL is

In its latest newsletter, the Capitol Riverfront BID reports that it has received a 2011 Public Art Building Community Grant to spruce up the underpass where New Jersey Avenue crosses under the Southeast Freeway. The installation is called "Water Pylons," and will "transform the underpass into a modern representation of water that announces New Jersey Avenue as a gateway to the Capitol Riverfront community."
The 18 freeway support columns will be painted with reflective paint in various shades of blue, and four LED lights will help to illuminate both the art and the underpass. The BID says that the "painted blue pylons will reference the neighborhood's waterfront in an abstract theme that is distinct and surprising, but not distracting to motorists or pedestrians."
There will be public meetings on the project this spring, with installation expected to be finished by September.

As I've always tried to emphasize when I'm asked about the origins of JDLand, I'm a historian at heart--I love knowing about how areas I'm familiar with looked and functioned in the past, especially the more recent past, when you can still see of few of the strings tying that era to the present day.
This is very much the case for me for Capitol Hill, land of my birth, and I'm lucky enough to have two very good resources to turn to whenever I want to hear some good stories about what my neighborhood was like back in the Mad Men era: my mother and father. Jim and Shirley each moved to DC in 1959, got married a few years later, and lived on the House side of the Hill until 1969, and it's no secret that they look back upon those years with great fondness.
Since I'm all about documenting stuff before it disappears, I recently asked Mom and Dad if they would write up for me their memories of what it was like to live on the Hill during the 1960s. Luckily it's the offseason for both bicycling (Dad) and golf (Mom), so they agreed to squeeze some writing into their schedules, and while the resulting reminiscences are mostly for the family's benefit and enjoyment, I thought that some readers might find them of interest as well, and since the web site has infinite space, and since it's wintertime, when news is slow...
First up is a short post by my dad, talking a little about when he moved to the Hill in 1959, living in the 400 block of New Jersey Ave., SE., with his brother, for $100 a month. (I also tossed in at the bottom some of the home movies showing Hill scenes, most of which I've linked to before, but I figure some multimedia can't hurt.)
If you have questions for Dad about his post or just want to pick his brain for other memories of his, post here in the comments, and I'll make sure he reads them and replies. He's already working on his next offering, so maybe some queries from the peanut gallery will rattle loose some additional nuggets to pass along.
(And hopefully before too long I'll get a submission from Mom, so that she can tell the stories of shopping at Weisfeld's when it was still in the 100 block of E and how Mrs. Weisfeld would just write what you owed on the back of a brown paper bag, and then give you a bill at the end of the month. But I don't want to steal her thunder.)
UPDATE: Like his daughter, Dad has discovered that writing about something interesting can take on a life of its own--he's submitted his second post about the Hill in the early '60s, with tidbits on the Kennedy inauguration (and its accompanying snowstorm) and the construction of the Rayburn House Office Building, along with a few famous names, memories of biking around the Hill, and even a little bit about Southwest. I'll post it in a couple of days.
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More posts: Rearview Mirror

A few small items that might be of interest:
* The National Capital Planning Commission at its Thursday meeting should be approving the design of the 611-foot-long floating bridge to connect the Yards Park with Diamond Teague Park. The "delegated action" document says that the bridge will also include an 81-foot-long platform that will be used as a "marine environmental education center" -- the platform is necessary to span three underground pipes at the DC Water pumping station. At the BID annual meeting in December, it was said that construction on the bridge could begin this spring. (UPDATE) And construction is expected to take 6-8 months.
* If you drive into downtown DC across the 11th Street Bridges late at night/early in the morning, be advised that the ramps from northbound I-295 and 13th Street, SE, will be closed between midnight and 5 am on both Friday, Jan. 7 and Monday, Jan. 10 to allow for work with overhead steel girders. But the South Capitol Street Bridge will be open for your Anacostia crossing pleasure.
* There hasn't been much apparent movement by American Water Taxi to get started with its planned service between Georgetown, the Southwest Waterfront, and Teague Park, but an update on their web site within the past few weeks says that "Focus groups and working group meetings to start in January."
* The agenda for the Jan. 11 ANC 6B meeting includes an item on the "Resolution of the Bavarian Beer Garden [Liquor] License Protest." Does this mean that the ANC and the folks wanting to open the beer garden at 8th and L have gotten the voluntary agreement hashed out, after all the concerns recently expressed? We shall see.

Another DC arts festival is being inaugurated at the Yards Park -- this time it's the DC Music Fest, scheduled for May 7, 2011. With plans to "showcase some of the best artists and bands of the Washington, DC and surrounding areas," the event already has a lineup of 12 bands, three singer/songwriters, and 1 DJ on two stages. Other local artists who want to play at the event can submit themselves at the web site until February 1, and a panel of judges will choose which acts will be added to the lineup.
According to On Tap, tickets will be $25.
Back in October, the first RiverFrontFest debuted on the streets just north of the Yards Park, offering a day of local art and music.
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