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Late Night/Early Morning Ballpark News Roundup
Mar 31, 2008 10:58 PM
I have to say that I didn't expect that the day after Opening Night
would end up being so quiet around here. But, here's some stories worth mentioning:
* WTOP trumpets the crime wave around the ballpark that everyone feared--16 Arrested Near Nats Park Over the Weekend
! Grab the children! Run for the hills! So, just what were the dastardly crimes committed by these ne'er-do-wells? "All the individuals arrested were charged with scalping tickets on the street." The article also says that more than 100 cars were towed from the surrounding neighborhood.
* Channel 9 recounts the story of a tourist forced by the Secret Service to delete photos
taken of the security checkpoints at Opening Night. I wish they had tried that with me. The quote from the Secret Service is classic: "We have the authority to ask them to remove the picture from the camera." And, if standing on public property, we all have the authority to say "no." Don't forget it.
* Tuesday's Post says that the Nationals, DDOT, and Metro are pleased
with how the weekend went in their realms, though they plan to spend this week until the next home game tweaking their plans. Hungry fans will be pleased to know that addressing the long lines at concessions is on the list: " 'Lines were a concern for us. They're not necessarily where we want them to be. We expect it to better by Monday,' team President Stan Kasten said. 'Once a problem happens, it doesn't happen again.' " On the other hand: "Combining [Sunday's sellout] with the newness of the ballpark, the lines for virtually everything from food to parking to Metro to the shuttles were probably the longest they will be." The article also says that 716 parking tickets were written over the weekend, though the $100 towing fee was waived "as a courtesy." The WashTimes also covers similar ground
Monday Post-Ballpark-Hangover Edition
Mar 31, 2008 12:35 PM
* Metro says
that just under 21,500 fans used the Navy Yard Metro station for Sunday night's opener
at Nationals Park, following the 15,141 who did so for the Saturday exhibition
. (I wonder how many used Capitol South, or got off at Union Station and took the N22.) WJLA
and others say that the station was cleared within a half-hour of the game's end, which can be verified by looking at last night's shots from the 55 M construction web cam
* Moving on to the next huge event, the WashTimes says
that 45,000 bar-coded tickets to the April 17 mass by Pope Benedict have arrived, and should be going out to parishes next week. Scalpers will be condemned to eternal hellfire and damnation.
* On the flip side, I can't help but cackle at what was written in an online column
by the San Antonio Express-News [emphasis mine]: "If you're craving actual photos of [Nationals Park] -- including work-in-progress updates -- go to the ballpark homepage
for the Near Southeast DC Redevelopment agency
. Sure, these people have a vested interest, but they also have lots of photos, a construction webcam and a well-done Q-and-A section on the park." I'm an agency now? Usually I'm just a development company. But, a note for readers who don't realize it: I'm none of the above. (I don't work for the Nats, either.) I'm just me
Opening Night at Nationals Park
Mar 31, 2008 2:08 AM
I took some photos
around the ballpark as I arrived and worked my way from top to bottom, but once I arrived at my seat far far away (you'll love the small red speck in one photo that is President Bush), I decided to put away my camera and heed a directive issued recently by a Mr. S. Kasten to "watch the damn game." So I fear I don't earn a passing grade for documenting this historic day on South Capitol Street, but after 4 1/2 years of detailing the birthing process in thousands of photographs
and probably tens of thousands of words
, I needed some time to take it all in and say "Whoa."
And then they won the damn game, on a walk-off homer by Ryan Zimmerman. That's how you christen a ballpark.
Exhibition Game Photos, in Three Parts
Mar 30, 2008 1:23 AM
It's late, I'm only just now finally getting warm again, and it's not particularly hard to find photos from tonight's first major league ballgame at Nationals Park, so I have just tossed together three Quick Galleries of the festivities, a selection of images that are nowhere near complete when it comes to capturing the look and feel of Nationals Park during its first big test. I'll caption them Sunday before heading off to do it all again at the "real" Opening Night.
The media has full coverage of course, but I'm not going to go on a linking spree (here's the Post homepage
to start you on your own hunt). The initial storyline seems to be that it basically went well, with fans and players alike gaga for the ballpark, but with some snafus when it came to long long lines for food (especially at Ben's Chili Bowl) and for the subway and Nats Express shuttle to RFK after the game, though nothing that was catastrophic. We'll see how it goes with a full house on Sunday. But I must say it was a bit of an out-of-body experience to be walking among a huge throng of people along M Street SE between First and New Jersey at 9:30 pm on a Saturday night. This is not your father's Near Southeast anymore.
Check back late Sunday (or early Monday) for photos from Opening NIght.
UPDATE: Captions now added. Oh, and the Nationals won 3-0.
Getting You to the Ballpark, and What You'll Find; and a Reminder of What Was There Before
Mar 29, 2008 10:23 PM
While I spend the weekend running around trying to figure out how to be in six dozen places at once, I'll leave up this entry with what you might need to know if you're going to Nationals Park
* Are you driving, and have a parking space reserved? Find the route
the Nats want you to take to your lot.
* Are you driving, and thinking you'll just "find some spot on the street"? Good luck with that
. And bring the number for DPW with you, so you can find out how to retrieve your towed car.
* Are you walking? You win! Best option!
* Are you wondering about the rules and regulations
and all other important pieces of information about the ballpark? Read the new official A to Z Guide
* Remember what your mother taught you, that patience is a virtue.
If you're not going to either of the games, you can still watch them: Saturday's is on MASN at 6 pm, and Sunday's is on ESPN at 8 pm. And watch out for intermittent closures of the Douglass Bridge and South Capitol Street on Sunday night between 7:30 and 9:30.
In the midst of the excitement, I'd like to just take a moment to make sure that stadium-goers and other curious folks wandering through here get a feel for what we've witnessed over the past two years while this ballpark has gone up, as a small reminder of exactly what has happened on South Capitol Street since April 2006.
If you pass through the Center Field Gate, think of this:
If you look toward the ballpark at South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue, think of this:
If you come down South Capitol to N Street, think of this:
If you want to see more, here's the photos I took
of the ballpark footprint and perimeter before demolition
started in April, 2006, including some that haven't been posted until now. (The Ballpark Before-and-After
gallery pairs many of these photos with how things look now, with links to see all the photos between the Before and the After.) If you want to see photos from other locations throughout Near Southeast, use the Photo Browser
to pick spots on the map.
And a most sincere thank you to everyone who's written me over the past few days with such kind words about this little project that has turned into such a monster. It's in some ways a very bittersweet weekend for me, because the ballpark's opening means that this totally unexpected chapter in my life is coming to a close. JDLand isn't going anywhere, but the rest of the ride won't ever quite have the rush of the past few years. Then again, I may actually get some sleep.
Feel free to post what you see and experience (good or bad) in the comments.
Okay, Just *One* More Batch of Pre-Game Photos
Mar 28, 2008 10:29 PM
I couldn't resist one more shot at updated ballpark photos before the weekend's festivities get underway, so I took a few wide shots during this evening's first-ever batting practice at Nationals Park
. And then I added some additional shots from today and yesterday to my main Interior Gallery
, to bring it mostly up-to-date until I give it the full refreshening after Opening Night. (But of course there *might* be a shot or two posted from the Saturday exhibition, first.)
Early Mid-Afternoon Update: Navy Yard Station Open, Team Store Open, Ballpark LEED Certified
Mar 28, 2008 1:22 PM
The news is flying fast and furious (and watch for updates):
* As noted in the comments, the west entrance of the Navy Yard station is open for business
. Here's today's press release from Metro
about the $20 million in improvements that upgraded the entrance's capacity from 5,000 to 15,000 customers an hour, along with a(nother) summary on using Metrobus and Metrorail to get to the ballpark.
* The Nationals team store
in the ground floor of the west garage at Half and N is also open for business
. Look toward the bottom of this batch of photos from yesterday
to see what the store looked like less than 24 hours ago.
* The mayor announced this morning that the ballpark is officially LEED certified
, reaching LEED silver status (33 points) thanks to items like high efficiency yield lighting, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, air-cooled chillers, recycling bins, using 20 percent recycled materials in the ballpark's construction and recycling 5,500 tons of construction waste, planting a 6,300-sq-ft green roof on top of the left-field concession building that houses Red Hot & Blue and Hard Times Cafe, and more.
* I'm not sure this has been announced (it's hard to keep track), but the Nationals web site is now offering online purchase
of parking for single games. It appears the only option as of now is Lot S (at Second and H
, just to the west of 225 Virginia Avenue) for $20. There's also the option to purchase single-game handicapped parking in Lot E at First and N for $35, but an official placard or license plate is required.
What's the Deal With: Canal Park
Mar 28, 2008 10:51 AM
(Yay! Non-ballpark news!) The *most* asked question at JDLand.com these days (apart from "what happened to the baseball on top of the outfield restaurant" and "can you start covering Southwest") is What's the Deal With Canal Park
, the three-block long new public park planned for the strip along Second Street between I and M, which for years has been the home to DC Public School buses. This project was on the boards when I started this site in 2003, and yet has had a hard time getting going, despite a design completed years ago by landscape architects Gustafson, Guthrie, and Nichol Ltd.
After originally being under the purview of the defunct Anacostia Waterfront Corporation, the park is now the responsibility of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
After spending some time explaining what the heck JDLand.com is ("uhhhh, it's, like, this web site, and stuff?"), I was able to get a general update, which jibes with the rumors that have been flying for weeks. A relocation site for the school buses has indeed been found (though they won't say where), but some construction work has to first be done at this undisclosed location to prepare it. It's expected that the buses will be moved there "by the fall," with construction on the park starting soon after, lasting about 12 months. The park is a "top priority" for the city, I was told.
Will it happen? I guess we shall see....
Work Underway at 1015 Half Street
Mar 28, 2008 10:38 AM
(Yay! More non-ballpark news!) Word has arrived that work has officially begun at 1015 Half Street
, the new 410,000-sq-ft office building by Opus East on the site of the old Nation nightclub. (I think that's where the pile-driving echoing across the neighborhhod today is emanating from.) Delivery is expected by early 2010.
Post Special Section on Ballpark and Other Links
Mar 28, 2008 9:14 AM
If you feel like going into full overdose mode on the ballpark (if you haven't already, that is), check out the Post's special section
today, either in print or online
, which includes an interactive map of the ballpark along with links to the big pile of stories in today's paper, including features on the Lerners
, Tom Boswell's rave review
, snippets from some of the construction workers
who put it all together, and a great feature on Mayor Baseball
, Anthony Williams. Not in the special section but also worth reading is a piece
on last night's homecoming
In other news, the list of songs to be played at the ballpark as chosen by the fans has now been released
. And since I've paid so much attention to the construction, here's an online chat
from yesterday with two of the architects. ABC7 talks about
residential guest passes already showing up for sale online, even though it's against the rules and you can be fined (that's why there's a serial number on every pass). And the Examiner covers the expanded police presence planned
Finally, for an opposing viewpoint on it all, here's an editorial
from the Georgetown Voice: "Rather than using the opportunity presented by the stadium to create a unique neighborhood that is both entertaining for visitors and livable for residents, developers and the city's government have created another unremarkable cluster of expensive offices and apartments." The writer must have one heck of a crystal ball.
Reminder About Saturday's National Marathon
Mar 28, 2008 7:37 AM
As if there wasn't enough going on this weekend, the National Marathon
is on Saturday morning beginning at RFK at 7 am. It only skims past Near Southeast for a few feet along South Capitol Street as it snakes from the Southwest Waterfront along P Street SW to the Douglass Bridge, but folks in Southwest who are still suffering flashbacks from last year's race when they were pretty much trapped in their neighborhoods might want to check out the map
and additional information provided by DDOT
. But I admit that, in my currently addled state, I'm having a hard time figuring out the restrictions (if any) on South Capitol Street south of M on the map
--commenters, feel free to take up my slack.
Nats Come Home to Their New Ballpark
Mar 27, 2008 11:16 PM
Late this evening the Nationals arrived back in DC
from spring training, and were brought by bus directly to Nationals Park
. I was lucky enough to be on hand, and have some pictures for you
. Please remember that I've spent five years doing mostly daylight photography of stationary objects, so bright lights and human beings were a bit out of my comfort zone. I didn't take many photos of players, figuring that they were getting enough of that elsewhere (and I'm sure you'll find plenty of coverage); I was more looking for the ambiance of a bunch of very excited grown men checking out their new home.
(PS: I know the ballpark stuff is getting overwhelming for those of you who might not be all that interested. But stay strong, it won't be like this too much longer, and then I'll get back to all that exciting stuff like zoning hearings and ANC meetings.)
New Ballpark Interior Photos From Today; Press Release from Metro on Getting to Games
Mar 27, 2008 5:13 PM
Another day of icky weather, but that didn't stop a horde of media from converging on Nationals Park, for a tour of the Strike Zone for kids, the concessions, and just a general look around with a few hours left to go. It'll be all over the media tonight (I'm not going to hunt down links), but here's my photos. I'm still captioning them, but didn't want to waste a MOMENT in getting them posted. Here's some general shots inside the ballpark
, including my first shots from up on the Red Loft and also inside the Team Store. The second batch is of the concessions and the Strike Zone
. See Mayor Fenty connect in the batting cage!
Multispace Meters Now Activated to Restrict On-Street Parking (Updated)
Mar 27, 2008 12:36 PM
* The green multispace kiosk meters
that are a big part of the Performance Parking pilot plan
to discourage stadium-goers from parking on nearby streets have starting being activated today
. I just trekked down to the ones now installed along Garfield Park (on Third Street SE, north of the SE Freeway), and the rates are listed for stadium events
as: $2 first hour, $2 second hour, $18 third four, $18 fourth hour, and $2 each additional hours. So, that comes out to $40 for four hours of on-street parking during games, compared to the $15 per game flat rate being charged at the S and T lots
, which are two blocks closer
to the ballpark. Other times are $1 per hour on weekdays with a two-hour limit from 7 am to 6:30 pm and a three-hour limit from 6:30 pm to midnight; weekend rates are $1 per hour with a three-hour limit from 7 am to midnight. There are no fees charged on holidays, except during stadium events.
Here's a lousy cellphone photo of the rate info
, and check the Parking Restrictions Map
for the red and yellow streets to see where multispace meters are going to be in place. Everyone's invited to peek at any of the kiosks you wander by and post the locations and rates you see in the comments if they're different from these. DDOT tells me that all should be activated by Saturday morning.
I just found this DDOT Ballpark Parking Pilot page
, and it includes this document showing parking prices and time restrictions
by subzones (Near Southeast is Zone B, Southwest Zone A, and Capitol Hill being Zone C). Apparently there will be no parking at all during stadium events from Second Street west to South Capitol (including New Jersey),
except on the 100 block of H Street where it will be $40 for four hours of parking (on the same sliding scale I described above). All of those are red or green streets on the map
. There's also an overview document
if you want some nice light reading.
WMATA Leasing Bus Garage to Nats; Reopening of Navy Yard West Entrance; Other Items
Mar 27, 2008 12:29 PM
* This morning the WMATA board approved plans
to lease the Southeastern Bus Garage
and the adjoining Van Street lot to the Nationals. However, it appears that the revenue will now go into Metro's general fund, instead of back into the fund for the new Southeastern Bus Garage at DC Village. See this entry for more info
on the lease plan as presented to the board. I may have more on this later today. WMATA is shutting down operations at the garage tomorrow (Friday March 28). The lease for the Van Street lot, with 80 spaces, begins Saturday; the garage itself, which can accommodate about 230 spaces, will be leased starting around April 20. These 310 spaces are all in the $35-per-game Red zone.
* Also on Friday, at 11 am, Metro will be holding a ceremony
in honor of the reopening of the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station
. Whether the station actually opens tomorrow, I don't know
. They are saying it will be open Saturday morning
for National Marathon spectators. And of course Saturday afternoon for the Nats-O's exhibition.
* A correspondent reports that I Street is now open to traffic between New Jersey and South Capitol. I'm guessing that there's probably still some beautifying to be done, but I was told it would be "driveable" by Opening Day, and that appears to have been met.
* The Nats are showing off the kids' Strike Zone area of the ballpark
this afternoon, and letting the media try some of the food that will be sold in the stadium--check back later for photos.
* Today's Ballpark and Beyond column
in the Post showed some of my photos documenting the makeover of the South Capitol and Potomac intersection--here's the complete batch
, from one month before the start of ballpark construction up until a few days ago.
A Long Trip Down Ballpark Memory Lane, Via the Blog
Mar 26, 2008 9:33 PM
Let's take break from the here and now and spend a few moments looking back at Big Moments in Nationals Park History, as reported here on JDLand. This is kind of long, but you younguns and latecomers who didn't follow it all from the beginning might find this timeline of interest.
* Sept. 21, 2004
, I posted this wonderfully understated entry: "Baseball coming to Near Southeast? "District officials disclosed plans yesterday to build a publicly financed stadium costing more than $400 million on the Anacostia waterfront near South Capitol Street, amid growing signs that Major League Baseball will attempt to move the Montreal Expos to Washington." It doesn't mean that baseball in DC is a done deal, or that the Near Southeast site is a done deal, but it's a very interesting decision, and one that would have a huge impact on Near Southeast if it were to happen.
" I got that right.
* May 15, 2005
, a fond memory of the old-school JDLand days: "As a heads up, I'm not going to follow here on the site every twist and turn of the Nationals baseball stadium funding saga. The bickering over costs and land acquisition and whatnot leaves me totally cold. [H]ere at JDLand I'll just be concentrating on news of the design and construction.
* Sept. 19, 2005
: "Anyone who's lived in DC for any amount of time will be
stunned to read today's Post story, "As Stadium Clock Ticks, DC Officials Bicker," detailing the difficulties of getting a design for the new baseball stadium agreed upon. Much of the trouble revolves around the desire (pushed most vehemently by Jack Evans) to have views of the Capitol Dome from as many seats at the stadium as possible.
* Feb. 7, 2006
: Three entries (including my first-ever liveblogging) detailing the rollercoaster day in front of the DC Council that started with the stadium lease agreement being voted down before a long recess resulted in a return to approve it, with the cost cap in place.
* March 22, 2006
: "Both the Post and the Blade report that Judge Zeldon has ordered the eviction of the last remaining stadium landowner holdouts, including the gay bars on O Street owned by Robert Siegel. Siegel, plus the trash transfer station at 1st and N also covered under yesterday's order, have until April 4 to vacate.
* April 25, 2006
: "Thanks to a tip from a correspondent, I can confirm that there is now demolition underway at the ballpark site, at its southernmost corner (South Capitol and P and Potomac).
And, just like that, here we are. If you want to read more (I didn't even touch the months of let's-try-private-financing, let's-do-it-at-RFK-instead, and the Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness), use my Search page
, click "Baseball Stadium" in the topic box, and pick a date range to browse.
Ballpark Plans for Opening Night Announced
Mar 26, 2008 8:58 PM
The Nationals have just sent out a press release
with information on what fans will be greeted with (other than, you know, a baseball game) when they arrive at Nationals Park
on Sunday. The highlights:
* The gates will open at 3:30 pm (and the Nats Express shuttle from RFK starts running at 3:00), and everyone will receive a Curly W lanyard and a "Welcome Home" rally towel. The Sheiks of Dixie (a local Dixieland jazz band) will be greeting fans exiting the subway at the reopened west entrance of the Navy Yard station at Half and M. (Half Street will be closed to vehicles, as will N Street east of Van and First Street south of M.) A barbershop quartet will also be installed on Half Street.
* There's even more once you get inside:"Face painters, balloon artists and stilt walkers will welcome fans at the entrance to the Center Field Plaza. Additional Opening Night entertainment may be found inside the ballpark, including the Mambo Combo, a regional zydeco band, Washington, DC guitarist Brian Gross staged in the Lexus Presidents Club, and face painters, caricaturists and balloon artists throughout the Main Concourse." The Braves will start batting practice at 4:30 and the Nats at 5:45.
* Pre-game ceremonies will start at 7:45 pm, which will include a flyover by four F-16s from the 121st Fighter Squadron of the DC Air National Guard, the singing of the national anthem by native Washingtonian Denyce Graves
, and the throwing of the first pitch by President Bush. There will also be a new tradition of starting the game with "Washington.... Let's Play Ball!" to be intoned this first time by Mayor Fenty.
* American Idol alum Elliot Yamin will perform "God Bless America" prior to the Seventh Inning Stretch.
And, an answer to a question lots of people have been asking:
* "Grandstand tickets for Opening Night, in Sections 401 and 402, may be purchased for $5 at the Nationals Park Main Box Office, located on Half and N Streets, beginning at 3:30 pm on March 30. Fans may not camp out on Nationals Park grounds or line up for tickets prior to 3:00 pm. Fans may purchase only one ticket per person and must immediately enter the ballpark through the Center Field gates, located next to the Main Box Office."
This Afternoon's Ballpark News Roundup
Mar 26, 2008 3:33 PM
(I'm not sure there's anyone who is wishing more than me that the dang thing would open already....)
* The Examiner looks at
Southwest residents just across from the ballpark who are selling the parking spaces that came with their homes to Nats fans for as much as $3,000 a season. But if you park near these houses and don't have a visitors pass (or aren't one of the chosen few who fork over the dough for these private spaces), expect the residents to call DPW to have you ticketed and towed.
* The Post's newly reconstituted DC Wire blog catches up with Ken Wyban
, the only resident homeowner on the ballpark footprint to lose his house
when the city invoked eminent domain to take over the land. (City Paper talked to him
a few weeks ago in their big ballpark Winners and Losers cover story.)
* Reader Sean alerts us that the Express has a special section on the ballpark today too. Looks like a bunch of the pieces are available here
* Even the Annapolis Capitol newspaper gets in on the fun with its own overview of the ballpark
, though they get a demerit for misspelling South Capitol Street and for mentioning the "Southeast neighborhoods west of the ballpark." (Uh.....)
* WTOP talks about the plans for security
around the ballpark, at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $1.2 million.
* And, just as I'm finishing this up, I see that MLB.com has a new article
about the preparations and plans for this weekend's festivities.
Apparently the beautifying of the neighborhood is underway, too--the black fence along Half Street at the Monument hole in the ground
now has art on it (see 55 M web cam
) as well as banners on the upper floors of 55 M
facing the ballpark, and the Stadium web cam
shows a "Welcome Home Nats" sign on the side of 100 M
. The recent jet-black paint job on the old Domino's at 1200 South Capitol is part of this, too, and look for more Monument Realty "art" around all of its holdings.
Examiner Special Section on Ballpark; Sign Installation Tonight on 14th Street Bridge
Mar 26, 2008 1:18 PM
* If you're a collector of these things, you may want to get to your street corner and pick up today's Examiner, which has a special section on Nationals Park
, including all sorts of details on food, how to get there, etc. etc. In the meantime, here's the PDF version
(the section starts on page 21). The Post will have a similar one (tomorrow, I think?).
* Also, word has gone out from DDOT
that beginning at 8 pm
there will be lane closures on the northbound 14th Street Bridge
to install directional signage for the stadium. It's expected that all lanes will be reopened by 5 am Thursday.
Small Businesses Being Squeezed, Previous Stadium Openings, Plus Tuesday's Other Ballpark News
Mar 25, 2008 11:37 PM
* Wednesday's Post uses the plight
of the Positive Nature
youth program to look at how all the remaining small businesses near the ballpark are having a tough time dealing with their skyrocketing tax assessments
. The cab company moving next week mentioned in the article is Merritt Cab at First and K, where DRI is planning its 800,000-sq-ft office and retail project
. There's also an accompanying video
on Positive Nature; and it's interesting to note that Positive Nature arrived in the neighborhood in 2004, so it's not a long-standing business the way the Market Deli is, whose owner is now on the hook for $50,000 a year in property taxes.
* There's also a story that looks back at the openings of DC sports venues
through the years, with highlights such as the Capital Centre getting its final inspection approvals just a few hours before the first Bullets game and the 15-mile backup on the Beltway that greeted the first game at FedEx Field.
Other ballpark stories from Tuesday (keeping in mind that for now
I'm just pointing out pieces that have some slightly different angle from the eight billion other pieces):
* WTOP continues
its ballpark-story-a-day regimen with word (and video!) that, while some of the new temporary surface lots *look* like they're dirt, they're actually a "mixture of compact concrete and other elements that help with drainage."
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