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Canal Park Ice Rink Now Open
Dec 16, 2013 4:32 PM
The ice rink at Canal Park officially opened for its second season today at noon. According to the web site
, hours will be from noon to 7 pm Mondays and Tuesdays, noon to 9 pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 11 am to 10 pm on Saturdays, and 10 am to 7 pm on Sundays. Admission for adults is $8, and $7 for children, seniors, and military. Skate rental is $3. There are also season passes available.
It's also the first time that the Park Tavern will be open alongside the rink, for all your food and beverage needs, either to warm up after a skating session or to give yourself a bit of an alcoholic-tinged push to get on the ice. (Definitely the latter for me.)
If you haven't ventured there before, here are my photos from the rink's opening day
Tidbits: Ice Rink Opening Soon, and Other Goings-On
Dec 5, 2013 8:29 PM
While I keep trying to get myself reacquainted with blogging (a process that clearly is not proceeding smoothly), I'm going to cheat and go with some Tidbits lists every so often, so that at least I can feel like I'm getting the spigot working better, even if it's still sputtering. Also, I have to get used to all these events, specials, and activities, which didn't used to be part of the Near Southeast blogging landscape.
* The BID reports in its latest newsletter that the Canal Park ice rink
is scheduled to open on Monday, Dec. 16. And speaking of the park, if you haven't wandered by, you may not know that Christmas trees and wreaths are for sale there this year. See the market web site for details
* On Saturday (Dec. 7), the 11th Street Bridge Park project
is holding two "community design meetings" that will provide an update about the project and break out attendees into smaller groups to work on ideas. A nationwide design competition for the project is expected to be launched early in 2014. The bridge park itself is expected to cost $35 million, which at this point is mostly unfunded. One meeting is at 200 I Street SE from 2 pm to 6 pm (details and RSVP here
) but there is also a morning meeting
. (via DCist
is going big with its first New Year's Eve celebration
. For your $160 ticket, you'll get an open bar for all Bluejacket brews, plus a DJ and "passed bites." Then there will be a champagne toast as part of the ceremonial midnight keg drop. (No, seriously.) And Bluejacket/Arsenal is now open for lunch
, too, and is serving Sunday brunch from 11 to 3, but you probably already know these things.
* If you want to look a little farther into the future: WMATA
has scoped out the subway alignments it would like to pursue
as part of its 2040 "core configuration" plan. How would you feel about a new Blue and Yellow line under 2nd Street from Union Station, turning west with a station at New Jersey and I before heading to Virginia? (It would also run under M Street NW from Georgetown to New York Avenue.) I can't wait to set out from my retirement home with my brain-embedded camera to take photos of this project.
Capturing How Spring Has Sprung at Canal Park
May 3, 2013 9:39 AM
When last I wandered around Canal Park
with my camera, it was cold
. And brown. (But skateable
!) With Thursday's gorgeous weather surprisingly managing to win a tough battle against my inherent laziness, I took a far warmer and greener walk, and updated my Canal Park page
with some springeriffic images.
And, if you really want to see how the three blocks along 2nd Street SE between I and M have changed in the past decade, I invite you to scroll through the many before and afters in my Canal Park Expanded Photo Archive
. After all, with my work at the park pretty much done, this might be the last time I have the excuse to make you look at numerous photos of school buses and overgrowth.
Speaking of the buses, I do have one "new" before-and-after I can't resist highlighting.
First, October 14, 2006:
And the same location, May 2, 2013:
Park Tavern Says It's Open For Business
Apr 8, 2013 4:43 PM
After months of waiting, a simple tweet a few moments ago
says that the Park Tavern restaurant at 2nd and M SE in Canal Park
is open for business.
If you stop by there, give us some details in the comments.
I should also mention that the BID tweeted
that the water feature (some might call it "fountains") at Canal Park is operational today as well, after a breather during the switchover from ice rink to warm weather retreat.
UPDATE II: Here is the menu
. (If you want to see the chicken, parm cream, and dried cherries flatbread, here 'tis
. And here's the taps
. And the cocktail menu
, blurred to give you the experience of ordering after you've had a few.) The manager told me they will just be open for dinner for a few weeks, then expand to lunch.
Photos of the interior here
. (Yeah, they were taken back in November, but nothing's changed!)
Park Tavern Opening Perhaps Not Far Off?
Mar 10, 2013 9:57 AM
On Saturday, the Park Tavern restaurant at Canal Park sent this out on Twitter
"Our new chef is in place!! Should be about 10 days until we open. More details to come"
Is the opening really now looming? We shall see...!
Summer Outdoor Movie Series Announced: Clash of the Comics
Feb 15, 2013 3:12 PM
It might be a little hard to think of sitting in Canal Park
watching movies on a warm summer night when folks are still skating on the park's rink, but the Capitol Riverfront BID has now released the list of 10 movies that will be shown at the park in this year's Summer Outdoor Movie Series, on Thursdays beginning May 30th.
This year they are going with a comic book theme, so get your inner geek fired up for these offerings:
May 30th - Captain America
June 6th - Green Lantern
June 13th - Iron Man
June 20th - Batman and Robin
June 27th - The Hulk
July 4th - No Movie (Holiday)
July 11th - Batman Begins
July 18th - Thor
July 25th - The Dark Knight
Aug 1st - The Avengers
Aug 8th - The Dark Knight Rises
Retail, Restaurant, and Recreation News (New and Old)
Feb 11, 2013 11:40 AM
A hail of bullets on various retail, restaurant, and recreation-type items, some of which are relatively new, but some of which decidedly aren't:
* The boxing and fitness club DCBFIT
opened last week in the ground floor of Capitol Hill Tower
, at the corner of New Jersey and L SE. While their web site makes me tired and sore just looking at it, I'm sure there are plenty of folks who will find this offering intriguing.
* The Navy Yard portion of the Riverwalk
was supposed to reopen today--anyone give it a shot yet? And, if so, is there any actual trail once you go out the east gate? As I showed a couple of weeks ago, the old asphalt had been ripped up
as part of the 11th Street Bridges work, though of course it will be back at some point.
* Maybe now is finally a good time to mention the opening of petcare store Wagtime Too
at 900 M Street, where it has been for a number of weeks now, offering boarding, daycare, grooming and "cool stuff." And I actually have taken a photo of it
* Apparently the Quizno's at 8th and Potomac closed permanently back in December. And Chicken Tortilla at 8th and L was closed when I walked by a few weeks ago, though I don't know the story on that.
, Boilermaker Shops/Yards
, Canal Park, Capitol Hill Tower
, The Yards
Another 'Finally': Canal Park's Opening Day (and Night)
Nov 17, 2012 9:59 AM
I've been to a fair number of ribbon cuttings over the past decade, and I have to say that Friday's opening of Canal Park
seemed to be infused with a level of excitement and joy that I don't think I've seen at any of the others.
While getting Nationals Park
open in 2008 was a triumph of speed and scale, the 13-year journey of the three-block park at the heart of Near Southeast required so many hands and so much patience and resulted in a space with which the stakeholders are clearly thrilled that it shouldn't really be a surprise that on a gorgeously crisp late fall day so many attendees were walking around with what Tommy Wells described as "a huge smile on their face."
The speakers standing at a podium in the center block's small pavilion ran through the list of names and agencies that brought the park to fruition, starting with developer William C. Smith, whose CEO Chris Smith started the long drive to build the park, creating the Canal Park Development Association back in 2000. Then there was money from the federal government and the DC government, additional dollars and much support from the DC Housing Authority, work by OLIN landscape architects and STUDIOS architecture to design the park with innovative sustainable development
and storm water management components (and a skating rink!). Props were given for the hiring of Housing Authority residents for 15 of the park's 25 part-time jobs.The Capitol Riverfront BID and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities also took bows for their parts in the park's creation (and future).
After the speeches, the festivities moved to the skating rink, where the ribbon was cut and Mayor Gray drove the Zamboni, and then the public laced up its skates and got out on the ice. And they kept skating, well into the night
. (And I have no doubt there will be big crowds at the rink and park today as well.) For all the happiness seen in the park's founders about getting it finally opened, I saw equal measures of surprise and cheer that so many residents and neighborhood office workers had come to the opening, had stayed through the long speechifying, and now were skating and strolling.
I took a lot of photos of fenced-off schoolbuses
in the early years, posted a lot of renderings (some for the park's first design that never materialized), and bugged a lot of people to find out the latest. It was, after all, one of the few projects that was already in planning when I started tracking Near Southeast in early 2003, along with the Capper
redevelopment and Capitol Hill Tower
And now the park is open (with the Park Tavern restaurant to follow "within a few weeks"), and everybody can enjoy it. Finally!
Canal Park Grand Opening Set for November 16
Oct 25, 2012 5:58 PM
A flyer just sent out
by the Capitol Riverfront BID is announcing that Canal Park
will have a two-day Grand Opening, on Friday, Nov. 16 and Saturday, Nov. 17, kicking off with a ribbon cutting with the mayor and other dignitaries at 11 am on the 16th.
The park's much anticipated ice rink will be the center of attention for the rest of the festivities, and it will be open from noon to 9 pm on Friday and 10 am to 10 pm on Saturday--admission is $8 for adults and $7 for kids/seniors/military, with skate rentals costing $3. There will also be "ice performances" at the top of each hour from noon to 4 pm, and coaches available to help new skaters.
Saturday will also have live music in the park from 10 am to 3 pm, various art-y options, and a "Get Active" program from Results Gym with boot camp, a kids obstacle course, and a Zumba class.
Considering that it was nine years ago this month that I first wrote about the plans to remove the school buses from the park's three-block site along 2nd Street between I and M, SE, I'd say this opening indeed qualifies as a milestone in the neighborhood. See my Canal Park project page
for photos of what the footprint has gone through over the years.
(The BID also says that the management of Kruba Thai and Sushi
says that their restaurant in the ground floor of the Foundry Lofts
at the Yards
is opening on Monday, Nov. 12. Will that come true as well? We shall see!)
UPDATE: I should add there's no word in this whether the Park Tavern restaurant will open on this same weekend--my guess is that the pressure is pretty strong to have it open in some format, but there's no announcement.
Updated Photos From Under-Construction Projects, Finally
Sep 12, 2012 9:28 AM
Isn't it great that the icky humid cloudy weather of the past few weeks finally broke? Aren't the skies glorious and blue? Does that mean I finally got to get out to take some photos? Why, yes!
First up are new photos from ground level at Canal Park
, including the new L Street streetscape and the sculptures:
If you're big on Canal Park, you may also be interested in the many before-and-afters in the Canal Park Expanded Photo Archive
, which leads off with the first decent bunch of photos from 2nd Place and L Street
since construction started on the park many moons ago and then takes you on a before-and-after walk around the park's perimeter.
If these all aren't enough for you, you can spend some time in the Photo Archive
, where you pick the intersection you want to see and then you can see the entire range of photos I've taken for all angles or just the ones of your choice. You may even end up in the Photo Archive without realizing it, if you click on the
icon on any of the pages above, which also will give you the full range of photos for that angle. It's pretty much the Near Southeast equivalent of heading down the rabbit hole.
New Glimpses into the Getting-a-Bit-Distant M Street Past
Aug 23, 2012 9:29 AM
A most interesting and welcome present arrived in my inbox recently: a reader passed along four photos taken in 1990 or 1991 shot from what clearly is the old Defense Mapping Agency/National Geospatial Intelligence Agency building at 1st and M
, looking out over the streetscape of a veeery different neighborhood than what exists today. It was during the construction of the Navy Yard Metro station, and you'll see what a war zone M Street was for drivers and pedestrians.
But don't stop with the color photos at the top of the page
. The rest of the page has a series of overhead images from the Library of Congress archive, taken in 1992, showing many of the same locations as the "new" color shots, along with some other spots, matched where possible with my images of the not-yet demolished buildings. I posted them almost two years ago, but I'm sure they're new to plenty of people.
If you happen to have taken any photos of the neighborhood from pre-2003 that you'd like to share, I'd love to see them. Feel free to pass them along via whatever venue you might prefer--Facebook
, e-mail (dc at jdland dot com), Flickr link, etc.
L Street Now Open Through Canal Park; K Street Blocked
Aug 20, 2012 9:08 AM
I mentioned a few weeks ago
that it would be happening soon, and indeed, L Street through Canal Park
at 2nd Street SE is now open, with the sidewalk on the south side of the street available for pedestrians.
With this access available, K Street has now been temporarily closed to complete its streetscape. Since the park is still on schedule to open in November, it's likely that K Street will reopen by then.
Canal Park Construction Photos, From Above and Inside
Jul 31, 2012 9:09 AM
A few weeks back I posted a bunch of photos of the progress on Canal Park
, all taken by shoving my camera lens up against the cyclone fences
and doing the best I could. The park's poobahs have since taken pity on me, and on Monday gave me my first chance to get inside the construction site
. Alas, almost as soon as I got there, the sunny day turned into a cloudy day, and so the photos don't exactly pop off the screen. But, as I've said before, sometimes you have to take photos with the weather you have, not with the weather you wish you'd have.
The entire gallery is here
, and also includes some shots from up above the park site, from when the sun was still out. (Yes, I'm bitter. If you want to see exactly what sort of impact sun vs. no-sun has on photos, I point you to my newly updated gallery of before-and-afters from L Street
on the east side of the park. Bleccch.)
Some items of note I learned during this walkaround:
* (Left) The block of L Street SE within the park's footprint will be permanently reopening to traffic before too long. But at about the same time, K Street will close within the park so that it can receive the same traffic-calming streetscape seen on L
. I asked about pedestrian space along L during K's closure, and they will be looking at it.
* (Middle) The interior build-out has begun of the Park Tavern restaurant inside the main pavilion. It's expected to open when the park does, which still seems to be on-schedule for November.
* (Right) The black refrigeration tubing for the
ice rink is being installed, so that when it's unseasonably warm in January, people can still skate and not swim. And if you look at the enlarged photo
and wonder why the staircase seems to have two different sized steps, it's because the ones on the right will have wooden slats added to them for a "bleachers" feel for sitting and watching the skating/fountain-frolicking.
Thursday Tidbits: Makeovers, Candidates, and a Busy Weekend
Jul 19, 2012 11:48 AM
* Canal Park
's new web site
launched today, and it indicates that they're still aiming for a November opening for the park, the ice rink, and the restaurant.
* The I Street McDonalds is going to be getting a makeover, judging by a recently approved building permit.
And, in this weekend's events:
* Tonight's Front Flick
at Tingey Plaza is The DaVinci Code.
* The Nats are about to start their 12:35 pm Matinee as I type this on Thursday, then they'll play host to the Braves Friday-Sunday. This time around there's a Saturday 1:05/7:05 doubleheader, which includes the second NatsLive concert
, with the Wallflowers. (Tickets for each game sold separately, and you need a ticket to the 7:05 pm game in order to see the Wallflowers.) It's a pretty big-time series against Atlanta, so expect big crowds.
Thursday Tidbits: Low Weight But High Volume Edition
Jul 12, 2012 2:01 AM
It's summer, and I'm trying to be on a Word Diet, so lots of links, but short and sweet:
* Washington Examiner is hot on the Hood
. Times two
. Shorter version: more people coming (like Nats fans). More stuff coming. But you knew this already.
* Folks at 909 New Jersey, and also 1980s DC nightclubbers, might like this WaPo photo
. Especially when compared to this
. (The railroad tracks are probably not missed.)
Canal Park Progress: Peeking Through the Fences (and the Trees)
Jun 10, 2012 5:25 PM
Although the temperature was a bit high for my liking, it still felt good to take a walk with camera in hand for the first time since April around Canal Park
and Capitol Quarter
to get a new batch of photos. And, thanks to the planting of numerous trees along with other visible improvements, my months and months of complaining about not really having much to photograph during the park's construction have come to an end.
With the arrival of the trees and some initial streetscaping now in place on the portion of L Street that runs through the park, you can now see how narrow the street is going to be in order to work to slow vehicular traffic as it crosses the park. (The completed streetscape will also give a visual cue to Slow The Hell Down.) K Street will get a similar treatment.
(Southeast corner of 2nd and K. I love the first shot, from nearly nine years ago, with lots of school buses and without USDOT.)
The official Canal Park web site
can also give you more information, along with these slides
from a presentation
at last month's ANC 6D meeting. Though, judging from the people who chatted me up while I was poking my camera through the fences, we're long past the "what" stage and deep into the "when" ("WHEN!?!") stage. An opening in November is still the target.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Quarter
's last block, framing has now gotten underway on 4th Street, with bricking and painting finished on the houses on the 3rd Street side. My suggestion is to scroll through the Capitol Quarter Phase 2 Expanded Photo Archive
, because I can't imagine at this point the before-and-afters need much narration.
(Southeast corner of Third and L, in December 2004 [through the windshield!] and today.)
ANC 6D Recap 2: Canal Park, Community Center, CSX Letter
May 15, 2012 1:35 PM
Moving from the "P" portion of Monday's ANC 6D meeting (pylons and parking
) to the "C"s:
* Canal Park
: Chris Vanarsdale of the Canal Park Development Association gave an update on construction, the bottom line of which has not changed from what's been mentioned the past few months, that because of unexpected issues, the park's opening has been delayed until November. Unmapped utilities that required a redesign of the stormwater management system have been a big stumbling block, but Vanarsdale also mentioned the soil-related difficulties when building on the site of an old canal. Construction is now 60 percent complete, and the work on the pavilion is almost done. Here are the presentation slides
, and you can also check out the official web site
for more details (along with my project page
). Oh, and they're thinking about offering Zamboni driving lessons!
* Community Center
: The DC Housing Authority has filed a request with the Zoning Commission for an extension for construction of the planned Capper Community Center
, which already received one extension back in 2010
that 6D supported
. DCHA has apparently requested that the Zoning Commission act within 30 days on the request, news of which the ANC received on Monday. So the commissioners voted unanimously to send a letter urging postponement of the zoning case so that the ANC can address the request and form a response with a vote at next month's meeting. Commissioners Litsky and McBee also both commented that the project shouldn't be getting another extension.
Here is the letter sent on behalf of DCHA
to the Zoning Commission asking for the extension: it would be for two years, requiring building permits by July 1, 2014 and construction underway by July 1, 2015.
* CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel
: The commissioners voted 6-0-1 to send this letter
to the appropriate parties laying out the ANC's opinion on the plans to reconfigure the Virginia Avenue Tunnel
. After listing the various ways that the proposed construction "would put people, homes, businesses, and fragile historic resources at risk," the letter states: "[W]e strongly believe that the best options for our community are for CSX to either leave the Virginia Avenue Tunnel in its current state (Concept 1) -- with the suggestion that if this option were chosen that the tunnel would be fully maintained for the safety of both the trains below and the communities above, or to reroute additional train traffic outside the District of Columbia [...] instead of in an expanded Virginia Avenue Tunnel." But, if the construction does occur, "it is absolutely imperative that the health and safety of our many residents, the economic and physical well-being of our businesses, parks, religious institutions, homes, and historic buildings, and the north-south access for all existing modes of transportation be preserved and enhanced." A number of Capitol Quarter
residents in attendance also spoke in support of the ANC's support. The next public meeting
on the plans for the tunnel will be May 21 at 6:30 pm at Nats Park.
One more recap post to go, probably tomorrow.
Updated Photos from the Usual Spots (Holiday Edition)
Apr 8, 2012 6:35 PM
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.
Now I need to go find that peanut butter bunny. I think I earned it.
Thursday Tidbits: Minutiae from Wandering the Streets (and Twitter)
Mar 22, 2012 3:38 PM
* Shipping containers have been arriving
at the Fairgrounds
(Bullpen) site. (They say there's going to be a "preview" event on March 30--looks like a lot of work to do in eight days. But the real opening is supposed to be
in time for the Nats' season opener on April 12.)
* Greenery is arriving
at 200 I/225 Virginia
, and the sidewalks are done. Apparently the fences will be moved back sometime next week to keep the building perimeter secure but to allow the sidewalks to be used. (In other words, the "street sidewalk" will finally disappear.) There should also be repaving and crosswalk striping around the site coming in early April.
* Framing is racing along on the stretch of Capitol Quarter
townhomes on 3rd south of L.
* Curbs are going in on 2nd Place next to Canal Park
and the pavilion.
* The cherry trees in the Center Field Plaza at Nats Park
are budding, but don't look on the verge of popping yet. Perhaps they can hold on until April 3.
* Yesterday we were talking about the possibility of a little BOOM
, but here's what might happen 'round these parts if there's a really BIG BOOM
* The Post writes about the neighborhood
as part of the big Mega RealEstate focus on walkable communities, and keys in on the fact that the area has a number of different names. (For the record, it's not like I made up "Near Southeast"--I was just following the city's lead
.) Within a few hours, though, Greater Greater Washington may have solved the problem by pointing us to the area's late-19th-century moniker: "Bloodfield
." Wouldn't that work great for ballpark headlines? ("Phillies Dismembered at Bloodfield.")
Anything else folks are seeing?
Canal Park Construction Issues Push Back Opening Date
Mar 8, 2012 2:50 PM
There's been a lot of positive news in the neighborhood of late, but news today from Canal Park
will be disappointing to many residents and observers: Because of "major underground obstacles" that weren't found until workers started digging, the park's underground storm water system is having to be completely redesigned and then approved by DC Water.
According to Chris Vanarsdale of the Canal Park Development Association
, this has bumped the schedule by about four months, and November 1 is now the expected completion date. (Just in time for ice skating!)
Canal Park is of course also where Xavier Cevera's Park Tavern restaurant
is anticipated to open, which means that its opening would be pushed back as well.
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