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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: JDLand stuff
In the Pipeline
1000 1st St.
Yards/Parcel L
The Garrett
Square 696
Yards/Icon Theater
1000 South Capitol
25 M
Chiller Site Condos
Yards/Parcel A
1333 M St.
New Douglass Bridge
More Capper Apts.
250 M St.
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
SC1100
Completed
Insignia on M ('17)
F1rst/Residence Inn ('17)
One Hill South ('17)
Homewood Suites ('16)
ORE 82 ('16)
The Bixby ('16)
Dock 79 ('16)
Community Center ('16)
The Brig ('16)
Park Chelsea ('16)
Yards/Arris ('16)
Hampton Inn ('15)
Southeast Blvd. ('15)
11th St. Bridges ('15)
Parc Riverside ('14)
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Capitol ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)
 
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88 Blog Posts Since 2003
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Here's a fresh thread, in case there's some trepidation about chattering in the previous comments section.
And, if you haven't gotten the news yet, Shake Shack is now open for business at 54 M St. SE. Have some crinkle fries for me.
I really, truly, appreciate the many wonderful messages I've received in the past week. I hope to have information soon about where to make donations in Bill's memory, and will update this post when I have it.
In the meantime, my vista does not currently include any buildings under construction.
UPDATE: I can now pass along the link for (tax-deductible!) donations to the newly created American Copy Editors Society Bill Walsh Scholarship. (There's a checkbox to specifically target your donations to this scholarship.) I'm so proud to honor his memory in a very tangible way like this, to support students interested in a career in news copy editing. And it was something he was very much wanted to see done.
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The news seems to be well known at this point, but I will still note here officially that Bill Walsh, known colloquially in these parts as Mr. JDLand, died on Wednesday of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, a rotten cancer of the bile ducts and liver made more rotten by the frequency with which it isn't found until it has spread.
I won't run down his biography here, especially since the fabulous Washington Post obituary does a great job sketching the portrait of the "rock star" of copy editors. And my grief-soaked Facebook farewell gives a hint of the heartbreak I am not only now facing, but have lived with for the past nine months, knowing that it was highly unlikely this cancer was going to be beat.
But I wanted to ruminate for a moment or two about the part Bill played in JDLand, and not just as the chauffeur on that fateful day in January 2003 when I took the series of photos that really started this adventure.
When Bill moved to this area from Phoenix in 1989, he lived in Alexandria at first, but with a commute to the Washington Times building on New York Avenue, NE, he was soon drawn to Capitol Hill, and found a place not far from Eastern Market. The Hill of the 1990s, of course, had a very different feel than today, as did the entire city, but he fell in love with the walkability, and even the slight edginess of the time.
While I had been born on the Hill, my family had left the area when I was a toddler and when we came back we settled in Chevy Chase, so while I very much considered myself a Washington-area native, I was pretty firmly ensconced in the world of Upper Northwest, Bethesda, and points west and north. Sure, I had spent more than my fair share of time at the original 9:30 Club on F Street, drank yards of beer at the old Tiber Creek Pub (where Bistro Bis now resides), served two summers as a Hill intern, worked at a couple of jobs near 16th and K, and wasn't a-feered of going downtown in the late 1980s and early 1990s as many of my cohorts were, but it still just really wasn't part of my orbit.
Until in April 1993, when I met a guy living on Capitol Hill.
By 1995, we had bought our house on the south side of the Hill, much to the chagrin of many people who thought we were crazy to buy in such an "unsafe" place, a feeling that intensified for many who came to our housewarming party via the 6th Street exit off the freeway who were not happy to be greeted by the boarded up shells of the old Ellen Wilson Dwellings and the only slightly less foreboding, not-yet-boarded up Capper apartment buildings.
But we loved it. We loved walking the neighborhood for hours. We loved Eastern Market. We loved walking to the Hawk n Dove or the Tune Inn or La Lomida Dos. We loved going to open houses just to look. We loved the House and Garden Tour. We loved being 10 minutes from National Airport. We loved seeing the Capitol just as part of the neighborhood landscape.
And we loved watching it change, as it really began to in the early 2000s. Somewhere on his hard drive is actually a running list, going back to well before we arrived, of which businesses occupied which addresses on Pennsylvania Avenue and on Barracks Row. He loved telling people about how 8th Street had transformed from "our little slice of Queens" to the restaurant row it is today.
Then I extended the boundaries of our interest when I started hearing about the various plans to transform the blocks south of the freeway, an area we rarely ventured into and in fact would sometimes jokingly subreference Bonfire of the Vanities when telling people how to get back to the freeway and "safety": DON'T GO UNDER THE OVERPASS.
When I get asked to tell the story of how I began to follow the neighborhood, I almost always mention how Bill and I used to stand on 3rd Street and look southward under the freeway to catch a glimpse of the Anacostia River, and how we used to say to each other, "Wouldn't it be great if someday we could walk down there from here and then along the river?" (which was usually followed by loud ironic guffaws) And then I was off on my one great hobby, watching Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards grow from nothing to what it is today.
Of course, through all of this, the rest of DC was changing too, and we became even more intensely in love with our city and what it offered. We ate at as many of the city's restaurants as we could. He began biking to and from work at the Post. We would walk to Caps games at the Verizon Center and then home. We Bikeshared. We Car to Go'ed. We Ubered. We waited for the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail to be extended. We walked to Nats games on a whim. We rode the H Street Streetcar on the first day. We reveled in referring to ourselves derisively as urban hipsters.
Much of our daily running messaging commentary to each other was news of what we had seen and heard--did you hear Hank's is opening on the Hill? The weird florist at 8th and E is gone! Matchbox is almost open! Wait, let me guess, you want to go to Morini again.
And in 2015, when he began a walking regime to combat a bit of fatigue that was probably a missed early sign of his cancer, his route covered all the bases--down 8th Street to the freeway, back up to Pennsylvania Avenue, down New Jersey under the freeway, over to 1st Street, down to the ballpark, along the river, and home. And I received bulletins all along the way of whatever he saw that was new. He became the first and only official JDLand stringer.
We just loved living here. Every minute of it.
A few weeks ago, I felt he was stable enough to allow me a little time to go take some Hood pics for the first time in a few months. It was a beautiful day, I was doing what I have loved doing for more than a decade now, and was on autopilot--until I looked at the large as-yet unleased corner retail space in one of the new buildings. And then I couldn't breathe. Because I knew it would be a restaurant, and would be a restaurant that he would never know about. That we would never eat at.
When my brother brought me home to the Hill after leaving the hospice center for the final time (I can't even believe Bill died in Arlington and not DC), we came across the 14th Street Bridge. I caught sight of the Wharf construction, and burst into tears.
We may not have been activists, or preservationists, or even particularly involved in the culture of the Hill and surroundings, but our neighborhood(s) infused every part of our days. These streets and buildings and businesses and history united us as much as our life at the Post, our love of travel, our cats, and our expert-level pop-culture referencing.
Now I just have to figure out how on earth to watch it all alone.
I will continue to pop in and out in the coming weeks, because he would not be pleased if JDLand was collateral damage in all of this, but it will take a long while before I return to full steam.
However, having moved through the aftermath of my mother's heartbreaking death three years ago, I do know that time heals, and what feel like machete strikes to my chest today will eventually be wistful pangs. There will come a time that roaming these streets will not smack me with what he is missing, but remind me of everything we shared and enjoyed so very much.
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My focus is now zeroing in on a very targeted area in my world, so I am going to be pulling back from full-sized posts here for the foreseeable future. I may still pop up in the comments, and may find a moment or two to pipe up for whatever reason on Twitter, but for now my time is best spent elsewhere. Continued thanks to the "erstwhile" JDLand commenters for keeping the chatter up in my absence.
But at least before I go I can post links to the news of Dacha coming to Dock 79, and that maybe a bowling alley will go into some of the retail space in the Jair Lynch residential/retail project above the Half Street Hole just north of Nats Park. And a reader reports this morning that steel beams have arrived at the NAB HQ site at South Capitol and M, so work might be starting there.
And thanks to everyone for your patience and good thoughts in these past months.
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More posts: dacha, Florida Rock, Restaurants/Nightlife, lynchhalf, JDLand stuff
 

I am still here, always at the ready to post news of new retail offerings or projects, but the past few weeks have been a bit crazy on the home front as we found out in late January that Mr. JDLand's femur was in danger of snapping at any moment, necessitating the implantation of a titanium nail along the length of his thigh bone. We also found out that one does not recover from a surgery like that overnight. But he is now getting around a bit better, so I can start to be able to focus on things other than his leg for more than a few seconds at a time. And we hope to have some clarity on the next steps in his treatment before too much longer.
I hear that there are a couple of retail announcements expected in the next few weeks, and perhaps some big projects are close to getting underway (I'm looking at you, 1200 block of Half Street). In the meantime, though, the high-quality JDLand commentariat is doing a great job of keeping an eye on things, so keep checking in the comments for tidbits. And I am mucking around on Twitter, too, of course.
Thanks for everyone's continued patience--and good thoughts--through all of this.
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As I mentioned in the comments a few days ago, I didn't really mean to go quite so dormant, but life in My Own Private JDLand remains my focus right now.
However, if and when there's big news on the development/food/retail front (or any other item that actually moves me to post), I will spring into action.
In the meantime, you can focus on Election Day (go vote, dammit), the pending completion of the Homewood Suites at 50 M, the topping out at 1221 Van, and the hints of work starting on the new DC Water HQ along the Anacostia River. And whatever else strikes your fancy, which could perhaps include browsing these 161 photos from November 2004, if you want to kill some time between now and when the polls close. (click on "view as slideshow" at the top of that page to embiggen them and browse more easily)
UPDATE: I tossed up a What Are You Looking Forward To? thread on the chat board, if you feel like having a slightly more directed conversation.
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It's been a hectic few weeks in my own private JDLand, so apologies for how scarce new content has been in these parts. I hope to get back in the saddle in coming days, but until then, here's a new post for commenting to continue on.
(The photo is of Lough Tay, in County Wicklow, Ireland, part of the trip to Dublin and environs that Mr. JDLand and I snuck in last week thanks to an opening in the calendar. I thought this vista might provide some peace and calming on the morning after last night.)
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I have been scarce around these parts of late, thanks mainly to the lack of any real big news to pass along.
However, while sometimes when these doldrums hit I redouble my efforts to dig to find something to post, I will now admit that I have been distracted for a few weeks as unfortunately Mr. JDLand (aka @theslot) is in the midst of what he described today as a "medical adventure."
My mind and my heart and my soul are most decidedly elsewhere, and so while if the stars align for me to find some time to post items as they come along I will, but I am not expecting to give JDLand my all in the near future.
Feel free to continue to discuss news and events of the neighborhood here in the comments, and hopefully I'll be around from time to time with "milestone" updates (new restaurant/retail announcements, starts of construction, openings, etc.).
And keep Bill in your thoughts, pretty please.
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There's no good "art" to go with any of these tidbits, so instead I present to you the northwest corner of Half and N, SE, taken May 4, 2003, which now looks like this and will someday look like this.
* HAMBURGLARY: Fresh on the news of its pending demise, the McDonald's at South Capitol and I was robbed early Saturday morning, with the three suspects jumping through the drive-through window to get to the cash. And here's MPD's Persons of Interest video. (WaPo, MPD)
* CSX DERAILMENT: The derailment in Northeast of a CSX train carrying hazardous materials has reignited {sorry} the concerns over both the city's need to boost its oversight of freight rail and the movement of hazmat through the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. (WaPo, plus a City Paper piece as well)
* TENANT NEWS: "Global public strategy firm" Mercury Public Affairs, LLC has signed a lease for the 8,020 square feet of office space in the upper levels of the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards, and will move in this summer. As for other Yards tenants, I hear that Whaley's could be opening Any Minute Now, with Philz not far behind. (Elsewhere, the Brig is probably still a couple of weeks away.)
* THE VERY MODEL OF A MINOR MODIFICATION: Forest City is back to the Zoning Commission with some changes to the design of the planned Showplace Icon movie theater. But you might need a microscope to spot the difference between old vs new on the exterior renderings. (And it's technically not a "minor modification," but I was feeling all Gilbert and Sullivan this morning.)
* BEHIND THE CURTAIN: DCist profiles a crazy blogger who has spent years taking photos of construction sites. I mean, honestly! Get a life!
 

This was buried in a tidbits thread a week ago, but it's time for a more full-throated invitation to all:
Want to meet some of your fellow neighbors/office workers/generally interested citizens from in and around Near Southeast/Capitol Riverfront/Navy Yard/Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards (#NeCaBaRY)?
Then come hang out at Scarlet Oak this Thursday, March 10, starting at 5:30 pm--and give me the chance to meet you, as well.
Even if you don't ever comment on blog posts, even if you're thinking you won't know anyone, at least stop by and say hello, and join in what I'm sure will be a rollicking conversation about the Nats, the new I Street, and whether any of us could ever possibly live long enough to ever see the Southeast/Southwest Freeway demolished. If that doesn't entice you to swing by, I don't know what could.
I'll also have some coveted JDLand t-shirts available for purchase, for $12.
A peachy time will be had by all!
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More posts: Events, JDLand stuff
 

Hey, kids, d'ya like the "slider"-type displays that take two photos of the same location and allow you to scroll across the two photos to compare the differences?
Do you like them even more if they are made with images that are actually in focus and not washed out, and aren't taken by robots with fish-eye lenses, as some offerings out there are?
Then you are in luck, because the crack JDLand staff of developers has finally come up with a more automated way to display sliders of various locations around the neighborhood.
You can now watch for them on project pages, in the Photo Archive, and even via a browseable list.
It also means there's another way to see and inspect my oldest photos in a larger format, which is a nice addition.
I hope to next come up with a way to add them into the random before-and-after display on the JDLand home page, but for now, I'm at least glad that the light bulb went on for how to make using them a much less onerous process. (Actually *creating* them is not quite as easy, though--but I'm going to keep slowly plugging away at making them for all of my favorite angles.)
Right here is where you'd think I'd include one or two of them--alas, they won't work in a blog post. But here's thumbnails of just some of the locations that have been slider'ed, so click a thumbnail and slide away, and note that below the sliders are the full lineup of photos I've taken for that location, proving that the sliders aren't faked (these days, you never know what people will be suspicious of!). More to come.
Then browse the whole list, which is also filterable by street.
UPDATE: I'm continuing to add them, so I've made the list of sliders sortable by date, most recent additions/updates first.
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