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9 Blog Posts Since 2003

* PACHYDERMS ON PARADE: The annual DC Elephant Walk, which gets the stars of the Ringling Bros. circus from their train to the Verizon Center, is scheduled for Tuesday, March 18, at 8 pm. It starts at New Jersey and Virginia avenues, so it can be seen from the overpass (and perhaps from Garfield Park?), before heading toward downtown. UPDATE: Alas, DCist says that the parade has been cancelled.
* ENVIRONMENTAL FORUM: On March 21, there is to be a forum with DC mayoral candidates focusing on sustainability and environmental issues, at the Boilermaker Shops at 300 Tingey St., SE, from 6 to 8 pm. It has been organized by the local chapter of the Sierra Club along with the Capitol Riverfront BID, the neighborhood group Near Southeast Community Partners and a coalition of multiple groups now operating under an umbrella group called United for a Healthy Anacostia River. The clock is ticking down toward DC Primary Election Day, on April 1.
And, speaking of the river, the Anacostia Riverkeeper group is having a fundraiser on April 3 from 5 to 8 pm. Bring this flyer (and your appetite) to Nando's Peri-Peri at the Boilermaker Shops to help support its efforts to clean up the Anacostia watershed. They'd like an RSVP in advance, for an accurate head count.
* AT THE DRIVE-IN: Presumably in anticipation of their not-as-yet-underway Ballpark Square office/residential/hotel/retail project, developers Grosvenor, McCaffery and Skanska are co-sponsoring with the BID a "Groundbreaking at the Capitol Riverfront Drive-In Movie Weekend" on Friday, March 21 and Saturday, March 22. They are inviting folks to "pull into the converted drive-in movie theater at 1st and M Streets, SE to watch great films and purchase popular DC food truck cuisine." Friday's movie will be Toy Story, and Saturday's will be The Matrix. Both screenings start at 7:30 pm.
* TRUCKEROO: The monthly DC food truck festival is returning to the Fairgrounds at Half and M SE for another year, starting on April 11.
* LA LA LA LA LA: The always successful Opera in the Outfield is back for another year, this time on May 3 with a simulcast of Mozart's "The Magic Flute." Gates open at 5 pm for the variety of "pre-game" activities, and the show starts at 7 pm.
And, I suppose I should mention that, nestled in between these various events, there will also be the Nationals' exhibition game against the Tigers on March 29, and the team's home opener on April 4 against the Braves. Just in case you weren't aware.
Have an event happening in the neighborhood? Let me know.
 

It's summer, and I'm trying to be on a Word Diet, so lots of links, but short and sweet:
* This week's Front Flick, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, tonight at Tingey Plaza.
* Another installment of Truckeroo on Friday.
* One potential candidate for Near Southeast's two ANC single member districts has already picked up nominating petitions: Ed Kaminski, who lives in 6D02.
* 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.
* Miniature golfing in Canal Park, in a manner of speaking.
* Reunion of Arthur Capper residents last week at Garfield Park.
* There's now lane restrictions on M Street SE between 7th and 11th for the next, oh, 27 months or so, thanks to the DC Water Clean Rivers Project. (This is also why Water Street east of 12th Street is closed.) The work along M got off to a bit of a rough start last month when contractors took over the pocket park at 8th and Potomac without using a particularly light touch.
* Nats Park in the mix for the 2015 MLB All-Star game, but lots of other cities want it, too.
* Across the way: new DC United investors "should boost quest for stadium" at Buzzard Point.
* At least SOME major media organizations know how to credit scoops. {Said while glaring at WashBizJ, though not PhilBizJ}
* 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.)
 

Not much going on, so let's do a pre-weekend roundup, one day early to give you plenty of time to plan your schedule:
* Friday brings the first Truckeroo food truck festival of 2012, from 11 am to 11 pm at the Fairgrounds at Half and M SE. Its Facebook page today listed the truck lineup as including BBQ Bus, Big Cheese, Cajunators, Cap Mac, Chef Driven, Curbside Cupcakes, DC Empanadas, DC Slides, Doug the Food Dude, Hot People, Hula Girl, Tapas, Pleasant Pops, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Sinplicity, Sweetz Cheesecake, and Takorean.
* If you want to walk off some calories, you can also head to the Yards Park for the Friday Evening Concert, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. US Navy Band The Cruisers will be the music act this week, and food will be by Red Apron Butchery, Buzz Bakery, and Luke's Lobster, with beverages by ChurchKey.
* Saturday brings the finale of the Kennedy Center's Street Arts Across America festival with Street Arts in the Park, a day-long event at the Yards Park, from noon to 6 pm. The full lineup of music and events is available on the official web site.
* On Sunday, the Fairgrounds will be celebrating Mother's Day with its first Family Day, from 11 am to 4 pm, with "carnival games and prizes, inflatable and mechanical rides, children's entertainers and live musicians," plus food trucks.
Admission for all of these events is free. And the forecast looks pretty sweet.
And then the neighbors who live in that big building on South Capitol Street will be returning to town on Monday, for a series against the Padres that includes a 1:05 pm game on Tuesday (which is also Weather Day!), and then a weekend series against the Orioles, which should make for big crowds.
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More posts: Fairgrounds/Bullpen, Events, truckeroo, The Yards, Yards Park
 

After three years of operating The Bullpen(s) on one of the empty lots just north of Nationals Park, landowner Akridge and Bullpen/Georgetown Events owner Bo Blair are opting to try something new for the 2012 season: "Fairgrounds," a combination food, market and events space that will be open seven days a week from the beginning of baseball season through October 1.
Modeled on Brooklyn's Dekalb Market and designed by Schlesinger Associate Architects, Fairgrounds will use salvaged shipping containers as retail spaces for vendors, in a program overseen by Diverse Markets Management, the people behind the flea market across from Eastern Market and the downtown holiday market. DMM touts a database of more than 2,000 vendors that it says it will tap into to "keep the market busy and diversified."
The Market (seen above and at left, click to enlarge) will be positioned on the Das Bullpen site at Half and M, across from the Navy Yard Metro station entrance. It will include "permanent" food truck versions of two of Blair's restaurants: Bayou and its New Orleans/Southern-themed food and drinks, and Surfside with its beach-type offerings. There are also plans still being worked out to have a rotating roster of additional food trucks every non-game day.
This space will open at 11:30 am every day; on game days, the market and food trucks will remain open until two hours after the game ends; otherwise, it will stay open at least through Happy Hour, or later if patrons are still around. There will be a "spectator" deck built on top of the shipping containers as well as a music stage, with plans to continue to have local and regional bands play on game days. And of course there will be 20 HD televisions and plenty of cornhole sets. (Which I totally don't get, but you kids have fun with it.)
Nats fans already quivering in fear can rest easy knowing that the two liquor licenses that were in place for the Bullpens are still active for this new venture, and a permanent bar will be built in addition to the drinks served by the Bayou and Surfside trucks.
To the south of the main food area, there is a larger open area where Fairgrounds can offer bigger events. The site will host another series of Truckeroo food truck festivals throughout the summer, along with potential music events, arts festivals, farmers' markets, etc. Every Sunday, there will be a "Family Day," with children's concerts, face painting, balloon artists, and the like. The area can also be rented for private events.
The Market's offerings can also be expanded on days when there are ballgames that might be bigger draws than others (*cough*Yankees*cough*).
Shipping containers and pallets will replace the existing long black fences all along Half Street and along M (as you can see in the drawing at top left), with possibly some work done by local artists to liven up the containers even more.
But, in what will probably be even bigger news to people who have been watching this area closely for a long time, Akridge says that they hope to begin construction this summer on the first phase of their 700,000-square-foot Half Street mixed-use development. Their intent would be to start with the 280ish-unit residential building on the south end of the block (directly across from the stadium), and the Fairgrounds' design would make it easy to just move the wall of containers further north on the site to still leave an events area available if indeed they do get underway before the end of the baseball season. The project also includes plans for two office buildings on the north end of the block, along with ground-floor retail along Half, M, N, and a pedestrian walk between the office buildings.
At Monday night's ANC 6D meeting where these plans were presented, the commissioners expressed enthusiasm, and a resolution of support was passed 6-0. Blair and his team are working with DCRA and other city agencies to get necessary approvals and permits in place so that containers can be brought in and the market can get underway by the start of the baseball season. (Whether that means the official home opener on April 12 or the April 3 home exhibition vs. the Red Sox remains to be seen. It will certainly be easy to see when the shipping containers start to arrive.)
 

The weekend is almost here, so it's probably worth a reminder that the Navy Yard Metro station will be closed this weekend, starting at 10 pm Friday through the system's closure time on Sunday night. Waterfront will be closed as well, so if you're hoofing it to another station, make it Capitol South or another Orange/Blue station.
But it's still a big weekend for events in the neighborhood, with the Ghost Ship Barry festivities at the Navy Yard and "Truckerboo" at Half and M on Friday. (Note that the Navy Yard's portion of the Riverwalk will be closed starting at noon on Friday, so you need to go to the entrance gates at 6th and M SE in order to get to the Ghost Ship.)
Saturday is the BID's Community Planting Day, from 9 am to noon, and they're looking for volunteers to help to plant thousands of daffodil bulbs throughout the neighborhood. (UPDATE: This has been moved to Sunday at noon, because of the weather forecast.) Also on Saturday, Justin's Cafe is having a Halloween Murder Mystery event starting at 9 pm, where individuals and teams get a storyline and a clue and work to solve the mystery while, ahem, drinking some beers.
Then, just when you think you've made it through the weekend, DDOT will be closing the ramp at 11th and O streets SE to the outbound 11th Street Bridge from 10 pm to 5 am Monday through Thursday (Oct. 31 through Nov. 3). It's so they can demolish the remaining retaining wall that runs along the east side of 11th. The detour is to use the on-ramp at 8th and VIrginia, SE.
 

I'm back from a week by the beach in Central Florida--yes, of course we went to Disney, and the Kennedy Space Center, along with logging more than 100 miles of biking along A1A. Here are some small items while I regain my blogging legs:
* The October instance of the Truckeroo food truck festival, appropriately dubbed "Truckerboo," is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 28, from 11 am to midnight at Half and M Streets, SE. In addition to the usual lineup of trucks and the drinks flowing at the Das Bullpen bar, there will be "truck trick-or-treating" for kids from 3 to 5 pm, along with costume contests (kids, individuals, and groups). They're requesting a "one buckaroo" donation this time around, with all proceeds benefitting the King Greenleaf Recreation Center in Southwest. More info here.
* The bridge between Diamond Teague Park and the Yards Park is close to finished, as you can see in this not-totally-fabulous cellphone pic. When it opens, visitors will be able to walk along the west bank of the Anacostia from 1st Street SE (at Nationals Park) all the way to 11th Street SE (as long as the Navy Yard's stretch of boardwalk is open).
* Awnings for Lot 38 Espresso have now gone up at the old Little Red Building site across from Canal Park (reader photo here), along with a "Coming Soon" sign. The owner, Yung Park, told me this afternoon that he's shooting for a Dec. 1 opening date.
* The Nationals have announced that they will be playing a home exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, April 3, 2012. The team's regular season gets underway on April 5 at Wrigley Field, with the home opener scheduled for April 12, against the Cincinnati Reds. No game times have been announced yet.
 

First, some events coming to the neighborhood later this month (if anyone can think past the return of Stephen Strasburg, weather permitting, ahem):
* Capital Bikeshare is celebrating its first birthday at the Yards Park on Sept. 22 from 6 to 9 pm, with live music, food, games, giveaways, and moonbounces. Note that this is the same evening as Opera in the Outfield a few blocks away, so you can double your pleasure and double your fun.
* Two days later, on Sept. 24, the park will host Blocktoberfest, "DC's Largest Oktoberfest Music Festival." I believe there is beer involved. See the web site for info on tickets, etc.
* In a more professional vein (i.e., probably no live music or moonbounces), the 2nd Annual Anacostia River Business Summit and Expo is being held at 100 M St. SE on Sept. 20 from 8 am to 12:30 pm. Former mayor Anthony Williams is scheduled to be one of the speakers, and there will be three separate panel discussions. There will also be boat tours given afterwards, though space is limited.
* And I mentioned it in my last tidbits post, but why not pass along again that the next Truckeroo is scheduled for Sept. 30.
Other pieces of this-and-that:
* The city's Office of Motion Picture and Television Development named the Yards Park the "One City Location of the Month for August," calling it "one of the city's most beloved, yet fairly untapped, attractions." The agency is doing this to promote "cinematically compelling locations that are available to film and television producers."
* Should have mentioned this sooner, but the Foundry Lofts folks ran a "Twitter Tour" of the building on Aug. 25, then posted some additional shots of the interior and the views.
* The Washington Business Journal reported last week (subscribers only) that Kaplan has abandoned its search for space to open a law school in the DC area. Late last year it had been reported that they had been looking for up to 130,000 square feet of space in Near Southeast. [Full but probably unnecessary disclosure: in my real life I work for the Washington Post newspaper, which is under the same Washington Post Co. umbrella as Kaplan.]
* The Sunday Post Magazine's cover story focuses on the McDonald's at 2 I St. SE, its staff, and its manager, Raul Reyes, who in 2009 won a Ray Kroc Award as one of the top 1 percent of managers from the 14,000 McDonald's nationwide.
 

I wandered down to Nationals Park last night to take in the atmosphere of not only the four new eateries, but also the return of Ryan Zimmerman. It was a healthy crowd (26,700+), and only about half of them seemed to be in line at Shake Shack and the other new food concessions (though by later in the game, the non-Shake Shack options had no lines).
I took another slew of photos (since the original batch from Monday's preview event proved to be pretty popular) mainly trying to get shots of these new "iconic" ballpark features from various angles, along with a few other shots of interest. As you can see in the shot at right, you can look at Blue Smoke and Box Frites with the Yards Park "iconic" pedestrian bridge and Navy Yard riverwalk directly behind, or with an east-of-the-river vista. I also grabbed a view of the progress on the bridge between Diamond Teague Park and Yards Park, my first shots of Das Bullpen, and both the sunset and the moonrise. And they would have all been even better if I had brought the official JDLand DSLR camera and not my less-than-fabulous point-and-shoot. Browse the gallery, and then mock me for leaving in the top of the 7th inning.
Other recently tweeted tidbits:
* The Yards' new Facebook page now includes a 2 1/2-minute virtual tour of what the neighborhood will look like when it's all built out. To see what it looks like now (and what it looked like a few years back), wander through my Yards project page.
* On Sunday morning a group of volunteers descended on the empty lot just east of the Velocity condo building to turn it into a demonstration rain garden. It's a project of the DC chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, and is being funded by REI and the Cohen Companies (developers of the block), among others. They are having a meeting at Velocity on June 20 at 6 pm to discuss the project, and there will be another work day on the site on Saturday, June 25. The project's blog has photos and a lot of details; it's officially named the David Stemper Memorial Rain Garden, in honor of a Surfrider volunteer who passed away in 2010.
* The BID says that the next Truckeroo food truck festival at Half and M SE will be on Friday, July 15.
* Last week CSX sent a letter out to residents who live near Virginia Avenue introducing the plans to rehab the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. (It was probably quite useful for people who don't read JDLand!)
 

From Monday's Capital Business from the Post, the news that the owner of the Bullpen and Das Bullpen is following through on the desire he stated a few months back to hold "food truck festivals" on a regular basis in the parking lots at Half and M, SE. Apparently, the first "Truckeroo" festival will be held on June 4 June 3, and the Post says it will "include food trucks like Lobster Truck, Fojol Bros., Eat Wonky, Curbside Cupcakes and D.C. Slices, is scheduled to run from noon to 9 p.m., and occur monthly through October. The idea is to drive business to the ballpark area on non-baseball nights."
(The blurb also says that the Bullpen "is the biggest cash cow in the burgeoning Blair empire.")
Nothing on the Bullpen web site about Truckeroo yet, but I'll post more as I hear.
This site will eventually be the location of Akridge's 700,000-square-foot mixed-use development that will run along the length of Half between M and N north of the ballpark, but no start date for construction has been announced.
UPDATE: Bo Blair has told the BID (and now me directly) that the Post got the date wrong, that it's actually scheduled for Friday, June 3.
UPDATE II: Here's the flyer announcing the event, showing vendors that I assume are planning to be there. It also has the hours as 11 am to 9 pm. They also now have a web site.
 




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