I'm starting to feel like the aged relative pulling out the slide projector and retelling stories as the kids roll their eyes, but I do always feel the need to stop and recognize January 19, since it was on this date in 2003 that I forced my husband to drive around the neighborhood south of the Southeast Freeway while I snapped photos (crooked and poorly framed) of this little-known neighborhood that supposedly was starting to be targeted for redevelopment. Then I tossed them up on my personal web site mainly so that my parents could check them out, not ever imagining that it was the first step toward creating the obsessive-compulsive monstrosity that now rules my life.
Definitely take a moment to browse through the photos
from that chilly Sunday seven years ago, to see the buildings that are gone as well as some that are still here (hello, trash transfer station!). Enough time has passed that some of the vistas--like this one of the boarded up rowhouses that stood until 2006 where the lobby of 909 New Jersey
now sits--are now completely alien to the many new residents who have arrived in Near Southeast in the last two years. These photos also bring home what I feel is as important a part of JDLand.com as the never-ending stream of tiny tidbits of news, and that's the keeping alive of the history of this neighborhood, letting newcomers see what their surroundings looked like not all that long ago, before the city decided it was time for the area to get a makeover and before it was even considered a remote possibility that the Montreal Expos would be brought to DC and be given a shiny new stadium
on South Capitol Street.
This anniversary is also always a good time to thank all of you who wander by and read my ramblings and look at my photos, and who send along tips and rumors, because there's no way I'd still be keeping the site going if I didn't feel the energy coming back from the folks who live and work in Near Southeast or who just find its redevelopment oddly fascinating. I will admit that much of 2009 was tough for me as I dealt with a persistent bout of flagging enthusiasm, but I feel like the doldrums have finally passed, and hope to keep chugging along for the foreseeable future.
Check back later today for my other January 19 ritual: the State of the Hood!
(Note to Mom and Dad: See, I told you that ditching journalism school and getting my degree in history would work out okay.)