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Reminder: Invasion of the Music Fans This Weekend
Jul 24, 2014 10:34 AM
In case you don't have these marked on your calendar, don't forget that there are two concerts at Nats Park this weekend: Jason Aldean (and Tyler Farr and "Florida Georgia Line") on Friday night and Billy Joel (and Gavin DeGraw) on Saturday night. Both shows have 8 pm start times.
The Fairgrounds will be open on both days, even if you aren't going to the concerts and you're just desperate to drink beer and play corn hole in a public setting.
If you want free music, on Friday there's the Yards Park concert series of course, with Jah Works providing the entertainment this week.
In other events news, readers have reported recent activity around the *other* little red building in the neighborhood, the one behind USDOT on the northwest corner of 3rd and Tingey, with what appeared to be automotive representatives on hand most of Wednesday. I'm not sure what is brewing, but a building permit was issued earlier this month for "ONE DAY SPECIAL EVENT FOR BMW SHOW." Anyone have the scoop? (UPDATE: Sounds like a private event.)
Comments (2)
More posts: Nationals Park, Stadium Events

To-Do Tidbits: La La La La La Edition
May 2, 2014 12:29 PM
Let's sing our way into the weekend and the summer:
* KILL THE WABBIT: Don't forget that Opera in the Outfield returns tomorrow (Saturday, May 3), with a simulcast of Mozart's "The Magic Flute." The show is at 7 pm, but the gates open at 5 pm for the variety of "pre-game" activities, including a coloring station, a meet and greet with M&M's Miss Brown (!) and the living statue of Babe Ruth (!!), and more.
* HEY THERE, DELILAH: The NatsLive lineup for this summer has been announced. Mark your calendars for the Plain White T’s on June 5, Austin Mahone on July 19, and Martina McBride on August 16. The concerts are free for anyone who has a ticket to that day's game.
* TAKE ME TO THE RIVER: The Ballpark Boathouse at Diamond Teague Park opens for its second season tomorrow (Saturday, May 3). Kayaks and canoes will be available for rental, if you want to explore the shores of the neighborhood from the other side.
* BUY ME SOME PEANUTS: The Nationals really want you to come to see the team play the Dodgers next week. The Tuesday, May 6 game is "Federal Workforce Day," plus the first 25,000 fans will receive an MLB Network eco-friendly shopping bag. Then on Wednesday, May 7, it's Weather Day, at which the Fox5 weather team "will conduct an interactive presentation to educate local students on the various types of weather conditions in the region and how they affect a Nationals baseball game." It's a 1:05 game, but the weather-related festivities begin at 9:45 am. There's also discounted tickets; see the Nats Weather Day page for details.

Wednesday Tidbits: Does Anybody Really Know What Time it Is?
Apr 9, 2014 11:37 AM
* UNARMED: Since I watched it get built (and remember the problems it's had since the beginning), I'll pass along the story of the woes of the Curly W scoreboard clock. (WaPo)
* THIS WEEK IN CSX: In case you haven't heard, a new date has been set for the DC council's hearing on a proposed resolution to tell the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to have a hearing about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. It's now set for April 30 at 10 am (moved from March 25), and the announcement explains how you can be heard at this hearing, should you choose to be heard.
Other than that, I got nuthin. Unless you know someone who grew up in northeastern Wyoming many years ago and might be in this batch of uncaptioned photos handed down through my family. (Great-aunt Lucy was a teacher out there, so there's lots of pictures of kids in front of small rural schoolhouses.)
UPDATE: To flesh these tidbits out a bit, I'll add this just-posted WaPo piece on when the Nats should sell naming rights to the ballpark.
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Nationals Park

Nats Park Parking Map Updated; Perhaps Some 1st Street News
Apr 6, 2014 2:42 PM
While normal people were streaming toward the ballpark on this bright sunny spring Sunday, I was wandering the periphery, taking notes and chatting up parking lot attendants, in order to get my Nats Park Parking Lot Map scrubbed and fresh for the 2014 season. (Three games late, I know.)
The prices are what were being charged today, though for some of the lots it might be that lower prices will be charged for games with smaller crowds. So use the prices on the map as a guide, not 100 percent gospel.
Since the 2013 season pretty much went down the rabbit hole for me, I can't say for certain what's truly new and changed among the offerings, but here at least is What's New to Me:
* There is a $10 lot in the McDonald's parking lot at South Capitol and I, SE.
* The surface lots on the former Monument Realty properties at South Capitol and N and Half and M are back, charging $30.
* The little parking lot that popped up on South Capitol south of N next to the Camden apartment building was charging $30 this weekend, but it sounds like their rates will be pretty fluid depending on demand.
* We already knew that the lot at the NGA building would disappear this year (as the building itself will be), but it should return next year.
* It looks like Lot W hasn't been cut in half yet by the start of construction at the Lofts at Capitol Quarter, but be prepared for that to happen.
There's also the story of Nats Lot F at 1st and M, which a few weeks ago had disappeared from the team web site's parking inventory. But it is now back, albeit shrunken to a footprint that looks remarkably similar in size to the one that the Skanska 99 M office building will be built on as part of the sizeable Ballpark Square mixed-use development.
Small traffic cones separate this new Lot F from a now-unofficial lot immediately to the south, and a birdie told me that this is because the owner of that lot--which looks remarkably similar in size to the mid-block portion of Ballpark Square being developed by Grosvenor--is planning to start construction there Any Minute Now, so that lot is expected to be closed within the next few months.
Whether this is actually the case, and whether it means both the planned 325ish-unit apartment building and the 170ish-room hotel will both get underway, or just one or the other, I guess we'll have to see. No announcement yet as to an operator for this hotel, which is different from the Hampton Inn now under construction at the south end of the block.
The new signs for 99 M say "fall 2016," so that would track with this smaller Lot F being able to remain in inventory through the end of this season.
Comments (0)
More posts: ballparksquare , parking, Square 701, Nationals Park

Happy Natitude Day, 2014
Apr 4, 2014 9:40 AM
Fans are already heading to the gates, the lineup has just been announced (yay, Jordan Zimmermannnnnn!), and there's a bazillion other outlets going deep with Opening Weekend coverage, so I'll wish everyone Happy Natitude Day, and re-pass along a few links that will be easy to find and use for the rest of the season when all of the Opening Day dabblers' offerings disappear:
* The rundown/map of Food Options Outside the Ballpark
* What's New in the Neighborhood Since Last Season
* My Parking Lot Map (though I'll need to see today's lineup of parking before it's 100% updated)
Let me know what you see throughout the day around the neighborhood--parking lot changes, the scene at the new bars and restaurants, and anything else of note.
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More posts: Nationals Park

Natitude Returns for the 2014 Season (Exhibition Version)
Mar 28, 2014 11:56 AM
Can it really be possible that the Nationals are about to start their seventh season on South Capitol Street? Yes, it's true, with Saturday's exhibition against the Tigers giving a taste before the home opener on April 4.
Here's my offerings for fans coming to the neighborhood:
* What's New To You in the neighborhood around the ballpark is my page for fans who haven't been paying attention since the end of last season. (Short version: Bluejacket. Osteria Morini. Agua 301. Four under-construction apartment buildings and one under-construction hotel. And much more!)
* Food Options Map outside the ballpark helps you find where the food is (and will be).
* My parking lot map is a bit provisional until I find out exactly which lots are open and for which prices, but it's a start. (Let me know what changes you see.)
* You may also wonder what the deal is with the big murals and holes punched in that spooky building at 1st and M....
Meanwhile, here's some Preseason Preview linkage:
* Going Out Guide has a roundup of drinking options near the ballpark from Going Out Guide, including Bluejacket's new patio bar (and grill!), new hop-filled creations at Biersch, and "Oberon Day" at Justin's.
* Yesterday was the big media tour of the stadium, so lots of coverage of all the new stuff inside the ballpark. From Byron Kerr/MASN: "Further ballpark element changes include the new Norfolk Southern Club, which replaces the Stars & Stripes Club in sections 206 through 221, the Gold Glove Club, the Silver Slugger Suite, Heineken Red Star Bar near Section 205, a clubhouse team store ladies boutique located behind Section 141 and an expanded Nationals main clubhouse team store, which will be upgraded and moved to the right field side of the Center Field Plaza." And WNEW has a few photos of the club spaces.
* There's also going to be an "interactive wall" hiding the construction on the new team store in the old Playstation space. (WP)
* More from Byron: the Nats "will feature 55 beers. Many of them are local and craft choices, including offerings from Port City, DC Brau, Mad Fox, Allagash, New Belgium and Dogfish Head." There's also a listing of all the new food offerings (including poutine!), and Mike Isabella's G sandwiches.
* SportsBog also reports on some of the new food offerings.
And sandwiched somewhere in between all of that is some baseball.
Comments (0)
More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Nationals Park

Year-Round Restaurant Coming to Nats Store Space?
Mar 24, 2014 12:39 PM
Dan Steinberg is reporting this morning that the Nats are expanding the Clubhouse Team Store, which includes moving it from its current location on the west side of the Center Field Gate to a "larger space located on the right field side of Center Field Plaza [...] on the way toward the kids playground area." An accompanying photo shows that it's the old Playstation space.
But there's also this tidbit, from an e-mail sent to Steinberg by a Nationals representative: "The team store will continue to operate in its current location until the new store is fully constructed later in the season. Once the new store opens, we plan to convert the old space into a restaurant that fans will be able to enjoy throughout the year. An official announcement on the restaurant will be made as soon as details are finalized."
Veddy interesting....
Comments (9)
More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Nationals Park

Tuesday Tidbits: Preposition Edition
Mar 18, 2014 5:27 PM
This week's offerings are definitely quite tidbitty:
* KNOCKING DOWN: No time has been wasted in starting the demolition of the old inbound flyover from the 11th Street Bridge, as seen in the photo at right.
* FILLING UP: WBJ looks at the ever-widening selection of local beers at Nats Park.
* MOVING IN: There's been a change in the kitchen at Agua 301, with chef Will Vivas (formerly of Recess Tapas Lounge) taking over from original executive chef Antonio Burrell. A press release says that "mainstay" items will remain (like the pork belly tacos), but that "Vivas is developing new selections based on his South American background and training."
* TOPPING OUT: Nats owner Mark Lerner says he doesn't believe the roof the team proposed for the ballpark is going to happen. (WaPo)
* COMING BACK: In case you were concerned, the Bullpen bar at the Fairgrounds at Half and M is returning for another season, beginning on Opening Day (April 4). And yes, this includes Truckeroo, too.
* CROSSING OVER: Greater Greater Washington looks at the possibilities and pitfalls of the proposed 11th Street Bridge Park. The design contest for the park is scheduled to kick off on Thursday. And the project has a spiffy new web site, too.
* CHECKING OFF: Early voting for DC primary elections has begun at One Judiciary Square, with it expanding on Saturday, March 22, to 13 additional sites across the city, including nearby King Greenleaf Recreational Center. April 1 is just around the corner!

To-Do Tidbits: Elephants, Environment, Drive-In, Truckeroo, Opera
Mar 13, 2014 5:11 PM
* 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.

Isabella Bringing G Sandwich Shop to Nats Park
Mar 12, 2014 2:04 PM
In news that will certainly have Mr. JDLand enthralled, it was announced today that Mike Isabella of Top Chef fame will be opening a version of his G sandwich shop at Nationals Park, apparently in time for the March 29 exhibition against the Tigers. It will be located on the main concourse near the First Base Gate, behind Section 136.
It will be a much more limited menu than the main G, according to the press release, but will feature G's Chicken Parm and Italian Hero sandwiches, as well as a meatless roasted cauliflower sandwich and a kielbasa sandwich known as "The Drewno." There will also be a "Sandwich of the Homestand" rotating special.
If you want to take the food for a test drive before Opening Day, the flagship G is located at 14th and W, offering sandwiches by day and a tasting menu at night.
Comments (9)
More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Nationals Park

Tuesday Tidbits: Seeing Red
Feb 4, 2014 12:11 PM
I sure am thrilled that Google has decided to throw big red malware warnings up--some of the time--when accessing JDLand, then telling me that it's nothing I can fix because it's a cross-site scripting error, but the other site isn't flagged for malware either. Sigh. So if you're seeing this, yay.
PAINTING THE (NATS) TOWN RED: SportsBog reports on the newly painted concourse floors at Nats Park. I am embarrassed to say that I noticed them a few weeks ago when I was there, but had been at the ballpark so rarely last year--and was so distracted when I was--that I just wasn't sure enough the red floors were new enough to mention. Oops.
TUNNELING THROUGH: Here's six pages of pushback against Kirsten Oldenburg's pushback against the pushback against CSX's plans for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel.
MEET THE CANDIDATES: City Paper takes a look at Charles Allen, Darrel Thompson, and the race to replace Tommy Wells. (With bonus points for mentioning the tunnel controversy.)
THIS IS HALF STREET CALLING: Hot on the heels of the news that the National Labor Relations Board is coming to 1015 Half Street, WaPo's sources say that CBS Radio is also about to take 30,000 square feet in the building. Not officially confirmed, though.
GO AHEAD, HALF STREET: Speaking of 1015 Half, WaPo has the story of how the building's original developer Opus East ended up going bankrupt and liquidating, a fate which left the building an unfinished, oft-cited emblem of the recession during 2009 and early 2010.
CLASSIFIED INFO: I posted on Saturday morning about this (which means that basically no one saw it--the perfect soft launch!), so I'll mention a bit louder this time that JDLand now has Classified Advertisements. So if you're trying to rent a place, or fill a job, or if you have something else you're wanting to sell or buy, you can get a two-week listing for a mere $5, and know that you are microtargeting your neighbors, office workers, Nats fans, and others with an interest in this area. There's a box on the home page that points to the current offerings, so be sure to check it out in case there's some offering there just calling your name.
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More posts: 1015 Half, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, politics, Nationals Park

To-Do Tidbits: Speed Dating, School Days, Nats Dates
Jan 30, 2014 2:53 PM
Here's what's come across the transom events-wise this week. And remember to keep an eye on my Events Calendar down the right side of the JDLand home page to be sure you're not missing anything coming up.
* VALENTINE'S LOOMING: On Saturday, Feb. 1, there's a Speed Dating at the Yards shindig being held at the Boilermaker Shops from 7 to 9 pm. Tickets are $30, and can be purchased here, though the site notes that they have more men than women women than men currently signed up, so dudes, get moving. (But points are deducted for the location being listed as "Washington Navy Yards," which is off-base in so many ways.) It's being run by Professionals in the City.
* VAN NESS ES: A reminder that the new Van Ness Parent Group is holding a community meeting on Feb. 1 to get supporters together to talk about the elementary school's scheduled reopening for the 2015-16 school year. The meeting is at 11 am at Capitol Hill Tower, 1000 New Jersey Ave SE.
* CAPPER COMMUNITY: I'll be writing more about this next week, but the DC Housing Authority is having a community meeting on Feb. 8 at 10 am at 200 I St. SE "regarding the opportunities and resources for the continued development of the neighborhood." Look for the "programming" for the long-planned community center and the possible condo building at 3rd and K to be a big part of the discussion. Tommy Wells is expected to attend.
* NATS TICKETS AND PROMOS: The team has announced that single-game tickets go on sale on Feb. 27 at 10 am. The lineup of promotional events has also been released, with the three NatsLive post-game concerts scheduled for June 5, July 19, and Aug. 16 (acts to be announced). There's also four Pups in the Park dates. (Charlie and George are once again not amused about the lack of a Felines at the Field day.)
Have an announcement? Send it here. Or you could always take out an ad to be sure your event gets noticed. I wouldn't mind.

Nats Extend Stadium Food Deal with Levy; New Offerings
Jan 28, 2014 10:48 AM
The Nationals put out the word today that they have signed a multi-year deal with Levy Restaurants, the "exclusive restaurant partner" at the ballpark since 2009. (Except for, you know, that other restaurant partner at Nats Park.)
The release mentions how the agreement demonstrates a "commitment to regional business" by expanding the farm-to-table program to bring fresh meat, poultry, and vegetables to the various food locations around the park, but I'm guessing that many fans will be more interested in the local sourcing of DC Brau, 3 Stars Brewing Company and Port City Brewing Company, which will now be offered in two additional "District Drafts" locations around the ballpark (four total).
There will also be new items on the menu this year, "including hand rolled sushi, stir-fry to order noodles, house made jumbo lump crab cakes and new vegetarian and gluten-free options."
Fans will also be looking forward to seeing if the redesign of many stands around the park that the Nationals and Levy have undertaken will in fact "get fans in and out of lines and back to the action quickly through faster purchase times and optimized event day flow." There will apparently also be "new digital menu boards" throughout the ballpark for real-time info on offerings, promotions, etc.
Of course, there are also new food offerings outside of the ballpark this year, too--for those who haven't been keeping track, here's the rundown of what's arrived since last season (and what's coming), plus the same basic info in map form.
Comments (8)
More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Nationals Park

To-Do Tidbits: Billy Joel at Nats Park, and More
Jan 23, 2014 10:45 AM
The neighborhood has come so far that a more specialized type of Tidbits post is now being added to the lineup, to better handle upcoming event announcements. I'm also reconstituting my Near Southeast Events Calendar, down the right margin of the JDLand home page. (And it's a Google calendar, if you want to subscribe to it.)
* NEW/OLD CONCERTS: The Nationals announced this morning that Billy Joel is playing Nats Park on July 26, his second appearance at the stadium (the first being his joint appearance with Elton John in 2009). Tickets go on sale to the public on Feb. 1 at 10 am.
This is the third stand-alone concert scheduled for the ballpark for 2014, along with the already confirmed appearance by country star Jason Aldean on a date to be announced and the big One Direction show on Aug. 11.
* NEW/OLD TUNNEL: On Saturday, Jan. 25, at 2 pm, there is another neighborhood meeting with DC Delegate* Eleanor Holmes Norton about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, this time including representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency to discuss the project's potential impacts. The meeting is at 200 I St. SE (the old Post Plant) - a photo ID is required to attend. More details at DCSafeRail.org.
* LOCAL ART: The social committee at Velocity has collaborated with the Capitol Hill Art League to display "Signature DC," a collection of art by local DC artists. There is a reception on Jan. 25 from 5 to 7 pm, with proceeds from the sale of the $15 tickets going toward a Community Artists Fund for the condo building to purchase local art for permanent display. Tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite.
* CANDIDATE, MAYOR: The "All Politics is Local" series of forums with mayoral candidates kicks off with Tommy Wells at the Hill Center at 9th and Pennsylvania SE on Jan. 27 at 7 pm. The series, hosted by NBC4 reporters Tom Sherwood and Mark Seagraves, continues on Feb. 10 with Muriel Bowser and March 10 with Jack Evans.
* CANDIDATE, COUNCIL: On Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 6:30 pm, there's a meet-and-greet with Ward 6 council candidate Charles Allen in the Velocity Condo meeting room. The primary election is on April 1, which suddenly isn't really all that far away. UPDATE: Non-Velocity residents should sign up in advance here.
* NEW/OLD SCHOOL: The new Van Ness Parent Group is holding a community meeting on Feb. 1 to get supporters together to talk about the elementary school's scheduled reopening for the 2015-16 school year. The meeting is at 11 am at Capitol Hill Tower, 1000 New Jersey Ave SE.
If you've got a neighborhood event you want mentioned in a To-Do Tidbits post, you can contact me with the details and I'll try to get a capsule up. I will aim to post them each Thursday, if there's enough content.
(* Despite perpetual billing to the contrary, Ms. Norton is a delegate, not a congresswoman representative (UPDATE: see comment thread below). She doesn't have voting rights on the House floor, as she would if DC had full congressional representation. I can't believe there still isn't a catchy Schoolhouse Rock song about this.)

Public Parking Options Slimming Down a Bit in 2014
Jan 9, 2014 12:24 PM
Many of the surface parking lots around Near Southeast were carved out as temporary offerings, giving developers a chance to make some money while waiting for large-scale projects to get underway. Many of these first appeared in 2008, when Nationals Park opened, but with the recession, few projects got underway in the next few years that affected the available inventory much if at all.
However, with 2014 looking like a banner year for new development, news has begun filtering out of planned changes at existing surface lots that will constrict the number of available spaces:
* DCHA's new "Lofts at Capitol Quarter" project at 7th and L will cut the available spaces at what's known in Nats parlance as Economy Lot W nearly in half, to 186 spaces from its current 350ish.
* The lot on the old NGA site at 1st and M SE will be reconfigured when the building is demolished and a new park is built, cutting 22 spaces out.
* Just to the south, the lot on the southeast corner of 1st and N (near the little Yards pavilion) will lose 50 spaces to DC Water construction, making it a 344-space lot.
All told, that's about 236 spaces, which isn't a massive number in the grand scheme, except maybe during sellouts.
But if the big Ballpark Square project (along with the planned Hampton Inn) just north of the stadium along the west side of 1st Street between M and N is indeed going to get underway in 2014 as new fence signage is hinting, that could spell the loss of some or all of the 230ish spaces available at what's known as Nats Lot F, at least until that project is completed with what one has to assume would be some amount of public parking in its underground garages.
While three projects in the neighborhood are currently under construction, they are mainly residential developments, making it unlikely that parking for Nats games will be coming online at those sites.
There are still a few empty lots in Southeast that have not yet been made parkable. Perhaps a new temporary surface lot could appear on the old trash transfer site, once Mt. New Jersey comes down, but that would not seem likely by Opening Day. Or maybe residents or city officials or whomever will decide that the push to get fans to use transit or other options to the stadium has worked, and there's already enough surface lots east of South Capitol, thankyouverymuch.
Eventually, more developments will get built, with more public underground parking. But it is possible that Nats fans descending on the neighborhood in vehicles this spring--along with office workers who use the lots every day--may feel a bit of a pinch, unless some new inventory is going to appear.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Report: '15 NHL Winter Classic Coming to Nats Park
Dec 30, 2013 3:51 PM
I hate writing a post that's based on "a source" telling a news outlet something, but I would be remiss if I ignored that "The 2015 Winter Classic will more than likely be staged at Nationals Park, a source told ESPN.com on Monday."
It was announced in September that the Capitals would be hosting the 2015 incarnation, but officials had been checking out RFK Stadium and FedEx Field in addition to Nats Park.
The now-annual New Year's Day outdoor NHL game has been rumored for DC for a few years, going back to a 2010 report saying that the Capitals were favorites to host the 2011 game (oops), which prompted council member Muriel Bowser to introduce the ceremonial resolution "Sense of the Council that the District of Columbia Should Host the 4th Annual NHL Winter Classic." I guess it worked! (Though let us remember that this is still not official.)
Too bad that the hotels on the boards just north of the ballpark probably can't be ready within the next 12 months....
UPDATE: And now WaPo weighs in with its own "The 2015 NHL Winter Classic will likely be held at Nationals Park in Southeast Washington, according to a person with knowledge of the situation."
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More posts: Nationals Park, Stadium Events, winterclassic

A New Roof Over the Nationals' Heads?
Nov 26, 2013 5:29 PM
I have to say this comes under the It Would Never Have Occurred to Me heading, but NBC4 reports this evening that the Nationals have approached city officials about having taxpayers foot the bill for a roof over Nationals Park, with an estimated cost of $300 million.
However, "[a] spokesperson for [Mayor] Gray would not comment on the request, but sources say the team has been told the District is reluctant to spend tax dollars on a new roof for the District-owned stadium."
How does this idea sound, readers?
UPDATE: I'll also point you to the WBJ story, with the headline "D.C. laughs at Nationals $300m stadium roof pitch": "A source in the mayor’s office said Gray 'started laughing.' A second source in the executive office said the stadium wasn't designed for roof, so it 'would be cost prohibitive and butt ugly.'" And, for some perspective, this tweet from the Post's Adam Kilgore: "Even if the Nats decide they want to spend their own money for a roof, they would need District approval. They are a tenant of the park."
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More posts: Nationals Park

Paul McCartney Coming to Nats Park, and Other Concerts
Apr 4, 2013 3:02 PM
It's not being announced officially until Friday morning (though this was a pretty big hint), but the Post is reporting that Paul McCartney will be performing at Nationals Park on July 12, as part of his "Out There" tour.
This is the latest in big-name appearances at the stadium that happen about once a year, following Springsteen, Dave Matthews, and Billy Joel/Elton John in previous years.
I assume Friday's announcement will say when tickets go on sale, but I just couldn't bear to wait that long to post. UPDATE: Tickets go on sale April 12 at 10 am, though American Express card members get their shot starting at 10 am April 9.
If you can't get enough of concerts at the ballpark, the Nationals also announced this week the lineup for their NatsLive free postgame concerts: Blues Traveler on June 8, Thompson Square on July 6, Gavin DeGraw on Aug. 31, and Montgomery Gentry on Sept. 21. The concerts are free for anyone holding a ticket to that day's game.
And, on a slightly different scale, the U.S. Marine Band is going to be free playing weekly concerts at the Yards Park, on Thursdays at 7:30 pm beginning in June and running through August. They'll be set up near the Terraced Lawn Steps, and will be playing "light classics, country music, and popular band favorites."
(Which means you can stroll from the Marine Band's appearances at the Yards Park on Thursday evening right up to Canal Park for the BID's Outdoor Summer Movie Series.)
This is also a good time to mention that I'm not really going to be keeping up with the many smaller events that now go on at the Yards Park, the Fairgrounds, and elsewhere. I'll mention big ones (I think McCartney qualifies as "big") and the series-type events, but otherwise, I'm playing my semi-retired card. If organizations are wanting to get the word out via JDLand about such events, there's always those flashy boxes at the top and sides of all of my pages....
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Washington, Let's Play Ball! (2013 Version)
Mar 28, 2013 10:44 PM
This weekend the Nationals are coming home to start their sixth season at Nationals Park (can it all really be five years ago?). They return to the ballpark on Friday at 2:05 pm for their final exhibition game, against the Yankees, then the 2013 season starts for real on Monday at 1:05 pm against the Marlins, followed by two more games against Miami on April 3 and 4.
Residents and office workers should be prepared for very large crowds on both days, and given that both are day games, be prepared for extra-heavy traffic on the roads and in the subway.
A few links and items for those coming to the game or just those nearby:
* My Visiting Nats Park page has the basics on how to get to the game, where to park, what the options are for food and drink outside the ballpark (now and coming soon), and what is new in the neighborhood since last season.
* I'm looking for crowdsourcing assistance to make sure my map of gameday parking lots is up-to-date for the new season. Tweet #parknats (or just mention @jdland) with lot locations and prices you see during these first four games. (Especially of interest is what the former lot HH will be charging.) Prices may be higher on Opening Day than for other less-showy games, so all intel from any game day is appreciated.
* The return of baseball also means the return of expanded hours for the Union Station-Navy Yard Circulator route, which on April 1 will start running until 9 pm on weekdays and from 7 am to 9 pm on Saturdays, with additional expanded service on game days (this includes Sundays).
* The new Gordon Biersch brewery/restaurant at 100 M St. SE is in its final preparations for its Opening Day opening. They are in the midst of soft opening/test service, and there will be a "VIP" reception on Saturday night, so be prepared to see people inside but then be turned away at the door if you don't have a golden ticket. UPDATE: Biersch will be opening at 10 am on Opening Day (compared to its normal 11 am).
* When will the Park Tavern at Canal Park have its own opening day? "Soon" is what the signs on the doors say, but there's been no official word of a date yet. (The latest newsletter from the BID says "mid-April," but the Going Out Guide says April 1.)
* The Fairgrounds at Half and M is back for the 2013 season beginning Friday at 11 am.
* Inside the park, Papa John's has replaced Flippin' Pizza, and there's also now the Schawafel stand, featuring Shawarma and Falafel sandwiches.
* Weatherbug has a Nationals Park station, if you want to know what the current conditions are right smack at the ballpark. The forecast for Opening Day looks good as of now (mostly sunny and 61), but it might be a bit chilly for those other two Marlins games.
Let the Natitude begin!
PARKING UPDATE: I've heard from Monument Realty that they are still planning to operate the old Nats lots J, M, and N as cash lots this season, but they aren't open today and won't be open next week. They are shooting for the week of April 8. These are the lots at Half and M, South Capitol and M (old Domino's site) and South Capitol and N (old BP Amoco), and are marked on my map as TBD.
PARKING UPDATE 2: A reader reports that the old lot HH operated as a cash lot for Friday's exhibition game, still charging $10.
PARKING UPDATE 3: Be prepared that the prices at the three Yards lots have gone up $5 from last season, so $25 at 3rd and Tingey and $30 at 1st and N. The lot behind the wrought-iron fence at 1st and M will be $35, but it will also be open for every game this season.
And, a question I had a few weeks ago has finally been answered: the new Nats Lot P is indeed the garage under 1015 Half Street, and not a surface lot as the Nats map shows. Their map will be updated; mine is already correct.
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Baseball Not Far Off; A Visitor's Guide to the Neighborhood
Mar 21, 2013 10:38 AM
It seems like it's been forever since baseball was at Nationals Park (except for that Game 5, which feels like yesterday), and now we're in the final homestretch before the team returns to town, first for an exhibition game against the Yankees Friday, March 29, at 2 pm, followed by the season opener at 1 pm on Monday, April 1.
So, once again I highlight my Visting Nationals Park page, which I built last year to bring together links and information both about the ballpark itself and what's available and interesting outside the stadium.
For those wanting to know what's happened in the Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards (#NeCaBaRY) neighborhood since last season, my What's New and Notable list fills in the headlines, while the Google Map of Food and Drink options shows both the currently opened eateries and the ones coming soon.
There's also links to information on the Riverwalk, the Yards Park and new-to-you Canal Park, and the Navy Yard, for people looking for other ways to pass the time before and after games.
As for the ballpark itself, there's my map of official and "cash" parking lots, a "Getting There" guide, and of course all of my photos of the stadium's construction and milestones.
But, for people who can't even bear to click a link, I'll give the headlines that I know are most of interest:
* Brewery/Restaurant Gordon Biersch should open on Opening Day at 1st and M.
* The Park Tavern at 2nd and M could be opening Any Minute Now.
* Kruba Thai and Sushi at 3rd and Water in the Foundry Lofts has been open since November.
* Highly anticipated brewery Bluejacket is expected to open at 4th and Tingey in the Boilermaker Shops in late spring or early summer, as will Nando's Peri-Peri, Buzz Bakery, and (maybe) Willie's Brew and 'Que.
* Later in the summer should see the opening of the first two restaurants in the Lumber Shed at the Yards Park: Agua 301 (which has just begun its buildout), and Osteria Morini.
There's also still Justin's Cafe, Five Guys, Subway, Potbelly, Lot 38 Espresso, McDonald's, and the Fairgrounds.
And, alas, there's also still the hole in the ground at Half and N.
On the bright side, there are two new holes in the ground where work is actually underway, for new apartment buildings the Park Chelsea at New Jersey and I and Twelve12 at 4th and M, both expected to open next year.
And the Camden South Capitol apartments directly across South Capitol from the stadium are opening in just a few weeks.
In other words, believe it or not, good things are actually happening outside the ballpark. And it seems like good things should be happening inside the ballpark this year, too.
So bookmark the guide and use it whenever you come down to Near Southeast/Capitol Riverfront/Navy Yard/Nats Town/#NaYa/#NeCaBaRY.
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More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Retail, Nationals Park

Vats, Nats, Glass, Concrete, and Rebar
Mar 14, 2013 8:16 PM
I wandered around on Thursday, it was sunny, I had my camera in hand, etc., etc., yadda yadda yadda.
Some items of note (click photos to embiggen):
On your left, hard-to-get evidence of the ongoing work at Bluejacket at the Boilermaker Shops. They've covered up all the eye-level windows, but peeking through the (dirty!) glass above the large door on 4th shows the fermenters now installed on the mezzanine level.
At right, my first viewing of the renovated Team Store at Nationals Park's Center Field Gate.
Below, the Lumber Shed in the sun.
Agua 301's space is to the left, and Osteria Morini's is to the right. (On the ground floor.)
And, everyone's dream come true, a parking garage being born:
Of course, it's actually the parking garage that will be underneath the Harris Teeter in the Twelve12 apartment building at 4th and M, so it's probably allowed. If you want even more photos of rebar and concrete, my Twelve12 page has them.

First Look at Nationals Parking Lot Changes for 2013
Feb 22, 2013 4:28 PM
It must be a sign of a revved up fan base that I'm already starting to receive queries about the lineup of available parking lots around Nationals Park, with over a month to go before Opening Day.
There's still a lot in flux, but the big news is that three of the lots that have long been in the official Nats inventory are not there for 2013. But users of the lots formerly known as J, N, and M should know that I've talked with Monument Realty and have confirmed that these lots will be cash lots this season. (If you're not in the know on the lot lettering, these are the lots at South Capitol & N SE, South Capitol & M SE, and the northwest corner of Half & M SE.) Rates and details are still to come, and it's possible that season passes for the lots may be sold as well. If you're interested in keeping updated on these three lots and don't trust me to tell you the latest (boo), you can e-mail natsparking@monumentrealty.com to be added to their distribution list.
What seems to be causing some angst, though, is that the $5 economy lot under the SW Freeway at South Capitol Street, known as HH, is also apparently no longer in the official inventory. I haven't been able to track down who is running that lot to find out if it will still be available for cash parking, but will keep trying.
There appears to be one new official Nats lot this year, labeled Lot P, positioned on the team's map next to existing Lot K. If that position is correct, it would be at 1015 Half Street, which would make it garage parking, though it's not labeled as such on their map. I've written the team to confirm that 1015 Half is the actual location, but have not heard back.
I've also been in touch with folks at the Yards and they say that they are planning to offer the same parking lots as they did last season, including the "new" lot that became available at 1st and M when the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency folks decamped in 2011. Prices for those lots are still under discussion. (UPDATE, 2/25: The folks at the Yards are clarifying and now saying that their easternmost lot, on 4th south of Tingey, won't be available this year. Map is updated.)
It also looks like the Nationals raised the single-game parking prices for Lots T and U on 3rd Street by $1 for non-"prime" games, to $21 and $26, respectively. ("Prime" game cash prices at the official lots range from $15 to $45, compared to $10-$42 for nonprime.) Season ticket holder prices seemed to go up by $2 in most lots, except for Lot T ($1) and Lot W, which remains the one "economy" lot at $10.
As to whether the non-official cash lots scattered around the neighborhood that were available in 2012 will still be operating in 2013, we may just have to wait until Opening Day to see what lots are operating where, and for what prices. (For now, I've left the 2012 prices on the map.) The only non-official cash lot from 2012 that I know to be gone this year is the old Lot K at 2nd and H, which is now where the big Park Chelsea hole is being dug.
I've updated my Stadium Parking map with all the changes that I know of, and will keep updating it as more information becomes available. And any tips on the cash lots' operations as the season gets underway are always appreciated.
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Nats Make the Playoffs, Beat the Neighborhood to the Big Time
Oct 2, 2012 9:51 AM
It was quite a night at the ballpark on Monday as the Nationals clinched the NL East Divsion Title, bringing Washington its first first-place finish since 1933.
As I watched the celebrations (and boy, that was some celebrating going on), I thought about the pretty woeful team that moved into the neighborhood in March 2008, and how if we had all been guaranteed that at the end of the fifth season at the new ballpark the team would be division champs, we would have thought it an amazingly short timeline (once we stopped laughing at the improbability of such a notion, especially after the dreadful '08 and '09 seasons).
Along those same lines, if we had been told on that night in March 2008 that no additional construction other than 55 M would be seen on Half Street by the time the Nats hit the playoffs, and that there would only be one new restaurant/bar south of the freeway/east of South Capitol available for post-season revelry, we might also have laughed at the improbability of such a notion. (Though by the end of that first season, with the global economy having all but collapsed, that same notion wouldn't have seemed quite so far-fetched.)
Even at the beginning of this year, with Davey Johnson fully installed, Strasburg coming back, Harper on deck, and Werth past his "rookie" struggles, a division title in 2012 looked like something that could happen, but that more likely 2013 would really be the year that the team would contend.
However, you wonder what developers, retailers, tenants, and the banks that control so many of the commercial real estate purse strings have been thinking as the team's stellar year unfolded, probably also having thought that 2013 would really be the year the team caught fire but then watching those tens of thousands of fans traipse down to N Street throughout 2012, and now realizing that the team will be bringing the national spotlight to Near Southeast, and the neighborhood is not quite ready for its close-up yet.
"Wait 'til next year!" is the symbolic phrase of eternal hope in baseball, and it does seem that 2013 may be the beginning of a new wave of openings and groundbreakings that have mostly been on hold for the past few years. Canal Park, with its Park Tavern restaurant and ice rink, should be opening this November, and maybe Kruba Thai at the Foundry Lofts will at last cross the finish line. Early 2013 should bring the launch of the Bluejacket Brewery and Willie's Brew and Que and other offerings at the Boilermaker Shops, two blocks east of the ballpark. Perhaps Gordon Biersch actually will open at 100 M in time for Opening Day. And later in the year Osteria Morini will come to the Lumber Shed at the Yards Park.
And there could be a wave of groundbreakings on major projects--residential projects at Florida Rock and the Yards have 2013 start dates currently attached to them, along with the Park Chelsea at New Jersey and I, and maybe the new office/residential/hotel/retail projects along 1st Street as well. (Note also that 2013 start dates for big projects would dovetail nicely with the rumored 2015 arrival of the MLB All Star Game at Nats Park.) But Akridge and Monument remain silent about start dates for their Half Street projects, and really, the only start dates that should matter at this point are the ones when dirt actually starts to be dug.
In the meantime, there will be much revelry as fans pass through the neighborhood to and from the ballpark in October, and everyone associated with Near Southeast can hope that Thomas Boswell is right, that this title could be "the first of many," so that the Ballpark District can begin to resemble the grand plans made for it with much optimism a few years ago at the same time that the Nats have already begun to resemble the grand plans made for them with much optimism a few years ago.
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Milestone Blogging: Nats Make the Playoffs
Sep 20, 2012 10:28 PM
I think it can be considered a milestone that tonight the Nationals clinched Washington's first trip to the postseason in 79 years, and so playoff baseball will be making its first visit to Near Southeast next month.
As befits a team that has had the best record in baseball for a while now, the players and coaches are clearly still focused on the real prize: winning the NL East. But that doesn't mean that the fans can't be a bit excited about tonight's clinch. (Let me know if there was any rioting on Half Street.)
With lovely timing, the first Nats postseason tickets go on sale to the public Friday at 10 am, even though the actual schedule of games isn't nailed down yet.
The future is now!
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Nationals Park, Five Years Ago Today
Sep 1, 2012 11:42 AM
Today is the five-year anniversary of one of my most favorite JDLand-related days ever, a gorgeous end-of-summer day when I got to traipse into all corners of Nationals Park, which was at that point just under seven months away from opening. Everyone was still concerned about whether it would open on time, but I spent most of my time marveling at the progress in comparison to what had stood there less than 18 months earlier--and being wowed by my first visits to the viewing platform above Potomac Avenue and all the other views looking out at the surroundings from the upper decks.
Back in this era, I wasn't doing single-page photo galleries on days like this, so I tossed together this new gallery of the best shots of the day. It's interesting to think about everything that's changed in only five years--not only the field itself, but the team on the field, and everything surrounding it.
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Opera in the Outfield Returns Sept. 29 to Nats Park
Aug 24, 2012 9:39 AM
For the fifth year in a row, the Washington Opera is hosting its Opera in the Outfield simulcast at Nationals Park, offering up Mozart's Don Giovanni on Sept. 29 at 7 pm. Gates open at 5 pm, and since this year's event is sponsored by M&Ms, there's a chance to meet the Chief Chocolate Officer of M&Ms, Miss Brown, in addition to the de rigeur showing of Bugs Bunny's What's Opera, Doc? and other pre-game activities.
It's free and open to the public without advance tickets, though if you register, you'll have a chance to win a Night at the Kennedy Center package. There's also a pre-show party in the Stars & Stripes club, brought to you by MyTix and Brightest Young Things. More information on all activities and logistics here.
Mozart will of course be the second ancient mastermind of lengthy musical events to have his music blasted from the Nats Park sound system in September, following on the heels of Bruce Springsteen's concert on Sept. 14.
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Keeping the Metro Open For Late Games at Nats Park
Aug 23, 2012 9:48 PM
I probably should be posting about this week's kerfuffle over keeping the subway open when games at Nationals Park run long.
But, as a snarky blogger, it's also pretty much my duty to say "If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home By Now!"
It's also much more fun and much less work!
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Tuesday Tidbits: More Post-Vacation Catching Up to Do
Aug 21, 2012 10:25 AM
Here's a few more items that came across the transom while I was on my annual Hiding Out in Wyoming and Montana trip:
* Residents of Onyx have filed paperwork with the city under the Tenants Opportunity to Purchase Act and are investigating options to buy the building themselves, after news came a few weeks back that the building is under contract to be sold for $82.5 million. If the city accepts the filing, the tenants' group would then have 120 days to come up with a competing offer. See the tenants' press release for why the group is pursuing this, including its hope that buying the building, which opened in 2009, will "reverse problems which plagued the area for years - poor housing conditions, rent increases, and attempts by developers to force residents out of the District." (If they succeed, I guess I'll have to stop using my standard joke about tenants looking in the sofa cushions for millions of dollars in spare change to buy their buildings.)
* DC Water has leased 16,450 square feet of office space on the 7th floor of 80 M Street through 2019 (GlobeSt.com). With or without telescopes for spying on the Main Pumping Station a few blocks to the south?
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is having an Urban Design Framework Plan prepared, to "examine the quality of the public realm in the BID and develop strategies for a comprehensive framework and public investment plan in the right-of-way." They've also commissioned a Retail Analysis Study "that will provide forecasts on future retail demand and absorption possibilities." Because if there's one thing a neighborhood can never have enough of, it's studies and analyses. (BID newsletter)
* The Earth Conservation Corps is offering "bird of prey demonstrations" on Friday nights through Sept. 28 at Diamond Teague Park, from 5:30-7:30pm. (via e-mail, no link!)
* Another rumination on Near Southeast's development timeline, at GGWash. As I've said many times--of course things were happening in Near Southeast before the ballpark (I wouldn't have started this blog in 2003 otherwise). But to not recognize that the ballpark sped up *plans* considerably is to not have watched the 18-month landrush in 2004 and 2005 after the ballpark's location was announced, when so many little lots between 1st and South Capitol south of the freeway were snapped up by the big guns. And to say that the ballpark didn't drive development right after it opened is to neglect the worldwide financial market near-collapse, and the years needed to recover from that. But I bet there's a lot of retailers and developers looking at the Nats this year and rueing that they didn't make their move already.
* So, in line with all that, check out nine years ago today, windshield edition.
* Cat with Natitude, Guga edition. (I don't think I'll tell him about the bird of prey demonstrations.)

Nats Homestand: Six Games in Five Days Edition
Jul 30, 2012 8:53 PM
After a dull and uneventful series in Milwaukee, the Nats are coming back to the neighborhood for a five-day, six-game home stand at Nats Park. It starts Tuesday at 7:05 pm against the Phillies, and I'm just throwing out a guess that there might not be quite the vast flotilla of buses headed down I-95 for this three-game series that we saw a few times last year.
Then, starting Thursday, Aug. 2, there's four games against the Marlins, including a Friday, Aug. 3 single-admission doubleheader to make up the April 22 rainout. One ticket gets you into the 4:05 pm game and the 7:05 pm game, giving you more baseball in one sitting than really should be allowed by law.
And Sunday, Aug. 5 is Michael Morse Bobblehead Day, for the first 15,000 fans through the Center Field Gate.
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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.
* Current 6D07 commissioner David Garber has picked up petitions to run for reelection. So far he and Ed Kaminski are the only potential candidates for the two single member districts that cover Near Southeast.
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.
* The Fairgrounds has its South on South Capitol Southern Rock festival on Friday and the Capitol GrooveFest on Saturday
* The Yards Park has Jah Works playing reggae for its Friday Evening Concert, then the Taste of Belgium beer/food/music event on Saturday.
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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:
* 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.)

Thursday Tidbits: Post-Independence-Day Haze Edition
Jul 5, 2012 9:41 AM
Clearing out the tidbit hopper:
* Capitol Riverfront and NoMa/H Street are "the District's hottest (read: largest price increases) rental markets," sayeth Delta Associates, with rents having grown by 10.3 percent and 9.0 percent, respectively. (via the Examiner)
* I waited too long to post the tidbit that "rumors are swirling that JBG Companies' plan to sell the 1.35 million square foot Southeast Federal Center have stalled, fueling speculation that the home to the Department of Transportation will be recapitalized," so I have to point you to the Google cache version of the Citybiz post. It's also probably too late to ding both them and originator Real Estate Finance Intelligence for equating the 11-acre DOT HQ site with the entire 55-acre Southeast Federal Center, 44 acres of which is now The Yards.
* I waited even longer to tell you that the Camden South Capitol apartment building across from Nats Park topped off its construction in early June. It's expected to begin leasing in about a year. (SWTLQTC)
* Hey, look, reserved "Nationals Park Parking"! Your choices being the lot nestled next to the Douglass Bridge at 1620 South Capitol or the underground parking lot at 4th and M SW. There's plenty of other choices that are standard cash lots, along with the Nationals' lots. (via WaPo)
* The Fairgrounds is advertising a "First Annual DC Funky Fresh Foodie Fest" on August 25 from 1 to 9 pm. Four live bands, 10 food trucks, the "DC Karaoke Invitational," and more. Unlike its sibling Truckeroo, however, this won't be free, with limited early-bird tickets starting at $42, which includes drinks (the number of drinks depends on whether you buy a regular or premium admission ticket).

Nats vs. Giants: A Very Patriotic Homestand (Fireworks Included)
Jul 3, 2012 8:57 AM
The Nationals have returned home just in time for Independence Day, and are pulling out all stops during their three-game homestand that starts tonight against the San Francisco Giants, the second best team in the National League (behind, um, the Nats, actually). Residents should be prepared for some huge crowds, and some unusual start times:
* Tonight's game starts at 6:35 pm, and includes the inaugural "Ignite Your Natitude Tweet-Up," offering giveaways, scavenger hunts and more while "offering a unique, interactive fan experience for all @Nationals Twitter followers in attendance."
And, after the game, fireworks!
* The July 4 game starts at the crack-of-dawn hour of 11 am, and offers a $39 brunch buffet at the Red Porch from 9 am to noon. (Bloody Marys and Mimosas available separately.) Breakfast items will be available at the Dupont Deli and Grand Slam concession stands on the concourse level as well as in the Stars and Stripes Club. This early start then gives you plenty of time to get to the Mall and position yourself for the inevitable heatstroke.
* Thursday's game is Turn Back the Clock Night, celebrating the 1924 World Series, where the Senators/Nationals beat the (New York) Giants with a stunning 4-3 win in the bottom of the 12th inning in the seventh game. Both teams will wear replica 1924 uniforms, while gameday staff, crew, and mascots will be dressed in 1920s attire. (Plus, organ music!) There will also be replica 1924 World Series scorecards handed out to the first 10,000 fans entering through the Center Field Gate, along with replica W.B. Mason trucks to the first 15,000. The only thing not-throwback about the game will be the 7:05 pm start time, since the first Major League Baseball game under the lights didn't happen until 1935.
Tickets are still available for all three games, though tonight's and Wednesday's offerings aren't quite as complete as Thursday's. See my Visiting Nationals Park page for parking, transportation, and information on what's going on around the ballpark.
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Nationals Reach 1 Million in Attendance, 30K Average for 2012
Jun 22, 2012 12:45 PM
Thursday night's game at Nationals Park against the Tampa Rays was a relatively painless 5-2 win for the Nats, upping the team's record to 40-27 before they make the quick trip up to Baltimore for a weekend rematch against the Orioles.
Announced paid attendance was 29,551, which pushed the mark for the 2012 season just above 1 million (1,002,396 for you sticklers). This is an average of 29,482 tickets sold per game through the first 34 of the season, compared to 22,948 at the same point last year. (The team didn't reach the 1 million mark in 2011's home attendance until July 9.)
According to Dan Steinberg, seven of the 13 biggest crowds in Nats Park history have come this season, three of them just last weekend for the Yankees series. The average through these first 34 games is a smidge higher than for the same span in the ballpark's inaugural 2008 season, and is no doubt well outpacing the 2009-2011 doldrums.
So, there's an average of 6,500-plus more bodies traipsing through the streets around the ballpark for every game this year than last year, along with far more sellouts and near sellouts than the ballpark has seen in its previous four seasons--how is this working out for the neighborhood? I haven't heard much carping--is this because traffic and humanity are generally moving well (albeit with a bit more patience required during the big games), or is it more because most Near Southeast residents moved to the neighborhood after the stadium opened, and so have no "before" frame of reference and are also more accepting of the crowds since they knew what they were getting into? (The point of view might be a bit different across the way in the established residential areas of Southwest.) Or does a winning record and a first-place team magically lessen the pain and grumbling?
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Yankees Coming to Visit, Tour de Fat, and Other Weekend Events
Jun 14, 2012 12:58 AM
It's going to be a crowded weekend in the neighborhood. Here's the events lineup:
* Damn Yankees vs. Nats: This three-day series would be drawing big crowds even if both teams weren't on hot streaks, but now it's a marquee matchup of the first-place teams in the two best divisions in baseball, both on six-game winning streaks. The Nationals are already encouraging fans to allow plenty of extra time to get to their seats, and Near Southeast residents should be prepared for a tidal wave of ballpark-goers. Friday's game starts at 7:05 pm, Saturday's at 1:05 pm, and Sunday's at 1:35 pm.
If you're venturing to the stadium for the first time this season, my Visiting Nats Park page has links for you, like all the parking lots, transit options, food choices, and more.
* Zimmerman's Night at the Park: After their undefeated road trip to Boston and Toronto, the Nats get a day off from baseball tonight, but they'll still be heading to the stadium for Ryan Zimmerman's third annual "Night at the Park" to benefit his ZIMs Foundation, dedicated to the treatment and cure of Multiple Sclerosis. The band Guster will be performing, plus there will be silent and live auctions and most likely the chance to meet a player or two. (I wonder if Gio has gotten a date yet?)
* Tour de Fat: The Yards Park is the launching point on Saturday morning for the Tour de Fat bike event. I think the best way to describe this is to let New Belgium Beer do it: "[I]t is a thrilling rite of passage that includes an unparalleled costumed bicycle parade, New Belgium beer, eccentric entertainment, local food, unusual bike contests and much more." Registration for the free event begins at 9 am, with the parade going off at 10, then multiple other events (like the "Slow Ride") through 3 pm. Wonder what the pinstripe-bedecked visitors heading to the ballpark from Nats Lot W will think of the {other} costumed hordes riding by?
* Movies and Music: And of course there's the BID's weekly events, with "National Treasure" being tonight's Front Flicks Outdoor Movies offering, and the band Shag offering British Rock and covers at Friday's Evening Concert at Yards Park.
(Plus, don't forget that Sunday is Father's Day!)
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Thursday Tidbits: Keeping 'Em Short Edition
May 31, 2012 1:48 PM
Not quite up for anything other than short takes today:
* Nationals: The Nats arrive home tomorrow to a series with the Braves. On Friday, there will be an attempt to set the world record for the largest all-trombone ensemble (no, really). Saturday brings Pups in the Park #2 along with the first NatsLive post-game concert, featuring Dierks Bentley. More info on the weekend's promotions and specials here.
* Thursday Movie, Friday Concert: Tonight's Outdoor Flick is Sahara, and the Friday Evening Concert at the Yards Park is Carribean Night with Sam'O and JFC.
* Yard Sale: Some Capitol Quarter neighbors are having a community yard sale on Saturday, June 2, on I Street between 4th and 5th, from 8 am to noon.
* Family Day: Another Family Day at the Fairgrounds on Sunday, June 3, from 11 am to 4 pm.
* Wednesday Music: I never received any official announcements on this, but apparently the Wednesday Lunchtime Concert Series started at the Fairgrounds on May 23, each week from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm through Sept. 5.
* Who Was This "Tingey"?: Find out Wednesday June 6 in a lecture at the National Archives.
* Walking Good, Biking Bad: The Navy Yard reminds people that biking is prohibited on the Navy Yard portion of the Anacostia Riverwalk. And the Tales from the Sharrows blog rebuts.
* "Our Parking": Curbside advocacy in action on K Street.
* Armed Robbery Attempt: From MPD: On Saturday, May 26, at approximately 4:10 am, "while in the 300 Block of K Street, SE, a complainant was approached by a suspect. The suspect brandished a handgun and demanded the complainant’s property. No property was obtained. The suspect is described as a black male, 20-25 years of age, wearing a light blue shirt and blue jeans. The suspect was last seen on fleeing on 3rd Place SE." If you have information, call 202-727-9099, or you can text 50411.

Upcoming Events: South on South Capitol, Science, Ballpark, More
May 16, 2012 8:49 PM
A few new events and happenings to mention, along with some reminders:
* South on South Capitol: The Fairgrounds folks are launching a "South on South Capitol" southern rock concert series, featuring local and regional country and southern rock bands, along with mechanical bull rides (!), food trucks, and the Bullpen bar. The first one is scheduled for May 25, then June 22, July 27, and Aug. 24. (They're all Fridays.) Admission is free.
And, speaking of Fairgrounds, there's a corrected list of dates for their Sunday Family Days, which are just once a month (next one on June 3).
* Science + You: If you've wandered by the southeast corner of the Foundry Lofts building just north of the Yards Park, you may have already seen the Science + You exhibit. It's geared toward kids ages 3-8, giving them the hands-on chance to "become scientists for a day." It's being managed by Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region, and was developed by Kohl Children's Museum in Chicago in cooperation with scientists from Abbott. The web site has lots of photos of the various interactive stations within the exhibit. It runs until Aug. 5, and is open from 12:30-4 pm Tuesday-Friday and 10 am-4 pm Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.
* Ladies Night: The Nats' first Ladies Night of the 2012 season is Thursday (May 17), and they're going with a "Pretty in Pink" theme along with a Majestic women's apparel fashion show, drink specials, games, prizes, music, and whatnot. VIP tickets are $40 and include access to the party tent at 1st and Potomac from 5 to 7 pm along with special group seating. If you can't make the tent happy hour, you can buy a $25 ticket and enjoy the Scoreboard Pavilion festivities. (The tickets include a $10 concession credit.)
* Bike to Work: Friday, May 18 is Bike to Work Day, and the Yards Park is one of the pit stops, from 7 to 9 am. Alas, the free t-shirts for the first 11,000 registrants have already been snapped up, but you probably already own a t-shirt or two anyway.
* Battle of the Beltways: Be forewarned that the right-near-first-place (!) Orioles are coming to Nats Park for a Friday-Sunday interleague series, and so all three games will probably bring a lot of fans and traffic.
* Third Eye Blind: I mentioned last week about the Wallflowers being lined up for the 2nd of the NatsLive free post-game concerts, and soon after the word went out that Third Eye Blind would be playing the third concert, on Aug. 18 after the Nats play the New York Mets. Dierks Bentley kicks off the series on June 2, and tickets for all three games are on sale. (The concerts are free for game-ticket holders.)
And of course Friday also brings the Yards Park Friday Concert Series, with Justin Trawick performing this week. And, as a heads up, next Thursday (May 24), the Front Flicks Outdoor Movie Series gets underway, with Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

The Wallflowers Playing NatsLive Post-Game Concert July 21
May 8, 2012 12:34 PM
The Nats have created "NatsLive" this year, a series of three post-game concerts that are free to any ticketholders to that day's game. The June 2 concert with Dierks Bentley had already been announced, but today the news is bopping around Twitter that The Wallflowers will be playing the second concert, on July 21st. (Both games are versus the Atlanta Braves.) No act yet announced for the third date, Aug. 18 against the Mets. Game tickets for all three dates are already on sale.
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Weekend of Natitude, OurPark, Metropocalypse, Etc.
May 4, 2012 9:28 AM
It's official! The city has declared May 4-6 to be Natitude Weekend, and the Nats have even festooned the Center Field Gate with a new Natitude Park sign. All of this to work at Taking Back the Park from the hordes of Phillies fans that will, despite best efforts, be once again descending on the neighborhood. (Though perhaps they should remember the spankings their team got the last time the teams played, during the final few games of the 2011 season.)
So, residents should be aware that there will be a whole lot more people in the area than for any game since the home opener. The schedule:
* Tonight (Friday, May 4), 7:05 pm.
* Saturday, 1:05 pm.
* Sunday, 8:05 pm. (A rare Sunday night game time, since ESPN has chosen the game for Sunday Night Baseball.)
And, as if getting to and from the neighborhood won't be congested enough, Metro has decided to go forward with a weekend of heavy track work, despite pleas from riders groups concerned about not only the Nats/Phillies game but also the Caps/Flyers game at the Verizon Center at 12:30 pm Saturday. For the Green Line, Greenbelt, College Park, Prince George’s Plaza and West Hyattsville stations will be closed, and buses will replace trains between Greenbelt and Fort Totten, but there's work on all the other lines as well.
And, even though the game isn't until Sunday night, there are also two midday events in the neighborhood that day that might be drawing people: the LivingSocial Dodgeball Tournament at the Yards Park and the Kennedy Center's "Lunchtime Invasion" street arts event at the Fairgrounds from 11:30 to 1:30.
Plus, tonight is the first of the Yards Park Friday Night Summer Concert Series, starting at 6:30 pm.
If you're coming to the neighborhood for the first time, my Visiting Nats Park page will help you with information on parking, transportation, food options, and things to do outside the park.
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Nats Homestand: Bryce Harper's DC Debut and Park-Taking-Back
May 1, 2012 10:14 AM
After a west coast swing that sputtered a bit at the end, the Nationals return home today for the rest of the week, starting with a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks before the weekend's touted Take Back the Park games against the Phillies.
The $2 tickets for tonight's game against the D-backs sold out pretty quickly once it was known that this would be 19-year-old Bryce Harper's first home game in the big leagues, but it is the first night of MLB All-Star balloting, with Adam LaRoche, Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos, Rick Ankiel, Michael Morse, and Jayson Werth all on the ballot. Wednesday is $1 Hot Dot Night, and Thursday May 3 is a "drawstring backpack" giveaway for the first 20,000 fans (Half Street entrance only) as part of "MLB Network Day."
Look for big crowds over the weekend during the Phillies series, and note that the traditional Sunday post-game "Kids Run the Bases" offering will be on Saturday this week, since the Sunday game is a rare 8:05 pm start (thanks to it being ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball game). Also, the Fairgrounds will reopen on Friday, at 11:30 am.
Before Sunday night's game, the six newest members of the Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame will be honored. At the top of the list is the late WUSA sportscaster Glenn Brenner, who you DC newbies would not remember but who was much beloved before he died of a brain tumor in 1992. Other inductees include NBA star Adrian Dantley (who lived across the street from me on the DC side of Western Avenue back in the day), Redskins cornerback Darrell Green, Joe Gallagher of St. John's College High School, journalist Sam Lacy, and UDC's Bessie Stockard.
If you haven't ventured to the stadium yet this season, my Visiting Nats Park page will give you information and links on how to get there, and what there is to eat and see nearby.
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Wednesday Tidbits: Osteen, Groundskeeping, and More
Apr 25, 2012 10:09 AM
After the flurry of the past few months, real news is taking a bit of a breather. In the meantime, here's some reading material I've scraped up, so that it doesn't look like I've completely quit working:
* Joel Osteen Ministries' "America's Night of Hope" is coming to Nationals Park on Saturday--here's the Washington Post's story on Osteen and the plans for the event. Doors open at 5:30 pm and the festivities start at 7 pm, if you're wanting to plan your evening around the crowds. If you're coming to the neighborhood for it, my Visiting Nats Park page can help you find your way.
* Want to know how the Nats Park field is cared for, and who takes care of it? The Post profiles head groundskeeper John Turnour and his work.
* A reader tells WashCycle about being stopped from biking on the Navy Yard portion of the Riverwalk. That promenade has always been signed as prohibiting bicycling, but with increased publicity for using the Riverwalk as a biking trail (including Tuesday's ribbon cutting of the new bridge across the CSX tracks), the issue of bicycles along the Navy Yard/Yards Park/Teague stretch is going to keep bubbling up, perhaps even moreso when the new 11th Street Local bridge opens soon with its wide pedestrian/cycling paths making the connection between both sides of the river even easier.
* Speaking of that new 11th Street Local bridge, much streetscape work has been done recently on O Street (new pavement, curbs, and brick paver crosswalks), and it looks like the concrete should be poured before too long to complete the connection from O to where the bridge begins to rise above the river. Maybe I'll actually get over there with my camera soon.
* Speaking of streetscapes, there's a new sidewalk on L Street between 1st and New Jersey, to go with the new sidewalk on Half between I and K.
* The Capitol Riverfront BID would love it if you'd fill out either their residential survey (if you live in the neighborhood) or the employee survey if you work here.
* Jonathan O'Connell at WaPo looks at how developer Opus East hit the skids, right as it was trying to finish 1015 Half Street. (Opus was also the developer behind 100 M, but it was completed before everything truly fell apart.)
* The Mayor is having a Ward 6 Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Town Hall Meeting tonight (April 25) at 6:30 pm at Eastern High School, 1700 East Capitol Street.
* The next meeting of Police Service Area 106 is on Saturday, April 28, at 10 am at the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St., SE.
What else is going on?
UPDATE: Adding a link to Washington City Paper's profile of "The Nautical Yards", a "site-specific dance and theater piece inspired by the Washington Navy Yard" being performed at the Yards Park Thursday through Saturday (April 26-29) at 7 pm. Premium seating is $30, general admission is free.
And I should probably remind that tickets for Springsteen at Nats Park on Sept. 14 go on sale Friday (April 27) at 10 am.

Photos: Up High at Nationals Park, Looking Out
Apr 19, 2012 10:02 PM
While much of my time on Opening Day each year is spent racing around getting pictures of the festivities, it's equally important to me as the first time after a multi-month lull that I can go to the various viewpoints on the upper deck and get updated photographs of how the ballpark's immediate surroundings have changed.
On the ballpark's western side, overlooking South Capitol Street, there's now the Camden South Capitol apartment building rising out of the ground, more than four years after the lot was cleared in preparation for construction. While technically this new 244-unit building is outside of my boundaries, I've taken enough photos of the western side of South Capitol Street over the years to maintain a pseudo-project page, where you can get the basics on the development and some before-and-afters but where I'm not going overboard in documenting the building's arrival. The photos above were taken from the ballpark's northwest viewing platform, and you can see the other images I've taken from that perch since my first visit there in September 2007.
If you want some additional views to the west, I have a series of before-and-afters from the small opening at O Street near the elevators, including these looking straight out O:
Meanwhile, on the ballpark's south side, there's two changes since last summer worth getting photos of: the completed Riverwalk bridge between Diamond Teague Park and the Yards Park, and the clearing of the Florida Rock site. And, since my 2007 "before" shots are from the time that Potomac Avenue and First Street were being reconstructed, and long before the waterfront started getting spiffed up, the transformation is pretty striking, though you can tell that I had my wide-angle lens in 2007 but had to settle for stitched-together images this time:
You can browse my many variations of these before-and-after Anacostia River views, both to the southeast and to the southwest. And, note at the top of these pages the links to other "on high" photographs from various rooftops around the neighborhood.
(PS: Apologies for the site's extended outage on Thursday--a botched move by my hosting company to upgrade the hardware of my shared server resulted in what to you was a nearly seven-hour outage but to me was the equivalent of a couple of ice ages.)
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Tuesday Tidbits: Springsteen, Other Events, and Catching Up
Apr 17, 2012 2:25 AM
I didn't really intend to go completely off-grid for a long weekend, but a road trip to and from north Florida didn't leave me much time or energy for blogging. What did I miss?
* I assume everyone's heard by now that Bruce Springsteen will be playing at Nats Park on Sept. 14. Tickets go on sale on Friday, April 27 at 10 am at tickets.com. (If I'm not showing appropriate enthusiasm, I apologize, but Springsteen just hasn't ever really done it for me. I think I was permanently scarred by everyone around me going so crazy for him when I was in college, during the whole Born in the USA era. I just hid in my room and listened to R.E.M., and U2, and the Smiths, and Squeeze, and Elvis Costello, and....)
* The Nats' current homestand continues for the rest of the week, with tonight being the first $2 Ticket Tuesday of the season. Then there's Neighborhood Night on Thursday, April 19, followed by the season's first Pups in the Park game at 1:05 pm Saturday, April 21, and Kids Opening Day at 1:35 pm Sunday, April 22.
* If you're not availing yourself of tonight's $2 Ticket Tuesday, perhaps you might want to check out the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce's session on real estate development in and around Capitol Hill, which will be focusing on the areas east of South Capitol and south of East Capitol, which includes Near Southeast. Tommy Wells is scheduled to be part of the lineup. It's from 7 to 9 pm at the Meader Theater (NCC's new home) at 535 8th St., SE.
* Saturday, April 21 is Lantern Making Family Day at the Yards Park, as part of the lineup of events as the Cherry Blossom Festival comes to a close. There are two sessions, at 10 am and noon, followed by a parade/procession through the park.
* It's a bit outside my boundaries, but residents and others may be interested to know that the new Anacostia Riverwalk Trail Bridge crossing the railroad tracks just north of Pennsylvania Avenue will be opening on April 24.
And, some non-event tidbits:
* Square 696, the block bounded by I, K, Half, and First owned by DRI and Jamestown and originally branded as "The Plaza on K," is apparently being relaunched as "Congressional Square," though that doesn't seem to have filtered down to any web sites just yet. It's still an 825,000-square-foot office and retail project.
* On Opening Day, I noticed a lot of cars parked in the fenced-off lot on the southeast corner of 1st and M SE that belongs to the former National Geospatial Intelligence Agency building. I asked Forest City about it, and they said that they will offer parking in that lot for certain games where big crowds are expected, but aren't planning to make it available for daily use.
* In the 700 block of Virginia Avenue, the Miles Glass building and the auto repair shop next door are no more, but at least they are now permanently enshrined as entries #168 and #169 in the Demolished Buildings Gallery. A parking lot is expected to be built for temporary use, while the National Community Church works on its plans for a larger events space on the site.

Photos from Opening Day 2012
Apr 12, 2012 4:30 PM
It was a little more difficult than it looked like it would be (and had a bit of a crazy finish), but the Nats got a win for their sold-out 2012 Home Opener, winning 3-2 in the 10th thanks to a wild pitch.
It's not hard in this world of social media to find photos from Opening Day, but that doesn't mean I can pass up the opportunity to post my own, for those of you who weren't there (or even if you were).
I have two galleries for you browse through: my shots from around the stadium (both looking inside and looking out), along with images from the opening ceremonies. (I leave the photos of the game itself to others.) And now I think I shall take a bit of a breather!
UPDATE: Shoot, meant to include links to my previous Opening Day galleries (and more), if folks wanted some memories....
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Nats 2012 Home Opener Upon Us: Some Helpful Links
Apr 11, 2012 4:06 PM
I know, it seems like the returning Nats were just welcomed home last week, but that was for an exhibition! The 2012 regular season is now underway, and the first-place (really!) Nationals will play their first home game Thursday at 1:05 pm against the Cincinnati Reds, with the gates opening at 10:30 am to help handle the expected sellout crowd. And the game isn't a one-off: the team will play at home every day through Sunday, April 22, with series against the Astros and the Marlins following the four games against the Reds.
JDLand's new Visiting Nats Park page has a whole lot of links about the stadium and the neighborhood, but here are the main ones in bullet-point form, in case you can't bear to click through:
* Getting There: Figure out where to park (and learn why "I'll just find a space on the street" probably isn't going to work). Or take Metro. Or the Circulator. Or a water taxi. Or a bike. (Dr. Gridlock has his annual "how to get to the ballpark" column as well.) My Live Transit Info page might also be worth bookmarking, to see when the next bus or train is coming, or if there's a Bikeshare bike close by to snag. (And, if you're a resident, remember that you may have to use the Navy Yard station's New Jersey Avenue entrance if you're coming home as the game is ending.)
* What's New in the Hood: See what's changed around the neighborhood and what's now on the boards since last season. Stuff is happening.
* Wander Around a Bit: Talk a walk on the Anacostia Riverwalk, now with a handy bridge not far from the 1st Base Gate that takes you directly to the Yards Park and the Navy Yard. And, while you're wandering--or even when you're in your seat--check out my mobile web app that uses your phone's GPS to show you what your location looked like not too many years ago.
* Food and Drink Outside the Ballpark: See the area's food options, current and future (including a new Potbelly Sandwich Works at 3rd and Tingey). And learn about why there's all those shipping containers on Half Street where the Bullpen(s) used to be, and what the Fairgrounds' plans are for Opening Day.
* Food and Drink Inside the Ballpark: Figure out which new dishes you're going to try. There's also an "Eat for the Cycle" promotion at Shake Shack/Box Frites/Blue Smoke/El Verano Taqueria, if the StrasBurger isn't enough for you. And here's the team web site's list of concessions, if you want to plan your attack in advance.
There will be pre-game ceremonies paying tribute to the US military, including a flyover by the 113th Wing fighter jets. There's also an Opening Day Curly W Cap for the first 20,000 fans to enter the ballpark, and there will be additional festivities on N Street.
And the weather forecast looks pretty good.
The rest of the first weekend of baseball at home has other events planned, including "Opening Night" on Friday the 13th (eek!), Stephen Strasburg Bobblehead Night on the 14th (plus Justin's Cafe's block party over on 1st Street), and Jackie Robinson Day on the 15th. Here's the full lineup of promotions and giveaways.
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Thursday Tidbits: Roundup of Pre-Opening Day Roundups
Apr 5, 2012 11:18 AM
Before everyone disappears down the Nats Opening Day/Masters/Caps rabbit holes (myself included!), here's some links to items that might be of interest.
First, a few new entries in the What's New Around the Ballpark? lineup:
* On Tap Magazine surveys the neighborhood with "The Hidden Gem That is the Capitol Riverfront." (Another jewelry metaphor to go with the Post's "Diamond in the Rough" piece from Sunday.)
* WJLA wandered around looking at the ballpark environs.
* The Post's Going Out Gurus blog checked out the Fairgrounds' sneak peek on Tuesday. (Though what's the deal with the photos that look like they were taken through a veil? Will this Instagram obsession never ebb?)
* WTOP runs down the options for arriving at the ballpark by water taxi. (American River Taxi, by the way, says that they are almost sold out for the April 12 home opener.)
Some other items:
* Two reports from MLB.com on the Wounded Warrior Amputee charity softball classic, played Tuesday after the Nats-Red Sox exhibition. The Warriors pounded their celebrity challengers 17-4.
* "DC Modern Luxury" magazine's Men's issue picks the Foundry Lofts as one of the city's "Best Bachelor Buildings." Go here, then click on the Best Bachelor Buildings subhed to get to page 62, then look at the bottom of the page. (As an aside, the write-up sounds even better if you imagine it being spoken by Stefon.)
* Or, if you like your tidbits a bit less glossy, Multihousing News has "Foundry Lofts Blazes Trail on DC Riverfront."
* Bluejacket gets a big write-up and cover photo in Beer Advocate magazine, though we don't get to read it online. You'll just have to make do with the Sept. 2011 batch of photos from inside the Boilermaker Shops the brewery has put up on their Facebook page.
* Nineteen "experts" have picked the Nationals to make the playoffs this year. No pressure!
* The 11th Street Recreation Bridge meeting happened while I was out of town, but here's Greater Greater Washington's write-up of it. But, before the meeting, WCP's Alex Baca posted four thoughts about the concept, with some items of concern worth noting (though "it is a cool idea!" is the first bullet point).

They're Ba-aack: Nats Exhibition, Then Wounded Warrior Softball
Apr 2, 2012 4:13 PM
The fifth year of baseball at Nats Park gets underway Tuesday (April 3), with an exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox at 3:05 pm, followed immediately by the 2nd Annual Wounded Warrior Amputee Celebrity Softball Classic.
Tickets for the Nats game also are good for the softball game, and a portion of the proceeds from tickets purchased here will go to the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team. Celebrity participants include Mayor Gray, Jack Evans, Mike Isabella, Bryan Voltaggio, David Gregory, Darrell Green, Johnny Holliday, Luke Russert, and all other manner of local TV and radio personalitiies.
(Plus, the first 20,000 fans get a 2012 Schedule Magnet!)
If you're coming to the ballpark area for the first time since last season (or longer), be sure to check out my Visiting Nats Park page for information not only on getting to the ballpark, but on the various changes taking place nearby, as well as guides to some places that you need to check out, like the Yards Park and the Anacostia Riverwalk (easily accessible right across from the 1st Base Gate). The weather looks like it's going to be lovely.
If you're a resident, watch for some crowds and additional traffic, and of course beware of roving bands of marauders with Massachusetts accents.
The Nats' 2012 season officially begins on Thursday in Chicago versus the Cubs--they'll arrive back in Washington for their home opener on April 12, against the Cincinnati Reds. (If you're wanting to know when the team will be at the ballpark throughout the next six months, see my Events Calendar, where only the home games are entered.)
LATE UPDATE: A tweet says that the Fairgrounds is going to open tomorrow. I know nothing beyond that. (Though the market management site says "Opening April 12." Maybe they're both right.)
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'Diamond in the Rough': WaPo Looks at Neighborhood's Progress
Apr 1, 2012 10:27 AM
[I'm just back from a week in Florida (hence the spring training pics), and today I'm celebrating the ultimate April Fool's joke (getting married in Vegas 12 years ago today!), so I'm going to ease back into the blogging thing.]
The Washington Post has a big A1 piece today by Marc Fisher looking at the area around Nationals Park, as well as the performance of the team and ballpark from an economic standpoint, in the four years since the ballpark opened.
For people who follow the neighborhood closely (i.e., JDLand readers), there's probably no new nuggets of information, but it's good as a "reset" piece if perhaps you haven't followed every twist and turn since the Nationals first came to DC in 2004.
There's also some additional detail and points of view from across the South Capitol DMZ, which of course I don't generally write about here. [Though, ugh, "Capitol Street"?]
Nats blogger William Yurasko does a good job breaking out the article's bullet points, if you want the Cliffs Notes version of the piece (since I'm not providing one!). But this part of the article probably stood out the most to me:
"The worries that [council member Jim] Graham, former mayor Adrian Fenty and other opponents shared about the ballpark becoming a financial dead weight seem to have been for naught.
"In the past three years, the ballpark fee, a tax levied on the city's 1,800 largest businesses, has brought in $85 million, double what the city had projected. Sales taxes at the stadium have lagged behind estimates because of lower attendance, but the city's overall take has been so strong that millions in excess collections have been used to balance the D.C. budget. The gusher of tax dollars will allow the District to pay off the 30-year stadium bonds as much as 12 years early, which will let the city scrap the business tax sooner than planned[.]"
If you want to know more about what's changed just within the past few months around the stadium, my new Visiting Nats Park page has a "What's New" rundown, along with much more information and photos from the stadium's construction and big events. Or you can click on the map at above right on the home page (or visit my full project map) to dig in more deeply to what's happened not only since the ballpark opened but going back to 2003.
[Full disclosure: while I worked on the big map graphic that accompanies the article, I had zero to do with the article itself--though I think my web site helped out!]
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Slightly Off-Topic: Checking Out that *Other* Nationals Ballpark
Mar 27, 2012 9:17 AM
I had an opportunity on Monday to make a trip to Viera for my first-ever Spring Training game, to see the Nationals beat the Houston Astros, 7-4. While sitting in the warm Florida sun for a few hours watching baseball was the top priority, I did arrive with camera in hand, and so couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a bunch of pictures of the Nats' other stadium.
So, here are two photo galleries that might be of interest: looking around Space Coast Stadium, and action photos from the Nats-Astros game.
The Nats will be back at their real ballpark one week from today, for an exhibition game on April 3 against the Boston Red Sox. The home opener is now just a smidge over two weeks away, on April 12 against the Cincinnati Reds.
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Monday Tidbits: Justin's Block Party and Farther-Off Events
Mar 26, 2012 10:05 AM
I'm going to be a bit scarce this week, so here's few events-related tidbits to keep the home page from having the equivalent of electronic tumbleweeds blowing across it:
* Don't forget that the public meeting about the possible recreational re-use of the old outbound 11th Street Bridge span is on Wednesday, March 28, at 6:30 pm.
* Justin's Cafe has now posted the information on its April 14 block party, both on Facebook and its new JustinsCafeEvents.com web site. It will run from 11 am to 9 pm, offering a line-up of local craft brews (including "beer trucks" from Port City Brewery and DC Brau), and 106.7 The Fan FM will be broadcasting from there. "All ages welcomed, 21 and over to drink." Money is also being raised for free youth baseball and softball programs through the DC Grays and S.M.A.R.T. Camps and Clinics. (The Nats play the Reds at 4:05 pm that day.)
* On April 1 (well, April 2, technically), the Union Station-Navy Yard Circulator bus starts its summer hours, running from 6 am to 9 pm weekdays and 7 am to 9 pm Saturdays, with extended service on Nationals game days.
* The Southwester reports that there's a Neighborhood Night at Nationals Park on Thursday, April 19. "The team will honor the vibrant spirit of the neighborhood by featuring local residents in various pregame activities, including throwing out the first pitch, delivering the lineup card and greeting the players as they take their positions on the field." Near Southeast and Southwest residents can also get discounted tickets to games throughout the season, but I'll make you follow the link to find out about that!
* The Earth Conservations Corps will be leading volunteers in a cleanup of the wetlands at Diamond Teague Park on April 21, from 9 am to noon, as part of the Anacostia Watershed Society's Earth Day events. (They do want volunteers to register/RSVP in order to participate.)
* A bit farther down the pike, the Kennedy Center is presenting "Look Both Ways: Street Arts Across America," a week-long festival showcasing all manner of free performances and events from May 6-12. One of the May 6 kick-off events will be from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at Nationals Park and the Fairgrounds (old Bullpen) on Half Street, and the closing event on May 12 from noon to 6 pm will be at the Yards Park.

Coming to Nationals Park, or Just to the Neighborhood? A Guide
Mar 20, 2012 11:24 AM
Do you know what's two weeks from today? The Nationals' first home game of 2012, an exhibition against the Boston Red Sox. And the home opener is a mere three weeks and two days away, when the Nats play the Cincinnati Reds on April 12.
This means a lot of people will be returning to the Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards neighborhood for the first time since last summer, or might even be venturing in for the first time ever thanks to the buzz around the team's potential. So I've created a new page: Visiting Nationals Park, which brings together links and information both about the ballpark itself and what's available and interesting outside the stadium.
It includes a What's New and Notable Since Last Season page, as well as a Google Map showing the nearby food and drink options (both currently open and the ones announced to be on the way). And there's links to my new Anacostia Riverwalk page and Yards Park and Navy Yard pages for people looking for things to do (that don't involve food!) before or after the games.
As for the ballpark itself, there's my map of official and "cash" parking lots, a "Getting There" guide, and of course all of my photos of the stadium's construction and milestones.
I'm sure it'll be updated with more items as Opening Day approaches, but I figured I'd go ahead and get it out there now (especially to help everyone in the media getting ready to write their annual What Is/Isn't Happening Near Nats Park pieces!).
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Tuesday Tidbits: Best Evaluated by Volume, Not Weight
Mar 13, 2012 9:19 AM
So many Tweets recently, such small items. Let's see how short I can keep them:
* Justin's Cafe is looking to have a block party on Saturday, April 14 (when the Nats and the Reds play at 4:05 pm), and ANC 6D has supported the request to close 1st Street between K and L. (Thanks to SWill for, once again, picking up my slack.) Still probably some bureaucratic hoops to jump through before all is confirmed. This was moved from Opening Day so it would be on a weekend, Will says,
* Looks like DPW's trucks have departed a couple weeks earlier than expected from the agency's longtime home at New Jersey and K, although all the lights may not be turned out just yet. Demolition is in the cards, though some environmental abatement has to happen first.
* New striping and bike lanes were installed Monday on I Street SE between South Capitol and New Jersey.
* Start starving yourself now to prepare for the Red Porch's eight-pound "StrasBurger."
* Photographic evidence of fences down at the old Bullpen, clearing the way for Fairgrounds.
* Only four houses left for sale at Capitol Quarter.
* Bank of America is now building out its new space in the ground floor of 55 M south of the Metro entrance, informed sources say. (They're closing their Southwest location in June.)
* Could DC United be setting up shop just a few blocks up Potomac Avenue from Nationals Park?
* Near Southeast gets off relatively easy in this Sunday's National Marathon Street Closure Sweepstakes (just South Capitol south of L, and the Douglass Bridge).
Anything else going on these days? Besides that sandwich shop opening?
UPDATE: Let's add the elephant parade! Starting tonight at 8 pm, on the southern edge of Garfield Park at the train tracks where Virginia crosses under New Jersey, says WTOP.
UPDATE II: And, from the Hill is Home, a Q&A with ANC commissioner David Garber.
UPDATE III: I sent a lackey down to Potbelly to get a few opening-day shots. Hope he's not expecting to get reimbursed for his lunch.

Tuesday Tidbits, Getting Closer to Opening Day Edition
Mar 6, 2012 10:18 AM
Cleaning off the digital desk:
* Readers are reporting that the fence is coming down around the Bullpen on Half Street. This would be in preparation for the new Fairgrounds offering. Designs show that the new "fence" will be shipping containers, which makes sense given that the venture is centered around a shipping container market. Their intent is to have it up and running by Opening Day. (Read my Fairgrounds post from a few weeks ago for much more detail.)
* Speaking of Opening Day, single-game tickets go on sale Thursday at 10 am.
* Residents won't exactly be interested in this news (except maybe from a parking/traffic angle), but I'll still pass along that a new venture called Ballpark Bus is getting launched this season to bring fans from five northern Virginia locations to the stadium. (More to be announced soon, the web site says.) The blog Let Teddy Win has more about the service.
* If you'd rather get to the stadium by sea, Potomac Riverboat Company is once again running its Baseball Boat for the 2012 season--boats leave Alexandria and take about a half-hour to get to Diamond Teague Park, right across from Nationals Park. Price is $24 for a round-trip voyage or $15 one way. (You can also set sail from National Harbor by taking PRC's service from there to Alexandria and then hook up with the baseball boat, for $30 round trip or $20 one way.)
* Also getting ready for another season of operations is American River Taxi, whose owner tweeted on Monday "See you for Cherry Blossoms." The boat stops at Georgetown, the Southwest Waterfront, and Teague Park--and now that pier is a lovely riverside-bridge-walk away from the Yards Park (rather than having to walk up 1st to Tingey, over to 3rd, and down).
* Still haven't heard of an official opening date for Potbelly (though it's expected to be next week), but a press release says that the hours will be 10 am - 7 pm seven days a week, along with delivery service Monday through Friday from 10 am to 2 pm. The store's general manager will be James Carpenter, who previously worked at their Union Station shop. Trivia fans will also note that this location at 301 Tingey (in the ground floor of the Foundry Lofts) will be the 45th Potbelly to open in the DC area.

Tidbits: K Street Closure; Potbelly Opening Date; Brewers Ball; More
Feb 29, 2012 11:14 AM
* The portion of K Street SE within the Canal Park footprint will be closed through March 31 after workers found "major unmapped utilities" that have caused delays to the construction. Park head Chris Vanarsdale says that in order to meet spring planting requirements, it was necessary to close K now. (A little bit of hassle in exchange for purty plants this year, otherwise the planting would have had to wait until next year.) This means that to cross Canal Park drivers and pedestrians need to either use I Street or M Street.
* A sign posted at Foundry Lofts for its residents says that they expect the Potbelly to open the week of March 13. And here's the Store Locator page, still marked as "Coming Soon." (Here's what it looked like inside on Sunday morning.)
* If you can't wait until the Nationals finish Spring Training to drink beer at the stadium, there's the 2012 Brewer's Ball on March 13 at Nats Park, benefitting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Guests can sample "a variety of handcrafted microbrews from more than a dozen of the region's best microbreweries and brewpubs, while also enjoying the cuisine of several popular restaurants." Individual tickets are $115, and deadline to purchase is tomorrow, March 1.

Thursday Tidbits: Wagtime, Potbelly, Ballpark Taxis, More
Feb 22, 2012 10:33 PM
[Yeah, yeah, the title says Thursday but I messed up and pulled the trigger before midnight.]
For those not following my precious prose on Twitter or Facebook, some tidbits:
* Pet day care/supplies retailer Wagtime is wanting to open a second location to go with its Shaw operations, and is looking at the 900 M St. SE building (where Domino's is located). This would, however, require a zoning change, and a BZA hearing for a special exception and a variance is scheduled for May 8 at 1 pm.
* Potbelly must truly be coming to the ground floor of the Foundry Lofts, because its sign is now up.
* WashTimes: "The D.C. Taxicab Commission will allow so-called 'shared riding' outside Nationals Park to manage the chaotic jumble of pedestrians who leave in search of taxis and sometimes engage in what the agency calls 'aggressive behavior.' [...] The commission says shared riding, in which separate groups of passengers may get in the same taxicab if they are heading the same way, is needed to quell disorder and stop the use of unlicensed cabs from surrounding areas that are 'illegally pilfering' fares from the District's licensed drivers." There is already a taxi stand at Half and M; it sounds like the one the article mentions as where riders will need to queue up in order to get cabs.
* Forest City's Deborah Ratner Salzberg has been named co-chair of Mayor Gray's new task force on affordable housing.
* The Coalition for Smarter Growth looked at 2010 census figures and determined that Near Southeast has one of the city's higher totals of households without a vehicle, at somewhere between 53 and 67 percent.

Late Tuesday Tidbits: Tweets Possibly Lost in the Deluge
Feb 14, 2012 9:02 PM
It's starting to feel a lot like 2007 around these parts, with all the big news flying. (In fact, today's posts brought JDLand its highest traffic since all the ballpark opening falderal in early April 2008.) But I wouldn't want people to miss a couple little items tweeted over the past few days:
* New Dry Cleaners - Buried in the press release on Osteria Morini is the news that a dry cleaners is now the first non-food retailer signed as a tenant at the Boilermaker Shops. According to Forest City, Wells Cleaners will be taking 800 square feet of space.
* A Theater? Or Even A Theatre? - The Examiner reports that indy-friendly Landmark Theatres is wanting to open a second location in the District to go along with its E Street Cinema. While the article emphasizes that city officials are very much hoping that Landmark will consider an East of the River location, the director of the city's Office of Motion Picture and TV Development says that Landmark "is also looking at the Yards neighborhood[.]" Whether this truly means in the Yards itself or somewhere in the general Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards area, this news is certainly the sort of tidbit that gets residents veeeery excited. (Full disclosure: I see a lot of movies at E Street.)
* Concerts and Pups: The Nats released their 2012 promotional schedule, which includes three post-game concerts, fireworks after the July 3 game, and four Pups in the Park dates. My cat is currently contacting attorneys. Also, single-game tickets go on sale March 8 at 10 am.

Half Street 'Fairgrounds': Shipping Container Market, Events Space
Feb 13, 2012 11:56 PM
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.)

Tuesday Tidbits: Briefer-than-Brief Briefs
Feb 7, 2012 9:26 AM
I'm a bit under the weather these days, so I'll go with a minimalist approach of mostly Tweeted items:
* Lost in the digital piles on my digital desktop was the CapBiz tidbit about a Bang Salon being housed in the new Vida Fitness gym that is supposed to be coming to the neighborhood as part of the Yards' Teeter/Residential project on 4th Street. (As for the "at the Navy Yard" description, I'm pretty sure that this project isn't happening inside the walls of the Washington Navy Yard.) Note that Forest City has yet to officially announce Vida as a tenant for the project, though they sure came close a few weeks back.
* If the neighborhood seems locked down on Wednesday, it's probably because of this little get-together at Nats Park.
* Speaking of the stadium, the Nats have launched "Take Back the Park" to try to head off the Philly Fan Invasion for the May 4-6 games.
* The agenda for ANC 6D's next meeting is out, with the only Near Southeast item being "Half Street Shipping Container Fairgrounds Concept," which according to David Garber will be on the Das Bullpen site at Half and M and is something along the lines of this. Looks hipster-riffic! The meeting is Feb. 13 at 7 pm.
* Outside the boundaries updates from SWill: Z-Burger is supposed to be opening over yonder today, and a juvenile facility will be moving into that long low gray building on the west side of South Capitol between M and N.
* DDOT tweeted that the 11th Street Local Bridge "is expected to open in late spring." This is the bridge with the pedestrian/cycling path that will run from 11th Street south of N by the Navy Yard into downtown Anacostia.

A Few Oh-Yeah-I-Meant-to-Mention-That Tidbits
Jan 9, 2012 9:52 AM
* 1015 Half Buyer: On Friday the Post debuted a "What's Going On With....?" feature at their new Where We Live Real Estate blog (reminds me of my old "What's the Deal With...?" days), and the first item was on the empty office building at 1015 Half Street. One tidbit not mentioned there, or at JDLand before now, is that apparently Prudential Real Estate Investors is buying the building, with the deal supposed to be closing this month, according to Bisnow. Bisnow says that the deal was always for Prudential to buy out Bank of America's stake in the building when it was finished, even back when it was Opus East doing the developing, not current receiver Douglas Wilson Companies.
* Onyx Sale: The Onyx on First apartment building never sold when it first went on the block back in March, and a second offering apparently closed in December. Perhaps there will be news soon.
* Navy Yard Riverwalk Closure: It was announced on Twitter last week that the Navy Yard Riverwalk will be closed from Jan. 5 to Jan. 17 to install fences around the piers. (What? You thought I meant the entire Riverwalk and not just the portion controlled by the Navy Yard? Why ever would you have thought that?)
* Winter Classic Rumoring: I guess if you haven't been following along for the past couple of years, the notion of an NHL Winter Classic in DC and at Nationals Park could be news to you, but at this point there's nothing new actually being reported, since no official announcement has been made.

Tidbits: Catching Up After a Lazy Holiday Season
Jan 2, 2012 12:42 PM
Hope everyone has had a good holiday season, and made it into the New Year relatively unscathed. I took some blog vacation time myself, but while it's looked like pure slacking, I've actually been hard at work on my 2012 State of the Hood roundup, which will be coming tomorrow.
Until then, here's a few very short tidbits to catch up on, some of which were already tweeted (so blog-only folks might have missed them) and others of which were just little things that have piled up on my To-Do list.
* In the days before Christmas, the final demolitions were finished up at Florida Rock, making the concrete tower #166 in my Demolished Buildings gallery. I didn't get down there for mid-demo photos, but DCMud has a few stylized shots.
* The Capitol Riverfront BID said last week on Facebook that construction will begin in April on turning the Lumber Shed at Yards Park into a combination retail pavilion and office space for developer Forest City. No such announcement from Forest City yet, and no details on who any of the retail tenants may be.
* Suspect fleeing from police jumps the fence into Nationals Park on Dec. 28, finally found hiding in a public restroom.
* The Examiner surveys what's coming for DC's various waterfronts in 2012.
* The Post's annual list includes "Renting in Navy Yard" as one of the "In"s. (To which the smart-ass in me replies, "Oh, you mean actually in the Washington Navy Yard, the Navy's oldest shore establishment, now 202 years old?")

Tidbits: Disaster!, Tunnel Comment Period Extended, WP on Yards
Dec 12, 2011 1:31 PM
Tidbitiest of tidbits:
* Don't panic on Wednesday (Dec. 14) if you see what appears to be all heck breaking loose at Nationals Park--the DC Fire Department and the US Marine Corps' Chemical Biological Incident Response Force will be holding a "large-scale disaster preparedness exercise . . . simulating the joint response to a major terrorist attack." Alas, though, it won't be zombies, but rather a chemical attack. It will run from 10 am to about 2 pm. (Not open to the public.)
* DDOT and CSX have extended the comment period for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel concept offerings by 30 days, to January 30, 2012.
* Jonathan O'Connell of the Post wrote a summary of the goings-on at the Yards, none of which will be news to JDLand readers, but which might still be of interest. (The "office building with retail space" mentioned at the end is apparently the Lumber Shed, which probably would be better described as a retail building with some office space, especially since the office tenant will be Forest City themselves.)
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Nationals Park, Stadium Events, The Yards

Some Very Small Items: Velodrome, Bikeshare, 11th Street Bridges
Dec 7, 2011 11:14 AM
* There was a "Wait, what?" moment on Tuesday when DCist reported that a velodrome would be coming in 2012 "in the shadow of Nationals Park in Southeast DC." I did some quick sleuthing, looking at the organization's web site and seeing Akridge as a partner, but I just couldn't place the design as being along Half Street. Then, thinking about how people so often can't get Southeast and Southwest straight when it comes to anything near the ballpark, I took a look at the Google Maps view of Akridge's Buzzard Point land at 1st and V SW, and Ta-Da! A pretty clear match.
But this morning, Akridge is no longer listed as a partner on the web site, and the site rendering is gone, too. Perhaps this is all just because final leases and paperwork hadn't quite yet been signed. (A not uncommon tale, young upstarts getting all excited about a pending deal and blabbing just a little too much info for the comfort of the big company they're dealing with. Though it doesn't necessarily mean the deal is dead.) Of course, this is all actually outside my territory, so you'll want to go to SWill for updates.
UPDATE: Jonathan O'Connell has tweeted this out: "Akridge spokeswoman on velodrome: 'We don't have an agreement.' And: 'I would say that putting Akridge on the site was probably premature'."
* Last Wednesday, DDOT installed the new Bikeshare station at 3rd & G, SE, on the north side of the Results parking lot. This is technically outside of Near Southeast, but it's probably now the closest station for Capitol Quarter folks (and me!). It has 19 docks.
* DDOT is shooting for the weekend of Dec. 16 to open the new inbound/outbound freeway spans of the 11th Street Bridges, and they tormented me with some helicopter shots of the current progress. (Though remember that it's just the spans opening--they still have work to do on the ramps and flyovers to add the new movements to and from DC-295.) They also tweeted that the 11th Street Local bridge is ahead of schedule and will open spring/summer of next year. My construction progress photos from Nov. 1 are a smidge out of date by now, but still worth looking at.
* Foundry Lofts now has 19 moved-in residents.
(Of course, you already know much of this if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook.)

American Heart Association Heart Walk at Nationals Park Saturday
Nov 4, 2011 10:44 AM
If you see scads of people walking around the neighborhood tomorrow (Saturday, Nov. 5), it's the American Heart Association Heart Walk. It starts at Nationals Park, goes around the concourse, exits out to Potomac Avenue, goes up First to Tingey, then over to the Yards Park (and on the boardwalk), then up to M Street, back down Half, and over to South Capitol before heading back into the ballpark for the finish line. (Here's the map.) The event starts at 8:30 am, but it doesn't leave the ballpark until 10 am.
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Osteen's American's Night of Hope at Nationals Park in April
Oct 24, 2011 1:31 PM
The Nationals have just announced that tickets are on sale for "America's Night of Hope," the large stadium event held by the Joel Osteen Ministries. It will be on April 28, 2012 at Nationals Park, with tickets priced at $15. In its three previous years, the national version of this event was held at Yankee Stadium, Dodger Stadium, and most recently at US Cellular Field (home of the Chicago White Sox) in August.
(There are smaller "Night of Hope" events held across the country as well, but apparently this is the big national version.)
This is all a little bit out of my realms of expertise, so as more information becomes available, I'll pass it along. But here's how Osteen's web site describes it:
"On April 28, 2012, people from across America will gather at Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals, in Washington D.C. to pray for this great nation. Come and experience this unprecedented America's Night of Hope with special guests, great music and hosts, Joel and Victoria Osteen. It will be a night you don't want to miss.
"Joel will be sharing a powerful message of HOPE that will inspire you to become all that God wants you to be. Make plans now to attend this exciting event and discover God's best for your life!"
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More posts: Events, Nationals Park, Stadium Events

Tidbits: Truckerboo, Teague/Yards Bridge, Espresso Bar, Red Sox
Oct 17, 2011 6:06 PM
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.

Tree Planting on Saturday, Metro Name, Nats Park Uses
Oct 12, 2011 8:38 AM
* On Saturday, Oct. 15, a group of neighbors together with Casey Trees is having a tree-planting event in the "triangle park" bounded by Virginia Avenue and 4th, 5th, and I streets, SE. No prior experience is required, and coffee and treats will be provided along with a post-planting lunch for volunteers. More information and how to volunteer here.
* WMATA staff has recommended that "Ballpark" be added to the Navy Yard Metro station name as one of its new "secondary" (subtitle) names, rather than the requested "Navy Yard-Ballpark." However, since there is not yet any organization that has committed to paying for the name change (which a DDOT rep said at a recent ANC meeting would be in the $100,000 range for a two-exit station), WMATA's board will not be voting on this name change at its meetings on Thursday. They will vote on whether to change the Waterfront-SEU station to just "Waterfront," having veteoed the city's request for "Waterfront-Arena Stage" as being over the 19-character length limit and also having a "commercial naming rights issue." (via GGW)
* The ANC 6D October agenda has been sent out (but isn't yet on the web site). In addition to the very important business of giving thumbs up or down to five different races/walks that want to use neighborhood streets, the commission will be getting updates on the 225 Virginia/200 I project and the big DC Water Clean Rivers Project that will be ripping up M Street SE for a number of years. (Won't that be fun if M Street is a construction zone at the same time as Virginia Avenue?)
* DCist spent some time pondering what Nationals Park could be used for during the baseball off-season. (On the other hand, at least baseball stadiums get used 81 times a year. How about FedEx Field, which gets used only eight times for Redskins games and maybe a concert here or there?)
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More posts: ANC News, Capitol Quarter, Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park, DC Water (WASA)

This Week's Events Lineup: Bikeshare Bash, Opera, Nats Finale
Sep 20, 2011 5:20 PM
On the calendar for the rest of the week:
* Thursday, Sept. 22 brings both the Capital Bikeshare 1st Birthday Bash at the Yards Park and this year's Opera in the Outfield at Nats Park. Bikeshare's bash runs from 6 to 9 pm; Opera starts at 7:30 pm.
* The Nats play their final home games of the 2011 season against the Braves this weekend, and the team is promoting it as a FAN-tastic FAN-ale. There will be fireworks after Friday night's game (and perhaps during the game, since Strasburg is scheduled to be on the mound). Saturday and Sunday, both afternoon games, have limited $2 tickets available along with food and drink specials and giveaways. Details here.
* And on Saturday the 24th the Yards Park is hosting Blocktoberfest, with multiple stages, more than 10 acts, food, and of course beer. There were complaints from residents about noise levels during a 10-hour event at the park on Sunday the 18th; one reply from the BID to a resident in the aftermath says that they "have learned a valuable lesson about events in the Park and the noise level," and that they are evaluating the types of events that are appropriate rental use for the park.
What will I be doing for the next few days? Praying that my beloved Google Nexus One phone comes back to life after an overnight seltzer soaking (thanks, cat). It's in a Ziploc bag full of rice drying out as we speak....
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More posts: Events, Nationals Park, Stadium Events, The Yards, Yards Park

Tuesday Tidbits: Ballpark Labor Day Weekend Doings and More
Aug 30, 2011 1:05 PM
A whole lot of little stuff:
* The Nationals have a lot of events on tap at the ballpark for "Grand Slam Labor Day Weekend":
There are still $5 tickets available for Friday night's game against the Mets, and there will be post-game fireworks as well. (I very strongly suggest heading over to the Yards Park and getting a spot right on the water for optimum viewing; I watched the last post-game fireworks there a few weeks back, and you are pretty much directly beneath the rockets' red glare.)
Saturday night's game will be preceded by "Team On-Field Photo Day," where for the first time fans will be able to go down to the warning track to take photos before the game. After the game, there will be a free concert by the band Lifehouse (but you have to have a game ticket in order to go to the concert.)
Sunday's 1:35 pm game is $1 Kids Day, plus the seventh annual "Kids Run the Show Day." And, following the game, there will be a softball game between the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team and a group of DC-area celebrities. If you purchase tickets to this game through nationals.com/woundedwarriorsoftball, each $20 ticket purchased will result in a $5 donation to the softball team.
Finally, for Labor Day Monday's 1:05 pm game against the Dodgers, there is another $5 ticket special.
You can read more about all these goings-on (and the other offers for these games) in this press release.
UPDATE: And it seems to be all but official that Strasmas returns to the neighborhood next week, with Stephen Strasburg expected to pitch against the Dodgers on Tuesday, Sept. 6.
* In non-baseball stadium doings, Opera in the Outfield will be back again, on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 pm with a free simulcast of the Washington National Opera's performance of Tosca (and What's Opera, Doc?, which really should be the headlining feature). You can bring food and a blanket to sit on, but no alcoholic beverages can be brought in, and bags can't be any larger than 16" x 16" x 8".
* In other concert news, the BID has extended the Friday summer concert series at the Yards Park through Sept. 9. The concerts are from 6 to 8 pm, and food trucks and other offerings will be on hand.
* Speaking of food trucks, Truckeroo 4 is scheduled for Sept. 30.
* The Capitol Hill Day School's move to its temporary home at 5th and K SE is in full swing, and the school is doing a great job of blogging it (along with the renovations on their Dent School digs).
* A raze permit application has been filed for 1008 3rd St. SE, a few doors south of Cornercopia. This rowhouse had a partial roof collapse along with cracks in the walls during the Feb. 6 2010 blizzard.
* Seems like the neighborhood fared just fine through Hurricane Irene, except for the flood of DC residents on Friday wanting sandbags from the DPW operations at New Jersey and K, SE. (The city ended up moving the sandbag operations to RFK on Saturday.) This should be the last time this happens, since DPW is expected to be moving out of the old trash transfer station this fall (perhaps even by mid-October).
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More posts: chds, Events, Nationals Park, Stadium Events, The Yards, Yards Park

Summer Doldrums Tidbits on All Sorts of Subjects
Jul 14, 2011 2:13 PM
All sorts of little items that you mostly already know about if you follow JDLand on Twitter or Facebook. But I'll start with some new items at the top:
* Still no word from Akridge about when they may get underway with their 700,000-square-foot mixed-use project on Half Street just north of Nationals Park (where the Bullpen and its beergarden sibling Das currently reside), but I will note that in May they filed for building permits for two nine-story and one eleven-story building on the site, matching their announced plans. The permits haven't been approved yet, and once they are they are good for one year, but can then be renewed.
* William C. Smith told me a few weeks ago that they expect to be doing some infrastructure work on their Square 737 site this fall (sewer, water, etc) before starting on their 430-unit apartment building there next spring, and I hear that the bidding process for that site work is now underway. (This also means to not get *too* excited when you see dirt getting moved there late this year.) And, speaking of 880 New Jersey, ANC 6D voted 7-0 on Monday night to support WC Smith's request for a circular driveway, a new curb cut on 2nd Street to access underground parking, and the general public space plan.
* Tonight (Thursday) is the Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park, Republicans vs. Democrats. The $10 tickets might be worth it just to see if there are any bench-clearing brawls.
* Friday (July 15) is the second Truckeroo food truck festival, along Half Street by the Bullpens. It runs from 11 am to 11 pm.
* The speculation is underway about the venues for upcoming baseball All-Star Games, with the previous conventional wisdom about Nationals Park being in line for perhaps the 2015 event taking some hits, with the lack of development progress around the ballpark being cited as a prime reason.
* If you're all fired up to game out the new ANC/SMD districts, here's all the data you might want, from the Office of Planning. And remember that the ANC 6D redistricting "listening" session with the Ward 6 task force is on July 28 at 6:30 pm. There wasn't really much news out of the initial public meeting on Monday night, other than that while the 2,000-plus-or-minus-100 population levels per single member district aren't a legal requirement, there's still clearly a desire to have SMDs be as similar in size as possible. And, also, that an SMD can't be looked at in terms of how its size has changed (or will change) since the census data as of April 1, 2010 was recorded.
* I'm going to go ahead and post this now, but check back later today (or look for a Twitter heads up) for more Market Deli demolition photos, which I will wander down to get at some point.
UPDATE: A moment of silence, please, as the Market Deli has now been added to the Demolished Buildings Gallery, as building number 161 and 162 that have been torn down since I started photographing the neighborhood. And the three garages on the north end of the block are in their final hours, with demolition underway on the southernmost one.

Holiday Weekend Events: Baseball, FreedomFest, and More
Jun 29, 2011 10:32 PM
With July 4 being nice enough to fall on a Monday this year, the three-day holiday weekend is particularly chock full of events, with plenty of goings-on in Near Southeast. Here's a rundown. (Though, judging by how sparsely populated my office already is, just on Wednesday, I'm not sure how many people are left in town to read this.) And, for neighborhood residents, even if none of these events are on your dance card, you still might want to be prepared for heavier than normal crowds wandering around.
* For a headstart on the weekend, there's two events on Thursday, June 30. Ryan Zimmerman will host his 2nd annual "Night at the Park" fundraiser for his zIMS Foundation, which raises money for Multiple Sclerosis. It starts at 6 pm, and tickets are still available. Country star Rodney Atkins will be performing, as will David Blaine (for the VIP ticketholders). More details at the official web site.
* A few blocks away, in what could be considered a bit of counterprogramming, the Capitol Riverfront BID's Outdoor Movie Series will be showing "Shakespeare in Love," starting at 8:45 pm at Tingey Plaza behind USDOT.
* On Friday, the weekly Yards Park concert series continues, with rhythm and blues by the group Special Occasion rhythm and blues band Framewerk [my boo-boo, sorry], from 6 to 8 pm.
* The weekend at Nationals Park will be a busy one, starting with Saturday's doubleheader against the Pirates, the first of the Nats' upcoming 11-game homestand leading into the All-Star brealk. The first game (which won't be broadcast on TV, by the way), is at 3:35 pm, with the second game starting at 7:05 pm or later. The $2 tickets are sold out, but tickets bought for Saturday get you in to both games. And, bang zoom, there will be fireworks after the second game, "presented by Marvel Studios' new motion picture Captain America: First Avenger." (Might be interesting to wander to the Yards Park to watch from there, to see if it's a good vantage point.)
Sunday's 1:35 pm Pirates game is also "Nickelodeon Day" at the ballpark, with all sorts of family-friendly activities featuring SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer.
And, on Monday, July 4, the Nats will be hosting the Cubs at 1:05 pm, which will probably be a hot ticket. There's a series of special ticket offers for this "Patriotic Series" game.
See this Nats press release for additional details on all the promotions and festivities.
* Meanwhile, on both Sunday and Monday, the National FreedomFest concert will be in full swing at the Yards Park, from 2 pm to 9 pm on Sunday and 1 pm to 9 pm on Monday. The organizers say there will be more than 40 bands and DJs on five stages, along with food vendors, craft vendors, and more. Tickets start at $25, and are available via the web site, along with more information about the lineup and other details.
(Note that the concert and the baseball, running at the same time, may make finding spaces in the neighborhood surface parking lots a bit tougher than usual.)
I was going to include some other upcoming events in this post, but nobody's reading this anyway, so I'll save those for another time.
As always, if you want continuing updates on these sorts of events, my Near Southeast Businesses/Organizations Twitter list, which are also displayed in a box on the JDLand homepage, will give you all the news and late-breaking tidbits.

Tidbits: ANC Redistricting, Canal History, Greenspace, 8th St. Deal
Jun 29, 2011 1:29 PM
After all the big news of late, downshifting into a Tidbits post doesn't really seem like much fun, and of course if you're following me on Twitter or Facebook (or checking out the Twitter box on the JDLand home page every so often), you've already been alerted to many of these. But, onward:
* If you're wondering how the ANC redistricting process will work (especially since the ward version was so much fun!), here's the official memo on the procedures going forward. As in previous years, ANC single member districts will have populations between 1,900 and 2,100 residents. Census Tract 72, which covers all of Near Southeast and so includes all of ANC 6D07 plus the small number of houses from 7th Street east to 11th that are in ANC 6B04, was counted at 2,794 residents in the 2010 census.
The Office of Planning has the census-block-by-census-block numbers, but, ahem, I don't actually know which blocks are which, though if I had to guess by looking at the numbers and how the blocks are organized, I'd say that 6D07 probably came in at 2,743 and south-of-the-freeway 6B04 at 51. Ish. (Perhaps an ANC version of the GGW Redistricting Game isn't far off!) It isn't enough to split 6D07 into two single member districts, but it also can't stay as is. The question will also loom large as to whether new boundaries will split the neighborhood even more between ANC 6B (Capitol Hill) and 6D (Southwest), or move it all into one or the other. UPDATE: Thanks to IMGoph in the comments, I got a look at the map, and it appears the actual residential split is 2,767 to 27. Read my comment for details. I'll make a map at some point.
UPDATE 2: And here's a quick and dirty map, showing block by block what the census folks recorded the neighborhood's residential population at, as of April 1, 2010. As I mention in the comments, the residential buildings west of 2nd Street SE add up to 2,054 residents, perfectly within the numeric requirements for an SMD. But how SMDs will actually be divvied up is anyone's guess right now, beyond the fact that there's no way the vast bulk of Near Southeast will continue to be in just one SMD.
Council members are supposed to appoint their ward task force members by Friday, with progress reports due on Aug. 1 and Sept. 1. The entire process has to be completed by the end of 2011.
* The Hill is Home has posted the first of a two-part look at the history of the Washington Canal, which used to run along where Canal Park is under construction. (Speaking of which, I grabbed a quick cellphone shot from above the park last week showing the work on the southern block, where the foundation for the pavilion is being built.)
* Housing Complex writes about the deal finally being finalized for Greenspace to move into the empty retail spaces in the 1st Street facade of Nationals Park, creating a "12,000-square-foot center for green building and design." This has been in the works for nearly two years, but even though there was a "launch" of the space on Tuesday (which I didn't hear about until people at the event started live-tweeting it), Housing Complex says that the project won't come to fruition until Greenspace "is able to raise another $600,000 in cash and in-kind contributions, adding up to the $2 million necessary to build out what's currently a blank shell." Perhaps someday, when Florida Rock is built out to the south and later Yards phases along 1st Street are completed, the "real" retail envisioned for this portion of the ballpark will come to pass. Here's the press release on the Greenspace project.
* Madison Marquette, owner of the Blue Castle at 770 M St. SE, has now apparently completed a joint venture deal with local landowners ICP Group for all ICP's various properties on the east side of 8th Street south of the freeway, including the gray building at 8th and Potomac that houses Quizno's and the other properties along the 800 block of Potomac, and others. No news as to what might be done on those blocks, though if the new Marine Barracks site search ever crops back up, a group owning all of the land on Squares 929 and 930 could conceivably submit a proposal for a public-private partnership.
Coming later today, an equally bulleted post highlighting the slew of upcoming events in the neighborhood, both for this holiday weekend and beyond.

Weekend Events: E.T., Concert, Ward 6 Family Day, Blood Drive
Jun 23, 2011 3:14 PM
A few items on the events agenda for this weekend that might be of interest. (And the Green Line is the only subway line that *won't* be having track work this weekend, so you might as well take advantage). The lineup:
* You can actually start your weekend tonight (Thursday), with E.T. as the offering in the Summer Outdoor Movie Series. It's at Tingey Plaza (behind USDOT, at New Jersey and Tingey), starting at either 8:45 pm or sundown (can't ever quite figure out what "8:45 pm/sundown" signifies--whichever comes last?).
* Friday night has the weekly free Yards Park concert, from 6 to 8 pm. This week's act is Jimi Smooth, for your Motown listening pleasure. There will also be BBQ and other food options.
* On Saturday (June 25), Tommy Wells is hosting his annual Ward 6 Family Day, bringing it to the Yards Park for the first time. It's from 1 to 5 pm, and will have free food, live music, and all sorts of activities (including "arts and crafts projects to build boats to race in the water park"). There will also be a Diaper Drive (no, really), accepting both unopened and open packs of diapers. There's more information on Tommy's web site.
* If you want to add some additional community service to your Saturday, either before or after Family Day you can head to Nationals Park for the first of their two summer blood drives. The drive is from 8 am to 4:30 pm in the conference center, and "in exchange for their generous donation, those who donate blood will receive two tickets to a future Nationals game and a limited edition Adam LaRoche t-shirt." Appointments are required: Interested donors should call 1-866-BLOODSAVES (256-6372) or visit inova.org/donateblood, click 'schedule an appointment', then 'donate blood' and enter sponsor code 7665. (The next drive will be on August 27.) Read the Nats press release for more info.
* And the Yards Park events actually spill over into Monday, when at 10 am Mayor Gray will be giving an "update on his job creation and economic development agenda" at the Lumber Shed. (Probably no music or dancing at this one.)

A Few More Nats Park Photos (Eateries Etc.), and Other Tidbits
Jun 15, 2011 9:29 AM
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!)

First Look at New Nationals Park Eateries (Shake Shack et al)
Jun 13, 2011 10:45 PM
On Monday night the Nationals unveiled for an invitation crowd the four new concession options brought to Nationals Park by the Union Square Hospitality Group. Shake Shack (which has already taken Dupont Circle by storm), El Verano Taqueria, Blue Smoke Barbecue, and Box Frites are side-by-side along the Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk in Center Field, and will be open 2 1/2 hours before every game. (There will also be $5 "happy hour" beer specials on the Scoreboard Walk, starting 2 1/2 hours before every game for the rest of the season.)
The area behind the scoreboard has also been "refreshed," with new furniture, plants, trees, herbs (really!), and synthetic turf to give a "backyard" feel. There are also 14 "shade sails" now erected over the area to help keep fans waiting in line for the new eats from falling over in the heat; the sails are supposed to reduce ambient temps by up to 20 degrees, and also provide UV ray protection of up to nearly 94 percent.
The Nationals are hoping that this revamped spot becomes an "iconic" area at the ballpark, with COO Andy Feffer explaining that the stadium already has "cool clubs," but they are private and not open to everyone as these will be. As for whether they will be able to handle what could be quite a crush of hungry foodie fans, Feffer said "We shall see," while noting that since the USHG folks have existing operations at Citi Field in New York, "if anybody's prepared, these guys are."
And, is there a chance that these four stands could ever open to the public on non-gamedays? Feffer says they've talked about it, and that it's a possibility down the road, when the area's worker-and-resident population expands further.
I took a slew of pictures of the food and signage (two of my favorite photo subjects, even surpassing shots of buildings!). The eateries will open to fans on Tuesday at 4:30, before the 7:05 Nats-Cardinals game. (As always, 400 $5 tickets are available at the box office on game day.) The photo gallery also includes photos of the menus if the suspense is too much to bear.
UPDATE: The Post's Dan Steinberg has more on the new offerings.
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More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Nationals Park

Tidbits: Redistricting Latest, Retail, Outdoor Movies, Kittens, Events
May 24, 2011 2:17 PM
News has gotten a little sparse of late, though there's suddenly plenty of little updates and whatnot, some that I've tweeted (and some that I haven't). Sorry that this is a bit of a monster post, but that just means you need to read it all carefully!
* Redistricting: With the redistricting committee's proposed map of redrawn boundaries coming out no later than their meeting at 1 pm on Thursday, news has begun to trickle out of what it will look like. Mike DeBonis reported on Monday that any part of the city west of the Anacostia River being moved to Ward 8 is "off the table," since the split neighborhood of Fairlawn is expected to be moved entirely into Ward 8, which would satisfy the ward's population requirement. (He also lays out some of the other "on the table" moves.) In an "op-ed" today at The Hill is Home, Tommy Wells says that Ward 6's new eastern boundary may be 17th Street NE and SE, moving Hill East and its landmarks (RFK, Eastern High School, Eliot-Hine Middle School, and Reservation 13) into Ward 7. After the committee votes on its map Thursday, there will be a public hearing at 6 pm on June 1, before the entire council votes on the plan on June 7.
* Retail: The big International Council of Shopping Centers' REcon convention is underway in Vegas, and the Post's Jonathan O'Connell is tweeting all the DC-related retailer news, including that Mayor Gray and members of the city council had lunch on Monday with representatives of Forest City, who gave a presentation on The Yards. Will there be an announcement soon on things getting started at the Boilermaker Shops, as Forest City said there would be a few weeks ago? A Post feature on Capitol Hill restaurateur Xavier Cervera mentioned that he has "deals in the works for 400-seat and 140-seat restaurants on the waterfront," the first of which would seem to be the sportsbar rumored for the Boilermaker space. The rumblings below the surface that the official Boilermaker announcement is coming soon continue to be strong (with any opening being at least a year away, since there's a lot of exterior work to be done to the building), but there's been no official announcement of this or any other Boilermaker lease.
* In an Examiner article about Wegman's being wooed for DC's Walter Reed site, it's mentioned that Michael Stevens of the Capitol Riverfront BID and city officials are meeting with AMC Theaters to discuss potential locations. The article describes a possible spot as "First Street, south of M Street and adjacent to Nationals Park." I'm a little skeptical of "First Street", mainly because the big empty lot along First (Nats parking lot F), owned by Willco and slated in the past for a mixed office/residential/retail development, hasn't seemed to be in play for any movement on any development. On the other hand, there's been talk that Akridge has been interested in having a movie theater as part of its Half Street development, also south of M and adjacent to Nationals Park, and construction could be starting there late this year. Either way, nothing is firm.
* Kittehs: Are you looking to adopt a cat? How about a Market Deli-branded kitten? Some residents have captured and spayed/neutered/vaccinated two of them, estimated to be 4-6 months old, and are looking for someone to adopt them. Here's the additional information. (I would have leapt at this, but my two cats, ages 17 and 14, would kill me in my sleep if I brought home new "siblings" for them.)
And, some upcoming events to note:
* The Yards Park folks have passed along the news that the fountains are off all this week for maintenance. No water-based frolicking for you!
* The Capitol Riverfront Outdoor Movie Series gets underway this Thursday (May 26). The theme this summer is Best of the Oscars, and they're starting off with "Casablanca." Movies start at 8:45 pm (or sundown), and there will be food trucks and snacks for sale. The movies have moved back to Tingey Plaza, just south of US DOT at New Jersey and Tingey.
* Harry's Reserve Wine and Spirits at 909 New Jersey is going to be having a free "community cookout" on their courtyard on Friday, May 27 from 5 to 8 pm, and again on Saturday, May 28 from 4:30 to 8 pm. They are doing it to thank the neighborhood for the support they've received since opening. There will be free "high-end" beverage tastings in addition to grilled offerings. The owners also want to pass along that they're getting fresh shipments of a variety of cheeses this week, and that they now have 800 beers in stock.
* Ryan Zimmerman's annual "A Night at the Park" fundraiser is scheduled for June 30, benefitting his ziMS Foundation. Tickets are now on sale, and it's been announced that country star Rodney Atkins is the featured performer.
* The Zoning Commission hearing on allowing Forest City to temporarily use the second floor of the Lumber Shed building as office space has been scheduled for July 7.

Late Tuesday Tidbits: Ribbon to Be Cut, Ground to Be Broken
May 10, 2011 10:26 PM
Just a few items to catch up on, though they've already been tweeted (Twitter really is the best friend of a lazy blogger):
* The Navy Yard is having a ceremonial ribbon-cutting for its portion of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail on Wednesday morning (May 11) at 11 am. It was on April 1 that the Navy opened this long-completed but long closed off stretch, which runs from just east of the 11th Street Bridges to the Yards Park, though it is only open from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) and is subject to closure if the Navy deems it necessary. (I finally took my first walk on it from the Yards Park and back recently, though I did it close to closing time and was imagining the hilarity that would have ensued if I had gotten locked in.) This ceremony also dovetails with the start of the BID's Wednesday Lunchtime Concert Series at the park, at 11:30.
* Will from just across the way reports that Camden is having a ceremonial groundbreaking on May 17 for 1345 South Capitol Street, the 276-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail just across from Nationals Park that's been on hold since 2008. Though it's on the Southwest side of the DMZ and therefore in Will's territory (as spelled out in our meticulously negotiated Neighboring Blogger Treaty), I probably won't be able to completely prevent myself from taking photos of the progress from time to time, especially since I have a full set of "befores." But I'll be leaving the bulk of the coverage work to Will.
* The old fogies who were around in the 2004 to 2006 era might remember that a big part of getting the city council to approve the deal to fund and build Nationals Park was the "Community Benefits Fund," which would receive additional ballpark tax money and distribute it to libraries, schools, and other neighborhood developments. But Mike DeBonis reports that Mayor Gray's FY12 budget has a change that essentially makes the mayor and council decide every year whether the fund's money goes to the neighborhood projects or to "other spending priorities" in the city. Citizen groups are unhappy and council members are, too, DeBonis says.
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More posts: 1325sc, Navy Yard, riverwalk, Nationals Park

Tuesday Tidbits: South Cap Meetings, Barracks, Sub Horn, More
Apr 26, 2011 10:42 AM
News and notes, some already Tweeted, some not:
* Don't forget the two public meetings on the Final Environmental Impact Statement for South Capitol Street. The first one is tonight (April 26) at Amidon-Bowen Elementary School at 4th and I, SW, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. The second one is Thursday (April 28), at Savoy Elementary School, 2400 Shannon Place, SE, also from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. My entry from a few days ago gives the rundown on what changes they are looking at to transform South Capitol Street into a "grand boulevard" rather than a commuter speedway.
* ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger passes along an update from fellow 6B'er Kirsten Oldenberg on the status of the Marines' search for a new barracks site. A quote: "Now in progress are Installation Master Planning and Support Studies and a Financial Feasibility Analysis. We were only given a brief outline of this work, which will not be made public. A briefing on this 'conceptual' material will be given to the Commandant of the Marine Corps sometime in late May (perhaps). Then once he makes whatever decisions are necessary, work will proceed on putting together the guts of an RFP. This information has to go to various 'stakeholders' and ultimately Congress before the RFP can be finalized and released. One of the developers at the meeting today tried to pin officials down regarding timelines but it proved difficult to do. Bottom line, if all goes smoothly (which is doubtful), a site and developer could be chosen by Fall 2012. (Don't bet on it.)"
* Dan Steinberg writes at his DCSportsBog today about how the Nats went from fireworks to a submarine horn: "A few months ago, when people inside the organization began considering a move away from fireworks, they began researching naval horn options and even went to the Navy Yard to check out alternatives. Their advisers at the Yard advised they go with the sub horn, both for the sound and for the way that sound would carry. The Navy folks also thought the three-blast signal would be appropriate. So the horn was taken to Nats Park and hooked up to a special mic in the press box, where members of the marketing department can fire away after home runs and wins." Nats COO Andy Feffer says that the distinctive sound should make people immediately think "Nationals Park": "'The military is already part of game presentation and the Navy Yard is right next door; not only is it unique and distinctive, but it fit. It fit with our goals, and it fits with what Washington is. It's ours. Someone else can't copy it and say we're gonna do that too. It's Washington's.'"
* In a subscrbers-only piece in last week's Washington Business Journal, the story of Red Hot & Blue's departure from Nationals Park after the inaugural 2008 season gets a bit, ahem, spicier. Five months into that first season, the BBQ outlet told the Nats it was no longer interested in being at the ballpark. "Hold it, says the team, Red, Hot & Blue was still on the hook for $235,000 in regular payments until the end of the 2009 season, still yet to be paid, according to a breach of contract suit that was filed in March in D.C. Superior Court."
* Honda put out a photo gallery of the new 2012 Honda Civic, which includes a number of shots taken at the Yards Park, as well as Anacostia Park and other DC locations. (You have to wander through a bit to find them, but they are pretty neat to see.)
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More posts: Barracks, meetings, South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Nationals Park, Nationals Park

ANC Recap No. 3: Traffic Study, 10K Race, Liquor License Items
Apr 13, 2011 11:14 AM
Last missive from Monday's ANC 6D meeting..:
* It's apparently going to be "Neighborhood Day" at Nationals Park on Saturday, April 16. The Nationals said in a press release on Monday that residents will be able to purchase discounted tickets, but you apparently have to be in the know to find the nationals.com/neighborhood ticket sales link. (ANC commissioners got their free tickets for Saturday handed out at the meeting, since they'll be introduced on the field before the game.)
* With a unanimous 7-0 vote, the commission passed a motion authored by David Garber to request that DDOT fund a "comprehensive" traffic study of the M Street corridor and its neighboring streets in both Southeast and Southwest. Much of the discussion ended up centering around the wording of the motion (as is so often the case), with much concern about whether Maine Avenue should be specifically mentioned, especially given that the developers of the new Southwest Waterfront will be undertaking their own traffic study along Maine and Water Street. Commissioner Andy Litsky wondered about the traffic study in Southeast that the Capitol Riverfront BID is looking to fund, and Michael Stevens of the BID said that they would support a "holistic" approach to combining the various studies already done or on the boards (including the one CSX has apparently completed to look at the impact of their planned construction along Virginia Avenue, plus the reports done for the 11th Street Bridges EIS and the in-progress 14th Street Bridges EIS).
The motion was then amended to say that the ANC supports directing DDOT funds "to conduct a comprehensive traffic study and plan for the M Street SE/SW corridor and its feeder and surrounding streets and that all other area studies be integrated for DDOT's review in order to produce a comprehensive study, and that ANC 6D urgently supports the subsequent design process and implementation of a 'complete streets' plan to decrease the speed and volume of automobile traffic, and increase multi-modal transportation safety and efficiency as neighborhoods in 6D continue to evolve and develop."
(If you want to know more about the concept of Complete Streets and how it might inform a redesign of M Street, you can read my report on last year's public meeting held by Tommy Wells to start an "initial dialog" on the subject.)
* The commission also voted 7-0 to support the Pacers Home Run Classic 10K race, to be run on Saturday, June 18. Original plans to start and end the race at the Yards Park ran into some issues with the city's Emergency Management folks not wanting the race to run by the DC Water/WASA plant (and there was no explanation beyond that). So the race will now start and end at Half and N, across from the ballpark, then circle the ballpark down to South Capitol and Potomac before crossing the Douglass Bridge, running along Anacostia Drive in Anacostia Park to the skating pavilion, then doubling back. It's expected there will be 2,000 runners for the 8 am race. (Next year they expect to be able to start and end at the Yards Park and use the new floating bridge to Teague Park to get to Potomac Avenue and the Douglass Bridge.)
* In liquor license matters, it was reported to the commission that Das Bullpen did end up needing to get a new liquor license separate from that of The Bullpen 1.0, and that a new voluntary agreement was written up as well. This was all apparently done very hurredly, on the Tuesday before Opening Day, in order for ABRA to approve the new license on Wednesday in time for Opening Day on Thursday (though as we know Das Bullpen didn't open that day anyway). There's a full hearing on the license scheduled for May 31. If you haven't followed the Twitter flurry, Das Bullpen opened Tuesday (April 13) for the Nats/Phillies game.
* Also on the alcohol front, apparently both Harry's Reserve and Cornercopia are inquiring as to the possibility of the sale of "singles," in their cases to be the sorts of higher-end European beers that typically come in 20 oz or larger bottles. Coralee Farlee, who chairs the 6D ABC subcommittee, asked for some guidance as to whether the ANC is wanting to continue to not consider any exceptions for single sales, as has been the practice. David Garber and other commissioners expressed their support for the higher-end type of sales, and Andy Litsky said that 6D never really had the "singles" problem that lead the H Street NE corridor to ban those sales. Chairman Ron McBee instructed Farlee to check how other ANCs are handling the issue (apparently 6B allows sales of the 20-oz. bottles?), with an eye toward reexamining 6D's stance.

Sensorium, Nats, Water Taxis, and Other Events and Tidbits
Apr 10, 2011 10:55 PM
Sorry I went off-grid most of last week--when I said that the weather on Opening Day reminded me of 2008, I wasn't expecting to then come down with pretty much the same bug that clobbered me after the big event three years ago. (I'm also getting too old to traipse around outside for many hours over multiple days in 40-and-rainy weather.) I'm still not 100 percent, but here's a few items I'm passing along as I work my way back into the swing:
* As already posted, ANC 6D is meeting Monday night at 7 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L SE. There's lots of Near Southeast items on the agenda, including the Market Deli landmarking nomination, a call for a combined M Street SE/SW transportation study, and Forest City's desire to move its offices to the Lumber Shed at the Yards Park. ANC 6B then meets on Tuesday, but there don't appear to be any south-of-the-freeway items on their agenda, so I'll be skipping that.
* Sensorium starts its six-week run at the Yards Park on Tuesday, April 12. The Post's Going Out Guide posted some photos of the dome last week during construction, as did the Sensorium folks themselves. If you haven't been following this, Sensorium pairs a 12-course tasting menu with visual/performance art into a production that sounds like unlike anything on the current or recent DC agenda. There are two seatings every night (except Mondays), with tickets $150 per person. If you go, tell us all about it!
* Also at the Yards Park this week is the DC Challenge race and festival on Saturday the 16th, where you can test out your Amazing Race-type abilities in this "Ultimate Urban Scavenger Race."
* The Nationals have a big home stand, starting with the Phillies Tuesday through Thursday (so beware the descending hordes) and then the Brewers Friday through Sunday. All weekday games are at 7:05 pm, Saturday's game is at 1:05 pm, and Sunday is the usual 1:35 pm start. I haven't heard yet if Das Bullpen will be making its debut this week or not. UPDATE: The owner of the Bullpen told me on Monday afternoon that Das Bullpen will be open on Tuesday evening for the Nats/Phillies game.
* American River Taxi has begun its service between the Georgetown Waterfront, the Southwest Waterfront (which we're now calling The Wharf, I guess), and Diamond Teague Park. They have an 8 am commuter run on weekdays from the Wharf to Georgetown, then regular runs between the three stops starting at 10 am until 6 pm weekdays and 9 pm on weekends. (If you're wanting to try out the service to get to any of the Nationals games this week, they say that the boat leaves Georgetown at 6:05 pm [updated time].) Ticket kiosks are at Tony and Joe's at the Washington Harbor in Georgetown and the Gangplank Marina in Southwest, and tickets can also be purchased on the ship. Tickets will normally be $9, but are currently discounted at $8, according to SWill, who's doing a fine job following the venture's launch. ART has just one boat so far (the Dolley Madison), they are still adjusting their run times (right now it takes 20-35 minutes between stops), so following them on Facebook and/or Twitter is a good way to keep up with their service. They hope to eventually expand their offerings to National Airport, Alexandria, and National Harbor. (As of now, the Potomac Riverboat Company is the only outfit sailing to Teague from Alexandria, and that's just for Nationals games.)
* Harry's Reserve at New Jersey and I had its first wine tastings on Friday and Saturday. If you want to keep up with their news and events, you can friend them on Facebook (they've set themselves up as a Facebook "person" rather than a product page to "like"--perhaps they'll rejigger that soon.)
Also, a site note: with more neighborhood information being tweeted these days than I could hope to write about or even retweet, I've created a Near Southeast Businesses/Organizations Twitter list, which you can also browse on the JDLand.com home page, in the box below the map in the right margin--which is below the box with my own latest tweets, so clearly you can get a lot of Twitter content right here if you haven't joined the cult social media outlet yet. I'm trying to keep this list to very-very local businesses and groups (and not DDOT or the Nationals or other feeds that aren't mostly about goings-on in this area). If I'm missing any, let me know.

A Quick Gallery of Photos from A Rainy Opening Day
Mar 31, 2011 3:24 PM
It didn't exactly make one believe that Spring is anywhere close to springing, but a big crowd of fans still braved the weather to head to Nationals Park for Opening Day 2011. I took some photos here and there of the park and the opening ceremonies before retreating to the warmth (yes, I'm a wuss) including the above stitched-together panorama.
Is there optimism for the season? Pessimism? Or will it really not matter, as long as the sun eventually comes out?
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More posts: Nationals Park

Pre-Opening Day Roundup: Shake Shack Coming by June, NatsFest Photos, Circulator's Hours Officially Expanded
Mar 30, 2011 5:46 PM
The news from Tom Sietsema whizzed around the Twitterverse early today: "acclaimed" New York restaurateur Danny Meyer is bringing four of his creations to Nationals Park, including Shake Shack, which has already had DC foodies salivating over a planned Dupont Circle location. Shake Shack will be replacing Five Guys on the Scoreboard Walk, and surrounding it will be El Verano Taqueria (serving Mexican snacks), Box Frites (Belgian-style fries with dips) and Blue Smoke (barbeque). The ink is apparently barely dry on the deal, so construction is only just now getting underway (as you can see in the photo at right and this one, which I took today at the ballpark). Shake Shack and the others are already operating at the Mets' stadium, Citi Field.
This isn't the only news of the day in regards to the ballpark food, as the team also announced new food partnerships: the Boston Beer Company will bring Sam Adams beers to the stadium, along with a new Sam Adams beer garden in May; Kayem Hot Dogs are now the "official frank of the Washington Nationals"; and Breyers is now the official ice cream. There's also changes to the existing concessions, including two portable Hard Times Cafe carts that will sell nachos. And a new "point of sale" operation that is supposed to speed up food sales and other transactions. (We shall see....!)
As for outside the ballpark, I peeked in on the progress at Das Bullpen, and while they were working very hard, it was hard to judge whether they'll be open by tomorrow morning. But the original Bullpen at Half and N will be opening at 10 am for all your late-morning beer-drinking needs. (Justin's Cafe will open at 10:30.) There was also work going on along Half Street, with Monument Realty finally replacing the Half Street advertising signage that for so long has declared "Coming 2009" with a more gentle "Coming Soon."
All this reconnaissance came as part of my short visit to NatsFest, and you can see a quick gallery of my photos from the event, none of which are terribly exciting and are more about little things here and there than the players or any of the activities. (I figured those sorts of photos would be a dime a dozen since every fan was toting a digital camera.) One change at the stadium visible in one of the photos (above the big honking new Jayson Werth banner) is that the red tent on top of the left-field garage that has been obscuring views of the Capitol for the past few years is now gone. Yay!
In other news, DDOT has announced that the Navy Yard Circulator's hours are indeed being extended beginning on April 1. From Friday through Sept. 30 (though could be continued in the FY12 city budget), the buses will run from 6 am to 9 pm weekdays and from 7 am to 9 pm on Saturdays, in addition to the extended hours on Nats game days. (They're supposed to post the 2011 Game Day Schedule, but it's not there quite yet.)
And, if you want more transit info before heading off to the ballpark, here's Metro's press release on its plans for extra trains, crowd monitoring, etc.
If I were in a generous mood, I could also link to today's front-page Washington Times story about how nothing is happening around the ballpark in terms of development, but if they are silly enough to dub the "new" Courtyard by Marriott (finished in 2006) as one of neighborhood's "signs of progress," then I'm not sure you need to read the rest. Besides, you can just read my roundup of what's changed since the end of last season to find out all you need to know.
We'll see what the weather does on Thursday--people seem to be sounding a bit more optimistic, but be aware that if there's rain, they'll most likely play Friday and not Thursday night.
UPDATED headline, tweaking "before June" to "by June."
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More posts: circulator, Restaurants/Nightlife, Nationals Park, Stadium Events

Baseball Back for Fourth Season at Nationals Park; Neighborhood Update, Parking Map for Returning Fans
Mar 28, 2011 9:44 AM
It's hard for me to believe that this week marks three years since the first Opening Day at Nationals Park, but time does march on. Wednesday evening's NatsFest followed by three games against the Braves (starting with Thursday's 1:05 pm season opener) will bring a lot of people back to Near Southeast for the first time since last summer.
If you're one of them, and you haven't diligently been reading my posts (gasp!), you might be interested in knowing what's been going on since the last time you ventured into this neck of the woods. Here's the big items:
Yards Park: In early September, the first phase of the six-acre Yards Park opened on the banks of the Anacostia, just two blocks east of the ballpark. It's a space unlike any in Washington, and is definitely worth a visit, perhaps even on your way to Saturday's afternoon game, since the park is holding a Family Fun Day that starts at 11 am. (Even if you don't make it to the park right away, you can easily see it from the ballpark's southeastern viewing platform.)
It will probably be a neat place to watch the Friday night post-game fireworks as well (UPDATE: waah! no fireworks this year!), a trip which will be made even easier when a floating bridge connecting Diamond Teague Park--just across Potomac Avenue from the First Base Gate--with the Yards Park is completed, perhaps by the end of the season.
Unfortunately, most people visiting the park in conjunction with a Nationals game won't get to walk along the river all the way to 11th Street: while the Navy Yard has announced that its stretch of the boardwalk is opening April 1, the initial hours will only be from 8 am to 5 pm Monday-Friday.
Foundry Lofts: Just to the north of the new park, work re-started last September on the stalled Foundry Lofts building at 3rd and Tingey, and it is expected to be completed this fall.
Bullpen: It may not be ready by Thursday, but the open-air bar and live music gathering place across N Street from the stadium known as the Bullpen is opening a gameday beer garden to the north of its current spot, on the corner of Half and M across from the west entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station. With close to 80 picnic tables, it will have a capacity of over 600 and will offer European beers, sausages and other like fare, and a quieter environment than the original Bullpen (which will be remaining open for this season as well). The name of the new spot? Das Bullpen. (Yes, that's the moniker I flippantly gave the project back when the news first broke, which the owners decided to go ahead and use. #winning!)
Capitol Quarter: If you park in lot T on 3rd Street, SE, you'll see new townhouses going up directly across the street as part of Capitol Quarter's second phase of construction.
200 I: Just to the north of lot T and right by the Southeast Freeway, you'll see the old Star/Post Plant at 225 Virginia Avenue in the process of losing its exterior "skin" as it moves toward becoming 200 I Street, a DC government office building that will be completed next spring.
Canal Park: Right in the middle of things, across from the Five Guys and Subway, you'll see construction at last underway on Canal Park, the stretch of 2nd between I and M that at one time was a schoolbus parking lot and which has been plain open space for the past two years. The park is expected to be open by spring of next year, and so during the next 12 months expect there to be almost no parking along 2nd; the eastern part of the street is closed altogether. Also, note that L Street is closed for this one block, so you can't use it to get from New Jersey to 3rd or vice versa.
Harry's: If your path to and from the ballpark includes a walk down New Jersey Avenue (perhaps from the Capitol South Metro station), and you find yourself in desperate need of adult beverages, Harry's Reserve has now opened on the southwest corner of New Jersey and I, in the ground floor of the 909 New Jersey apartment building.
Florida Rock: While it hasn't happened yet, plans are for the concrete plant just south of the ballpark to be razed sometime this year, bringing unobstructed views of the Anacostia River to the southeastern viewing platform and clearing the Florida Rock site until the proposed 1.1-million-square-foot RiverFront project can get some financing and get started.
Getting Here: I've got my Stadium Parking map ready to go for 2011, though I've made no additions or deletions on it yet for the new season. I'll wander around this weekend and see if any new lots have popped up or old ones have gone away, though first impressions are that there are no major changes, certainly not in terms of the official Nats lots. (If you see any new lots or old ones that have gone offline, let me know so I can update the map.)
But with this area being a multimodal paradise, your better bet is Metro, or the Circulator that runs from Union Station and Eastern Market, or even Capital Bikeshare, now that there's a station at 1st and N. UPDATE: Forgot to mention the water taxi running from Alexandria, and it's possible that the new American Water Taxi service may get started up soon.
Retail? Eats? Unfortunately, if you were expecting this post to include a litany of new food and retail offerings, you will be just as disappointed as the residents and officeworkers currently are with the continuing lack of options beyond Subway, Five Guys, Justin's Cafe, and Cornercopia. There could be at least two additions before the end of the season, however: another beer garden (separate from Das Bullpen) is under development at 8th and L, SE, and the old "Little Red Building" site at 2nd and L is on its way to becoming "Lot 38 Espresso." Neither project has an announced opening date.
There is also lots of under-the-radar chatter of various restaurateurs starting to look at the area (which I haven't bothered posting, because a) I don't do rumors and b) it shouldn't really be news that they're looking in such an underserved area). With the above projects underway, along with DDOT and the FAA soon moving into 55 M, 20 M now 97 percent leased, and 100 M off the DL thanks to its foreclosure sale, there is a definite shift in the economic winds, and it would not be surprising to get some announcement of some new retail before the end of this season.
For more information on what's changed and what might be changing, check out my 2011 State of the Hood. The BID also did a recent roundup of changes.
If you want to relive the glory days of the ballpark's construction, you can wander through all my exterior and interior photos from that heady time, along with my many photo galleries from ballpark-related events over the years, from the groundbreaking to the topping out to each Opening Day. You can also check out what that part of the neighborhood looked like before the stadium's arrival. (Yes, I'm wallowing in nostalgia. It was a fun time.)
(UPDATED headline, because I can't count.)

DC Challenge at the Yards Park April 16; NatsFest Schedule
Mar 25, 2011 1:11 PM
The April lineup of events at the Yards Park continues to grow: on April 16 it will be host to the DC Challenge, an "Amazing Race" style scavenger hunt through the city. Competitors will "solve tricky clues" to plot the best route and race for cash prizes, and then afterwards there will be a "Finish Line Festival" with music, games, food drink, and the "crowd-judged costume contest." You can register online, and the web site has much more information on what's billed as "America's largest adventure race."
Also, in a slightly different vein, if you haven't already seen it, here's the schedule for NatsFest on Wednesday afternoon.
(One note on my handling of upcoming events--generally I'll post about something when I hear about it, and maybe give another reminder a couple days beforehand if the timing's right, and of course they're all always on my events calendar. But if you want lots of updates and reminders on goings-on at the Yards Park or other events handled by the BID, you'll want to follow those Facebook or Twitter feeds.)
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More posts: Events, Nationals Park, Stadium Events, The Yards, Yards Park

Florida Rock Raze Permit, and Other Tuesday Tidbits
Mar 22, 2011 11:03 AM
All sorts of small stuff that has recently been Tweeted, or just left to molder until I finally got around to posting:
* A raze permit application has been filed by the Florida Rock folks for the concrete plant operated by Vulcan Materials Co. on Potomac Avenue just south of Nationals Park. This in an of itself is quite interesting, made even more interesting by a lack of response from Florida Rock Properties when I inquired as to what this planned razing might mean. From what I'm told, raze permits are valid for one year from the date of issuance (and this one hasn't been issued yet). The plan has been for a 1.1-million-square-foot mixed-use project that would include office, residential, hotel, and retail in four buildings, plus lots of open space. (Note that the western part of the project can't be built until the new Douglass Bridge is built and the current one is demolished, which doesn't seem to be happening anytime soon). Whether the current plans will still be going forward with the current owners or if changes are in the works, we'll just have to wait and see, though considering that it took FRP a decade or so to get zoning approvals for the site, it would be no fun to see the process start over again.
* There was a kitchen fire on the 3rd floor of the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St. SE on Monday night, according to tweets from DCFireEMS. The bulk of the fire was handled by the sprinkler system, they say, and there were no injuries.
* The DC Music Fest planned for the Yards Park on May 7 has been cancelled "due to a lack of funding and sponsorships."
* The Five Guys at Nationals Park will not be back for the 2011 season, says Curbed DC. (The one on 2nd Street across from Canal Park is not affected by this.)
* Speaking of the ballpark, in case your attention hasn't yet turned to baseball, note that Opening Day is next Thursday (March 31), with NatsFest being held at 4 pm the day before. The first series of games (Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday) will all be early afternoon starts (1:05 pm on Thursday and Saturday and the normal 1:35 pm start on Sunday).
And Saturday's game is bookended by Family Fun Day at Yards Park, being held from 11 am to 4 pm in conjunction with the National Cherry Blossom Festival. (Plus there's all the goings-on that day on the Southwest Waterfront, including the big fireworks display.)

ANC 6D Doings: Bullpen Expansion Support, Canal Park Timeline
Feb 14, 2011 9:38 PM
Quick items from tonight's ANC 6D meeting:
* The commission voted 6-0 to support the Bullpen's plans to open an additional 632-seat beer garden at Half and M, across from the Navy Yard Metro station's west entrance just north of Nationals Park. Owner Bo Blair says that this new area, which I'm referring to as Das Bullpen until cease and desist letters stop me, would be a more "mellow" space than the current Bullpen, with little if any live music, and catering more to folks over 35 and families. It will be offering European beers and a "light" menu (though, are sausages ever really "light"?).
It was determined that this new operation, which will run in tandem with the existing Bullpen at Half and N for the 2011 baseball season, does not need its own liquor license. The ANC in its motion also requested that ABRA handle this license expansion request in an expedited fashion so that negotiations between the Bullpen and landlord Akridge can be completed and the beer garden can be opened by the end of March. It's expected that the original Bullpen will disappear after this season so that Akridge can begin construction on the southern residential portion of its 700,000-square-foot Half Street project.
While both Bullpens will only be open during stadium events, Blair said he's thinking about investigating whether food trucks could be coaxed to come to the Das Bullpen site during lunchtime on non-game days every so often.
You can read more about Das Bullpen here.
* Chris VanArsdale of the Canal Park Development Association gave a very brief presentation by request of 6D chair Ron McBee. VanArsdale said that the "construction kick-off" meeting was held today with Davis Construction, and that work on the site should start "by the end of the month." With a 14-month construction timeline, this would get the park "substantially completed" by March 2012, and finished by May.

Bullpen Looking to Add Beer Garden at Half and M
Feb 2, 2011 9:22 PM
The Bullpen, the outdoor bar and festivities spot that has operated just across the street from Nationals Park during stadium events since 2009, is making plans to open a "Beer Garden" at the northern end of their current block, at Half and M streets, SE, facing the western entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station. (See my high-quality graphic at right.) With 79 picnic tables holding eight people each, it would have a seating capacity of 632 people, and would offer draft German beers (and perhaps other European beers) along with German sausages, kielbasa, and other light (ahem) fare.
"Das Bullpen" [copyright JD] is being envisioned as having a very different atmosphere from the current Bullpen, with the beer garden not having game areas with lots of kids running around. There would be no amplified music, and it would operate during the same hours as Bullpen 1.0 (which will be remaining open this year as well). It would have its own entrance, right across from the Metro station's entrance, and would be fenced in and partially covered/tented in the same way as the existing Bullpen.
At an ANC 6D ABC subcommittee meeting tonight, a Bullpen rep explained that Akridge, the owners of the entire block bounded by M, N, Half, and Van, has informed the Bullpen owners of plans to begin construction perhaps as early as October of this year on the southern end of the block, where Bullpen 1.0 is located. (There seems to have been some sort of "hint" that if the Bullpen wants to have a shot at a permanent home in the new ground-floor retail spaces that will be available when the block is completed, they need to expand to this additional area this year.) If Akridge's plans are unchanged from what went through the zoning process a few years ago, the southern end of the block would be a 300-unit residential building with ground-floor retail. You can see renderings on my Akridge Half Street page.
As you can see on my cruddy map, there will still be substantial parking available between the two locations. (For old-timers, this new site is where WMATA's old Southeastern Bus Garage entrance was located.)
The Bullpen's lawyers are trying to determine whether this constitutes an expansion of the current operation, to allow Das Bullpen to open under their existing liquor license, or whether a new license (and then a new voluntary agreement with the ANC) will be needed. More to come, I'm sure.
UPDATE: And it should be noted that this is a completely separate venture from the Bavarian Beer Garden plans at 8th and L, SE. Beer gardens to the left! Beer gardens to the right!
UPDATE II: To clear up any confusion, they are intending to have Das Bullpen open this spring, with Bullpen 1.0 open as well through the end of the 2011 baseball season.
UPDATE III: Another clarification: The new site has no official name yet. "Das Bullpen" is purely my invention, because I wanted something catchy to describe it.

Tuesday Tidbits: Harry's, NatsFest, Yards Park, Etc.
Jan 18, 2011 3:04 PM
Some recently Tweeted items, and a few new ones, worth wrapping up into a quick post:
* Last week I heard from the owners of what will soon be the Harry's Reserve "upscale" wine and spirits store at New Jersey and I, saying that they hope to be open by February 1.
* This year's NatsFest at the baseball stadium will be held on March 30, the day before the Opening Day home game against the Atlanta Braves. The schedule of events is still to come, but hopefully the decision to better tie in the event to the hoopla surrounding the start of the season won't be offset by it being on a Wednesday, when it's harder for kids to be there. (Especially kids who may already be playing hooky the next day!)
* The Yards Park web site now has information about renting space for public, private, or community events. And if you wander through the calendar, you can see what events might be on tap for this year, though the main calendar shows what's been confirmed, such as the Capitol City Beer Festival on May 28, the previously discussed DC Music Festival on May 7, the MetroDash obstacle course race on July 9, and a monthy Art Market.
* Stephen Strasburg, working on his degree while rehabbing, has written a thesis on the effects new stadiums have on neighborhoods, with a focus on Nationals Park. If he was looking for information on what the neighborhood looked like "before," I hope he found it! (And no, the thesis isn't available anywhere.)
* The National Capital Planning Commission will be looking at the final 11th Street Bridges site and building plans at their February 3 meeting. Gosh, I hope they like where the bridges themselves are placed in the designs!
* Off-topic, but the hunt seems to be back on for a new DC United stadium location, with one of the potential spots being across South Capitol Street at Buzzard Point in Southwest. (Please note that I said Buzzard Point. There is no s on the end. In case you missed 642 tweets about it today.) SWill has some additional information.
And, coming on Thursday (I hope), my 2011 State of the Hood roundup of the past 12 months' worth of activity, and what might be on the horizon. (I'm telling you this to force myself to actually get it done.)

Nats Looking to Add a Curly W to Navy Yard Metro Station Name
Dec 13, 2010 8:54 PM
At tonight's ANC 6D meeting, Nationals vice president Gregory McCarthy asked the commission to support the Nationals' request for a name change for the Navy Yard Metro station. But, instead of asking to add "Nationals Park" or "Ballpark" or "Baseball Stadium" or "[Insert Corporate Naming Rights Winner Here] Park" or some other permutation, the Nationals are asking that the Nationals' "Curly W" red logo be added to Metro's maps and signage instead. McCarthy said that focus groups with fans have indicated a strong identification with the logo, and, just as the Curly W appears on freeway signs around the area directing drivers to the stadium, the team wants the same icon to direct transit users.
Commission chair Ron McBee spoke of the team's positive impact on the community, especially all the work that team players and staff do with the students of nearby Amidon-Bowen Elementary School in Southwest, and there were few other comments from the commissioners. One audience member asked if this didn't amount to free advertising--McCarthy replied that the name of the stadium (which is owned by the city, he reminded) is "Nationals Park," and that the Curly W just signifies the team's name. (In far fewer letters.) The team would be on the hook for any costs incurred for the signage and map changes, but since WMATA is undertaking a reprinting and updating of its maps and signage next year, they probably have pretty good timing.
The resolution drafted by the ANC called for support of the Nationals' request, as long as Navy Yard remains in the station's name and remains first, with "Nationals Park" being an acceptable alternative if WMATA doesn't want to use the Curly W. (They also made sure to specify that the Nats are wanting the Curly W to be red.) This means that the ANC's preference for the station's new name is Navy Yard/Capitol Riverfront/, since the Capitol Riverfront BID previously came to the ANC asking for support in having its name added. The resolution also gives "Navy Yard/Riverfront/Ballpark" as an acceptable alternative if Navy Yard/Capitol Riverfront/ is too long. The resolution passed 6-0-1.
In terms of how station name changes work, McBee passed out this 1987 DC government document detailing how the city evaluates requests. After an ANC weighs in, the WMATA committee looking at the request submits a formal recommendation to DC's WMATA board member(s), who then transmit a formal recommendation to the mayor, who decides on the request and transmits a request for action (or non-action) back to WMATA.
After the vote, McCarthy took a moment to thank outgoing 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel ("who I first met when he was opposing the new stadium") for all the work he has done on behalf of the community since it was decided to put Nationals Park in his single member district.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park

Rainy Sunday Tidbits: Garage Art, ANC, Akridge/Half St.
Dec 12, 2010 11:28 AM
A few bullet points to pass along on this lovely day (man, I wish I was in Minneapolis right now):
* I took a few photos (belatedly) of the newly installed stainless steel baseballs hung this week on the Nationals Park garages on N Street. You can see a hint of the red and blue LED lights that will "activate" the balls, though I imagine it will be more impressive when it's dark out. (Also, if you're as desperate in your Christmas shopping as I am, remember that the Nats Team Store at Half and N is open from 11 am to 5 pm every day except Sunday.)
* A reader reported this morning that the fences have been taken down around the all-but-completed 1015 Half Street office building, on the site of the old Nation nightclub. Douglas Wilson Companies, which took over the project when Opus East went belly up, had said when construction restarted in May that they would deliver 1015 Half by the end of the year, and they seem to have basically hit that date. No announcement of any tenants for the 440,000-square-foot building, though.
* The ANC 6D meeting is on Monday at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M streets, SW, but, as of now, no agenda has been posted. I'm sure it'll be a wonderful holiday potpourri of topics, though. (The agenda for Tuesday's ANC 6B meeting has been up for quite a while, and includes the new beer garden at 8th and L.)
* A reader passed along this DCMud piece trying to play up movement on Akridge's Half Street project (just north of the ballpark), but I see a lot of "expects" and "luck" and "hope to" rather than any concrete start dates, and so, to me, that means there's really no news of impending construction. The fact that the Bullpen has apparently gotten it's lease renewed for the 2011 season would point to Akridge not expecting to do any work before fall. (And I'd also note that the first sentence gets everything wrong about the disposition of the Southeastern Bus Garage site, as is so often the case with DCMud items on Near Southeast: Akridge was the winning bid for the entire bus garage site in 2007, while Monument [which itself is not bankrupt, though its financial backer Lehman Brothers did croak] had earlier gotten the Metro station entrance on the other side of the street. Monument had owned land south of the bus garage, on the Bullpen site, but then sold that to Akridge in 2008.) The post also gives some background on the project, which might be new for people who haven't been following along, but which is basically what Akridge has been saying since they first unveiled the project two years ago.
You can see my Akridge Half Street project page for all of the details and renderings of the 700,000-square-foot office/residential/retail project, or, heck, read the zoning hearing transcript from January 2009. I think new residents will be happy about Akridge's long-mentioned plans for the "stall"-like vending area along the "Via" as well as a "neighborhood retail" feel for the Van Street side of the project, though people will probably be even happier about that once they know the project is actually going to start....

Upcoming Calendar of Events (Through Dec. 17)
Dec 6, 2010 10:46 AM
This is a painful post for me to write. (No, seriously--I hurt my left thumb last week, and typing doesn't help.) But I will power through to bring you news of upcoming events, all while wondering why Decembers are always so busy with public meetings--because it's not like we don't we have enough to do already....
ADD: Oops. Tonight (Dec. 6) is the 4th Annual Livable Walkable Community Awards, at Arena Stage at 6:30 pm.
* Tuesday (Dec. 7) is the second Marine Barracks site search public forum, in Eastern Market's North Hall. I can't find the agenda for it, but the CIMP web site describes it thusly: "Session 2 will begin with at 5:00 pm with an open house where information will be provided in displays, and subject matter experts will be present to discuss various aspects of the CIMP with a facilitated discussion to authenticate community development objectives to begin at 7:00 PM." You can see the draft community objectives handed out at last week's meeting, and read my summary of that session, as well as the scads of posts through the past year of this process.
* Wednesday (Dec. 8) is the neighborhood meeting with DC Public Schools interim chancellor Kaya Henderson on the movement to reopen Van Ness Elementary at 5th and M, SE. The meeting is at 6 pm (note the time change) at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, and while no decision on reopening the school will be announced, DCPS will be talking about the preliminary findings from the survey they did this fall about whether there would be enough students to justify reopening the school. Read my previous posts for details.
* On Thursday (Dec. 9) the ANC 6B ABC Committee will meet at 7 pm at the Southeast Neighborhood Library at 403 7th St., SE, and it will be taking up the new liquor license application for the Bavarian Beer Garden at 8th and L, SE. It's looking to be a 99-seat tavern, with an additional 200 outdoor seats in summer, and would operate from 11 am to 2 am Sunday through Thursday and 11 am to 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays. There's also apparently the possibility of live entertainment. The application will also be taken up by the full ANC at its regular meeting on Dec. 14 at 7 pm at 535 8th St., SE.
* Monday (Dec. 13) is ANC 6D's monthly meeting--the agenda should be out later this week.
* Tuesday, Dec. 14 is the BID's Annual Meeting, at 11:30 am at 100 M St., SE. There will be a keynote address by George Hawkins, general manager of DC Water, plus the BID will release its 2010 Annual Report and State of the Capitol Riverfront.
* The BID also launches its Holiday Market on the 14th, running daily through the 18th on the sidewalk outside of 1100 New Jersey Ave., SE, across from the Navy Yard Metro station. "Shop the market for wool sweaters and mittens, homemade soaps, jewelry, antique maps, wreaths and holiday greenery, paintings, and much more!" See the flyer for more details, or the latest BID newsletter.
* Also on the 14th is the aforementioned ANC 6B monthly meeting, which includes a report by Michael Stevens of the BID on the Lower 8th Street Visioning Process report that's being submitted to the Office of Planning. (This will also be presented to the ANC's Planning and Zoning Committee on Dec. 7 at 7 pm at 535 8th St., SE.)
* Finally, on Dec. 17, the James L. Brooks movie "How Do You Know" opens--this is the one that was filmed at Nationals Park (and all around DC) back in 2009, and stars Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, and Jack Nicholson.
Ow.

ANC 6D Supports St. Paul's Historic Designtation, and Other Doings (CSX, 11th Street Bridges, Traffic)
Nov 8, 2010 10:51 PM
From the world of ANC 6D:
* The commission voted 7-0 to support the historic designation application of St. Paul's AUMP Church at 401 I St., SE, thanks in no small part to Pastor Karen Mills, who charmed the pants off the assembled commissioners and audience with a display of good humor sorely needed after some earlier rancorous exchanges discussing Southwest Waterfront issues.
The church was built in 1924, and apparently the years of having a congregation that didn't have a lot of money ended up being a good thing: because there have been few renovations, the church's facade and bricks are still from the original construction, making it a far better candidate for a historic designation than other churches which have had work done. The church is also notable for being the first church designed by R.C. Archer Jr., who was only the second licensed African American architect in DC. Once the church receives its historic designation, it will then be eligible for some grants to allow for historically accurate and preservation-approved renovations. (The photo above shows the church in 2007, when it stood alone after the demolition of the Cappers and before the start of Capitol Quarter construction.)
The church was approached for this application by the DC Preservation League, and the hearing before the city's Historic Preservation Review Board is scheduled for Nov. 18 at 9 am. You can see the information forwarded to the ANC about the application here (shot with my phone's camera, so not of particularly high quality, but it made me feel like a secret agent!). One other educational tidbit: "AUMP" stands for "African Union Methodist Protestant."
Pastor Mills also said that anyone who wants to come see St. Paul's is more than welcome to visit. And so it is with great shame that I admit that I have never been inside of the little church I've photographed so many times --I've always been worried that I would burst into the flames of eternal hellfire the second I stepped inside the doors, and I didn't want the poor little church to get singed as a result of my sins. But I'm now determined to give it a shot anyway.
* CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel: Stephen Flippin of CSX gave a(nother) update on the status of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project. While CSX had applied for a $3 million grant under USDOT's TIGER II program to help pay for the NEPA process for the project, they didn't get that funding, so the process got delayed by a couple of months. They are now looking to have the first "public scoping meeting" in January, which would include information booths, audience comments and questions, etc. There would then be a 30-day comment period, followed by an "alternatives" meeting probably in March, then another comment period followed by probably five or six months of work with their design/build team before coming back to another public meeting for a full update on the project. After that, they would need a few months with their designers before construction could begin, which puts the earliest possible starting time for the project somewhere around the spring of 2012. (Definitely not a date written in stone.)
There's also the issue that funding for the tunnel project itself hasn't been secured, and so CSX is looking at various public financing possibilities (transportation reauthorization act, funding from other states in the National Gateway) as well as -- gasp! -- using some of their own money, or at least money they received for other parts of the Gateway that they haven't spent.
Beyond this update on the process, there's no new information on the construction itself, and there pretty much won't be until after the NEPA process is done.
* 11th Street Bridges: There was also an overview and status report on the 11th Street Bridges project; I'm hoping to get the slides that were shown, so I'll hold off on writing about that. If in the meantime you have 9 or 10 free hours and want to delve into all the environmental impact studies that were done for the bridge project (which include traffic estimations among many other things), here's the Environmental Impact Statement and other associated documents. UPDATE: Here's my writeup of the slides.
* Near SE/SW Combined Traffic Study: During a discussion about pedestrian safety issues at 4th and M, SW, commissioner Andy Litsky reiterated his long-standing complaint that no traffic study has been undertaken to look at Near SE and SW together, and that it continues to be sorely needed. Naomi Mitchell of Tommy Wells's office then spoke up that Tommy is ready to help the ANC finally get this study done. (And there was much rejoicing.)
* Half Street Closures: Apparently the city is planning to move legislation that would allow for the closing of Half Street, SE, between M and N during all events at Nationals Park with more than 5,000 attendees, instead of the current set-up where it's only closed during Nationals games. This would include recent events like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure opening ceremonies and last Saturday's Greater Washington Region Start! Heart Walk.

Quick ANC 6D Meeting Report
Oct 18, 2010 10:29 PM
A few items from tonight's ANC 6D meeting, which is still going on (I bailed after the last Near Southeast agenda item).
* The commission voted 7-0 to support Forest City's zoning requests for its Parcel D project, the combination residential and retail (and grocery store) development on the southeast corner of 4th and M, SE. I wrote about it in detail a few weeks back, and you can see my Parcel D project page for renderings and additional information, but the short of it is it's a 220ish-unit residential building (with 20 percent affordable housing), a 50,000-square-foot grocery store, and an expected 24,000-square-foot fitness/spa company.
The Zoning Commission hearing will be on December 2, and Forest City is asking for two special exceptions (having to do with roof structures and the proposed 110-foot building height, which will be above the 90 feet that's allowed) and two variances (for a curb cut on M east of 4th for a new private service drive east of the new building and also for some balconies overlooking 4th). Forest City's Alex Nyhan also told the commission that, while the entire Yards project is designed to be LEED Gold, they are going to shoot for LEED Silver on this particular portion.
ANC 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel commended Forest City on the plans, though he made very clear that he and his constituents want a sit-down restaurant more than anything. Nyhan replied that the Boilermaker Shop project one block to the west on Tingey will have four or five restaurants including at least one sit-down one when it opens next fall. Siegel then made the motion to the support the project, Commissioner Sobelsohn seconded, and the vote was unanimous. The National Capital Planning Commission and the US Commission on Fine Arts have both recently voted to support the plans and designs.
* During the public safety report, Capt. Gottert of MPD mentioned that while there were a rash of car thefts in PSA 105 (and 106 and 107) during the past few months, the police had a suspect in mind, and now that he's been apprehended, the thefts have stopped. Gottert had no additional information on Saturday's carjacking at 1st and L, SE.
* The agenda had as one of its items a request by the Nationals to add the stadium to the Navy Yard Metro station name (coming on the heels of the Capitol Riverfront BID's request last month to add their name to the station). However, ANC chair Ron McBee said that the Nationals hadn't yet been able to get their request completely lined up yet, and so the item was postponed.
* Next month's meeting will be on Nov. 8, and will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. Expected agenda items include an update from CSX about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, a plan to give historic landmark status to St. Paul's church on the southeast corner of 4th and I, SE, and an update on the 11th Street Bridges construction.

ANC 6D Agenda Posted; Another Navy Yard Metro Station Name Change Request
Oct 15, 2010 1:44 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is now being circulated (slightly revised from one that went out earlier today). One item of Near SE interest is an update on the Yards Park and also the Parcel D residential/grocery project, which is now scheduled to go before the Zoning Commission on Dec. 2.
The revised agenda also now shows a new request to change the name of the Navy Yard Metro station; while last time it was the Capitol Riverfront BID requesting that the name be changed to Capitol Riverfront/Nationals Park/Navy Yard (which the ANC supported as long as "Capitol Riverfront" wasn't first), this time it's the Nationals themselves requesting that "Nationals Stadium" be added to the Navy Yard name. (I wouldn't put 100% confidence in the request being for "Nationals Stadium" and not "Nationals Park," but that's what the agenda says.) I'm trying to find out whether the first request has bitten the dust, or if these are competing requests, or what. Stay tuned. (See below for clarifications.)
There's also a request to add "Banneker Memorial Park" to the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station name. As well as a bunch of other stuff happening on the other side of South Capitol Street, which I leave to other people to pay attention to!
UPDATE: The BID has told me that this is just the Nationals requesting to be added so that they can be part of the Capitol Riverfront/Nationals Park/Navy Yard new name, though I'm not sure why they would need to have their own request separate from the one that the BID is already working on. Still trying to find out more, but may need to wait until Monday's meeting for clarification.
UPDATE II: Apparently the BID's request was officially just to add "Capitol Riverfront," but they recognized that the Nats would want the stadium included as well. So this ANC action will be to get whatever official name the Nationals want added to the station name into the mix.
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Tuesday Tidbits: 401 M, What if the Blue Castle Weren't Blue, Austin Grill Express at Nats Park?
Oct 5, 2010 2:29 PM
Some news on Near Southeast, still not the 9th Most Dangerous Neighborhood in the US:
* The National Capital Planning Commission's staff has recommended approval of the new designs for 401 M Street at the Yards, the new-construction building now redesigned to have residential units on top of a grocery-store-that-totally-isn't-Harris-Teeter-because-they-haven't-said-so-officially. The staff "recommends that the Commission recommend" [I love that] "that the massing and facade scale and articulation of the new building on Parcel D be studied and refined further as the design is developed. Staff notes that the grocery store should be treated with cladding that differentiates it from the residential tower and clearly acknowledges the presence and complements the scale of the sentry tower." You can see the designs on my 401 M page. The NCPC meets Thursday, Oct. 7, but this is a consent calendar agenda item, so it won't be discussed at the meeting.
* A subscribers-only WBJ piece discusses the new "Austin Grill Express" food-court concession that serves wings, burritos, tacos, and salads, that already has 11 locations since it launched about a year ago. There's another 11 on the way by the end of the year, and the owner is hoping for another 40 to 50 of them next year. One of the locations the owners are talking to? Nationals Park.
* What would the Blue Castle look like if it weren't blue? Madison Marquette included a rendering of a revamped 770 M (with what looks like a grocery offering of some sort) in the slides it showed at last week's Southwest Waterfront public meeting. There's been no official news of plans for the building, or a timeline on when work might happen. For those just joining us, the Blue Castle was originally a "car barn" back when DC had trolleys and then streetcars.

Pre-Weekend Cleaning Off of the Messy Virtual Desk
Oct 1, 2010 11:50 AM
Here's a bunch of little items that aren't ridiculously newsworthy, but that might be of interest. Since it's Friday and many of you actually have lives, I suggest reading a few at a time, and keep coming back over the weekend until you get through all of them. Some I've already passed along via Twitter (which you can also follow by being a Facebook Fan of JDLand), but some are surprisingly fresh. Here goes:
Top items:
* The process that will beget the new Southwest Waterfront is now underway, and SWill at Southwest: The Fabulous Blog With the Funny Name (did I get that right?) reports on this week's public meeting by the developers. Current plans call for 560 residential units, three hotels totalling 600 rooms, 840,000 square feet of office, 335,000 square feet of ground floor retail, some sort of music hall / museum / maritime education offering, 2,500 underground parking spaces in five garages, and 400-500 marina slips, with 60 percent of the site area being public space.
* Back before 1015 Half Street was a slow-to-finish office building, it was an old industrial building that in 1995 became the Capitol Ballroom and then eventually the Nation nightclub. But from its construction in 1931 until it was sold at auction in 1992, the southwest corner of Half and K was home to the J.E. Hurley Machine and Boiler Works company. And thanks to the Kinorama Flickr stream that took the Twitterverse by storm this week, here's a shot of the Hurley building, undated but probably in the early 1990s. The outlines of the more-familiar Nation building are clearly visible.
* Pastor Mark Batterson, writing about the National Community Church's purchase of the Miles Glass site at 8th and Virginia, says that they are looking at some of the adjacent properties as well. "Our current lot serves our current purposes, but when we think in twenty year terms the additional lots would give us more upside potential."
Calendar items:
* On Friday, Oct. 8, the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Race for the Cure will be holding its opening ceremonies at Nationals Park. It's not just for participants, and friends and family are also being encouraged to attend. Walkers will start arriving around 6 am, with the opening ceremony beginning (with "community stretching" at 7 am). Afterward, the participants will begin their 60-mile walk (though I can't find a map to figure out their route). More information about the opening ceremonies and race here.
* Mayor-in-Effect Vince Gray is having a series of town halls during October, with the Ward 6 one scheduled for Oct. 27 at 8:30 pm at Eastern High School, 1700 East Capitol St. NE.
Tidbits:
* Because I'm worried that the Marines' hunt for a new barracks site isn't engendering enough conversation around here, I'll point people to Norm Metzger's report on last week's Community Leadership Group meeting that I wrote about here.
* The Examiner did a Three-Minute Interview with Sam Fromartz of the Virginia Avenue Park's community garden.
* It's time once again for the Capitol Riverfront Perception Survey. Tell 'em what you perceive.
Off-Topic:
* I've written a few times about my interest in Detroit, and whether it can come back from so far down. If you haven't been following along, here's a great essay with lots of photos, written by David Byrne. (Yes, that David Byrne.) (thanks to reader EH)
* And, for the ultimate Friday time-waster, here's my bottlecap chasing cat that thinks he's a dog.

Farewell to Stan Kasten, With a Bunch of Goofy Photos
Sep 23, 2010 5:46 PM
Stan Kasten's announcement today that he's leaving the Nationals at the end of this season has me looking back through the many photos I've taken of him, mainly during the construction of Nationals Park. Without any commentary as to his impact on the Nationals' fortunes on the field, I will say that he was a great "face of the team" during the building and opening of the stadium, and his gregariousness made it easy to get a lot of fun pictures. I tormented him with multiple shots of him on his Blackberry, and also made sure to get the complete series of Hard Hat photos as the ballpark went up, and he indulged me for the most part. (He probably enjoyed having at least one member of the "media" who was more interested in the stadium than in "The Plan.")
So, I've tossed together a quick gallery of my favorite Stan photos, which may provide a moment or two of levity. And I'll also sneak in a quick thanks to Mr. K for letting "just a blogger" be part of the Nats' move to South Capitol Street.
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More posts: Nationals Park

Back from the Midwest; A Few Events This Week
Sep 20, 2010 9:39 AM
I'm back from spending the past week wandering around Ohio (Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland) and then spending some time in the Detroit area, where my husband grew up and where I lived for a few years as a tyke many years ago. If I was sent back in time 10 years and told to be a city blogger again but that I couldn't do Near Southeast, I would gladly have chosen to document the decay (and perhaps eventual return) of Detroit, because it's really on a scale that is hard for people to understand unless they've spent a lot of time driving all around the city (and not just on the freeways). It also means I would have spent the past 10 years eating plenty of Detroit Pizza at Buddy's and Cloverleaf and having far easier access to a bazillion breakfast options (at the Coneys and other "family dining" establishments) than we'll ever have in the DC Metro area. Plus there's the cider mills.
We also very much enjoyed Columbus, particularly the Short North and German Village neighborhoods (and driving through the Ohio State campus in my University of Florida-festooned car--ha ha!), and my husband also noted the bars and restaurants in the Arena District and asked if that's what will eventually be coming to Half Street. (I then asked him if he ever reads my blog.) Downtown Cincinnati has some great "old stock" storefronts and signage (which we're always big fans of), but we also enjoyed the Kentucky towns of Covington and Newport, right across the river from Cincy's two stadiums. It helped that our hotel was three blocks from the massive Covington Oktoberfest celebration. And yes, we ate chili. Cleveland was mainly a pilgrimmage to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for me, but we did wander around to eat in the Tremont and Ohio City neighborhoods, and took a peek at Shaker Heights.
(Are you as worn out from our vacation as I am? We do tend to cover a lot of territory.)
I don't think I deprived you of any big news while I was gone, so, instead, we'll look ahead at a few events this week:
* Today begins the Nats' final homestand of the 2010 season, against the Astros, Braves, and Phillies, with the final home game on Wednesday Sept. 29 at 7:05 pm. And note that this Thursday's game (Sept. 23) against the Astros is a 4:35 pm start, and Saturday's game (Sept. 25) against the Braves is at 1:05 pm. Then you can start looking ahead to the 2011 Nationals schedule, where they get an Opening Day home game on March 31 against the Braves.
* Tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 21) is ANC 6B's monthly meeting (delayed a week to avoid coinciding with the election), and the agenda includes CSX's plans for an archaeological dig at Virginia Avenue Park. The meeting is at 7 pm at the People's Church, 535 8th St., SE.
* Thursday is the Washington Area Bicyclist Association's "Moonlight Ride at Yards Park", which includes an 11-mile ride starting from the Park at 8:30 pm heading west to the Potomac River, and a 6-mile ride starting at 9 pm that will go east over the Anacostia River into Anacostia Park and Historic Anacostia. The rides are free and open to the public, but they ask that you register in advance.
* And, looking ahead a bit, the newly redesigned "Parcel D" residential/retail/grocery development on the southeast corner of 4th and M in the Yards will be presented to the National Capital Planning Commission on Oct. 7.
UPDATE: I guess I should also be mentioning the launch of Capital Bikeshare today, with two locations in Near Southeast, at New Jersey and M by USDOT, and what the map says is another station at First and N, SE, by Nationals Park (which I had heard wasn't coming until next spring).

Reminder: Opera in the Outfield on Sunday
Sep 16, 2010 1:04 PM
A reminder that the third Opera in the Outfield is scheduled for Sunday (Sept. 19) at Nationals Park. This year it's Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball, for you dweebs who don't speak Italian), simulcast in HD on the ballpark's massive screen. The gates open at noon, with the show beginning at 2 pm, but there will also be lots of pre-show and intermission activities, such as photo opportunities with Screech, giveaways, and the new "Take Me Out to the Opera Songwriting Contest," giving fans the chance to apply opera-inspired lyrics to the old ballpark standby. (The winners will be announced during the "Seventh Aria Stretch," i.e., the second intermission.) Seating is available throughout the ballpark (not just on the outfield), and while reservations are no longer being taken for specific spots, fans can still show up. And, of course, it's free.
Reminders via the Nationals for attendees: Only soft-sided coolers smaller than 16 x 16 x 9 inches and containing individual-size serving food will be allowed; no alcohol will be allowed inside the gates of the ballpark; no chairs will be allowed inside the gates of the ballpark; no strollers or wheelchairs are allowed on the grass of the field; and no throwing items on the field.
And afterward (or before) you can wander two blocks east to the Yards Park if you haven't checked it out yet, or even if you have.
If you're going, I'd also suggest prepping yourself with multiple viewings of this and this before you head out.
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More posts: Nationals Park, Stadium Events

Reminders for a Slew of Upcoming Events
Sep 9, 2010 2:17 AM
It's a busy next few days, so here's a reminder of what's on tap. (Of course, you could just look at my Events Calendar, but....)
* Today (Thursday) is the "Transportation Day" events that are part of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative's 10th anniversary celebration. Get thee down to 1301 M Street, SE (site of the offices for the 11th Street Bridges project) for the kick-off at 10 am with DDOT director Gabe Klein, and/or attend the open house until 2 pm, which includes bus tours of current AWI transportation projects (like, say, the 11th Street Bridges). Circulator buses will be shuttling to and from the Navy Yard Metro station.
If you're wanting to know more about the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative and what's been accomplished up to this point, here's a spiffy "10 Years of Progress" booklet with all sorts of details.
* Friday brings the start of the Yards Park Grand Opening Weekend, starting at 3:30 pm, along with a full slate of events all day Saturday and a few more on Sunday as well--here's the specifics on all the activities for all three days. (UPDATED with a new more detailed flyer showing all the events.)
* The Nats are at home against the Marlins, playing at the usual 7:05 pm Friday and 1:35 pm Sunday times, along with a somewhat rare 1:05 pm Saturday start. It's Fan Appreciation Month, with all sorts of promotions and offerings.
* Sunday, Sept. 12 is the Fourth Annual Youth River Sports Day put on by the Anacostia Community Boathouse, now at their new home just up river from the Sousa Bridge. It runs from 11 am to 3 pm, and is free and open to the public.
* ANC 6D returns from its summer recess on Monday, Sept. 13. The agenda hasn't been released yet, but rumored items include the grant the BID is applying for to beautify the New Jersey Avenue "entrance" to the neighborhood, along with what I hear might be a presentation on a possible renaming of the Navy Yard Metro station. While I haven't heard what the new name might be, I imagine that some variant of "Navy Yard / Nationals Park / Capitol Riverfront" will be on the table. Which means that my last chance to convince people to rename the neighborhood Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards is probably passing by.
* And on Tuesday there's some sort of election. Perhaps you've heard about it. But good heavens, get yourself to the polls and vote. You don't even have to wait until Tuesday to do it.

Tidbits: Spiffying Up the NJ Avenue Underpass; CSX Archaelogy Digging; More Near SE History
Sep 7, 2010 9:09 AM
A few things to pass along as we kiss summer goodbye (yes, I know it technically doesn't end for another few weeks, blah blah blah):
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is applying for a DC Public Art Building Communities grant to get funding to "improve the look, feel and experience of traveling into and out of the Capitol Riverfront along New Jersey Ave., SE, while also creating unique gateway art that represents the identity, sense of place and community in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood." They will be presenting their concepts at the Sept. 13 ANC 6D meeting, with applications being due on Oct. 13. If the project is selected to receive a grant, there would be public meetings sometime next year to "refine" the concepts, with hopes to complete the project by fall 2011. Though I can't imagine why anyone would want to beautify THIS!
* I'm not seeing this on the posted agenda yet, but a reader reports to me that CSX will be making presentations to ANC 6B's Planning and Zoning Committee tonight (Sept. 7) and the full ANC on Sept. 21 about a permit the freight company is apparently requesting to conduct an archaeological survey of Virginia Avenue Park prior to their planned expansion of the tunnel that runs under the park.
* Tonight you might see some folks with clipboards hanging around the Navy Yard Metro station entrances; they will be part of the Public Transportation Takes Us There petition drive by the American Public Transportation Association, trying to convince Congress to pass a long-term surface transportation funding bill. For the point of view of someone who has signed the petition, read this recent Richard Layman post. (I am wondering, and have no answer, whether this is the bill that CSX has been looking toward [along with other public money options] for funding the rest of the National Gateway project, which includes the expansion of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel.)
* You may have seen commenter MJM referencing recently his newfound obsession with the history of Near Southeast, and now he's put up a blog where you can share in the fruits of his research.

More Ward 6 Council Debating and Nats Park Events
Aug 25, 2010 8:37 PM
Guess yesterday's post with all sorts of tidbits on debates and goings-on at the ballpark wasn't enough! Here's more items that have come across the transom:
* If you missed Tuesday night's debate between Ward 6 Democratic candidates Tommy Wells and Kelvin Robinson, or if you haven't listened to today's forum with Wells and Robinson on the Kojo Nnamdi show, you've got still another shot: on Thursday night (Aug. 26) there will be yet another face-off between the two, this time in Southwest, at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at 600 M St., SW at 7 pm. Mark Segraves of WTOP will again moderate, along with Sam Ford of ABC7. This event is sponsored by the Southwest Action Team (SWAT) and a number of other organizations.
UPDATE: And there's *another* one, on Sept. 1 at 7:30 pm, sponsored by the Fair Budget Coalition.
I already mentioned the blood drive at Nationals Park on Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm. But there's a bunch of other events this weekend that may be of interest:
* Friday brings the First Annual Hard Times Cafe Wing Eating Contest--fans 21 and older who think they've got what it takes should e-mail the Nats with their bonafides, and the top responses will receive two tickets to the game and a spot in the contest.
* Friday is also the last Peanut Free game of the season at the ballpark, with tickets available in a special scrubbed-down and cordoned off section to allow children with peanut allergies and their families to get to the ballpark when otherwise they might not be able to.
* Saturday's game is the "Fan's Choice Bobblehead" night, and the fans have spoken: Pudge!
* Sunday's 1:35 pm game is the second Pups in the Park event, with all manner of special canine amenities as well as a "Pup Parade" around the warning track prior to the game. The Washington Humane Society will also be bringing adoptable dogs to the ballpark for the Third Annual Adopt-a-Pet event.
* Also on Sunday is "Me and a Friend," a new initiative by the USO that offers military children complimentary tickets so that they can bring a friend to the ballpark.
Here's all the information on these events, as well as the other promotions and whatnot going on over the weekend at the ballpark.
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ANC Race, Ward 6 Forum, Youth River Sports Day, and This Week's Ballpark Events
Aug 24, 2010 10:31 AM
A hail of bullets on a rainy morning:
* The ANC 6D07 race has another possible candidate, with David Garber now circulating his petitions to get on the ballot. It's more likely you know David as DG_Rad, the blogger at And Now, Anacostia; although he has continued ties east of the river, David moved to Near Southeast at the beginning of the summer, and has thrown his hat into the 6D07 ring. His web site for the race is VoteGarber.com. David joins Capitol Quarter resident Bruce DarConte in challenging current commissioner Bob Siegel (assuming they all get their required 25 petition signatures). And there's still a few weeks left for other candidates to pop up.
UPDATE: I understand via David that Bruce DarConte is not going to run after all.
* The Ward 6 Council Democratic Candidates Forum, an opportunity to hear from Tommy Wells and Kelvin Robinson about their position on issues of interest to Ward 6 and the city, is scheduled for tonight (Aug. 24) at 6:30 pm at the Southeast Library at 403 7th St., SE. According to The Hill is Home, it will be hosted by WTOP's Mark Segraves.
UPDATE: If you can't make the forum, or if you're reading this after it's over, the two candidates will also be debating on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on Wednesday (Aug. 25), at 12:06 pm.
* And although the Anacostia Community Boathouse's operations have moved to temporary space just far enough upriver that they're not technically in Near Southeast anymore, I'll still pass along that they are having their 4th Annual Youth River Sports Day on Sunday, Sept. 12, from 11 am to 3 pm. It's free, and it gives kids (and adults) a chance to try their hands at rowing and paddling. The Anacostia Watershed Society will also be giving tours of the river in their pontoon boat. Here's the photos I took at the 2008 event.
There's also a number of ballpark-related events this week:
* On Wednesday (Aug. 25), Nationals Park gets on the "Craft Beer Week" bandwagon with a Leinenkugel pregame beer sampling at the Miller Light Scoreboard Walk. For $22, fans receive a Scoreboard Pavilion seat and a voucher for four complimentary Leinenkugel beer samples from 4:30 pm until first pitch. To purchase tickets, go to nationals.com/craftbeerweek.
* Also on Wednesday is the Top Chef episode filmed at Nationals Park, as the six remaining contestants are charged with making game snacks for fans, with guest appearances by John Lannan, Adam Dunn, and {sniff} Matt Capps, and with guest judge (and Top Chef Masters winner) Rick Moonen. It's at 10 pm on Bravo. Here's a snippet of some of the arguing going on in one of the food bays during the challenge.
* Saturday, Aug. 28 is the second blood drive of the summer at the ballpark, from 8 am to 2 pm. Blood donors will receive two tickets to a future Nationals game, a limited edition Build-A-Bear Workshop bloodhound and the opportunity to meet a Nationals player. Appointments to donate blood are required. Interested donors should call 1-866-BLOODSAVES (256-6372) or visit www.inova.org/donateblood, click "schedule an appointment" and enter sponsor code 7665.
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More posts: ANC News, Boathouse Row, meetings, politics, Nationals Park

Tiny Followups For Yesterday's ANC/Yards Park Posts
Aug 19, 2010 12:10 PM
Guess I should have been lazy (er, lazier than usual) and waited 24 hours on each of my posts yesterday, because there's small tidbits to add on both:
* While the Yards Park "official opening weekend" is set for Sept. 10-12, invitations have now begun landing in mailboxes for a ribbon cutting/dedication ceremony on Sept. 7.
* There is now at least one challenger to ANC 6D07 incumbent Bob Siegel--according to the DCBOEE, Capitol Quarter resident Bruce DarConte has filed his paperwork to run. And I'm hearing rumors of at least one more resident planning to jump into the race as well.
In other non-followup news, eagle-eyed readers might notice in my DC permit feeds an approved public space/excavation permit for its planned 1111 New Jersey office building site. But don't read too much into it--there's still no announced plans to start construction anytime soon.
UPDATE: Oh, and a PS: The Top Chef DC episode filmed at Nats Park back in the spring is coming up next week (Wednesday, Aug. 25, at 10 pm, on Bravo). It appears to be a stadium-food challenge, with the "chestestants cheftestants" cooking and serving in the various food bays along the concourse.
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More posts: 1111 New Jersey, ANC News, Square 743N, Nationals Park, The Yards, Yards Park

Capital Bikeshare Coming to Near Southeast
Aug 4, 2010 1:15 PM
I'm catching up on a few items now that I'm more or less back to full speed, and one of them is DDOT's new Capital Bikeshare program that set the DC blogosphere on fire a week or so ago. One thousand bikes spread across 100 stations will be arriving in September, allowing users to borrow a bike for round trips or one-way journeys.
In the initial rollout, Near Southeast will have one station, right in front of the Starbucks in the USDOT building at New Jersey and M, which I'm guessing will make transportation secretary Ray LaHood happy. (It's marked properly on the official map, but ignore notations calling the location "400 M Street, SE." I've confirmed with DDOT that the Starbucks location is the correct one, and they'll be giving it the proper designation of 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE soon.) The next closest location is at 8th and I, just north of the freeway on Barracks Row. There will also be one just north of the new Southwest Safeway, at 4th and I, SW.
DDOT also says they'll be looking to add an additional bikeshare station at Nationals Park next spring, in time for the 2011 season.
[Rare personal aside: I'm really looking forward to this new project, because I'm not really interested in riding my bike *to* work, but I'll like having bike stations within three blocks that will allow me to ride home when the appropriate mood, weather, and clothing strike simultaneously.]
You can follow the launch via @BikeShare on Twitter.

Renderings of Planned Baseball Art on Ballpark Garages
Aug 3, 2010 6:24 PM
The Post's Dan Steinberg blogged today about the latest planned "public art" at Nationals Park, first reported by WBJ last month, and linked to two renderings of the 30 stainless steel orbs lit by LEDs that will be installed on the infamous garages by the spring of next year.
On his "In Progress" page, sculptor Thomas Sayre notes how 70 percent of ballpark-goers arrive from the north side of the stadium, and that the garage facades that greet visitors are "large, powerful, and do little themselves to welcome fans to the magical experience of a baseball game."
He explains the concept behind his work thusly: "Inspired by the primary action of the game of baseball itself - the pitch followed by the hit - this public art project consists of a succession of polished stainless spheres derived from a spinning baseball which depicts physics of how a 90-mile per hour pitch is able to curve in such extraordinary ways. Eighteen stainless steel "baseballs" follow the theoretical model of the trajectory of a curving fast ball pitch. The western garage facade will show the more straight and higher-angled trajectory of the same ball as it is hit by the batter and is depicted with twelve "baseballs". The pitch comes at you from the left and sails off from you to the right as you enter."
UPDATE: After hearing a comment or two about the garages themselves, I thought a little bit of history might be in order. I just posted this in the comments:
If you weren't around during the haggling over the construction of the stadium in 2006, you missed all of the angst about the garages. MLB mandated 925 1225 on-site parking spaces. They also mandated a stadium ready by Opening Day 2008. And the city mandated a spending cap for construction. Those three requirements left the city little choice but to construct the garages in their current location, above ground.
I invite readers to plow through my *many* posts from back in the day, to learn of such things as the proposed Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness, and other ideas that fell by the wayside because of political and financial reality.
This doesn't preclude the eventual demolition of the garages and putting them underground, but I haven't heard that spoken of much since 2008, when most people saw the garages, sighed, and began just averting their eyes.
UPDATE II: A reader passed this link along--if you click on Projects, then Pitch Terrain, you'll see what's billed as a "finalist proposal" for the competition for the Nats garage art. This design, by Rob Ley, was an "undulating lighted facade system," using aluminum screens to simulate the flow of the ball between pitcher and batter.
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Second NatsTown Green-Up on Friday, in Southwest
Jul 29, 2010 3:54 PM
(Though this is in reference to the neighborhood "around" Nationals Park, the locations are actually in Southwest. But it's still worth posting.)
From the Nationals: "The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation will team up with Earth Conservation Corps to give area residents and local businesses the opportunity to help beautify the neighborhood surrounding Nationals Park. More than 100 volunteers will take to the streets from 8am to noon [on Friday, July 30] to clean up areas at three separate locations - the Matthew Henson Center (2000 Half Street, SW); the intersection between 1st and Q Streets, SW; and the park at 3rd and I Streets, SW. Nationals Pitchers Tyler Clippard and Craig Stammen will also join volunteers for a portion of the morning's clean-up." I understand that Colin Balester is going to be part of the cleanup as well; I don't know if that's in addition to Clippard and Stammen, or in place of one of them.
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Reader Mailbag: Kudos to Nats Park First Aid Staff
Jul 29, 2010 11:54 AM
From reader Linda G. of Richmond: "I want to let someone know how appreciative I am of the wonderful people that came to my rescue last Saturday night at the Dave Mathews/Zac Brown concert. I had ridden the metro and walked in. Then had to walk to our seats which were in section 418 three rows from the top of the stadium. By the time I got to my seat I was suffering from heat exhaustion and about to pass out. My son got wet paper towels and ice but ended up having to go get the first aid people to come help. They were WONDERFUL and I want to let them know how appreciative I am of them."
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Discounted July 27 Nats Tickets for Jefferson Residents
Jul 23, 2010 9:21 AM
If you're feeling like taking in a Nats game soon, and you live at the Jefferson (70 I), the Nats are offering discounted tickets for the Tuesday, July 27 game against the Braves [*cough*Strasburg*cough*]. Details are here; tickets start at $7.
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Upcoming Events: Seabiscuit, Dave Matthews, SoS
Jul 22, 2010 2:33 AM
For your scheduling pleasure:
* Thursday's BID outdoor movie is Seabiscuit, the heartwarming tale of a horse swimming across the ocean for food (no, wait, that's not right). It starts at Canal Park at Second and M streets, SE, at 8:45 pm, but you can arrive early for some hula hooping with Hoop Jams at 8 pm. Rain cancellations will be posted on the BID web site by 4 pm.
* On Friday night (July 23) the Dave Matthews Band will be in concert at 7 pm at Nationals Park, with the Zac Brown Band opening. Tickets are still available, and the concert will go on rain or shine. (If you're heading to the ballpark for the concert and are unfamiliar with the territory, here's my Stadium Parking information page. But make it easy on yourself just take Metro.) Speaking of the stadium parking page, I've now added the new (tiny) $10 lot on the northwest corner of New Jersey and I.
* The rest of the weekend will be quiet (and hot), but then on Tuesday the 27th the Summer of Strasburg will return to the neighborhood, as Stephen is expected to pitch against the Atlanta Braves in a 7:05 pm game.
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Details on Pay-by-Phone Parking Pilot Near Ballpark
Jul 21, 2010 10:45 AM
Pay By Phone Sample StickerThis week DDOT has started a series of parking pilot programs across the city, trying out different types of street parking payment systems to determine which technology and solutions work best for DC. The pilot chosen for some of the streets near Nationals Park is "ParkMobile," which allows you to pay for parking with your cellphone. Drivers sign up at the company's web site, and can download an iPhone or Blackberry app or use a mobile web site to pay for parking. (Hurry up with that Android app, wouldya?) Here's a map showing the streets in Near Southeast where the ParkMobile pilot is underway (basically all of M and the streets from the west side of Canal Park over to South Capitol, north of M). You'll receive a text message reminder when you've got about 15 minutes left of time. (And DDOT says that ParkMobile's transaction fees are being waived during the pilot.)
Has anyone tried it out? If so, leave your experiences in the comments.
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Brief Break from Blogging Breather for Bullet Points
Jul 9, 2010 2:36 PM
I'm still eyeing a couple more days of (mostly) blog-free living, but a few items should probably be mentioned before the weekend, and so that you don't think I'm never coming back. First, the calendar:
* On Monday at 6:30 pm, the Zoning Commission will take up the Housing Authority's new request for another time extension to the zoning order that requires construction of the Capper Community Center. DCHA had asked for a two-year extension last year, but was only granted one year, and made clear at that time that they didn't foresee having the money to start the center in that shorter time frame, and that they'd be back to ask for another extension. And now they are.
* Speaking of the community center, there's now a big sign on its footprint (at Fifth and L) touting that the second phase of Capitol Quarter's townhouses is being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But you knew that already.
* Monday at 7 pm is the monthly ANC 6D meeting. I was hoping the agenda would be out before I posted this, but alas, no. Check back here or on their web site to see what scintillating topics will be up for discussion. (UPDATE: the agenda is now out, and there's nothing really major on it, other than a public space permit for the street work for Phase 2 of Capitol Quarter.)
* On Tuesday, July 13, the Capitol Hill Group Ministry is having its "All-Star Party Night" at Nationals Park, offering the chance to take batting practice, throw pitches in the bullpen, tour the locker room, meet Teddy, and more. Tickets are $55 per person and $15 for children under 12, with proceeds going to CHGM's programs for homeless and low-income families.
And a few other items:
* Today's WBJ reports that a third piece of "public" art is coming to Nationals Park; this time it will be 30 "stainless steel-domed forms which will accurately follow the theoretical model of the trajectory of a curving fast-ball pitch," which will be hung early next year on the exterior of the eastern garage. The steel spheres with cutout "laces," each seven feet in diameter, will feature programmable LED lights; the piece will cost about $950,000. As for the other two pieces of public art already at the stadium (the bronze statues in the Center Field Plaza and the "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" mobile near the First Base Gate), I'll quote WBJ's Michael Neibauer: "The first two pieces of public art at the stadium were, to be kind, not well-received at their unveiling in April 2009. The works were selected by arts professionals and D.C. residents, according to the arts commission, but some wonder: Did anyone ask the fans?"
* A reader reports that the Anacostia Boathouse at 11th and O, in between the 11th Street Bridges spans, has been demolished, which was expected because of the footprint of the new bridges. Haven't seen for myself yet to confirm.
* And I haven't felt the earth shift on its axis yet, so I assume the Little Red Building's exterior is still standing, although interior demolition has been going on all week.

Post Column on Stalled Ballpark Area Development
Jul 1, 2010 12:01 AM
Amazing to see one of these written when it's not right around Opening Day, but nonetheless, the Post's Bob McCartney writes in Thursday's Post about the stalled development plans in the neighborhood around Nationals Park, with a column titled "Development around Nats park isn't living up to its pitch." (Full disclosure: I helped him with some background on the neighborhood and various projects.)
Saying that he expects the Nats to have their first winning season before Near Southeast's renaissance is anywhere near complete, he frames the basic issue accurately: "The main obstacle is the same financial crisis that stalled the area's revival in the first place. Banks are still scared to lend money so that numerous large-scale construction plans can go forward." He hits the highlights--the opening of Justin's Cafe, the $23 million paid to the city this year from the various business and ballpark taxes, and the more than 3,000 residents that have arrived. But the usual low points are also hit, as he mentions the lack of progress on Half Street (both sides) and at the Florida Rock site.
There's no real news in the piece for anyone who's familiar with the area (or who stops by JDLand on a regular basis), but as these sorts of articles go, it's hard to quibble with.
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Pay-by-Cell Street Parking Test Coming to Ballpark
Jun 25, 2010 3:58 PM
(This is just out from DDOT. I know *nothing* beyond this.) DDOT has announced today that they are launching multiple new parking pilot programs, to test out systems from a variety of vendors, that offer options such as pay-by-space and even sensors in parking spaces that can detect when a space is occupied or vacant.
For the area around Nationals Park, a company called ParkMobile will be offering a system where users, after signing up at the company's web site, can pay for parking via a cellphone or smartphone. (This system will also be in use for some spaces in Foggy Bottom and on Reservoir Road in Georgetown.)
This system--and three others that DDOT is evaluating--is expected to be in place by July 19, and will operate for 90 days, after which DDOT "will develop a long range strategy to upgrade its parking equipment and payment systems." It will be interesting to see if this helps cure some of the struggles with the current multispace meters, which do seem to be a bit balky (judging by the reports over the past few years in the DC Data Feeds).
More as I get it.
UPDATED to add the link to DDOT's press release, which gives more information on the other pilots in other sections of the city,
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Upcoming Events: Shrek, SoS Continues, More
Jun 16, 2010 8:59 PM
Highlighting doings of interest over the next few days in convenient bullet form:
* Thursday is BID day, with three separate activities, starting with the Capitol Riverfront Farmers Market at New Jersey and M (up behind the fences) from 3 to 7 pm. Then there's the "Front Run Club," a new gathering for runners of all fitness levels that meets every Thursday night at 6 pm at Second and M. And of course it's movie night, as the Ultimate Underdog Movie Series continues with Shrek, with festivities starting at Second and M at 7:30 pm and the movie itself beginning around 8:45 pm. There will also be a hula hooping "Hoops Jam" before the movie.
* The Summer of Strasburg (SoS) continues with the phenom's second home start, on Friday night against the White Sox. Game time is 7:05 pm, with the gates at Nationals Park opening at 4:30 pm, and the swarms of sudden baseball fans descending on the neighborhood soon after. Be prepared for big crowds on Metro, roads, sidewalks, bike lanes, etc.
* Also at Nationals Park this weekend is "Nats U," which is being held on Saturday and offers women ages 15 and up "the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of America's favorite pastime from the experts at the Washington Nationals." For $50, female fans can sign up for either beginner or advanced sessions, and also receive tickets to Saturday's 4:10 pm game against the White Sox.
* There's also a series of additional events and promotions at the ballpark tied into Father's Day (you DID remember that Sunday is Father's Day, right?), which you can read about here.
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MLB All-Star Game Coming to DC in 2015?
Jun 12, 2010 9:59 PM
It's all still rumor at this point, but on Friday night USA Today's baseball writer Bob Nightengale tweeted that Commissioner Bud Selig will be announcing on Wednesday that Kansas City will host the 2012 MLB all-star game, followed by the Mets in 2013, Minnesota in 2014, and then DC in 2015. (He then followed up to say that only Kansas City will be announced Wednesday, and that the other sites will be announced one year at a time.)
The Post's baseball writer Adam Kilgore contacted Stan Kasten today, and wrote: "In a telephone conversation Saturday morning, Team President Stan Kasten said the Nationals have not been informed by the league about hosting the 2015 All-Star Game but remain confident Nationals Park will house the game in the near future. 'We haven't heard anything from anybody about it,' Kasten said. 'We're certainly hopeful it comes to Washington. We continue to push to get an All-Star Game, and I'm sure we will soon.' Kasten's comments by no means challenged the veracity of last night's report. Washington, a high-profile market with a new stadium, makes perfect sense as an All-Star Game host. Sooner or later, the District was going to get the game."
So, no confirmation, and perhaps not one for a while to come, but as the previous sentence says, it's not a big shocker that DC would be in the queue.
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Preparing for the Arrival of You-Know-Who
Jun 7, 2010 6:20 PM
Both Metro and DDOT (and Dr. Gridlock) have issued advisories about the expected crush of humanity along South Capitol Street tomorrow (Tuesday) as a sellout, standing-room-only, selling-single-seats-in-luxury-boxes crowd heads to Nationals Park to watch the Major League debut of Stephen Strasburg (perhaps you've heard of him). First pitch is at 7:05 pm, but the gates will be opening at 4:30 pm (which is also when the day-of-game $5 seats go on sale at the box office). So be prepared for a rush hour that might be just a teensy bit different than usual.
No pressure, kid!
PS: And if you aren't heading for the ballpark, you can still get your fill without leaving your easy chair: ESPN will be broadcasting live from Nats Park starting Tuesday at 3:30 pm with a special edition of ESPN Baseball Tonight. The MLB Network will also be live from Nationals Park with MLB Live at 5:30 p.m, and both networks will also do post-game shows from DC. The game will be shown on MASN2.
UPDATE II: I'm getting out of practice on this. I should have included a link to my Stadium Parking Options map, which shows both the official Nats lots and the many unofficial cash lots that have sprouted up. Though, of course, Metro really is the way to go, especially for an evening game, given how heavy the volume will be of stadium drivers combined with the regular rush hour traffic coming off the SW Freeway at South Capitol.
UPDATE III: For newcomers landing here today off a Google search or some such, here's my Nationals Park page, with an FAQ, if you scroll down, and a lot of photos showing how the park came to be.
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Nats Lobbying Hard to Host NHL Winter Classic
Jun 3, 2010 10:52 PM
In an article from Friday's Post about how hard Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has worked to get his team into the NHL Winter Classic, this fun tidbit about the machinations behind the expected arrival of the outdoor New Years Day game in DC (or Baltimore) in 2013 or 2014:
"Another advocate for a D.C. venue is Nationals President Stan Kasten, who confirmed his team is prepared to make a hard charge to put on the Winter Classic. That aggressive bid will be led by Mark Lerner, a minority owner of the Capitals whose family owns the Nationals. Kasten said the Nationals have already made a detailed presentation to the NHL, complete with schematics showing where the rink would be placed. Kasten also said officials from the league paid Nationals Park a visit earlier this year when Washington was being considered for the 2011 game.
"'Let's face it, Nationals Park is the premier venue in the most important city in the world,' Kasten said. 'I can't imagine it being anywhere but Nationals Park.'"
The article also quotes NHL league commissioner Gary Bettman, on being asked if the connection of Nationals owner Mark Lerner to the Capitals (he's a minority owner) helps the case for Nats Park: "It certainly doesn't hurt."
The article does say, though, that the NHL prefers football stadiums, since they can hold more fans. Nationals Park would hold about 42,000, while FedEx Field has nearly 92,000 seats for Redskins games.
(There's also a bit more detail in a Thursday Capitals Insider blog post.)
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A Few Links of Note, Since It's Pretty Quiet
May 24, 2010 7:36 PM
I'm happy with my move to Twitter for much of my "little" linking, but here are a few (somewhat) recent items that still deserve the "hail of bullets" treatment on the blog, especially during a bit of a lull. (But I might have something somewhat cool tomorrow, if the weather holds.)
* From City Paper's Housing Complex blog, a report on some reimagining of the Anacostia Waterfront by middleschoolers as part of the National Building Museum's CityVision program. The Navy Yard, Poplar Point, and Florida Rock were given the treatment, with an underwater library envisioned at the latter, among other notions.
* Urban Turf asked a group of soothsayers to look ahead five years on which "unsung" DC neighborhoods would be attracting homebuyers five years from now. The "Southeast Waterfront" was one of the 'hoods (as once again people make clear that no name yet floated for the area is truly capturing the populace's fancy, which is why I stick with the REAL name ;-) ), and while it will take a while to be "fully realized," the writer reminds readers that Near Southeast has some pretty solid "bones": With "proximity to Capitol Hill, access to Metro and major roads, Nationals Park, a potential streetcar line, a waterfront park that I think will be one of the best in the city and of course the river[,] this neighborhood starts to make a lot of sense as a place to live."
* SWill reports from just across the way about the plans for hip, happenin' shindigs once again this summer at the Capitol Skyline Hotel. "The parties [...] have been named Liquid Lounge and will feature some of the best house music DJs from Washington, DC and beyond. The hotel and Nocturnal Vibe will host their inaugural event on Saturday, June 5th from 2 p.m. - 9 p.m., poolside at the architecturally iconic DC destination."
* With the DC season of Top Chef now having an announced premier date of June 16, it's been confirmed (by DCist) that Nationals Park was the site of one of the challenges (apparently on May 6, according to this tweet). I'm going to LOL if they make guest judge Eric Ripert chow down on nachos, half smokes, two-pound pretzels, or other ballpark haute cuisine.
* And, the subject of filming at Nationals Park reminded me to go see what the latest is on the Reese Witherspoon/Jack Nicholson/Paul Rudd/Owen Wilson/James L. Brooks movie filmed at the park a year ago. It's called How Do You Know, and IMDB says it has a release date of December 17. (Prime Oscar season!)
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More posts: Florida Rock, Navy Yard, Nationals Park, The Yards, Yards Park

Weekend Doings at the Ballpark (and on Metro)
May 20, 2010 10:27 PM
In case you notice a somewhat higher level of activity around Nationals Park over the next few days, here's some possible reasons why:
* It's one of the pitstops on Bike to Work Day on Friday.
* It's the Battle of the Beltways weekend, with three games against the Baltimore Orioles.
* It's the team's fifth annual Food Drive, benefitting the Capital Area Food Bank. On Saturday and Sunday you can drop off non-perishable food items at the Center Field Gate from the time the gates open through the end of the Fourth Inning. (And I bet you don't even have to have tickets to the game to drop off donations!)
* If biking to the stadium on Friday for Bike to Work Day isn't enough, Sunday's game is Bike to the Park Day, with the team encouraging fans to ride to the game and use the free bike valet at First and N or one of the 250(!) bike racks around the ballpark.
(The fact that there will be major delays on the Green [and Orange and Red] lines this weekend might be an added reason to jump on your bike to get to the stadium....)
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Updated Cash Lot/Parking Info for Nationals Park
May 5, 2010 8:59 AM
'Twas a lovely evening on Monday, so I took a brisk three-mile walk to survey the various parking lots near Nationals Park to confirm and update my Stadium Parking Map. A few cash lots have been fallen out of the inventory, and I also added the two now available on the OTHER side of South Capitol Street, in Southwest {gasp!}.
It's also worth noting that the official Nats lots that can be cash lots aren't always. I've left them marked on the map with their cash prices, but it appears that on nights where the crowds aren't anticipated to be huge (like tonight's game against the Braves), the cash option for official lots in the red and green zones directly north of the stadium isn't available. I would expect that to be different when, say, the Red Sox come to town or when Stephen Strasburg arrives.
(And thanks to the readers who passed along info on lots over the past few days, and spurred me into action, finally.)
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Upcoming Events (Market, Leukemia Fundraising)
May 5, 2010 7:30 AM
For your calendars:
* Thursday (May 6) is the first Capitol Riverfront Farmers Market of 2010, running from 3 pm to 7 pm through November on the northwest corner of New Jersey and M, adjacent to the Navy Yard Metro station entrance. More than 10 local farmers and vendors will sell produce, baked goods, prepared foods, and more. The first 50 customers to attend the farmers market on Thursday will be given a $5 off coupon for any purchase at the market.
* Alas, I missed the kickoff of the USDOT farmers' market, which started today (oops) and will be held every Tuesday from 10 am to 2 pm on the pedestrian plaza between the two buildings, at Third and M.
And, here are two events that I'm passing along on behalf of Lisa Pagano, the Nationals' manager of communications, who has been very good to JDLand over the years. She is running for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year award, and is trying to raise $75,000 by June 12 (more info here and here), with two fundraising events being held in Near Southeast over the next week or so:
* A Cornhole Tournament is being held at the Bullpen on Wednesday, May 12, with the party starting at 6 pm and the tournament itself at 7 pm. There will be live music and raffle items in addition to the tournament. Admission is $5 for the event and $20 for teams of two entering the tournament (with one free beer per player!). More info can be found on Facebook.
* Buy a $22 Scoreboard Pavilion seat for the May 20 Nats vs. Mets game, and $8 of the ticket price will go directly to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. For more information, and to purchase tickets online, visit nationals.com/mwoy.

Quick Report from Ballpark Traffic/Parking Meeting
Apr 27, 2010 10:16 PM
Tonight ANC 6D held a community meeting to get a status report on the ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan. The session was facilitated by councilmember Wells, and also included representatives of DDOT and the Nationals. (DPW was not present, much to the consternation of many attendees, since they are the ones responsible for ticket-writing and towing.)
The session started off with an update on the (few) changes to parking and traffic flow in the new season. Some are already well known, such as the two new Nats economy lots replacing the RFK shuttle service; otherwise, there have been some slight modifications to signal timing at South Capitol and Potomac and to pedestrian flow on M at First and South Capitol. Plus, DDOT says they have corrected the lack of signs/meters in the Half/Van/L area.
Gregory McCarthy of the Nats said that there are about 125 more cars parking in each of the two economy lots this season, and that the Nats are happy that neither lot is particularly accessible through any residential neighborhoods. He also mentioned that only 30 percent of fans drive to the games, with the rest taking transit or arriving other ways, such as by foot/bike/water taxi/parachute/personal jetpack/teleportation. (I'm paraphrasing.)
McCarthy did acknowledge that, while traffic flow generally works well when game attendance is under 25,000, there is "significant congestion" when there's more tickets sold, and specifically mentioned First and M as a chokepoint where cars need to be moved faster through their right turn to the various parking lots. He also said that the team needs to do a better job getting the taxi stand working, to get taxis to actually line up there for customers and to get them to use it as a drop-off point. (What? You didn't know there's a taxi stand? Why, yes, there is, on Half Street next to 20 M.)
The rest of the meeting was taken up with questions and complaints from the audience, all of which related to issues in the residential neighborhoods of Southwest. (There wasn't a single resident of Southeast in attendance, unless you count ANC 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel. And Tommy. And me.) There were complaints about stadium workers parking just to the west of South Capitol Street and using Ward 6 visitor parking permits to do so, and about what the residents see as a distinct lack of ticketing and towing, which is why people were very unhappy that DPW was not at the meeting, despite having been invited. Tommy promised to help get some action, saying that enforcement should be very heavy at the beginning of the season, to send a message. (He also noted that, yes, this meeting should have been held *before* Opening Day.)
If you have any issues with gameday parking that you think need to be addressed, you can contact Tommy's office through his web site--if you can assemble any sort of illustrative materials that might be helpful (photos, tag numbers of offending vehicles, etc.), Tommy said that would be appreciated.
UPDATE: For more specifics on the SW concerns, see SWill's blog.
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ANC 6D Meeting on Ballpark Traffic and Parking
Apr 22, 2010 3:30 PM
From ANC 6D, an invitation to a Traffic Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP) meeting, on Tuesday, April 27, at 6:30 pm, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 I St., SW. Expected participants include Tommy Wells, DDOT, DPW, MPD, and the Nationals. This is the neighborhood's opportunity to discuss any parking or traffic issues; if you want to come armed with information on the original TOPP created for the opening of the ballpark in 2008, here 'tis, along with my page on Stadium Parking and Transportation.
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Eagles Concert at Nationals Park Cancelled
Apr 19, 2010 2:51 PM
From DCist: "Live Nation just announced that the June 15 concert at Nationals Stadium featuring the Eagles, with guests Dixie Chicks and Keith Urban, has been canceled due to scheduling conflicts. If you purchased through Tickets.com, your ticket and parking will be automatically refunded the week of May 3; otherwise, contact your point of sale for a refund." [Hmm. Scheduling conflicts?]
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Updates from Capitol Riverfront BID Newsletter
Apr 11, 2010 10:25 AM
It's not online that I can see, but here are some items from the most recent "FRONT Page News" e-mail newsletter from the BID:
* "Capitol Riverfront neighborhood day at Nationals Park will be Wednesday, April 21st with ticket discounts available to residents, employees, and friends of the BID." The on-street supervisor of the BID's Clean and Safe Team will be singing the National Anthem. [I think, though, that Southwest is going to be part of this "neighborhood day" as well, even though it's not in the BID. This was mentioned at an ANC 6D meeting a few weeks ago.]
* There will be a "Fitness in the Front" event at Canal Park on May 1, with free classes offered by local instructors and information tables (and freebies!). See the link for the lineup and additional info.
* Residential update: "The residential population in the Front is estimated to have reached 3,030 as of the first quarter of 2010. Rental properties including the Onyx, Axiom, Jefferson and 909 are 95% leased. For sale units including Capitol Quarter, Capitol Hill Tower and Velocity are 71% sold. The residential population is predicted to reach 3,500 by the end of 2010."
* And Justin's opens on April 16, but you knew that already. :-)

Scenes from Opening Day 2010 (Including the Prez)
Apr 5, 2010 4:05 PM
Best not to speak of what happened on the field, or about the ratio of Phillies fans to Nats fans (at least the shared red-and-white team colors makes it a little less obvious), but despite all of that, it was a warm and sunny start to the Nationals' 2010 season, and I wandered and took some photos of the scene at and around the ballpark as the day got underway.
The big part of the pregame ceremonies, of course, was the throwing out of the first pitch by President Obama. I gave my camera's high-speed-shutter quite a workout to catch the action (though not the ball's trajectory to the plate--ahem), and so here's my Presidential First Pitch photo gallery as well.
And now we'll wait to hear how the arrivals and departures of 41,000 people went. Things didn't look too bad, with the stadium being mostly full at gametime, but there were no doubt problems with full parking lots, lengthy magnetometer lines, and the game letting out just as rush hour starts. Though I'm guessing that the stadium didn't exactly *stay* crowded, given the scoreline, allowing for a more evenly spaced departure crowd, rather than the entire throng being dumped onto Half Street at the end of a 3-2 thriller. But I'll update this entry with links to any media pieces on transportation nightmares.
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Opening Day 2010 - A Brief Last-Minute Guide
Apr 4, 2010 11:14 PM
It'll be an eventful day Monday as the Nats' 2010 season opens, both for folks skipping out on work to head to the ballpark and for neighborhood dwellers and workers who will have 41,000 guests popping in around late morning.
If you're going to the game, check my pages on parking options, taking Metro (including the JDLand Approved Walking Route from Capitol South), and general traffic restrictions. (Dr. Gridlock did a roundup today as well, if for some reason you might trust him more than me for this sort of info.)
If you're a resident/worker, remember that the west entrance of the Navy Yard station becomes one-way inbound after the game. (The New Jersey Avenue entrance remains two-way.)
As you've been warned repeatedly for the past few days, security will be heavy, so give yourself plenty of time to get into the stadium (gates open at 10 am for the 1:05 pm start). But that'll give you a chance to try out the new food options and see all the changes from last year, and there will also be all sorts of entertainment going on to help you pass the time.
The weather forecast looks good--certainly better than 2008, and warmer than last year. If you really want to stroll down memory lane, here's all my ballpark photo galleries, going back to the groundbreaking in May 2006.
I'll be roaming around with camera in hand (and perhaps also a serving of chicken and waffles), so feel free to say hello.
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What's New at Nationals Park for 2010
Mar 31, 2010 4:27 PM
With the Nats just a few days away from starting play at their stadium, it was time for the annual Nationals Park media tour for the ink-stained newspaper wretches (plus their cohorts, the blow-dried TV folks and the Cheetos-munching bloggers), to highlight what's new at the ballpark and what fans should know in trying to arrive for the first two games of 2010.
Knowing that there will be a number of news stories tonight listing all the changes, I concentrated more on taking photos, which you can see in this gallery. The splashiest change is the complete renovation of the PNC Diamond Club, which has exchanged its former sports bar/take me out to the ballgame motif for a much sleeker feel. (The new bar is pictured above.) They've also tweaked the Red Porch and Red Loft, adding two more rows of tables and chairs on the field side of the Porch while removing the seating on the balcony of the Loft and adding in drink rails.
The Scoreboard Walk now has lounge furniture (so you can pretend you're in South Beach rather than Near Southeast), and the "Party Nights" with music, $5 pre-game beers, games, and other entertainment will now be at all Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night games, with the gates opening 2 1/2 hours before first pitch. (It'll all be running on Opening Day, too.)
There's also all sorts of new food offerings, starting with the new "Triple Play Grill" next to Hard Times Cafe in the Center Field Plaza, offering shrimp po boy and crab cake sandwiches, and a "Florida Foot Long SeaDog," which is actually a cod sandwich. They've also reworked the "Taste of the Majors" offerings, creating five foot-long hot dogs for the National League East teams. A new outlet called Change Up Chicken, in Section 130, will have a chicken and waffle sandwich, along with other chicken specialties and waffle fries. The Dupont Deli in Section 227 will have a triple-decker grilled cheese sandwich on Texas Toast, along with grilled Italian, and turkey sandwiches. There's also going to be three Flippin' Pizza outlets (sections 115, 214, and 311), and a Healthy Plate Cart in Section 110. And, if I may say so, if you're lucky enough to happen upon the red velvet cupcakes (at the Red Porch), don't pass them up.
As for Opening Day, the team is of course very excited that President Obama will be throwing out the first pitch, but they are reminding fans that a presidential visit plus a sellout crowd will make for long lines to get in, which is why the gates will be opened at 10 am for a 1:05 pm start. (But if you're one of the first 20,000 fans who try to beat the rush, you'll get a replica batting practice hat.) And there was talk of the new parking options for 2010 (no more Nats Express and the new economy lots). Read my earlier entry today for more on that. But, if you're a season ticket holder, at least you'll have your own red-carpet line to stand in at the Center Field Gate--for all games after Opening Day.
Having *still* never really gotten warm again after the damp cold Opening Day of 2008, I have my fingers crossed that the weather on Saturday and Monday will be about what it was like today (warmer, actually). It almost felt like spring out there!
Check back for links to additional media coverage.
UPDATE: Here's stories from Fox5 and WJLA. (Though points deducted from WJLA for saying that one of the economy parking lots is at 6th and M *SW*. Sigh.)
UPDATE II: NBC 4, a slew of Tweets from MASN's Kristen Hudak, and Nats320.
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Circulator Running for Exhibition; More Ballpark Items
Mar 31, 2010 9:32 AM
* The folks at the BID have passed along the news that the Circulator will be running its Union Station/Navy Yard route on Saturday (April 3) for the 4:05 pm Nats/Red Sox exhibition, even though it wasn't originally listed on their 2010 Baseball Extended Service schedule (it is now).
* Metro has just released its information on getting to and from the ballpark: "Expect standing room only to/from Nationals games."
* WTOP writes about the two new economy lots for stadium parking; you might want to check my Stadium Parking map for a graphic that's a little clearer, and that also shows non-official cash lots. One item in the piece that I'm checking on, though--it says that piers at the Yards Park and will allow private boats to be docked there starting in July. But everything I've seen up to now has said that the piers and marina are to be built in the park's third phase, which isn't expected to come online until after 2012. Am waiting for a response from Forest City for clarity.
UPDATE: Forest City confirms that the piers are not coming this summer, contrary to what the article reports; they are planned for later phases.
* WAMU had two short pieces on Near Southeast on Monday: "Ballpark Hits Old Reputation Out of Field," and "Population Near Nationals Park Doubles in One Year," which now seems to have disappeared from their web site.
* Be prepared for another slew of stadium-related news stories later today, with the annual ballpark media day on the agenda. And the weather's nice for once!
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Obama Throwing Out First Pitch at Nats Opener
Mar 29, 2010 11:29 AM
From the Nationals:
"President of the United States Barack Obama will throw the ceremonial first pitch at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. prior to the 2010 season opener between the Washington Nationals and the defending National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies on Monday, April 5 at 1:05 p.m.
"'Opening Day of the baseball season is a special event for our country and its importance has been reinforced by the 100-year history of Presidential participation,' said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig, who will be in attendance for the historic First Pitch. 'I am proud that President Obama will continue the long Presidential tradition of throwing out the first pitch of Opening Day in Washington D.C.'
"Obama's appearance will mark the 100th anniversary of the first time a U.S. President threw an Opening Day first pitch and the 48th time a President has done so in Washington, D.C. On April 14, 1910, William Howard Taft began the tradition before the Washington Senators went on to defeat the Philadelphia Athletics 3-0 behind a one-hit, complete game shutout by Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson."
The game is already sold out, but there will be 400 day-of-game seats available for $5 starting at 10 am at the box office.
UPDATE: Here's the Nats' press release.
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Today's About-the-Ballpark-Neighborhood Stories
Mar 26, 2010 11:08 PM
I was going to wait through the weekend, but I wouldn't want it to seem like I was shirking. So here are today's entries for here's-the-latest-about-that-mysterious-neighborhood-near-Nationals-Park stories:
* The Post's Saturday real estate section has "People Flock to Live in DC's Capitol Riverfront Area Despite Commercial Stall," which focuses on the more than 1,700 new residents that have moved into Near Southeast since last year's Opening Day. It's a basic overview of the goings-on, but there is one tidbit of what I'd consider news: Forest City says that they are planning to restart the stalled Foundry Lofts residential renovation at the Yards next month, completing it in summer 2011. (No word on a start date for the retail renovation of the Boilermaker Shop across the street.) It's been mentioned before, but if you're not hanging on every word here at the blog, you might find the news of a redesign of 401 M Street from an office building to residential of interest, especially since that would speed the opening of a planned Harris Teeter on the ground floor. Elsewhere, the article also says that Velocity now has 75 units sold, although nowhere near that many have actually been closed on, according to land records (looks like around 30 as of early March).
* The Post's offspring publication the Express also published a piece today on the neighborhood, "From Frontier to Focal Point: Capitol Riverfront's Growth and Potential," which again focuses on the residents who have moved in despite the lack of retail. (The online version of the piece also has one whale of a coding error that suggests that the JDLand.com web empire is far more vast than I might have ever dreamed.) There's also an accompanying Capitol Riverfront Basics, laying out all the amenities that don't quite exist yet.
* And, while not really along the same lines as the other two, I should also point to the Post's feature today on the Trapeze School in its new home at the Yards.
I imagine there's more of these pieces to come over the next week. And really, I shouldn't be so cynical about them, since they do serve a purpose for the vast majority of the citizenry who don't pay much attention to the area; but I just think it's funny that this is now becoming such a standard late-March exercise for all media organizations. On the other hand, I sort of {ahem} did one myself last year, although it was more of a reaction to all the oh-my-God-there's-nothing-new-down-there thread that ran through the media coverage last time around, to show that there had been a lot of progress in the year since the ballpark opened. This year, as the stories are keying on, the progress is more inside the existing buildings than with any new developments.

Preparing for Baseball Season, Transportation Edition
Mar 26, 2010 12:20 PM
Believe it or not, the first game of the third season of play at Nationals Park is just over a week away (the 4:05 pm exhibition on Saturday, April 3, against the Red Sox) with the home opener on Monday, April 5 at 1:05 pm against the Phillies. So, let the onslaught of ballpark-related news begin! (I'll be saving up the latest general let's-look-at-the-ballpark-neighborhood links for a group post probably on Monday, though will tweet them as they come out.) Today's tidbits:
* I've updated my map of parking options around the ballpark with the information on official Nats lots (locations and prices) for the 2010 season. I've left the information from last year on unofficial lots on the map, though won't know if it carries through until the first game.
* Here's the gameday schedules of Circulator service between the Union Station, Eastern Market, and the Navy Yard Metro stations. (Remember, this line's normal service hours are only on weekdays from 6 am to 7 pm, so they need special service for most ballpark events.) Thanks to DDOT for passing the schedule along.
* There's some chatter apparently going around the neighborhood that, because there will be no shuttles to and from RFK, buses bringing fans to games will now be allowed to park on neighborhood streets. The Nats' web site shows that bus parking is available at Lot W (Seventh and L, SE) for $50, but it's not clear whether that's a requirement, or how many buses can park there. DDOT tells me that they are still working on the Transportation Operations and Parking Plans for this season, and so at this point no decisions have been made.
UPDATE, 3/31: For more ballpark transporation tidbits (including Metro's plans for big big crowds), see today's entry.
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Eagles (the Band) to Play Nats Park on June 15
Mar 16, 2010 10:46 PM
(I've just gotten back from a week traipsing around Arizona, so apologies for light/slow posting, including this one) It was announced today that the Eagles, with special guests the Dixie Chicks and Keith Urban, will be playing at Nationals Park on Tuesday, June 15, with tickets going on sale at tickets.com on March 29 at 10 am. This is the second concert scheduled for the stadium this summer, with the Dave Matthews Band playing on July 23.
Astute readers might remember all sorts of rumors back in 2008 that the Eagles were going to play the first-ever concert at the ballpark, an honor which eventually went to Billy Joel and Elton John, last year (unless you want to count the Pope).
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Links Roundup: 11th Street Bridges, Bullpen, Wells Challenger, Council Tickets, Freeway Signs
Mar 14, 2010 2:54 PM
Some items of interest I've tweeted over the past few days:
* Barry Farm (Re)Mixed shames me by posting recent photos of the 11th Street Bridges construction.
* The Bullpen opens for the 2010 season on April 3, when the Red Sox come to town for an exhibition.
* Capitol Hill Tower board member (and, I assume, resident) James DeMartino has announced he's running against Tommy Wells for the Ward 6 council seat. DeMartino is running as a Republican. (Here's a WashPost brief on the item.)
* Mayor Fenty has given the city council its ballpark suite tickets for the 2010 season, leaving reporters across the city bereft at the thought of not having the on-going tiff to cover.
* Technically off-topic, but: I've been grumbling for more than seven years now about the poorly placed sign on the SW Freeway for the C Street SW exit, which points drivers to a left-side lane but then requires them to move two lanes to the right within a quarter-mile to get to their ramp, So I finally took some photos to explain the issue and tweeted them to blow off some steam. Soon after, @ajfroggie posted two great images of how to replace the signage along that stretch to fix not only my complaint but some general problems with all of the signs.

Report from ANC 6D (Mainly SW Stuff)
Mar 8, 2010 10:52 PM
There was almost no Near Southeast news at tonight's ANC 6D meeting, even though it was held at the Courtyard at New Jersey and L, SE. There was no update from the Nationals as had been initially on the agenda, and ANC chair Ron McBee said that he doesn't yet have a date for a community meeting on the Traffic Operations and Parking plans for the ballpark for this season, which he wants to have with the team and DDOT especially in light of the Nats' decision to stop the RFK parking shuttle for this season.
(As an aside, in comparing the Nats parking map for this season with mine from last year, it looks like the only change in lots is that the underground garage at 300 M is no longer an official Nats lot. The pricing structure hasn't changed a whole lot, except for lot HH and W now becoming "economy" lots at $5 and $10 per game, respectively. I'll update my page soon.)
Most of the meeting was taken up with all the doings in Southwest surrounding the impending opening of the new Safeway at Waterfront, and the transition period when the old one will be closed on April 6, eight days before the new one opens with a ribbon-cutting and preview on April 15 before opening "for real" on April 16. There was also the news that some restaurants look to be closing deals soon for spaces in Waterfront. SWDC Blog has the details on all this.
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Rounding Up Recent Links
Mar 8, 2010 2:32 PM
A few articles I've recently pointed to from my Twitter feed that might be of interest but aren't necessarily "news":
* The Examiner says the city spent $115,000 to house snow plow drivers at the Courtyard on New Jersey Avenue during the record February snowstorms--what we always refer to as the "trash transfer station" is also the city's snow plow yard, and so the drivers were being put up close by. (Lots of money was spent at McDonald's, too, presumably the one within walking distance on I Street.)
* The Nats' Stan Kasten speaks to the DC Sports Bog on the rumors of the NHL Winter Classic coming to town. ("I think it's a fun rumor, it's a fascinating rumor, [but] I really do think you're jumping a little bit ahead.... I think it would be great for our city, and great for our ballpark, and together we'd do a hell of a job.")
* In Senate testimony, US DOT secretary Ray LaHood used "the area around the ballpark" as an example of "livability" during a sharp exchange with Sen. Kit Bond. You can see the video here (skip to the 92-minute mark), or read the story about LaHood's testimony on Streetsblog.
* Three Nats games -- April 3, 7, and 8 -- have been deemed "official events" in the National Cherry Blossom Festival. (via the Nats)
* The ANC 6D meeting tonight is at the Courtyard in Near SE, but SWDC Blog posted photos of the commission's new digs in the about-to-open Waterfront development.
* WashCycle thinks that the 10-block temporary tunnel CSX says it will build on Virginia Avenue when reconstructing the existing tunnel ought to be kept for bike/pedestrian use ("lighting would have to be a must", they say).

This Week's Events (ANCs and M Street)
Mar 7, 2010 9:40 AM
The lineup. all front-loaded on Monday and Tuesday:
* Monday has the ANC 6D meeting (didn't we just do this?), at 7 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. The agenda is now posted, and includes updates on the Nats and the ballpark's Transportation and Parking Plan.
* Tuesday has Tommy Wells's public meeting on improvements to M Street, from 6-7:30 pm at the MPD First District station at 101 M St., SW.
* Tuesday is also ANC 6B's meeting, in its new home at 535 8th St., SE, at 7 pm. The update from CSX on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project originally slated for this meeting has been moved to the April meeting.
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DC Council to NHL: Pick Us! Pick Us!
Mar 4, 2010 9:22 AM
Taking a stand for hockey fans all across the DC Metro area, Ward 4 council member Muriel Bowser introduced at Tuesday's council meeting PR18-0761, "Sense of the Council that the District Of Columbia Should Host the 4th Annual NHL Winter Classic Resolution of 2010." The resolution, which garnered the support of all 13 council members, was in response to the rumors that started flying last month that the NHL is poised to name Washington as the location of the 2011 edition of the now-traditional game played outdoors on New Year's Day.
You can read it here, to see that the council has determined that DC is "the best city to host the Winter Classic, because it is our nation's capital, a world renowned city, a historic city, and a city with a strong hockey fan base" and that the city "can accommodate the largest crowd in the history of the Winter Classic," with Nationals Park holding 41,888 and RFK holding 46,000. There's about 16 other reasons listed, with my favorite being "This Winter shows that the District of Columbia has a winter climate that compares with any other city in the Northeast." (By the way, section 2.i, which is cut off in the PDF, says "The Washington Capitals are regarded as one of the league's most popular and profitable franchises.")
There could be quite a melee to get tickets if the game does come to DC--307,000 people applied for tickets to the 2010 edition at Fenway, and the Capitals now have the highest attendance rating in the NHL--which, for someone who used to traipse out to the Cap Centre in the 1980s to see the Capitals flounder around in front of a few thousand people, is still rather astonishing. UPDATE: Though some commentators are questioning the council's "highest attendance rating" claim.
No word on when the NHL will announce the city and teams chosen for the game.
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Some Quick Friday Afternoon Links
Feb 26, 2010 6:00 PM
* The Douglass Bridge (South Capitol Street) will be closed on Sunday morning for its swing span test, from 4 am to approximately 9 am, weather permitting.
* Tickets went on sale this morning at 10 am for the Dave Matthews concert at Nationals Park on July 23--looks like good seats are still available.
* There's been some press over the past few days about the new DDOT web site, especially the "Transportation Access Portal" that gives detailed information about projects around the city, but I was kind of underwhelmed until I found out that the projects of most interest to Near Southeast are under an "Anacostia Waterfront Initiative" tab rather than in the Ward 6 section. There you can find all sorts of project-management details (cost, schedule) for the 11th Street Bridges, the new Douglass Bridge (coming in 2018!), and even the RFK ramp demolition.
*And, in the gosh-why-would-you-think-I-was-killing-time-on-a-Friday-afternoon department, a shot of what the 1000 block of K THIRD Street SE would look like if it were in Mr. Roger's Neighborhood (see large version):
* Plus, I think I have some cool items on the way next week. Fingers crossed.
* UPDATE: Shoot, I knew there was something else I meant to include: Minutes and materials from the last Lower 8th Street visioning session. A report will be submitted to the Office of Planning.

Bullpen Back for Another Season; Other ANC 6D Doings
Feb 25, 2010 9:12 PM
The snowblown February ANC 6D meeting finally went off tonight, and here's the Near Southeast-related bullet points:
* The Bullpen will be back in action this season, in its same spot on the northwest corner of Half and N across from the ballpark. There were two requested changes to the voluntary agreement between the ANC and the owner: that the bar be allowed to operate until 1:30 am (with alcohol sales ending at 1:00), and that liquor in non-frozen form be allowed alongside the already approved beer, wine, and frozen drinks, both of which are already allowed under the liquor license. The discussion was more contentious about process than it was about content (with commissioner David Sobelsohn arguing strongly that the motion should be tabled until the next meeting, which none of the other commissioners were interested in), but in the end the commission voted 6-1 to approve the extended hours, and that mixed drinks could be served during private events. There were some concerns from commissioner Rhonda Hamilton about the noise at the bar on weeknights, but owner Bo Blair said that live music will always be cut off by midnight.
* There is a move afoot by commission Bob Siegel to carve out some of the curb space in front of Capper Seniors #1 at 900 Fifth Street (which it must be noted is also across the street from his house). The street, which is one way in the block in question (between K and Virginia) gets clogged on a regular basis thanks to shuttle buses, vans, trucks, and other vehicles double-parking while at the building, and the residents want a portion of the curb cut out to allow vehicles to pull out of the traffic lane (like the one in front of the Courtyard by Marriott entrance). DDOT initially rejected the request because it was called a "curb cut," which means something different in traffic parlance, but DDOT's Ward 6 planner Jamie Henson was in attendance and pledged to help the ANC work with the engineering side of DDOT to see what could be done without taking away the sidewalk or the ADA ramps to the building.
* There was supposed to be an update from the Nationals, but no reps from the team were there; ANC chair Ron McBee did report that April 23 will be "Neighborhood Night" at the ballpark, with the first pitch and national anthem being performed by nearby residents and other goodies as well. (I imagine discount tickets will be part of the deal, but nothing was said. The game is against the Dodgers.) McBee also said that the ANC has requested a meeting with DDOT about the Traffic Operations and Parking Plan for this season, to check on how it's all going, but no specific concerns were mentioned. (With the Nats Express no longer shuttling fans to and from parking at RFK, there probably will be a noticeable uptick in traffic this year, even if attendance remains steady.)
* The next 6D meeting will be on March 8 at 7 pm, and it'll be held at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, so if you've been dying to go to a meeting but haven't felt like venturing across South Capitol, you'll get your chance. It's also worth mentioning that ANC 6B's meeting the next night includes an update by CSX on the Virginia Avenue project on its agenda.

Jobs Fair for Part-Time Nationals Park Positions
Feb 24, 2010 12:56 PM
From Tommy Wells's blog:
"The Nationals and their food service partner Levy Restaurants, are hiring this weekend for various part-time positions for the upcoming baseball season.
"They are looking for concessions managers, concession supervisors, cashiers, stand workers, grill cooks , bartenders and servers for their food operations and restaurants at the stadium. These are ideal jobs for entry level job experience, for seniors and retired persons seeking additional income and others who would enjoy working at the stadium games and events.
"The recruitment fairs are scheduled on:
Saturday, February 27, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Sunday, February 28, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Monday, March 1, 3:00pm -7:00pm.
"The Job Fair will take place at Nationals Park. Enter at the Center Field Main Gate Entrance. Please bring a resume with you. Help with resume preparation and tips on completing the required application, and other assistance will be available during a two hour job preparation sessions to be provided by staff of the Southwest Family Enhancement Career Center, located at 203 N St. SW on Wednesday and Thursday February 24th and 25th, starting promptly at 2:00 pm on a first come basis."
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2011 NHL Classic at Nationals Park?
Feb 21, 2010 1:17 PM
As I tweeted last night, a New England blog called hockeyjournal.com posted yesterday that the Capitals are a favorite to host the NHL's 2011 Winter Classic, the game played outdoors on New Year's Day, and that "if approved, the game will be held at Nationals Park," with perhaps the Penguins being the chosen opponent. Nothing confirmed by the NHL yet, but certainly an interesting rumor....
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A Few Tidbits While Waiting for Normalcy to Return
Feb 15, 2010 11:02 AM
Some small items I've tweeted (or just forgotten to post) recently:
* Construction delays related to last week's epic snows have put the kabosh on the trapeze school's planned opening today--they may open for business on Friday, Feb. 19, but are still in need of their certificate of occupancy. Check their web site or Facebook group for updates.
* ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger is following CSX's plans for expanding the Virginia Avenue Tunnel pretty closely, and has recently passed along a link to a new "National Gateway Project Updates" web site, including this page on the Virginia Avenue portion. CSX still isn't really giving any details about how the construction will impact the area, but they are certainly touting all the public meetings they've been to! In a similar vein, Norm also posted a link to a new blog, "Capitol Hill Against Railroad Tunnel Expansion," by folks who are unhappy with the plans.
* Look for ANC 6D's monthly meeting to be rescheduled to some day this week--they didn't send out any announcements as their attempts to hold the meeting last week were postponed, so checking their web site for the new date will be necessary. ANC 6B has rescheduled its meeting to Feb. 23.
* WBJ reports that the city used $10 million in surplus receipts from the ballpark tax to "shore up its fiscal 2010 budget," instead of paying off the ballpark debt early, which was what businesses who pay the tax expected to happen in the event of surpluses. And they're not happy.
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More posts: ANC News, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Nationals Park, Yards/Parcel O

Fireworks Testing at the Ballpark on Wednesday
Feb 1, 2010 6:47 PM
From the MPD-1D mailing list: "The Nationals will be conducting firework tests on Wednesday, February 3rd starting at 7pm. DCFD and MPD will be monitoring and there will be some street closures around the stadium during this event that should be temporary."
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More posts: Nationals Park

Dave Matthews Band at Nationals Park, July 23
Jan 26, 2010 4:04 PM
From the Nationals: "Dave Matthews Band announced today they will perform at Nationals Park - the home of the Washington Nationals -- on Friday, July 23 with Zac Brown Band as support. This will be the ballpark's second-ever show, following Elton John and Billy Joel's sold-out show in July 2009. Tickets and parking will go on sale to the general public on Friday, February 26 at 10:00 a.m. online at www.tickets.com and by phone at 888-632-6287. The show will be held rain or shine and will be promoted by Live Nation."
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Tidbits (Parking Data, Opera, Lower 8th, More)
Jan 14, 2010 10:56 PM
Some small recently-Tweeted items (which you can have delivered directly to your Facebook news feed if you become a "fan" of JDLand.com). Some of these probably deserved their own entry, but goodness, 140-character blogging sure makes me lazy!
* I wrote back in December about the DDOT public meeting that gave a lot of updated information about how the Performance Parking Pilot around the ballpark is going; DDOT has now posted a 21-page report with all the details, which is worth reading for anyone interested not only in how parking is being handled in the neighborhood, but about the non-automotive improvements that the meter income will be funding.
* The Third "Opera in the Outfield" at Nationals Park will be on September 11, a simulcast of the Washington National Opera's season premiere, Verdi's "Un Ballo in Maschera" ("A Masked Ball").
* The Lower 8th Street Visioning project has posted both the materials from its December sessions, and the agenda for the upcoming meetings on Jan. 19, which "will progress to looking at best mix of uses, breakout workshops on land use, density and parking, and closing with a Q&A."
* Peeking at the building permits feed, I noted the approved permit for the ballpark, described as "INTERIOR DEMOLITION AS PER PLANS TO SUIT TENANT 'PNC DIAMOND CLUB'." A Twitter follower indicated that they had seen the work on the Diamond Club already underway. No word from the Nationals on what exactly is coming.
* The Nats put out this "Nats in Your Neighborhood" newsletter, detailing good works around the city, including the work last month by the Dream Foundation on the United Southwest Health Center a few blocks from the ballpark, in Southwest.
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More posts: 8th Street, Nationals Park

NatsFest at the Ballpark Jan. 31
Jan 7, 2010 10:04 AM
From the Nationals: "The Washington Nationals today announced the schedule for their 2010 Winter Caravan when members of the Washington Nationals will tour the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area from January 27 to Saturday, January 30, and conclude with the second annual NatsFest at Nationals Park on Sunday, January 31. [...] Baseball fun returns to Nationals Park on January 31 for the second annual NatsFest, which will conclude the Caravan festivities. Fans will have the opportunity to receive autographs and take photos with Nationals players, participate in question-and-answer sessions with Stan Kasten, Mike Rizzo, Jim Riggleman and The Washington Post columnist and Nationals Season Ticket Holder George Will, and hit in the Nationals batting cages for a $1 donation to the Nationals Dream Foundation. A behind-the-scenes look at the Nationals clubhouse will be available and fans may enter to win Nationals prizes and memorabilia. Nationals Season Ticket Holders may receive up to four complimentary tickets per account for the event and will receive an e-mail on how to claim their tickets."
This is part of their "Winter Caravan," which features "meet-and-greets, autograph signings, community appearances and the second annual Hot Stove Luncheon," scheduled for Friday Jan. 29 at the ballpark, hosted by David Gregory. The caravan will also include appearances in Landover (where the team and its Dream Foundation "will make an announcement regarding plans to partner with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission's Department of Parks and Recreation") and at Ft. Belvoir (to make care packages for servicemen and women stationed overseas). There will also be autograph shows at the Build-a-Bear workshop in McLean, at White Flint Mall, and at the Hard Times Cafe in Arlington, along with other appearances.
Watch the Nats web site for details. UPDATE: Here's the press release.
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More posts: Nationals Park

Capitol Riverfront BID Annual Meeting Summary
Dec 18, 2009 2:37 PM
The Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District held its annual meeting and luncheon on Thursday, on the ninth floor of 55 M Street. Stan Kasten of the Nationals opened the festivities with some brief but energetic remarks about how excited the Nationals are about the neighborhood's continuing development. He was followed by Tommy Wells, who is equally enthusastic about the neighborhood as a prime example of a "liveable, walkable community," saying that people are increasingly choosing "five-minute living." But, he added that if this area ends up looking like every other neighborhood, "then we've failed."
After making presentations and awards to the BID's Clean and Safe team members, BID executive director Michael Stevens presented his State of the Capitol Riverfront report, chock full of statistics, including my perennial favorite, the number of bags of trash collected during 2009 (7,526!). The BID estimates there are now about 2,500 residents in the area, with another 500 expected to arrive in 2010. He also spent some time comparing the size and scope of the plans for "the Front" to other waterfront redevelopment projects such as Battery Park City in New York and Mission Bay in San Francisco, and of course detailing the many ways the BID works to publicize and advocate for the neighborhood.
Stevens was followed by Christopher Leinberger of the Brookings Institution, who discussed "The Structural Shift in Building." This area and DC as a whole, he said, are the model for the sort of development that cities want to emulate going forward, as he described the pendulum swing from the suburban model of the second half of the 20th century to the new "walkable urbanism," being driven mainly by the Millennial generation, empty-nested retirees, and the growth in the percentage of child-free households.
Leinberger's presentation slides are definitely worth paging through, and folks who are big fans of public transportation will especially appreciate his feeling that the slogan going forward should be "The Green Line is the New Red Line," since the biggest opportunities for development around transportation hubs exist near those stations, and that the BID should actually consider expanding its consulting and other offerings to the smaller emerging neighborhoods along the Green Line that need those types of services. (Perhaps this is what Michael Stevens was alluding to in his report, where a Green Line Research Project was mentioned. And, by the way, next year will mark the 20-year anniversary of the opening of the Navy Yard metro station.)
Finally, BID chairman Eric Siegel announced that the BID is planning an environmental summit in May 2010 (perhaps at Nationals Park), to focus on the cleanup of the Anacostia River and other environmental issues with the many public and private stakeholders along the river.
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More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Nationals Park

Nats Ending RFK Free Parking/Nats Shuttle
Dec 16, 2009 3:02 PM
Just out from the Nationals:
"The Nats Express and parking at RFK concluded after the 2009 season, however new and closer economy parking options are available for the 2010 season. Premium parking will remain the same, but fans choosing to drive to the ballpark may now park in Lot HH, located on South Capitol Street, SW for $5 per car, or Lot W, located on M Street between 6th and 7th Streets SE, for $10 per car. Each of these lots has been discounted from 2009 prices of $10 and $15 respectively. Complete information on Nationals parking plans and all the ways to get to Nationals Park may be found at nationals.com/waytogo.
"The Nationals recognize the fan experience begins the moment fans their leave homes to come to the ballpark and that there is a need for affordable parking options close to Nationals Park," said Nationals Team President Stan Kasten. "Over the past two seasons there has been a decrease in the use of RFK Parking Lots and the Nats Express. We feel our fans deserve economy parking near the ballpark, which will reduce travel time and enhance the overall fan experience at Nationals games. We believe it will be easier than ever to get to Nationals Park and that the new parking options will please those fans who prefer to drive." (see full press release)
You can see my Stadium Parking page for a map showing the 2009 parking options (I'll get it updated with this new info soon) and the location of the two "economy" parking lots).
The team is also reducing individual ticket prices on over 3,000 seats, and is designating 12 games during the 2010 season as "value games" (up from five in 2009). For more details, see the Nats web site.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Details on Plans for M Street Bike Lanes
Nov 29, 2009 6:34 PM
With the launch a few weeks back of a bike lane on 15th Street NW, attention is beginning to focus on other locations in the city where there is a desire to place new dedicated bike lanes, and one of those spots is M Street SE/SW, running from Sixth Street, SW to 11th Street, SE, which is a route that Tommy Wells has been interested in for quite a while.
Back in early October, WashCycle reported that DDOT's Bicycle Advisory Facility Committee discussed the M Street concept, and in mid-November the members of the Capitol Riverfront BID were briefed on a feasibility analysis done by the Toole Design Group, with the assembled BIDders told that FY10 funds are available and that there's a desire by Wells and DDOT to get the lanes built before the start of the 2010 baseball season, which apparently caught a number of the briefing attendees by surprise.
In the analysis that was presented to the BID (which you can see here, although appendices A and B were left blank in the handouts), the main recommendations are:
* Configure the two curb lanes on M Street as "cycle tracks" with flexible posts, a temporary measure suggested because of the "unknowns" of any future streetcar implementations along M Street. There would also be a widening of the sidewalks between Half streets SE and SW, moving the cycle track onto the widened sidewalk, because this area is where the "most intense traffic on the corridor occurs."
* Eliminate all parking along M Street at all hours, though "after a period of evaluation it may be appropriate to allow parking adjacent to the cycle track if it is desired."
* Move all transit stops to the far sides of intersections, where buses and bikes can more easily cross and where buses can still pick up and drop off passengers at a curb rather than on street level.
* Reconfigure all traffic signals to allow bikes time to get through intersections before vehicle traffic gets a green light (the bikes and the pedestrian "walk" signals would go green first, followed then by the vehicular greens).
The "very preliminary" cost estimates for the options developed by the study come in around the $450,000 range according to the document, but it must be remembered that this is a study, and not the final plans, and the numbers could go up or down.
There apparently were some business owners at the BID meeting who were displeased with the plans, centering mainly around the traffic implications of the loss of one lane in each direction, which during rush hour and ballpark events are travel lanes and which are parking for customers/workers/residents/etc. the rest of the time.
This could especially be an issue during events at Nationals Park, a scenario which isn't mentioned at all in the feasibility study and which has the Nationals particularly concerned (as apparently voiced by the Nats' Gregory McCarthy at the briefing), since it's not out of the realm of possibility (my words, not theirs) that attendance at the ballpark could rise substantially if the team's fortunes improve, making the backups that are seen when the stadium is sold out--such as during the Red Sox series this summer--considerably worse.
There's been no meeting with ANC 6D commissioners yet about this, though reportedly one is coming soon. I've got a request in to Tommy Wells's office for more information (and what better time to ask a question like that than right around Thanksgiving), so no doubt there is much more to come.
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, M Street, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

Ward 6 Parking Pilot Zone Getting $288K For 'Non-Automobile' Improvements; Other Parking Details
Nov 18, 2009 10:09 PM
Tonight DDOT held a public meeting to update residents on the Ward 6 Performance Parking Pilot program, which was instituted in March 2008 to attempt to get out in front of expected curbside parking problems in the ballpark area, in Southwest, and along Pennsylvania Avenue and Barracks Row.
There were a lot of numbers passed along, but the biggest one is that, in 19 months of operation, the 138 multispace meters in these areas have collected $1.4 million in fees. And, since the legislation that created the program specifies that, until the meters are paid for, 20 percent of the meters' proceeds will be returned to the PILOT area to pay for "non-automobile improvements", there's now $288,809.34 ready to be spent on signage, bike racks, and other amenities. (And in another three months, the initial capital investment for the meters will be paid off, at which point the neighborhoods will receive 75 percent of the meter proceeds.) But, as it's always emphasized, Performance Parking is not about revenue generation! (It's just a very nice side benefit.)
This first phase of improvements, to be completed by next spring, will include these new additions across the three zones, which were determined in consulation with the program's advisory committee members from various neighborhood organizations (UPDATE: here's the map showing the planned locations of these items):
* 25 new bike racks, branded with neighborhood names;
* Eight "wayfaring" map kiosks and 15 pedestrian wayfaring signs to help folks navigate the areas;
* 10-12 digital signs (with 19" screens) to be installed near the ballpark along M Street and at Barracks Row that will display information useful to ballpark goers (times of next buses, offstreet parking options, pedestrian info, PSAs, ads, etc), along with perhaps one 60" screen at the Half Street Navy Yard Metro station entrance ;
* A new to-be-named pedestrian "trail" connecting the Heritage Trails along Eighth Street, SE, and the trail whose name escapes me in Southwest, running along North Carolina from Ninth Street, SE to New Jersey Avenue to M Street to Fourth Street, SW. Benches (with arms, to prevent snoozers) will be placed along the trails, along with specialized large trash cans with compactors run by solar power (in a one-year pilot test);
* One large kiosk in Southeast and one in Southwest (perhaps to be built by students from Catholic University), where neighborhoods can put information for visitors; and
* Grants to the Capitol Hill Restoration Society and the Capitol Riverfront BID, with the BID receiving $50,000 for improved lighting(!) and other upgrades to the New Jersey Avenue underpass.
Other highlights of the meeting beyond the improvements:
* A Near Southeast resident brought up the issue of street parking for residents at Onyx, Velocity, and the other new buildings--because those streets are all [going to someday be] mixed-use residential, office, and retail areas, there will be no Residential Parking Permits given to residents. But Tommy Wells, who attended part of the meeting, committed to working with DDOT to look at other possibilities, such as allowing residents to park overnight at the meters for a very low price.
* Gregory McCarthy of the Nationals was also there, and mentioned how successful the city has been in encouraging "multimodal transportation" to the ballpark, so much so that Nationals Park is now considered a "best practice" that other teams are looking to emulate. But for those of you who have been enjoying parking for free down on the streets of Buzzard Point during ballgames, your salad days may be over, as DDOT is now looking at signing the streets there.
* There was also discussion of the most-used meters (the 1000-1100 blocks of New Jersey Avenue making the list), the issue of raising or lowering the meter prices at the most-used or least-used spaces, and the average turnover time in the spaces, but having seen David Alpert at the meeting, I'm betting I get to leave discussion of these items to Greater Greater Washington. (I think the numbers will also be on the DDOT web site soon.) It's also likely that the multispace meters are going to be removed from Virginia Avenue and moved to Water Street, SW, because the meters just aren't being used on Virginia. (Besides, Virginia is going to be a big huge trench within a few years, anyway!)
If you have ideas for future non-automobile improvements that can be made, or have any other questions or concerns, you can contact Damon Harvey of DDOT at damon.harvey@dc.gov.
{This post was written while watching Top Chef, so apologies if it's a little disjointed.}
UPDATE, 11/19: Here's the improvements map; and both the existing pedestrian trails are called "Heritage Trails," so I fixed my self-diss above.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Donate Coats at Nats Park; Buzzard Point Study; Other Tidbits; Meeting Reminders
Nov 17, 2009 2:06 PM
Today's tidbits:
* The Nationals are in the middle of the One Warm Coat Drive, which is collecting "clean, reuseable" coats and jackets that will be distributed to District adults and children free of charge by the Coalition for the Homeless. Coats may be taken to the Team Store on the southwest corner of Half and N streets, SE, which will be open at 11 am everyday between now and Dec. 11 (except for Thanksgiving), with the store staying open until 3 pm from now to Nov. 25, 6 pm on the 27th and 28th, and 4 pm from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
* Buzzard Point--the peninsula south of Potomac Avenue where the Anacostia and Potomac meet--is 95 percent outside of my boundaries (technically there's a sliver of Southeast over there since South Capitol Street runs down to R Street), but I'll still pass this along. The American Planning Association is going to develop a Strategic Vision for Buzzard Point, and there's a community meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 18) from 6 to 8:30 pm, followed by a walking tour on Thursday, Nov. 19, from 8 to 9:30 pm, and then an "initial findings" meeting on Saturday, Nov. 21, at 2 pm. The Thursday and Saturday meetings are at the MPD-1D station at the old Bowen Elementary School at 101 M St., SW, and the walking tour leaves from King-Greenleaf Rec Center at 201 N St., SW. More information about the project and meetings here. (Note: meeting locations revised from original post)
* This is from last week, but WBJ reports that the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments is joining a regional group looking at possible ferry service from Occoquan to points along the Potomac and Anacosita Rivers (including the Navy Yard).
* The city has announced the first move related to the reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridges--they're going to close the pedestrian bridge over DC295 in Anacostia on or about Nov. 30, because it needs to be demolished to make way for the construction of a new ramp that will link southbound 295 with the new bridges.
And, two last-minute meeting reminders:
* If you're reading this in the next few hours, you can still make tonight's Lower 8th Street Visioning session, at 7 pm at 535 8th Street, SE. @CapitolHillDC live-tweeted this morning's session, if you want to see what went on. The agenda is available on the blogspot site.
* Competing with the Buzzard Point meeting is DDOT's public meeting on the Ward 6 Performance Parking Pilot, starting at 6:30 pm Wednesday (Nov. 18) at Friendship Baptist Church, 900 Delaware Ave., SW. This is a meeting I'm actually going to be able to attend! Woo-hoo!

A Roundup of Recently Tweeted Tidbits (Mostly)
Oct 29, 2009 1:07 PM
Not much big news these days, but here's some tidbits, most of which are links that I've Tweeted in the past few days:
* The BID and the Washington DC Economic Partnership held a "Capitol Riverfront Storefront Summit" on Tuesday morning, which The Hill is Home summarized, with quotes from the owners of Cornercopia and the Subway on Second Street. No splashy announcements of new retailers, though.
* The WBJ's Top Shelf blog pivoted off of the summit to write about Justin's Cafe at Velocity, which the owner now says "hopes to open in about two months from now."
* UrbanTurf asks: How do People Like Living in "Capitol Riverfront"?
* Beyond DC went to the Columbia Heights streetcar meeting on Monday, and posted more details about DDOT's plans. The Ward 7 public meeting is tonight, at 650 Anacostia Ave., NE, from 7 to 8:30 pm.
* The Bullpen is still selling tickets for its big Halloween night bash, from 9 pm to 1 am (with a fully heated tent!). An e-mail says that more than 400 tickets have been sold.
* The American Cancer Society is hosting Making Strides for Breast Cancer, a 5K walk to fund breast cancer research, at Nationals Park on Saturday. Two laps around the stadium, and one inside lap on the First Concourse. (I think I've done that walk a whole bunch of times over the past four years!)
* The council's Committee on Finance and Revenue has scheduled a November 12 hearing on the pending bill that would allow the city sell bonds to pay for phase 3 infrastructure work at Capper. (Though I don't see the hearing notice online yet.) For more about this, read my entry from a few days back.

GreenSpace May Move into Retail Space at Some Ballpark in Southwest, WBJ Says
Oct 16, 2009 10:04 AM
I am so close to just not linking to this story at all, because I can't believe that after all this time the Washington Business Journal can't figure out that Nationals Park is in Southeast and not Southwest. But here you go.
In an article entitled "GreenSpace may get housed in lonely Southwest D.C." (subscribers only), WBJ tells us: "If negotiations turn into reality, the Washington Nationals' stadium may score an unlikely tenant in one of its empty retail spots by the end of this year: nonprofit purveyors of green affordable housing. If a deal is struck for 16,000 square feet of arched space at Nationals Park, the nonprofit, GreenHome, will branch beyond its original mission of environmentally aligned, price-conscious residential buildings and set up its new GreenSpace concept: a classroom, conference center and vendor showroom for green development." Apparently they are negotiating to have either the city or the Lerners cover their rent in the space.
The main retail spaces at the ballpark are along First Street and Potomac Avenue SouthEAST, right across from the WASA land and Diamond Teague Park.
UPDATE: WBJ has corrected the online version of the article.
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More posts: Nationals Park, Teague Park, DC Water (WASA)

Photos from a Breezy Fall Evening Along the River
Sep 29, 2009 9:23 PM
There's nothing like the light you get from late afternoon through twilight on a clear crisp day in September, and I was lucky enough to be able to wander around for a few hours and take some photos. They're mostly of Diamond Teague Park, the ballpark, and various views along the Anacostia (including the arrival of the water taxi from Alexandria). Not much rhyme or reason to them, but they are photos I've been meaning to take for a long time, and maybe you might enjoy them, too. (I need a little more time to get them onto my Teague page.)
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More posts: Nationals Park, Teague Park, Water Taxis/Riverboats

Roundup of Recent Little Items
Sep 28, 2009 7:23 PM
Some recently Tweeted tidbits, and a few other morsels:
* Cornercopia is now open on Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm, according to a Tweet from Albert today.
* It's the last homestand of the 2009 season at the ballpark, with a 7:05 pm start on Tuesday and a 4:35 pm on Wednesday. (Oh--it's the Mets.)
* There's going to be a big Halloween shindig at the Bullpen on Oct. 31 from 9 pm to 1 am; three bands, a DJ, and costumes required.
* Velocity Condos is having its "Grand Opening" event on Oct. 3 and 4. Settlements on units in the building were supposed to begin on Sept. 21, but I haven't heard whether they have indeed started.
* WAMU did a brief report this morning on the BID's work (via events like the recent picnic and walking tour) to drum up interest in the neighborhood, especially to show retailers that there's a customer base. "Some 2,100 people live in the redevelopment zone, but McManus says more 'urban pioneers' need to arrive before retailers can move in."
* A group of owners, merchants, and residents working on ideas to perk up the southern end of Eighth Street (south of the freeway) now have a blog. There are apparently going to be a series of public meetings as part of the "visioning process," on Oct. 20, Nov. 17, Dec. 15, and Jan. 19, at 8:30 am and 7 pm. Their aim is to "attempt to gain consensus on a vision for the area and to address issues of height, density, mix of uses, parking and access, as well as what should be the character of a redesigned Virginia Avenue Park as an amenity or community benefit for the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood and Capitol Hill. If consensus can be reached on the vision, it could serve as the basis for asking the Office of Planning to develop a small area neighborhood plan that could then be used as justification for any agreed upon zoning or density changes."
* The Examiner reported last week that CSX is proposing to expand the amount of freight it moves through DC, which would require the expansion of the Virginia Avenue tunnel, the New Jersey Avenue overpass, and other locations to allow for double-height rail cars. The plan is supported by the National Capital Regional Transportation Planning Board and by DDOT.

Five Years Ago Today, a Big Piece of News
Sep 21, 2009 9:15 AM
Considering what it portended for the forgotten little patch of land I had been blogging about for the previous 20 months, this post of mine late in the evening on Sept. 21, 2004 was pretty understated: "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."
Yeah, kind of!
Late the next day, I went out and took a set of photos throughout the 21 acres that would eventually become home to Nationals Park, knowing it was important to get a bunch of "before" photos should this stadium actually come to pass. This was in the days when my photo-taking was pretty much limited to firing my little point-and-shoot digital camera from behind the wheel while I drove around the neighborhood, having not quite yet worked up the bravery to get out on foot. (Eventually I documented all of the buildings that were demolished to make way for the ballpark, but this Sept. 22 excursion marks for me official start of what would become an all-consuming project for me over the next four years.)
It wasn't until the next week that it was all made official, that the Expos were coming to town and that the city would pursue building a new stadium in Near Southeast. And the reality of the ballpark didn't truly come to pass until that marathon city council session in February 2006 that first voted down then finally ratified the stadium lease agreement (signed by MLB the next month), followed two days later by the court ruling allowing the eminent domain seizure of the land for the ballpark to move forward. Demolitions began in May 2006, and the construction was completed on time for the official opener on March 30, 2008.
To look at not only the Sept. 22 ballpark-area photos but also a batch I took mainly around the Cappers footprint a few days earlier is to be reminded yet again of how much change has come to this area in the same amount of time that many people, say, pay off a new car. It's almost jarring to catch glimpses in these shots of the old South Capitol Street viaduct (demolished in July 2007) that in many ways was such a symbol of the old Near Southeast--how it walled the neighborhood off from Southwest, and how it helped perpetuate the area's overgrown industrial feeling, while allowing commuters to blow past it all without really having to look at it.
It's going to be a while before big-time development resumes in the area (just like everywhere else in the city/region/country), but that doesn't make the changes that have already happened to this formerly forgotten little spot a mile south of the U.S. Capitol any less striking to look at.
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More posts: Rearview Mirror, Douglass Bridge, Nationals Park

Lazy Repost of Recent Tweets on Canal Park, Nats '10 Schedule, Ferries, More
Sep 16, 2009 12:03 PM
Here's a bunch of small items that I've Tweeted over the past few days; I'm succumbing to abject laziness and only barely bothering to rewrite them (who needs all those extra words, anyway?):
* RT @TWTSports: #Nats will open the 2010 season at Nationals Park against the Phillies on April 5. [schedule link]
* RT @LPags03: #Nats host BOS for exhibition game on 4/3.
* The new Canal Park design is on the preliminary agenda for the Oct. 1 NCPC meeting. Hope it makes the final agenda: link
* Study of commuter ferry service to waterfront from Woodbridge pegs a $30M price tag just for needed improvements: link
* From @octolabs: DC Citywide Data Warehouse won coolest gov innovation award for DC Data Catalog/Data Feeds: link [and thanks for the shout-out!]
* RT @Cornercopia: Owner of blue civic with Maryland plates parked in front should probably move their car. 2 tickets already since Mon.
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More posts: Canal Park, cornercopia, Nationals Park, Water Taxis/Riverboats

Snippets, Reminders, and Whatnot
Sep 9, 2009 10:47 AM
Pulling together smallish items from hither and yon:
* Last night saw the first arrival of a commercial water taxi at Diamond Teague Pier; WTOP covered the trip, which is a good thing, since I neither rode the boat nor stood on the dock to watch it sail in. I suck.
* A stroll through the city's building permits feed (which alas isn't as easy or useful as it used to be, since they pile every single permit into the feed over and over, rather than just posting new/updated ones) uncovered that back in August, a raze permit was issued for 156 L Street, home of the old Star Market and better known as the "Little Red Building"; the owner has spoken of plans to build a new two-story structure that would be a combination liquor store and deli. I haven't heard of any timeframe for the demolition, new construction, or store opening.
* From And Now, Anacostia, a heads up that today's Kojo Nnamdi show will include a segment called "Paris on the Anacostia: A Provocative Idea for DC's Waterfront," which will discuss the idea of *narrowing* the Anacostia River, "with the goal of bringing in new businesses, training new workers, and completely changing the relationship between folks East and West of the River." It'll be available online here.
* Tomorrow night (Thursday) is the second Outdoor Space Movie at Canal Park; this time it's Star Wars. The Force will be with you, starting at 7:30 pm.
* And Thursday night is also the deadline for pre-registration for ULI Washington's Urban Marketplace conference and expo on Sept. 15. Among lots of other sessions about urban development, it includes a panel discussion about the ballpark neighborhood, with Michael Darby of Monument Realty, Matthew Klein of Akridge, Michael Stevens of the BID, Harriet Tregoning of the Office of Planning, and me. It'll be a barn-burner!
* Saturday night is the second annual Opera in the Outfield at Nationals Park; the Washington Times previews it here. It's the Barber of Seville; but don't be alarmed when the first lines aren't "Welcome to my shop/let me cut your mop, let me shave your crop/Daintily, Daintily!"
* Forest City announced its second-quarter earnings, for those who know how to decipher these things. It does mention the Park at the Yards, still listing the completion date of the first phase as summer 2010. And their outlook? "While some see signs of a potential end of the recession, we are taking a conservative course based on what we can observe and are experiencing directly: continued weak fundamentals and little improvement in overall near-term conditions. As a result, we remain very cautious going forward. We expect the second half of the year to be challenging for our Company and for the entire industry, and we do not anticipate meaningful improvement in market conditions in the near or mid-term."
* I don't think I've officially linked to Cornercopia's Twitter feed, if you haven't seen it yet. (And there's my Twitter feed, too, of course.)

100 M Under Contract?; Rent the Ballpark; Monument Half Street Update
Sep 1, 2009 11:00 AM
* GlobeSt.com says that the 100 M Street office building built by Opus East--and now owned by its bank after Opus went into Chapter 7 liquidation--is under contract to be sold for $80 million to Mayfield Gentry. Gentry has been pursuing the purchase since late last year. GlobeSt: "If events play out as expected, 100 M St., SE will fit nicely into the story line emerging for the District's real estate community: namely, that buildings in the city limits are still holding their value and attracting investor interest--so much so that the growing levels of distressed real estate are not likely to impact the District to any great degree."
And two quick links that I Tweeted on Friday but forgot to post here (oops):
* Want to rent out the ballpark or a portion thereof for a shindig? The NationalsEvents.com web site is now launched, with details on packages, rates, and more. (I needed this when I was trying to put together my high school reunion last year.)
* WBJ's Breaking Ground blog posted on the status of Monument's Half Street project, talking about "the hole" ("'The hole. Yes, the hole,' sighed Russell Hines") and the 55 M office building completed earlier this year which "is still empty but has experienced 'a distinct change in the level of activity' over the past two months, with a few seriously interested tenants." They're looking for ways to find financing to start construction on the residential and hotel portion on the south end of the block, but aren't finding any outlets yet; but because the site is owned outright between the equity partners (Monument, the shell of Lehman Brothers, and MacFarlane Partners), "no construction lender or mortgage holder is going to demand the keys" to the site.
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More posts: 100 M, 55 M St., Monument/Half St., Square 743N, Nationals Park

Potomac Riverboat Company Offering Water Taxi Service for Nats Games, Starting Sept. 8
Aug 28, 2009 11:38 AM
From WTOP: "Nationals fans will have a new way to get to the ballpark starting next month! That's when a water taxi will begin taking fans from the Alexandria waterfront to a dock right next to the the ballpark. It's about a 40 minute trip.
"The Potomac Riverboat Company will begin offering tickets for sale starting at noon today. 'I think it's a great price, $12 one way and $20 round trip. That includes tax,' company Vice President Charlotte Hall tells WTOP.
"Fans who live in Maryland can park at National Harbor, and take a separate water taxi across the river to catch the "baseball boat" in Alexandria. Those who want to do that will have to purchase a separate ticket for $8 one way or $16 round trip.
"Company vice president Charlotte Hall says they're offering water taxi rides to and from seven Nationals home games in September, beginning with a game against Philadelphia on Tuesday, September 8. You can also buy water taxi tickets to home games on September 9, 10, 25, 28, 29, and 30. Hall says they hope to expand service in time for next baseball season."
The dock is at Diamond Teague Park--if you missed my photos yesterday of the park and piers, here they are.
UPDATE: Potomac Riverboat's online ticketing ordering now has ballpark trips as an option.
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List of Operators Serving Diamond Teague Piers
Aug 20, 2009 12:45 PM
With thanks to the deputy mayor's office and Gangplank Marina, I now have the list of the companies and vessels that are on the "Operator Master List" for docking at the new piers at Diamond Teague Park (right across the street from Nationals Park):
* Entertainment Cruises, which runs the well-known Odyssey and the Spirit of Washington cruises from the Southwest Waterfront, is signed up to allow their Seadog speedboat and Capital Elite yacht to dock at Teague;
* Potomac Riverboat Cruises is approved to run the Miss Mallory, the Matthew Hayes, and the Miss Christin, all of which are docked at Alexandria;
* Capitol River Cruises's two boats (the Nightingale and Nightingale II) are docked in Georgetown;
* Ft. Washington and Potomac River Cruises's the Pelican, docked at National Harbor;
* The Miss Ann, docked at the Southwest Waterfront;
* The Sequoia Presidential Yacht, docked at the Southwest Waterfront; and
* Capital Yacht Charters, which operates out of the Southwest Waterfront, can dock four ships: the Finished Business, Celebrity, Running Mate, and Margaritaville.
It looks like that for the rest of this year it will probably only be charter service docking at Teague, with scheduled water taxi service for games not starting up until next spring. But maybe some outfit will surprise. The Earth Conservation Corps will be working with Coastal Properties (aka the folks at the Gangplank) to manage the piers, and apparently there will be an official web site for the Teague park and piers up soon. They're also still working on the landscaping, which should be finished next month.
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Water Taxi Service 'Now Available' (But...)
Aug 19, 2009 7:47 PM
Late this afternoon the mayor's office sent out this press release, which confirms these posts from last week: "Mayor Adrian M. Fenty on Wednesday announced water taxi service is now available to Nationals Park by way of a District-built public pier at the new $8 million Diamond Teague Park on the Anacostia River. [...] Six local charter companies will operate about a dozen different vessels to the pier from locations including Maryland's National Harbor and Old Town, Alexandria. Service will be available for home games at the park and other special events. The boat operators will use a new 250-foot commercial pier built for boats carrying up to 149 passengers."
Alas, the release doesn't name the six companies or give any details on their services, though WTOP reported last week that the "Potomac Riverboat Company plans to begin operations as soon as next month, for at least some remaining home games." I just checked their web site, and there's nothing on it about service to the ballpark as of right now.
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Opera at the Ballpark Again
Aug 17, 2009 10:51 AM
From the Post: "The Washington National Opera announced Monday that for the second straight year, the company's opening-night performance -- this year, "The Barber of Seville" on Sept. 12 -- will be simulcast live at Nationals Park, free of charge." There were about 15,000 people at last year's simulcast of "La Traviata." It will begin at 7 pm, with the gates opening at 5:30; no reservations are required except for the VIP seating areas. (And it should go without saying that the simulcast will be projected on the ballpark's high-definition scoreboard.) For more information, go to wnosimulcast.org.
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Water Taxis for Nats Games Maybe Starting Soon?
Aug 8, 2009 8:08 PM
From WTOP, news that water taxi service to Diamond Teague Park may be underway fairly soon: "The Potomac Riverboat Company plans to begin operations as soon as next month, for at least some remaining home games. 'We would offer service on the game nights only,' says company Vice President Charlotte Hall, 'from Alexandria, Va., National Harbor and Gaylord National Hotel.'" And: "Prices for the Nationals Park water taxi service have not been set yet, but the company currently charges $8 one way, or $16 round trip for its water taxi connecting Alexandria Harbor, National Harbor and Gaylord National. Hall says all of its existing service will stay the same, and no schedules or routes will be cut to accommodate added trips to Nationals Park."
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Closing the Budget Gap: Ballpark Taxes, 225 Virginia
Jul 27, 2009 10:29 PM
As the mayor and the city council try to figure out how to close a huge FY09 budget gap and work to revise the FY10 budget to deal with expected shortfalls, a few items:
* The Examiner says: "Mayor Adrian Fenty's revised 2010 budget plan shifts $50 million from the Ballpark Revenue Fund to the general fund over the next four years. There it would be used to help bridge shortfalls totaling more than $1 billion through 2013. The move has incensed medium- and large-business owners, who are charged an annual gross receipts tax to augment the ballpark fund -- a pot specifically created to pay off $535 million in stadium bonds." The Chamber of Commerce is pledging to fight the idea.
* And today, the city council met "privately" (with media in attendance) to discuss what it sees as the best approaches to find the money. Mark Segraves of WTOP and Mike DeBonis of City Paper were in the room Tweeting like mad. Here's what they said about the council's discussions of the mayor's idea to spend $160 million to buy and renovate 225 Virginia, to get out from under the $6 million a year lease payments:
@SegravesWTOP: Talk has turned to 225 Virginia Ave, the old Washington Star building near the SE Freeway.
@mikedebonis: Council mulls purchase of 225 Va. Ave. to save on ridiculous rent. Vince Gray says let's look at the numbers.
MD: Lotsa handwringing over 225 Virginia Ave. SE and the astronomical lease thereto. 'Outrageous!' say several.
MS: City pays 12 mil per year in rent. Wells says mayor wants to. Buy building for 85 mil plus another 85 mil in upgrades. It would house CFSA
MS: DC has been paying rent on VA Ave since 2007. Other agencies slated to move there, OCTO and Arts and Humanities
MD: OCFO will have 225 Va. Ave purchase numbers by tomorrow. Evans calcs that $9M rent savings would float a $100M note.
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More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I, Nationals Park

Diamond Teague Progress, Cornercopia Peek, Plus a Few Other Photo Updates and a Parking Lot Update
Jul 16, 2009 8:46 PM
I took advantage of the sunny evening to dart around getting some desperately needed photo updates. First up is Diamond Teague Park, where progress on not only the water-taxi piers but the "on-land" portion of the park itself is now clearly visible from the viewing platform at Nationals Park. The last projected opening date I heard, a few months back, was July, but while it looks like maybe the park won't be pulled together in the next two weeks, it definitely appears to be getting there. See my Teague page for the latest pics.
I also snuck a peek through the door at Cornercopia and snagged a quick photo, showing goods now stocked on the shelves, but perhaps just short of being ready to open. Maybe they can get ready for all the folks heading to the ballpark this weekend? Don't forget, my offer still stands of a free sandwich to the first person who reports to me that it's open....
I also took some updated photos at Fourth and K in Capitol Quarter, where framing has sprouted on the north side of K. Then I wandered down to the Yards to get some better shots of the southeast corner of Fourth and Tingey, which is where the Trapeze School is going to be located. (You can also see the entire batch of today's photos, where you can then click on the icon to see an angle's entire history.) Speaking of the Trapeze School, the Post's Health section had a story today on what it's like to take a class from them. (You probably won't ever see *me* flying through the air with the greatest of ease.)
One other item--the WashTimes reported today that the Elton/Billy stage left centerfield in a bit of a mess, requiring the grass to be painted. As you can see from this shot I took during batting practice, it seemed to work pretty well.
Lastly, it only took me half the season, but I've now updated my Stadium Parking map to show the many options for cash parking (official and unofficial), in addition to the official Nats season ticket lots. And to think that there was a time when *some* people were worried there wouldn't be enough parking.

Upcoming Events, and Other Linky Goodness
Jul 14, 2009 12:14 PM
* This Sunday (July 19), there's going to be a "Grill-Off" at Nationals Park before the 1:30 game against the Cubs. Phil Bucco, who oversees the menus at the ballpark, will be competing against Teddy Folkman, the executive chef at Granville Moore's. It'll be an Iron Chef-like challenge, where the chefs won't know the ingredient they're working with beforehand. The event starts at noon, but the first-come first-served seats (in the Nats Family Fun Area) can be grabbed starting at 11 am, when the gates open. Plates will be judged at 1 pm.
* On Tuesday, July 21, the BID is hosting a "Mental Mapping" event, where they're asking residents to "Sketch out your shopping route to assist in a study about neighborhood retail needs." It's at Capitol Hill Tower at 6:30 pm; RSVP to rsvp@capitolriverfront.org.
* On Saturday, Aug. 8, the 3rd Annual Youth River Sports Day will be held at the Anacostia Community Boathouse, from 10 am to 2 pm. Rowing and paddling instruction, guided river tours, and more will be offered; my photos from last year's event give a taste of the activities.
* This is a ways off, but SWDC Blog reports that the next ANC 6D meeting, on Sept. 14 (no August meeting) will be held in Southeast, at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L. I've been attending ANC meetings off and on for six years, and this is the first one I remember that will be crossing South Capitol Street.
* Even farther off (well, the next day), Urban Land Institute Washington is holding its third Urban Marketplace Conference and Expo, which brings together "the private, nonprofit, and public sectors to explore redevelopment opportunities and best practices in emerging neighborhoods and corridors across the Washington metropolitan region." One of the day's discussions will focus on the ballpark district (and I'm one of the panelists). Early-bird registration ends July 31.
* In non-event news, Fox 5 reports on how the Nationals' problems on the field "are making the city's $700-million stadium look like a bad investment." To wit: "Before the stadium was built, the city projected average attendance at 34,708 per game and tax revenues from tickets and merchandise of $15.1 million for this season. The reality, average attendance is about 23,213, ranking the Nationals 24th out of 30 teams. Based on attendance figures through June, the city now estimates tax revenues of about $8.9 million. The office of the Chief Financial Officer says tax revenues could increase because average attendance has improved slightly since June." However, "The office of the Chief Financial Officer estimates the city will raise $50.2 million through its Ballpark Revenue Fund, more than enough to make the $32-million bond payment on the stadium with money left over. The bulk of that however does not come from the Ballpark itself, but rather from a utility tax and a business tax in the city."
* Since I was out of town this weekend, I missed all the Elton/Billy hullabaloo. Here's a pile of reviews and blog posts having to do with the big show.
* For your (off-topic) Real Estate Development Collapse reading pleasure, a long piece on Williamsburg, NY: "Most unsettling are the cases of the developers who seem to have vanished, leaving behind so many vacant lots and half-completed buildings--eighteen, to be precise, more than can be found in all of the Bronx--that large swaths of the neighborhood have come to resemble a city after an air raid."

Don't Fret if You See a Big Balloon
Jul 14, 2009 10:06 AM
This has just been passed my way from an unnamed source: "Be advised that, weather permitting, an approved aerial photography balloon will be flown at various altitudes in the vicinity of 3rd and D Streets, SE at times between sunrise and sunset on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, July 14-16, 2009. This is in support of a commercial real estate development near the Nationals Stadium." I'm trying to find out which development they're talking about, but, in any event, don't panic.
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Setting the Stage for Elton/Billy; Cornercopia Update
Jul 9, 2009 4:25 PM
These aren't the most exciting photos I've ever posted (and goodness knows there are a lot of pictures at JDLand that already fall into this category), but I couldn't pass up the opportunity, so here are some shots from inside Nationals Park today showing the construction of the stage for Saturday's Elton John and Billy Joel concert. It's in dead centerfield, taller than the Red Loft but not quite as big as the scoreboard. (There will be seating on the field, it just hasn't been set up yet.) And, if you make to the bottom of the page, there's a couple non-stage shots that might be of interest, too.
In other news, I stopped in Cornercopia, and they tell me that they have all their city permits, and are now just waiting to get set up with their distributor, so they could be opening next week. They also told me that they will have tables with umbrellas, chairs, and benches, and the all important water dish for dogs. If you didn't chime in on the last thread on what goods you'd like to see for sale there, leave a comment below; you never know who might be reading!
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More posts: cornercopia, Nationals Park, Stadium Events

Billy and Elton on Saturday
Jul 8, 2009 10:40 AM
A reminder that the first big concert at Nationals Park (well, other than the Pope) is this Saturday, with Billy Joel and Elton John. Metro has just sent out a press release with its plans: "In anticipation of large crowds, Metro will operate additional eight-car trains on the Green Line leading up to the start of the concert. Additional personnel will be on hand at the Navy Yard Metrorail station on the Green Line, which is just one block away from Nationals Park. Upon conclusion of the concert, Metro will deploy eight-car shuttle trains that will operate between the Navy Yard and Mt. Vernon Sq/7th St Convention Center Metrorail station."
UPDATE: As for parking, apparently ticketholders have received e-mails urging them to prepurchase parking in the official Nats lots, and cash parking lots will be available as well.
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Red Sox at the Ballpark This Week; Be Prepared
Jun 22, 2009 2:32 PM
From the Nats: "The Washington Nationals are expecting capacity crowds for their three games vs. the Boston Red Sox, Tuesday, June 23, Wednesday, June 24 and Thursday, June 25 at 7:05pm. Nationals fans attending the games are encouraged to arrive early to avoid rush hour delays and long lines. Nationals Park Center Field gates open at 4:30pm, and fans arriving early may view Nationals Batting Practice, beginning at 4:50pm."
"Fans planning on driving to Nationals Park may pre-purchase their parking at nationals.com/waytogo. Fans may also park for free at RFK Stadium, Lot 8, and take the free Nats Express to the ballpark. The Nats Express runs continuously from an hour and a half before first pitch through an hour and a half after the last out. Nationals Park is conveniently located on the Metrorail Green Line, at the Navy Yard Metro Station."
If you're not going to the game, be prepared for much heavier traffic, especially on South Capitol, M, and near the various cash parking lots (in the Yards, at Third and K, Seventh and M, and other spots here and there in the neighborhood.)
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Dreary Thursday Links Roundup
Jun 18, 2009 9:42 AM
* The news about perhaps paying for the convention center by taking money from various in-the-pipeline projects around the city has generated a lot of comment, not only here but in the form of a letter from Monty Hoffman of PN Hoffman to Chairman Gray in which he said that moving funds away from the planned redevelopment of the Southwest Waterfront "would be a horrific business, legal, and community tragedy for the city." And SWDC Blog is reporting this morning that Kwame Brown says the list in the original WBJ article was of all tax-increment-financing plans approved by the City Council, which might be a wider list than just projects from which funds could be diverted.
* Roll Call has a piece on the "slow-to-develop" Capitol Riverfront neighborhood: "Today, visitors to the stadium emerge from the Metro onto an almost empty street flanked by tall fences. Billions of dollars of real estate is planned for the area, but for now, it only offers a few half-empty buildings and the occasional fast-food restaurant." But there is this as well: "The buildings aren't all empty. BID estimates that about 1,600 people live in the area, leasing about half of the available apartments. Office buildings hold about 35,000 workers; Opus East, for example, has leased 50 percent of the units for its new building at 100 M St. SE." (Full disclosure: I'm quoted a few times.)
* On the flip side, a just-released CBRE report on the impact of the federal stimulus package on the DC and Baltimore region says: "The commercial real estate industry has begun to see an impact from the transportation-related stimulus activities. Government contractors are actively touring office buildings in the Capitol Riverfront submarket of Washington, DC, home to the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Transportation, for new growth related to stimulus-funded contracts. These tours are noteworthy as the submarket has seen limited interest over the first six months of the year as a result of the national and local economic recessions." We're also still waiting to hear which federal agency might be about to lease 100,000-sq-ft of space at 20 M, and whether Booz Allen Hamilton is taking 30,000 sq ft at 55 M or elsewhere in the neighborhood.
* And, if you saw a boat full of partying real estate professionals cruising up the Anacostia on Tuesday, it was the Urban Land Institute Washington's annual boat tour, which took the Odyssey from the Southwest Waterfront up to the Yards and then back toward Rosslyn and Georgetown.
* The news of the day gave the Republicans some trouble in the bullpen at last night's Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park. And the GOP's woes in Washington continued, with the Democrats winning the game for the first time in eight years, 15-10.
* I forgot to post this last week: M.L. Clark Real Estate, which negotiated the deal for the city to sublet 225 Virginia Avenue, is going out of business, says WBJ, with its two brokers moving to Cassidy & Pinkard.
* A reminder that this Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm is the Third Annual Ward 6 Family Day.

Congressional Baseball Game at Nats Park
Jun 16, 2009 2:16 PM
Tomorrow (Wednesday, June 17) is the annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, being held at Nationals Park at 7 pm. Quoting: "For nearly 50 years, Democrats and Republicans have taken a night off from their political wrangling for a different partisan competition: the Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. This year, the squads will take the field on June 17 at Nationals Park to battle not only for bragging rights and the coveted Roll Call trophy but also to raise funds for a pair of local charities. The Washington Literacy Council runs reading programs for adults and children while the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington helps children build confidence, develop character and acquire the skills needed to become productive, civic-minded, responsible adults." (h/t WeLoveDC)
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Filming at Nats Park Today; Lots of Other Tidbits
Jun 12, 2009 9:37 AM
* Reader S. reports in from Nats Park that filming is happening there today on the Owen Wilson baseball movie. S. is an extra, and says that Owen is there, but hasn't seen any other stars yet.
* The Navy Yard Museum is presenting "American Girl Day" on June 27, saluting the series of books that has taken the youngsters by storm. Valerie Tripp, one of the authors, will be signing books, and there will be hands-on activities, prizes, and more. RSVP required; it runs from 11 am to 3 pm. See the flyer for more.
* Two readers confirmed my Tweet yesterday that the "Taxation Without Representation" street signs have now been posted on South Capitol Street between N and Potomac.
* The new owner of the Little Red Building at Second and L formerly known as the Star Market is moving on getting the existing liquor license changed to allow more than just beer and wine (a process originally started by the previous owner). My intern reported that the sign now posted says that the deadline for filings on the case is July 20 and the hearing is (I think) August 10; however, the hearing notice hasn't yet appeared in the DC Register, and the ABRA web site is woefully out of date these days.
* Greater Greater Washington discusses attempts to get USDOT security to back off from hassling photographers; I've had problems there for years, even though there is no law prohibiting the photographing of federal buildings. (They even hassle me when I'm taking photos of The Yards, which, to be gentle about it, is *really* none of their damn business.)
* I hear that the Cornercopia Deli is still about three weeks from opening; we'll see if that date holds. And yes, my free-sandwich offer to the first reader who alerts me to the deli actually being open for business still stands.
* There's a couple sales/leasing events at Velocity and Onyx over the next few days that readers have alerted me to; but if those sorts of tidbits are of interest to you, you'll want to check in with the BID; I'm going to shy away from adding those type of shindigs to my already overburdened lineup of items I track.

Shooting at 7th and M; Canal Park Sod; Ballpark Fireworks Temporarily Snuffed Out
Jun 8, 2009 1:42 PM
This morning's news-filled Tweeting, merely cut-and-pasted because I'm tired and cranky (though still on a high from Federer's win):
* "Reader J reports that there was a shooting this morning in the 7th and M parking lot across from the Navy Yard entrance." Followed by: "MPD says on 1D mailing list that 7th & M shooting suspect "is not at large" and that this involved MPD and US Marshalls."
* "RT @atweber: on a positive note they are rolling out the sod at Canal Park. (JD sez--just the southern block; other 2 to be seeded.)"
And, if grass and guns aren't enough for you, read City Paper, the Sports Bog, and the Post on how the DC fire chief is snuffing out all fireworks at Nationals Park after debris fell on him at Sunday's game, with the WashTimes is now reporting that the fireworks will most likely be restored."
UPDATE: Here is the Post story on the shooting:
"An armed homicide suspect being sought by D.C. police died of a gunshot wound today after officers confronted him on M Street SE near the Washington Navy Yard, authorities said. It was not immediately clear whether the wound was self-inflicted or from a police bullet.
"Police said the man, whose identify was being withheld pending notification of his next of kin, was being sought by the D.C. police fugitive task force in connection with a May 31 slaying in the city. Members of the task force encountered him at midmorning in the 600 block of M Street, not far from Nationals Park, police said.
"After the man brandished a handgun, police said, at least one officer fired at him, but there was some indication that the fatal wound was self-inflicted. The shooting was still under investigation this afternoon."
UPDATE II: WTOP says the man, 38-year-old Allan Haggins, shot himself.
UPDATE III: NBC says Haggins [different spelling] was being pursued in for the murder of Goldean Hawkins, whose funeral was being held this morning' at St. Matthew's Church at New Jersey and L. Haggins was spotted by police in the 500 block of M Street SE, and pursued him to the parking lot in the next block, where "Haggins produced a handgun in the parking lot, police said, prompting two officers to fire their handguns at the suspect, striking his body. Haggins then shot himself, police said."
FIREWORKS UPDATE: City Paper says that the fire department says the problem has been fixed: "Alan Etter, the spokesperson from the fire department, says the angle in which the devices were being deployed had to be changed so the fallout would end up outside the stadium. 'They did tell me that the product itself is being revised so that there's less debris that is subject to fall on people,' Etter says. But adds: 'None of this stuff is on fire.'"
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L Street Doings, and Stories on Stuff There's Already Been Stories On
Jun 4, 2009 11:21 PM
* ANC 6D's meeting on Monday night (June 8) looks to be a little shorter than usual, with only a few agenda items, one of which is a public space permit request by the Courtyard by Marriott to expand (?) their sidewalk cafe.
* Speaking of L Street, a reader wrote today about the Little Red Building at Second and L, once known as the Star Market. Apparently the owner was posting a liquor license hearing notice, which gives me a feeling of deja vu, since this also happened in September 2006. The owner told my anonymous tipster about his plans for the building, which are pretty much what we've been hearing since 2006: tear down the building and build a new two-story structure, with the first floor being a liquor store and the second floor being a deli (at other points over the past few years it was a sushi bar and then a wine bar on the second floor). The plans have even stayed mostly the same after the building changed hands last year for $900,000. See my various posts from 2006 through 2008 about the previous attempts to change the building's liquor license and the negotiations with the ANC.
* Lots of coverage today of the city "landing a movie project," though it's the Owen Wilson/Reese Withersoon/Paul Rudd baseball movie that was first reported on back in May. Parts of it will be filmed at Nationals Park.
* In a similar vein, the Post reports today on the trapeze school coming to DC, which we discussed a few days back. Negotiations are still underway to have them "land" (ar-ar) at The Yards after they spend the summer on the old Convention Center site.

A Slew of Tweets, Links and Little Items
Jun 2, 2009 9:41 AM
Some recent items of note, some Tweeted over the past few days and some I just lazily haven't gotten around to mentioning until now:
* Several readers wrote in to mention the awnings now in place at the Cornercopia Deli at Third and K, which were installed on Friday. Still no word on when it might open--but to make sure that I hear about it ASAP when its doors do open, I pledge to buy a sandwich there for the first reader who alerts me that the deli is open to customers.
* If you haven't been in the unit blocks of either I or K streets--the Wendy's (on the site of the on-hold 23 I Street apartment building by JPI) is now completely demolished, and glass is now being hung on 1015 Half Street. If you're wondering why the west side of 1015 Half is not glassed but has just a plain beige exterior--remember that that side will just be facing an alley, with 1000 South Capitol someday rising between it and South Capitol Street. (Emphasis on the *someday.*)
* The Obama Five Guys on Second Street has seen a 50 percent jump in business since the president's visit on Friday, says Politics Daily. And plenty of people are ordering the "Obama Burger," a cheesburger with lettuce, tomato, mustard, and jalapenos.
* A little excitement at USDOT on Monday when a suspicious package forced the evacuation of the Fourth Street building. According to DC Fire and EMS's Twitter feed, it was a package leaking diesel fuel.
* Greater Greater Washington spent some time looking more closely at the schematic of the new 11th Street Bridges that I posted about last week.
* The Post had a good report on Saturday's high school baseball Congressional Bank Classic at Nationals Park.
* UrbanTurf.com took a look at Capitol Hill Tower.
* "Artomatic Moves to DC's Empty Ballpark District."
* The Mayor wants to clean out the Community Benefits Fund funded by the ballpark to pay for 10 weeks of his summer jobs program, says the Examiner. Members of the council say that six weeks (the amount that can be paid for by the original amount budgeted for the program) is good enough, and that money should go to various projects they've earmarked. (UPDATE: The council voted today *not* to cut the program to six weeks.)

Taxation Without Representation Street Still Unsigned
Jun 2, 2009 9:12 AM
Remember "Taxation Without Representation Street," the city's renaming of the three blocks of South Capitol Street in front of Nationals Park? The Examiner does, and checks to see if anything's happened with it: "As of April 24, the team's legal address was formally changed to 1500 Taxation Without Representation St. SE, thanks to an act of the D.C. Council. But no one would know it: The D.C. Department of Transportation has yet to change the street signs, and the Nationals apparently have no intention of redesigning their letterhead."
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More posts: South Capitol St., Nationals Park

High School Baseball at the Ballpark Saturday
May 29, 2009 10:39 AM
Another item I've forgotten in my "Upcoming Events" posts lately: tomorrow (Saturday, May 30), the Congressional Bank Baseball Classic is returning to Nationals Park for its second year. As with last year, it will feature four games showcasing high-school baseball talent--a game between the top two public schools, another between the top two private schools, followed by a title match between the two winners. There will also be an All-Star game. You can get more information at the official web site; also, WAMU apparently did a feature about it this morning, which should be posted soon.
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NatsTown 'Green-Up' on Friday May 22
May 19, 2009 3:32 PM
Just out from the Nats, an announcement about a clean-up day they're holding this Friday (May 22) along the banks of the Anacostia near the ballpark. If you're interested in participating, you can contact Lisa Pagano with the Nats (Lisa.Pagano [at] nationals.com) for more information:
"The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation will host the inaugural NatsTown Green-Up, an Anacostia Clean-Up Day designed to bring attention to the works of the Dream Foundation and their partner, the Earth Conservation Corps. Close to 100 volunteers from the Washington Nationals front office, Alion Science & Technology, Capitol Riverfront BID, Capital Rowing Club, HNTB Corporation, and Sidwell Friends, will "Rally 'Round The River" and help to clean and beautify the nation's most polluted waterway. The day's activities will include mulching, planting and trash pick-up at the Matthew Henson Center, the base of the Earth Conservation Corps located at 2000 Half Street, SW, and removal of trash from the shoreline of the Anacostia at Poplar Point. Boats will take volunteers across the river to the Poplar Point location.
"Waste Management, a Nationals corporate partner, will provide the dumpsters for materials removed from the river banks during the event, along with t-shirts for all volunteers. Hard Times Cafe and Gifford's Ice Cream & Candy Co. will provide complimentary lunch for the volunteers at 1:00pm in the Nats Family Picnic Area. During the lunch portion of the event a Nationals player will meet with the volunteers and thank them for their participation. Each person will also receive two tickets to Dream Foundation Day at the ballpark on Sunday, May 24 when the team faces the Baltimore Orioles in the final game of the homestand. The pre- and in-game entertainment at Sunday's game will highlight the works of the Nationals Dream Foundation and provide fans with information on how they can get involved."
Registration starts at 8:30 am on Friday at the Henson Center at 2000 Half St., SW.
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More posts: Earth Conservation Corps, Nationals Park

Quick Photos from the Bullpen
May 15, 2009 7:13 PM
The somewhat threatening skies held off before gametime tonight and allowed the Bullpen to open its doors for the first time. When I arrived around 6 pm, there was a healthy crowd, and the spirits (emotional and liquid) seemed to be flowing well. I didn't stick around for long, but I did take a few photos.

Bullpen Officially Announces Friday Opening
May 13, 2009 2:38 PM
This was reported in the WBJ yesterday, and now is confirmed via an e-mail from the Bullpen folks themselves, announcing that they will have their grand opening at 5 pm on Friday (May 15). "Enjoy delicious food, cold beer and margaritas, and live music before, during, and after the Nationals game." Plus, as mentioned on their web site, there are "interactive sports games for children sponsored by Headfirst Camps and Under Armour." It will be open until midnight; there's no music act listed for Friday's opening, but there are bookings listed for May 17 and 23. And I see they're now using the phrase "beer garden" themselves!
(Also note: "The Bullpen is available for private events on game nights and non-game nights. The Bullpen welcomes happy hours, political events, fund-raisers, company outings and other large group events.")
See the few pictures I've posted of the venue if you can't bear to wait.

Friday's Bike to Work Day Festivities at the Ballpark
May 13, 2009 2:27 PM
Reminders are cropping up all over the web that Friday is Bike to Work Day, and the Nationals have just issued a press release about the related festivities at Nationals Park, since it's one of the two "pit stops" in DC for the event. More than 140 riders have registered to be at the ballpark between 6:30 and 8:30 am, and councilmembers Tommy Wells and Michael Brown, along with Capitol Riverfront BID executive director Michael Stevens and City Administrator Dan Tangherlini, will be on hand, and Wells and Stevens will ride together to the ballpark to kick off the program. There will be food, drinks, music, and raffling of selected items (autographs! game tickets! a new bike!).
There also apparently is going to be a Bike to the Park Day on June 21, when the Nats play the Toronto Blue Jays. More info on that to come.
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More posts: bikepeds, Nationals Park

Fox5 on 225 Virginia; Owen and Reese; Live Chat
May 12, 2009 9:17 AM
A few items:
* On Monday night, Fox5 news ran "Waste of Space?", detailing the nearly $550,000 a month the city pays in rent for 225 Virginia Avenue (aka the old Post plant), now totalling nearly $15 million in payments since the city leased the building in late 2006. (The piece also discussed the other buildings that the city leases.) There wasn't really anything new--Phil Mendelson railed against the deal, and Fox5 did note that Mayor Fenty and Phil Mendelson voted to approve the lease when they were council members. The piece ended with the reporter saying that Fenty had said the city is "on the verge of making a change" and that we'd all hear about it soon. Whether this entails the moving of the Child and Family Services Agency into the building (as WBJ reported recently), or whether the city has found a developer to take over the sublease, we'll just have to wait and see.
If you're just tuning in and want the entire sordid tale, spend a few hours reading my 225 Virginia news archive.
* A couple outlets (including the Post and MASN) reported last week that a romantic comedy by James L. Brooks (director of Terms of Endearment and executive producer of The Simpsons) starring Owen Wilson (as a Nats relief pitcher), Reese Witherspoon, and Paul Rudd will start filming in June, and will include scenes at Nationals Park. Now, about the part of the obsessive-compulsive neighborhood blogger....
* On Friday (May 15) at 12:30 pm, I'll be doing a live chat over at Urban Trekker. So come on over and torment me with some questions, though with the school buses now gone from Canal Park, I'm not sure anyone has anything to ask me anymore. :-)
* There's probably only about three people who'd really find this of interest, but if you'd like a low-bandwidth version of the JDLand home page to use on your phone/PDA (compared to the behemoth that is the "real" home page), you can now bookmark m.jdland.com. The interior pages won't be mobile-ized, but at least this way you can get to the blog entries (and comments) without all the other stuff.
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More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I, Nationals Park

Friday Tidbits: BID Newsletter, ANC Agenda
May 8, 2009 10:38 AM
Between it being Friday and the sun finally being out, I bet everyone's feeling a bit better today. Maybe even Biking to Work! So, a few tidbits:
* The latest Capitol Riverfront BID newsletter is out, with a few items of note. First off, there's a new "branding" campaign going on--"Be Out Front." Look for signs promoting "Front Yard," "Front Office," "Front Door," "Store Front," etc. And they'll soon be launching an equally rebranded web site.
Also, the current estimated population within the BID is 1,584 residents; the newsletter says that there are now more than 2,000 residential units, more than half of which are leased/sold and occupied.
The newsletter also gives the Bullpen's official opening date as May 15, and also mentions that the weekly Tuesday farmer's market at USDOT is now underway, and that the weekly Wednesday lunchtime concerts start on May 20.
* The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is out (hopefully it'll show up online before the meeting itself), and the only Near Southeast item is a presentation by Michael Stevens of the BID--kind of a BID 101 tutorial for the ANC commissioners. Otherwise, it's voting on marathons, bus stops, after-school programs, and also an announcement of a "Southwest Night" at Ft. McNair on July 1. The meeting is at 6th and M streets, SW, at 7 pm. (Maybe next month it'll finally move to the new digs at the new 1D police station at the former Bowen Elementary.)
* The Examiner reports that the 2010 federal budget includes $15 million for "Southeast Federal Center remediation." There's certainly been piles of environmental cleanup there over the years (not surprising when it used to be blocks and blocks of munitions factories).
* EYA has spiffed up its web site a bit--their Capitol Quarter page is worth a visit if you haven't checked it out before.

Upcoming Events (Including the Bullpen?)
May 5, 2009 6:40 PM
* MissChatter has heard from a representative of the Bullpen beer garden at Half and N, saying that they'll officially open on May 15 at 5 pm, and from 11:30 am to midnight for the next day's doubleheader. We shall see. And, for folks who can't wait, or who would prefer a different type of pre-and post-game food and drink, this Hill Rag piece mentions that Eighth Street establishments Lola's and the new Molly Malone's (former Fin MacCool's) as well as the Ugly Mug are all running free electric-cart shuttles to and from the ballpark, starting two hours before gametime through 45 minutes after the final out.
* The fourth Anacostia Waterfront Forum is scheduled for May 19 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the MLK Library. This month's subject: "Waterfronts and the World's Great Capital Cities," with Harriet Tregoning, the director of the city's Office of Planning.
* Hard to think about when the weather remains so cruddy, but WalkingTownDC's Spring Edition lineup is available, and again includes a Capitol Riverfront Tour, leading by the BID's executive director Michael Stevens. It's on Sunday, May 31, from 11 am to 12:30 pm. Reservations for all tours will start being accepted on May 11.

Slowly Returning to Full-Strength Blogging
May 4, 2009 9:54 PM
I know people have noticed that JDLand's coverage (and quality) has taken a nosedive in 2009--some of it is because of life at My Real Job is particularly hectic in this era of big change (and plummeting revenue), but I can also now finally reveal that my free time for the past few months has been swallowed up by my planning and executing a huge 100-guest surprise party for my mother, which finally went off without a hitch on Sunday morning. With that wrapped up, I will now try to remember exactly how I used to do things here. I'll start tentatively:
* Despite a few readers being told that the Bullpen beer garden at Half and N would open on May 1, it hasn't yet opened. I haven't heard any new date.
* From Friday's WashBizJournal: "Dozens of high-profile projects are facing liens from hard-pressed contractors. In just one week of March, Forest City Washington was slapped with a $191,460 lien for work done at its Yards project near the baseball stadium, while Faison Enterprises Inc. and Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds LLC got hit with a $118,674 lien at the nearby Onyx Apartments."
* The Board of Zoning Adjustment calendar for June indicates that Donohoe has filed for a time extension on the special exception it received back in 2007 for its planned office building at 1111 New Jersey Avenue. The original order expires in December unless building permit applications are filed before then; Donohoe's request for an extension would appear to indicate that that won't be happening this year.
* The National Capital Planning Commission has its May meeting on Thursday, and one of the items up for approval is a $63 million planned modernization and 50,000-sq-ft expansion of building W-200 at 11th and N at the Navy Yard. This NCPC document gives a wealth of information about the plans for W-200, but also includes this interesting tidbit:
"[S]taff strongly recommends that the Commission require the Navy undertake and coordinate with NCPC development of an updated WNY master plan, including a transportation management plan that demonstrate how the WNY parking ratio meets NCPC's Comprehensive Plan goals, and submit that plan to the Commission prior to submitting any new project." The Navy Yard's last official master plan update was in the 1990s.
* A postcard that was delivered to our house this morning listed 309 K St. SE (one of the remaining old townhouses) as being scheduled to be sold at a foreclosure auction this month; however, the auctioner's web site says the property has been removed from the auction. Starting bid was going to be at $50,000.
* Speaking of that block of existing homes, someone has finally begun to renovate the old multi-unit building at Third and L that has been vacant for as long as I've been watching the neighborhood. A local resident has leased it and is turning it into Casa degli Angeli, a nautical-themed "month-to-month" bed and breakfast.

Bullpen Web Site Launched; Tell What You See
May 1, 2009 3:32 PM
The Bullpen's web site is now up, at TheBullpenDC.com (though it's running kind of slow). And, for about the gazillionth time this month, my schedule isn't letting me get to Half and N this evening to check out this new venue. So, let's do some crowdsourcing--if you get in, let us know what you saw, here in the comments.

'The Bullpen' To Launch on Friday?
Apr 29, 2009 4:05 PM
In the past 24 hours two readers have reported being told by representatives of the Bullpen (the "festival park" coming to the northwest corner of Half and N) that they are planning to launch the food, drink, and entertainment venue at 5 pm on Friday (May 1), before the Nats game against the St. Louis Cardinals. The official website at TheBullpenDC.com should be updated soon with the details.
Reader C. drove by Half and N today, and reports: "From what I could see, there were about 10 wooden picnic tables, a 1-foot high stage with all kinds of wires and microphones, and a couple of big white open-air tents." (Darn, I miss the old days of construction web cams.)
You can read my report from the ANC meeting earlier this month where the neighborhood was briefed on what to expect from this new offering, but here's a bit of self-plagarizing from that post:
"This is the "beer garden" that caused a bit of a stir last week, and representatives of Akridge, Georgetown Events, and Headfirst Sports were on hand to explain their concept to the ANC. A document handed out describes it as a space with "a large tent that will include a beverage station, a temporary stage for live music, porta johns, tables with seating, possible baseball netting cages for live instruction, and a children's activity area." It would be open on game days beginning three hours before game time and ending two hours after (or before midnight regardless of whether the game is over). The newly erected 12-foot-high wooden fence would surround the site, with one entrance where IDs will be checked and bracelets given to those 21 and older, with up to 12 security employees on hand. There would be food from third-party vendors as well as Georgetown Events' own restaurants (Surfside, Jetties, and the Rookery). There's also the possibility of activities in the space (such as farmers' markets or other events) on non-gamedays, though the lease for the space ends at the beginning of November.
"Headfirst Sports (named by Sports Illustrated for Kids as the "Best Summer Camp in the Entire Washington Area") is planning to run in the park a "variety of games, contests, and competitions as well as small clinic and group instruction aimed at teaching young Nationals fans how to play and love baseball and softball." The operator of Headfirst also made clear his interest in working with youth groups from the neighborhood in sessions apart from the gameday activities."

City May Occupy 225 Virginia; Ferry Testing; More
Apr 24, 2009 8:57 AM
Catching up from a few days of slacking:
* Today's Washington Business Journal (subscribers only) reports that the city is "considering" using 225 Virginia Ave. (the old Post Plant) as the new home for Child and Family Services, now that they've decided not to move the agency to a new development at Benning Station. The city continues to pay $6 million a year in rent on the 420,000-sq-ft building, though tried a request for proposals last year to see about a sublease or sale of the property (but apparently didn't get much interest). I wonder how much the city would have to spend the rejigger the very warehouse-y building into the 180,000 sq ft of office space needed by CFSA.
* From the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, a story that Prince William County is spending $225,000 to look at passenger ferry service up the Potomac: "It will conduct test boat runs on May 4, 5 and 6 from stops at Prince William marinas at Quantico, Dumfries and Occoquan to Fort Belvoir, Alexandria and the Washington Navy Yard. The test boat will be a catamaran that seats 149." (I assume they'd want to use the dock under construction at Diamond Teague Park, but there's no specifics.)
* On Wednesday evening, the Post reported (though the article is no longer on the web site) that the city had informed Metro--in the middle of a game!--that it would no longer pay the $27,000-an-hour cost of keeping the subway open if games at Nationals Park ran late because of extra innings or rain delays. By the next morning, the city had changed its mind.
* The Douglass Bridge will be closed Sunday (4/26) from 5am to approximately 10am for the monthly swing span test.

Morning Linkage (Emancipation Day Edition)
Apr 16, 2009 8:33 AM
A busy busy time for me right now, so some quick links will have to suffice:
* It's Emancipation Day, a DC government holiday, so city workers have the day off.
* The Post's Going Out Gurus has more about the Akridge Half Street "beer garden," which now appears to be called "The Bullpen." Watch for the launch of thebullpendc.com for more information.
* On Wednesday, April 22, EYA will be marking Earth Day at Capitol Quarter with a ceremony marking the first CQ house to achieve LEED for Homes certification, with a plaque presentation by the US Green Building COuncil. The proceedings start at 11 am, with a light luncheon at 11:30, at the sales office at Fourth and L. (Capitol Quarter is currently the country's largest for-sale LEED for Homes development.)
* Another green-related event: On April 21 the city's monthly Anacostia Waterfront Forum will focus on "Green Waterfront, Green Jobs, Green Living in a Green DC." It's at the MLK Library at Ninth and G, NW, with an open house beginning at 6:30 pm and the forum running from 7 to 8:30 pm. The April "Waterfront Watch" newsletter has more information on the forum, as part of its focus on "Green DC."
* Greater Greater Washington writes about the impact of the planned expansion of the 11th Street Bridges, especially in light of the possibility of the "Center Leg Freeway" (I-395) between Massachusetts and New York avenues.
* DC Urban Turf has a roundup of progress in the Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards neighborhood, with lots of quotes from the BID.
* The latest BID newsletter (not yet online) has the lineup of films for this summer's "Outdoor 80's Movies" series on Thursday nights on the plaza at Fourth and Tingey, beginning June 4: Back to the Future, The Princess Bride (6/11), Ghostbusters (6/18), Ferris Bueller's Day Off (6/25), Caddyshack (7/2), Breakfast Club (7/9), E.T. (7/16), Top Gun (7/23), Dirty Dancing (7/30), and Big (8/6).

Circulator Schedule for Nats Games; Tickets Kerfuffle
Apr 14, 2009 1:44 PM
* DDOT has posted a list of the expanded service hours for the Union Station-Eastern Market-Navy Yard Circulator bus on Nationals game days. Basically, for both weekday and weekend games that start after 2 pm, Circulator service will run until midnight; 12:30 and 1:30 games will have service until 7 pm, with their usual every-10-minute headways. (Normally, the buses run from 6 am to 7 pm on weekdays, and not at all on weekends.) The running-until-midnight will make the restaurants and bars on Eighth Street happy, with their hopes that fans will hop on the buses to head to the food and drink offerings at Barracks Row because of the lack of options near the ballpark.
* The Post and City Paper cover the second annual Mayor-vs-Council free-stadium-suite-tickets standoff, with City Paper posting the transcript of a particularly feisty exchange this morning between the Mayor and the media today.
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More posts: circulator, Metro/WMATA, politics, Nationals Park

Details on the Akridge 'Festival Park' at the Stadium
Apr 13, 2009 10:12 PM
Tonight ANC 6D gave its support to a plan for "Festival Park on Half Street," a 14,000-square-foot combination food, drink, and activity space on the northwest corner of Half and N streets, on land owned by Akridge directly across from Nationals Park.
This is the "beer garden" that caused a bit of a stir last week, and representatives of Akridge, Georgetown Events, and Headfirst Sports were on hand to explain their concept to the ANC. A document handed out describes it as a space with "a large tent that will include a beverage station, a temporary stage for live music, porta johns, tables with seating, possible baseball netting cages for live instruction, and a children's activity area." It would be open on game days beginning three hours before game time and ending two hours after (or before midnight regardless of whether the game is over). The newly erected 12-foot-high wooden fence would surround the site, with one entrance where IDs will be checked and bracelets given to those 21 and older, with up to 12 security employees on hand. There would be food from third-party vendors as well as Georgetown Events' own restaurants (Surfside, Jetties, and the Rookery). There's also the possibility of activities in the space (such as farmers' markets or other events) on non-gamedays, though the lease for the space ends at the beginning of November.
Headfirst Sports (named by Sports Illustrated for Kids as the "Best Summer Camp in the Entire Washington Area") is planning to run in the park a "variety of games, contests, and competitions as well as small clinic and group instruction aimed at teaching young Nationals fans how to play and love baseball and softball." The operator of Headfirst also made clear his interest in working with youth groups from the neighborhood in sessions apart from the gameday activities.
The ANC commissioners were supportive of the plans, although they had a lot of questions (too bad you all missed the long discussion of whether the phrase "frozen drinks" is a legal term), and 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel complimented the group, saying "you convinced us that this is going to possibly work." Some specifics still need to be hammered out in the "voluntary agreement" that Georgetown Events is entering into with the ANC, but the commissioners voted 7-0 to support the group's application for a "Tavern" liquor license. An April 30-May 1 opening date is being targeted, but there is still city bureaucracy to contend with.
As for the Akridge site, baseball fans heading to the ballpark today were met with a slew of new signage on the west side of Half Street advertising "Akridge at Half Street"--the new web site shows some of the art on the signs, and I also took a few photos of the fences and put them on my Akridge Half Street page, though the skies were so gloomy that I couldn't bring myself to post the complete set. There's a spot where local artists will be creating works right on the fence, and there is also a chalkboard where passers-by can write messages, as many did today.
UPDATE: Some additional details on the plans from WBJ.

Photos from Opening Day 2009
Apr 13, 2009 7:06 PM
The game didn't have the outcome fans hoped for, but there were a fair number of moments to cheer about for the pretty-darn-huge crowd that played hooky to show up at Nationals Park for the 2009 home opener. I took a pile of photos, of the pre-game ceremonies and just a bunch of tableau shots from around the stadium, which eventually I'll get installed on my main ballpark page. And, just for the heck of it, here's some reminders of what the area looked like before and after the stadium.
Now, off to the ANC meeting, which I'm already late for.
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No Revival at the Ballpark
Apr 13, 2009 12:52 PM
Jason Cherkis at the City Paper expounds on everything going on around the ballpark ("Nationals Park: No Revival Yet. Here Are a Few Reasons Why"), and issues a point-by-point refutation of the "excuse making on the part of city officials and developers" in Sunday's Post story. Of course, the stadium and the vast majority of the ballpark-related development is in Southeast and not Southwest, but it's not like he's the first to make that mistake....
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One Thought on 'Slowed Development'
Apr 13, 2009 10:48 AM
I don't really feel like linking to this NBC4 piece on "Major Southeast Renovations in Limbo" (working off of Sunday's Post piece), but it does give me an excuse to wander into the Post archives and pass along a couple morsels from a March, 1998 piece about the MCI (now Verizon) Center, three months after it opened. The article is entitled "Neighborhood Isn't Cheering About Arena's Impact":
* "Although thousands of people have journeyed to the once-forgotten downtown neighborhood to watch professional basketball, hockey and other events, the three-month-old arena has not yet become the seven-day-a-week destination that team owner Abe Pollin envisioned when he built it."
* "Some neighborhood businesses are counting on Discovery because, except on game days or during concerts, the building has failed to produce the return that city leaders imagined when they hailed MCI Center as an engine for revitalization. 'It's not the pot of gold we thought at the end of the rainbow,' said Danny Callahan, an owner of the Rock sports bar across Sixth Street NW from the arena."
* "Restaurant owners say the arena has boosted business, but not to the extent they had hoped. [...] The arena has actually hurt business on nonevent nights. The old regulars don't drop by anymore, because they never know when the area will be swamped with arena patrons, and parking prices have shot up."
At least Nationals Park got a year before the it's-not-doing-what-people-said-it-would-do slew of articles. And what a shame that the MCI Center, after that disappointing start, never amounted to anything....
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More posts: Rearview Mirror, Nationals Park

Heading to Opening Day? What You'll See That You Didn't See Last Year
Apr 12, 2009 7:59 PM
[Note: I'm back in town after almost a week away (reminder to self: next year don't skip town the week before the home opener), so apologies if my coverage of the various events and media pieces has seemed even less scintillating than usual. And now I'm going to end the week with one more less-than-perfect entry, which I should have written before I left but didn't do it until now....]
If you haven't been back to Nationals Park or the surrounding Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards neighborhood since last year's Opening Day, here's what you'll see that wasn't completed on your last visit:
* 55 M Street - Right on top of the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station, at the head of Half Street, is Monument Realty's 275,000-sq-ft office building, which has been finished in the last few months and which will be home to Artomatic this summer. No office or retail tenants have been announced, although WBJ reported a few weeks back that Gordon Biersch may be eyeing some of 55 M's ground-floor space. The rest of Monument's Half Street site remains a large hole in the ground, with financing for the planned 350 residential units and adjoining hotel directly across from the ballpark nowhere to be found.
* 70 and 100 I Street - Sibling apartment buildings officially known as the Axiom and Jefferson at Capitol Yards first began move-ins in late summer 2008, and their combined 700 units are reported to be about 50 percent leased. (They're the big brick buildings sitting just south of the Freeway.)

* Onyx on First - Another apartment building (though it had been originally planned as condos), Onyx opened at the corner of First and L streets in late fall of 2008. It has approximately 266 units.

* 100 M Street - On the site of the old On Luck cafeteria at First and M, this 240,000-sq-ft office building opened right at the tail end of 2008, and is close to 40 percent leased, with Parsons occupying about one-third of the space. A SunTrust Bank branch is under construction on the ground floor--there's additional retail space where a restaurant could be a possibility, though no deals have been announced.

* 909 New Jersey - Finished mere moments ago (it opened last week), this 237-unit apartment building at New Jersey and I by JPI (developers of 70 and 100 I) is catching eyes with its blue-edged nighttime profile, and is generating piles of "have they signed anyone for their retail space?" messages in my inbox (answer: not that I've heard so far). Baseball fans walking down from Capitol South will also appreciate the wide new sidewalk now just one block south of the freeway.

As for what's currently underway, there's the first phase of townhouses at Capitol Quarter (where the first residents will move in this month and where work will continue into next year), the 200-unit Velocity condo building at First and L, and the 440,000-sq-ft office building at 1015 Half Street (which will be completed in 2010 but will already be cursed for obscuring the view of the Capitol dome from some seats in the ballpark that had it last year). There's also construction continuing at Diamond Teague Park, right across from the ballpark's grand staircase, but the somewhat optimistic timeline of having the water taxi piers completed by Opening Day has now been revised to "midseason."
Work had begun on rehabbing the brown-and-white Pattern/Joiner Shop at the Yards last year (which folks walking to the ballpark from the Nats Express drop-off will see), but financing problems brought the work to a halt early in 2009, and Forest City continues to look for money to restart the project.
The most prominent structure that's disappeared in the past 12 months is the former WMATA bus garage on Half Street just across from the subway entrance, demolished two weeks ago to make way for Akridge's planned 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use development, though that project won't get underway before 2010. (The south end of Akridge's Half Street land is where the [not-a-]beer garden may appear later this summer.)
But, as has been written about extensively elsewhere, as of now there's no new places to eat since last year (though a deli is coming to Third and K in May), and most likely no additional projects will get underway before next year.
So, study this little guide and amaze your friends with your knowledge of what's what as you look at the ballpark's surroundings.

Post Looks at the Neighborhood One Year Later
Apr 12, 2009 8:30 AM
Racing out the door here for the day, so I'll just quickly post this link to today's A1 WashPost piece, "At Nationals Park, District of Dreams Hits a Slump," another entry in the one-year-after-the-ballpark stories being run by various local media outlets. The short version: there's nowhere to eat, developers paid too much for land, the economic crunch that's hit the rest of the country is reflected here, and city officials say that people shouldn't have expected everything to be ready immediately.
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Getting to Monday's Opener via Metro; Pre-Game
Apr 10, 2009 9:03 AM
Metro has just put out a press release detailing their service plans for Monday's 3:05 pm Nats home opener against the Phillies, which includes rush hour service starting at 1 pm, and extra trains when the game ends. (Though they should have checked their link to the old Monument Half Street construction cam before including it in their release, since the camera is no longer operating.) There's also the wmata.com/nationals page for additional details on the bus lines that run near the park--but remember that the DC Circulator bus that runs between Union Station, Eastern Market, and New Jersey and M is not run by WMATA, so DCCirculator.com is the place to go for info on that, though so far there's no details on how late it'll run on Monday (normally it stops at 7 pm).
With President Obama apparently not throwing out the first pitch after all, there might not be quite so much of a need to arrive early, but the Nats have still planned a lineup of special events, and are opening the Center Field Gate at 12:30 pm, with batting practice starting at 12:45. There will be a band playing on the new stage in the Center Field plaza and another one up on the Scoreboard Walk. Nats Extra, the MASN pregame show, will be broadcasting live from the Center Field plaza at 2 pm, and the official pre-game ceremonies (hosted by David Gregory of Meet the Press) will start at 2:35 pm. Nearby residents and office workers who won't be at the game should prepare themselves for the planned "flyover by four helicopters, a OH-58 Kiowa, two UH-1 Hueys and one UH-72 Lakota" during the National Anthem. The Nats have their own transportation page, at nationals.com/waytogo, though as I noted a few weeks ago, it still needs a bit of freshening for 2009 (the Metrobus page is still dedicated to the N22).
UPDATE: I'll add this on, since this is ballpark-related: the four parking lots at The Yards are available for baseball parking (just not as part of the official network of Nats lots this year), for either $25 or $20 per game; call or e-mail for more information. Other cash lots include the garage at 100 M and the small surface lot at 250 M and I believe the lots under 80 M and 1100 New Jersey, though I'm not 100% sure. The official Nats cash lot (where you can also buy single-game parking via their web site) is Lot U at 3rd and K, and costs $15 this year. In other words, if you want to drive down near the ballpark and pay cash for parking, you should be able to find a spot, though these lots may be more full during weekday afternoon games, since they're also used by commuters. I plan to update my Stadium Parking page soon.
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