Touring Brookland’s Little Free Libraries

Location: 1309 Newton Street

There’s just something about used bookstores.

The crowded shelves, the musk of old paper, the hushed sense of history. It’s something with which big-chain bookstores (such as Catholic University’s Barnes & Noble) and libraries (such as nearby Woodridge Library), just can’t compete.

A used bookstore is like an archaeological dig for bookworms. It’s also, I’d argue, an essential part of any neighborhood.

Location: 1218 Kearney Street

Which is why, after three years as a proud Brooklander, I still find myself wondering why a good used bookstore hasn’t planted roots somewhere along our streets. Especially when I know there are plenty of readers in this neighborhood. I’ve seen their bookshelves during the House and Garden Tours. I catch them occasionally sitting on neighborhood benches or at bar tables.

When I’ve got that craving for used bookstores, I tend to take myself across town to Second Story Books (in Dupont Circle), Carpe Librum (off Farragut Square), or Walls of Books (east of Columbia Heights).

And when I want to stay local, I stroll past our neighborhood’s Little Free Libraries.

Location: 8th Street (adjacent to Annie’s Ace Hardware)

Scattered throughout our streets in cabinets, trains, and even robots, these little huts are like birdhouses for books in need of new readers. They also provide welcome homes for books you’re looking to put up for adoption.

According to the website, there are four registered Little Free Libraries in Brookland. A little amateur detective work uncovered a few more flying under the radar.

Location: 3907 13th Street

On a recent fair-weather Saturday, I took a few books of my own to give away. What I found  peering inside these little rooms is a curious window into the reading tastes – or distastes – of some of us here in Brookland.

Location: ArtsWalk

The best part of these used book huts? They’re all built (or repurposed) and maintained by Brooklanders themselves. Which makes them a touching tribute to the creativity, ingenuity, and community spirit of our neighborhood.

Robot Little Library in front of Brookland’s Finest, 3126 12th Street NE

So yes, Brookland could stand to use a fixed used bookstore where readers like me can indulge in our own private searches, our own unexpected discoveries.

In the meantime, these free little libraries our neighbors have built and keep stocked with books offer a different kind of search.

Know another Little Free Library location in Brookland we missed?  Let us know in the comments!

Brookland/CUA Recent Development Transformation Featured In The Washingtonian

Abdo Catholic University Development Brookland Washington DC
Before and during the Arts Walk construction

The Washingtonian followed up a recent article about relationships between DC Universities and their respective neighborhoods with another shorter article about how colleges are transforming the neighborhoods around them through development projects. Catholic University, Gallaudet and University of Maryland are discussed. We thought readers would be interested in giving it a read, from the article:

The development opened in 2014 and was a boon for a previously underserved neighborhood, adding amenities such as Starbucks, Busboys and Poets, and Barnes & Noble. Of course, those things help real-estate values, too—prior to Monroe Street Market, in 2013, the median home price in Brookland was $375,000. In 2016, it was $520,000.

Heads Up! Fireworks Tonight Over CUA

Things are looking up tonight…

Every year around this time local residents are taken by surprise by a fireworks display over Catholic U. We get Tweets and emails with people asking if they are hearing gunshots or lamenting that they didn’t know about it ahead of time, and would have liked to have enjoyed the show. So, we figured we would give readers a heads up. The fireworks are a part of Luaupalooza, a celebration of the end of CUA’s school year. This year the event will be tonight, Friday April 28th.  A CUA employee informed us that the fireworks will begin around 9:45 pm. So grab a blanket, find a clear view of the sky and enjoy!

Fox Loves Taco To Replace Filter Coffee Shop At Monroe Street Market

Storefront of Filter

We recently learned that local coffee shop Filter will be closing this weekend. We also learned from an article in  the City Paper that it will be replaced by a family friendly taco focused restaurant from the owners the Little Red Fox cafe.  From the article:

When it opens, Fox Loves Taco will offer breakfast tacos all day and coffee from Portland roaster Coava Coffee. Details on the menu are sparse, but they’ll make flour and corn tortillas in house and you can expect plenty of Little Red Fox hot sauce to be on hand to spice things up.

Fox Loves Taco will be located at  716 Monroe St. NE. We will let you know when we have additional details like an opening date.

Spice Of Bukhara Closed, To Be Replaced By City Kabob, An Indian and Pakistani Restaurant

When Spice of Bukhara, an Indian/Afghani Restaurant, opened last June many neighbors were excited about having more variety in local dining options. Unfortunately the restaurant recently closed. However, a sign in the window indicates that it will be replaced by a restaurant called City Kabob. In the end, it may not be that big of change, as the menu has many of the same dishes such as curries, butter chicken, and Masalas and Vindaloos.

City Kabob has another location on Columbia Pike  in Arlington. From their website:

…City Kabob & Curry House opened its doors at the end of 2015 with a vision to serve flavor-packed, from-scratch cooked Indian and Pakistani dishes to the locals and others in the Northern Virginia and DC area.

We use only the 100% Fresh and 100% Halal ingredients in our dishes to provide superior flavor and authenticity.

We offer a calm and casual environment that is good for dining with friends ,family members and co workers for up to 35 people.

Our main objective is to ensure that your dining experience becomes a pleasant one.
All of our staff looks forward to welcoming you at City Kabob & Curry House.

Welcome to the area City Kabob! Can’t wait to try their food. The address of the forthcoming restaurant is 204 Michigan Avenue NE, in the small strip mall across from Trinity Washington University, and near the Basilica.

Go Solar And Support The BNCA With This Promotion

Solar Panels in Brookland

If you have ever thought about going solar, now is a great time.  We recently heard about a great deal from the Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association (BNCA). From an email:

If you contact Solar Solutions for a consult between now and May 22 and list BNCA as your referral, Solar Solutions will contribute $200 to BNCA, if you ultimately decide to buy any Solar Solution product or package. AND, they will give you $200 off your purchase too!

Solar Solutions will be tabling with us at Atlantic Electric Supply for our Great Brookland Yard Sale  on Saturday, May 6. You can talk with them there, or you can email:

Ben Breiterman – bbenjamin@solarsolutionllc.com

The BNCA does a lot for the community from neighborhood safety training, to neighborhood clean ups and providing a forum for community discussion on important topics like the comprehensive plan and proposed homeless shelter.

Also, check out the guest blog post we had a number of years ago about a neighbor who went solar.

Brookland Field Day This Sunday At Catholic U – Relay Races, Games, And More

This Sunday, April 23rd, there will be a Field Day event from 1:00- 3:00 pm. The event is free, but they ask that you sign up here. From the event page:

The Catholic University of America Athletics Department invites the Brookland & CUA community families to join us for a fun spring afternoon of sports at the DuFour Center on Sunday, April 23 at 1 p.m. Kids can learn a new sport, play fun games and enjoy some fun exercise. Prizes and snacks will be available. The fourth-annual event will be run by Cardinals student-athletes from many of our sports teams.

**Best suited for 1-13 year olds.

Development Update: A New Chapter For Michigan Liquors

Back in January, we wrote about Michigan Liquors’ closing. Lately there has been some neighborhood buzz about renovations and activity going on at the location. So, we decided to check recent permits for the location for any clues. According to the DCRA website, in late September 2016, a demolition permit was issued to:

Remove all non-load-bearing interior doors, appliances, and plumbing fixtures. Remove existing entry door and soffit. Demolish furring around columns. Existing front window openings and detailing to be maintained and repaired as needed. Existing stairs remain. Remove sales counter and shelving.

Then in February 2017 an Alteration and Repair Permit was issued for the following work:

Alteration, within a 1,665 sf work area, on the retail beverages sales floor of an existing 2,871 gsf mixed use storage and mercantile building. Work includes refurbished walls, new fur-out at existing masonry, space reconfiguration with new partitions, all new finishes, light fixtures, and plumbing fixtures, replacement of the HVAC system, and new electrical receptacles with sub panel. Millwork includes checkout counter and wine display shelving and furniture.

We figure that the work and “checkout counter and wine display” pretty much indicate some sort of updated wine/liquor store. We will keep our eyes on this one and let you know when we learn anything new. Michigan Liquors is located at 3934 12TH Street NE.

Progress (?) On 12th Street Mixed Use Development, To Be Called ‘Brookland Lofts’

In January 2016 we originally wrote about a small mixed use development at 3733 12 Street NE (between Otis and Perry). At the time construction was moving along slowly. Now, more than a  year later it appears that some progress has been made, though it still looks far from completion.

Still, we thought neighbors would be interested to know that we noticed a banner that recently appeared on the property that says the following:

“Arriving Spring 2017 from the upper $400s! 4 Luxury 2BR/2BA Brookland Condos”

The  banner also advertises a website “www.brooklandlofts.com”. We looked for it and various permutations of it, and could not find anything. The bannner also directs readers to Luxury DC.com. We went to their site and did not find any information about the development.  Hopefully more details will be available soon.