All posts by Shani

Upon moving to Brookland about 8 years ago, Shani jumped into civic life, having been treasurer for the Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association and lending her web development skills to the Greater Brookland Garden Club. Shani was also the unofficial coordinator of Brookland's LGBT monthly activities for 6 years. You can often find Shani and her wife Astrid watering the trees on 12th St. NE and walking their dog Frida around the neighborhood. Shani is an artist, owner of SCH Fine Arts, and an IT professional.

Rhode Island/Brentwood Metro Stop Closed For Memorial Day Weekend

If you planned on getting around by Metro rail this holiday weekend, you may want to re-think your transportation plans. Thanks for Ward 5 Councilmember McDuffie for spreading the word that the Rhode Island Metro will be closed, see the flyer below for more info.

Memorial Day Wreath Laying And Cemetery Tours At Lincoln’s Cottage/Old Soldiers Home

Lincoln cottage old soldiers home memorial day flagHere is a great way to commemorate Memorial Day- that’s just around the corner from Brookland. Sign up here for guided tours of the United States Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery and experience a wreath laying ceremony. The cemetery was visited by President Abraham Lincoln, and is notable for being the first national cemetery (est. 1861) and for serving as the final resting place for John Logan, who formalized Memorial Day celebrations in 1868. Both the tours and the wreath laying are free.

  • The wreath laying ceremony will be at John Logan Mausoleum at 10:00 am.
  • The cemetery tours will be at 10:45 am and 12:30 pm and tours last approximately 30-45 minutes

From the event page:

Registrants are asked to gather at the bandstand adjacent to President Lincoln’s Cottage 30 minutes prior to each scheduled event, so that Cottage staff can lead them over to the nearby Soldiers’ Home Cemetery.

President Lincoln’s Cottage is located at 140 Rock Creek Church Road NW.

Plan For 2 Acre Park Along The Met Branch Trail Is Finalized

Image by NoMa Parks Foundation. via Greater Greater Washington.

We are always happy when we see green spaces preserved or created here in Ward 5. We have been hearing about a park from the  NoMa Parks Foundation coming to the Eckington area along the Met Branch Trail for a couple of years now, and recently learned that the park design is finalized. Brooklanders who use the MBT will be happy to know that the portion near R Street NE will be realigned to soften the sharp curve and eliminate the blind turn. The new park will be located  at Third Street and L Street NE and will have a playground and dog park. For additional details check out this article in Greater Greater Washington. From  the article:

The NoMa Parks Foundation will build the just over two-acre park on the southern half of the empty field next to the MBT, just to the north of New York Avenue NE. The foundation acquired the land from Pepco in early 2016 and hired Nelson Byrd Woltz to design the space that fall.

Thanks to community input in the time since, the lawn, playground, and dog park spaces will be bit bigger than initially planned. The MBT where it passes the park will be wider as well.

The park is expected to open later this year.

Ward 5 Tech Community Conversation – Bridging The Digital Divide

On Tuesday, June 6th there will be a community discussion geared for the Brookland, Brentwood and Langdon neighborhoods about how to enable technology use by under-served populations in Ward 5. From the event page:

We are inviting residents and community leaders to share their thoughts about how they currently use technology and provide feedback on ways to get more people in their neighborhoods online. This community conversation will also give participants an opportunity to ask the Connect.DC team questions about current programs and join our efforts to bring tech training and access to all DC residents.

The event will be from 6:30 PM – 8:00 and you can RSVP here. The event will be held at the Woodridge Neighborhood Library 1801 Hamlin Street NE.

Free Tours Of The Monastery Gardens Underway Now Through September

Now that spring is under way, one of our activities is back – guided tours of the Franciscan Monastery gardens and grounds. If you haven’t been to this neighborhood treasure, it is definitely worth a visit. The Franciscan Monastery has existed for over 100 years and the beautiful gardens and grottos have been in place for over 80 years.  

While walk-ins are welcome at the Monastery gardens daily from 9:00 am – 4:45 pm, the guided tour provides a wealth of information. For example, the Garden Guild docents explain the history and significance of the statues and shrines, the architecture of Monastery buildings, and of course, all the amazing plants, trees and flowers in the gardens. Guided tours are Saturdays at 11:00 am and 12:00 pm. Check out the Monastery’s Garden Guild event page for more information, or you can schedule a tour by calling 202-526-6800.   

The Monastery is located at 1400 Quincy St. NE and tours are given from April through September. Here is a video describing the tour, it’s a few years old, so not all the information is up to date, but its a very good overview:

End Of An Era – After 37 Years, BET Closing Its Nearby Headquarters

BET Headquarters Building in Brentwood

As if anyone needed a reminder that DC is losing its status as Chocolate City,  this news is another blow. We learned from this story in the DCist that the headquarters of BET Networks, the parent company of the Black Entertainment Television network will close up shop this summer and move to New York. The headquarters has been a landmark in the area, located nearby at 1235 W St. NE in Brentwood.  From the story:

…the cable network’s central operations are moving to Viacom’s new hub in New York, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The D.C. office is slated to shutter on July 7.

Former CEO Bob Johnson launched BET in the District in 1980. After becoming the top black-focused cable network in the country, Johnson sold it for more than $2.3 billion in stock to Viacom two decades later.

The closure of the D.C. office impacts about 20 full-time salaried staffers and 40 freelancers, who don’t know yet if they’ll transition to New York or Los Angeles or lose their jobs with the company…

We will keep our eyes on the location to see what will happen to it next.

Nearby NewCityDC Development Moves Forward With $66 Million Land Acquisition

NewCityDC Site Plan courtesy of Antunovich Associates/Douglas Development via Washington Business Journal

We like to keep an eye on major developments going on in the neighborhoods near Brookland, since the they will impact us in one way or another. We first wrote about NewCityDC in February 2016. At that time we were just getting the first look at the 15 acre development which borders New York Avenue, Bladensburg Road and Montana Avenue NE. We recently learned about a major investment in the development, via this story in the Washington Business Journal. Douglas Development recently acquired 9 parcels of land for $66 million to complete the development site (they spent  $8.25 million already acquiring other parcels). From the article:

Within the triangle, the developer intends to build NewCityDC, a 1.5 million-square-foot mixed-use project just down the road from its Hecht Warehouse District. According to Douglas’ marketing materials, the vision for NewCityDC includes 422 apartments, 18 townhomes, 550,000 square feet of retail, 156 hotel rooms and 2,900 parking spaces.

The site plan includes a 130,000-square-foot grocery store, a separate 100,000-square-foot retailer, a five-story hotel, a host of restaurants and junior anchors and a movie theater.

We will continue to follow this development and let you know when we learn anything major.

Wine, Cheese, Art & Feng Shui Event This Coming Tuesday

Ever thought about how changes in decor can effect the energy of your home?  Then check out the event page for this upcoming workshop:

Join Award Winning Washington, DC area Designer, Author and Feng Shui expert, Sherry Burton Ways of SBW Aligned Expressions, as she shares useful info for getting your sacred space together! Priceless info on the ancient Chinese Art of Feng Shui and how to use it to place art effectively to create good energy and personal transformations in your apartment, condo or home.

Also, check out the tweet below.

The event will take place at Latela Art Gallery on the Arts Walk, 716 Monroe Street NE, Studio #27 for a cost of $25.

Salumeria 2703 Seeks Beer And Wine License

Brooklanders already depend on Salumeria 2703 for fantastic freshly made pasta, imported meats, cheese, and dry goods. Now they are raising their game by seeking a beer and wine license. Soon you will be able to grab a bottle of wine to go along with the freshly prepared items, like lasagna – perfect easy dinner. From the ABRA notice:

Retailer “B” selling Italian deli food that includes fresh pasta, cold cuts, and cheeses….Sunday through Saturday 10:00 am – 9:00 pm

If all goes well, they should have the license by early July.

Development Update: St. Paul’s College. ANC Vote Tonight, Zoning Hearing On The 31st

The Chancellor’s Row development was built on St. Paul’s land and completed a number of years ago.

Tonight ANC5E will vote on whether to support, oppose or provide no input to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA), which will meet on May 31 to decide whether to approve the special zoning exception requested by the St. Paul’s College development. The ANC Commissioner for the SMD where the proposed development is, ANC5E01 Commissioner Garnett, recently posted this summary of the history, concerns and next steps for the development. From his blog post:

Like many members of the community, I continue to have concerns about the process by which this site was divided and the parcels considered at different times by different bodies. In 2008, the Zoning Commission reviewed case ZC 07-027, which was brought by the Paulist Fathers and their partners EYA. This case only covered the land that became Chancellor’s Row and enabled 237 homes to be built.

Since then, the Paulist Fathers have vacated their building and Washington Leadership Academy and Lee Montessori Public Charter Schools have signed long-term leases to serve 800 students.

The ANC is now asked to consider only the remaining green space, which is the 5.5 acres sited along 4th St NE. The development team of Boundary Companies, Elm Street Development, and the Paulist Fathers is proposing 62 homes and a new 20,000 square foot religious building for the fathers.

It seems to me that a holistic review would not have permitted 300 homes, 2 charter schools in 100,000 square foot building, and a new 20,000 square foot religious building to be built on this site in the way that is currently proposed, especially when compared to the Josephite Site in Brookland or the Redemptorist site in Edgewood. However, the ANC is not the body to make a judgement on the legal process the Paulist Fathers chose to follow.

For more information, you can check out this recent presentation and additional information and documents associated with this zoning request are here.