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.

Brookland In Photos – Tuesday’s Farmers Market

Here are some photos from Brookland’s Farmers Market yesterday. The produce is supplied by Licking Creek Bend Farm, a sustainable farm located in Pennsylvania. What a selection! In addition to the amazing produce, there were others vendors selling breads, home-made granola, pastries and more. I encourage Brooklanders to come out and support our farmers market! The market sets up every Tuesday from 4:00m – 7:00pm under the Michigan St. Bridge north of the Brookland Metro.


Real Estate Watch – Brookland Home (3 Bed, 3 Bath) Sold For $500,000

This Brookland home sold yesterday for $500,000. But what is the real story here? On June 26th it was listed for $600,000, but clearly the market wasn’t ready for that, and it sat. On July 23rd the prBrookland Housing Market Heating Upice dropped to $525,000 and two days later it was under contract. Yesterday it finally came across as sold at $500,000.  After looking through the photos of the home, it confirmed what I have been thinking for the past few months; the Brookland market is hot, but still, homes in the $600,000 – $700,000 range better be spectacular. Don’t get me wrong – this is a great house. It has obviously been well cared for, has really nice outdoor spaces, and a garage!  The problem is that it was built in 1980 and it looks like it hasn’t been updated since. With so much “home flipping” and new developments popping up, it would be hard to compete with brand new fixtures, and sparkling granite countertops.

Love Trees? Learn How Advocate For Them In A Free Casey Trees Class

Free Class At Casey Trees In Brookland
We planted this lovely Yellow Wood tree with the help of Casey Trees. We just love it!

For me, one of the biggest joys of living in Brookland is admiring the gorgeous mature trees throughout the neighborhood. We are also fortunate to have Casey Trees headquartered right here in Brookland. If you are interested in learning ways to protect our existing trees and advocate for better care and planning for newly planted trees, check out this free course offered by Casey Trees. Here is the description:

“Take action and advocate for trees in your community. You will learn what tools are available through the District’s municipal services, then hear success stories and receive advice from community members who have on the ground experience in effectively increasing tree canopy in their neighborhoods. Participants will learn about issues related to urban trees including power line conflicts and the Urban Forestry Administration Reorganization Act.

The course is offered this Saturday, August 25, 2012 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Casey Trees Headquarters, 3030 12th St NE , Washington, DC 20017. Attendees will be provided breakfast and lunch to boot! Sign up here.

Bloomingdale To Get Spanish Tapas And Italian Restaurants

Every now and then things happen outside just outside Brookland borders that we think you will be interested in. The area around Rhode Island Avenue and 1st street NW in Bloomingdale is already popular with Brooklanders because of hotspots Boundry Stone and Rustik, and yoga studio Yoga District. Be prepared to trek across North Capitol street even more often in the coming months. According to the Prince of Petworth blog, a  Spanish Tapas restaurant, Costa Brava and an Italian influenced restaurant are coming to that area.

Excel Pilates – A New Vision Includes Yoga, Zumba And More; Take A Free Trial Class!

I heard about Excel Pilates for years, but not knowing much about Pilates, never ventured inside. That is, until I heard about their new Yoga and Zumba classes. After trekking across town for Yoga classes, I am so excited to now have classes here in my own backyard.  Then I tried the Zumba class, and was hooked. This September, Excel is offering free trial classes in Pilates, Yoga and Zumba ahead of their fall class schedule. This is your chance to get to know this neighborhood gem and start getting in shape before the holidays! We caught up with Lesa McLaughlin, the owner of Excel Pilates and learned about the history of the studio, pictured below, and her vision for its future.

Lesa has deep roots in our community, having either worked or lived in Brookland since 1986. She originally taught dance at Dance Place, and was the Associate Artistic Director until 1997. In 1995, she began to teach Pilates in a very small studio inside Dance Place. A few years later, she moved to the current location as business grew. Two things come across very quickly with Lesa; she wants Pilates be as accessible as possible and she loves Brookland.

Lesa informed me that “Pilates is a method of exercise invented by a gentleman named Joseph Hubertus Pilates in the early 1900’s. He called it Contrology, “the study of control.” The method consists of over 600 exercises using five major apparatus. The most popular are the Reformer and Mat.” Lesa explained that it is a full body workout which focuses on the muscles of the abdomen, lower back, inner thighs and gluteals, creating stability of the spine for efficient movement. Excel studios offers a variety of options in Pilates, including:

  • Sessions by appointment that use all of the Pilates Equipment, including Mat, that are offered One on Ones, Duets and Trios
  • Six week pre registered classes in Pilates Mat  (beginning through advanced-no equipment required).  
  • Small group Reformer classes
  • Wall Unit classes (a combination of Mat and an apparatus using springs and bars)
  • Wunda Chair classes.
  • Pilates “sampler” classes (coming this fall)

Excel recently expanded their class offerings to include Zumba and Yoga. I asked Lesa the reason behind this move. She explained that over the past year she began to formulate a vision for studio expansion, and providing a variety of methods of exercise that are complimentary to Pilates. The Yoga classes and Zumba are just the start of that expansion. Lesa adds, “Pilates is my passion and my expertise. Pilates will always be my primary focus. Part of this vision is to bring in experts from these other areas to create a space that not only offers Pilates but a variety of forms not typically found in a traditional gym. This fall we will be offering Pilates,Yoga, GYROTONIC®, and GYROKINESIS®” and some other offerings in the works as well.

Free Trial Week will be Tuesday September 4th – Saturday 8th (All classes are Beginning level.) Here’s the rundown:

  • Tuesday, September 4th – 7:30pm – Free Yoga with Hermione
  • Wednesday, September 5th – 7:00am – Free Yoga with Kate
  • Wednesday, September 5th – 6:15pm – Free Pilates Mat with Tatjana
  • Wednesday, September 5th – 7:00pm – Free Pilates Wall-Unit with Tatjana
  • Thursday, September 6th – 6:15pm – Free Gyrokinesis with Francesca
  • Thursday, September 6th – 8:00pm – Free Zumba with Tatjana
  • Saturday, September 8th – 9:30am – Free Pilates Apparatus with Daniela

For all Free-Trial classes call (202-269-3020) or email ( the studio to sign up. If you call, leave a message of which trial class(es) you would like to sign up for, your name, phone number, and email address. Space is limited so first come, first serve. For Excel’s current and upcoming class schedules go here.

Lastly, we asked Lesa if  she could dispel one misconception about Pilates for our readers. Her answer: “that Pilates is just for women…It is not…after all Joseph Pilates was a man!”

Brookland Development Meeting Informative, Well Attended

Last night there was a panel discussion and a question and answer session about the various development projects happening around Brookland. The well attended event had about 30 people in attendance, and was a rare opportunity to interact with the major players in Brookland’s future. The following developments were represented:

  • The Bozzuto Group and ABDO Development (Catholic U Development/Monroe Street Market)
  • EYA (Chancellor’s Row)
  • The Menkiti Group (901 Monroe Street)
  • Carla Perlo, Founding Director of Dance Place (Moving Forward Campaign)

Jennifer from the EYA/Chancellor’s Row development started the evening off. The development will be made up of 237 townhomes. Sales have been brisk, so far 65% have sold. The development is about 50% complete. There will be affordable units available. As part of the development’s amenities package, there will be an overhaul of the 4th and Lincoln triangle park, for more information check out the Life On The Edgewood Blog. Also part of the package is $50,000 in grant money available to local businesses and a scholarship program for Ward 5 high school seniors. There will be a Zipcars location on premises. She also noted that the townhouses are being built to comply with the “LEED Certified” eco friendly standard.

Mike of ABDO development spoke about the various projects within Phase 1 of the Catholic University development. Right now the Monroe Street Market website provides development updates, but there will be a new website launched around Labor Day that will provide regular updates on the development. The Artswalk area, featuring 27 artist studios and retail space are expected to be delivered about a year from now, in the summer of 2013. Additional retail along Monroe St. will be delivered in the fall of 2013.  There will be over 600 parking spaces total in phase 1. The developers will also re-do the sewer and power lines, and will be under-grounding the power lines along Monroe St., parts of Michigan Avenue and near the Metro. There will be a ‘call to artists’ around the end of September for the artists spaces. A panel will select artists for the spaces in a 6-8 week process. The artists studios will be roughly $10 a square foot, or about $600 – $800 a month. In total, the phase 1 of the development will produce over 500 rental units, ranging from studios to 1 bedrooms, 2 bedrooms and 2 bedrooms with dens. It is expected that the rent will range from $1,500 – $2,600 a month.

Bo Menkiti and Mark spoke about the 901 Monroe development. The development is Metro-based  and will have 13,00 square feet in retail development. The key piece to the retail offering will be a high-end restaurant to replace Colonel Brooks’ Tavern. The development team has just started the leasing process with retail brokers. However, there were no announcements of retail commitments other than to say that they will be securing local “mom and pop” type businesses. 901 Monroe will have 212 rental units. They will break ground this fall, and they have an 18 month timeline, meaning a summer of 2014 delivery. Mark stressed that the building has been designed to serve as a transition from the ABDO development to the heart of Brookland, the hope being that it will draw traffic across the bridge and thereby help businesses on the 12th Street corridor. Architecturally, the building is designed to blend in with the lower density development east of the bridge.

Carla of Dance Place was the last to present. She described Dance Place’s Moving Forward Campaign, which is an overhaul and upgrade of the current facility. The renovation includes a remodeled backstage, office space and theatre with improved sight lines. The Dance Place team also described the development of an Arts Plaza in the between Dance Place and the Artspace Lofts. The Arts Plaza will be a  multi-purpose area for community events such as live music and outdoor movie showings. The exterior improvements to the area will produce a walkable cultural center. Currently, the Dance Place team is planning their offerings as far out as 5 years from now, and made it clear that they would like the community’s feedback on the types of programming we would like to see. The project will cost over $2 million, of which they have raised about $1.8 million. All donations are tax deductible, and you can donate directly on their website. If enough funds are raised, they will break ground in August of 2013, with plans to be complete by January of 2014. Dance Place will utilize temporary spaces while the development takes place.


Meet Your Neighbor Marc, Chancellor’s Row Homeowner


Marc’s House July 2012

Ever wonder what our new neighbors in Chancellor’s Row, the new Brookland EYA development project, will be like?  Meet Marc. He has purchased a home in the development and we are going to follow Marc’s journey as he becomes a full-fledged Brookland resident. So far, the dirt patch pictured here is Marc’s home as of mid July. We will check back in a few months to document the progress.

As you probably gathered from the photo of Marc above, he is an MD. He works with children in need of emergency mental health evaluations and referrals; a job that is both challenging and rewarding. I asked Marc why he chose to live in Brookland, and here’s what he had to say.

“Well, I was looking for a “neighborhood” within the city where I could get to know folks, know the folks the who own the business, etc. Brookland offered that. Everyone I have met in that area has been really cool. It is also very diverse. I like that. The reason I decided to move there at this time was just timing. I had been considering it for a while and everything just sorta came together to make it a possibility.”  Marc likes to sing and recently took voice lessons to further that side of himself and hopefully will be doing some cool projects in the near future. Perhaps we’ll see him belting it out at the karaoke nights at San Antonio B&G or Optimism soon.