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.

Ward 5 Playgrounds To Benefit From City-Wide Renovation Project

Noyes “Playground” As It Is Today

On October 12th, Mayor Gray’s Office issued a press release announcing the largest playground improvement project in DC history. This is from the press release:

As part of his Playground Improvement Project, Mayor Gray tasked DPR with identifying the playgrounds across the city most in need of renovations. Initially this project was to be a multi-year endeavor as the District worked to improve all of the playgrounds in DPR’s inventory. However, Mayor Gray prioritized this initiative and worked with his budget team to identify additional end-of-year capital funds to both add additional playgrounds to the project and accelerate the pace of renovations. As a result, a total of 32 playgrounds will now be renovated in Fiscal Year 2013.

These are the parks that are slated for improvement in Ward 5:
• Harry Thomas Sr. Playground, 1743 Lincoln Road NE
• Turkey Thicket Playground, 1100 Michigan Avenue NW
• Brentwood Playground, 2311 14th Street NE

The press release also notes that the overhaul to Brookland’s Noyes Playground (2725 10th Street NE) is already past the design phase. Speaking of which, it would be great to know how that project is coming along. Last I heard, months ago, proposals had been submitted in response to the RFP, but there has been no activity. If my memory serves me, the over-haul should have been completed by now.

Family Fun At The First Church Of Washington DC Block Party

Yesterday was a perfect day for fellowship and family fun, and boy, does the First Church of Washington know how to throw a block party! I spoke with Reverend Yolanda who explained that this annual event is part of the Church’s Appreciation Day festivities. The congregation was welcoming to one all, and there was something for everyone, including free lunch! I was partial to the moon bounce, police horses and the fire truck, myself. There was also free blood pressure screening, flea market items, representatives from the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and the Church’s missionary ministry. I had an interesting conversation with them about the ministry’s works in Honduras. I also learned that the Church will be offering free Zumba classes on Saturdays, starting November 10th, and they will be open to the public. Contact the Church to sign up. The First Church of Washington is located at 1219 Hamlin Street NE in Brookland.

Many Thanks To BNCA And FoRIA For Cleaning Up Around Brookland!


The Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association (BNCA) and Friends of Rhode Island Avenue NE (FoRIA) teamed up for a cleanup effort this Saturday. They focused on the area between 12th Street and the Red Line tracks on RIA. They cleaned up a lot of debris as well as did some gardening around the Brookland sign at the corner of 12th Street and Rhode Island Avenue, NE. A BIG THANKS to these organizations for making a difference in our community!

For Pitbull Awareness Month – Brookland Pets Of The Week – Bonnie & Clyde!

October is Pitbull Awareness Month because there are a lot of misconceptions about this breed. Pitbulls were once considered “America’s dog” and were largely associated with children, for example Petey from Little Rascals and Helen Keller’s dog. The traits that make them wonderful pets: loyalty, intelligence, and desire to please their owner- are what some people have used to exploit them. They are actually gentle, loving dogs and make amazing family pets. In fact, in temperament testing this breed scores consistently high – even higher than Golden Retrievers. In recognition of Pitbull Awareness Month, we will be highlighting Brookland pit bulls. If you know of an adorable pit bull you would like featured here, let us know! Meet Bonnie and Clyde, rescued Pitbulls from the DC area.

Bonnie is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier (7 years old) and Clyde is an American Staffordshire Terrier (10 years old). Although they were adopted years apart, they came with those names and seemed destined for each other! Both come from tragic beginnings, as is often the case with rescued pit bulls. Clyde was rescued at a fighting camp were he was kept outside, his chain had grown into his neck, and he had a bad abdominal infection. Bonnie’s mom was a fighting dog and Bonnie was born in a shelter. Lucky for Bonnie and Clyde,  they actually had it much easier than many Pits that are tortured, starved, beaten and forced to fight for their owners. The amazing thing about dogs, Pits included, is that they never hold a grudge. Bonnie and Clyde are gentle, loving, sweet dogs who are amazing with kids and seem to know to be extra gentle with the very little ones.  

Pitbull awareness month brookland ne washington DC

Clyde’s favorite activity is sun-bathing. He could lay in the hot sun for hours and be perfectly happy. Bonnie is much more active and loves running, jumping and playing tug. She’s also great to snuggle up with on a cold day. But mostly they LOVE to be with each other. They are completely attached at the hip. Bonnie and Clyde also love to watch out the side window and smile at their Brookland neighbors and kids when they come and go.

Demolition Begins At 901 Monroe Site (Col. Brooks’ Development)


Construction fencing has gone up around the perimeter of the 901 Monroe development site. The only demo work I saw so far was a house on Lawrence Street. As with most homes built before the 1970’s it appears that there is some asbestos removal that needs to be done. We will keep our eyes on the construction site and update soon.

8 Friends And 1 Communal Vegetable Garden; Sharing Work, Fellowship And Bounty

This is the first installment of an ongoing series about 8 friends and their communal garden.

Planning Session

Last Sunday a group of friends met at a Brookland home over mimosas to plan a communal vegetable garden. Most of us don’t have the space for a large vegetable garden, some bring a wealth of gardening knowledge, other not so much. What we all have in common is raucous enduring friendships and a love for all things green. It all started when Tender, a Brookland homeowner, realized that he could make better use of his large back yard and figured why not make it a group effort? The result was a planning session a few days later where we fleshed out a tentative planting schedule and decided what to plant. The group agreed to a few ground rules 1) When the garden is planted, the care and maintenance work will be done as group 2) we will split the costs of materials 3) we will take turns providing food so it doesn’t fall on Tender every time and 4) have fun! The steps of our plan are outlined below. We will follow-up with updates here on the blog as we go, hopefully we will have some great results and tips to share!

Garden Area Today

Phase 1) Prepare the bed. We decided we need to get started now – and we are calling it operation “measure/kill/till”. The measurement came into play as a rough estimate of the space needed once we determined what veggies we would try to grow. We didn’t want to resort to killing the grass by using a chemical treatment, but we felt we had to. If it were earlier in the season, we would have laid down a tarp, and if the sod was thick enough we would have tried to cut and roll it off. So, chemicals it was. So we started. Once the grass is dead, we will start tilling and do other bed preparations.

Killing Off The Grass

Phase 2) The group plans to get together again in a few weeks. The agenda will be firming up planting schedule, final fall prep and planting anything that can go in the ground now. Potential plants to put in now are horseradish,  rhubarb, and turnip greens. Sometime during the fall or winter we will build a shed.

Phase 3) In the spring we will lay down newspaper, mulch, and plant. Our tentative planning schedule is:
Pre frost – spinach, carrots,  beets, radishes,
After frost – brussel sprouts, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, butternut squash, regular squash, tomatoes, watermelon, tomatillos

Phase 4) Maintain, weed, water

Phase 5) Eating, drinking and being merry!

Keeping Up With Marc, Chancellor’s Row Homeowner

This is part 2 of a story following a Marc, a new Brookland resident, as his home at the EYA Chancellor’s Row development is being constructed.

Marc earlier this summer, after the foundation was laid.

When we introduced Marc a few months ago, his home was just a dirt lot. Now, he has walls! We caught up with him following a meeting with the EYA contractor. He was happy to report that his home “is ahead of schedule. Originally, it was going to be ready by the middle or end of March. Now they are talking about the end of January.”  As you can see from the pictures below, the insulation is up, and Marc tells us that the facade will be going up shortly as well.  He has already selected all of his interior design elements such as the carpet, cabinets, wood floor finishes and countertops. I asked about the selection process and he said “there was a wide selection and everything was an option – which was amazing – even things like where to put the recessed lighting had to be decided.”  Marc shared that he was selective about where to splurge, on cabinets and floors for example; and that he passed over some of the more luxurious options such as heated bathroom flooring.

Marc will be living in Brookland with a friend while he waits to take possession of his new home, which will allow him to get to know the neighborhood better. He is already making friends in the CR community, even meeting up with future neighbors recently at the H Street Festival. He tells us that there is a CR listserv “which is very active. There are some folks talking about forming a poker group. There is also a book club, running group, and play group for families with children.”  Overall, Marc said he is very excited about his new home. Having the walls go up and being able to physically enter the space has helped him to visualize how it will all come together. He added, “and the market price of my unit has already gone up and it’s not even completed yet!” I would be excited about that too. Stay tuned for future updates as we follow the progress of Marc’s home.