Category Archives: Beyond Brookland

DIY Network Is Casting In Washington DC. Show Off Your Fabulous Brookland Home And Garden

So this isn’t specifically related to Brookland, but thought folks would be interested anyway. The DIY (Do It Yourself) Network is casting Washington DC homeowners for their show I Want That Now. Here is your chance to be on TV and possibly keep some cool gadgets for your home and garden.  From the DIY Network website:

I Want That is a fast-paced tour through the latest and greatest home and garden products. From smart appliances, hardware gadgets and tools to home finishings and the newest products for your pets, cars and gardens, there is something for everyone on I Want That! This series earns its unique, authentic DIY flavor by featuring real homeowners demonstrating these products in their home. In most cases you will get to keep the product that you demonstrate.

The casting team is seeking enthusiastic, clear-spoken homeowners who can breathe life into the products featured on I Want That. Fully-finished homes (or rooms) and homeowners with flexible weekday schedules will distinguish a casting application. Some basic home improvement experience is required. Homes within 30 minutes driving time from downtown Washington D.C. will be strongly considered.Please keep in mind, this is not a renovation show and we do not make-over homes or entire rooms.

To apply, send an email to iwtcasting (at) gmail (dot) com and please include ALL of the following:

1) Your complete contact information including home, work and cell phone numbers. Please include your home address.

2) Information about yourself including your age range, weekdays that you are available to shoot, and the types of projects your family enjoys doing.

3) Pictures of your home, including: exterior pictures of your front and back yard, pictures of your kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedrooms, garage, and workbench if you have one. Please include at least one picture of you and your family. Great garages, workbenches, and “man-caves” are always in short supply, so if you got it, let us see it!

4) Please be aware that we usually need three or four individuals to demonstrate products on each shoot day. If you do not have three to four adults in your home, please consider asking neighbors, friends or family members to demonstrate products on shoot day. During the casting process we will ask for photos of any person scheduled to appear on camera.

5) Include your family name and city of residence in your email subject line. For example: The Brown Family – Rockville MD.

(Hat tip – EYA Twitterfeed)

Community Forklift – A Great, Green Resource For Brookland Area Homeowners And Fixer-Uppers

radiators for days!

One of my favorite home improvement destinations is Community Forklift, located near Hyattsville MD. Community Forklift is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to reduce landfill waste by salvaging building materials. We like to re-purpose materials in our projects around the house, and the Forklift is usually our first stop. While it is not in Brookland, let alone DC, I thought it would be of interest to readers since I have neighbors who ask me where they can find items for their older homes; say, for example, turn of the century glass door knobs, or period fire place mantels. Anyone working to maintain the original character of their home or simply fond of antique and re-purposed items would enjoy a visit. For example, they have tons of odd shaped original window replacements, doors in all sizes, sinks from the 1950s, salvaged fence materials, you get the idea. This place is huge! Be forewarned though, Community Forklift is not your typical store. Because it is a nonprofit, it is run on a shoestring budget and is essentially a warehouse. Come dressed warmly, and be prepared to get a little dirty sifting through their merchandise. The staff is always helpful, the store is well organized, and I find the prices are very good on most things. I have heard some folks complain that prices have gone up in recent years, but it is still a bargain for things for your older home that you simply cannot find elsewhere nearby. They let you bring your dog inside to boot. Community Forklift is about a 15 minute drive to 4671 Tanglewood Drive, Edmonston MD 20781 . Their hours are Tuesday 12-6, Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday 10-6, Saturday & Sunday 9-6 (closed Mondays). Here are some photos I took on a recent trip out there.

North East DC Welcomes Another Microbrewery – Ivy City’s Atlas Brew Works

Photo courtesy of Atlas Brew Works Facebook Page

Awesome news! Our corner of DC will be home to yet another brewery!  Atlas Brew Works will be located in Ivy City at 2052 West Virginia Avenue NE, in a warehouse space that brewmasters Justin Cox and Will Durgin will begin renovating soon. Like Chocolate City Beer and DC Brau, the two existing NE breweries, Atlas’s main business will be distributing beer to area bars and restaurants, while also having a tasting area and growler refills for carry out. They plan on opening in early 2013 and I am already having visions of taking my friends on NE microbrewery tours this summer. To keep up with the latest on this young upstart, follow them on Facebook.

Developers Purchase Retail Property In The Rhode Island Place (Home Depot) Shopping Center

According to a story in the Washington Post Business Section, two different developers have purchased property in the Rhode Island Place shopping center. While the shopping center is probably best known for the Home Depot, it is a separate entity and was not involved in any purchases. Once parcel of land purchased is called the Brentwood Shopping Center, and currently contains the TJ Maxx, Foot Locker, Radio Shack and CitiBank and equals 57,529 square feet of retail space. I wouldn’t get too excited about it being transformed into something new soon though, as an earlier WaPo article about the property noted that the spaces are fully leased and those leases would have to expire or be renegotiated to even begin something new. Another developer purchased the property that contains the Giant supermarket. Again, it appears that the developer isn’t looking to make major changes there soon either. Personally, I avoid shopping the Giant as much as possible. So, while this news may be kind of a nothingburger, it was still interesting for me to learn that 1) the retail properties are broken out this way 2) investors are interested in RIA even if it is long-term. I am guessing that the level of success of the Rhode Island Row development may dictate how quickly these other developers move on making changes. Quite frankly, what is really needed is an overhaul of the whole retail and parking layout. For a location directly on the Metro, it is not pedestrian friendly at all, not to mention the vast, impervious waste of space that is the parking lot. We will keep our eyes on things and keep you updated.

(Hat Tip: Friends of Rhode Island/FoRIA)

Casey Trees Honors Veterans With Tree Planting At Ft. Myer

I had the pleasure of participating in yet another Tree Planting event organized by Brookland’s own Casey Trees. Last Friday, just after Veterans Day, dozens of volunteers met at the parking lot in front of the Old Post Chapel at Fort Myer to plant 21 trees. As always, breakfast was provided and hot coffee and tea helped to fight the cold morning hour temperatures. We didn’t have to wait long to be reminded of the special location where we were. The Old Post Chapel is the location of many funerals for those interred at Arlington National Cemetery.  Just after 9:00 am the first funeral procession left the Chapel and passed us at a distance of just a few feet. It was a very humbling experience to see the horses and carriage carrying a casket draped with the US flag heading towards the burial site. We stopped our work a second time and silently witnessed a procession half way into the tree planting event. Representatives of Fort Myer shared with us that each week the chapel is the site for about 80 funeral services. This is why we were there, to help give the green space that faces the Old Post Chapel a more dignified and defined look. One special aspect of the treescape design was a row of Cherry Trees, which have been grown from cuttings taken from some of the original Washington DC cherry trees. I am sure this will look quite beautiful once the trees are in bloom.

The pictures show that it didn’t take much digging and moving around for some layers of clothes to come of. The sunshine did it’s part and it turned out to be the perfect day for a tree planting event. After all trees were planted and their watering bags were filled, the volunteers and the Casey Trees Team enjoyed a wonderful lunch, which is always provided after a planting event.

The planting season is almost over, but if you are interested in participating in a Casey Trees planting in the future, or learning about trees at one of the classes, workshops or online chats, keep checking out the calendar on the website. Here are some more pictures from this great event at Fort Myer:

Really Want To Thank A Veteran? Spend Some Time At The Nearby Vets Hospital, Here’s How

Brookland NE Volunteer Washington DC
Ladies’ Night Logo Courtesy of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Here at the Bridge, we want to thank and honor our Nation’s Veterans – not just on Veteran’s Day – but everyday. A great way to show your appreciation is to volunteer at the nearby Washington DC VA Hospital Center. A good opportunity to do so is at the VA’s Ladies’ Night on Friday, Nov. 16 from 5:30 – 8 p.m. Ladies’ Night is a major outreach event created especially for female Veterans. Can’t make it Friday? Here is a link to a number of volunteer opportunities. But really, all it takes to make a difference is stopping by the hospital and simply visiting with the veterans. Just a little of your time, and some friendly conversation, makes a big difference to these good men and women who sacrificed so much, and are working so hard to recover from injuries. The VA hospital is located at 50 Irving St. NW, Washington, DC 20422, and is easily accessible by car, as well as a shuttle that picks up and drops off at the Brookland CUA Metro station.

Big Lots! Opens At Rhode Island Shopping Center – A Review

Shopping Brookland NE Washington DC

The newest entrant to the Rhode Island Shopping Center – Big Lots! – has arrived.  The actual “Grand Opening” is Friday November 16th at 9:00 am, but they opened their doors yesterday. One door down from the massive Foreman Mills Store, and just in time for the Holiday Season, I ventured to check it out. I had been to a Big Lots! once, a long while ago, so I had an idea of what it would be like. I checked out the weekly circular on line before I went: $20 kitchen appliances like Croc-Pots, $8 pyjama pants, $299 recliners, hmmmm, not too excited. I’m kind of anti pac-rat, so I don’t buy much “stuff”. But, since they advertised holiday decor, which I am big on, I figured it is worth a look. I’ll be honest, I went with low expectations.

My first impression upon walking through the door was – wow! – so bright, clean, well-organized and stocked to the brim. (If you shopped at The TJ Maxx when they first opened then you will remember how sparsely they stocked the store at first.) The store is definitely bigger than I thought it would be, and I was encouraged by the amount good brand-named products. It has a bunch of departments – Home, Furniture, Food, Seasonal, Toys, Pets, Automotive, Electronics,  – you get the idea. So, basically it is like a smaller, slightly lower quality Target, without a clothing section. I think this store is a good reflection of the collective market in our neck of the NE woods. It is way higher in quality than Foreman Mills, and the staff was clearly well trained and super polite. I can see just about everybody shopping here. Quite frankly, I don’t see why anyone will need to leave the neighborhood anymore to go to a Target or Walmart type store. No, it isn’t Pottery Barn. But, what an incredible leap forward it is from the run-down Safeway (with metal detectors at the door) that occupied this space 3 years ago.

Big Lots! is located at 524 Rhode Island Avenue NE Suite C. They are open Monday – Saturday from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm. and Sunday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm.

Great Streets Funding For Rhode Island Avenue Gets A Big Push From The Community

Rhode Island Avenue Development Brookland NE Washington DC
2218 & 2220 Rhode Island Ave., NE. Photo Credit: rockcreek via flickr

Last week we asked that the community help out with testifying to secure funding for improvements to Rhode Island Avenue NE under the Great Streets Program . This Thursday, November 8, 2012, the avenue was well represented at the DC City Council’s Committee on Economic Development and Housing hearing. I testified along with community leaders and organizations, and guest blogged about it for the Friends of Rhode Island (FoRIA) website. We will keep you up to date on any developments.

Your Chance To Tell The Union Station Redevelopment Corp. What You Think Of The Planned Main Hall Remodel

How the Main Hall with Center Cafe Looks Now. Photo Courtesy of the Union Station Redevelopment Corp.

We recently learned that Union Station’s Main Hall is undergoing a redesign and that the general public is invited to comment on the design before it is finalized. While we try to stick to stories about the Brookland area; if there is one thing I know about us Brooklanders, it is that we love to share our opinions about how things should be designed, LOL. There are some renderings of the redesign below, and you can download a pdf with details and concept diagrams here. I know Union Station well. I worked next door to it for over 4 years and I love that building. The redesign of the hall will eliminate the Center Cafe, something I am not thrilled about. This will create a vast area for what purpose, I am not sure. I assume that most people would still rather wait for their train in the waiting areas near the Amtrak gates. (Speaking of which, if anything at Union Station needs a makeover, it is those cramped, dark  waiting areas, but I digress.) The cafe has been a nice meeting point, a unique little place for a meal, and breaks up the hall visually in a good way. The hall has such high ceilings, that removing the cafe – and not replacing it with something visually interesting and very vertical, will render the room  a big boring carven with a pretty ceiling. So if the cafe has to go, how about a statue in keeping with Downtown DC’s “monument theme”? Next, the design calls for creating  escalators to the lower level food court, which will require creating holes in the floor. I’m not exactly thrilled about this idea,  but am open to it because I think the flow of foot traffic in Union Station is a bit clunky now, so maybe it will work. From what I understand, the now defunct movie theatre will be transformed into a high-end mall area and the escalators will lead to that. Which is why the tall “shops” signs are placed there. This is a head scratcher for me. As the lone modern element, they look very out-of-place in context of the rest of the architecture. The hall is a beautiful space, I would hate to see it ruined by unnecessary changes. So, in this case, less is more. The deadline for comments is Thursday, November 15 at this comment page. The Main Hall redesign is part of a larger overhaul of Union Station and Columbus Circle, for more information on the larger project, check out the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation website.

Birds eye view of proposed main hall design. Rendering Courtesy of the Union Station Redevelopment Corp
View Looking Northwest. Rendering Courtesy of the Union Station Redevelopment Corp.
View looking northeast. Rendering Courtesy of the Union Station Redevelopment Corp.
View from entry. Rendering Courtesy of the Union Station Redevelopment Corp.