May 12, 2015 - 12:07 pm

Watch a film about the flooding of 2012

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The National Geographic Society is sponsoring a free film screening and discussion about the street and basement flooding that afflicted parts of Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park in 2012.  The film, Neighbor to Neighbor: The Bloomingdale Story, will be shown on Thursday, May 21 from 7 to 9 pm at St. George’s Episcopal Church (2nd & U Streets).

Here’s the full description from the flyer:

In September 2012 Bloomingdale was hit by one of the severest storms in recent memory. As Mike Thomas’ home flooded, neighbors—from different backgrounds and walks of life— came together to help him recover from the storm. This film tells that story.

Why Attend: Storms are hitting the District at an ever-increasing rate. In addition to infrastructure problems, weather crises due to climate change are on the rise: flash floods, severe freezes and snowstorms, and intense heat waves.

Katrina and the Chicago Heat Wave taught us that knowing your neighbors is one of the best predictors of survival. We know that communities with the strongest social connections are also the most resilient (able to bounce back from a challenge).

Bloomingdale, LeDroit Park, and the Southwest Waterfront are on the front line of critical weather events. Come see this insightful short film, share some food (provided), conversation, and wisdom about human connections and the resilience of our neighborhoods. The director of the film, Steve Droter, and Mike Thomas will be available to participate in the conversation.

This screening is funded in part by the National Geographic Climate and Urban System Partnership (CUSP).

Photo: A drop shaft in Bloomingdale for the tunnel boring machine that will drill a stormwater retention tunnel under First Street in Bloomingdale. The tunnel is expected to resolve flooding problems for good.

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April 06, 2015 - 7:21 pm

Yet another Spanish restaurant set to open near LeDroit Park

"The Capture of the Spanish Galleon St Joseph" by Peter Monamy

“The Capture of the Spanish Galleon St Joseph” by Peter Monamy

People of the Americas, beware! The conquistadores are coming to fill you with tapas, sherry, and now cider! The City Paper reports that Anxo Cidery & Pintxos Bar is coming to 300 Florida Avenue NW, just outside LeDroit Park. The cider bar and restaurant marks the third Spanish establishment to open within walking distance of LeDroit in the past few years.

Anxo will focus on sagardoa* (cider), pintxos* (small plates), and regular dishes from the Basque region of Spain.  The owners intend to distill cider on site, but will start off serving beer and wine as well as a cider distilled in collaboration with Millstone Cellars in Monkton, Md.

The owners have not announced an opening date, but renovations will start on the building, currently vacant, this summer. [Update: Scott Roberts reports the owners intend to open in the fall.]

Lord have Murcia!

Has our part of Washington reached Peak Spaniard? We already have the Andalusian ham-and-sherry bar, Mockingbird Hill, on 7th Street and a superb Catalan restaurant, Costa Brava, on First Street in Bloomingdale. Are the fortunes of these Iberian restaurateurs set to decline like the Spanish Empire?

Furthermore, how will you choose a restaurant when you’re suddenly struck with your frequent craving for Spanish food? No need to tilt at windmills. Use this handy matrix to guide you across the Atlantic:

Left for LeDroit Spanish Food Matrix

Name Signature Food Signature drink Region
Mockingbird Hill
1843 7th St NW
jamón (Spanish ham) jerez (sherry) Andalusia
Costa Brava
1837 First St NW
various Catalan dishes Catalonia
Anxo
300 Florida Ave NW
various Basque dishes sagardoa (Basque cider) Basque Country

* Wait, these words don’t sound like Spanish. That’s because the Basque language is a language isolate and is one of the few non-Indo European languages spoken in Europe.

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February 03, 2015 - 3:32 pm

Meet me (and your neighbors!) at Costa Brava on Tuesday

LeDroit Park residents at Bistro Bohem

LeDroit Park’s next monthly happy hour will be at Costa Brava (1837 First Street NW) in Bloomingdale on Tuesday, February 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.  We will be at the upstairs bar.  All neighbors are welcome to attend.

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January 27, 2015 - 12:08 pm

Restaurant Costa Brava and Howard Univ. present tonight

300 Block of T Street

The January meeting of the LeDroit Park Civic Association is tonight at 7 pm in the basement of the Florida Avenue Baptist Church (enter at U Street and Bohrer Street).

The owner of Costa Brava (1837 First St NW) will introduce the neighborhood to his new Catalonian restaurant.  I had dinner at the restaurant late last year and I highly recommend it.

Howard University representatives will propose changes to university policy regarding student conduct and public safety:

  • Expanding the area around the campus deemed subject to the reporting of crime statistics.
  • Giving universities broader authority to address student misconduct that takes place off-campus.
  • Giving the Mayor or a university President the ability to request the assistance of other campus police personnel in cases of emergency, thus allowing the Metropolitan Police Department to focus their resources elsewhere.

The meeting will also include the usual committee reports and a community open forum.  Everyone is welcome to attend.

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July 27, 2013 - 10:52 am

It’s now a little easier to cross Florida Avenue at R Street

New Crosswalk and Signal

After much neighborhood lobbying, DDOT installed a new traffic signal at Florida Avenue and R Street NW in Bloomingdale.  The light includes a pedestrian signal that will make it easier to cross Florida Avenue. Before DDOT installed the light, pedestrians had to pray that drivers on Florida Avenue would obey the law and yield at the crosswalks.

New Crosswalk and Signal

In unrelated news, two vintage transit buses are parked on the vacant lot at the northwest corner of the intersection.

Buses

Buses

Buses

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August 22, 2012 - 10:46 am

Video from the mayor’s presser on recent flooding

The mayor’s news conference on the establishment of an anti-flooding task force drew a lot of media attention. All the local affiliates covered it:

Watch the videos below.
Read the rest of this entry »

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August 21, 2012 - 7:31 am

Mayor Gray announces a task force to address area flooding

Post-flooding debris along the 100 block of Rhode Island Avenue NW

Later this morning, Mayor Vincent Gray, Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (D – Ward 5), and representatives from DC Water and District agencies, will announce the creation of a task force to address the flooding that has occurred in numerous basements in LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale since July.

The mayor and councilmember will hold the press conference today at 11:30 am at the park at triangle park at First Street and Florida Avenue NW.

During several downpours in July, the overtaxed sewers below Florida Avenue in LeDroit Park and below several streets in Bloomingdale backed up into residents’ basements.

DC Water, the semi-independent agency that manages the drinking water and sewer infrastructure, says the completion of new diversion sewer tunnels in 2025 will solve the problem for good. Waiting 13 years is little consolation for residents whose basements have flooded with diluted sewage.

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July 12, 2012 - 7:25 am

Video: Bloomingdalers upset about recurring flooding

Channel 4 has a short segment on Tuesday night’s flooding in Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park. The Post also has a story describing the sewage-drenched nightmare that struck many residents’ basements.

DC Water, which is responsible for the water pipes and sewers, left the following note in the comments section of yesterday’s post on the flooding:

Neighbors,

We’ve received a number of phone calls, tweets and email inquiries from Bloomingdale, LeDroit and Eckington customers who faced flooding last night. We’re so sorry to hear this has happened, and want to provide some background information as well as next steps.

The sewer system under this part of the District was installed generations ago by the federal government. At the time, populations were smaller, rains were likely lighter, and people weren’t commonly living in basements. The system was not designed to handle the volume it handles today. We inherited this system and are working to upgrade it, but this is not a fast, simple or inexpensive process.

We do clean every catch basin in the District once a year, and we come through flood-prone areas to do more cleaning every time a big storm is predicted. This one was not part of any weather forecast. The volume of rain in such a short period would overwhelm many catch basins as well.

The best short-term solution is a backflow preventer, which a licensed plumber can install. The long-term solution is enlarging the capacity of the sewer system, which will come as part of our Clean Rivers Project. It is a 20-year, $2.6 billion effort to build 13 miles of tunnels, which will capture stormwater and sewage and send them to our Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. The tunnel will start at Blue Plains and is under construction now. The last segment will make its way from RFK Stadium to Gallaudet University and will relieve the historic flooding problems in Bloomingdale, Eckington and Edgewood.

More details are here: http://www.dcwater.com/workzones/projects/anacostia_river_information_sheet.cfm. Customers with questions can feel free to email us at twitter@dcwater.com or call (202) 612-3400 anytime.

DC Water
Office of External Affairs

There are two things to glean from the comments section in yesterday’s post. One is that a number of Bloomingdale residents have said that flooding occurs in their basements more than once a year. Another is that DC Water’s solution, which includes the construction of an interceptor sewer tunnel, is years away.

DC Water will address residents on Monday, July 16 at 7 pm at St. George’s Episcopal Church at 2nd and U Streets NW.

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July 11, 2012 - 12:41 am

Storm floods streets and basements of Bloomingdale

During torrential downpours the Bloomingdale neighborhood experiences flooding. Yesterday evening’s storm flooded numerous Bloomindale basements and the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue, T Street, and First Street NW.

The Boundary Stone restaurant (116 Rhode Island Avenue NW) posted a photo of a flooded Rhode Island Avenue NW.

Why did this section of the street flood? DC Water, which runs the water pipes, sewers, and storm drains, blames the lack of pipe capacity in Bloomingdale.

A closer look at the 1861 Boschke map of the District of Columbia reveals that the northern reaches of Tiber Creek flowed right through Bloomingdale. In fact the creek flowed right where Rhode Island Avenue flooded at T Street NW.

Boschke map with modern streets superimposed

Whether the creek still flows underground in this location is something I will leave to experts. However, creeks, like all water, flow to the lowest point on the land. The creek’s former presence at this location suggests that the terrain slopes downward on all sides, directing rainwater to this critical flood point.

Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (D) was on the scene and DC Water has promised to brief him soon on their Bloomingdale flood solution, which they say is on the way. Though this degree of flooding is rare, Bloomingdale residents will surely welcome and demand a permanent fix.

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June 13, 2012 - 1:37 pm

Our zip code, now with some more white people

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Every now and then the Census Bureau or some organization releases a report or new data showing that DC’s demographics changed. A recent analysis of census data found that the 20001 zip code, which covers LeDroit Park, Pleasant Plains, Bloomingdale, Truxton Circle, Shaw, and Mount Vernon Square, saw its non-Hispanic white population increase by 27.2 percentage points from 5.6% to 32.8%. In fact, 20001 made the list of “most-whitened zip codes” in the nation.

Our review of the 2010 census data found that LeDroit Park is 21% white, which is below the figure for the zip code.

What does this mean? Without more information, the report doesn’t mean much other than the unsurprising fact that neighborhood demographics change. This plain answer will dissatisfy some.  In a city in which identity is inevitably intertwined with politics, many will feel compelled to read too much into the data for some larger narrative that confirms preexisting social or political views.

However, the reasons that people move into and out of a neighborhood are complicated and there are both push and pull factors, both voluntary and involuntary.

Why a person might leave a neighborhood:

  • Your new spouse wants to live elsewhere.
  • You graduated from the local university and intend to return to your hometown.
  • You dislike too many of your neighbors.
  • You got a new job far away.
  • The rent has become unaffordable.
  • You lost your job and can’t pay any rent.
  • You want to retire closer to where your children live.
  • Perceptions of crime.
  • Divorce.
  • Death.
  • You want to send your children to school elsewhere.
  • You’re pursuing a degree somewhere else.

Why a person might move into a neighborhood:

  • You are born and that’s where your parents live.
  • You found the perfect home.
  • Friends and family are nearby.
  • There are people like you nearby.
  • You got a new job nearby.
  • The area is familiar.
  • You’re moving in with friends or relatives.
  • Rent is cheaper here than in some other place.
  • The neighborhood is visually appealing.

Each person’s story is different, but there is far more at work than the simplistic displacement narrative that gets so much press.

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