August 11, 2015 - 9:19 am

The Royal offers new happy hour specials

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The Royal, the new restaurant at Fifth Street and Florida Avenue, is offering two new happy hours.  I typically get breakfast at the Royal on weekends since they serve hot breakfast items and an array of coffee drinks.  I’m always surprised how many strollers I see in that place; the Royal’s breakfast is popular with the sippy cup set.

For adults the Royal is offering a new happy hour from 3 pm to 6 pm daily and 10 pm to 1 am Sundays through Thursdays:

  • $5 house vermouth (the vermouth in the vintage copper fire extinguisher)
  • $5 Narragansett tallboys
  • $7 classic cocktails
    • Daiquiris
    • Palomas
    • Caipirinhas
    • Old Fashioneds
    • others
  • $7 wine by the glass: one red, one white (daily rotating selection)
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August 10, 2015 - 11:18 am

Washington Post features an alley dwelling renovation in LeDroit

A photo posted by @ericfidler on

How do you convert a rundown carriage house into a compact apartment? One LeDroit Park resident did it with $50,000 and some elbow grease. The converted unit, which the owner rents on airbnb, is nestled in the quiet alley that connects Fourth and Fifth Streets just south of T Street.

I’m friends with the owner and he gave me a tour as he was starting the renovation two years ago. It’s great to see such a drastic transformation. Read the full story in the Washington Post.

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July 03, 2015 - 3:55 pm

The Royal receives plenty of good press

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January 27, 2014 - 8:29 am

1925 photo of Griffith Stadium also shows LeDroit Park

photo1925

Every time I come across a photo of Griffith Stadium, which stood where Howard University Hospital now stands, I look carefully for an angle of LeDroit Park.  By way of Ghosts of DC comes this superb 1925 aerial shot looking north at the stadium and part of the neighborhood.

The east-west street in the foreground is the 500 and 600 blocks of U Street NW.  Zoom in and look around.  Notice the streetcars on Georgia Avenue in the upper-left corner of the photo.  Notice the previous incarnation of the Florida Avenue Baptist Church in the lower-left corner.

The stands beyond Griffith’s straightaway center field backed up to 5th Street from Elm to V Streets.  Can you imagine hearing the crack of a bat and roar of crowds during a Senators game?

Also note what’s no longer standing.  All but seven houses pictured east and north of the stadium have since been demolished, replaced with parking garages, parking lots, public housing, or academic buildings.  Nearly all of these houses would be illegal to rebuild today under our 1950s zoning code, which mandates minimum lot sizes and house widths to which much of historic LeDroit Park does not conform.

Photo source: National Archives

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January 24, 2014 - 6:29 pm

A new restaurant is coming to 5th & Florida

Madam C.J. Walker

A new restaurant is coming to the short-lived hair salon (pictured right) at 5th Street and Florida Avenue NW. From Paul Carlson, the owner of Vinoteca, comes The Royal, named for the Royal liquor store that once occupied the building many, many years ago.

Mr. Carlson described his forthcoming 40-seat restaurant as a place “where people can stop by on their way home, the price points are lower, and people know each other and know the staff.”

Though Mr. Carlson doesn’t expect the Royal to open for a few months, interested neighbors are invited to visit on Sunday, January 26, from 2pm to 4pm. If you can’t make it on Sunday, come hear Mr. Carlson’s presentation at Tuesday‘s civic association meeting. The association will likely vote on the Royal’s request for an alcohol license.

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November 16, 2013 - 8:35 pm

New movie theaters are planned near LeDroit Park

theaters

Two— possibly three— new movie theaters are set to open within a mile of LeDroit Park by 2016.  All will be located within a block or two of Florida Avenue and are easily accessible by foot, bike, and 90s bus.

Atlantic Plumbing site – 800 V Street NW- unknown screens

Prolific developer JBG is starting construction on its Atlantic Plumbing project by the 9:30 Club.  The project includes two mixed-use buildings on 8th Street NW, each on opposing sides of V Street.  The northern building was supposed to include an 11,000-square-foot movie theater, but a September article in the WBJ makes no mention of a theater.  The building will probably open in 2015.

Landmark Theater – New York Avenue & N Street NE- 10 screens

Capitol Point, another JBG mixed-use project, is located on New York Avenue NE near the maddening intersection with Florida Avenue NE.  The mixed-use project is slated to receive a 10-screen Landmark Theater showing foreign and independent films.  The chain currently has a location downtown on E Street and one in Bethesda.  This new theater is scheduled to open in 2016.

Angelika Film Center – Union Market (5th Street & Neal Place NE) – 8 screens

Soon after you pass under the railroad tracks on Florida Avenue NE, Union Market appears embedded in the background on the left.  These blocks constitute a wholesale food market that is slowly being redeveloped.  The new Union Market building has met great success, featuring produce, prepared foods, oysters, meats, and dairy products along with chairs and tables for the impatient.  The market fare is definitely upscale and vendors never shy from the word ‘artisanal’.

The market building’s developer announced it will open an 8-screen Angelika movie theater on an adjacent lot.  Angelika theaters feature foreign and independent films and, as the Post described it, “culinary offerings from former Food Network executives.”  The developer expects the theater to open in 2015.

Are we over-theatered?

Another movie theater is coming to different part of the District.  In the Navy Yard, developer Forest City is planning an upscale 16-screen theater near Nationals Stadium and the Navy Yard Metro.  The theater, at N Place and the future 1½ Street SE (a terrible name for a street), may not open until 2016 or later.

Can’t wait until 2015? There are four existing theaters within a 2.5-mile radius of LeDroit Park as the crow flies.  The Landmark E Street Cinema (1100 block of E Street NW) and the Regal Gallery Place (7th & G Streets NW) are easily accessible from the Green Line, Yellow Line, and 70s buses.  To the west of us, the West End Cinema (23rd & M Streets NW) and the AMC Loews Georgetown (3111 K Street NW) are easily accessible from the G2 bus, whose eastern terminus is LeDroit Park.

Theater Screens Location Opening Distance
Atlantic Plumbing (??) ? 8th & V Sts NW 2015? 0.5 mi
Landmark – Capitol Point 10 New York Ave & N St NE   2016 0.8 mi
Angelika Film Ctr. – Union Mkt. 8 5th St & Neal Pl NE 2015 1.3 mi
Regal Gallery Place 14 7th & G Sts NW open 1.4 mi
Landmark E Street Cinema 8 1100 b/o E St NW open 1.8 mi
West End Cinema 3 23rd & M Sts NW open 2.1 mi
AMC Loews Georgetown 14 3111 K St NW open 2.9 mi
Showplace Icon Theater 16 1½ St & N Pl SE 2016 3.3 mi
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September 11, 2013 - 8:35 am

LeDroit streets get a slurry seal

A few streets became much darker yesterday evening.  Throughout the day yesterday, DDOT applied a “slurry seal” to the surface of several neighborhood streets. The slurry seal is a type of liquid asphalt that is sprayed from the back of a truck and smoothed out by road workers.  According to DDOT, the material “seals cracks on existing roads and protects the roadway surface from occurrences that cause normal wear and tear, thus slowing down the deterioration rate of the pavement.”

Here’s a photo of truck applying the material to 5th Street.  The white stop line, granite crosswalk line, and various utility holes were covered in removable tape to prevent them from being paved.

DDOT Applies a Slurry Seal

The truck now applies the final strip of slurry.  Notice how shiny it is when it’s freshly poured:

DDOT Applies a Slurry Seal

Here’s a close-up of a freshly poured section.  The ends have to be manually smoothed out and feathered by road workers.

DDOT Applies a Slurry Seal

The seal runs over onto the brick gutter in a few places, but it otherwise smoothes over the cracks and cuts in the street pavements.  The streets now sport a fresh, even surface like a freshly frosted cake.

Speaking of asphalt, did you know that the man who founded LeDroit Park later became the “asphalt king” of America? LeDroit Park was founded in 1873 by Amzi Barber, who quit Howard’s Board of Trustees to go into real estate in DC.  After a decade, Barber quit the real estate and started a business to spread a new technology: asphalt road paving.  Though it seems ubiquitous now, it wasn’t until the late 19th century that governments started paving streets with asphalt.  In 1888 Barber moved his asphalt business to New York, where it took off.  He was so successful that his 1909 obituary in the New York Times described him as the “man who founded the asphalt industry in this country.”

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July 07, 2012 - 6:43 pm

Trader Joe’s coming to 14th & U

It looks like 2013 will be a harvest year for LeDroit Park residents as two new grocery stores open nearby. DCist broke the news that Trader Joe’s will open a store at the Louis building now under construction at the southwest corner of 14th and U.

Located at just under a mile’s walk from Anna J. Cooper Circle, the new store will provide another grocery option to area residents.

TJ’s prices are competitive with many other stores and the TJ’s specializes in unusual and somewhat exotic foods in addition to the usual staples.  TJ’s main weakness lies in its produce selection, which, judging from experiences at the Trader Joe’s in the West End, is limited.

The store’s opening next year will also be accompanied by the opening of the 60,000 square-foot Giant at the CityMarket project at 7th and P Streets in Shaw.  Once these two projects open, all the major grocery store chains in the area will be located no more than 1.1 mi. from LeDroit Park.

Store Location Distance (mi)
Giant (opening 2013) 7th & P Streets NW 0.6
Trader Joe’s (opening 2013) 14th & U Streets NW 0.9
Safeway 5th & L Streets NW 0.9
Harris Teeter 1st & M Streets NE 1.0
Whole Foods 1400 blk. P Street NW 1.1

Even still I dream of a full-service grocery store opening up at the long-stalled Howard Town Center project at Georgia Avenue and V Street.  The project, in the planning stages for many years, has been perpetually delayed by disagreements between Howard University and its development partner.

The UPO building on Rhode Island Avenue used to be a Safeway many years ago.  The site is large enough to be redeveloped into a modern, urban grocery store if parking is placed underground.  In fact the second floor could house UPO’s offices.

Until those dreams come true, the nearest full-service grocery stores are a long, but manageable walk.

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October 14, 2011 - 9:44 am

That was fast!

It was only earlier this year that work began on 1915 6th Street (right). The property stood as a vacant lot for years, but was snapped up by a condo developer.

After being on the market for just a few days at $299,000, the 1-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom basement condo at 1915 6th Street  is now under contract.

LeDroit Park has seen a good deal of reinvestment over the past few years despite the economy. A new condo is nearing completion at 5th St and Oakdale Place (bottom left) after sitting as vacant lot for years.  1907 3rd Street (bottom right), after sitting as a vacant apartment building for many years, is now a condo building.

NPR reporter Ari Shapiro and his husband are renovating the old McGill house at 1922 3rd Street (below).

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September 25, 2011 - 3:13 pm

Street names changed in 1890

Old Spruce St Sign

Two years ago we wrote about the old street names for LeDroit Park. Finding out just when the name change occurred is hard to pin down.  Different sources, from address directories to newspaper articles, refer to old names and new names during the same period of time.

The mystery is closer to resolution, however, as we found what we believe to be the earliest reference to the name change:

New Names for Le Droit Park Streets.
Washington Post
July 31, 1890

The names of the streets in Le Droit Park have been changed as follows: Le Droit Park avenue to Second street, Harewood avenue to Third street, Linden street to Fourth street, Larch street to Fifth street, Juniper street to Sixth street, and Maple avenue to T street.

There appears to be an error in the article as ‘Le Droit avenue’ never actually had ‘Park’ in its name.

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