French tire manufacture and restaurant critic Michelin released its much-anticipated guide to Washington restaurants. No restaurants earned the top three-star rating, but three restaurants earned two stars, nine earned one star, and 19 restaurants, three of which are nearby, earned “Bib Gourmand” status for their “exceptional good food at moderate prices.”
LeDroit’s very own Royal (501 Florida Avenue NW) earned Bib Gourmand status. I frequently visit the royal for breakfast on weekends. Their coffee is decent and the breakfast pastries and arepas are great. A friend in West End routine visits for breakfast.
Red Hen (1822 First Street NW), just one block east of LeDroit Park, is another Bib Gourmand venue and is one of my favorite dinner spots. The menu is Italian and the pasta is deliciously fresh. Red Hen can get crowded, but you can often squeeze yourself around its peninsular bar, where you may eat dinner and drink.
If you’re looking for eclectic Chinese-French fusion, walk over to Kyirisan (1924 8th Street NW), one block west of LeDroit Park. The Tim Ma restaurant opened in March and the Post’s Tom Sietsema gave it a good review.
The nearest starred restaurants are the excellent Dabney (122 Blagden Alley NW) and Kinship (1015 7th Street NW), both near the Convention Center. Such proximity to highly rated restaurants would have been absolutely unthinkable when I moved to LeDroit Park in 2009. How times have changed.
The LeDroit Park Civic Association has organized some social events for everyone to attend.
The next neighborhood happy hour will be on Tuesday, September 8 from 6:30 pm to 8 pm at BKK Cookshop (1700 New Jersey Ave NW). BKK, named for Bangkok’s airport code, is located in the former Beau Thai space, which recently decamped for 7th Street in Shaw.
The Civic Association will also host a neighborhood block party on Saturday, September 12th from noon to 6 pm. The party will be held on the 300 block of U Street. Everyone is welcome to attend and bring additional food.
Our children and our family friends were witnesses to the shooting yesterday afternoon at 7th and S St. During the chaos, my four year old (who has a developmental disability and can’t speak) dropped his iPad that he uses as a communication device. It is an iPad mini in a life proof case. If you find it, please let us know. There is a reward upon return.
If you found the missing iPad mini, send me a private message and I’ll put you in touch with the family.
Last night the resident posted this thoughtful follow-up:
After we shared a message about the shooting at 7th and S on Saturday and our son’s lost communication iPad, we received so many heartfelt messages of support and concern from friends and neighbors. Thank you for your outreach – it reconfirms everything that we love about living in this community.
We are struggling with how to reconcile this violence in our community with our family’s needs. We are heartbroken for Matthew Shlonsky and his loved ones, we are sad and angry about the violence in our community making it less safe for our kids, and we are committed to fighting the root causes of this violence.
Many people have asked what they can do to help replace our son’s lost communication iPad, and have even offered donations for a new one. We so appreciate all of these offers of support.
We are going to order a new iPad for our son to take to his first day of school next week, but we are also making donations to community organizations that work every day to improve the lives of children and families in our community. We invite you to join us in supporting these organizations, or others of your choosing.
Northwest Settlement House operates a child care center on the corner of 7th and S that serves kids from all backgrounds and helps working parents find affordable childcare.
ONE DC is a community organization, based a block from 7th and S that organizes for access to better jobs and housing.
On Saturday afternoon, Matthew C. Shlonsky, a recent graduate of American University, was murdered on Seventh Street near the Shaw Metro’s north entrance. Mr. Shlonsky’s murder is part of a documented uptick in violence across Washington.
Crime has risen and MPD’s online data tool reveals this.
LeDroit Park, Howard University, and the section of Shaw near Progression Place are in police service area (PSA) 306. Over the past 12 months, violent crime has increased 8.1%, property crime has increased 4.9%, and total crime has increased 5.4% compared to the 12 months before that.
|Number of Crimes Reported Between|
|Crime Type||8/17/2013 to 8/17/2014||08/17/2014 to 08/17/2015||Change|
|Robbery Excluding Gun||19||24||+5|
|Robbery With Gun||17||14||-3|
|Assault Dangerous Weapon (ADW) Excluding Gun||20||16||-4|
|Assault Dangerous Weapon (ADW) Gun||2||8||+6|
|Total Violent Crime||62||67||+5|
|Total Property Crime||328||344||+16|
However, when looking at year-to-date numbers for 2015 (Jan. 1 – Aug. 18, 2015) versus the same range last year (Jan. 1 – Aug. 18, 2014), violent crime declined 8.1%, property crime tumbled 10.9%, and total crime in the fell 10.6%.
|Number of Crimes Reported Between|
|Crime Type||1/1/2014 to 8/18/2014||01/01/2015 to 08/18/2015||Change|
|Robbery Excluding Gun||11||12||+1|
|Robbery With Gun||10||6||-4|
|Assault Dangerous Weapon (ADW) Excluding Gun||11||10||-1|
|Assault Dangerous Weapon (ADW) Gun||2||5||+3|
|Total Violent Crime||37||34||-3|
|Total Property Crime||202||180||-22|
Mr. Shlonsky’s murder, though tragic, is rare. In the past five years, the only other person murdered was a man found with stab wounds in car that crashed on Florida Avenue in the early hours of May 1, 2012. He was believed to be driving himself to the hospital.
Residents concerned about crime are encouraged to attend the ANC 1B public safety meeting on Thursday, August 20 at 7 pm at the Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th St NW).
[This post has been updated to include year-to-date crime numbers.]
Meet your neighbors and explore a new local business at next week’s LeDroit Park happy hour. This month we are going to Calabash (1847 7th St NW) on Tuesday, June 9 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Calabash is the new tea shop that opened by the Shaw Metro.
In other news, the Washington Business Journal has a good summary of the retail transformation of Shaw, which is attracting high-end and boutique retailers who used to set up shop in Georgetown instead.
Over a year ago someone launched a drone from the roof of the Progression Place apartments on 7th Street by the Shaw Metro. The drone recorded high-definition video footage of the LeDroit Park, Shaw, and U Street neighborhoods.
Before you go launching your own drone, remember that they’re illegal in DC’s airspace!
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|
1843 7th St NW
|jamón (Spanish ham)||jerez (sherry)||Andalusia|
1837 First St NW
|various Catalan dishes||Catalonia|
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.
It’s snowing outside and LeDroit Park is more beautiful than ever.
Uprising Muffins on 7th Street closed early.
A Bloomingdale resident share this 1937 news story in which the author recounts the early days and residents of LeDroit Park.
The writer describes what LeDroit Park looked like before 1875, which is about the time the neighborhood started to develop. He recalls that he could stand at 7th Street and Florida Avenue (née Boundary Street) and see all the way down to North Capitol Street.
Few houses stood on Florida Avenue at that time, he notes. The Washington & Georgetown Railroad, a streetcar company, kept a car barn on the triangular block opposite what is now the Howard Theatre.
The neighborhood was created by combining the Miller, Prather, McClelland, and Gilman properties pictured below. The Prather property was used as a pasture and the Miller property was not maintained.
The wood and iron fence, which caused a great dispute in the 1880s, extended from the neighborhood’s boundary at 2nd Street to within a few feet of 7th Street. “At the west of the grounds is an attractive old gate, made to match the artistic fence. It was evidently driveway gate, though its use as such has been abandoned and the driveway itself obliterated.”
The author lists several of the neighborhood’s earlier residents. Before LeDroit Park became the favorite enclave of Washington’s black elite, it housed many prominent whites. While few of the people listed below are household names today, many of them held high positions in government.
- Henry Gannett, Chief Geographer, U.S. Geological Survey, and described as the “Father of Government Mapmaking“
- Rep. Benjamin Butterworth, House of Representatives (R-OH) and Commissioner of Patents
- Arthur A. Birney, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia
- Col. O. H. Irish, Chief, Bureau of Engraving and Printing
- Sumner I. Kimball, General Superintendent, U.S. Life Saving Service, forerunner to the U.S. Coast Guard
- William T. Hornaday, Chief Taxidermist, U.S. National Museum (now called the Smithsonian) and controversial director of the Bronx Zoo
- Arnold B. Johnson, Chief Clerk, U.S. Lighthouse Board
- Edmund Wood, Chief of the Financial Division, Bureau of Indian Affairs
- De Lancey Gill, painter and photographer, Smithsonian Bureau of American Ethnology
- George S. Prindle, patent attorney
- Ellery C. Ford, lawyer (This name appears at the African-American Civil War Memorial on U Street)
- Andrew Langdon, co-developer of LeDroit Park
- James H. McGill, architect of LeDroit Park and other Washington buildings
- Staughton S. Doyle, music teacher
- Ezra B. Barnum, clothier and grand juror who indicted Charles Guiteau, who assassinated Pres. James Garfield in 1881
- Dr. Joseph N. Rose, botanist
- J. J. Albright, possibly the wealthy coal magnate and associate of LeDroit Park developer Amzi Barber.
- Capt. Howard L. Prince, Civil War captain and Librarian of the U.S. Patent Office
- George E. Sloat, employee of the Pension Office
- Charles Ruoff, partner, Willet & Ruoff
- Marie Ginesi, employee of the Post Office
- Charles Darwin (no, not that Charles Darwin), librarian, U.S. Geological Survey
- W. Scott Smith, correspondent, New York Times
Here are names I haven’t been able to research:
Brenton L. Baldwin, Emma B. Smith, F. H. Ramey, W. E. Williams, Ralph Baldwin, B. Pettingill, S. S. Gannett, F. J. Young, Henry A. Merrick, Rev. C. H. Fay, N. M. Brush, Charles W. Fisher, Abram L. Swartout, W. Norman Fleming, Charles A. Hamilton, O.B. Brown, William H. Degges, W. F. Hildebrand, James A. Marter, T. B. Campbell, T. J. W. Robertson, E. M. Merrick, H. B. Wyman, M. Horstman, A. W. Conlee, C. R. Follin, Mary Ragan, Oscar T. Towner, E. Woodruff, W. Hollingsworth, H. E. Cooper, and J. B. Thomas.
If you dig up any information on these people, please add it to the comments.
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.
|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|