Friday, February 29, 2008

Photos of Bloomingdale

Here is a photo stream from the Bloomingdale Flickr Group. Its free to join if you'd like to share your pictures of the neighborhood.

An automated slide show can be seen here

Thursday, February 28, 2008

BUY ME, Bloomingdale!

For Sale.
Corner of Seaton and North Capital, NW (1822 N. Capital Street).
$1.115 million.

Play ball with me.

There is a property on the corner of North Capital and Seaton Place (or is it street), NW. It currently houses the Seaton Market. It is expensive… if one were to go it alone….but wait….YOU, BLOOMINGDALE, are not alone.

Last week I presented three possible scenarios for helping to improve North Capital Street, and by extension, our Bloomingdale.

What if we, as neighbors, did form an LLC (limited liability corporation) as a non-profit? Say (for easy math), we could get the property for $1 million (it’s been on the market for over 150 days). If 10 investors came forward with $10,000 each we would have a down-payment of 10%. So we would mortgage 900k. (again, this is a game, right….maybe 10k is too much/too little).

Next, we hire an architect. We present the plans to a bank and apply for a renovation loan. I am familiar with a renovation loan because that is how my husband and I were able to afford to renovate our home. The renovation loan is generally based on how much the property would be worth once the renovations are complete. If we applied for a $1 million renovation loan, would the property be worth at least the cost + renovation (so 2 million). If yes, then it’s a go (of course, remember, this is all play right now…so there would be more to think about).

What would a 1.9 million dollar mortgage payment be if it were shared by 10 investors? Well, at 6% interest, 30yr fixed the total mortgage would be about $9500 per month. If that were divided by 10 investors, it would be $950 per month per investor.

Now, what if, in the example of the Seaton Place property, we found a tenant to rent the top floor (approx 1600 sq feet). Perhaps we could rent it for $2500 per/month. And what if we found a business (restaurant, yogo studio, garden ctr…anything that Bloomingdale needs) to take over the first floor. Could we charge $3000/per month (more? Keep in mind that one of the reasons Pyramid’s Restaurant closed was that the rent had increased to $5000/month). So, now we have an income of $5500/month…and a remaining mortgage payment of $4000/month divided by 10 investors…so $400/month.

Would anyone play ball…how many of us could realistically afford this? And should the initial investors be silent, or should the initial investors have to commit to 5 years of their ‘seed’ investment…or have to understand that it may not work and they could lose their seed money.


Think about it. Perhaps we could do something as neighbors. Perhaps we live where we live in order to be able to make a difference. Would we even be having this conversation if we lived in Georgetown ....or a more affluent part of town? Hmm.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Friday Fish Fry

See this message received last night, Wednesday, 2/20/2008, from Bates Area Civic Association (BACA) President Jim Berry:


For the second consecutive week, the BACA's Youth Services Committee is sponsoring a Fish Fry on Friday, 2/22/2008, at Ebenezer Baptist Church, 46 Q Street, N.W., from 11:00 a.m. until they sell out of food. The proceeds from this event will assist in the implementation of a schedule of a series of activities that they intend to produce for youths in our community this summer.

If at all possible, please support this activity. Flyers have been circulated around the community, but I am trying to boost their promotional efforts via this electronic appeal to you.

If you have any questions or would like to place an order, please use the telephone numbers below.

We thank you in advance for your support!


Jim Berry
Bates Area Civic Association, Inc.

Youth Services Committee
of the
Bates Area Civic Association, Inc.

-Is Having A -

Friday Fish Fry

Date: Friday, February 22, 2008
11:00 a.m. until Sold Out


Ebenezer Baptist Church
46 Q Street, NW
Washington , DC 20001

Phone Orders to:
(202) 265-5344 OR (202) 679-3422

__ Fried Chicken Leg/Breast $6.00
__Grilled Spare Ribs $9.00
__ Trout $7.00
___Filet Whiting Fish $7.00

Potato Salad; Corn Pudding; Candid Yams;
String Bean; Cabbage

___Trout or Whiting Fish ___ $5.00
___Chicken $4.00
__Spare Ribs $7.00
Cakes & Pies
Soft Drinks


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oh Bloomingdale!

My first blog. Ever.

I am an open-house-slut...meaning if it is open, I will enter. My husband and I happened to be in Bloomingdale for just such an opportunity and fell upon four people (the ‘keeper’ of this blog, his fabulous artist wife, the brain and brawn behind the Bloomingdale list serve, and a sophisticated sassy Brit). How lucky for us.

We moved to Bloomingdale in 2004. We have lived in DC for 21 years and this is our first home. We claim to have moved here in order to walk to work...but the reality is that we stumbled into Bloomingdale. In those frenzied days, we had two minutes to act on an as-is fixer-upper. And so we did. We have counted our lucky stars since.

We wondered what it would be like to live in this clearly, a neighborhood. Our neighbors are young and old, black and white, straight and gay, economically advantaged and economically challenged, artistic and not. We invited them over for dessert. At the end of the evening we sat back and sighed contentedness. Phew.

It has been almost 4 years. And now I want to let everyone know what a good neighborhood this is...and at the same time, I want to guard against being too discovered. But really, I would like to see the abandoned and boarded up buildings on North Capital rediscovered. Imagine, just a mile from the Capital of the United States of America! And yet it feels like a thousand miles.

So, my thought in writing here is to generate discussion. What might it take to bring the abandoned buildings on North Capital to life? I wish to keep my focus on the abandoned, boarded buildings. My ideal would be to purchase a small building (say the ‘Bobby Fisher Memorial Building’ 1644 N. Capital Street.)

Here are a few ideas. And I would love to hear your feedback.

1. Form a neighborhood LLC to purchase a building. As neighbors we have a vested interest in seeing these buildings restored and reopened. The building could be cleaned up, restored, a business opened and proceeds used to purhaps buy the next abandoned building. The goal would not be so much to make money (though certainly, we do not want to loose money) but rather to see the neighborhood improve.

2. Court deep-pocket investors. On a whim, I emailed some of the better-known developers in DC...people with deep pockets. I invited them over for coffee and to walk with me around the neighborhood to see all the possibilities. I do not wish to see our neighborhood developed into a tourist spot, but what if one of these individuals was the lead in purchasing and renovating one building...would that encourage others? No one responded. Yet.

3. Set-up a partnership between the architecture school at Catholic (or any area school...maybe even highschool) to work with existing business owners to energize their facades so that they actually look like the thriving businesses they could be. It would help the owners, it would help the students, it would help the neighbors and it might encourage others to invest.

Think about it.

And so. Here lies my first blog. Ever.

Readings at Big Bear Cafe

While i will be over in Georgetown for the Glass3 Opening, there is a great event happening right here in Bloomingdale tomorrow night.

Thurs/Tomorrow/February 21st - 8 PM - Big Bear Cafe - Free
Semezdin Mehmedinoviæ was born in Bosnia. As war raged in Bosnia-Hercegovina, he remained active in Sarajevo's resistance movement. Before coming to the United States as a political refugee, he worked as a journalist, columnist, and an editor of the magazine "Phantom of Liberty." He has published several books of poetry in his native Bosnia. Two of his books, "Sarajevo Blues," (1992) and "Nine Alexandrias," (2003), were published by City Lights.

Brian Broduer is a poet and the author of the chapbook "So the Night Cannot Go On Without Us" and winnner of the University of Akron Press' 2007 Akron Poetry Prize for his first collection, "Other Latitudes". Give him enough drinks and find out why friends call him Sugarbear.

We met singer/songwriter Rocky Jones back in September. He's like an iron fist in a velvet glove. Or is it a velvet fist in an iron glove? Rocky Jones is good at what he does.

Ramtin Arablouei is an Iranian-American poet/spoken-word artist, musician, and actor. He played a leading role in the 2004 play Citizen's Patrol at the H Street Playhouse and he currently plays percussion for the DC based band Drop Electric. He'll be wearing the poet/spoken-word artist hat for this.
Hope to See You There,


President Lincoln's Cottage

something to do just up the street.

Slide show of Lincolns Cottage



Adults: $12
Children (6-12): $5
National Trust (NTHP) members: $8

Note: Online ticket purchase is recommended. To order individual tickets by phone, please call Etix at 1-800-514-3849. Please note that Etix charges a service and postage fee for orders placed by phone.
Winter Hours (Nov. 1st – March 31st)

Monday – Saturday
Tours every hour, beginning at 10 AM last tour at 3 PM.

Tours every hour, beginning at 12 noon, last tour at 3 PM.
Summer Hours (April 1st – October 31st)

Monday – Saturday
Tours every hour, beginning at 10 AM, last tour at 4 PM.

Tours every hour, beginning at 12 noon, last tour at 4 PM.

The site is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

new voices.

Coming Soon! you will start to see some different posters on this blog very soon. my own posts have been pretty sparse lately and rather dull. I'm hoping some new perspectives, energies, and ideas will help juice this site up a bit.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

save the date for this year's Community Yard Sale in Crispus Attucks Park:

Dear Friends of Crispus Attucks Park,

Just a quick note to let you know that we've set a date for this year's Community Yard Sale in Crispus Attucks Park:

Saturday, May 17th -- 8am - 2pm (rain date 5/31/2008)

Here's the only hitch: We currently don't have enough volunteers to help organize it! If you're one of the many neighbors who enjoys this annual community event, please consider pitching in so we can make sure this annual neighborhood tradition continues! Email for more information or to get involved. Thanks!

John Corea, President, Crispus Attucks Development Corporation

Thursday, February 07, 2008

beer halls

just because i like beer and 14th street is just a mile away from us.

Post Express article about a fancy beer place opening on 14th

how about the firehouse on north cap?

Row Houses at Sunset

Row Houses at Sunset
Originally uploaded by Ronnie R
New Photos in the Bloomingdale Flickr Group

got pictures of the neighborhood? share them!

Dont know how?
FAQs on Flickr groups

Timor Bodega

Message from Timor Bodega Proprietor Kim Wee

Thursday 7PM
Just a reminder that there will be a wine tasting 7PM at Timor Bodega. I have already gotten a head-start on trying the organic Pinot Grigio and it is rather enjoyable! Should have a last minute addition to the tasting if it makes it onto the delivery truck tomorrow: Simonsig's Pinotage. Also more new beer arrived today from Stone, Bells and Speak Easy breweries.

Coffee Tasting Saturday 10AM:
Calling all coffeeholics, we have some really exotic stuff here. Most of the coffee we drink here is wet-processed, that is to say it has been fermented in a vat before the fruit is washed away. It does not sound too appetizing, and neither are the aromas involved, but it does result in a "clean" tasting cup. Occasionally, we might chance dry-processed coffee, which means it has been left to ferment on the ground or on a screen. This time, would you believe, Tree-dried coffee! From an Indian Estate, it will be roasted and available by the bag all weekend long. Heavy-bodied with low-acidity, it promises rustic fruit tones. I'm excited about this one, but that's not all.....have Balinese and new Brazilian coffee which I will introduce in the following weekends.

Produce Stand Sunday 10-2
SA sourdough, wheat boules, rosemary loaves, seasonally baked pies all from Atwater's bakery in Baltimore. If only there was a bakery like that in DC, I would have bread of this standard every single day. Also, Lulu avocados, Florida citrus, local salad greens, kale, broccoli, bacon and chops from Truck Patch stocked SEVEN days a week now.