Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wine Tasting & Art Opening at Big Bear Cafe -- Friday, April 2

See this 3/29/2010 message from local artist and Bloomingdale resident Lenora Yerkes regarding an event at Big Bear Cafe this Friday, April 2, coordinated by 52 O Street Studios resident artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer:

Friday, April 2nd
Wine Tasting and Art Opening
6pm – midnight
Trade Winds Spanish Wineries
O Street Studios

at Big Bear Cafe

This Friday, April 2nd, the Big Bear Cafe will be hosting artists from the 52 O Street Studios for an opening evening reception of their work. Fifteen artists will be exhibiting at the Big Bear, preceding their April 24-25 open house. 52 O Street is a local artist collective that has housed inner-city working artists for the last 32 years. They are fantastic.

Also, during the reception Trade Winds Spanish Wineries, headed by Bloomingdale resident Estebe Salgado Agirreazaldegi, will offer wine tastings to the neighborhood as we solicit community feedback on the potential wines for the BBC's expanding menu. Estebe imports from select family wineries in his native Basque region of Spain.
It will be a beautiful evening and the cherry blossoms will be blooming inside and out. We hope to see you there.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

seeking housekeeper referrals -- for this Friday

See this request from a 1st Street NW resident:

I am looking for someone to clean my house - hopefully Friday of this week. I did use the referrals at the DC BACA blog ( ). One of the two referrals is busy all week.

So I am still looking for references for a housecleaner this week.

Monday, March 29, 2010

CM Thomas holding Bloomingdale Town Hall meeting Tuesday night, 3/30/2010

See the text of an announcement from Vicky Leonard of Ward 5 Councilmember Thomas' office:


Town Hall Meeting


Ward 5


Harry Thomas, Jr.

Share your issues and concerns with the Councilmember!

When: Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Time: 7:00 pm — 8:30 pm
Where: St. George`s Episcopal Church, 2nd and U Streets, NW

For more information, call the Ward 5 Council Office at 202. 724. 8028.

"Sunset Liquors destroying the park at 1st & Florida Ave NW"

Recall that CapitalSpace plan has been released. This is an effort by the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), the National Park Service and the DC Office of Planning.

Want to actually read the plan? There are references to Bloomingdale, LeDroit Park, Eckington, Truxton Circle, the McMillan Reservoir and the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH) site.

Here is the link to this CapitalSpace plan document: .

A Florida Avenue NW comments:

I just reviewed the March 27 Bloomingdale e-mail regarding the CapitalSpace plan and its references to “transforming small parks.” Let's hope that Bloomingdale is not defined by the Park at First and Florida NW . I don't know what community they are talking about as using that Park, it certainly isn't the residents of Bloomingdale.

With all this talk about bringing liquor establishments into Bloomingdale, I thought I might offer a sobering thought. A couple of weeks ago we had Beautiful weather. Florida Avenue and the surrounding streets were besieged by drunks. There were no seats available in the Florida Avenue Park. The alleys were full of people urinating (and using drugs). Loiterers were on every corner. Broken bottles and empty cans littered the sidewalks and Streets. People were staggering around everywhere. Sunset liquor did a land office business in single beers, nips and ice cups.

Contrast that with noon on Sunday, there were only two people in the Park, there were no loiterers on the corners, no drunks walking up and down the sidewalk, the alleys were clear and there weren’t any cans and bottles being strewn around. It was quiet, it was clean and it was nice. Why, because Sunset Liquor was closed. No source of liquor, no drunks, no problems. I believe we should be very careful about embracing liquor establishments until the existing problems caused by liquor in our neighborhood are resolved. Until Sunset Liquor disappears, Our Park will not define the residents of Bloomingdale and will continue to be a nuisance.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Open Houses in and around Bloomingdale for 03/28/2010

Here is the list of Open Houses for Sunday.

Pat Mitchell: Thank you from North Capitol Main Street

See this message from Bloomingdale resident and North Capitol Main Street Executive Director Pat Mitchell:

Having trouble viewing this email? Click here:



Carla Merritt, President LeDroit Park Development

Columbia Enterprises, Inc.

Giant Food

James W. Miller, Manager Greenebaum & Rose Associates

NoMa Business Improvement District Bruce Baschuk, Chair

The Linda Greene Group, LLC

Union Center Plaza Management Corporation

Sam Rose, Owner Washington Gas

Youngblood Capital Group

AND . . . . . . to each of you who helped North Capitol Main Street make its 5th Winter Blues Party & Silent Auction a success through donations and ticket purchases, we say simply . . . thank you for allowing us to earn your support.

We, at NCMS, will continue to give our best to improve the business environment in your neighborhoods.

Friday, March 26, 2010

armed federal marshalls at 2nd and V St NW this morning

See this Friday, 3/26/2010, message from a resident on the unit block of V Street NW:

Does anyone have any info on what was happening at the corner of 2nd and V Street NW this morning?

There was a lot of police activity with armed federal marshals.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Du Vin Osteria at 14th & Florida NW: not on my list of local retail to patronize

I like to patronize and promote local retail whenever possible.

After reading this post at the U Street Girl blog, I am not sure that I will be patronizing this Du Vin Osteria wine bar at 14th & Florida Avenue NW when it opens.

Read about it here:

and, from DCist:

back to brick sidewalks

From a resident on the unit block of S Street NW:

We have had the brick sidewalks for a couple of years now and my opinion on brick sidewalks is that they are highly overrated. If any work has to be done on piping below ground the bricks are torn up and when they are re-laid they do not match. Weeds grow in between the bricks and that is OK for those homeowners that do maintenance but too many just let the weeds grow. Shoveling snow is harder because of the unevenness. The bricks crack and break and I don't know when or if they will be fixed. It would be better if they city could use a colored concrete (cement?) and stamp to look like bricks.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Boundary Stone

A hearty crowd stopped by this evening for the open house at 116 Rhode Island Avenue NW provided by the hosts Gareth Croke, Matt Croke and Colin McDonough. Nearly everyone who attended exuded great enthusiasm.

First off, the name of the place is Boundary Stone, which sounds totally cool.

There were some three-fold handouts distributed with info about the vision for the business, a sample menu and brief bios of the Croke Brothers and Colin. There is no website yet, but they will be working on Facebook and Twitter in the short-term. I hope to scan the three-fold into a PDF and post it somewhere for everyone to see.

The interior will sport a bar of some sort, with some tabled seating elsewhere. There was chat about having mezzanine-level seating above the kitchen area in the rear. Plus, there is the option of outdoor seating in the front. The sidewalk is broad enough there to accommodate it. Above the dropped ceiling are the original tin Sylvan Theater tiles, which look great. I am hoping that they can incorporate the tin ceiling tiles into the final design.

Regarding the liquor license -- the intent is to pursue the tavern-class liquor license -- the same class of liquor license that Baraki pursued and obtained. The tavern-class liquor license makes more sense than the restaurant-class license, since the requirements for the percentage of food sales to satisfy the restaurant-class of liquor license is simply too steep of a bar to realistically achieve.

They will soon have the official ABRA liquor license application notice posted on the front window.

Note that the business has already been before the Bloomingdale Civic Association and ANC 5C to provide a courtesy advisory that they would be returning to actively solicit support for the liquor license. So there has been no "vote" yet. That will come soon. Expect the voluntary agreement process to play out.

Timetable? Perhaps the Boundary Stone will open first quarter of 2011.

Did we mention that our trio are also Bloomingdale residents?

"eat, drink, gather" open house at 116 R I Ave NW tonight

Those of you clamering for a restaurant / bar (??) in Bloomingdale better be at this open house tonight at 6:00 pm.

Monday, March 22, 2010

read me! open house at 116 R I Ave NW this Wednesday, 3/24/2010

See this message from Bloomingdale resident Gareth Croke:

Wouldn't you like to see this space -- 116 Rhode Island Avenue NW -- transformed into a place where you could eat, drink and gather with friends and neighbors? Please come and share your comments, concerns and suggestions with the partners of Bloomingdale Hospitality LLC on Wednesday, March 24th between 6pm and 8pm. Or email us at

We look forward to seeing everyone and sharing our exciting plan!



Bloomingdale Hospitality LLC Mission Statement:

"Bloomingdale Hospitality LLC is crafting a neighborhood establishment created to foster a warm, welcoming environment where people can gather to enjoy food, drink and the simple pleasures of music and good company. It is a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission. We support our community and embrace the powerful role that business has in environmental and social responsibility. We are resolute in our desire to achieve a sustainable business and be a positive force in our community." -- BLOOMINGDALE HOSPITALITY, LLC

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Open Houses in and around Bloomingdale scheduled for 03/21/2010

Yay, Spring! This is so much better than people slogging through the snow to go to Open Houses. Here is a list of Open Houses scheduled in and around the neighborhood for Sunday.

I have a great new listing at 37 Seaton Pl NW that will be open Sunday from 2-5pm (it's in the link above). It's priced at $535,000. and here is a virtual tour.

I also wanted to bring attention to another one of my recent listings in the neighborhood. The Urban Turf blog ( did a If I had a Million Dollars... post on The Bloomingdale Inn!

"not all of Bloomingdale has had drug crime rooted out"

From a resident of S Street NW in ANC 5C03:

I could not let this go by uncommented. From ANC 5C04 Commissioner John Salatti's exhortation to pull supercans off the street:

"Although we have rooted out most of the typical drug crime from Bloomingdale, we still have some."

I think John is the best of the best as an ANC commissioner, but this is a ridiculous statement. Making progress, staying on top of it, keeping thugs on the run, sure, all true. But "rooted out"? If he meant to say "typical drug crime" (which is what: sales? public use? robbery? assault? prostitution? burglary? or everyone's favorite, public urination?) has been "rooted out" of his district, let him be reminded that there are other parts of Boomingdale that remain yet unrooted.

Seriously unrooted.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

seeking locksmith recommendations

From a resident of R Street NW:

We are seeking locksmith recommendations. We live in Bloomingdale and need someone to install a doorknob and change several locks throughout the house.

addressing a notice of violation of trash in the rear of one's property in the alley

See this message from a property owner in the Stronghold:

As a property owner in the Stronghold), I would like to know if anyone in the community has had experience with getting a notice of violation for trash in rear of their property. And how they were able to resolve it without paying the penalty, if so.

It is fairly clear to me that someone other than myself or my tenants chose the alley right behind the fence of my property as the dumping ground.

So two things -

1) I’m curious, if as property owner if I am responsible for this – it does appear to be in the alley, which I understand to be public property

2) Who I can contact (with the least amount of time/effort/money) to resolve.

Any help from the community is appreciated!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"Almost a 100% increase in our property tax bill"

From a 1st Street NW resident in Truxton Circle/Bates area/East Shaw/Dunbar:

I received my first half year tax bill. It is almost twice what my first half tax bill was last year. It is almost equal to what my whole tax bill was for last year (first and second half year bills combined). I thought they could only require you to pay 10% above what you paid the previous year. This is almost a 100% increase in payment. When I called the tax office they said that we are now required to pay taxes on 40% of the value of our homes due to something the city counsel had voted on last year. I don't recall hearing about our tax bills going up like this. The value of my home went down. Anyway, I think it is unfair to hit us with almost a 100% increase in our tax bill.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

U Street NW resident falls into wet concrete

See this message from a U Street NW resident:

I fell into half a foot of wet concrete in front of Big Bear Cafe at lunch today because someone didn't mark the "don't walk" sign anywhere. Although I'm responsible for carelessly and hastily walking in the concrete, it wasn't something I ordinarily think about.

Please let the neighborhood know to be careful walking around because they might ruin all of their favorite clothes and shoes like I did. Construction Workers are a red flag.


Also, I was walking on a crosswalk. What genius decided to forget the "do-not-walk-in-front-of-this" sign?!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Open Houses in and around Bloomingdale scheduled for 03/14/2010

The Spring Market is here but lots of Sellers seem to be staying put this year. Once again, we're seeing lots of qualified buyers out there and decreasing inventory. Here is what is being held open in and around the neighborhood on Sunday.

"I need to take some cabinets to the local dump. Where should I go?"

See this Email exchange from a T Street NW resident and John Salatti, ANC 5C04 commissioner who represents a chunk of Bloomingdale:

On Fri, Mar 12, 2010 at 5:45 PM

John and Scott;
Greetings gentlemen.

Hate to bother you both but have a question as I have not had a need for it before.
If we have some cabinets, wood and other stuff that we need to take to a dump....where is ours located? Are they open on Saturday and what are the hours for the week also? Would my driver`s license suffice to be able to dump some stuff there?
Thank you for your help and guidance.

From John Salatti:

I have an answer, but it is not absolutely clear. The cabinets can definitely go to the Fort Totten Transfer Station at 4900 John F. McCormack Road NE just north of Catholic University. The wood may or may not be something they will take. The transfer station does not accept "construction materials" (usually things like drywall and concrete). The transfer station is open Saturday from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm and the number there is 576-6803. Someone at that number should be able to give you a more definite answer about the wood ad anything else that you want to get rid of.

Please let me know what you learn!

Here is the URL:,A,1202,Q,517961.asp

Good luck,

John T. Salatti
Commissioner, ANC 5C04
(202) 986- 2592
"Together, Building a Better Bloomingdale"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

sidewalks being redone on the unit block of Randolph Place NW -- but/not/in/brick

The message below is from a household on the unit block of Randolph Place NW. (Moderator note: the pic to the right is a generic "brick sidewalk" pic.)
The unit block of Randolph Place NW is once again having its street and sidewalk torn up -- we were told for new gas lines. This will be at least the 2nd time in 5yrs. Each time, our trees are damaged and our sidewalks are never actually repaired. I contacted Mayor Fenty and Councilman Thomas to see if we could have our sidewalks improved. Councilman Thomas told me that there was no money available for brick sidewalks, but that I could attend a Dept of Transportation meeting on Feb. 25th. Mayor Fenty also directed me to contact his Dept of Transportation point-of-contact, Mr. Jeffrey Marootian ( jeffrey.marootian @ ).

I spoke with Mr. Marootian this morning. He was very appreciative of our frustration. The sidewalks will be replaced with concrete. The city will take preventative action to make certain that our newly planted trees will not be damaged. He mentioned that he had spoken with several residents of the unit block of Randolph Place NW in the last few days, asking that brick sidewalks not be used. So, for those 40+ residents who signed a petition a while back requesting brick looks like that will not be the case. Feel free to contact Mr. Marootian if you would like to press the point.

challenging one's DC property tax assessment

From a 1st Street NW resident:

My property tax assessment went up nearly $84,600 which is a 15% increase from last year. My question -- has anyone successfully appealed their assessment and what documentation/support did you use to argue your case? The 1st of April is fast approaching.

Moderator note: The slanted "O" symbol above is the logo for the DC Office of Tax and Revenue. And now you know that!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Fedex delivery left on the front stoop -- not there ...?

From a resident at 31 Florida Avenue NW:

Wanted to let you know that a FedEx box containing $215 worth of bicycle parts (for one of my housemates) was left on the front stoop at 31 Florida Ave NW today, with a note in the mailbox saying it was behind the potted plant. When my housemate arrived this evening, it wasn't there.

Delivery people should know to leave packages hidden under the stoop in this neighborhood.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Big Bear Cafe's pursuit of a restaurant-class liquor license

What do you think about Bloomingdale's Big Bear Cafe pursuing a liquor license -- specifically, a restaurant-class (and not a tavern-class) liquor license?

Keep in mind that Aleks Duni, owner of the not-yet-opened Baraki pizza tavern at 1st & T Street NW, went through a community process -- leading to a voluntary agreement -- for a tavern-class liquor license. So Bloomingdale has already survived the voluntary agreement process for a restaurant-/tavern-class liquor license.

See this slightly edited copy of a recent post at Mari's InShaw blog regarding Big Bear Cafe at the 3/1/2010 Bates Area Civic Association (BACA) meeting.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Big Bear Beer II

Sometime after all the youth/school related stuff at the BACA meeting, about an hour into it, we finally got to Big Bear and their general ideas of pursuing an ABC liquor license. There were two persons from Bog Bear, one being Matt Sellers, the other guy a blond barista.

Big Bear is aiming for a CR license. For those of you unfamiliar with the wonderful world of ABC licenses, a class C Restaurant license is one for places where at least 45% of revenues come from food sales. It is different from the class of licenses for bars or corner markets. There was one objection mentioned, coming from a Baptist minister, presenting his concerns about people getting drunk and hanging out in the park. This was countered by the Episcopalian church secretary reminding him of Jesus' first miracle at the wedding at Cana, turning water into wine.

There were questions about Big Bear expanding and the space they have. The bear is kind of landlocked and the space above is leased to tenants, so in the near future, nope. Maybe, years down the road. Another question was the issue of vagrants/ neighbor characters. Characters do drop by to get a glass of water and to use the
bathroom and for the most part they don't cause a problem.

The idea is Big Bear has a vibe as a cafe, hang out and they have no intention of becoming a bar, they just want to expand their food service options. I asked the barista (m) if the idea is to offer something like Teaism, and he answered in the affirmative. As far as I can tell despite having a small park area and a restaurant/bar across the street, the Penn Quarter Teaism fails to produce drunkards rolling out of its doors.


Some additional info supplied by your moderator:

Here is the definition of a Class C license from the DCRA ABRA ABC Licensee Handbook

Retailer – on-premises
(restaurant, tavern, nightclub, hotel, multipurpose facility, common carrier)
 Class C: may serve beer, wine, and spirits

Annual food sales requirements §23-2101; 25-101(43)(A); 25-101(43)(A); 25-113(b). Food sales for both class C and D restaurants must meet 45 percent of gross annual revenue or a particular dollar amount per seat: $2,000 per seat for class C restaurants and $1,500 per seat for class D restaurants.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

helicopters flying overhead in the nighttime

See the text of an Email from a resident of Flagler Place NW from early Sunday morning at 12:29 AM.

i'm following up on our conversation last week about the helicopters flying overhead in the middle of the night every night for well over a month.

i'd like to know if other neighbors have complained and/or uncovered any additional information about why this is occurring and when it may stop.

as i mentioned, the noise wakes me up each night for the 1-2 hours that they fly back and forth overhead. i am seriously sleep deprived at this point. i borrowed my neighbors fan this week to help drown out the noise. otherwise, i would have had to sleep elsewhere.

it's now 12:30am and the helicopters have already started flying overhead.

what can we do about this?!

Moderator note: This neighbor has already contacted her ANC commissioner John Salatti.

request for contractor advice & referral

From a LeDroit Park resident on 3rd Street NW.

We are looking for a couple of things. First, recommendation on type of home repair assistance -- we are not sure if we need a contractor, or a plumber, or a jack-of-all-trades, or all of those? And second, we would like some referrals to people who have done good work in the neighborhood. Our issues: first, it seems we have a leaky heating vent, that's caused damage to part of our ceiling. We think we would talk to a plumber/heating/HVAC person, but assume they would not fix the small part of the ceiling that is damaged. And second, we need to get some concrete in the back releveled so rain water goes into the alley not against our and and our neighbor's ouse. Our question: who would I talk to, could we get one person to deal with it all, which would be ideal? We've had some spotty experience with contractors lately, and would appreciate some insight from other householders. Names of contractors and/or specialists in plumbing and concrete would be greatly appreciated! Alison, aaraab [at] gmail [dot] com.

Moderator note: Residents looking for contractor referrals can review the Home Services tab at the DC BACA blog here:

feeding the defecating starlings on T Street NW

From a Thomas Street NW resident:

Someone at 115 T Street NW is feeding the starlings again. These people like sh*t underfoot since they let Ginger the dog into the alley to do so. Now she's fenced in when present and can't subject us to it, but they're making sure the starlings do it to us.

Maybe they'd like to squat in the alley and join them to make more of it. I hope they like a besmeared car with starling sh*t that damages the paint job. Not to mention the rats they're feeding. There was one on my back porch at high noon and one sitting in the yard. I guess the rats figure if they're being fed they're acceptable in daylight on people's porches.

Friday, March 05, 2010

did your Bloomingdale property tax assessment increase this year?

From a resident on the unit block of U Street NW:

This may be of interest to the list. We received our property tax assessment last week and for the second year in a row, they have raised the taxable value of our home by the maximum 10%. There is no way homes in Bloomingdale are gaining in value 10% each year in this economy. Last year I fought the assessment and won. Sadly, I'm gearing up to do it all over again.

Overtaxing residents is not the way to make up for budget shortfalls. I'd be curious to see if others are seeing their tax assessed values raised the maximum amount as well. Hopefully everyone pays attention to those bills.

Monday, March 01, 2010

camping on Crispus Attucks

See this welcome message from Bloomingdale resident Mike Giordano:
Hello Bloomingdale neighbors!

I’m Mike Giordano. I live on the 100 block of U Street NW with my partner Bob and our 5 year old daughter Kayla. I’m looking for volunteers to help organize our first Camping on Crispus Attucks.

With the guidance and support of John Corea, the Crispus Attucks Park Board and John Salatti, we’re going to have a family-friendly night out in the park – similar to what the Park Service does in New York’s Central Park.

Let’s keep it simple…set up your tents, bring your portable fire pits, roast marshmallows, sing campfire songs, perhaps even tell ghost stories. Then, go to sleep by the sounds of crickets and sirens. There may be a small fee to cover the portable toilet. I’m hoping that the campers will be willing to donate marshmallows, fire wood, and such.

Worried about safety? Don't. We have the support of the local police. In fact, an officer or two will be joining us overnight.

I’ll need help with things like: signage, renting a port-a-john, creating agreements and registering campers, post-camp cleaning, potential activities and such.

If you’re interested in helping out, email me at mike.giordano.msw @ or call me at 202/ 234- 5178.

For registration – that will begin in a month or two.

Hope you’ll join us!


V Street NW cat found

From a resident on the unit block of V Street NW:

Does anyone in the unit block of V Street know anything about a gray cat hanging around the street? It's gray and fluffy and I think it's been out much of the winter. If anyone has any information, can you please email me at If no one claims it, I'm going to try to find it a home. Thanks.

homeowners have large electric bill increases in January?

From a resident on the unit block of U Street NW:

I am interested in knowing if other homeowners received a massive increase in their electric and/or gas bill for January.

I believe the electric bills were estimates and not actual reading. My January 2010 electric bill increased by $400 and just wondering what others had? My home is heated in the winter time by electric.