Photo by Sylvia Brown, used with Permission
There’s nothing I miss about the old convention center. It made Moscone Center’s North and South halls feel airy and light, and the exterior was deeply ugly and unfriendly. I cheered loudly when they imploded it back in 2005. The site has been a parking lot, a bus station and a tennis court since then, but today the formal construction process for a new multiblock development on H Street between 9th and 11th got underway today with a ceremony at the site.
Of course, since the whole surface is asphalt, and while construction has actually started, they had to truck in the dirt so that they council could demonstrate their digging skills. I’m not sure why this still has to happen, other than the ridiculous photo op, but here we are.
The development is fairly substantial, covering 10 acres on the eastern end of the downtown, with a $700M financing package courtesy of the Qatari Diar Investment Fund, a part of the Qatari sovereign wealth fund. The move is the first for the QDIF in the US, which also has a stake in the new Shard building in London.
‘the meet cute’
courtesy of ‘(afm)’
Street photography takes many forms and is done for many reasons. This shot looks like a private eye tailing one of the two, as if to document an illicit love affair. The subjects certainly look like they aren’t aware of anything around them, much less the camera. And the processing just adds to the feeling of someone hiding behind a mailbox, peeking above it to get the shot.
There’s a fair bit of street photography in our pool, and I encourage you to get out there and to that body of work.
courtesy of ‘M.V. Jantzen’
Another two weeks, another neighborhood! This week we’ll be looking at the neighborhood at the center of it all: Penn Quarter. This neighborhood encompasses much of the downtown/Chinatown area north of Pennsylvania between 5th Street NW and 9th Street NW. It’s a neighborhood that changed a lot in the past decade, seeing as it didn’t really exist before the 1990s.
History: This neighborhood is once again the heart of downtown DC, but up until recently it went through a pretty rough patch. Because of its central location, the area was the hub of activity in the city up through the mid-twentieth century. Theaters, department stores, streetcar lines, restaurants, offices– this was the heart of the city (check out Washington Kaleidoscope’s Lost Washington series for historic photographs of the area). But the streetcar lines were torn out, theaters were shuttered, and department stores closed their doors when the population base of the city escaped to the suburbs in the 1950s and 1960s. Apparently President Kennedy commented on the sad state of this part of Pennsylvania Avenue during his inauguration, and in 1962 the President’s Council on Pennsylvania Avenue was established.
The President’s Council proposed a number of redevelopment projects in the area (including plans for a Freedom Plaza that would have rivaled the size of Moscow’s Red Square), and in 1972 the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation (PADC) was founded to guide the redevelopment. The PADC got a lot of things done: the Federal Triangle area was redeveloped and the Ronald Reagan Building was completed, the Canadian embassy was built, and a bunch of new mixed-use projects were undertaken in the Penn Quarter area. The MCI Center (now Verizon Center) was a crowning achievement for the area when it opened in 1997. With its sports events and concerts, it attracted restaurants and stores to locate in the area. After the first stage of retail development, new downtown housing was built throughout the area, thus creating the neighborhood of Penn Quarter. Today, the area is the most vibrant and active of the District’s neighborhoods– it’s hard to believe that fifteen years ago, it was considered to be an abandoned and dangerous part of town.
courtesy of ‘Amberture’
Because of the District’s height limit and a variety of other factors, DC doesn’t have many surface parking lots or above-ground parking garages. No, our city is full of a crazy number of underground parking garages, many of which are hidden and hard to find if you don’t know where to look. Luckily, there’s a great site that helps you find parking garages in an area and does some comparison shopping to find you the best rate. Bestparking.com allows you to select whether you want daily or monthly parking, then maps all the parking garages in a neighborhood or close to a particular address. And best of all, it sorts parking garages by price– enter an arrival and departure time and it will find the cheapest option for you. This looks to be a really helpful site, and there’s even a mobile version for when you’re in your car circling the block, looking for a parking space that won’t cost an arm and a leg.
WeLoveDC authors Donna (greenie) and Katie (foodie) have paired up to bring you a double-hitting feature about local area restaurants that take on the challenge of being green. Donna will explain the logic behind the environmentally friendly trends and Katie will tell you if the food tastes any good. It’s a rough life, but someone has to do it, right?
It is oh-so-trendy, but not just that, it’s plain good for you and the earth. Farm-to-Table dinners have hit DC hard, so when WLDC author Donna and I were invited to sample Chef Terri Cutrino’s Farmer’s Market Dinners at Cafe Atlantico, we jumped at the chance.
Katie: From a foodie standpoint, these dinners are interesting to me, not just because I’ve finally gotten around to reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma (I’m late, I know), but also because this particular type of dinner and dining can show you what exactly a chef is made of.
Because the ingredients are not picked until Thursday, and the dinner is put together on Friday, it’s a stretch. Sort of Top Chef meets real life, if you will. And the results, I must say are the same, given the short amount of time a Chef has to work on a dish, with specific ingredients, you’re bound to have it be hit or miss – just like Top Chef, you’ll be presented with dishes that shine, and dishes that flop. On our particular night we experienced both. Continue reading
Equinox Cider Happy Hour by RSchley
The Oct. 22nd edition of the Dining Out email from Washingtonian had a tip about a happy hour that sounded like a November dream – Fall Cider Happy Hour at Equinox. Yum! I do love me some cider. And my partner in crime for happy hour, Rebecca, loves herself some fall. Fall is well known as her favorite season. So we decided this would be the perfect treat and headed over last Friday for “hard cider cocktails and complimentary snacks”.
Now, the first thing to note is that these Fall Cider Hours only happen on Fridays. And only between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., and only until December 19th. (Then, rumor has it, the theme changes to chocolate! YES! Jenn, wanna set a date?) So if you’re looking to get yourself some “fall in a glass” (as Rebecca says), then scoot on over!
So we arrived around 6 p.m.-ish and the place was packed. So packed that we almost turned around again and headed for the door. But we were stopped by a bartender who practically forced us to stay, and took our coats and bags and put them in the check room. Which was fabulous, really, for those of us who hate to tote around all our gear while we drink. He gave us a menu and promised us he’d be back. And then the free food started coming around – we were handed some sort of glorious crispy spring roll type thing. My apologies for not knowing exactly what it was. But it was seriously good food. I was hoping the drinks would live up. Continue reading