Featured Photo

Featured Photo

Anacostia has a reputation that leads many to avoid the area at all costs. From personal experience I can say that it has some of the nicest folks DC has to offer and some beautiful old row houses and architecture. It also offers some good food options, art centers, and community outlets. Let’s not forget the big chair. If that’s not enough to convince you then maybe the sheer joy on the face of this young man captured by number7cloud as he hurtles down the ice slide at Gateway DC will do the trick. By using a higher shutter speed the moment is frozen in time even with a slower ISO of 100.  If you’re trying to capture a fast moving object it can also help to manually focus on a spot the subject is likely to move through, that way when it arrives all you need to do is hit the shutter. For more motion blur you can drop the shutter speed. The ice slide is only open for a limited time so take advantage while you still can.

Fun & Games, Life in the Capital

DC Strokes Stonewall Regatta XX

DC Strokes at Stonewall Regatta 2009 / Credit: M.V. Jantzen

DC Strokes at Stonewall Regatta 2009 / Credit: M.V. Jantzen

This weekend local rowing group DC Strokes will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Stonewall Regatta, which runs Sunday from 8:30am-5:00pm at the Anacostia Community Boathouse.

The event will bring over 400 rowers from across the US to compete in high-intensity races on the Anacostia River. Admission is free, with music included and food trucks expected in abundance.

DC Strokes is the oldest LGBT club in the world and 1 of 4 independent, self-sustaining LGBT and ally rowing teams internationally. It was founded in 1991 by 8 members of DC Front Runners (a gay running group) looking for a cross training activity.

I spoke with team member and coach Elisabeth Morgan Fondriest – a founding member of the Gay and Lesbian Rowing Federation (GLRF) and an active part of the Stonewall Regatta since its opening year – about the event and why it’s a great thing for DC.

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History, The District

A Look at Saint Elizabeths West Campus

‘Saint Elizabeths – Central Building – 05-21-11’
courtesy of ‘mosley.brian’

About two weeks ago, I got the chance to go on a DC Preservation League tour of Saint Elizabeths West Campus. It was the second time I’d been able to go on the tour, the first time being in December of 2008. I was looking forward to seeing how things had changed in two and a half years.

But first, a note on this post: it’s going to be fairly bare bones on information. That’s because there is literally 150+ years of history in this location! Sorting through it all and writing a truly thorough post would be the length of a small book. There is a huge amount of research on the property because of the Department of Homeland Security moving onto the historic West Campus, and a lot of effort is being made to preserve as much as possible. I encourage you to dig deeper by reading the GSA’s website on the redevelopment, along with a short but detailed history of St. Es, and their extremely detailed Historic Landscape Survey. Also, we’ve talked about St. Es before, and it is worth rereading Tiffany’s article. And, of course, there’s Wikipedia.

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The Daily Feed

Big Chair Coffee is Open!

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘furcafe’

When a neighborhood coffee shop opens, it’s generally not that big of a deal.  But when the coffee shop is the first one in the city east of the Anacostia River, it is– residents see it as a sign that more retail growth could finally be coming to Anacostia.  So it’s great news that Big Chair Coffee opened yesterday in Anacostia.  David Garber of And Now, Anacostia is thrilled that there’s finally a “legit place to go in the neighborhood”, and he tells me that the coffee is worth a trip across the river.  Definitely stop by and check it out– you can’t miss it, since it’s across from the big chair (formerly the world’s tallest chair!) on Martin Luther King Avenue SE.

Crime & Punishment, The District, The Features, WTF?!

Learning About St. Elizabeth’s Hospital

Photo courtesy of

‘St Elisabeth’s Hospital – Autopsy is also a spectator sport’
courtesy of ‘spiggycat’

While poking around through the We Love DC Flickr pool this morning, I ran across spiggycat’s set of photos from a recent tour of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Anacostia. Since that was the second time in the space of a week someone mentioned touring St. Elizabeth’s, and since I know pretty much nothing about it, AND since my day job is into its 2nd straight day of technical issues that are preventing me from accomplishing anything, it seemed like a good time for self-education-by-Google.

St. Elizabeth’s was founded in 1855 as the Government Hospital for the Insane, headed by Dorthea Dix, and intended to care for patients from the Army, Navy, and District of Columbia. But the Civil War soldiers in treatment there didn’t like telling people they were in a hospital for the insane, so they referred to it by the old colonial name of the land the hospital sat on, St. Elizabeth’s. It wasn’t until 1916 that Congress got with the program and renamed the hospital officially.

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The Daily Feed, We Green DC

Bag It

Photo courtesy of
‘String grocery bag’
courtesy of ‘bradipo’

Starting Jan. 1, if you want to tote your vittles or booze home from the store in a disposable bag, it’ll cost you 5 cents. All monies collected will go to the Anacostia River Cleanup and Protection Fund to clean up the river.

Yesterday, DC announced the Skip the Bag, Save the River education campaign and, in a sign that someone’s thinking, that it would give free reusable bags to 122,000 low-income residents and senior citizens.

I am all for this. In addition to keeping the river clean, it could save DC residents money. Money spent on trash removal now is passed along in water bills and taken away from programs that help people. And it will lower the environmental costs of producing one-use bags from oil or trees, transporting them, and disposing of them.

One tip: Come Jan. 1, keep your empty bags by your door or in your car where they’re easy to see and grab.

The Daily Feed, We Green DC

A Morning Spin

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘placid casual’

If you’re still looking for something fun to do tomorrow (and beat the rain, currently forecast to hold off ’til afternoon), explore an area you might not have seen before on the ‘Round the Anacostia Bike Ride and Historic Tour.

Rides range from 5 to 32 miles, leaving from Bladensburg Waterfront Park and stopping at places like Montpelier Mansion, Riversdale House Museum and Lake Artemisia.

The event is meant to promote the history and natural beauty of the Anacostia River, while highlighting the need to restore the river. In addition to good exercise, you’ll get breakfast, a picnic lunch, a t-shirt, pontoon rides on the river, and more.