The Features, Where We Live

Where We Live: Petworth

Photo courtesy of
‘1304 Monroe Street NW’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

Welcome to this week’s Where We Live!  So far, this feature has taken us to every quadrant of the District, and soon, we’ll be expanding to include Maryland and Virginia suburbs.  But first, let’s look at a DC neighborhood that has a real sense of community: Petworth.  Read on to explore this fantastic community in Northwest DC.

History: Petworth was originally two country estates in Washington County, DC (not part of L’Enfant’s original city) owned by John Tayloe.  The city eventually expanded up to this area, and in the 1880s these two estates were purchased for development.  Seemingly overnight, a neighborhood popped up, with thousands of similar-looking brick rowhouses developed in the 1920s and 1930s.  This area was promoted as an ideal place to live, with the convenience of a streetcar (which ran from downtown up through Silver Spring and stopped in Petworth) but the parks and quiet residential nature of the suburbs. Continue reading

Petworth, The Daily Feed

Amen, Ezra

Photo courtesy of
‘Tree Death in DC’
courtesy of ‘Wayan Vota’

It won’t win him any points with Remy but it’s raised him up in my estimation. During his Post chat today, Ezra “all health care all the time” Klein fielded a question outside his normal beat: where to live in the area.

Adam – Zurich, Switzerland: A bit off topic, but maybe you could throw this in at the end of your chat session. My wife and I are moving to the DC area, where would you recommend living for an urban 30-something couple? If you had to choose between Clarendon, Rosslyn or Ballston, which would it be?

Ezra Klein: None of them! I recommend living in DC if you can, particularly the Mt. Pleasant or Columbia Heights area. Petworth is getting better fast, and it’s comparatively affordable, and some interesting stuff is happening down in the 5th and K area.

Kudos for the D.C. love, Ezra, and for encouraging newcomers to actually live in the city.

The Daily Feed

Is Petworth the Next U Street? Marvin Owners Think So…

Photo courtesy of
‘Metro art’
courtesy of ‘voteprime’

Get used to this metro station, folks, because we’re thinkin’ you’re going to be heading to it quite a lot in the future. The rumors that have been circulating for months about the potential of a new restaurant/bar owned by the folks who brought us Marvin and The Gibson at 14th and U have been confirmed by the Prince of Petworth, who’s basing his report on a confirmation he received from Chris Donatelli, the developer behind the project.

Although the details are not crystal clear on what type of establishment will be, it will be dedicated in some way to Billy Simpson, the owner of Billy Simpson’s House of Seafood that occupied the space before it switched hands. If Marvin and Gibson are any indication, it’s going to be swanky and there’s going to be great beer and a patio. Suh-weeet! Am I going to be hanging out in Petworth a bunch now? Maybe not immediately, but I wouldn’t have dreamed of hanging out on U Street 8 years ago either…sign of changing times for Petworth, perhaps?

Petworth, The Daily Feed

A wrapper will fall. A hero will rise.

Photo courtesy of
‘hope and hopelessness’
courtesy of ‘erin m’

Eric’s speech for being the law and order candidate needs some fine tuning.

Even though many of my neighbors suspect that the loiterers who congregate on that corner are attempting to buy or sell drugs, newborn puppies, or sex, I know the truth. People travel to the corner of 3rd and Emerson to eat food and drink beverages, then drop the empty containers and wrappers on the ground.

Seriously, between Wayan policing the poop and Eric picking up the trash it’s a wonder Petworth isn’t the cleanest section of the city.

The Daily Feed, WMATA

Park View Station My Ass

New WMATA station names

New WMATA station names

Greater Greater Washington has an interesting idea gone all wrong. They’ve thought to rename Metro stations to be shorter and more logical. On the whole, I’d love the concept, as names like “U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo” are a run-on joke. But GGW better watch what it suggests.

To think that the Metro station at Georgia Avenue and New Hampshire should be called Park View instead of Georgia Avenue or Petworth is crazy talk. No, its fighting words. GGW can get all quick-hit somewhere else, cuz we’re not giving up our station to unknown Park View.

Petworth, The Daily Feed

We Love Georgia Avenue


Georgia Avenue gets a lot of grief. Some of it deserved, some of it not. Personally, I find it to be a mixed bag. You have the amazing Moroni Brothers Pizza next to greasy carry outs. But times are changing.

To help with that change, Price of Petworth has started a PoPtrekker series, where he walks through the neighbourhood to show folks what Petworth is like. In Volume 2, he’s walking down Georgia Avenue:

The idea for this video resulted from the numerous conversations I’ve had with folks who are terrified of Georgia Ave. I wanted to show that Georgia Avenue is a street like any other (during the day) and there are many spots well worth checking out.

So enjoy PoP’s video and next time your around, enjoy Georgia Avenue.

Petworth, The Daily Feed

Neighborhood Snow Plow Check

washington dc by wayan
Photo by Wayan

While DC has been quite efficient in plowing the main roads, I had no trouble driving to the White House at 8am, what’s the situation in your neighbourhood? Especially now that most folks need to commute to work.

Here in Petworth, New Hampshire Avenue and Upshur Street NW are both passable, if a little muddy, but the side roads are still piled high in Snowpocalypse drifts. I’ve watched several cars fail to make the gentle Varnum Street Hill from Grant Circle eastbound.

Is that the same on Capitol Hill? Dupont? Or Brightwood? Shout out and let us know if you’ve seen Mr. Snowplow on your block yet.

Petworth, WTF?!

Thirteen (13!) Pounds of Dog Poo in Petworth

Up in Petworth, we do love our pets – its in our name. But it seems that quite a few Petworthians don’t like being responsible with their dogs. Specifically their dog’s poop. Out in Grant Circle, a prime dog walking spot, I noticed that winter brought on irresponsibility towards scooping the poop. More and more dog feces were left in the Circle by dog owners too lazy to bring a plastic bag.

So a month ago, I walked through Grant Circle and picked up 7 pounds of frozen feces. At the time, many were shocked and some even doubted that 7lbs figure. Well on Saturday, I repeated the poop scoop adventure and shocked even myself:

To those who may wonder why I would scoop other’s poop, I was thinking of the weekend’s warm spell, and the smell of all that poop, defrosted. I detest cleaning up after irresponsibility just a bit less than the disgust of a public health hazard in my neighborhood.

Petworth, The Daily Feed

Petworth People: Scoop Your Poop!

Photo by Tilly Dog Fauxtografix

Photo by Tilly Dog Fauxtografix

I just picked up seven pounds of frozen dog feces in Grant Circle and I’m disgusted. Not (yet) with the stench of all that crap when the spring thaw happens, but with the laziness of my neighbourhood’s dog owners.

How hard is it to pick up your pooch’s poop?

You already have too many plastic shopping and newspaper bags in your kitchen. You’re right there when your dog drops a load. Now bend over a pick that sh*t up!

If you think it is too gross, or you’re just too plain lazy, may you step in hot, stinky dog poop come summer. And may you be barefoot too.

Petworth, The Daily Feed

Church Bell Permitting Process

This weekend in Petworth, the neighborhood was serenaded by the church bells from St. Gabriel’s Roman Catholic Church.  While I do enjoy the music I am surprised at the sound.  The church has just started ringing its bells with regularity and I wonder:

Is there a church bell permitting process?

Like can a church just start ringing its bells whenever it wants to?  Does it need to talk with local ANC’s first?  Or is there some church/state separation that allows churches to go bell-crazy at their own whim?

And why is it that I noticed the resurgence of St Gabe’s church bells before PoP?

Petworth, The Daily Feed

Petworth Dog Walk Halloween Photos

washington dc by wayan
Photo by Wayan

Last night’s Petworth Dog Walk Halloween was such great fun!

Around twenty costumed canines, and a few costumed owners, came out to Domku Restaurant to compete for prizes in three categories:

  • Best Costume
  • Best Trick
  • Best Twin

Here we have the Petworth MPD – Metro Police Dog, winner of Best Costume and over on Flickr we have more Dog Walk photos.

Proof that this really is a Petworthian neighborhood.

A special thanks to the Dog Walk sponsors and PetworthDogs for making this happen

Petworth, The Daily Feed

Verizon’s Community Hazard

Verizons disregard for public safety

Verizon's disregard for public safety

Why is this child playing with a Verizon telephone line box? How come this electrical thing is still hanging at street level in my neighbourhood? How long does it take Verizon to fix what has become a community hazard?

Multiple calls to the company have gone unheeded. Stopping Verizon workers in the neighborhood does not help. Maybe taking an ax to the box will wake up the sleeping giant? We know that a hammer to Comcast gets results.

Until repaired, this Verizon equipment is a threat to Petworth.

Petworth, The Daily Feed

Petworth Dog Walk Halloween

Photo courtesy of matthamm
Yoda Dog Costume, courtesy of matthamm

Those of us on the Petworth Dogs listserv would like to invite all our neighbours to the:

Petworth Dog Walk Halloween (flier)
a costume celebration of dogs and owners
Wednesday, October 29, 7pm @ Domku

Contestants – meet at the Clark School @ 6:30pm (7th and Alison) to wear out your favorite pooch, before suiting them up in a great costume. From there, we’ll walk our bedazzled best friends down to Upshur Street where they’ll be judged on:

  • Best Doggie Costume – the classic, dress ’em up!
  • Best Twins – celebrating how dogs and owners can look alike
  • Best Trick – Costume or not, show your dog’s skills

The Domku patio will be the reviewing stand and the post-parade party spot.

Feel free to print out copies of our flier and take them with you when you’re out walking through the city. When you see a dog + owner, hand them a flier and encourage them to come out as a participant or observer.

A special thanks to our sponsors: Domku, Brighter Days, Little Rascals, and Yoga House Studio, and the Petworth Dogs listserv for making this happen.

Petworth, The Daily Feed

Not a Good Sign in Petworth

washington dc by wayan
Photo by Wayan

A for sale sign does not bother me. A foreclosure sign insight some worry. But its the tall grass of household abandonment that generates concern for my neighbourhood.

In this market where people are talking about 10% of borrowers behind or in default, I expect some pain all around, yet when pain becomes neglect the impact goes from citizen to community.

What is yours doing to mitigate the mortgage mess? In Petworth, I am going to cut the grass.


Petworth Eyesore Update

I have an update on the visual pollution at Upshur and New Hampshire NW, the Petworth Eyesore, where a builder is trying to make what was once a shell into several apartments.

After he tore off the porch, the recent rains have flooded the basement. And even though there are a few glassless windows, someone is getting mail.

I just wish he’d obey the notice on the front door and cut the rat-nesting weeds in his yard.

Essential DC, History, Petworth

Fort Slocum: Hidden DC Treasure

Fort Slocum in Washington DC - managed by the National Park Service

Fort Slocum in Washington DC - managed by the National Park Service

Here’s an oasis of green you don’t see often in the middle of a city: Fort Slocum Park, where a cool urban forest abuts the row houses of Northwest DC.

Nestled in northern Petworth, you’ll first notice Fort Slocum by the green hill you see on Kansas Avenue NW, the only remnant of the Civil War earthworks that defended Washington DC from Confederate General Jubal A. Early’s attack in June 1864.

While the National Park Service description is brief, the Historic Marker Database tells the full story:

When the Confederates demonstrated against Fort Stevens, to the west, Fort Slocum had the honor of opening the engagement by firing its long range guns. During the battle, some 1,500 employees of the Army Quartermaster office, led by General Montgomery Meigs, assisted the fort’s garrison. 

Juxtaposed to that history is a modern escape for all manner of Washingtonians, as I found on a recent exploration of its central woods..

Continue reading


A Schooling for The House

The House Strip Club and E.L. Haynes Public Charter School

The House Strip Club and E.L. Haynes Public Charter School

The E.L. Haynes Public Charter School at 3600 Georgia Avenue NW, currently serves Pre-K to 5th grade students in the Petworth neighborhood. They hope to add a grade each year until they are serving students through grade twelve.

From this angle, you can see their new five-story school soaring over the existing Georgia Avenue businesses. You may also see a slight problem with the school. Its soaring over not-so-school-friendly local businesses like The House strip club and too many liquor stores.

You can also expect to see a dispute or two soon enough with horny teenagers looking to sneak a peek, or at least a sip of the adult-only entertainment that surrounds the school. Who do you think will win? Businesses that have been on the block for decades, or protective parents trying to keep innocence from being lost?

In the battle that everyone knows will soon come despite rumored promises of neutrality by the school, I’ll be betting on the parents, especially now that I have a prospective student on the way.

Kids beat tits every day of the week.

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Why I Love DC: Wayan

Photo by mosley.brian

After five hours crammed into this seat on a red-eye from San Francisco, I can tell by the shift in the plane, that we’ve started our decent into IAD. Its another bi-coastal BBQ week for me, and I can’t wait to be home.

Home, where the South Asian driver of the Washington Flyer taxi and I will have a long talk about Pakistani politics as we glide past iconic symbols of our nation and then drop into the green valley of Rock Creek park.

Home, where my block party neighbours will be just waking, about to take their morning walks around the neighbourhood, where I shall soon join them with my personal Taxi in tow.

Home, where my half-million dollar mortgage shelters my still-sleeping wife, who let’s me travel even with a Ziggy on the way.

Home, where after a decade I feel I have found my place, my life, a whole community of good friends and great times that make me love this great city.

Home, I love Washington DC because its my home.

Petworth, The Daily Feed

DC Neighbourhoods Ablaze!

Photo by Wayan

Washington DC has its official fireworks on the Mall, but forgive me I find them insignificant. For me, the formal symphony + lightshow is a distant second, if even ranked, when compared with the neighbourhood effort.

And that would be every neighbourhood in this city – from Congress Heights to Foggy Bottom, Park View to Palisades. On every block, on each street, we have an orgy of light and sound, all amateur, and therefore, so much more creative and intimate.

In Petworth, we had our own fireworks festival. With the full block party audience in attendance, we had all kinds of sparkling, shootings, and showers of crackling through the night. Even Taxi Dog got in on the show.

And this morning? Happiness with firework detritus strewn about.