Tuesday, June 29, 2010
However, I drove by this afternoon to see the tap tap of hammers and the churning of cement. It looks like they consolidated the DC government offices that were there. I don't know if the Mini Mart is permanently gone, but it appears to be closed during the construction. If the Mini Mart comes back, I hope they renovate the inside to make it more aesthetically pleasing. In addition, I hope the add fresh produce. The Chinese Carry-out that was next to the old Dominos is still open.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Dawn Lim, author and photographer writes
To see the entire slide show, click here.
Just east of the Anacostia River is an area whose residents are determined to make it the jewel of Southeast DC. Hillcrest has rolling hills, red-brick colonial homes, and bird’s-eye view of Capitol Hill. Its well-loved and well-tended gardens are home to mayoral hopeful Vincent Gray.
During its annual garden tour, Hillcrest residents open their doors to the rest of the community, deck their patio tables with sweets, and show off carefully tended lawns to visitors and neighbors, some out in their Sunday best.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Alex Baca writes
The activity, which lasted over an hour, was fruitful. Out of casual conversation—“I don’t understand people who don’t want sidewalks. If you don’t want sidewalks, we’ll take ‘em!” “How do we decide where we need bus shelters, anyway?” “That hill, it just goes down and shoots back up!” “While we’re there, why don’t we put in a coffeehouse?”—came some real concerns.To read the entire article, click here
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The photo is our little map, which is obviously very focused on the Fairfax Village neighborhood. We did look at other parts of the study area, but we figured we'd lay all our issues on the table regardless if they were related or not. We were going to make sure we were heard.
The big issues we identified are:
- Speeding on Fort Davis St, V St, W St in Fairfax Village
- Speeding on Alabama Ave and Pennsylvania Ave
- Intersection of Fort Davis St and Pennsylvania Ave - pedestrian crossing (definitely a game of chicken trying to cross) and signage
- Lighting needs to be improved on Fort Davis St, V St, W St in Fairfax Village - We have a lot of mature trees that have grown into the cobra head street lights, which reduce their effectiveness
- Intersection at the alley to Fairfax Village IV's parking lot and Pennsylvania Ave - we have a lot of accidents there
- There is a need for bus shelters on 38th Street and the intersection of Fort Davis and Pennsylvania Ave SE
- The bus shelter on the triangle at 38th, Pennsylvania and Alabama needs to be improved and maintained - there is always trash and graffiti
- Fort Davis, W and all the public alleys in Fairfax Village need to be paved
- M2 should run more frequently since Naylor Road is the closest metro station to us - right now it only runs during the weekday rush hour.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Hillcrest Garden Tour is tomorrow. You can purchase tickets the day of for $15. The only way to get to 31st is from Pennsylvania Ave, which if you been around you know is under construction. Hence and therefore, PLAN AHEAD....
I'm excited to report that Washingtonian Magazine will be sending a photographer to take photos for the slide show. Please try to look presentable (just saying.... hehe). See you at the tour.
It seems that journalist are fascinated by what's outside of Ray's the Steaks. Miss V is fascinated by what's inside. Inside I see Ms Sherrie eating a bowl of crab bisque (which she is addicted too), Ronnie taking a photo of his meal (he has an entire collection on his phone), Sylvia conducting a community dinner, Justin is so busy chasing his toddler that he doesn't see me, and the elders of my community reminiscing about what Minnesota Ave was like before crack destroyed the neighborhood. I see residents from West of the River enjoying a meal East of the River without a care in the world about what's happening outside.
When "journalists" sit at the bar, they are observing the decor. When Miss V sits at the bar, I observe an Honor Roll Certificate bearing the name of a young man who lives around the corner. Mainstream media will never report that the staff of Ray's have taken this young man under their wings. The greeters who are "watching the block" are teaching this young man a proper handshake, saying "yes" instead of "yeah", going to college is important, and other life skills. Miss V met this young man and he told me wants to go to college to study math.
When "journalists" write about Ray's they focus on Michael Landrum losing money (it's been open 2 months people, relax) and it almost seems like they are waiting for it to fail. They will never write about Landrum's decision to give young men and women an opportunity for employment, when most of society would shun them. I've talked to the staff. I've heard their stories. One staff said to me last night "Michael didn't give me a hand out. He gave me a hand up. That's what I needed". Miss V has observed this young man's work ethic since the restaurant opened, and I will state that not only is he one of the hardest working members of the staff, but the pride he puts in everything he does is unmatched by anyone that I know.
Has mainstream media reported that the staff volunteer their time at the Boys and Girls Club around the corner? Or that the one of the staff has a great idea to open a skate park in Ward 7 based to give the kids something to do? He said that the kids are great skateboarders, but there is nowhere for them to go.
The food at Ray's is good, but I go there every week for the people. Pardon me, "journalists" if I'm a little sensitive. You see a restaurant. I see a community.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
My blog is on the internet free for the world to see. Miss V has to raise her brow at the fact that he felt the need to quote my rant (which comes across as... dare I say "black") and not my Letter to the Editor, which I felt was not only written eloquently but conveyed exactly where I had issues with the Washingtonian article. But who am I to questions his intentions?
I also find it interesting that Mr. Carman points out that Michael Landrum is losing money on the project. Unlike Mr. Carman, I'm going to admit my ignorance of the restaurant business. It doesn't seem unusual to me for a restaurant has been open for two months (if that) to lose money. Who knows, maybe Mr. Carman is privy to the financial statements and projections. **Kanye shrug**
I do appreciate Todd Kliman (the writer of the review) and Alyssa Rosenberg (web editor) for extending the olive branch to meet with my neighbors and me. For your information Mr. Carman, they did not "grovel" nor did they make any apologies or retractions to the article. We had a very frank and open discussion. Ms. Rosenberg expressed a desire to possibly expand the Washingtonian web presence to include activities and neighborhoods East of the River. Mr. Kliman encouraged us to join his weekly chat. It was a positive conversation that ended with a short tour of my neighborhood. Miss V would have written a post on the meeting earlier this week, but I've been having condo issues.
Needless to say Mr. Carman, side-eye.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
INVITATION TO EXPLORE DEANWOOD
As a proud Ward 7 resident I am offended at your blanket generalization of the community surrounding Ray’s the Steaks at Prior my move to Ward 7 (I previously lived in Arlington, VA) many that I spoke with presented the same stereotypical message which you continue to perpetuate in your characterization of the community surrounding Ray’s the Steaks and most had never even been east of the except to jump on 295 and head for Maryland.presented in your review of the restaurant in the June 2010 edition.
Placing a restaurant in a section of Washington, DC that still has a majority black population, less new development, and people who live in homes that the average person can actually afford does not equate to a “bold sociological experiment”. It equates to a smart business decision. People east of the Anacostia River do sit down to eat food and do have money to pay for food. I’m only a college professor and doctoral student but last time I checked offering a service at a price to fulfill a need was basic business.
My community is quiet, filled with detached single family homes and the most beautiful green spaces in Washington, DC. I personally know many of my neighbors who are psychologists, accountants, teachers, WMATA employees, social workers, MPD officers, attorneys, etc. I walk, ride my bike, and enjoy my community on a daily basis. I would encourage the Washingtonian to live up to what the name of your magazine suggests and accurately portray (and even cover) ALL areas of Washington, DC. This would require actually coming east of the Anacostia River and exploring areas outside the block that encompass Ray’s the Steaks, now deemed safe since Landrum has hired greeters to watch over the block. I would love to personally give you a tour.
Sherrie LawsonINACCURATE PORTRAYAL
I am deeply offended at how the characterized the community of Ward 7 in its review of Ray's the Steaks at East River. My neighbors and I are elated to have Ray's the Steaks as a dining option in Ward 7. In no way do we view the opening of a restaurant in a community that represents families, college students, artists, entrepreneurs, federal government employees, DC Council members and much more as a "bold sociological experiment". The opening of Ray's the Steaks was a smart business decision and a wise investment for the proprietor and the community alike. Ward 7 is a fascinating community with civic-minded individuals that appreciate having the option to spend our money to support dining establishments in our community that employ residents of our community in an elegant and affordable atmosphere.
STAY TRUE TO YOUR MISSION
I am joining the chorus of Ward 7 neighbors sharing our collective disappointment and disgust with the “Cheap Eats” portrayal of Ward 7 in the review of newly opened Ray’s the Steaks: East of the River. The portrayal of Ward 7 is shortsighted and perpetuates the stereotypes my neighbors and I contend with day in and day out. Additionally, the reviewer’s surprise that the food would be good is shocking as if the Ward has no standards for what constitutes good food and quality service and the restaurant would lower its standards.
Mr. Landrum’s decision to open his successful restaurant chain in Ward 7 is a smart business decision because the Ward and the region are consistently underserved by amenities the rest of the city takes for granted. In fact Mayor Adrian Fenty and Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning just released several reports called the Retail Action Strategy that details the spending power in Wards 7 and 8 and how that spending power needs to be recaptured in the neighborhoods and the City.
Included in The Washingtonian mission is helping “readers better understand Washington.” Please stay true to this mission when writing about all areas of the District of Columbia. I hope that The Washingtonian will publish the comments submitted by neighbors and me in your Letters to the Editor section. More importantly, I hope the magazine will issue an apology for the poor choice of descriptors used to portray Ward 7.
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 7C04
According to your website, the mission of the Washingtonian magazine is to "help our readers live better, to help readers better understand Washington, and to make the area a better place for all who live here." It is unfortunate that in the June 2010 Issue, the Washingtonian Magazine failed to meet that mission.
I am a proud resident of Ward 7 and a frequent diner at Ray's the Steaks East River. I found the review offensive to the proud residents that live East of the River. Rather than "help readers better understand [our part of] Washington," the review perpetuates stereotypes of our community and the people that reside here.
Ray's the Steaks is not "a fascinating study in contrasts" nor is it a "bold sociological experiment". For years, the residents of East of the River have been traveling to Maryland, Virginia and other parts of DC in order to enjoy a meal with their families or have a drink with their friends. There is nothing "bold" or "experimental" about putting a restaurant in a neighborhood where there is an untapped market for sit-down dining. It is actually a no-brainer. Some might even call it a smart business decision.
While I understand the message the Washingtonian was "trying" to convey in the "Insider Tip" section, unfortunately it was written in poor taste. Terms such as "unaccustomed to life East of the River", "apprehensive about making the trip over there" and "watch over the block" are divisive. Life East of the River is no different that West of the River. We go to work, our children go to school, we walk our dogs, we ride our bikes, and we go to the library just like other Washingtonians. East of the River is not a foreign country.
In my opinion, the review demonstrated that the Washingtonian staff is out of touch with the neighborhoods and residents East of the River. I invite the Washingtonian staff to explore all the wonderful things our community has to offer without prejudice then fulfill your mission to "help your readers better understand Washington" East of the River.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Miss V's 2 Cents
I get that the Washingtonian Magazine was "trying" address the perceptions that people have of East of the River. Good idea, bad implementation. Councilmember Alexander wrote a great response, but Miss V has her back and I'm going to give you the unfiltered response.
To Whom it May Concern:
I'm writing in response to your review of Ray's the Steaks East River in your June 2010 edition. I do not understand this "bold socioeconomic experiment" that you refer too. I know Washington Post and mainstream media have characterized East of the River as a bunch of poor, Black people who are on welfare and have nothing better to do that shoot up the neighborhood. Yes, Ward 7 is mostly Black, but rest assured that we have jobs, we know which fork is the salad fork, we drink wine out of a glass, and we tip the waitstaff. There is nothing "bold" about opening a sit-down restaurant in Ward 7. The only thing that is "bold" is the fact that you were "bold" enough to make the statement.
What do you mean by "those unaccustomed to life East of the River"? Do you mean unaccustomed to seeing so many Black people? Black people don't have the cooties. As a matter of fact I got my cootie shot in 2nd grade (circle-circle-dot-dot, Baby). The whole Insider Tip reads as "Don't worry, White people. There's security to make sure the scary Black people won't bother you."
All that being said, you get an epic fail for perpetuating stereotypes.
Be Heard East of the River
Obviously, Miss V is going to respond to the Editor in a more professional manner. If this review offends you, I strongly encourage you all to email the Editor, John Limpert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business that we would like to see (Wish-List)
- Restaurants/Food Establishments:
- Coffee and Tea Cafe/Internet Cafe that sells pastries (e.g. Starbucks, Caribou, locally-owned)
- Deli/Salads (e.g. Panera Bread, Cosi, Chop'it)
- Ice Cream Shop (e.g. Baskin Robbins, Maggie Moos, Cold Stone Creamery)
- Soul Food
- Bistro (locally-owned)
- Rotisserie Chicken (Pollo Rico, Chicken Out, Boston Market)
- Gym/Pilates and Yoga studio with massage suites
- Arts and Crafts Store
- Hardware Store
- Pet Store/Grooming/Boarding
- CVS/Rite-Aid/Walgreens or comparable business
- Office/Business Services:
- Kinko's/Kwik Copy or comparable business
- Full-service Post Office/Fed-Ex/UPS
- Office space for economic development group(s)
- Institution that teaches trade (IT, hospitality, dental assistant)
- Labor Ready (provides temporary day labor work to get some of the guys off the street)
- Bike Racks
- Outdoor seating
- Profit sharing or allowing community-supported interest to purchase a stake in the shopping center
- Create incentives to encourage locally-owned businesses
Businesses we do NOT want
- Liquor store
- Chinese Carry-out
- Pawn Shop
- Money Exchange/Check cashing
- "Bad" fast food establishments
- Beauty supply store
- Barbershop/Beauty salon
- Nail salon
- Medical facilities
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Because Fairfax Village residents do not regularly attend these types of meetings decisions are getting made without our input. In addition, there usually isn't outreach to the greater East of the River community who can also enjoy our amenities. It's a new day.
BY JUNE 11, 2010, please send me an email (email@example.com) with the types of business that you would like to see. Also, feel free to say what you do NOT want. Do not forget to include your neighborhood. I will compile the information and send it to the Commissioners on behalf of the residents of Fairfax Village and the East of the River Community at large.
ANC 7B CRIME SUMMIT
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Randle Highlands Elementary School (1650 30th St SE)
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
17TH ANNUAL HILLCREST GARDEN TOUR
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Meeting location: 31st and Westover Dr. SE
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Click here for Ticket information
JAZZ COMES EAST OF THE RIVER
Satruday, June 19, 2010
Interim Francis A. Gregory Library (2100 36th Place SE)
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Donation $25.00, includes light refreshment
Sponsored by the Friends of the Francis A. Gregory Library
Thursday, June 3, 2010
I researched the Philly City Code that deals with Minors. They have an entire section dealing with truancy. What I really like is the fact that they have violations and penalties for the parents. One would think that the DC Council could take the time to find best practices and lessons learned from other jurisdictions. Just saying....
Miss V will spare you the rest of the recap, because Washington City Paper took care of that already. There was one extremely important point that was made that I do not want to get lost on the community.
The panelist and the community pointed out two key areas where the DC Council has failed at enacting good law. 1) The juvenile confidentiality laws are putting a lot of communities in DC in harms way without their knowledge, and 2) the DC Council has failed to adequately address truancy.
Miss V's biggest problem with this meeting and the Ward 7 Crime Summit is the need to analyze the problem versus developing actionable solutions. Some of the people in attendance were affected by the March 30th shooting and they want answers to how this was allowed to happen. While this is a specific incident, the answers are the same and been analyzed ad nauseum. In my short little life, I've come to understand that some people love to dwell in the analysis phase, because analysis is "easy" and it allows for finger pointing. The solutions phase requires people to roll up their sleeves, making hard (not to mention unpopular) decisions and taking action. When does the solutions phase start?
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
I went to Thai Orchid with two fellow East of the River residents. We began discussing lack of bike racks at commercial centers East of the River. I sent an email to a contact person at DDOT to find out the process for getting bike racks. I also emailed the DDOT Pennsylvania Ave Great Streets Team excited that we were getting bike lanes as part of the project. And that is where my joy came to a screeching halt.
Despite the project documents and the Bike Master Plan mention bike lanes on Pennsylvania Ave, DDOT promised "the community" that all references to bike lanes would be excluded because "the community" doesn't want to promote biking on sidewalks. The exclusion of the bike lanes really don't bother me, because there are bike lanes on Mass Ave SE, which has significantly less traffic, lower speed limit, and a less difficult terrain.
What does bother me is the use of the term "the community". Who is "the community"? To be fair to DDOT, in my career I've been in situations where once you reach an agreement with "the community" you do NOT want to reopen that can of worms. So no harm no foul, DDOT. However, why wasn't my concern just as valid? Aren't I apart of "the community"? Why are some people "the community" and others aren't? Are people who attend meetings, "the community"? What about those who miss meetings due to work or school? Are we not part of "the community"?
Ms V will admit that in my five years of living in Fairfax Village, I've never been to an ANC 7B meeting or many project specific meetings (other than Poplar Point). It isn't that I didn't care what was happening in my neighborhood, but I honestly in the past was too busy working two jobs or working evenings or going to school in the evening. I have been to a handful of Hillcrest Community Civic Association meetings, and since September 2009 I faithfully attend the PSA 606 meetings. At both the HCCA and PSA 606 meetings, the people in attendance are largely from the single family homes in Hillcrest, usually older (65+) and have lived in the neighborhood a long time. This group are regulars at every meeting. Are they "the community"? Are their needs, desires, and wants representative of Fairfax Village which is largely young single-women with children or retired single-women?
In all my years of living here, I've never received a newsletter or correspondence from my ANC Commissioner. So how is my ANC Commissioner (an elected official) representing me, if they aren't communicating with me or my neighbors? Again, it's not that people in Fairfax Village don't care, but this is a working class neighborhood so people work long hours.
Ms V is about solutions. I have been emailing my neighbors to ensure that Fairfax Village and the townhouses in Hillcrest are represented at the regular community meetings (PSA 606, HCCA, and ANC7B). In addition, I have my ANC Commissioners phone number, so I will reach out to him. We are part of "the community".