Archive for the ‘Sports leisure and entertainment’ category

Shepherd Street Respectfully Honoring Memorial Day

May 26, 2014

The 1400 block of Shepherd Street is proudly honoring Memorial Day this weekend. It is really something to see with all of the flags flying.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

A Garden Visitor — the Hummingbirdmoth

May 12, 2014

Over the weekend, while in the garden, I noticed a visitor to the garden a couple of times — a hummingbirdmoth. This is not the first year I’ve seen one, either.  Last year hummingbirdmoths also frequently visited the garden. The seem to like the creeping phlox in particular.

According to Wikipedia, its official name is Hemaris and it “is a genus of sphinx moths, consisting of about 17 species native to the Holarctic.Four species occur in North and South America and three are found in Europe. Their main host plants are herbs and shrubs of the teasel and honeysuckle families. Moths in genus Hemaris are known collectively as Clearwing Moths or Hummingbird Moths in the United States and Bee Hawk-Moths in Britain.”

… and here’s another one.

Celebrate Petworth is Tomorrow, May 10th

May 9, 2014

If you’re looking for something fun to do tomorrow, Celebrate Petworth might be the ticket. The festival begins at noon and runs through 6 p.m. For a full list of activities, check out their Web site and see the map below.

Celebrate Petworth

Little Free Library Coming to Bruce-Monroe Park

May 7, 2014

On Saturday, May 17th, a Little Free Library will be installed and dedicated at the community garden within Bruce-Monroe Park (Georgia between Irving and Columbia Rd.). Below is more information about the library box that was shared on the 700blkHobart-Columbia-Harvard Yahoo Group listserv, along with a photo of the Little Free Library that will be installed on the 17th.

students+and+library(The Little Free Library and the students who designed it.)

Bruce Monroe Community Garden Little Free Library Grand Opening Celebration!

Where: Bruce Monroe Community Garden (inside Bruce Monroe Park at 3000 Georgia Ave NW)
When: Saturday May 17, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
What: All kinds of fun …

  • Students and gardeners will install and dedicate our Little Free Library.
  • Teens will read books aloud to younger kids.
  • You can start borrowing books!
  • We also have a garden work day from 10 a.m. – noon and there will be kids activities planned for the garden like painting raised beds, planting, and a scavenger hunt. Come out for all or some of the time!

Books, books, books! Please consider bringing one book to donate if you’d like to help us keep the library stocked. We’d especially love to have childrens and young adult books or gardening books, but we would welcome any fiction or non-fiction.

The Details…

Bruce Monroe Community Garden, along with four other community gardens in DC, are the lucky recipients of a Little Free Library built by students as part of the National Building Museum’s Design Apprenticeship Program.

In their most basic form a Little Free Library consists of a box full of books where anyone can stop by to borrow a book or return another book to share. The libraries are usually creatively decorated to reflect the character of a host neighborhood, family, or in this case–garden. Design teams used salvaged and upcycled materials from Community Forklift to create the libraries.

The Little Free Libraries encourage local residents to connect with each other through a “take a book, leave a book” system at the gardens, and they help foster literacy in their communities. The books are free to borrow! Please visit the library, return books when you are done, and feel free to bring new books to the library to donate for others to enjoy.

Funk Parade Happening This Saturday, May 3rd

May 1, 2014


The Funk Parade, and associate activities, is scheduled for this Saturday, May 3rd. Below are the details distributed by the organizers.

The festivities – all free! – are as follows:

*DAY FAIR *(noon-5 pm) – music, dance, art and conviviality throughout U Street, from 16th to 9th. Stroll, hum, dance, and enjoy! *(neighbor note: U Street won’t be closed and parking is not affected!)*

*FUNK PARADE *(5-7 pm) – a joyful, collaborative musical procession that invites you to participate. Come be a part of the Funk Parade! Gathering on Vermont between U and V, the parade moves west on V to Ben Ali Way. Short, sweet, soulful and superlative, great for kids from 3 to 93! (*neighbor note: this is going to be awesome*.)

*MUSIC FESTIVAL *(7-10 pm) – Over twenty great local bands play music from all over the world inside a dozen U Street venues, from Solly’s, Tropicalia and DC9 to U Street Music Hall, Bohemian Caverns, Patty Boom Boom and more. (*neighbor note: All music will be inside venues, and the festival ends at
10 pm. In time to get the kids to bed!*)

*This event is a PHENOMENAL collaboration of over 200 local businesses, community groups, musicians and civic leaders, including the U Street Neighborhood Association, ANC 1B, and many small and locally-owned neighborhood businesses*. Big thanks to everyone who has helped Funk Parade get this far. We hope you all can come out and enjoy the day with your neighbors and friends!

For more information, go to, or follow Funk Parade on Twitter at @FunkParade. Have a question? Shoot us an email at!

We are ALWAYS looking for volunteers, especially to help during the events themselves. If you’re interested, email Thanks!

DPR’s Former Headquarters Could Be a Vibrant Hub of Community Activity

April 24, 2014

In reviewing DPR’s recently released Play DC Vision Framework Document, I began to reflect upon the former DPR Headquarters property located at 3149 Sixteenth Street, NW, and the adjoining park to the north. The DPR Website refers to the playground as the 16th Street Playground, although historically it was known as either the Powell Recreation Center or the Johnson-Powell Playground after the two schools that were once located on the neighboring properties. Both schools are now long gone and been replaced by the Columbia Heights Education Campus to the south.

But, back to the parkland and building. DPR moved from the 16th Street property t0 their present U Street location in 2012 leaving the building empty. The neighboring park was last renovated in 2011 and seems well used and popular when I walk past it. However, both properties appear to fall far short of their potential and a review of the Vision Framework doesn’t seem to give them any particular importance (although that could change between now and the final master plan).

16th Street DPR headquarters(Map showing location of former DPR headquarters)

The landmark building, listed on the National Register in 1986, is large and could accommodate any number of functions — from office space on the upper floors for non-profits, to gallery space for rotating art, photography, and history exhibits, to being one of the few publicly accessible meeting spaces in Ward 1.

The parkland is relatively large, and while the playground and tennis courts are popular, the baseball diamond and large grassy area in the back are lesser used. They were completely empty last time I visited, but I’m betting the Columbia Heights Education Campus makes good use of them. I’ve begun to wonder if outdoor lighting and an upgrade would make the baseball diamond a more attractive amenity for both the nearby Bell Multicultural High School and the greater community. I also wonder if there is enough room for some additional uses if the playground and building site were better integrated. Perhaps there would be room for a community garden or some other recreational amenity that is otherwise lacking in the surrounding community.

The Chateauesque Embassy Building No. 10, former headquarters of DPR.

The Chateauesque Embassy Building No. 10, former headquarters of DPR.

While identifying programming and building community consensus may seem like the most obvious hurdles to improving the property, they aren’t the only ones. The properties are among the many in the District of Columbia that are still technically owned by the Federal Government, but whose jurisdiction & maintenance has been transferred to the District of Columbia. A significant aspect of this duel scenario is that the Federal Government transferred day-to-day operations of the properties to D.C. with a restriction that the properties must be used for or support recreation purposes.

This poses less of a problem for the outdoor spaces, but it does restrict what the building can be used for. This, no doubt, has played a role in the building’s current vacant status. The building is also in need of significant repair and upgrades — and I would imagine that restoring a building it doesn’t own or currently use is low on the District’s list of priorities.

Yet, I think that if the community were able to come up with a good plan and vision for both the building and the parkland, funding of that vision could be found — and perhaps some of that funding could come from the Federal Government. A good example of this is a short distance to the south, where after successful outreach Meridian Hill Park is in the midst of improvements from the National Park Service.

Powell Playground(View of the playground area from the parking lot (south) at the former DPR headquarters)

Parks & Recreation Master Plan Process Progressing Well

April 22, 2014

Play DC Project Phasing
Hopefully, people have been following the Play DC initiative. Play DC is the District of Columbia’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan Initiative (Web site here).  The initiative completed the Vision Framework Document in March, leaving both the Implementation Strategy and Master Plan outstanding (see process map above).

According to the Play DC Web site, the strategic plan’s goal is to:

  1. Establish a clear understanding of the current conditions of all District parks, recreation centers, and outdoor facilities;
  2. Assess the current programs available at all parks and recreation centers;
  3. Identify challenges and service gaps;
  4. Develop and propose solutions that are:
    1. Phased for implementation over the next 10 years
    2. Based on sound and detailed analysis that is inclusive and responsive to District residents
    3. Grounded in community input and industry best practices that improve public services and reduce costs
    4. Improving the District’s ability to protect and preserve historic resources
    5. Progressing citywide goals identified in Mayor Gray’s ONE CITY Action Plan, including economic strength and diversification, education and workforce preparation, sustainability and quality of life.

The Play DC Vision Framework does a good job of outlining the District’s goals for the future of its parks, and for capturing how our parks currently stack up against those goals. For example, a few of the identified targets of our parks system are:

  • That every resident will be able to access a meaningful greenspace within a 1/2 mile (10 minute walk) of home;
  • Every neighborhood cluster will have access to at least 4 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents;
  • Every resident will be able to access a DPR Neighborhood Center within 1 mile of home;
  • Every resident will have access to an indoor pool within 2 miles, an outdoor pool within 1.5 miles, and a splash pad within 1 mile;
  • 100% of DPR parks will be accessible by foot, and 90% will  be accessible by bicycle; and,
  • Increase natural features on DPR properties, such as trees, gardens, or wetlands, by 40%.

It will be interesting to see how these targets and details are represented in the Implementation Strategy and Master Plan when they are completed. For example, the image below is a map that shows how recreation centers stack up. A quick review of the map shows that the Park View Recreation Center (for example) is among those that is considered substandard in both size and maintenance (though the Park View community is not within an area in need of additional recreation center space).

Recreation Center Vision

While the Park View area may not need additional recreation center space, another map in the Vision Framework does include the community — along with much of Ward 1, Ward 5, and southern Ward 4 — within a large area in need of more parkland.

Both the Play DC Web site and its Resources page are worth a look to see where we might be headed with the District’s greenspaces over the next decade.




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