Sunday, November 29, 2009

Opportunities to support our local institutions this holiday season...

That's what I intend to do in the coming weeks. Below, I have listed two events slated for next weekend where you can support the Eckington neighborhood and its vital community institutions.

Holiday Bazaar at McKinley Tech
Saturday, December 5, 2009 from 10am - 4pm
The high school is located at 151 T Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002

If you are interested in is $25 per table/space and you can contact Crystal Brockington for more information. She can be reached at 301-237-3193 or email her.

All proceeds will go to support McKinley's graduating class of 2010.

Nearby at St. George's Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Church Women will be hosting a

Christmas Bazaar and Cafe
Saturday, December 5, 2009 from 10am - 4pm.
The church is located at the corner of 2nd and U Streets, NW, Washington, DC 20001
(Enter from the U St. side)

So there you go...a local church and a school providing you with someplace close to home to spend your money. Don't trouble yourself with all the traffic and crowds by driving out to Tyson's Corner or Bethesda, or places further afield to do your Christmas/holiday one of our local churches or the local high school.

I know I will hit up both McKinley and St. George's as I begin my Christmas gift hunt next weekend.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Moving East...

According to this recent article at UrbanTurf, a DC real estate blog, buyers are now looking to Eckington among others as they get priced out of Columbia Heights, Adams Morgan and the Dupont Circle areas. However, as one of the comments notes, this article actually may be a little behind the curve as it appears that values in LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale are already marching upward. There are a bunch of great properties around here that are great family homes now and could use some sprucing up around the edges. I am sure others could use complete refurbishment inside. Anyway, if I had the income and was looking to stay in this area for the long term, this is probably one of the areas of the city I would look to invest in along with Congress Heights and Anacostia. Whether you're walking, biking, using public transit or driving, Eckington is easily one of the best situated neighborhoods in the city.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Slow news cycle...

Nothing really to report from Eckington these days. I may have missed something as I have been so wrapped up in my job search this week. I will try to catch up this weekend and I will have a report from the Eckington Civic Association meeting after the holiday as their meeting will be on the 4th.

In the meantime, I also have emails in to Mrs. Mary Farmer-Allen, my ANC Commissioner and Mrs. Pinkney who is the recording secretary for ANC5C to confirm the meeting date for next month and to obtain minutes from last night's meeting and for the meetings in September and October. Trying to bring myself up to speed on the local issues and will be sure to let you know what I learn...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The art of being social...

Stooping...porch-sitting...whatever you call it, I need to do this a little before the weather gets too much cooler. I am all about building the community vibe...and I need to be a better practitioner in this respect. I am just going to sit out with a book or something...keep it simple for now. Too many white folk in this area like to sit in their fortified little row-houses behind their 'burglar bars' as we call them in the Caribbean...I am starting to realize that there are more white people around here than I originally thought. It's just that I am not seeing them anywhere, except when they walk the 10-15 feet from their front door to their car or as they are walking their dog. Too much fear in this country along with society's penchant for hours in front of the tv/computer are forcing people inside...I refuse to be a part of that.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Weekend 'Flashback' - Homecoming at McKinley

This past weekend I went to McKinley Technnology High School's Homecoming game against Spingarn HS. I hadn't been to a high school football game in a while but I decided to go and pick up the local vibe and hang out in the neighborhood. McKinley's campus is only a few blocks south from where I live so I figured, why not?

I didn't want to pay $5 to get in, cheapskate that I am. If I had a full-time job these days probably would have had no issues supporting the local fundraising efforts but, this time, I was going to be watching from outside the chain link fence. View wasn't bad at all, as you can see, I just spent the next few hours on my feet.

I arrived a little late but there was no score at that point. In the end, the McKinley 'Trainers' won 14-6. There was some crappy play along the way but they did what they needed to do. I was happy as a local person probably should...who also happens to have no other allegiances in DC high school football...

So I had an enjoyable time except for a bizarre experience that occurred just as I was preparing to walk the few blocks home. I won't go into further detail here but I did handle the situation in a mature and proper manner despite the awkwardness of the moment and will leave it at that.

Monday, November 2, 2009

1st ECA meeting...

Just got back from my first Eckington Civic Association meeting. It was a fairly benign affair for the most part...

1) Mr. Garry Clark spoke to those attending about North Capitol Main Street, Inc. This a relatively young, non-profit organization that is working for the commercial revitalization of the North Capitol Street corridor, which forms the western boundary of Eckington. They are seeking volunteers to serve on their board, committees, and to assist with various projects they have ongoing. If interested, please see their website above or contact Mr. Clark, the Executive Director at:

1703 North Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002

2) Next, Ms. Mai Fernadez, the Acting Director of the Latin American Youth Center spoke about their project taking place at the old Cook School, located at 40 P St. NW, which is not really in Eckington (eastern tip of Shaw). Apparently, this has been quite contentious for those communities around the former school. The ANC Commissioner for that area, Ms. Sylvia Pinkney, also happens to represent a portion of Eckington and was there to provide counterpoint to Ms. Ferandez's presentation. The primary crux of Ms. Pinkney's argument were...too much social services are coming into the neighborhood and the communities want real development. The way this project is structured though, I don't believe you could call it pure social service. LAYC is proposing that the first floor of the former school be utilized as a charter school (which the city required) with both academic and vocational instruction...the vocation element being construction. The other two floors would be utilized as low-income housing for students and those gainfully employed. Ms. Fernandez was quick to point out the economic potential of this project, noting that LAYC moved into a blighted area of Columbia Heights and today the area is widely considered to be thriving. Now obviously, LAYC cannot take full credit for revitalizing an entire neighborhood but it does sound like they played a key role. Further discussion was tabled to allow persons to check out LAYC's other site and determine whether this is something folks really want in their community. A resolution will be offered at the next ECA meeting on whether to express support, disapproval, or espouse a neutral position with respect to this project. I will definitely try to do my due diligence on this so I can make an informed vote although I won't generally discuss it any further on this blog as this falls outside of our purview here.

3) Finally, Mr. Richard Norwood, introduced himself as the Outreach and Service Specialist for Ward 5 from the Mayor's Office for Community Relations & Services. Accompanying him was his brand-new partner specialist for Ward 5, Ms. Beersheeba Phillipe. They were both seemed young and responsive to the requests from the community. A variety of issues were discussed, traffic, graffiti, and trees and tree boxes. I was particularly happy the last was mentioned is it seems several trees have been cut down in our neighborhood over the past weeks and then we have plenty of places where there used to be trees and there are now none. Tree cover in a city is really important both aesthetically and ecologically as it helps keep urban places cooler than they would be otherwise. To reach Mr. Norwood or Ms. Phillipe, please see below:

Richard Norwood > email: richard.norwood at or phone: 202.340.7038
Beersheba Phillipe > email: beersheba.phillipe at or phone: 202.340.7141
The Ward 5 Help Desk is 202.671.0726

For more information of Mayor Fenty's Office of Community Relations and Services, please click here.

That was the gist of the meeting. Next one will again be at the North Capitol Main Street offices at 1703 N. Capitol St. at 7pm on Monday, December 7th.

I just wanted to get this out, with the meeting still fresh in my mind. I will have a 'Flashback' post related to this weekend tomorrow.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What a weekend...

It's been a while I know...job hunting takes a lot of time...also real life came roaring at me in a big way Saturday afternoon and today I was taking care of my spiritual side. More from Eckington tomorrow...