Tuesday, May 17, 2005

From the line in the Home Depot Garden Center...

...you can see the Washington Monument.
This is what you notice when waiting to pay for a couple of bags of dirt. There are great views from odd parts of the city. You can also get a good view of the DC skyline from the platform of the Rhode Island metro station, the bridge for New York Avenue near the Florida Avenue intersection, and just the top of the monument from the Giant parking lot.
So when the gentrification train rolls in these views are seen as a valuable asset, regardless of the surrounding neighborhood. Those great views might hurt affordable housing in previously neglected areas. It was hinted at in yesterday's article in the Post about various apartment complexes, such as Sursum Corda, Tyler House, and such where their future may be uncertain due to market forces. Those apartments are close to Union Station and I'm sure several of them have wonderful views of the Capitol dome and the Washington Monument.
I don't have a clue what is going to happen with Sursum Corda, which is south of Truxton, on the other side of NY Ave. The whole being owned by residents AND being in HUD foreclosure is confusing. What will HUD do? Will HUD kick everyone out and rebuild so that the rich and middle classes get the good views? And place the poor and working classes in the equivalent of steerage? Or will there be a place for the working classes at all?
I don't know. All I know is if I want a good view of the Capitol is to stand in the middle of New Jersey Ave and try not to get hit by a car.


At 5/17/2005 10:35 AM, Anonymous Evil Shaw Gentrifier said...

Did you read the quote in that article by the woman who said "the only reason the neighborhood looks like it does is because of lack of concern by the city...." Hello, anyone heard of a trash can? THose big metal things every 5 feet that you all ignore? Yikes.

At 5/17/2005 11:34 AM, Blogger Mari said...

You mean this?:
"This was a very beautiful area. We won national awards. And the only reason it looks like it does now is because of a lack of concern by the city," said Munlyn, who owns a townhouse at the edge of the Sursum Corda complex."

Maintenance is a big thing but it needs to go hand in hand with how residents use and care for it. I only see Sursum Corda from the inside of the 96 bus and from what I can tell the ground has been stomped on that things don't grow. Trash is thrown in the tree boxes. I don't see that many trash cans. As for the buildings themselves, there are doors that look like they could either be replaced or repainted. Screens that need mending. Little things.
All the stuff I mention is something that is up to the residents to fix and keep up provided that they are part of a co-op. People have a misconception of what the city is actually responsible for, when certain things they cite are the province of privite persons or organizations. Picking up trash from trash cans, fixing sidewalks, sweeping the streets, and the odd tree trimming is the city's job. Cleaning the sidewalk, and treeboxes that's your and my job. The hard task of keeping grounds, that's the co-op's job to either do it or hire someone to do it. Maybe the city agreed sometime back to keep the grounds and act as the maintenance contractor for the co-op, but a true co-op is supposed to take care of it themselves. It seems that the whole ownership thing never sunk in.

At 5/17/2005 2:33 PM, Anonymous Toby said...

"It seems that the whole ownership thing never sunk in."

That's my fear with this "inclusionary zoning" thing they're talking about now. I worry its a noble idea that DC, like so many previous things, will mess up. Tell me I'm wrong.

On a good note, 2 of my service requests were acted on. The alley off Richardson, behind Hess, has been totally cleaned up. And, I've gotten 2 nice, new city sidewalk garbage cans installed on 4th.

At 5/17/2005 2:45 PM, Anonymous evil shaw gentrifier said...

yeah, that's the one. I actually live on N between North Cap and 1st, and every day pick up mounds of litter along N between my house and New Jersey. There are SIX trash cans in one block, totally ignored. For whatever reason there seems to be no or little pride among the people who live around me (many of my actual neighbors excluded). I will note that the street has a park and basketball court which attracts a lot of Sursum kids. One time I saw one of them throw trash on the ground and I asked him politely why he didn't use the trash can and he practically beat me up. Another time, the kid was polite and seemed to get the idea.

Anyway....I just found your site--really interesting and well done. Thanks!

Oh, two other things, unrelated--I love how you chronicle the home sales. It's great. When a house on our street sat and sat, the owner said he was going to pull it from the market and section 8 it. We bought it ourselves. An investment in our community. :)

The last one is your "realtors on crack" feature. THere is currently a condo conversion on M between 3rd and 4th. A 4-story house with a mediocre redo (2 units, straight outa Home Depot Expo), for 800 THOUSAND EACH. That's not a misprint. You should check it out. THey call it Connoiseur's Cove or some crazy sh*t like that.

ANyway, great job! (I'm not really evil either).

At 5/17/2005 2:57 PM, Anonymous Liz T. said...

The best view? Going down the hill from Ft. Myer to Rt. 110, next to Arlington Cemetary. It's dark, you have an amazing view, and it's one of the places that only locals ever really find out about.

At 5/17/2005 4:02 PM, Blogger Mari said...

Btwn 3rd and 4th on M, that's Mt. Vernon Sq. so I hardly venture over there for the house viewings. I did have one house I was going to write about but the house went under contract within like a day after I saw it. I want people to buy in the hood. I just don't review to be snarky. But the snarkiness is just an added bonus.

Nice views from Ft. Myer and parts of Rosslyn. But Rosslyn got gentrified when I left in 1997.

What the heck is "inclusionary zoning"? I've seen it thrown around but not defined.

At 5/17/2005 4:23 PM, Anonymous Toby said...


inclusionary zoning is apparently a plan to rezone alot of DC so that portions of every block in a given neighborhood must have a mix of market-based & affordable housing. There's a link to the dc.gov page on the Truxton Circle page somewhere...a few dispatches back. I'm about to leave work, so I didn't have time to fetch it. Shaw, TC, Eck, Bloom, LeDroit are all targeted by some group called "The Campaign for Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning" (CMIZ).

My understanding is that this is a pretty contentious topic. I need to research it more myself.

At 5/17/2005 6:17 PM, Anonymous Liz T. said...


I never claimed that Rosslyn wasn't gentrified. Heck, it was on the up and up by the time I moved there in 2000. But that spot on the ridge has always been one of my favorite in the region.


Inclusionary Zoning sounds like a brilliant idea. That would turn into an utter nightmare of zoning and enforcment in practice. I'm curious as well.


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