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Friday, October 25, 2013

East City Art: Future Development Spells the End of Trinidad's Gallery Row

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Developers searching for that pot of gold are looking on Florida Ave

East City Art examines some news that's been kicking around a bit. As you might be aware, CONNERSMITH is the only gallery that owns their space in the 1300 block of Florida Ave. The others are all renting, & developers have gotten very interested in that end of Florida Avenue. That interest even extends to the stretch across from me (I live in the 1200 block of Florida, & look out on the horrid Kendall Row/Capitol Hill Oasis development). Florida is looking at some major residential development in the coming years. That health food store that was to open at the corner of Trinidad & Florida? Nope, the entire block is being completely redeveloped. Directly across from my house (i.e. the old Jimmy's Tire site)? New residential development. The canary yellow buildings that make up Avila's Car Center at 1124 Florida Ave? Same deal.

What does all of this mean for our little block of galleries? East City Art mulls the question over (spoiler: the strip isn't dead yet).
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Wouldn't you like to be a luxury residential development too?

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

For whatever reason there is a subset of the population that holds on to the notion that a neighborhood with poor housing stock, garbage, empty storefronts, and street crime is somehow acceptable. And it's not driven by some sort of nostalgia for the "old days", as these persons are generally products of the suburbs. I am yet to meet anyone from Kennsington/Philly, Dorchester, the Bronx, Detroit, East St. Louis, or an of the other rough urban areas that Northeast DC resembles.

Those that tout the "I see the goodness in my dirt heap" are delusional and in need of medication. They are escalating their sense of self importance by proselytizing the virtues of "diversity" and being "accepting". Opting to surround oneself with persons with whom one does not share values is outright stupid.

If there is anything that has become evident, it is that displacement is the key to improving the quality of life in our area. I recognizance that with displacement comes elimination of independently owned businesses to include galleries. But as far as I am concerned, this is collateral damage in pursuit of a greater good.

The sooner you embrace this, the sooner the crackbags will disappear from the crabgrass. I should also state that you are welcome to move to Southeast DC where there is plenty of "culture" for you to absorb.

Boris said...

"Displacement is the key to improving the quality of life in our area"
Wow, what a self-righteous loon.

Folks have different visions of development, Anonymous. I don't see Starbucks (it's coming) and neighbors too cold to say "Hi" to one another improved quality of life.

Anonymous said...

Sure, let's keep turning this city into a big corporate suburban shopping mall with ugly condos sandwiched in between. That'll make it better!

Tyrone Biggums said...

I think the key to revitalization is moving out all the old people

inked said...

2:04,
Just to be clear, I wasn't actually complaining about these new developments. I was just pointing out that big changes are coming to a stretch of Florida Ave. OK, I was complaining about Kendall Row, byt mostly becauae it's been under construction or around 7 years.

Anonymous said...

New to the neighborhood, and I have been walking my dog around to explore the area. I was really intrigued by the "earththings4u" sign, and some of the other novel little storefronts I see around. Sad to see these things go before I even get to know what they are.

-Muttnik

Anonymous said...

Bring all the arts stuff to Benning Rd. Lots of space and will be on the streetcar line.

Bladensburg would also work but it'll be less accessible.

Anonymous said...

"Folks have different visions of development, Anonymous. I don't see Starbucks (it's coming) and neighbors too cold to say "Hi" to one another improved quality of life."

I will take emotionally aloof neighbors that work regular jobs and take care of their properties over the friendly degenerates that seem to think nothing of rambling back and forth until 1:00AM on a weeknight.

I will take a Starbucks over a McDonalds, carryout, liquor store, or empty store front any day of the fuckin' week.

Anonymous said...

"Sure, let's keep turning this city into a big corporate suburban shopping mall with ugly condos sandwiched in between. That'll make it better!"

Let's keep this city a cluster of crumbling Federal houses occupied by residents who have no incentive to find jobs yet every incentive to keep bringing children into fatherless homes.

I should mention that you are welcome to move to Barry Farm if you crave a barren swath of land devoid of any semblance of character, unencumbered by corporate interests.

Anonymous said...

"I think the key to revitalization is moving out all the old people"

Yup, displacement. Get rid of the "legacy" residents and bring in people that want to raise families rather than continue families that are contributing to the decay.

Anonymous said...

"Just to be clear, I wasn't actually complaining about these new developments. I was just pointing out that big changes are coming to a stretch of Florida Ave. OK, I was complaining about Kendall Row, byt mostly becauae it's been under construction or around 7 years."

I think the biggest problem with the urban growth in this area is that it's anarchy. The city cannot manage the amount of development occurring, cannot get on top of the illegal additions/demolition, and clearly cannot manage any sort of urban planning.

Anonymous said...

"Bring all the arts stuff to Benning Rd. Lots of space and will be on the streetcar line. Bladensburg would also work but it'll be less accessible."

Why? All the hipsters and their bicycles will show up en masse! Or are you referring the well-heeled folks with cars, the ones that the anti-gentrification crowd seems to abhor? Ironic, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

"Sad to see these things go before I even get to know what they are."

They are nothing more than novel. They never were anything interesting or fascinating. Just skeleton storefronts from days gone by when the area was originally prosperous.

Anonymous said...

@anon 9:11-- come out off the rabbit hole. I have no idea what you are even trying to say.

Benning Road will be on a mass transit line = more accessible.

inked said...

9:11,
Sorry to burst your bubble on this whole us versus them thing, but most of the very avid cyclists I know around here actually own cars.

9:14,
If you really think the only thing that's been around here are "skeleton storefronts from days gone by when the area was originally prosperous," then I don't think you've been paying much attention. Plus, stuff on Florida Avenue/otherwise in Trinidad is located in an area that's historically been working class. I supposed prosperous is a relative term.

Anonymous said...

"If you really think the only thing that's been around here are 'skeleton storefronts from days gone by when the area was originally prosperous,' then I don't think you've been paying much attention."

The original commenter was lamenting the loss of "not being able to see these things go before I even get to know what they are". It is my perspective that he/she is not missing out on the wig shops, nail salons, barber shops, and carryouts. I would lament the loss of not being able to see the Children's Museum [bizarrely interesting], the People's Pharmacy, or the Ohio [closed for probably five years now].

"Plus, stuff on Florida Avenue/otherwise in Trinidad is located in an area that's historically been working class."

"Historically" working class (a really nebulous term, I might add), but no longer. I haven't surveyed every fucker in the neighborhood, but don't think there anyone in Trinidad itself believes the overwhelming major of its residents are gainfully-employed. Ever walk around at 11:00AM on a weekday and see how many folks are idling?

I realize we are venturing into a classic FroTro category on gentrification, displacement, etc. And have clearly gotten way off track from your original post. But at this particular juncture I have a hard time accepting any longer the notion that somehow things are better if left alone. Or left to evolve with vast consideration to the legacy residents/culture.

inked said...

11:51,
The working class bit was a reference to your use of the term prosperous. That word connotes wealth (even it that isn't its only meaning), so I was just pointing out that the majority inhabitants of Trinidad, and the immediate are have traditionally not been particularly monied, and I thus found your word choice slightly odd. I think we all know what working class means they way I was using it. Just to be safe, let's use this definition from the Oxford Dictionary: "the social group consisting of people who are employed for wages, especially in manual or industrial work."

I also think you are wrong on those employment numbers. Aside from the elderly, the vast majority of Trinidad residents are employed. All you have to do is look at the unemployment numbers by Ward to know that. Even in Ward 8, the ward with the highest unemployment rate, unemployment seems to hover between (2012 numbers) 20-25%. Jump to Ward 5 and the number drops to more like 10-12%. Even if you were to make a really big leap & assume that the numbers in Trinidad looked something like 15-20%, I'd say that still means an overwhelming majority of residents are employed.

What I do see around here is a bunch of people who work from home, a bunch of people with unconventional schedules, & plenty of people who work nights/weekends. Just because you see someone in a neighborhood during the day on a weekday does not mean that person is unemployed. For instance, I assume that you have a job. But it also sounds like you were off during the day at least once on a weekday, and moved through the neighborhood. By your highly scientific methods, any of the people who saw you that day should assume be able to safely assume that you are unemployed. See the problem?

I frankly think that Black Supermarket, corner store though it was, was worth knowing about, and visiting. There's a lot of interesting history in some local businesses. I'm not saying one needs to landmark the bulletproof glass liquor store on the corner. Just that I wouldn't be too hasty in dismissing every place around here before you have even visited. Frankly, some of those barbershops on H Street are some pretty interesting places, and I suggest that everyone try the food from Tony's Carryout on H Street. Just because you don't like a place, doesn't mean it's shit.

No one suggested that everything should remain exactly the same. That's not how life works. I like development, & I'd like to think that more apartments might help stop the rents from climbing so insanely. I'm just bummed to lose the art galleries.

heyktb said...

People chuckle when I tell them I moved here from the burbs so I could walk to get a decent cup of coffee. although not a fan of a 5$ starbucks, I DO prefer that business to yet another liquor store selling lottery tickets and cheap hootch instead of the milk and eggs the corner store used to be known for. I enjoy my neighborhood immensely as it is now but still get a little flutter when I see another house or
business with permits in the window. I think for most of us it is a catch 22...we want to see the neighborhood become cleaner, more attractive and less dangerous and offer more services. But at the same time we understand this reality may adversely impact that which we already treasure.

Hillhound528 said...

@inked...thank you for your response. I am so tired of the stereotypes being presented as facts about this and other urban communities.

Anonymous said...

"@inked...thank you for your response. I am so tired of the stereotypes being presented as facts about this and other urban communities."

Eh, don't pet inked too hard. Maybe a scratch behind the ears. Her points are valid but still flawed (for example, persons on disability are not included in unemployment statistics, and there are lots of people on "disability").

Deny whatever you stereotypes you wish, but rest assured that the writing is on the wall: this neighborhood is figuratively and literally being gutted of everything that has held it down.

inked said...

9:14,
I think we can all agree that the area is changing, and that it is doing so very quickly.

That was some quick Sunday afternoon estimation I was doing while taking a break from writing a piece for the Hill Rag). I'm quite sure there are plenty of people who are on disability and thus are not reflected in the unemployment numbers. Also not counted: people who have stopped looking for work.

But you know what? There are also a ton of people around here who work otherwise legal jobs under the table. They might be handymen, lawn guys, part of a work crew, ect. They aren't going to show up in the unemployment numbers, but if you were to look at total not working percentage above a certain age, they would throw your numbers off again bk they work (at least to some degree) in the gray economy. I think were are both saying that though we want numbers like this to be hard, they are still pretty squishy.

Anonymous said...

I feel that it's very important for me to say something here. I'm really excites about the new development. It's gonna clean a lot up around here. And you know, there are an awful lot of prople milling around in Trinidad during the middle of the day.

Alan Page said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alan Page said...

"New to the neighborhood, and I have been walking my dog around to explore the area. I was really intrigued by the "earththings4u""

@Muttnik/anon12:02

The vegan wraps at Earth Things 4 U are AWESOME, as are the vegan desserts. Do yourself a favor and stop in...

Can't recall if they took cards, so bring cash, just in case.

ps: Is there a way to disable anonymous comments for threads related to race or gentrification? The most reasonable posts in such threads usually have a name attached. It also makes conversations between posters easier to follow if users have names.

Alan Page said...

On a side note, the galleries regularly have very interesting exhibits, so please check them out while they're still here...

inked said...

Alan,
Most of the sketchy comments come from a single troll, but he's got multiple logins, so it doesn't keep him out.

Hello said...

I would like to second the comment way up there that says: "I will take emotionally aloof neighbors that work regular jobs and take care of their properties over the friendly degenerates that seem to think nothing of rambling back and forth until 1:00AM on a weeknight."



Terry said...

Maybe the problem isn't a "troll". Maybe the problem is that people other very valid opinions that you don't agree with.

Alan Page said...

@Terry

"Troll" is a specific online term for someone who deliberately uses incendiary language or takes an incendiary position not because he or she believes it, but merely for the sake of watching a discussion burst into flames. Using multiple logins to keep entering a discussion repeatedly after being banned is a different variation of this. It would be the equivalent of being asked to leave a dinner party for being boorish, then continuing to argue with occupants still in the house, from the front yard, by leaning into an open window. In other words, it's asinine behavior.

Anonymous said...

There's a fine line between trolling and raising valid points about controversial topics. I don't think this line has been crossed. I also don't think there's anything "sketchy" about making aggressive assertions.

Anonymous said...

""Troll" is a specific online term for someone who deliberately uses incendiary language or takes an incendiary position not because he or she believes it, but merely for the sake of watching a discussion burst into flames."

The language I have been using and positions I have been taken might be incendiary, but not for the sake of being incendiary.

I firmly believe without reservation that there is a subset of the population in our area that believes it is important that we salvage cultural conditions of the neighborhood, even if it infringes upon the quality of life of others. And believe that those comprising that subset are delusional.

Anonymous said...

"I would like to second the comment way up there that says: "I will take emotionally aloof neighbors that work regular jobs and take care of their properties over the friendly degenerates that seem to think nothing of rambling back and forth until 1:00AM on a weeknight."

Case in point -- I have a new set of neighbors about six doors down. Gave me a casual "hello" when they walked past, nothing overwhelmingly warm or joyful. But wouldn't you know it, all of their garbage was bagged and in a city bin on garbage day rather than overflowing onto the curb from an old round barrel?

Anonymous said...

"Is there a way to disable anonymous comments for threads related to race or gentrification? The most reasonable posts in such threads usually have a name attached."

Reasonable? Or comments that align with your own thinking? Why do you wish to know my identity? So you can Google me and make some judgement about my character ("he's from Texas, he must be racist")?

inked said...

I like to think I'm pretty careful with the troll label. I don't see any comments from that troll here. I'm speaking of a specific person who comes on sometimes and often leaves 10-20 comments on different posts with a few minutes. I'm NOT talking about people who leave real comments (whether they agree with me or not).

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to the day when the stretch of commercial spaces on Montello ave (between Queen and Holbrook) are filled with something interesting. I say less than 5 years someone takes a chance on the space.

Anonymous said...

"I'm looking forward to the day when the stretch of commercial spaces on Montello ave (between Queen and Holbrook) are filled with something interesting. I say less than 5 years someone takes a chance on the space."

What, you don't leave your kids at the daycare there?

Anonymous said...

Honestly, the things written by the trolls are the most interesting about this blog.

inked said...

Now that ^^^ is what a troll comment looks like.

Alan Page said...

"Why do you wish to know my identity?"

So I can tell you from every other Anonymous. There are about 12 anonymous posts in this thread. Just make up a psuedonym already, is it that difficult?

As a side note, strawman arguments - where you argue against something no one in the thread has said ("it is important that we salvage cultural conditions of the neighborhood, even if it infringes upon the quality of life of others") - is a sure sign of either (a) a troll or (b) someone with nothing useful to add to the discussion. No one here has argued "We must keep these art galleries, so that they can infringe on the quality of life of Anonymous!". What in the name of God are you talking about? Stay on topic. We're discussing whether or not residential development displacing art galleries is progress or regrettable. No one arguing in favor of littering here.

Here's another pointless comment: "all of their garbage was bagged and in a city bin on garbage day rather than overflowing onto the curb from an old round barrel". Who is arguing in favor of not properly disposing of your trash?

And how did a post about the displacement of art galleries devolve into accusations that someone (unnamed?) has a round barrel instead of a city trash can? Sigh.

Anonymous said...

The garbage thing is neither here nor there. There's a city service to take care if that. I usually just toss it in a neighbors can anyway.