The Kids in the Triangle group (KITT) helps neighborhood families get the benefits of a small town in the middle of a booming city. From yoga classes to parent forums to swim lessons, KITT is making it easier and more fun for kids to grow up in DC.
Started in 2010 by Michelle Martin, KITT evolved from a group of four families at City Vista to over 100 members who live in MVT, Mount Vernon Square and Shaw. Martin, her husband and their four-week-old daughter swam against the tide and moved back into DC from the suburbs.
“It felt like overnight, there were pregnant people everywhere,”Martin said when describing the changing population in MVT. In fact, according to the US Census, the number of children in DC under age five has increased at the same rate as the city’s overall population.
Instead of backyards and barbecues, families in MVT take advantage of the outdoor green space and rooftop pools many of the neighborhood’s apartment buildings feature. The MVT CID hosts several kid-friendly events, including Halloween trick-or-treating and a Santa celebration, and local businesses donate drinks and toys.
The ANC and Mount Vernon ANC commissioner Rachelle Nigro have also supported urban families as they make the city their home. “Rachelle helped get the Kennedy playground cleaned up, and she listens to the needs of the neighbors,”Martin said.
“We’re seeing an increase of families staying,”Nigro said. “We need more amenities for them to make sure they stay, which also ties into a better school system. We want to form a great neighborhood with different age groups.”
In addition to offering social activities, KITT hosted an education forum to help families navigate the lottery system.“Our job is to share the information we have,”Martin said. “Why should other parents spend hours and hours reinventing the wheel?”
Contact Kids in the Triangle by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Korean Cuisine on K Street
Celebrating their fourth anniversary in MVT, Mandu has made bulgogi and kimchi a staple on K Street. From a booming lunch scene to the happy hour sojutinis to a late-night bar menu, Mandu has something for everyone.
Danny Lee, who owns and manages Mandu with his mother Yesoon, lived in MVT for many years and remembers when the landscape of the neighborhood was dominated by parking lots. So when City Vista contacted him about adding a second location of his Dupont Circle restaurant, Lee saw a great opportunity.
“I knew if we hit the timing right before it exploded…and managed the business properly, after a couple years it would pay off,”Lee explained.
Now that Mandu is firmly rooted in the neighborhood, Lee is occasionally shaking up the status quo and opening up a pop-up in his restaurant called Anju, which means “bar food”in Korean. With guest chefs, brand new drinks and $6 plates, this recurring late-night event is bringing even more attention to MVT.
“Our mission was to win over the neighborhood,”Lee said, adding, “The community has been very supportive. It has been incredibly touching for my family and me.”
There’s also a sense of camaraderie among the neighborhood business owners. During the derecho a few years ago, an umbrella smashed through the front window at Mandu. “Employees from the other restaurants helped our manager clean up and keep the place safe,”Lee said.
“We’re still just a small, family restaurant,”Lee said.
Contact Mandu (mandudc.com) at 453 K Street NW, Washington, DC, 20001, by emailing email@example.com by calling 202-289-6899.
The Quest for the Perfect Manicure
Q-West Nails 2 opened a year ago, and they’ve already proven they’re as tough as nails. They bounced back after the neighboring building collapsed and forced them to close for two weeks, but even a crumbling gentlemen’s club can’t take them down.
Sisters Kathy and Lina Tran opened their first Q-West Nails in Dupont Circle in 1998 and took their time looking for the right neighborhood for their second location. Gina Schaefer, owner of Ace Hardware, encouraged the Tran sisters to come to MVT.
“We’re trying to make it the best we can,”Kathy said. “We’re here to help everybody —ladies and gentlemen, too.”
This full-service, two-floor nail salon has eight massaging pedicure chairs, six manicure stations and over 200 regular and gel colors to choose from. The ground floor can be reserved for bridal groups or birthday parties.
“Many nail salons feel rushed and impersonal, but Q-West is not that kind of place,”City Vista resident Tarcy Thompson said. “They are very professional and do a fantastic mani/pedi. If you want a little pampering, it’s a great place and a welcomeaddition to MVT.”
Q-West is featuring a couple of winter specials, including a gel manicure and pedicure for $55 and is offering discounts during Ace Hardware’s annual Ladies’Night event. The Tran sisters are looking forward to more businesses joining them along K Street.
“We’re very happy we’re here,” Lina said.
Contact Q-West Nails 2 (www.qwestnail.com) at 468 K Street NW, Washington, DC, 20001 or by calling 202-289-5000.