Bloomingdale Buzz

Bloomingdale Buzz

MidCity DC Magazine July 2015Tracing Bloomingdale’s History Thanks to Cultural Tourism DC your next neighborhood stroll can be an educational trip. One of the latest projects is entitled “Worthy Ambition,the LeDroit Park-Bloomingdale Heritage Trail,” and it includes 16 signs that trace the people and historical events that shaped these communities. In the late 19th century neighborhoods such as Bloomingdale developed along streetcar lines and drew residents who worked downtown or at Howard University. “Bloomingdale’s location speaks to era of development of DC,” said historian Sarah Shoenfeld of Prologue DC, who worked on this project. “Its architecture is iconic, with turreted roofs, first floors set up and back from the street, and big bay windows. Its row houses are representative of some prolific developers in DC.” Examples of noted developers’ work, including houses built or designed by Harry Wardman, Lewis Breuninger, Thomas Haislip, and Francis Blundon, can be viewed from the corner of 1st and V streets. Some developers, such as Middaugh & Shannon, placed racially restrictive deed covenants on their houses. “Some of their houses were more modest and more affordable for African-Americans, but they weren’t allowed to buy them,” Shoenfeldnoted. Among Prologue DC’s latest projects is one entitled “Mapping Segregation in DC,” which explores why many of DC’s “historically black” neighborhoods were once exclusively white, and how the city’s racial geography has been shaped by segregation. “Bloomingdale is a good case study for tension between gentrification and affordable housing, including the pop-up issue,” Shoenfeldsaid. “It’s a mix of newcomers and long-time residents, it’s racially integrated, and there’s a real sense of neighborhood pride.” Contact Cultural Tourism DC at...
More Mount Vernon Triangle

More Mount Vernon Triangle

MidCity DC MagazineFebruary 2015Tots in the Triangle 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...
Mount Vernon Triangle

Mount Vernon Triangle

MidCity DC MagazineMay 2015More than Just a Pretty Face Paul Wharton wears many hats without ever ruining his signature mane of gorgeous hair. With his characteristic mix of drive, talent, and verve Wharton uses his expertise as a beauty and lifestyle expert to help everyone, from aspiring models to DC families in need. “You never know which of your projects is going to take off and you always have to be thinking about what’s next … because in my business, you have to be willing to hear nine no’s to get to one yes,” Wharton said. This MVT resident grew up in metro DC, and his parents, his sister, and his nieces still reside in the area. Although he lived in New York for a number of years and started his career there, he keeps coming back to DC. “I knew that DC made me happier, and I wanted to feel that sense of consistency and home,” Wharton said. “I love my neighborhood.” The ever-stylish Wharton has had an impressive career as a fashion and beauty guru. He started as a model for the Wilhelmina Modeling Agency, then became a model coach on shows such as “MADE,” “The Agency,” and “She’s Got the Look” and did makeovers on “The Ricki Lake Show.” He was a supporting cast member on “Real Housewives of DC” and he now hosts “The Paul Wharton Style Show” on the CW Television Network, in addition to being the go-to fashion expert on Fox 5. His latest project is a line of skin-care products, called Conquer Beauty, developed with Dr. Paul Ruff. Despite his packed schedule...
Bloomingdale Buzz

Bloomingdale Buzz

MidCity DC MagazineMarch 2015 DC is Her Piece of the Rock For Natalie Hopkinson, Bloomingdale is both her home and a dynamic laboratory where she is able to witness the effects of gentrification. By examining the interplay of race, culture and the arts, Hopkinson is raising all the right questions about how and why DC is changing. Hopkinson and her family have been Bloomingdale residents since 2000, and in that time, she’s marveled at the dizzying amount of changes in her neighborhood, including home renovations, new restaurants and even a yoga studio. “I feel like I’m able to move around in the city pretty well, and I don’t have to go too far to do anything,” Hopkinson, who works from home, said. A former staff writer and editor for The Washington Post and The Root, Hopkinson is a journalism professor, a member of the Humanities Council, a fellow of the Interactivity Foundation and the author of two books, including Go-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City. She pursues each facet of her work with characteristic passion, curiosity and candor. At a recent community event at Big Bear Cafe, Hopkinson and other panelists discussed gentrification. “When you talk about gentrification, you can’t not talk about race,” Hopkinson said. “Be willing to have conversations about how it plays out. If you’re able to push through discomfort, you can find common ground.” “There’s been a huge historic reversal–white flight then white return,” Hopkinson said. “To see it family by family, resident by resident, dog by dog, restaurant by restaurant has influenced a lot of projects I’m doing around...
Mount Vernon Triangle

Mount Vernon Triangle

MidCity DC MagazineJanuary 2015 Main Street Maven Gina Schaefer claims that laziness led her to open her first hardware store in Logan Circle in 2003. The nearest one was two miles roundtrip from her home, and Schaefer wanted a closer option. With her husband and business partner, Marc Friedman, Schaefer has opened another eight hardware stores in DC and Baltimore and has reinvented the urban Main Street. They recently moved the Logan Circle store a few blocks away, and they hope to relocate their Glover Park store (which is closing January 15th) within that neighborhood. “Communities are stronger if people know their merchants,”Schaefer said. “We like the managers and staff to act like they’re the merchants. You can’t go into any big box business and get that feeling. I start itching when someone says, ‘Wal-Mart.’” “We are very fiercely locally focused,”Schaefer said. “We have a Made in DC program,”which is an initiative of Think Local First DC, an organization that promotes locally-owned businesses; Schaefer serves on the board. Her commitment to her community has also led Schaefer to serve on the board of the House of Ruth and to work closely with Jubilee Jobs, which helps people overcome various obstacles to find jobs and achieve economic independence. “We want everyone to gain skills that will take them to bigger positions,”Schaefer said. “We just promoted someone who came from Jubilee Jobs to assistant manager. I love hiring local residents.” The 5th Street Ace in Mount Vernon Triangle (MVT) was Schaefer and Friedman’s 5th store. The 8,000 square foot space features a mural by local artist Jay Hudson, which depicts tools...