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Thursday, February 29, 2024

East Side News

‘NoMa Green’ No More
A construction date for the space locals have referred to as “NoMa Green” has been set; now all that’s left is to give it a name. Coming off the success of the public process to name the park at Third and L streets Swampoodle Park, the NoMa Parks Foundation is again asking the community for input in naming the soon-to-be space.

What will be NoMa’s largest official park, NoMa Green is located along the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) and Harry Thomas Way NE. The 2.5-acres will serve as the neighborhood’s backyard, “providing open space for informal recreation, relaxation and community gatherings, as well as a dedicated playground for children and a dog park,” according to the NoMa Parks Foundation.

Suggestions have been submitted through a small neighborhood discussion, and the four most popular answers have been presented to the public for a vote.

Here is the background on the top four names:

Tanner Park – Named for Alethia Browning Tanner (c. 1785-1864), a former slave who purchased her freedom and that of many relatives. She helped sponsor some of the first schools for black children in the District of Columbia and provided financial support for many hundreds of young people to gain access to education.

Gales Wood – The land that became the present-day Eckington neighborhood was the country home of Joseph Gales Jr. (1786-1860), a newspaper publisher and mayor of Washington. After the Civil War, the area was known as Gales Woods and was a popular picnic ground.

Met Branch Commons – This name acknowledges the adjacency and the integration of the Metropolitan Branch Trail into the park.

Union Green – This name reflects the history of the site, which became a railyard after the consolidation of the B&O Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks at Union Station. This consolidation enabled the creation of the National Mall.

The final decision will technically be up to the Mayor’s Office, but if history is a judge (and in an election year), she will likely side with the public. The deadline to vote is June 15. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NameTheNoMaGreen

Jones-ing for Summer
Union Market officially kicked off the summer season of events with the first in its drive-in movie series. “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” was a big draw for families and childless but childlike adults of all ages.

This season’s lineup includes many favorites new and old, from “Cool Runnings” to “Clueless” to “Black Panther.” Tickets are $10 per car and free for walkups. The lot opens for parking at 6 p.m., and the movie starts when the sun goes down enough to see it. It’s not an exact science, but that’s part of the fun.

Unlike the drive-ins of old, attendees don’t really sit in their cars. Picnic chairs and blankets are highly recommended. The food in the market closes down between 7 and 8 p.m., so get there early for market movie treats.

All Shouk Up
As the development of the Union Market area expands, so do the possibilities for taste buds, and the new Shouk location in The Edison is no exception. The Israel-inspired fast casual restaurant opened its second location in DC on the Fifth Street side of the new apartment building and offered a free pita bowl for the first 100 guests at the grand opening.

Cofounders Ran Nussbacher and Dennis Friedman opened their first establishment in Mount Vernon Triangle and were determined to grow from that success. “We’re excited to be able to reach more people in the Union Market area. They planted the seeds for restaurants and markets to thrive here … and now our plants can grow!” explains Nussbacher. The space also includes ample seating for those who want to eat that pita immediately.

The new location is an expansion on the original, with a larger marketplace and a refrigerated section for pre-made meals to grab and eat at home. The market will provide niche items of Middle Eastern provenance, and the pre-made foods will include soups, spreads and plant-based cheeses, including hummus, cashew labneh, harissa and almond feta as well as new offerings like the nutrient-packed black lentil spread and sweet chocolate hummus. Most importantly to Shouk fans, the cardamom cookies will be available in to-go packets for the grabbing.

New to this location is an eggplant pita, a twist on a traditional Israeli breakfast sandwich known as sabich. The eggplant is served with pickled cabbage, potato, grilled onions, roasted red peppers and tahini. The secret to the equation is the amba, a traditional pickled mango sauce.

Shouk was inspired by Israeli street food and driven by the founders’ desire to make plant-based food that tastes great and is easily accessible. The menu includes snacks like polenta fries with tomato sauce, alongside signature soups and salads. Shouk also serves beer as well as soda and juice.

The word “shouk” is based on “souq,” which literally translates as marketplace. Nussbacher and Friedman are happy to get back to their roots and have a stake in the Union Market space.


Taylor Barden Golden is a real estate agent with the Stokes Group at McEnearney Associates Inc. A former Hill staffer, Taylor lives in Brentwood with her husband, two dogs and a cat. She’s always on the lookout for new places to explore and ways to spend time outside. Get in touch: taylor@midcitydcnews.com; @rtaylorb.

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