Shaw Main Streets Holds Annual Meeting
Shaw Main Streets held its annual meeting for the community on the evening of March 19 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. The meeting reviewed the accomplishments of the organization for the past year, announced the winners of the Best New Shaw Business poll for 2018 and got community approval for new members of the Shaw Main Streets board of directors.
Shaw Main Streets Board Chair Gretchen Wharton started the meeting by welcoming the crowd of almost a hundred. Then Alexander Padro, executive director of Shaw Main Streets, reviewed the organization’s highlights for the past year. Shaw saw 24 new businesses open in 2018, producing 446 new jobs. “A Taste of Shaw” raised $110,000 in private funds for the organization. Shaw businesses received favorable attention from a number of “Best of” reader polls in the City Paper, Washingtonian, Washington Blade and Post Express, along with notable reviews from media such as the Michelin Guide and RAMMY awards from the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington. Shaw Main Streets participated in the DC Pride Parade for the first time, even though Shaw has been voted “Best Gayborhood” for three years running in the Washington Blade reader’s poll. The year saw the first #SweatinShaw, where visitors could try out the neighborhood’s fitness establishments. Notably, the Shaw Art All Night Festival brought a record 24,000 visitors to the neighborhood, generating an estimated $1.6 million in additional spending at local businesses, along with $159,000 in District tax revenue, during the one-night event.
Then Lauren Atkins from the Department of Small and Local Business (DSLDB) stepped up to announce that Shaw Main Streets has received approval to expand its boundaries westward to include 11th Street. She also mentioned that Mayor Bowser has doubled the number of Main Streets programs in the District, with DC soon to be tied with Boston for the largest number in the nation.
Padro went on to outline the future for Shaw businesses. Seven new businesses have opened in Shaw during the first quarter of 2019. The Apple Store at Carnegie Library will open in the late spring. The office building at 655 New York Ave. NW is complete and will start to see new commercial tenants on the ground floor soon. A number of apartment and condominium buildings in the neighborhood will be finished this year, including The Shaw and The Adora on Wiltburger Street, The Perla on Ninth Street and The Wren on Florida Avenue, bringing more retail activity to the neighborhood. Shaw Main Streets will be one of the organizations implementing the DC Water Northeast Boundary Tunnel Business Impact Mitigation Project, assisting businesses affected by the major sewer construction planned along Rhode Island Avenue. And Shaw will celebrate Art All Night again this year on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 14.
DSLDB Director Kristi Whitfield and Shawn Townsend, director of the DC Office of Nightlife and Culture, helped present the Best New Shaw Business of 2018 awards. The winner for Best New Business was The Shop at Shaw, the hip salon located at The Shay complex. The award for first runner-up was taken by Morris American Bar on Seventh Street. San Lorenzo restaurant and Gaslight Tavern tied for second runner-up honors.
The meeting ended with the election of members of the Shaw Main Streets board of directors. New members on the board include B. Doyle Mitchell, president and CEO of Industrial Bank, Kristie Lee Tyler, vice president of Lee’s Flower and Card Shop, and Todd Weiss, founding principal of Roadside Development, the developers of City Market at O and other projects in Shaw and the District. Previous board members Gretchen Wharton, Mario A. DiFranco and Bob Yule were reelected to the board. After the annual meeting ended, attendees socialized, with refreshments catered by the Marriott Marquis.
Shaw Gets Monster Mural
One recent addition to Shaw’s treasure trove of public art is the mural on the side of the recently opened Zeppelin restaurant at the southwest corner of Ninth and Q streets NW. The monochromatic mural by artist Patrick Owens is a mixture of tributes to famous movie monsters, with Godzilla at the center, along with 20th-century aviation images and Japanese street scenes.
But a number of Shaw residents complained that something was missing. A story picked up by Popville and the Washington Post explained how community activism solved the problem. When Shaw resident and young kaiju enthusiast Konrad Anderson saw the developing mural, he noticed that one favorite monster, Mothra, a giant insect featured in a number of movies, was missing. After pointing this out to the artist and providing his own illustration of the monster to help, Mothra was eventually added to the wall. The story of the mural offers “a lesson in persistence and the power of advocacy when done right,” according to Washington Post columnist Theresa Vargas. You can see a video of Konrad’s discussion with the artist on his mother’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/maggie.koziol.
Shaw is home to more than a hundred of DC’s finest restaurants and bars, drawing foodies and cocktail lovers from around the world. Shaw Main Streets will highlight this fact at Eat.Drink.Shaw. on Wednesday evening, April 24, at the Howard Theater. This annual event (formerly A Taste of Shaw) showcases the work of more than 20 outstanding chefs, bakers, mixologists and brewers who call Shaw home.
Enjoy unlimited food and drinks from some of DC’s most celebrated restaurants and bars, and meet the chefs and bartenders who have made Shaw an international dining and entertainment destination. Live entertainment will include performances by Christylez Bacon and Bee Boisseau. When the free photo booth, gift bag and complimentary valet parking are thrown in, an $80 ticket gives you $300 in value.
Tickets to Eat.Drink.Shaw., available on EventBrite, are $80 in advance and $100 at the door. Details are available at www.EatDrinkShaw.com.