Shaw Streets

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Gelato America Festival brings crowds to City Market at O. Photo: Pleasant Mann

Namaste Mural Dedicated in Shaw
At noon on October 2, Shaw Main Streets held a dedication ceremony for the mural that was recently completed on the north wall of Wagtime Pet Spa and Boutique. The mural, entitled “Namaste,” which means bow in Sanskrit and is a popular Hindu greeting used both upon meeting and departing, depicts a woman in a yoga pose levitating, surrounded by nature. The mural is the work of noted DC muralist Aniekan Udofia, who was commissioned by the Murals DC program this summer. Wagtime owns the building and donated the wall as a canvas for the work. The mural is a tribute to Lisa Schreiber, founder and co-owner of Wagtime. Schreiber, a former Shaw Main Streets board member, died in 2018 at the age of 45.

Namaste mural at Wagtime. Photo: Pleasant Mann. The Namaste Mural.

The dedication ceremony started at the northeast corner of Ninth and N Streets, which has a perfect view of the mural diagonally across the street. Shaw Main Streets Executive Director Alexander Padro started by explaining that the idea of adding a mural to the building’s north wall had been under consideration for several years, but began to gain momentum after Schreiber’s passing. Instructors from Shaw Yoga, in nearby Naylor Court, explained some of the symbols and meaning illustrated in the mural. Then, Ofer Khal, Lisa Schreiber’s husband and owner of Wagtime, explained how he collaborated with the artist to come up with a mural that expressed the values that his late wife lived by.

The dedication ceremony moved to Wagtime when a group of mural artists, DC officials, and guests from arts and tourism organizations surveying new Murals DC projects arrived. There, artist Aniekan Udofia explained to the group what he was trying to express in the mural. Finally, Padro released a box of monarch butterflies to close out the dedication.

Shaw Holds Gelato America Festival
On Sept. 7-8, the Gelato Festival Washington DC, part of the World of Gelato competitions, was held in Shaw for the second straight year at City Market at O. The sunny weather brought crowds to Jeff Coudriet Way to sample gelato vendors, competing chefs and production demonstrations. Chefs from the Carpigiani Gelato University gave demonstrations on how to make gelato and other frozen treats, while participants sampled freshly made gelatos with exotic flavorings and witnessed themed contests, such as a gelato scoop stacking competition.

Gelato America Festival brings crowds to City Market at O. Photo: Pleasant Mann

The most important aspect of the Gelato America Festival, however, was its competition between gelato chefs from around the country. The winners will be able to move on to the Gelato Festival World Masters tournament, international competitions that will eventually lead to someone being declared the World’s Best Gelato Chef. The winner at Gelato Festival D.C. 2019 was Savannah G. Lee from Savannah’s Gelato Kitchen in San Francisco, who came in first place with her All American flavor, a frozen tribute to the American apple pie. Second place went to Lauren Tamm of Iorio’s Gelato in Kentwood, Michigan with Mango Raspberry Cashew. Third place was taken by Ezequiel Gomez from Gelato Gourmet, Weston, Florida with a gelato called Coconut Love.

Shaw: Gay No More?
Is Shaw no longer DC’s Best Gayborhood? After winning the title in the Washington Blade readers’ poll for three straight years, this year’s survey inexplicably puts Dupont Circle and Logan Circle ahead of Shaw as a gayborhood in the hearts of Blade readers. Perhaps the loss of Town Danceboutique has meant that Shaw is no longer automatically recognized as the center of the community’s gay life. Still, if the Blade poll is to be believed, Shaw is still the place to go for the District’s gay residents. Nellie’s Drag Brunch is still the Best Drag Show in Town. Other Shaw establishments that won praise from the Blade readership were Compass Coffee (Best Coffee Shop), Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. (Best Locally Made Product), Atlantic Plumbing building (Best Apartment/Condo Building), the 9:30 Club (Best Live Music), Landmark Atlantic Plumbing Theater (Best Movie Theater) and Dacha Beer Garden (Best Straight Bar). Also, for the record, Dacha made the list of the 26 Best Beer Gardens in America according to Thrillist.com.

Banneker Community Meeting October 28
On Monday evening, October 28, the DC Public Schools will hold a meeting for the Shaw community on the progress in the design and construction of the new Banneker Academic High School on the old Shaw Junior High School site. The meeting will be at the Watha T. Daniel Library (1630 Seventh Street NW) in the basement meeting room at 6:00 p.m. This is part of a series of meetings with neighborhood residents to give an update on the project’s progress and to receive feedback from the community on its plans for the Banneker High School. Since the last community meeting in July, proposed site plans for the project appear to diminish the amount of park space, including the community’s dog park and skate park, a reversal from previous promises. For more information, the point of contact for the Banneker project is Joi Ruffin, who can be reached at joi.ruffin@k12.dc.gov.