Shaw Streets

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Entries for the gingerbread house competition at the City Market at O Winter Festival. Photo: Alexander Padro

Shaw Celebrates the Holidays
Shaw started the holiday season with a series of ribbon-cuttings marking Small Business Saturday and a winter festival at City Market at O on Nov. 30.

Small Business Saturday, a national event supporting holiday shopping at local businesses, was marked by the Shaw Main Streets organization with ribbon-cuttings at new neighborhood businesses. The event started at Harlot, the new restaurant at 2001 11th St. NW, in the old Bohemian Caverns space, where Shaw Main Streets Executive Director Alexander Padro, Councilmember Brianne Nadeau and DC Director of Nightlife and Culture Shawn Townsend joined proprietor Alain Kalantar to point out how important establishments like Harlot are to the health of the District’s commercial life.

From there, the group moved to the hot new restaurant Nina May (1337 11th St. NW), Korean barbeque spot Gogi Yogi (1921 Eighth St. NW) and the Glow Club meditation center (1913 Ninth St. NW).

Roasting smores at the City Market at O Winter Festival. Photo: Pleasant Mann

In the afternoon, City Market at O closed Jeff Coudriet Way to set up its winter festival. A bandstand offered live music at one end of the street, a WPGC DJ was stationed at the other end and fire pits and activity booths filled the space in between. The ever-popular electric train returned to whisk children around the City Market blocks.

Local food vendors, including Dolci Gelati and the soon to open Oyster, Oyster, set up stands to offer samples. Particularly popular was a portable oven from Oro Pizza that provided free slices to festivalgoers all afternoon.

There was also a lot of activity at the Shaw Main Streets booth, where a gingerbread house competition and Shaw Bingo netted participants prizes, and $2,000 in “Shawbucks” was distributed to attendees to spend at neighborhood businesses.

At sunset, Richard Lake, principal of Roadside Development, the developer of City Market at O, appeared to light the Christmas tree perched on one of the complex’s buildings. The festivities closed with a band playing a go-go version of the new-wave classic “Walking on Sunshine,” which summed up the day.

Shaw Small Business Saturday ribbon-cutting at the Nina May restaurant. Photo: Pleasant Mann

Convention Center Starts Streetscape Project
Events DC, operator of the Washington Convention Center in Shaw, held a noon groundbreaking ceremony Dec. 12 to kick off improvements to the building’s streetscape. After a decade and a half of convention center activity, Events DC realized that its streetscape needed upgrading if it was to meet the needs of conventioneers and exploit the commercial potential of the neighborhood.

World-renowned architectural firm OMA was hired to develop a new streetscape plan that features lighting, art, new retail kiosks, digital signage, planters and outdoor furnishings to activate and integrate the exterior of the Convention Center with the surrounding neighborhood.

At the groundbreaking, Mayor Muriel Bowser noted that “this project is going to bring in more of what our residents, visitors and businesses like – jobs, opportunity and places to enjoy DC.” Phase 1 of the project, creating new retail kiosks and a rooftop terrace, will be completed by the end of 2020. Phase 2, which includes the installation of public art and construction of a new Metro entrance to the convention center, will take until the end of 2021. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $41 million.

Shaw Schools Make the Grade
According to the latest DC School Report Card, provided by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, all of Shaw’s five elementary schools are now considered highly rated. Under the School Transparency and Reporting (STAR) Framework, four Shaw elementary schools (Garrison, Ross, Seaton and Thomson) now get four out of five stars under the framework, while one (Cleveland) gets three stars.

Unfortunately, there is no Shaw Middle School to support these young scholars as they leave the elementary level, only a placeholder program at the one-star-rated Cardozo Education Campus. The DC Council mandated that DC Public Schools (DCPS) study the feasibility of a Shaw middle school, and there was a letter from DCPS to the community last June announcing the task, yet there has been no mention of the effort from DCPS since then.

Green Almond Pantry Gets Accolades
Shaw’s Green Almond Pantry has continued to receive attention and praise, most recently from Esquire magazine and the Washington Post. The shop made the periodical’s list of “Best New Restaurants in America, 2019” even though it only offers lunch-counter service. Esquire reviewer Jeff Gordinier was particularly impressed by the braised artichoke from chef-owner Cagla Onal-Urel. Green Almond Pantry also appeared on Washington Post critic Tim Carman’s list of top 10 favorite restaurants this year, taking the number two spot on the list. 

Mayor Bowser inaugurates the new streetscape project at the Washington
Convention Center. Photo by Alexander Padro.

Shaw Celebrates Carter G. Woodson’s Birthday
On Dec. 15, the National Park Service, along with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, commemorated the 144th birthday of Shaw’s own Carter G. Woodson, the Father of Black History. The event was held in the auditorium at Seaton Elementary School, next to the Woodson Home National Historic Site.

The celebration program included remarks from DC Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, along with performances by Kiamsha Youth Empowerment and the DC Strings Workshop.

A highpoint of the event was the reenactment by Phil Darius Wallace, who took on the persona of Carter G. Woodson, quoting from some of Dr. Woodson’s famous speeches and bringing the young people in the audience into his performance.

The event ended with Jeff Howard, of the architectural firm Howard+Revis, outlining how the historic site will look and operate once its reception and interpretation centers are completed. Tara D. Morrison, superintendent, National Capital Parks-East, announced that completion of the Woodson Historic Site will take two more years.