Shaw Emerges from Pandemic Crisis

Shaw Streets

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Lost & Found takes a chunk out of Ninth Street for additional seating. Photo: Pleasant Mann

When Mayor Bowser moved the District to Phase Two of its Coronavirus Reopening Plan, Shaw businesses could start to see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Restaurants were able to begin serving meals indoors as well as outdoors, retail stores could now allow customers inside and services such as gyms, cryotherapy and nail salons could reopen with restrictions.

Lost & Found was the first to take advantage of a provision of the District’s emergency law by putting tables and chairs for patrons in the curb lane in front of the bar.  An application for a “Streatery” has been submitted for Blagden Alley, allowing the eating and drinking establishments there to set up additional tables. A number of other applications to use public space in Shaw are expected soon. ServiceBar was able to expand by renting a yard across the street, creating a cocktail garden with socially distanced tables.

There are some signs of a brighter future in Shaw. The website PoPville reports that the new Whole Foods Market at 965 Florida Avenue NW, on the northern edge of Shaw, is scheduled to open on July 21. Also, the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington announced that they will be holding a live event for this year’s RAMMY hospitality awards show on September 20. It will be held at the Washington Convention Center, with a format adhering to current public health guidelines.

Shaw starts to take off the boards with its Wood for Good project. Photo: Pleasant Mann

Wood for Good Effort Starts in Shaw
Things got tense in Shaw for a couple of nights during the Black Lives Matter protests in DC. With some businesses suffering broken windows, theft of tens of thousands of dollars of inventory and equipment, and even arson, most in the neighborhood took to boarding up their windows to protect themselves. Now that the storm has passed, the community is faced with what to do with all the surplus lumber. Shaw Main Streets, with support from the Urban Athletic Club, has come up with a solution to this problem by launching the DC Wood for Good project.

Wood for Good is asking that businesses and property owners donate their unwanted plywood to the project. Then local artists and creators will be invited to transform this wood into works of art, benches and planters, and other items that are useful to the community. While some of the items would end up becoming part of community improvements, some of these artworks will be auctioned and the proceeds used to support local movements that promote equality. Some art may also be displayed during the Art All Night DC festival in September.

Shaw restaurants move out to the streets and alleys as District reopens. Photo: Pleasant Mann

If you want to donate excess plywood, you should register at  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dc-wood-for-good-tickets-108783895560 to select a date and time for your drop off. Then please deliver your plywood to Parcel 42, located at the northeast corner of Seventh and R Streets NW (near the Shaw Library) at the appointed time. Please be sure to remove all nails, screws, and other sharp objects.

If you are an artist, craftsperson or part of a community group that wants to use the wood, send an email to shawmainstreetsinc@gmail.com with your contact information and proposed use for the wood. You will be contacted after inventory is made ready for pick up. Based on your project description and the quantity of wood provided, you may be asked to post images of your finished work on Instagram using hashtag #woodforgood, donate items for a charity auction, or make work available for display during the Art All Night DC festival in September.

Shaw Supports Black Lives Matter Protests
Shaw saw a lot of the Black Lives Matter protests in June, as people marched to support justice for George Floyd and other victims of police violence. As marchers wound through the neighborhood to rally downtown, a number of Shaw businesses stepped up to support them. Dacha, Ivey and Coney and the 9:30 Club set up as a supply stops for masks, gloves, water and snacks as well as serving as safe spaces for the protesters. Right Proper Brewing brewed a beer, called Say Their Names, with all proceeds going to the DMV Black Lives Matter. Also, the non-profit Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) set up a COVID testing site outside the Howard Theater on June 13, offering free tests to protesters who may have been exposed to the coronavirus during their activities.

Grand Cata Declared One of America’s Best
Even under lockdown, national awards keep coming for Shaw businesses. The latest is for Grand Cata, which was declared one of America’s 50 Best Wine Retailers by Wine Enthusiast magazine. The magazine recognized Grand Cata in its national canvass of wine shops as the best retailer with a single focus: its specialization in wines from Latin America.