Saturday, August 8, 2015

Three Beautiful Things 08/07/15: Exploring NE DC, Lunch at Union Market, PoPville and WPFW-FM and Gentrification

1.  I set out today to become more familiar with the names of neighborhoods and the locations of places, businesses, and breweries in the sections of NE Washington D. C. that sit about 20-30 minutes from our apartment home. I studied and tried out driving routes: Rt. 410 (the East-West Highway), Rt. 1 (Baltimore Ave becoming Rhode Island Ave NE), West Virginia NE, Florida NE, Mt. Olivet Rd. NE, and Bladensburg Rd. I know how to get to the Good Foods Market in Woodridge, DC Brau (is it in a named neighborhood?), Atlas Brew Works in Ivy City, and Union Market in the Union Market District.  This wasn't all brand new to me -- the National Arboretum is in NE DC and I took a less ambitious drive to locate DC Brau back in April.

2. I parked in the spacious parking area in front of the Union Market.  Union Market is a gentrified version of an historic market place in this location. Union Market is all indoors and features a number of eateries, all of them locally owned and artisan. One restaurant grows food on the Union Market roof. Among the offerings in the market, I discovered Mediterranean food, an oyster bar, barbecue, fancy sandwiches, a fish and chips joint, a Laotian noodle bar, and, the place I landed on, a Korean taco counter. I loved the galaxy of pickled and spicy flavors in the half rice, half slaw pork bowl I ordered. The Market also features local bakeries, an upscale coffee/espresso bar, meat shops, a vinegar/oil boutique, and an Airstream  out front, called Suburbia, that serves specialty cocktails and beers. The Union Market overwhelmed me -- so much to see and smell packed into a refurbished warehouse -- and, I'll return.  I'd especially enjoy going early on a Saturday morning for coffee and an item from one of the bakeries. And, when I'm less overwhelmed, I'd like to take some pictures.

3. Once back home, I went online to read up more on where I'd been in the afternoon and discovered a blog (and its companion Twitter feed) called PoPville, DC's Neighborhood Blog. I rummaged through posts, joined the site's Flickr group, and learned much more about some of  DC's different neighborhoods, not only about places to eat and drink, but about real estate developments and challenges, as well as updates with the difficult week the Metro system has had.

Speaking of DC's housing challenges, during my drive to NE Washington, DC, I listened to the program Latino Media Collective on WPFW-FM and the show focused on gentrification in DC's so-called Chinatown and its detrimental, often devastating, impact on lower income residents, especially after the construction of the Verizon Center, completed in 1997, and all the higher end housing and retail outlets and restaurants that followed. The program focused on two tenants of the Museum Square Apartments in Chinatown who are fighting with other tentants to keep their residents as a development company works to evict them and take over the building.

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