Bloomingdale Bites - August 2017

Boundary Stone’s Songs of Summer

The Boundary Stone (116 Rhode Island Ave. NW) has expanded its musical footprint and launched the 100% Summer Session Concert Series. While Monday is still reserved for open mic night, the venue has added events on Wednesday and Saturday throughout the summer, and plans to continue in the fall. Each Saturday will see a different concert featuring local and regional bands. On Wednesday, owner Colin McDonough plans to mix it up with music education programs and documentary showings.

“Once we expanded, we knew we wanted to put the music front and center,” McDonough explains. “This is just formalizing what we’ve been trying to do all along.” That focus on the music translates into a top-of-the-line sound system and infrastructure designed by Scott Stark. Live performances are also streamed on the TVs in the bar on the other side of the large, half-split room.

McDonough remembers a time when the neighborhood was begging for a watering hole of any kind. Nowadays, the proprietors of new local establishments need to try and fill a void in the market (read: Truxton Inn and high-end cocktails). Boundary Stone has continued to expand its offerings to the ever-changing community. Now neighbors can say they live within walking distance of not only great restaurants and bars, but a rocking live music venue.

Boundary Stone has partnered with DC Brau to sponsor the series, and plans to release a 100% Summer Session IPA that will be available for $4 at concerts, as well as other DC Brau beers. Every event is free to attend. The series kicked off on July 21 with a performance by singer/songwriter Andy Shea, featuring Reed Appleseed.

For more information visit,

Unified Scene Theater Brings Out the Funny

“It’s easy to be intimidated by improv,” says Shawn Westfall, co-founder and artistic director of The Unified Scene Theater, which held its free monthly Introduction to Long-Form Improv Workshop on June 25.

The workshop is designed to remove the intimidation and help members of the public realize just how funny they can be when they try. “Sometimes I think true, self-proclaimed introverts end up being the most successful at improv,” explains Westfall. “You just have to break down those barriers.”

That’s what The Unified Scene Theater hopes to do from its tiny storefront space at First and T streets NE. Westfall and his wife, Bloomingdale locals, were walking by the space once occupied by a storefront church and saw the lease was available. At the time, Westfall spent his days as a creative at an ad agency downtown and his nights as the only improv teacher at the DC IMPROV comedy club. “I loved my improv work and decided it was time to make it a full-time gig.” They took a three-year lease and gutted the space into the “white box” theater it is now.

In the beginning, Westfall focused on his passion, teaching improv. The theater holds multiple workshops, including Introduction to Improvisational Comedy, Introduction to Long-Form Improv, and Storytelling for Performance. On July 12, students from the Storytelling Class will be holding a performance at Big Bear Cafe.

Westfall is always looking for new ways to encourage neighborhood residents to get involved with his classes and productions. This month’s free workshop hosted 35 students, with eight from the surrounding neighborhood. Westfall hopes to increase that number. “We really want to bring in the neighbors, either to a class or a show.”

The theater currently has a handful of regular house troops that perform monthly.

For more information about the Unified Scene Theater, visit

Keeping Bloomingdale Above Water

In early June, DC Water hosted an event at Crispus Attucks Park in celebration of its completion of construction to stop the flooding in Bloomingdale. Representatives from DC Water lined the park, handing out swag and eager to discuss the work that has caused serious traffic in the area but is intended to keep the streets dry for the years to come.

In the summer of 2012, four major storms caused destructive flooding throughout Bloomingdale, leading residents to wonder whether the water infrastructure was strong enough to keep them afloat.

It turned out the answer was no. They discovered that the early-1800s system was completely inadequate, and just one inch too much rain would cause it to overflow. DC Water evaluated the problem and embarked on an ambitious multi-year plan to create a long-term solution. MidCity News covered the ongoing construction in November 2016.

The first major phase of the work has finally been completed. Over 4,500 feet of new pipe have been laid. Most importantly, systems have been installed deep under the new pipes to act as an overflow mechanism. The original piping system had very little overflow capacity, meaning that a fast and heavy rain could easily overload it, causing the excess water to flow from the drains and flood the streets and sidewalks, as well as a few basements.

The new system is designed to handle the overflow by storing it in the deeper cisterns, while the system works to keep water flowing through the pipes above. Once the water in the regular pipe system recedes to a certain level, the cisterns pump the water back to be flushed out.

DC Water is clearly proud of its accomplishments for the neighborhood, as symbolized by the number of representatives they had at the celebration at Crispus Attucks. Staff were pointing out the new brick walkways that surround the park, commenting that they are a product of DC Water’s commitment to keeping the neighborhood not just dry but clean and beautiful.

The main question asked by residents was about the new pumping station installed at First and Thomas streets NW, a large, ugly structure surrounded by a chain-link fence. DC Water representatives assured people that the eyesore is temporary and will only be there a few years until the Northeast Boundary Tunnel project is finished and can handle the load without the auxiliary pump. Not surprisingly, despite the celebration, construction continues to meddle in our daily lives.

Taylor Barden Golden is a real estate agent with The Stokes Group at McEnearney Associates. A former Hill staffer, Taylor lives in Brentwood with her husband, two dogs, and a cat. She’s always on the lookout for new places to explore and ways to spend time outside. Get in touch:; @rtaylorb.