Bloomingdale Civic Association Meets
“I would not resist at all … a cell phone is not worth your life.” Police Commander William Fitzgerald of DC’s Fifth District addressed the unusually large crowd gathered for the Bloomingdale Civic Association’s June meeting, speaking mainly to a recent uptick in armed robberies in the area and offering advice to those confronted by robbers.
In the two weeks preceding the June 20 meeting there had been a total of nine armed robberies in the area. All of them, said Fitzgerald, had the common theme of two individuals approaching a single person. One robber would do the talking while the other took the victim’s possessions. The dozens of residents who turned up were concerned about the recent crimes. As a result, the allotted 15 minutes for public safety in the meeting stretched to nearly an hour, as Fitzgerald and several other Metropolitan Police Department representatives discussed the issues.
Another area of concern was the prevalence of synthetic drugs. “They call it synthetic marijuana, but you don’t act like you’re on marijuana,” Fitzgerald noted. “I think zombie is a very accurate term.” He continued, “We’ve got to bring some social services in for it,” adding that arresting a person who is addicted to drugs, while it keeps that person off the streets for a certain period of time, is unlikely to help them kick the drug habit.
While the attendees expressed gratitude at the work the police have done thus far, it was clear that they felt more was needed. One resident noted a program from the early 2000s in the neighborhood called the Community Safety Walk. The walks are being reintroduced, noted Bloomingdale Civic Association President Teri Quinn, and the first revival was on Wednesday, June 22.
Fitzgerald urged attendees to take advantage of a rebate offered by the city to residents who purchase and install CCTV surveillance cameras outside their homes. As one resident who recently took advantage of the program pointed out, the city expects the funding for this program to run out by August, so those interested should take advantage as soon as possible.
Also addressed at the meeting was the ongoing construction of the Northeast Boundary Tunnel, part of the DC Clean Rivers Project. An updated list of lane closures was posted. Closures began in June and are projected to continue for 17 months. Each will last no longer than 12 months. Current closures are:
- Rhode Island Avenue, Mon.-Fri., 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; night work, 8:00 p.m.-5:30 a.m.
- R Street, Mon.-Fri., 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
- Sixth Street, Mon.-Fri., 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; night work, 8:00 p.m.-5:30 a.m.
- T Street, Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
- Florida Avenue, Mon.-Fri., 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
- Third Street, Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
Keep up with the Bloomingdale Civic Association at www.bloomingdalecivicassociation.org.
For those who’ve been missing the red pig outside of Dcity Smokehouse (www.dcitysmokehouse.com) at 8 Florida Ave. NW, by the intersection with North Capitol, fear not! The beloved neighborhood restaurant will be moving just a few blocks northwest, to the intersection of Florida Avenue and Second Street NW. Dcity Smokehouse’s previous location had a very small capacity, often not big enough to contain the line of eager patrons inside. The new location offers significant sidewalk space.
“Construction is slated to finish in late July,” said Smokehouse’s director of operations Andrew Thiou. They’re aiming to open in early August. “We’ve outgrown our current location,” Thiou said. “The new location will have more space for seating inside and outside, and we’ll be able to have two smokers instead of one.”
The restaurant’s owners have opened a second location, Wicked Bloom, at 1540 North Capitol St. NW (wickedbloomdc.com) just around the corner from the original smokehouse, which the aforementioned red pig is calling home for the time being. “We had our roots in this neighborhood and we wanted to stay close by and keep our regulars,” Thiou said, when asked why the two locations are in such close proximity. He continued that there have been talks about additional locations, but they want to make sure they don’t move too fast.
Those interested in the restaurant’s popular food can visit Wicked Bloom Social Club, which is offering “Wicked Mondays,” featuring a revolving selections of liquors and DJs every second Monday.
A Lesson in Local History
The Bloomingdale Historic Designation Coalition, a group of residents, sponsored two Bloomingdale history presentations over the last two months, researched and produced by Prologue DC. The presentation featured a 50-minute slideshow. Local residents from all age groups attended, including Therrell Smith, a local institution known for her ballet instruction, who “wouldn’t miss it for the world,” she said. Smith celebrated her 100th birthday in June.
Bloomingdale, which is considering becoming an official historic district, has a rich history that was outlined in the presentations. Highlights of that history included a discussion of the Beale estate (the neighborhood’s namesake) and the slaves that worked it; the unique history of the McMillan Reservoir, which supplies most of DC’s drinking water and its role within the city; and the racially and ethnically restrictive housing covenants that once dominated the neighborhood.
The presentations also focused on the unique and iconic architecture of the area and its history, along with some of the more notable past residents including artists, performers, and politicians. Panelists from the DC Historic Preservation Office and the DC Preservation League, and passionate historic preservation advocates from Anacostia and Bloomingdale, spoke about historic preservation and its role today.
The discussions were moderated by Bloomingdale residents Pat Mitchell and Jim Myers. For more information visit www.facebook.com/historicbloomingdale.
Max Moline is a communications specialist living in DC. He frequents Nationals Park and enjoys writing about food as much as he does eating it. He’s always looking for new places to try—rooftops and cigar lounges are a plus! Get in touch: molinecommunications(at)gmail(dot)com; @MaxMoline425.