Night on the Town
The residents of Mount Vernon Triangle were treated on Tuesday, Aug. 2, to some tunes, some fun, and some delicious local food in the parking lot at the corner of Fifth and K streets NW. MVT’s National Night Out, a celebration of the neighborhood, featured local restaurants, face painting, a moon bounce, and even a police officer allowing local children to test his car’s siren and loudspeaker.
The crowd was all smiles as Allison Carney, one of MVT’s “Tunes in the Triangle” guests, performed a collection of originals and covers. She took a break to explain her nickname, Ace Ono, to the crowd. “Ace because I strive to be number one; and Ono because I, like, love Yoko.” Entertained by the sounds of Ace Ono’s beautiful voice, which echoed between the tall buildings of K Street, residents sampled offerings from local restaurants.
But it wasn’t just the residents in attendance who enjoyed the food. Texas de Brazi, a local Brazilian grill, exchanged a plate of sausage, chicken, and mashed potatoes for some of Alta Strada’s signature meatballs, bruschetta, and pizza. Locals also sampled caramel corn and ice cream sandwiches from A Baked Joint, whose restaurant is just a block up K Street. Le Pain Quotidien offered lemonade and coffee, as well as samplings of their brownies and pistachio muffins.
“Everything we do here is a result of a partnership,” said Kenyatta Robinson, president of the Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District (CID). “Tonight is a result of a partnership with first responders.” Local first responders helped run the event and offered snacks and water to attendees. Robinson took a break from meeting residents and taking pictures to address the crowd as it milled through the maze of tents, tables, and games. He finished his brief remarks and thanks with what he described as the night’s most important aspect: “Please give a special applause to the kids for coming out and having a good time.” And the crowd went wild.
For several years the Mount Vernon Triangle CID has been searching for a way to honor the neighborhood’s past, celebrate its present, and express excitement over its future. With the coaster project they succeeded. For the past several months the CID has accepted coaster designs that incorporate visions of the area’s past, present, and future.
“As the neighborhood continues to grow,” said Robinson, “it is very important that our community maintain that sense of authenticity and historical context.” At a recent CID board meeting a member asked how the neighborhood could ensure that an important part of the community is not left behind. “We wanted to make sure that whether you’ve lived in the neighborhood for 30 years or three months, you recognize you’re somewhere special,” Robinson said, and added that they wanted to do it in a new-media way, referring to the project’s #lifeinmvt tag on Instagram and Twitter. Social media photos best representing the community were rewarded with gift cards to local restaurants, and most recipients selected A Baked Joint for the gift.
The coasters include descriptions of a 120-year-old tree standing at Fifth and L streets; what was once the world’s largest bowling alley, at Fifth and K; the past and future of DC streetcars; and a shout out to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “True Lies,” which filmed several scenes at the intersection of Fourth Street and New York Avenue.
Asked what he’d put on his own coaster, Robinson had to think for a moment. “I would certainly say something related to our faith-based institutions,” he replied, “some of which have been here for more than 100 years, and all of which provide a foundation for continuity within our community.” He pointed out that the three local historically African-American churches all have spots on the CID board, and described them as “the anchors of the neighborhood.” Robinson said of his imagined coaster, he’d want to display “what this community can and will look like when it’s at full build-out.”
Most Mount Vernon Triangle restaurants have begun offering the MVT coasters to patrons.
Happenings in NoMa/MVT
NoMa and Mount Vernon Triangle will be hosting a number of events as the summer nears its end. The monthly NoMa BID Public Safety Meeting, held monthly on the second Tuesday, will take place on Sept. 13, 2-3 p.m., location TBD.
REI, in its United Outside campaign, in advance of the opening of its flagship store at the Uline Arena in November, will be holding a bike repair class on Wed., Sept. 14, in its community space at Wunder Garten, First and L streets NE. “Bike Maintenance Basics – Level 2: Brakes & Drive Train,” a free event, will demonstrate cable tensioning, how to change a brake pad, how to replace a chain, and how to shift smoothly and brake properly. For more information on United Outside visit www.rei.com/united-outside.
For the regular attendees of the Mount Vernon Triangle FRESHFARM Farmers’ Market at Fifth and K streets NW (in front of Busboys and Poets), there will be some added entertainment on Sat., Oct. 1. Vim & Vigor, the band whose style is influenced by everyone from Amy Winehouse to Jamie Cullum, is rapidly gaining popularity and will be performing at the market at 10:30 a.m.
The District II art gallery, featuring photographs of Mt. Vernon Square and downtown, will open at the Carnegie Library starting Sept. 29 at 5:30 p.m. Compiled by Bill Barrett, Chris Earnshaw, and Joseph Mills, the gallery focuses on the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. There will be a reception from 6 to 8 p.m.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org; @MaxMoline425.