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Showing posts from March, 2015

Urban Legend: Hawkwoman Of The Penn Branch Hills

By Mel Dyer Yes! Penn Branch has an urban legend.  That of the Big Bird or Hawkwoman, who haunts our wild, emerald hills... If you're over 35 and grew up in the Southeast D.C. neighborhood, known as the 'Hollywood Hills'  in the mid-1960s, you've probably seen or heard of this creature, at one time in your life. You probably thought you were imagining things ..or that it was just crazy-talk. You may have even heard that it had a woman's head and white, bulging eyes, ..or that it was a  witch. While I don't believe that part, I've seen the creature that might have inspired this urban legend, with my own disbelieving eyes, ..perched menacingly on a rooftop, at Carpenter Street and Highwood Drive. It was a turkey vulture ... Right here, in Penn Branch. Why not a hawk? Well, ..I have seen the kinds of hawks we have in this area, up close - like, walking around on a neighbor's lawn - and I don't think they are anywhere near big enough to inspire t

Barrington, Sousa City Or Randletown, New Columbia?

MORE STATEHOOD FUN...   I am still wondering what will happen to our neighborhoods, if Washington, D.C. becomes a state. Will eight, new  counties be created from D.C.'s eight  wards? Will the Advisory Neighborhood Councils create exciting, new towns  from ANC districts, within those eight, distinct wards?   Exciting...   Imagine that our own historic ANC-7B, Naylor Dupont, is now an incorporated city in the new 51st state of New Columbia. What should our new, shining city on a hillcrest be called? 1. Davistown, New Columbia - taken from historic Fort Davis 2. Hillcrest City, New Columbia - named for historic first neighborhood of ANC-7B 3. Skyland, New Columbia - inspired by what might become Downtown ANC-7B 4. Naylorville, New Columbia - taken from ANC-7B designation, Naylor-Dupont 5. Randletown, New Columbia - named for the first developer of the Southeast hills 6. Sousa City, New Columbia - named for historic John Phillip Sousa Bridge 7. Barrin

Penn Branch Square Could Keep Condos Out Of Neighborhood

Union Square at 941 North Capitol Street, NE, currently hosts the Office of Tax and Revenue Customer Service Center (photo from Wikimedia Commons) Since the early 1960s, the once bright and modern shops of  Penn Branch Center - bank, drugstore, barber shop, liquor store - have sat at the corner of Pennsylvania and Branch Avenues, in the Capitol Hill area of Southeast Washington, DC. My once very strong desire to see them renovated into a small 'town center', with condos, has ..evolved. There was a time, when I could imagine a new shopping complex resembling newly renovated Fox Chase in Alexandria, Virginia, ..and I still can, truthfully. Though, I am not sure that would best serve Penn Branch and surrounding areas. I just do not think, with new developments on the horizon, like Capital Gateway (also in Ward Seven), promising to fatten the city's coffers with more annual revenue than Penn Branch can presently generate, that having a stable taxbase of modes

Marijuana's Easier To Find Than Coffee Or A Business Center in the Southeast Hills?

Cheech and Chong can't seem to figure out morning coffee in the Southeast hills, ..and neither can I.   As I thought about where to procure a cup of java, this Sunday morning, after being up half the night, my River East prospects were pretty abysmal. Sure, I hate taking my money (or revenue) to people West of the river (Washington, D.C.), every time I want a cup of decent coffee or hot dinner, making their neighborhoods more influential, Downtown... But still doing it. Skyland Town Center coming to the edge of Hillcrest is fine, but doesn't change the need for something economically, socially or civically relevant in Southeast Hills neighborhoods, like Penn Branch and the Randle Highlands . What's needed along Pennsylvania Avenue, between the Anacostia River and the Southern Avenue border, are mixed-use business centers and important government buildings, ..commanding a strong Metropolitan Police presence and reliable public works commitment. I say '