Archive for January 12, 2009

Obama at Ben’s Chili Bowl

Posted in Presidents, Shaw on January 12, 2009 by Kent

President-elect Barack Obama and District Mayor Adrian Fenty had lunch Saturday afternoon at Ben’s Chili Bowl. As reported by NBC News – Washington, the mayor hinted that Obama may be a regular at the restaurant.obama-bens-chili-bowl

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Newborn at the Zoo

Posted in Zoo on January 12, 2009 by Kent

Yesterday, a western lowland gorilla was born at the Zoo’s Great Ape House to 26-year-old Mandara and 16-year-old Baraka. The newborn represents the seventh successful gorilla birth for the Zoo since 1991. Both mother and baby appear to be doing well. For updates, more information, or a video of the mother and newborn, visit the Great Apes & Other Primates maintained by the zoo.

3925 7th Street, NW … I Don’t Think So!

Posted in Petworth, Real Estate on January 12, 2009 by Kent

The second of the two open houses I attended yesterday was at 3925 7th St., NW. If you’ve read my posting about the other house I looked at, you might think I was a bit harsh, but I assure you, of the two homes viewed, it was the better of the two houses.

3925-7thThe first odd thing about this house was that it was open for viewing … and there was absolutely no one there. I’m not talking about lookers, I’m talking about agents. The house was completely wide open and unattended.

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on why this house was so bad, beyond saying that if you want to rehab a house, you can’t just tear out the walls on the first floor, install a new IKEA kitchen, put in a laminate floor on the first floor, carpet the other floors, and paint.

The stairs going to the second and third level had a distinctive pitch (as in, they weren’t level), there were 98 years of paint on the millwork — yes, I love millwork — and the only thing updated in the original bathroom might have been the toilet (although a new, but inexpensive half bath had been added to the first floor, and the other two bathrooms were new, but again, on the frugal side).

You can see the complete listing here. Again, according to the DC Property Tax database, this home last sold on 6/30/2004 for $350,000 … and now, it can be yours for only $639,999. You might have been able to dump this property for that sum when the market was hot, but considering what homes are selling for in the neighborhood now, to command anything over $500,000 the property really has to be spectacular.

Then and Now

Posted in Petworth, Then and Now on January 12, 2009 by Kent

The north side of the 800 block of Upshur, NW, looks like its mostly survived. upshur-streetUpshur Street January 2009The first photo, ca. 1926, shows from left to right the Upshur Street Antique & Furniture Repair Co., Petworth Hardware, and the Piggly Wiggly. Today these spaces are occupied by Shaka King New York, Town & Country Market, and Domku. (Historical photograph courtesy the Library of Congress. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-DIG-npcc-32460)

Wildlife in the City

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12, 2009 by Kent

A couple of times this past year, raccoons have been seen in our neighborhood. I’ve also seen deer inside of the fence of the Old Soldiers’ Home and in Rock Creek Park. Out of curiosity, what critters have people seen as they’ve moved about town.racoon1

3801 7th Street, NW, Does Not Impress

Posted in Petworth, Real Estate on January 12, 2009 by Kent

Yesterday there were two properties a few blocks north of me that had open houses … and I was curious to see what the real estate market was doing. I  have to say, neither of the properties swept me off of my feet. In fact, they both should have been swept into the trash. Now, I’m not one to say that everything old is bad. In fact, I’d be one of the first to try to save the old, and toss is out when there is no way to save it.

3801-7thThe first one was at 3801 7th St, NW. What we have here is a home originally built in 1911. OK, so far, so good. But upon entry, there was nothing but sloppy work. The two most egregious being that all the walls had been furred out (presumably to conceal the new air conditioning). So, what they ended up with was drywall coming up to, or even over, existing door and window millwork. How dare they. The second major flaw was again related to the new air conditioning. The central return was built in the middle of the entry foyer, closing off the original open staircase. Again sloppily done.

In my opinion, what would have been the best approach would have been to remove the plaster down to the studs. That way, HVAC and electrical could have been installed correctly (judging from the HUGE  cable snaking along the front of the house, I’m betting neither were … they just … well … work). Also, rather than losing space by making the walls thicker, inches would have been added to each room.You can see the listing by going here, but I can’t recommend seeing it in person, unless you adore train wrecks.

Now, here’s the kicker. You can be the proud owner of this horror for just $714,950. Keep in mind that, according to the DC Real Property database, this house was last purchased on 6/1/2007 for $340,000. If they can find a buy for the asking price, there going to be rewarded handsomely for this disservice to the community.

This Date in History

Posted in January, Justices on January 12, 2009 by Kent

January 12, 1932: Oliver Wendell Holmes retires from the Supreme Court at age 90.oliver-wendell-holmes