From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.
One of DC’s best-known local initiatives, Dupont Underground, is drawing inspiration from abroad. Provisions Library, a project of George Mason University, sent four of its research fellows to Berlin from June 20 through July 20 to study the re-use of public spaces in the city and find connections between sites in the German capital and the reclaimed area under Dupont Circle. The fellows’ findings and ideas comprise the new exhibit “Parks & Passages: Inspiration from Berlin for Washington’s Dupont Underground,” on view from now until November 2 at the Goethe-Institut Washington.
Goethe-Institut hosted a panel discussion on September 13 to mark the exhibit’s opening. “Natural Adaptation, Urban Re-Use: Berlin and Washington DC” featured key players in recent urban re-use projects in DC, as well as Martin Pallgen, the project developer for the site of former Templeh of Airport in Berlin. Pallgen joined Steve Coleman, Director of Washington Parks and People; Lionel Lynch, principal at HR&A Advisors; and Patricia Zingsheim, Associate Director of the Revitalization and Design Division in the D.C. Office of Planning.
Moderated by Provisions Fellow Paul Farber, the panel touched on several universal issues in so-called “adaptive re-use” projects, as well as issues specific to DC and Berlin. The panelists’ varied experience with urban re-use projects informed their discussion. From Zingsheim’s involvement with the 11th Street Bridge plan to Lynch’s advisory role for New York’s The High Line Park and board membership with Dupont Underground, from Coleman’s reclamation of Meridian Hill/Malcolm X and Marvin Gaye Parks to Pallgen’s experience with Templeh of Airport.
The insightful conversation covered the challenges of attracting private investment, the importance of engaging local communities, and the necessity of acknowledging a site’s specific history to successfully adapt its space for a beneficial, purposeful use. The exhibit itself is best considered as the product of the exchange between the people and two countries rather than as a stand-alone aesthetic experience. Along with maps and and artistic representations of sites and their envisioned usages, the exhibit includes a comprehensive timeline of the abandoned streetcar tunnel space reclaimed by Dupont Underground.
The exchange of ideas between D.C. and Berlin and the experience of encountering specific spaces are both integral to the exhibit and its purpose. A range of programming, including events in Dupont Circle, will accompany the exhibit throughout September and October.
812 7th Street NW
Monday to Thursday, 9 am to 5 pm; Friday, 9am to 3 pm.
Birch & Barley and ChurchKey at 1337 14th Street NW are two new additions to the 14th Street corridor of restaurants and bars. Birch & Barley offers what sounds like as a delicious menu in the high-priced range. Both of these places offer an extensive list of beers. We are still waiting to go. Let us know what you think.
Masa 14 is at 1825 14th Street NW and is another new addition to the neighborhood, offering Latin-Asian inspired cuisine in small plate offerings. Ever since its soft opening last week the place has been full every night (I walk by regularly). It is beautiful inside and I was able to photograph it last Sunday. Reservations are recommended. Again, we are still waiting to go; let us know what you think if you have already been.
Teaism at 2009 R Street NW is a favorite around the neighborhood with a nice selection of teas and wonderful food. Perfect for a weekend brunch with a great and fast service–I had a very good meal last Sunday.
Nellie’s Sport Bar, 900 U Street NW. This is a mix of gay bar, sports bar and neighborhood restaurant. Nellie’s has TV screens everywhere so you can follow your favorite teams. During the weekends the rooftop terrace is the place to be: crowed, noisy and fun.
“Zero Hour” at the Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th Street NW: “Channeling Zero Mostel’s wild moods, crazy humor and righteous anger, Jim Brochu reintroduces us to this funny, fantastically contrary man whose penchant for truth-telling has been sorely missed.”
“Dublin Carol” at the H Street Playhouse, 1365 H St. NE: “Set in present-day Dublin on Christmas Eve, Dublin Carol relates the story of John Plunkett, a funeral parlor worker. John recounts memories of the drinking and womanizing of his youth with his younger assistant Mark. However, when his estranged daughter Mary arrives with sobering news, he is forced to face the more disastrous side of his past. Dublin Carol is a dark Irish comedy that follows John as he takes stock of his choices and their consequences–leaving us all more aware of our own lives and mortality.” – H Street Playhouse
Ristorante Posto at 1515 14th Street, NW opened in December 2008 and is still a novelty in the area. They serve classic and modern Italian dishes, wood oven pizzas and focaccia. Its prices are in the upper mid range.
Cafe Saint-EX crowns the southeast side corner of 14th and T Streets NW. It is one of the pioneer businesses of its kind in Borderstan on 14th Street. They offer a delicious mix of American-Bistro style cuisine… always a good alternative in the area.
“Spring Awakening” is playing at the Kennedy Center, 2700 F Street NW. It opens in DC after receiving eight Tony Awards. Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater created the music, keeping most of the original dialogue, but creating a contemporary score.