Category Archives: In The Neighborhood

Oohh’s and Aahh’s Update

When I moved to Florian Gardens over four decades ago, there were only a couple of grocery stores nearby and hardly any fast food shops. McDonald’s that sits on the corner of Georgia Avenue & Peabody was non-existent. Now, there are plenty of eating places throughout the neighborhood.

In addition to burgers, you can get Chinese Food, BBQ, and even a Thai meal. The ImmThai restaurant, located at the intersection of Georgia & Missouri Avenues, is on the ground floor of a building that for a decade housed the once popular IBEX club. The club which featured performers like Rare Essence, the Junkyard Band and Gil Scott Heron was shut down by the city following the heartless murder of D.C. police officer Brian T. Gibson in February 1997.

I don’t know if that corner has bad feng shui or is simply jinxed, but since the IBEX closed restaurant-life in that building is short-lived. I’ve seen a few dining places come and go including the Meridian and the Brightwood Bistro.

The most recent eatery whetting appetites along the avenue is Oohh’s and Aahh’s. Yes, it finally had its Grand Opening in mid-October, and it is not in the IBEX club building. It occupies space alongside Walmart.

The service at Oohh’s and Aahh’s is respectable and friendly. The meals are a bit pricey, but not unreasonable. For instance, a dinner with two sides will cost you nearly $14.00 including tax. But it’s worth the price. I’ve had the fish dinner with yams, mac & cheese, collard greens and a piece of cornbread a few times. I also had the ribs. I do not exaggerate when I tell you that the Oohh’s and Aahh’s meals that I’ve eaten are the closest thing to home cooking that I’ve consumed from a soul food restaurant. I’ve also asked others who have eaten there for their opinion of the food and so far I’ve not heard a single negative comment.

The 85-seat restaurant serves diners on the ground floor and upstairs. There is a small bar, and if you choose not to eat-in, you can order carry out. The restaurant is open from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays. For weekend hours and further information call (202) 882-2902.


FGC Nearing 30 and Still Going Strong

FGC Co-op President LaDora Brock

Although the buildings were erected in 1955, Florian Gardens did not become a tenant-owned property until May 1989. As the property is nearing its 30th year as a co-op, the estate which sold for $550,000 is now worth millions.

To convert or not to convert. For several months, the board of directors has been discussing with management the feasibility of converting FGC from a low-equity to a market-rate co-op. Purportedly, the primary benefit of a conversion would be the equity return. While the profit from selling a unit under market-rate would far exceed the return residents now receive when they vacate, the possibility of suddenly incurring a monthly carrying charge that is significantly higher than what is currently being paid to achieve that result is unappealing to many members. Residents who were with FGC from the beginning will tell you that the purpose of purchasing and converting the Florian Gardens complex was to preserve affordable housing for themselves and other District residents.

At a special meeting on Tuesday, October 11, 2016, members got the opportunity to weigh in on the discussion. Although there was less than 100 percent representation by the membership, the turnout was impressive.

Continue reading FGC Nearing 30 and Still Going Strong

The Meters Are Coming! The Meters Are Coming!

Parking Meter

“The meters are coming!” That’s probably how Paul Revere would have shouted it, but I’ll just say, “Listen up. Parking meters are coming to a street near us.”

First Georgia Avenue and now Peabody Street. Don’t make me dig out my notes, but as I recall, at one of the numerous meetings that Walmart and city officials held with neighborhood residents, prior to the opening of the store, we were told that there would be several free parking spaces on the south side of Peabody Street adjacent to Walmart.  Well, that may have been true when Walmart opened its Georgia Avenue store seven months ago, but guess what. Parking meters are being installed in front of each of those “free” spaces. Perhaps that move, obviously intended to bring the city additional revenue, will force customers who prefer street side parking to utilize Walmart’s underground parking garage.

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It’s spring cleaning time and the FGC board has been working with a legal counsel to update some of the co-op’s outdated governing documents. Meanwhile, out in FGC’s parking lot, some uncooperative members continue to violate parking regulations. With the average cost of one and two BR units in DC ranging from $1000 to $1500 and up, one would think that all FGC members would follow the co-op rules and do your part to facilitate the effort of board members who strive to run an efficient operation. If you think no one is keeping track – think again. If you are one of the people who believes that rules and regulations apply to everyone else, consider the following quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are.”


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Stepping Out and Stepping Up

Do you recognize these people? This attractive mother and son are two of FGC’s smart and classy  members. Bettye and Robert (Robbie) Straughter were stepping out in style last Friday when they attended the Omega Ball at the Washington Hilton Hotel.  Well, all right now — Represent!!!

Bettye and Robbie Blended
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the community . . .

Stepping up to the plate at last week’s straw poll, sponsored by the Ward 4 Democrats, council member and Mayoral Candidate Muriel Bowser advanced to second base by capturing 49% of the total vote. In January, she beat incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray by 41% in the Ward 8 straw poll. Will she round third base in the primary election on April 1 and score a home run in November? Voters will decide.

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The Department of Health closed the Safeway at Georgia Avenue and Piney Branch Road on Thursday, February 6, due to code violations. Reportedly a customer’s sighting of a mouse raised the red flag. Ick! Although the store reopened on Friday afternoon, The E&E (Eyes and Ears) Squad is saying that the blitz of constant criticism levied against that store on some Listservs is fueling the fire toward a permanent shutdown. E&E is also wondering if it is coincidental that the latest Safeway closure occurred just two months after the opening of Walmart. Can Stevie Wonder see a game plan?

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Contemplating Taxation and Representation

Income-Tax-Form-With-Calculato-1239386Some months ago, FGC hired a new CPA firm. In a few days, co-op members will receive the annual letter containing your proportionate member share of mortgage interest. If you itemize your deductions you will want to bring the letter with you and present it to your tax preparer. A word of caution — the CPA firm’s address and phone number are not included in the letter. Your tax preparer will likely ask you for that information, so bring it with you.

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On Wednesday, February 5, 2014, the Ward 4 Democrats are hosting a straw poll vote from 6:30–8:30 PM at Paul Public Charter School. Simultaneously, from 7:00-8:00 PM the Democratic Mayoral Candidates Forum will take place there also. WUSA Channel 9’s Bruce Johnson will be the forum moderator.

A straw poll is an unofficial process to determine the relative strength of candidates and their opponents. In the straw poll that occurred two weeks ago in Ward 8, Councilmember Muriel Bowser defeated current Mayor Vince Gray. Some people feel that straw polls are meaningless and offer no indication of how many people will actually vote for a particular candidate during the actual election, while others think it is a good barometer for determining who will win.

Brandon Todd contacted me on Monday and invited FGC members to attend Wednesday’s event and support our council member.

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