Eastern Market: All Fired Up
The queue to peek inside the burned-out shell of Eastern Market stretched nearly a block long at times on Sunday, but this was no idle gawking. This was a sign of a neighborhood geared up to make things happen.
It's often hard to predict what will get a community to coalesce; I've seen great historic buildings bite the dust with hardly a peep out of the locals, and then I've seen people who ordinarily don't get involved in their hometowns turn their lives upside down because some place they valued was threatened. The outpouring of support for the merchants who made Eastern Market the centerpiece of Capitol Hill is one of the most powerful gatherings of community support I've seen in years.
At the annual Market Day celebration Sunday, neighborhood shops such as Uncle Brutha's hot sauce emporium contributed $1 from every purchase to the rebuilding project, the Capitol Hill Community Foundation gave people a way to donate toward the rebuilding and the support of the merchants until they can get back on their feet, a slew of Hill bars and gathering spots came together to pledge to give five or ten percent of their proceeds from tonight's business--that's tonight, Tuesday--to the rebuilding effort, and you could sign petitions, buy t-shirts, and, best of all, visit with some of those burned-out merchants. (Details on the bars' effort are on the jump.)
With all the well-wishers stopping buy for hugs and encouragement, Leon Calomiris and his family could hardly find time to sell the relative handful of vegetables they had on display on a little card table outside the Market. A longtime customer brought a tray of homemade baklava--maybe not the same as Mrs. Calomiris's version, but awfully sweet and kind nonetheless. Several of the inside merchants set up shop under the awnings outside the market, but since they are likely to be out of the building for at least a couple of years, the merchants need a more permanent arrangement.
Mayor Adrian Fenty, who spent a good chunk of Sunday afternoon walking through the Market Day crowd and talking to customers and merchants alike, said the District is already moving forward on a plan for a temporary structure that would be placed on city land, most likely on the schoolyard of Hine Junior High, just across from Eastern Market. The Washington chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture designed a temporary market shed that could be placed at Hine, outside Eastern Market, or further south on Seventh Street SE.
The Market merchants issued a statement saying that they all prefer the Hine site because of its proximity to the Market, and the parking and loading facilities there.
The District, meanwhile, set about trying to turn the shell of the building into something more than a burned-out shell. A press release from the city said::
As conceived by City Administrator Dan Tangherlini, the
D.C. Office of Property Management (OPM) and the DC Commission on the Arts &
Humanities (CAH) have arranged for artists to paint the windows boarded-up
in the aftermath of the tragic Eastern Market fire. The first window will
be painted on Sunday, Market Day, by scenery artists from the
Shakespeare Theatre Company.
All told, this is a genuine and moving outpouring of support, a sign that Hill residents and visitors alike recognize the role that the Market plays in bringing people together and in creating the pedestrian-friendly feel that makes the neighborhood such a draw.
Neighbors Drink Up for Eastern Market
Facebook.com group hosts city-wide "Happy Hour" for Eastern Market
WHAT: Thousands of District residents plan to use their happy hour this
Tuesday, May 8th to begin the rebuilding of Eastern Market. Started as a
Facebook.com group "Rescue Eastern Market" by Clay Johnson on the day of the
fire, more than one-thousand people joined the group and decided to turn
virtual concern into real dollars. Members of the Facebook.com group
include recent transplants to DC and life long citizens.
"The market is a tie to the history of our city and our country. As a living
museum in a world of mega-chains, it's important to step up and ensure we
don't lose this important part of our shared heritage," group member
remarked Erin Hofteig who will attend the Hawk and Dove happy hour on
DC native Tanya Tarr, who plans to attend the happy hour at Bourbon in Adams
Morgan, explains "I grew up in DC, so when I heard about the damage, I
really took it personally. The Facebook.com group helped me connect with
others, and even though I don't live in the Eastern Market neighborhood,
it's been really heartening to see folks and businesses in my neighborhood,
Columbia Heights, and across the city chip in. It really makes me proud to
be from here."
WHO: Rescue Eastern Market an informal group of concerned neighbors
organized through the social networking site Facebook.com. More than 1000
concerned citizens joined the group within days of the devastating fire at
Eastern Market. In addition to the Facebook.com group, updated information
is available at www.easternmarketrescue.com
WHEN/WHERE: More than twenty bars and establishments have pledged to donate
5% to 10% on Tuesday, May 8th.
Hawk and Dove 5% donation 7-10PM
Science Club 5% donation 5-10PM
Murky Coffee 10% donation All day
Ventnor Sports Bar 5% donation 7-10PM
Montmartre 10% 11.30 to 2.30 and 5.30 to 10.00
Lounge 201 5% Donation 4PM to Midnight
Union Pub 5% Donation All Day
Schneider's Of Capitol Hill 10% of the Day's Wine Sales All
Pour House 5% Donation 7-10PM
Trusty's 5% Donation 7-10PM
18th Amendment 5% Donation 7-10PM
Tunnicliff's 10% Donation All Day! 10AM to 1AM
The Old Siam 5% Donation 5-10:30pm
Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar 5% donation 6-10PM
Fin McCool's 5% Donation All Day
The Ugly Mug 5% Donation 5-10PM
Ebenezers Coffeehouse 5% Donation All Day
Trattoria Alberto 5% Donation All Day
Belga Cafe 5% donation 5-10PM
Marvelous Market 5% donation All Day
Murky Coffee Arlington 5% donation All Day
Express Business Center 5% donation All Day
Bourbon 5% donation 6pm-11pm
Hamiltons Bar and Grill 5% donation 5pm-2am
By Marc Fisher |
May 8, 2007; 7:37 AM ET
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