Forward-thinking New Orleanians started putting stickers on abandoned buildings and other places they wish were more than they are.

Borrowing the idea, minus the physical tagging of properties, we bring you the first installment of “I Wish This Were…”, where GGW contributors imagine a better use for vacant properties and poorly-conceived public spaces in the DC area.

This one focuses on the Bloomingdale, Eckington and Truxton Circle neighborhoods of Northwest and Northeast DC. All photos by the author, who is a Bloomingdale resident.


Local developer Brian Brown almost came to agreement with two restauranteurs to turn this lovely late 19th-century firehouse, at the northwest corner of North Capitol St and Quincy Pl NW, into a 2-story bar and restaurant. Both deals fell through due to lack of financing. Let us hope that a committed investor comes forward.


This site of a former Esso service station at the northwest corner of Florida Ave and North Capitol St NW, behind “Truxton Park,” has been vacant for many years as developers have been unwilling to pay to decontaminate the site. A 3 or 4-story affordable apartment building with a neighborhood grocery or shop on the ground floor would be ideally suited for this prime real estate at the junction of two heavily-used Metrobus lines.


The DC government owns this lot at Florida Avenue and Q Street NW and condemned the boarded-up building (which appears to have had retail space) in August 2009. OECD reports that ‘affordable housing’ is planned here. Homes here should be architecturally similar to the rowhouses to the right (west), perhaps with retail or office space mixed in. The rooftop of a 2-story building here would afford a view of the Capitol and Washington Monument.


The District or a developer should transform this “L’Enfant wedge” at Florida Avenue & R Street NW into a welcoming space similar to the one with the LeDroit Park gate at Florida & T Street NW.


As I recently suggested, imagine this mini-highway decked over to become a tree-lined plaza framing the view of the Capitol dome.

Bloomingdale already boasts some fine examples of smart urban design:


Crispus Attucks Park

Big Bear Cafe

Timor Bodega (locally-owned organic grocery)

Picturesque Victorian rowhouses on tree-lined streets.