Monday, December 6, 2010

Out and About: North of Massachusetts

 NoMa --or North of Massachusetts Avenue-- is what can best be described as a fledgling, but ambitious, engineered, mixed-use neighborhood. The typical Washington anchor is there (government offices filled with employees). The transportation is there (Metro, bike share, Amtrak, bus station). Even the retail is coming along (grocery store, coffee shop, bank). Add to that mix a hotel, new residential and built-in nite life spots, and you're on the way to a real live neighborhood, right?

I visited last week. To me the neighborhood is dressed for prom --well dressed-- but still waiting for its date who has yet to show. The set up is quite nice. The boundaries are generally Mass Ave, North Capitol St NE, New York Ave NE and 3rd St NE. The official BID lines expand a little further. (NoMa BID is one of the driving forces working to shape and market the neighborhood). Essentially, the neighborhood is adjacent to Capitol Hill. You can see and walk to the Capitol Building and Senate office buildings without breaking a sweat. And the rail yard and tracks are all that separate NoMa from the greater Capitol Hill neighborhood and H Street NE/Atlas District.

There are two Metro stations; New York Ave and Union Station, both on the Red Line. Union Station is the southern anchor. The beaux arts temple to transit looks stately, especially next to the equally beautiful National Postal Museum and Bureau of Labor and Statistics. There is an established, if slightly less beautiful, office complex built just north of Union Station and it is fairly developed. CNN, CareFirst, Community College of the District of Columbia are a few of the larger tenants.

But just north of K Street, construction cranes dominates the landscape. New buildings are rising in between older structures and more recent ones. Former industrial and warehouse buildings are being re-adapted or torn down to make way for newcomers (NPR's new HQ for example). Seeing this part of the neighborhood makes me inclined to keep tabs and actually want to see how it all turns out...

I took a few photos, and here is the first batch. More thoughts and photos tomorrow.

Opening this week
Bikeshare, bike parking, Metro trains in the background
Hotel next to NY Ave Metro station

Coffee and French fries; Vice City

Older office park near Union Station
1st St NE twists and turns next to rail yard