Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Saturday tour of the Florida Market (Don't forget!)

Fruits and vegetablesFruits and vegetables at the DC Farmers Market.

Frozen Tropics and this blog have been kicking around conducting a tour of the Florida Market area for a few reasons:

(1) it's cool;
(2) there are proposals to tear it all down (and one building came down in the last few weeks);
(3) there are proposals to revitalize the market based on its character as a food-based wholesale and retail distribution center (in the Office of Planning's Cluster 23 Area Plan);
(4) the market area will be torn down because the land is worth a lot more money now, given the proximity of the subway station ("exchange value of place"). Without the addition of people power to the equation, the market will cease to exist.

We will do this tour for the first time on Sat. May 20th. (Sorry for the late notice.)

Our idea is that we can repeat these tours in June and July, and maybe even in August depending on demand... For the other tours, we'd intend to add more blog/website participation and sponsorship, but this is sort of a test, to see how long it takes, judge interest, and not to be overburdened.

Morse StreetThink wholesale distribution, not supermarket retail, when you consider the Florida Market area. Photo by Kevin Palmer.

We are breaking this up into two tours, one in the a.m., one in the afternoon.

10 am --meet at the north exit (Florida Avenue side) of the New York Avenue Metro Station (red line)
walk to the market area starting with Young's Deli for breakfast
then visit

Obengs (African foods)
Wangs (vegetables)
US Beef (meat and other)
Kangs* (comparable to a supermarket)
Eastern Supply (paper goods)

figure this one wraps up around noon.
Bi Bim Bab at Young's DeliBi Bim Bab at Young's Deli.

The afternoon tour starts at 12:15, also at the north exist (Florida Avenue) of the New York Avenue Metro Station.

Best Equipment (400 block of Morse)
meat place next to Best
Halal (5th Street) (Middle eastern foods)
Mexican Fruit (5th Street)
DC Farmers Market
Flea Market
Litteri's Italian Deli (end) -- can get sandwiches, San Pellegrino Limonata, Manhattan Express Espresso Soda, etc. to eat

except for the fact that it's a "long walk" from Litteri's, it would be nice to eat afterwards on Kendall Green at Gallaudet.

The afternoon tour is likely longer than the morning tour.

Litteri'sLitteri's Deli photo by Kevin Palmer.

General Note: My business partner is emphatic that the retail side of the Florida Market, except for the cinder block DC Farmers Market, is secondary to the wholesale operation, almost as a courtesy, which probably first started for churches and other small groups needing larger quantities of food, and that people shouldn't expect these markets to function the same way as a traditional supermarket.

And that these markets are good for what they are, but you can't expect them to be what they aren't. For example, while Kang's has a great seafood room, and you can get seafood at the DC Farmers Market, Maine Avenue is a better place for crabs and certain other seafood varieties.

He worries that by popularizing the market, we could destroy it.

On the other hand, I believe the market will be destroyed, without more advocates for its continuance.
Demolition at 4th and Florida, NEDemolition of the U.S. Beef building at 4th and Morse Streets, NE.

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