U Street


His name was Jamal Coates

…and he was the man who died today on U Street, after the funeral of Ashley McRae. Bryan Weaver, who ran against Jim Graham for the Ward One City Council seat, knew Coates. This is what he told the Post:

“Unfortunately, it looks like a continuation of the crew violence,” said Bryan Weaver, an advisory neighborhood commissioner in the area who runs a nonprofit group, Hoops Sagrado, that helps at-risk young people…

Weaver said he knew Coates for more than 10 years. Last year, he said, Coates worked with him on community service projects in Guatemala, where he also studied Spanish and worked on conflict mediation issues.

After his return, Coates entered a GED program, held an internship with a city agency, and was working with the Shaw Family Collaborative, Weaver said.

Weaver said that he thought it “highly likely” that the shooting was connected to an ongoing crew war between groups from the Columbia Heights/Adams Morgan area and a group from the Petworth area of Northwest.

U Street Shooting: Gang Members were at Funeral

More sad information, about today’s shooting (via TBD):

Five uniformed police officers also attended the services, Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham said…

Graham said gang members from Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan were exchanging words during the funeral services and the taunting escalated to violence outside.

Council member Jim Graham told Mike DeBonis that in addition to the five uniformed cops, officers in plain-clothes were at the service, too. And this still happened.

One person is happy about the U Street Shooting.

I’ve had my head in my hands for most of the day, first because of frustrating WordPress issues, then because of the horrific shooting down the street from where I live (and write this blog). You’re probably already aware of the details, but if you aren’t, I’ll summarize what I’ve read at DCist, TBD and on various Twitter feeds:

- A funeral was held at Walker Memorial Baptist Church for 21-year old Ashley McRae, a Columbia Heights woman who was killed in SE last week after leaving Ibiza nightclub. Ashley worked at Commander Salamander in Georgetown and she was a student studying accounting.

- As the procession started down 13th street, a group of men opened fire on a vehicle, which crashed in to other cars and flipped upside down at 11th and U. An employee at Ben’s Chili Bowl said he saw the gunmen fleeing South.

- Some witnesses saw people fleeing the car, which was totaled.

- One person inside the car was killed, two others were shot, one of them is in critical condition.

All of this, at a funeral procession.
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Want to be on the wall at Ben’s? There’s an app for that.

This is so cute, and such a fun way to delight customers. Go Ben’s! Via WeLoveDC:

During lunch today at Ben’s, I saw Nizam Ali with an iPad, a picture frame, and a whole lot of velcro.  He was building a picture frame so that just about anyone can end up on the wall at Ben’s.  Mo, the manager, showed me how it works. Grab the app (iTunes, Free) for your iPhone, and snap a photo of yourself.  After it uploads to the service, after a few minutes’ time, your smiling face ends up in the picture frame on their wall!

On Re-branding Midcity

At a well-attended meeting last night at Busboys and Poets, local business leaders and citizens gathered to discuss branding the area around 14th and U as “Midcity”, to create a more cohesive, arts-centric identity for neighborhoods bordered by 7th and 15th Streets and Florida and Rhode Island Avenues, NW. During a question and answer period, concerns were raised about the lack of inclusion of the area of Columbia Heights above Florida Avenue (too poor?), and the focus on theaters and galleries vs. restaurant and retail establishments. The City Paper was there, and they captured some of the skepticism:

“I have nothing in common with a business down at the Convention Center,” Fales said, noting that she wouldn’t necessarily even recommend someone walk that way at night. “I don’t want to be part of an arts district, because I’m already part of something–the Midcity Business Association.” Applause came from the back of the room.

For those wondering if Midcity is as contrived as “NoMa”, see this post by DCist about the term’s history; it contains a picture of a map from 1937 utilizing the designation.

Nas was at Ben’s Chili Bowl

Nas, working up an appetite at Rock The Bells on Sunday

On Sunday, I saw Nas surprise DC-area hip-hop fans at Rock The Bells; that’s a picture of him I snapped as he performed with the Wu-Tang Clan.  The night after that, he headlined a sold-out show with Damian Marley, at the 9:30 club. And on the third day, Nas rested. By eating at Ben’s. He even posed for a nice picture with Virginia Ali.

News of his visit to the iconic chili joint fleetly flew across Twitter this afternoon, inspiring the City Paper to ask, “Oh, Nas! We dig Ben’s, but it’s really an out-of-towner cliche, no?

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Mayor Fenty Campaigns on U Street

Campaign time for the Mayor, on U st.

Mayor Fenty asks a potential voter if she is registered in the District.

As they walked by, Mayor Adrian Fenty asked people if they were registered to vote in the district; if the answer was “No”, they were directed to an extremely cordial volunteer who offered to explain how to do that while he noted their information on a clipboard.

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