If you were born and raised in Washington, DC, then chances are you are a DC football fan. And, if you are around my age or older, then you probably went to games at RFK stadium. This was the time of the Joe Gibbs era, and the Washington football greatness. Recently, Michelle Buckman and I have been spending considerable time near RFK stadium awaiting a new 4-unit condo development to be completed and to be ready for us to list and put on the market. RFK Stadium is walking distance from the project with the DC Armory just down the street. Being there brings back fond memories.

Because this is part of DC is not a place I visited often once the football team left town, I felt very nostalgic seeing RFK stadium and the DC Armory. I also have many childhood memories of going to the circus at the armory and watching the lion tamers, or going to WHFestival at RFK stadium when I was 17. And of course, I will always remember going to RFK for football games, and later baseball games. If you grew up in DC then you most likely have similar childhood and teenage memories. And, I thought this would be a good opportunity to look at the history of RFK stadium.

Completed in 1961 to replace the crumbling Griffith Stadium (now Howard University Hospital), Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium was opened on October 1st, 1961 when the Washington Football team played its first game there. It was then known as D.C. Stadium and was one of the first (if not the first) multi-purpose stadiums ever built. For 10 years the stadium was shared between the football team and the baseball team, the Washington Senators.

In 1969 the Stadium was renamed after the assassinated of former attorney general, senator and brother of John F Kennedy, Robert F Kennedy. Soon after, the Washington Senators moved to Texas and became the Texas Rangers. The stadium witnessed many unique events such as NFC championship games, the Beatles last concert in Washington DC, and many more. As I stated earlier, anyone who grew up here from the heyday of the stadium has fond childhood memories of RFK stadium.

What is known is that Michelle Buckman and I will soon be the listing agents for 4 beautiful large luxury 2BR/2BA duplex condos, with parking, at 1826 Independence Ave SE. For more information about these magnificent condos, when they will be on the market or any of your real estate needs, please contact me at mbuckman1983@gmail.com or 202-251-8721. And stay tuned for more information about these gorgeous condos. They are going to be special.

My partner, Michelle Buckman and I just listed a house for sale at 649 Orleans Pl NE. The 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom federal style house is full renovated by its long time owner, and is within walking distance of the H Street NE corridor, Union Market, the Capitol and Union Station. This week, however, I decided to write not about the area near our listing, but rather about an area nearby it that no longer exists. The area is called “Swampoodle”.

Swampoodle would be the area that is now Union Station, and the nearby surrounding neighborhood. That is, Swampoodle was the area bordering what is now called NoMA and Union Station. The neighborhood was once predominantly Irish. Because there were huge waves of Irish immigration to the United States in the mid 1800s it is not surprising that DC had its own Irish Enclave. The area behind the Capitol was at the time underdeveloped and mainly marshland. Moreover, there were said to be many puddles and thus the name Swampoodle: A marshy underdeveloped area with many puddles.

Swampoodle was a typical working class DC neighborhood back in the day. Emancipated slaves and working class immigrants eventually inhabited the neighborhood. They mainly lived in alley way houses and tenements. The neighborhood was notorious and perhaps legendary in its time for lawlessness and gangs. By the late 19th century the neighborhood was better developed and from 1886-1889, the area boasted the home field of the Washington Statesmen baseball club. Unfortunately like all cities with investment comes changes, and by the turn of the century most residents of the area were pushed out by the construction of Union Station. Union Station was completed in 1907, and was at the time the largest train station in the world.

Today the only remaining buildings from Swampoodle are the St. Aloysius Church and the Gonzaga College High School. Gonzaga College High School was erected in its current location in 1871. The Church was built in 1857, and legend has it the name Swampoodle was coined when a local reporter used it when writing about the new church.

So next time you find yourself in the area between Union Station and the NoMA Metro Station remember that it used to be a poor lawless neighborhood. Now it is full of office buildings and condos. Times sure have changed!

By the way, if you are down that way, please check out our listing at 649 Orleans Pl NE, and walk around the area to admire Swampoodle as well.

If you need information about DC or any real estate matter, do not hesitate to contact me, Michael Buckman, W.C. & A.N. Miller, a Long and Foster Company, at 202-251-8721 or email me at mbuckman1983@gmail.com.

1205 N St, NW #D

$500,000

Lovely spacious 1BR/1BA condo with 1 parking space located in Logan Circle/Old City #2 area. This condo has an open floor plan, large bay front windows, wood floors, crown molding, recessed lights, gourmet kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite counters, wood burning fire place, large utility room with stacked W/D. Roomy bedroom with 2 nice sized closets. Pet friendly. Low condo fee. Metro .4 of a mile to Green/Yellow Line & .5 mile to Red line. Walk & Bike Score 96. Close to restaurants, shops, museums.

Today while an old friend of mine from childhood was in town we decided to venture down to Mount Vernon Square to check out Bladgen Alley and Naylor Court. I had heard interesting things about this area, and I had seen photos on Instagram of the outdoor murals at Bladgen Alley, so I decided to check it out for myself. It was definitely an eye opening experience because of what I remembered the Mount Vernon Square area looked like when I was growing up and what it looks like now. When I was growing up, the Mount Vernon Square area was a bunch of boarded up buildings that we would drive by on the way downtown, to the MLK library or later to the MCI (Verizon Center). However today, the Mount Vernon Square area is home to Bladgen Alley and Naylor Court as well as many great restaurants and plenty of great architecture as well.

Ironically I have a listing at 1205 N St, NW #D which we will hold an open house on Sunday January 15th from 1-4 pm. The property is a spacious 1BR/1BA with parking. Please come by. The listing is very close to Bladgen Alley and Naylor Court. In fact the listing, a condo, is located in a fantastic location situated close to Logan Circle, Bladgen Alley, Chinatown, Dupont Circle, and U Street. It comes with a parking space.

Today Bladgen Alley is vibrant. It consists of condos, houses, restaurants, cafes, bars, and an outdoor mural art museum. It is very close to the Mount Vernon Square Metro and consists of beautiful brick buildings. In fact upon arriving there I thought I had gone to a southern city’s old historic district- Savannah or Charleston for example. I actually believe this what the city plan was when it decided to restore the historic area around Bladgen Alley. Naylor Court, in contrast, consists mainly of condos and row houses but like Bladgen Alley it keeps that historic DC charm. DC famously used to be home to many alley ways that housed stable homes and businesses. So it is not surprising DC has tried to recreate this area in a similar fashion.

Historically Bladgen Alley dates back to two major property owners in the mid 19th century. They were Thomas Blagden and Dickerson Nailor. Blagden ran a lumber yard in the city while Nailor was a grocer. Following the civil war, downtown Washington DC became more commercial and the area near the downtown became more residential. In the 1870s the area near Bladgen Alley became home to some prestigious residents. In fact the house on 909 M Street once was home to the first African American Senator Bruce K. Blanche. While richer residents lived on the main thoroughfares, poorer residents lived in alleys.

Following the civil war Washington DC was home to many freemen who fled the south. Over time many poorer immigrants began to settle in the alley dwellings as well. In fact according to the National Park Service, this area remained a tightly knit working class community until the riots of 1968, when much of the neighborhood was destroyed.

After the riots in DC, much of this area fell into disrepair- an era of disinvestment. The unfortunate results of the ill repair coupled with the late 80s crack epidemic in the city made the area very dangerous to live in or walk through. All that changed, after the building of the new convention center. Since then the area has seen a stunning revitalization.

One of my favorite highlights of the neighborhood is the outdoor mural art museum which has murals commissioned by the DC government. If you are into architecture, art, or just want to take a walk or have a meal, I highly recommend checking out the historic districts of Bladgen Alley and Naylor Courts. The easiest way to access these areas is to take the green line to Mount Vernon Square Metro, or to take the 70 bus down to 7th Street and get off on 7th and M Streets NW.

And if you are interested in a real estate purchase or sale anywhere in the city, contact me, Michael Buckman at mbuckman1983@gmail.com or 202-251-8721. By the way, don’t forget to check out my new listing at 1205 N St, NW, open 1-4 this Sunday, January 15 , 2017.

For the past 8 years since I graduated college, I’ve lived abroad and traveled extensively. I have not spent a New Years Eve in DC or even the US since 2011. Most years I would go to Spain and visit my friend’s family in their town in the La Mancha region of Spain. New Years in Spain is not like New Years in the US. In fact, the way the Spanish celebrate New Year’s Eve is more on par with Thanksgiving. Families get together and have a huge dinner, a near feast. At 11:59 pm, they eat 12 grapes (or one grape every five seconds) for good luck in the New Year. Then, everyone kisses and hugs. In my friend’s house they have a tradition of burning bad news. Usually his parents save newspapers with bad news and burn them on the New Year!

So, what does this have to do with DC? Now that I am a realtor in DC and write a blog about DC, I thought I would tackle my lack of New Years Eve plans by writing a blog article about a few activities DC has to offer for New Years Eve.

Surprisingly, a number of people prefer a low-key night with a family member, pet, or partner. However, if you want to go out, you have a couple of options.

Most bars in DC either have a cover charge or an open bar. You must call your preferred watering hole to inquire about their plan. Remember that a majority of bars in DC will be packed and crazy so be prepared for all-out debauchery. As for concert venues and clubs, most will have a concert or party with a band. You need to check in advance to see if tickets are still available. If I had to choose, I would choose a party at my favorite club/music venue in DC: the Black Cat. The Black Cat will be having its usual event, a swing orchestra playing hits from the 30s and 40s and a DJ spinning downstairs. The redroom bar will be open for business as usual so if you don’t want to shell out the $30 or pay a cover, then this is the place for you. The Black Cat is located at 1811 14th Street NW. The easiest way to get there is by taking Metro to the U Street Station and then walking over. Getting home may be difficult on Metro so be prepared to take a taxi or Uber.

Another option is dinner. Now I don’t know if most restaurants will have a party until midnight, but I did notice that my favorite Ethiopian restaurant, Ethiopic, on H Street still has tables available for New Years Eve. Ethiopic is located at 401 H Street NE. Since Ethiopic is at the far end of H Street near Union Station, it would allow for post-dinner dancing or drinking. My favorite place nearby is the Rock and Roll Hotel. This year, the Rock and Roll Hotel is offering an open bar and two floors of dancing and DJs. Doors open at 8pm. Advance tickets are between $65 to $86, but tickets at the door are $100. Make your plans in advance if you can. The Rock and Roll Hotel is located at 1353 H Street. If the Rock and Roll Hotel is not to your liking, a stroll down H Street will give you many other options of where to go or what to do. Both Ethiopic and the Rock and Roll Hotel, as well as other H Street bars and restaurants, are on the new street car line and the X2 bus line. They are also within walking distance of the Union Station Metro.

If you do go out, remember that you shouldn’t drink and drive. Most taxi services offer free rides on New Years. To get a sober ride, don’t call the taxi services directly. Instead, call 1-800-200-8294.

So, no matter what you plan to do on New Years, have fun, be safe, and be smart. And, if one of your 2017 New Year’s resolutions is to buy or sell real estate, email or call me: mbuckman1983@gmail.com or 202-251-8721.

Those of you who follow my Blog may have wondered why I haven’t written for several months. Today, I would like to explain my hiatus. As the end of August came, my real estate business slowed, so I took a much needed vacation that turned into a journey. If you know me at all, you know I love to travel. My trip was only to be a month, but as fall came, I decided to stay in Europe and travel. Before you knew it, it was Thanksgiving and it was hard to get back to DC at a reasonable price. So I went and visited some old friends in other parts of Europe. Wandering around northern, eastern, and central Europe I walked through quite a few traditional Christmas markets.

This brings me to my topic, Christmas Markets. Christmas market tourism is both local and foreign. It made me wonder, where and perhaps why Christmas markets started. I’ve visited a few places that have some North African or Middle eastern/Turkish style bazaars or markets, but those are year-round. Christmas markets are limited but are prevalent in all of Europe. In fact I have been to Germanic style Christmas markets in at least seven countries that have no Germanic roots.

Case in point: The other day I went to the Wizards' game and I noticed a tent-filled Christmas market on sidewalk in front of the National Portrait Gallery. It started at 7th street and continued on down F Street. I have never seen a traditional style Christmas market in DC. After having walking around my fair share of Christmas markets with my mulled cider or rum infused mulled wine, I was disappointed that they sold no alcoholic beverages at this market. However, it was a fine market, full of last minute gifts and Christmas crafts. It also boasted a selection of some street foods, such as German style sausages. I assume anyone passing by who has ever been to DC would be curious to explore this market. It is narrow but one can stroll luxuriously through it.

It seems Christmas markets originated in Germany, or at least in Germanic speaking cities and towns. There is no consensus as to where the first market began; however, it is agreed that the concept of a Christmas market originated in the mid-to-late Middle Ages. The markets concept originated in celebration of the first day of the Advent calendar, and thus they are temporary. Most markets in Europe contain a nativity scene (the one in DC does not), and traditional Christmas sweets, food and crafts as well as alcohol such as mulled wine, hot cider, or brandy.

Anyway, I’m back from my hiatus, and I recommend that you check out the Christmas market on 7 and F streets NW. The easiest way to get there is the Red Line on Metro. Take the Red Line to Gallery Place/Chinatown, and walk out the F street exit and the market is right across the street. Alternatively, if you are in the mood to walk and to shop, I recommend getting off at Metro Center, and go shopping there and end you day at the Christmas Market. Alternatively, you can use UBER or drive there.

If you need any more ideas about DC hidden gems or real estate help, contact me at mbuckman1982@gmail.com or 202-251-8721.

Since the turn of the century, Washington DC, has begun a trend of either building or converting properties into condominiums.  These properties include former rental dwellings or large single family homes converted into to small multi-unit condominium projects. This article will look at what a condominium is and how ownership of one works. Colloquial, condominiums are also call condos and we will use that term interchangeably. Continue reading ..
viewOne of the best historic sites to visit this summer in DC is the Frederick Douglass house and it is free to visit. Please note that if you make a reservation to visit the house online, you will be charged a processing fee.  The house is located in the greater Anacostia neighborhood of Southeast DC at 1411 W Street SE. This historic property is maintained by the Park Service, has free parking and is Metro accessible, i.e. within walking distance of the Anacostia Metro station. For most students who grew up in DC and attended public school, Frederick Douglass’ house was a required school field trip.  Nonetheless, it is a great place to spend a few hours enjoying a rarely visited part of the city and I highly recommend making the trip. Continue reading ..
I mainly write blog articles about places in DC: neighborhoods, landmarks, and historical sites. However, as a new and up and coming realtor, I been having many firsts. I attended my first sales meeting, had my first transaction, and this past Sunday conducted my first open house. It was in one of my favorite neighborhoods-Bloomingdale and I thought I would write about my experience which for me was a new and exciting. Continue reading ..
BloomingdaleOne of the hottest neighborhoods in DC at the moment is Bloomingdale. It is an area dotted with beautiful Victorian houses, great bars and restaurants, and some of the best half-smokes in the city (sorry Mr. Ali). However, not only is it a hip and trendy neighborhood, it is also a neighborhood with character and history. It is the neighborhood is featured in the introductory sequence of the hit TV series, House of Cards. Continue reading ..