34 Comment

  • What exactly is the new feature?

  • aside from the one new building everything looks the same….the Chapin Street devlopment (my street i live on) however that is cool to see!

  • I’m certain that I’m in the minority, but I miss the old 14th Street before it became all small plates and overpriced, bad cocktails. Redeveloping an area is one thing, but turning it into the Disney-fied version of itself is something else.

    • As a 20+ year DC resident, I am nostalgic about much, but really, 14th Street? What was there to miss? Empty boarded up buildings? Low-slung, car-centric suburban style shopping centers and apartment buildings? Liquor stores with bullet proof glass?

      • I don’t think he/she is talking about the 14th Street of 20 years ago, but the more recent days when it was basically just the Black Cat, Saint Ex, and Bar Pilar.

        • Yeah, I realize that progress is necessary in a neighborhood like this, but I kind of miss the quieter, more interesting 14th Street.

    • I was just thinking I like the 2007 Street View better. Of course it has the advantage of a leafy August tree and no construction, but it has more color and a warmer more inviting feel. I miss the old 14th Street too (not the prostitution days but the mid-2000’s early stages of gentrification).

    • I’ll take the bait. While the transition has been far from perfect, and we lost a few unique businesses (i.e. Pulp, the ORIGINAL garden district), there were a lot of the empty store fronts and near empty low-density buildings. A lot of the boutiques and original businesses have actually done pretty well at staying around. There’s are more low cost options like cheesesteaks, burgers, falafel, Taylor, whatever.. so I just don’t buy the overpriced thing as much anymore. AND the cleaners and gyms and local groceries that went out of business have really been replaced by… more cleaners, local groceries, and gyms… so… with the exception of KFC/Taco Bell and Foot Locker and the eternal grand opening of crabs and seafood, I dunno…

    • “I’m certain that I’m in the minority, but I miss the old 14th Street before it became all small plates and overpriced, bad cocktails.”

      Well, for the record, I’ve had numerous big plates on 14th Street, not to mention quite a few overpriced GOOD drinks.

      “Redeveloping an area is one thing, but turning it into the Disney-fied version of itself is something else.”

      What exactly is “Disney-fied” mean? Did you prefer the boarded up buildings? The hookers? The dealers?

      I lament some of the changes, too, but I’ve been living here for 15 years and hanging out here for for 10 more. The displacement of longtime residents (at least those who couldn’t cash in as owners) is a really sad thing, as is the threat of losing the culture of the neighborhood, but having thriving businesses replace boarded up buildings and putting condos where empty lots were is a good thing.

      On balance the neighborhood (and city) are much, much better off.

    • I think the laments about “missing the old 14th street” are more accurately related to what 14th street has become. Certainly, I don’t think anyone can deny that thriving business has been good for the neighborhood. However, there is a difference between “thriving business” and the chintzy playground that it has become mostly for people who live outside of the district.

  • I worked at Sparkies in 2001. They stayed open during most of the day on 9/11 and we watched hundreds of people walk out of downtown past the cafe.

  • WOW! Just went all the way down 14th to Logan and it’s incredible what 7 years and billions of dollars of investment can do to a neighborhood. It’s nearly unrecognizable except for the McDonald’s at 14/U, Saint-Ex, and Black Cat.

  • I still mourn the death of Sparky’s every time I pass that block. What a great place that was!

  • I was living above what is now Cork until last fall (it’s a REALLY cool apartment), and bizarrely, we were still getting mail addressed to Sparky’s. The dream will never die…

  • I watched the 2002 World Cup (South Korea/Japan) at Sparky’s in the middle of the night! A few pics (on FB): http://bit.ly/Sparkys14th

    Miss that place.

    • +1. I watched the 2008 womens Olympics Final there.. USA v Brasil with the manager (who was Brasilian).

      I do miss Sparky’s – was a nice place, friendly and a “neighborhood” place, not a chain.

    • Thanks for sharing! Sparky’s may not have offered the best coffee experience, but it was a great place to hang out. I also mourned its demise.

  • I remember Sparky’s allowing smoking indoors — ugh!

  • I visited Sparky’s once. I was not impressed. The opening of Cork Wine Bar in that storefront and the subsequent arrival of Peregrine in the storefront to the south was a definite plus; Peregrine may not have the best ambiance, but it serves awesome coffee.

    On the right side of the picture, the ugly old low-slung modern building that existed in 2007 (which housed something called Grainger, if I recall correctly), is being replaced by that taller ugly modern building now under construction. So some things change yet somehow remain the same.

    • The red brick building that’s being replaced was home to, appropriately enough, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers.

    • peregrine did have great coffee… the ambience was kinda creepy, though, as it was people who sat in silence working at their laptops all day long, so you could never get a coffee and sit down, much less talk to anyone you were with without feeling like you were disturbing the library-like silence.

  • And there goes my afternoon… By the way, the transformation of the corner of 14th and T Streets is just incredible.

  • Sparky’s was the best place ever! I loved to get a mug of early grey tea and hang out.

  • Wow, I remember filling out all of my medical school applications there. Eight years later, I’m back in DC for residency, and no longer can afford an apartment within a mile of my former place on 14th and Corcoran.

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