Le Droit Park & Bloomingdale

Bloomingdale is a neighborhood in the Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C., less than two miles north of the United States Capitol building. It is a primarily residential neighborhood, with a small commercial center near the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue and First Street, NW featuring bars, restaurants, and food markets. Most of Bloomingdale’s houses are Victorian-style rowhouses built around 1900 as single-family homes. Today, these houses remain primarily single-family residences, with some recently converted to two-unit condominiums.

 

Like many D.C. neighborhoods since the early 2000s, Bloomingdale has undergone substantial gentrification, with the neighborhood’s once-numerous vacant properties being repurposed, sharp rises in property values, and rapidly shifting demographics. The population is primarily African American, which has maintained deep roots in the community for many years. There is also a growing Hispanic and White population. According to the 2010 census, the diverse population of Bloomingdale was 59% African American and 30% White with the last 11% split between Hispanic residents, Asian residents, and residents of other origins.

 

During this period of rapid change, numerous new businesses have opened in the neighborhood, primarily restaurants, bars, and food markets. These include Windows Market, Big Bear Cafe, Yoga District, Bacio Pizzeria, FieldToCity, Rustik Tavern, Boundary Stone, Aroi Thai Sushi Bar, Grassroots Gourmet, Red Hen, and Showtime Lounge. Every summer, the Bloomingdale Farmers’ Market operates on Sundays on R St between Florida Ave and 1st Street, N.W.

 

LeDroit Park is a neighborhood in Washington, D.C. located immediately southeast of Howard University. Its borders include W Street to the north, Rhode Island Avenue and Florida Avenue to the south, Second Street NW to the east, and Howard University to the west.

 

The neighborhood was founded in 1873 by Amzi Barber, a businessman who served on the board of trustees of neighboring Howard University. Barber named the neighborhood after his father-in-law, LeDroict Langdon, but dropped the ‘c’.

 

As one of the first suburbs of Washington, LeDroit Park was developed and marketed as a “romantic” neighborhood with narrow tree-lined streets that bore the same names as the trees that shaded them, differing from the street names used in the rest of the city. Extensive focus was placed on the landscaping of this neighborhood, as developers spent a large sum of money to plant flower beds and trees to attract high profile professionals from the city. Originally a whites-only neighborhood, LeDroit Park was even gated with guards to promote security for its residents. Efforts by many, especially multiple actions by students from Howard University,  led to the integration of the area. In July 1888 students tore down the fences that separated the neighborhood in protest of its discriminating policies.

 

By the 1940s LeDroit Park became a major focal point for the African-American elite as many prominent figures resided there. Griffith Stadium was also located here until 1965, when the Howard University Hospital was built where it used to stand. Le Droit Park includes Anna J. Cooper Circle, named for the education pioneer.

 

Today, LeDroit Park residents represent a wide variety of ethnic groups. The diversity entices new residents to the community, as well as its close proximity to the Shaw–Howard University Metro station   and many dining options.