DC Alleys Coming Alive
No longer a secluded place for quickly passing through or a hotbed of bad behavior, alleys in DC are being re-imagined and spruced up as new paths to explore the city. Alleys are appealing, and located in the middle of many hot neighborhoods presenting a vibrant urban life. Community play spaces are being created in these historic side streets of DC, according to a new city survey.
Usually most active in the summer, the back alleyways are turning into the center of small gardens, neighborhood picnic spots, fitness studios and gourmet coffee shops. Alleyways from the small streets of Georgetown to Ninth and L Streets, NW, have been spruced up. They have become new open spaces for neighbors to gather for activities, playgrounds and fairs, impromptu barbeques, or a game of corn hole.
The charming semi-private world of alleys was originally built with middle class housing in the years following DC’s expansion after the Civil War. As new housing has been created, alleyways have been sanitized and are now revered as treasured interior spaces for secret gardens, conversations with neighbors, and more. The neighborhood alleys in Tenleytown, Palisades and Dupont Circle are becoming popular gathering spots across the city. Blagden Alley in Shaw on N, M and 9th Street, NW, features one of DC’s best restaurants, Rogue 24, as well as carriage homes, artist studios, and murals. Cady’s Alley in Georgetown is part of the DC’s “Design District,” home to DC’s best jazz venue, Blues Alley, posh furniture stores and cafes while running parallel to bustling M Street. Brown’s Court on Capitol Hill connects 6th Street and Independence Avenue, SE, with many artist studios, well-kept garages and old-fashioned cobblestone pavement away from the main street. Fraser Court in Dupont Circle is located a block from one of DC’s best coffee shops, Filter. This alleyway is off S Street and features stunning real estate, including a nearly $3 million home designed by Architectural Digest Top 100 architect Anthony Browne.
Residential housing in many of DC’s alleys has become popular places to live. With a cozy feeling and small living space, today’s alley homes are hot real estate and are often purchased quickly when they come on the market.