Archive for July, 2013|Monthly archive page

Chicago Blackhawk Stars Dance Off

One more reason for me to love the Chicago Blackhawks!

 

http://network.yardbarker.com/nhl/article_external/patrick_kane_and_jonathan_toews_have_a_dance_off/14158883

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Science and Dogs

I’m thrilled. As science proceeds to study animals rather than studies on animals, we learn more about their abilities. we can now continue our move away from acting patronizing to our pets, or to pet owners. It is time to realize how many of the emotions and cognitive abilities animals and humans share.

I enjoyed the book Animal Wise because it effectively summarized the studies done on the thinking and feeling of animals from dogs to elephants. It showed how much we have learned now that scientists and society are more open to seeing animals as amazing living beings.

Today’s Post carried an article on the ability of dogs to recall. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/dogs-can-copy-what-humans-do-even-10-minutes-later/2013/07/29/bcfbdbb0-f2ca-11e2-ae43-b31dc363c3bf_story.html

DC United and Soccer Stadium

I appreciate this article but wonder about a few things. Could the city have gotten more for the Reeves Center with its prime location on U and 14 Streets? How will Metro handle the soccer crowds? They sometimes struggle with moving the Nationals fans after games. Cost overruns are common in development projects. How will the city and DC United handle the probable increased costs to building the stadium. Has the $300 million accounted for the cost of the land as well as the building?

To build a soccer stadium, DC will swap the Reeves Center

by Dan Malouff   •   July 25, 2013 9:40 am

DC has agreed to a preliminary deal to build a dedicated soccer stadium at Buzzard Point, and to redevelop the Reeves Center at 14th and U streets NW with a new mixed-use building.

 


Rendering of a Buzzard Point soccer stadium. Image from DC United.

Under the deal, the stadium would be located at the southern base of Potomac Avenue SW, just 4 blocks from Nationals Park. It would seat 20,000-25,000 people, and cost around $150 million to build. DC United would pay for construction, but the District would donate the land.

Development firm Akridge currently owns the land for the stadium. Instead of buying the land outright, DC would swap it for the Reeves Center. Akridge would then tear down and redevelop the Reeves Center, while United would build a stadium at Buzzard Point.

The deal must still be approved by the DC Council.

Is this a good idea?

Is Buzzard Point the right place for a stadium? Usually it’s not a great idea to put two large stadiums so close to each other, because when so much land is given over to sports, there’s not enough left over to build a functioning mixed-use neighborhood. That’s a major problem with Baltimore’s Camden Yards area, with the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, and with most multiple-stadium complexes.

But Buzzard Point may be different. Nationals Park has helped induce strong redevelopment east of South Capitol Street, and along M Street SE/SW, but the west side of South Capitol Street has lagged behind. The west side clearly functions as a different place, and a stadium there could help.

On the other hand, maybe the west side of South Capitol Street hasn’t redeveloped as much precisely because Nationals Park superblock is a barrier.

From a transportation perspective, Buzzard Point makes sense. Although it’s further from a Metro station than Nationals Park or RFK, it’s still within walking distance. And actually, a little bit of distance is a good thing, since it means soccer fans will pass by retail areas between the stadium and Metro, and that the most valuable land nearest the station can still be used for mixed-use development.

On top of the Metro connection, DC is planning for both the Georgia Avenue and Anacostia streetcar lines to terminate at Buzzard Point, directly adjacent to the proposed stadium site.

As for the Reeves Center, it cannot be redeveloped soon enough. A large city office building was a useful and necessary investment along U Street in the 1980s, when central DC was declining. But now the neighborhood is booming, the land is in high demand, and the Reeves Center is obsolete.

In a perfect world, I still think Poplar Point would have been a better location for a soccer stadium. But in the real world, Buzzard Point works. Since DC taxpayers won’t be on the hook to pay for construction, let’s do it.

Book Festival

George  Mason University holds a Fall For the Book Festival on the weekend of September 22nd-27th. This year, they are having a panel discussion on writing books about sports on Thursday, September 26 at 7:30 pm.

The event will take place at the George Mason Regional Library and my co-author Raphael Mazzone will read  from our book, The Bullets, The Wizards and Washington, DC Basketball. My reading will come from my other sports book, Capital Sporting Grounds: A History of Stadium and Ballpark Construction in Washington, DC. The other panelist is sports author, Tom Dunkel, who’s book is Color Blind: The Forgotten Team that Broke Baseball’s Color Line.

Mark the readings on your calendar!

How It Feels to Be Strung Along By Jason Collins

When NBA player Jason Collins came out as gay this spring, he was lauded as a hero to a lot of people. One notable exception is the shocked woman who thought she was going to be his wife.

That woman is named Carolyn Moos, and she has told her tale (“Jason Collins is my Ex-Fiance”) of being engaged to Collins in the new edition of Cosmopolitan.

Once she gets to the point, Moos says: “I empathize with Jason and support him. But at the same time, I remain deeply hurt by him. I wish he could have been honest with me years ago. I feel like there are two Jasons now — the man I fell in love with and the man I’m trying so hard to understand. He’s being hailed as a pioneer, but I believe true heroism is a result of being honest with yourself and with those you love.”

So, yes, this ultimately is the letter of a jilted lover, but it nonetheless paints a romantic picture of a young relationship and a sad, confusing picture about its end.

Moos, 35, describes Collins as an easygoing romantic, saying she fell in love with him when they were both playing basketball at Stanford.

After what Moos felt was more than enough time dating, Collins took a knee in 2008.

“I’ve been thinking about my life, what I want.” She says he said. “I wanted to ask if you would marry me.”

By 2009, he had done some more thinking and called off the wedding.

Moos didn’t know why until this April, when he called her the same day his coming-out piece in Sports Illustrated ran, and told her he was gay.

“During all the years I had known him,” she wrote, “I never would have guessed that he would come out as gay.”

Lost DC Book Motivates Exploration of the City

A fun, quick read about all that has changed in my adopted city. It made me want to get on my bicycle and scout out the remnants of all these old buildings and facades.

This book is obviously the product of a good deal of research and investigation in a variety of source material. It is a great source for factual information and would have been even more valuable if the author had decided to add more analysis and comparisons with what happened in other cities in the US.