Street Smart: What to do in Brookland

August 7

Change has come to the community nicknamed “Little Rome” for its myriad Catholic institutions, bringing new condos, restaurants and, notably, the arts. But much of Brookland remains a quiet family neighborhood where daily encounters on leafy streets can include nuns and friars.


Wares at the Arts Walk. Photo by Beth Cope

The Arts Walk Monroe and Eighth streets NE A couple of dozen studios open - via glass garage doors - onto this new pedestrian promenade, where strolling visitors can buy pieces or take a class. Photographer Leda Black says subsidized, public-friendly studios are unusual in the District but important. "In this town, people are used to looking at art for fun as a kind of entertainment, but they don't realize that if people don't buy the art, we won't be here." The plaza is part of the new Monroe Street Market, a complex of apartments, restaurants and shops.


Murry & Paul's. Photo by Beth Cope

Murry & Paul's 3513 12th St. NE Aaron Lovett used to eat at this diner every day, until "I found out I was spending $300 a month on breakfast, so I had to cut back." Though not entirely.  He's a third-generation customer. "When I come here, I have a family feeling." Owner Ho Chang, whose aunt bought the business 43 years ago from the original owners, works alongside his mother to dole out egg sandwiches and other breakfast fare.


Franciscan Monastery with roses. Photo by Beth Cope

Franciscan Monastery 1400 Quincy St. NE Many know the pristine rose garden or annual plant sale at this 116-year-old monastery, but there's much more to see inside the church, particularly on the tours. A highlight is the somewhat-spooky catacombs that replicate those of ancient Rome and include two crypts containing remains of saints. One houses a young boy from the 2nd century whose intact hands and feet (the bones, at least) are wrapped in gold mesh.


Cloth bits and swatches at Scrap DC. Photo by Beth Cope

Scrap DC 3101 12th St. NE Crafters and cleaners alike come together at Scrap DC, a volunteer- and donation-driven operation selling bits and bobs for art projects. Co-director Heather Bouley and team sell what they can for reuse. There's a list at scrapdc.org of the items accepted, but it's not exhaustive. Donors include creative types such as "interior designers, architecture firms," Bouley said, "but it's mostly just people who are cleaning out their garages or craft rooms."


The wood-fired oven at Menomale. Photo by Beth Cope

Menomale 2711 12th St. NE Serious pie enthusiasts have made the pilgrimage to Menomale since its 2012 opening for Ettore Rusciano's authentic Neapolitan pizza. The boyish 35-year-old pizzaiolo from Naples earned a certificate from the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana in 2010. What was the test like? "It was multiple choice," he said. Oh, and he had to make a pizza, too.   For stories, features such as Date Lab, Gene Weingarten and more, visit WP Magazine. Follow the Magazine on Twitter. Like us on Facebook. E-mail us at wpmagazine@washpost.com.

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