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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Back in the day -- a decade or so ago -- U Street NW was clubs and kente cloth. Poetry readings at Sisterspace and all-night partying at Republic Gardens. But U Street has always been a quick-change artist, constantly morphing, ever evolving, from the glory days of Duke and Lady Day to the madness of the '68 riots. Now, it's got a distinctly Brooklyn vibe, with funky little shops sandwiched in rowhouse after rowhouse: Vintage-flavored duds at Nana. Eco-friendly fare at Greater Goods. Mod mid-century home decor at Millennium.

It's spring, and U Street is blooming.

Walk up and down the street and you'll see signs in a brightly optimistic green, declaring, "Historic U Street Forever Free!" Wander into one of its many boutiques and you'll be greeted with bright pops of grassy green shouting out from the shelves. This is a green that's more lime than pine, a Kelly/apple/mossy tint that evokes images of a lushly verdant garden. A happy hue.

At Boundless Yoga, you'll find emerald decorating yoga mats and baby Ts for the smallest of yogis. You'll find it at Wild Women Wear Red, giving a necklace and earrings made from real lotus flowers an extra bit of zing. You'll find it adorning jazzy bags and a snappy pair of patent leather sandals at Shoefly or giving flava to the pillows and home accessories at RCKNDY.

And, more often than not, you'll find it dancing with the lotus -- a flower that symbolizes rebirth and resurrection. Just like U Street.

-- Teresa Wiltz


© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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