Jack Lanza and his husband Alan Lipsitz were looking for a Washington home with historic charm and a great outdoor space.
It was the late 1990s, and the couple were living in a Kalorama condominium. They searched for condos and houses with a yard and a patio in Woodley Park and Cleveland Park without luck.
Then they found a semi-detached rowhouse in North Cleveland Park, the neighborhood just northwest of Cleveland Park. The house was built in 1930 by Italian brick masons and has a large back yard.
The couple bought the house in 1998. They renovated it 10 years ago, installing a koi pond and patio in the back yard. Lanza says sitting on the patio on weekend mornings reading the paper and relaxing there after work at the end of the day remind him how much he likes living in the neighborhood.
“It was perfect for us, because it’s close to everything but it has almost a suburban feel to it,” said Lanza, 62, senior creative director for the public affairs firm Apco Worldwide.
Walkable: Residents said the neighborhood’s walkability is among its best features, thanks to its location between Wisconsin and Connecticut avenues.
“You get the best of being in the District without the congestion,” Lanza said. “You’re a quick walk away from Friendship Heights or the Whole Foods in Tenleytown, and you can get an Uber for under $10 and be anywhere in the city.”
Gayle Teicher, a lawyer who has lived in North Cleveland Park with her husband, Howard, since 1983, said she enjoys walking to the farmers market at the Sheridan School, along with the grocery store, restaurants and shops along Connecticut and Wisconsin avenues.
“You can really live here using public transport and walking, which is hard to say for most neighborhoods,” Teicher said.
Garden and green space: Adam Tope, 35, a lawyer who serves as an Advisory Neighborhood Commission representative for North Cleveland Park, says the neighborhood’s quiet, tree-lined streets set it apart from others nearby.
“It’s very green up here, and I think that’s what makes it a little different,” said Tope, who has lived in North Cleveland Park for six years. “And it’s right in the middle of the action. You can walk to anything you need within 15 minutes.”
Teicher said she enjoys walking to the community garden on Tilden Street NW.
“It has been a huge force in joining the neighborhood socially,” Teicher says. “You end up meeting people you wouldn’t otherwise.”
Residents also mingle at a variety of informal neighborhood gatherings. Lanza said a community barbecue he and Lipsitz hosted a few weeks ago showcased the neighborhood’s diversity.
“There were people with babies and people with grown children, people who are married and people who are young and single, people who are straight and people who are gay,” Lanza said. “It’s a good mix.”
Lanza said the sturdy construction and original woodwork in his house helped attract him to North Cleveland Park. He said those looking for spacious floor plans and huge closets will likely want to renovate or look for a house elsewhere.
Lanza also said it took some time to adjust to the quiet of North Cleveland Park after the urban bustle of Kalorama.
“If you want a real urban feel, you don’t have that here,” Lanza said. “It’s sort of a transition point between urban and suburban neighborhoods, and ultimately that’s part of what I like about it.”
Living there: Definitions of the neighborhood’s boundaries differ, but it is bordered roughly by Albemarle Street NW to the north, Connecticut Avenue and the University of the District of Columbia to the east, Tilden and Upton streets NW to the south, and Wisconsin Avenue to the west.
Nine townhouses have sold in the past year, from a $790,000 five-bedroom, four-bathroom home in need of work to a $950,000 five-bedroom, four-bathroom Tudor, according to Marjorie Dick Stuart of W.C. & A.N. Miller Realtors.
Two townhouses are under contract: a four-bedroom, three-bathroom rowhouse for $925,000 and an updated three-bedroom semi-detached Tudor for $950,000. One townhouse is on the market, a six-bedroom semi-detached one for $1.595 million.
Fifteen single-family houses sold in the past year, from a $675,000 three-bedroom to a $1.91 million five-bedroom Colonial.
One property is on the market, a four-bedroom farmhouse-style home for $995,000. One $890,000 three-bedroom home is under contract.
Schools: Neighborhood children attend Hearst and Murch Elementary, Deal Middle, and Wilson High. There are also several private schools within walking distance.
Teicher says her two boys went to private school until third grade, after which they attended Murch, Deal and Wilson.
“It worked out really well for them,” said Teicher, whose sons are now grown. “They really learned how to get along with and learn from people from all different socioeconomic and racial backgrounds. It has served them well throughout their lives.”
Transit: The neighborhood is served by the Tenleytown-AU and Van Ness-UDC stations on Metro’s Red Line as well as several Metrobus lines.
Crime: Over the past 12 months, there were three robberies, two assaults and three burglaries in North Cleveland Park, according to D.C. police.
Amy Reinink is a freelance writer.