descends on weekends, but most of the
buzz is on the top floor, where a putt-putt course leads players around a miniature replica of the city’s The Awakening
sculpture and the zombie-like busts of
A Streetcar Named Revival
The Atlas District and its renaissance
is centered on the Atlas Performing
Arts Center, a movie theater built in
1938 but destroyed during the riots.
The building sat largely idle until 2002,
when a nonprofit group purchased it
and transformed it into a community-based performing arts center that officially opened its doors in 2006.
Today, the 60,000-square-foot complex boasts four theaters, three dance
studios, rehearsal space and a café. The
center hosts a number of artistic productions for children and adults.
Nowhere is the renaissance of H
Street more apparent than in the plans
to bring back streetcars. The backbone
of transportation in the city from 1862 to
1962, streetcars were replaced by buses
as the primary public transportation in
the 1950s. Though their return is several
years away, the cars will once again support the businesses of H Street. Until
then, a free shuttle runs along the strip.
“The streetcars are going to be incorporated as part of the street renovation,
taking the street down to the dirt and
installing new utilities, lighter sidewalks,
an underground root system for trees
and a more robust streetscape,” says
Advisory Neighborhood Commission
chair Joe Fengler.
It’s a lot of work, Fengler says, but
it should pay off. “This area had a long
period of really rough times,” he says.
“It’s hard to say something will return
exactly to what it was, but I do think
it will evolve into something that the
entire city will enjoy.”
Clockwise from top left:
Some faces of H Street; Pablo
Cardoso, chef at the H Street
Country Club; Priscilla Jerez,
a.k.a. “Prissy Pistol,” performs
at the Palace of Wonders;
Kenfe Bellay of Sidamo Coffee;
Jacqueline “Big Mama”
Marshall from Horace and
Dickie’s; and Casey Patten, an
owner at Taylor.