Over the river and through the woods

over the river
by Tim Dennee

On those crisp clear days following a snowstorm, the hills east of the Anacostia River have always drawn scores of children to their slopes for winter recreation. In the pre-snowplow era, steep roads, almost impassable to other vehicles, were paths of least resistance and maximum fun.

Still partly wooded, Naylor and Good Hope Roads as they dropped from Good Hope Hill were famous sledding or “coasting” routes before the end of the nineteenth century. Home-made and commercially made sleds—tall curved-steel-runnered sit-down cutters, long and short clippers often ridden belly down, and multi-person “trucks” or bobsleds—all plied the powder together. In the heart of Anacostia, sledding parties would commandeer Morris Road, Maple View Place, the eastern end of W Street, and 15th Street below Frederick Douglass’s Cedar Hill.

“Coasting Out of Doors,” an 1857 magazine engraving of a Winslow Homer drawing.

“Coasting Out of Doors,” an 1857 magazine engraving of a Winslow Homer drawing.

Early sleds couldn’t be steered or braked except by dragging the feet. The combination of speed with a variety of stationary and moving obstructions—pedestrians, curbs, utility poles, other sleds—made for plenty of accidents, most happily not serious. But being thrown from his clipper head-first down Maple View Place in December 1890 left little Claude Allen wishing his two front teeth back for Christmas. The number of crashes plummeted when the police forbade further coasting on Good Hope Hill and Asylum Hill in 1895.

Asylum Hill was the popular name for the long slope from the main gate of Saint Elizabeths Hospital to the doorstep of Anacostia, along the road now known as Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. It was the main drag through the aptly named Hillsdale and one of that neighborhood’s sweetest sledding spots. It was the collision of two sleds here that was responsible for police closing the street to coasting. But Hillsdale children had alternative runs along the entire Stickfoot Branch valley through which Sheridan Road snaked. In the 1930s, Louise and Henry Sayles sailed down the slope behind their parents’ home on Sheridan near MLK, where generations of kids had joyfully preceded them.

Looking downhill at a snowless Nichols Avenue in Hillsdale, 1903.  Library of Congress.

Looking downhill at a snowless Nichols Avenue in Hillsdale, 1903. Library of Congress.

At least one late-nineteenth-century Hillsdale sled has survived its wear and tear and the passage of years. Until a few months ago, in an attic on Stanton Road—among jars, kerosene lamps, a saddle, luggage and hats dating from the 1890s to the 1930s—sat a dusty 1880s-vintage clipper, likely built in New England. A quick clean-up revealed the stenciled image of a thrush on its faded red paint, and the name of the original owner, Frank Williams, hand-lettered on the underside. Of nearly all-wood construction, just a handful of nails secure the runners, and four screws fasten the single-plank deck. Two steel rods bent around the pine runners provided the biting edge. A frayed hemp rope, mended with cotton cord, remains to tug the sled uphill once more, and it served too as a handle for its riders while shooshing down.


The sled was a second-hand toy, as the Stanton Road house and its attic treasures had belonged to the family of Annie D. and Edward E. Taliaferro (pronounced “Toliver”), who built the frame building about 1887 and resided there until the 1930s. The Taliaferros were Virginians and had probably grown up enslaved. In the mid 1880s they moved from Loudoun County with their five children, born between 1872 and 1883. The kids were the right ages to have enjoyed a sled of this vintage. It was likely put away for good when the youngest, Olivia, outgrew it in the late 1890s, explaining why this “Rosebud” was tucked into their attic’s farthest corner for some distant day.

Guess DC’s 2014 Population!

On Tuesday December 23rd the US Census Bureau is expected to release current and revised population estimates for states across the country; the District of Columbia is also included. Care to put your thinking cap on and take a guess as to what the District’s 2014 population number will be? Sign up and take the Office of Planning’s (OP) survey. The person who is able to come the closest (+/-) will receive a prize (a hard copy of the 2013 Indices: A Statistical Index of District of Columbia Government Services report).

Please complete the survey and provide your name, email and which ward you live in. We will announce the winner after the Census officially releases the District’s 2014 population estimate. Due to the scarcity of the 2013 Indices report (it’s a collector’s item!), we request that no one enter who has direct prior knowledge of the 2014 population estimate. The last day to enter your guess is Monday December 22nd at 5:00pm.

As a reference point, the US Census’ original 2013 estimate was 646,449 (see graph below — click to enlarge).

dc population 2000-2013
Source: US Census Bureau.

DC Office of Planning Projects Recognized As Outstanding Plans in DC Region

The DC Office of Planning (OP) announced today that the National Capital Area Chapter of the American Planning Association (NCAC-APA) selected three OP plans and projects among the winners of the 2014 Chapter Planning Awards. The awards recognize initiatives, public education efforts and individuals for leadership in planning in the DC region over the last two years.  NCAC-APA is a professional association dedicated to the promotion of sound planning and land use practices. Its members include city, town and county planners, related professions, elected officials and citizen planners in Washington, DC and Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland.

“The District of Columbia prides itself on being a leader among our peer jurisdictions by utilizing creative approaches to address our residents’ needs and by developing innovative solutions,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “The NCAC-APA’s awards to our Office of Planning are a welcome recognition of our work.”

The three OP award-winning projects under the category of “Outstanding Plans and Projects” are:

  • Play DC – Parks and Recreation Master Plan, in partnership with the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR)—winner of the Award for an Outstanding Regional or Comprehensive Plan: The Play DC Plan is the District’s first-ever comprehensive master plan for the city’s parks and recreation system.  The plan evaluated parks and recreation needs citywide and sets a roadmap for investments over the next 10 to 15 years.  It lays out major policy moves that will drive tangible improvements in local neighborhoods and sets quantitative targets to measure results.
  • Mid City East Initiative, in partnership with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT)—winner of the Harold Foster Award for Distinction in Community Outreach and Engagement: The Mid City East study area is predominantly in Wards 5 and 6 with a portion in Ward 1 and is traversed by five major corridors: North Capitol Street, New York Avenue, Rhode Island Avenue, New Jersey Avenue, and Florida Avenue.  It includes the neighborhoods of Bloomingdale, Bates/Truxton Circle, Eckington, Hanover, LeDroit Park, and Sursum Corda, as well as portions of Edgewood and Stronghold.  The Mid City East Initiative comprises two components: the Mid City East Livability Study by DDOT and OP’s Mid City East Small Area Plan. The Small Area plan provides a vision to improve quality of life and enhance neighborhood amenities and character while supporting a community of culturally, economically, and generationally diverse residents and outlines strategies that will develop more mixed-use and walkable neighborhoods.  DDOT’s Livability Study is an in-depth companion study on transportation and the public realm to guide neighborhood-scale mobility improvements. Both studies are the product of OP’s and DDOT’s intense joint collaboration with approximately 2,200 community stakeholders as well as other District agencies.
  • DC Vibrant Retail Streets Toolkit Initiative—winner of the Current Topic Award for Innovative Smart Growth Initiative: The DC Vibrant Retail Streets Toolkit is an innovative approach towards retail analysis that enables neighborhoods and cities to assess their starting point on an eight-step ‘retail vibrancy scale’ and offers customized solutions for helping retail areas improve and progress on the scale. OP piloted the implementation of the Toolkit in 11 diverse neighborhoods across the District, focusing on improved management of emerging retail corridors, local capacity-building, and the fostering of retail streets that are safe, active, and walkable. The Toolkit has allowed OP to have a very different conversation with retail stakeholders that is grounded in a shared understanding about retail realities, championed by neighborhoods, and geared towards realistic implementation.

“I am very excited that OP’s exceptional work is being recognized among the region’s top notch planning initiatives,” said Ellen McCarthy, Acting Director of the DC Office of Planning. “OP strives to think out-of the box to address important issues, and to use creative approaches to public engagement.  Our work with DDOT on the Mid City East Initiative used everything from online crowd-sourcing to holding ‘office hours’ in the community to get the broadest cross-section of public opinion possible.”

NCAC-APA will present the 2014 Chapter Planning Awards on November 20th in Silver Spring.

For more information about OP’s award-winning projects, please visit the DC Office of Planning’s website at www.planning.dc.gov.

OP’s Park(ing) Day event inspires international action

by Andrea Limauro

When OP’s staff first joined the global Park(ing) Day movement last year, they surely did not think they would inspire a replica as far away as Italy. However, as OP’s staff plans to launch their second Park(ing) Day event today, they will be joined, at least in spirit, by Italian counterparts in the town of Conegliano, Italy. How did this intercontinental partnership happen? Last year, OP hosted an Italian planning student, Matteo Larese Gortigo, as part of an on-going internship agreement with the Planning Department of the University IUAV of Venice. Matteo and OP staff joined together to launch OP’s first experiment with temporarily transforming a parking space in front of its office at 1100 4th St SW into a welcoming place for socializing, meeting and talking planning. OP’s Park(ing) project was one of a handful of similar efforts in the District and thousands around the globe.

Italian article describing OP's 2013 Park(ing) Day

Italian article describing OP’s 2013 Park(ing) Day

As Matteo went back to his hometown of Conegliano with the goal of putting into practice what he learned from his internship, Park(ing) Day stood out as a fun and easy to replicate project. So, after putting together a small group of volunteers, he planned Conegliano’s first version of Park(ing) Day and Italy’s only second Park(ing) project this year.

Parking Day 2014 in Conegliano, Italy

Parking Day 2014 in Conegliano, Italy

The Parking Day website describes the event as “an annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.”

OP Park(ing) Day 2014

OP Park(ing) Day 2014

If you are curious about what Park(ing) Day is all about, and maybe thinking of joining the movement next year by replicating a project in your own neighborhood, you should come and visit OP’s project at 1100 4th St SW today from 9am to 3pm (or, if you are in Italy, you should take the opportunity to visit charming Conegliano and see Matteo’s project!).

‘Nonument Park’ Coming Soon to Southwest DC

by Josh Ghaffari

5×5 – A Temporary Public Art Project – through the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH), has a new site opening soon called ‘Nonument Park’. It is located directly to the north of the Office of Planning (OP) in a vacant lot just off of 4th Street in Southwest. 5×5 explores new perspectives on the District through temporary public art from the lens of its curators and artists. ‘Nonument Park’ is being curated by Lance Fung and will feature a series of work of the following 5 artists during the Fall: Jonathan Fung, Cameron Hockenson, Peter Hutchinson, Naranjo Morse and Jennifer Wen Ma. The site is described as “a temporary sculpture park featuring ‘monuments’ devoted not to the great but to ordinary people, to the ideals of democracy, and to the common struggles of humanity.”

‘Nonument Park’ is located at 1000 4th Street SW and is officially opening on September 6th, with special events taking place from 11am-1pm. The 5×5 Temporary Public Art Project will be on display in Southwest and at various sites throughout the District from September to December. Additional information on 5×5 can be found at the following website:


 Nonument Park Pic


R-4 Text Amendment Proposal Update

There have recently been a few items in the blogosphere about the recently submitted R-4 amendment proposal, and whether or not OP’s current R-4 proposal is resulting in building permit issuance being halted while the ZC review is underway.

The R-4 proposal (Zoning Commission Case 14-11) was submitted to the Zoning Commission, and was “set down” on July 17 for a public hearing. The public hearing date has not yet been set, but is likely to be in the late fall.

A proposed change to the zoning text does not change the existing regulations until the Zoning Commission takes final action, after a public hearing. There has not been a public hearing or any action by the Zoning Commission, therefore the existing regulations continue in effect. As such, any building permit application that has or will be filed during the time this proposal is under review will continue to be evaluated by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) under the current regulations. There is no halting of permits.

A copy of the OP report, with the OP recommended changes, is available on the DC Office of Zoning website. You can also read a summary and an explanation of the proposal on OPinions. We will be posting more information on the proposal and the alternatives that the Zoning Commission requested. Please feel free to contact OP (202-442-7600) if you have any questions.

Why is DC a Food Co-op Desert?

By Edward Giefer, Office of Planning

What are the makings of a great urban neighborhood? Good schools, walkable tree-lined streets, neighbors you know, transit options, attractive houses and buildings … and a food co-op?

Well Washington, DC, doesn’t have many food cooperatives, and I’m curious to know why. My favorite food store is The Wedge in south Minneapolis, a place I shop at only about once a year now, since moving from Minnesota many years ago.

The Wedge

The Wedge is customer/member-owned: you can buy an annual membership and receive discounts on purchases throughout the year and a cut of any profits at year end; non-members are welcome to shop anytime. Closer to home, the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op in Maryland is also customer/member-owned, but co-ops can also be employee-owned, like Glut in Mt. Rainer, MD. In DC’s Mt. Pleasant the City Garden co-op is “labor-based” (customers must work a certain number of hours at the co-op) and is currently only open for three hours on Saturdays.

(photo credit: Glut)

(photo credit: Glut)

Food co-ops generally have a focus on foods that are local, organic, natural, whole grain, unique, and offered in bulk bins, at prices that are often lower than you would find at for-profit supermarkets. Whether they are customer- or employee-owned, co-ops foster a strong sense of local involvement and investment, and a commitment to ensuring success: customers/members, not a corporate office or a focus group, decide what should be on the shelves in their local store and what would sell well.

And co-ops also often boast a broader mission – The Wedge, for example, has philanthropic and educational components, and owns a small farm which they invite the community to visit. These outreach activities (along with low low prices on lentils!) have endeared this 40-year old store to its community, and it has become a treasured neighborhood asset.

In recent years, DC has seen several new retail food stores open in DC, including Wal-Mart, and maybe a Wegman’s is in our future. But all of them are for-profit, more or less traditional grocery stores, and most are headquartered outside of DC and operate nationally with little product variation from store-to-store.

Are there reasons that there are so few food co-ops in DC currently? Would you support a food co-op in your neighborhood? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

DC’s Rowhouse Neighborhoods

The Zoning Commission (ZC) and Office of Planning (OP) have heard concerns voiced by residents about two issues impacting the District’s residential rowhouse neighborhoods – conversions of rowhouses to multi-family buildings, and additions to existing buildings, often called “pop ups” or “pop-outs”. The rowhouse areas are generally zoned R-4, which the Zoning Code defines as “those areas now developed primarily with row dwellings, but within which there have been a substantial number of conversions of the dwellings into dwellings for two (2) or more families.” In the R-4 or residential flat zone district, two dwelling units are permitted as a matter of right, although the R-4 zone is unique in that it also includes a provision that allows for the conversion, within set limits, of existing buildings into multi-family units. Even so, the Zoning Code goes on to state that “the R-4 District shall not be an apartment house district as contemplated under the General Residence (R-5) Districts, since the conversion of existing structures shall be controlled by a minimum lot area per family requirement.”


Many R-4 neighborhoods have seen an increasing number of conversions of buildings – both by right, and through variance requests to allow conversions with less than 900 square feet of land area per unit. This has had the effect of putting upward price pressures on single family housing stock with 3 or more bedrooms, pricing them out of the range of many families in many R-4 zoned areas.

OP looked carefully at the issues of conversions and inappropriate additions. We examined all of the R-4 zoned area and completed a detailed study of lot areas and building forms. Based on our discussions with R-4 residents and this research, OP submitted the following text amendments to the Zoning Commission on Tuesday, June 24th for consideration and possible set down (ZC Case 14-11).

1) Reduce Building Height:
OP has proposed that the regulations be amended to reduce the by-right height for a detached, semi-detached, rowhouse, or flat building in the R-4 district from 40 feet to 35 feet, but allow up to 40 feet by special exception subject to conditions. Our research found that the overwhelming majority of rowhouses in R-4 are less than 35’ feet in height.

2) Mezzanine Definition:
OP is proposing to change the definition of mezzanine so it is included in the number of stories. A mezzanine is a partial floor and under the current regulations, it does not count as one of the three permitted stories in R-4. However, adding this partial floor space can cause the building to rise higher than would otherwise be the case, so adds to the volume of the building.

3) Rowhouse / Flat Conversion to Multi-Family:

OP is proposing to eliminate the provision that allows for the conversion of rowhouses to multi-family buildings. The existing regulations limit the R-4 rowhouses to one dwelling unit or two units which is defined as a “flat”. However, there is also a provision that allows a conversion of a building or structure to multi-family units subject to a required minimum lot area of 900 square feet per unit. So, for example, a 2,700 sq.ft. lot would permit the rowhouse to be divided into 3 units; a 3,600 sq.ft. lot would permit the rowhouse to be divided into 4 units. In addition, there has been a large upswing in BZA cases requesting relief from this provision, to allow buildings on smaller lots to be subdivided into multi-family, or to allow more multi-family units than the regulation would permit. This is often accompanied by additions, sometimes extensive, to the existing building by adding new floors or extending floors to accommodate more units.

So, in a time when the demand for housing is great in DC, why would OP propose this? In addition to being inconsistent with the intent of the R-4 zone and sometimes the character of the neighborhood, this is having an impact on the diversity and the relative affordability of our family housing stock. The Comprehensive Plan provides substantial policy guidance directed at providing a diversity of housing options including family housing and protecting single-family neighborhoods.

Buildings with one and two dwelling units represent approximately 38 percent of the District’s housing stock, but only about 4 percent of the units in the housing pipeline over the next 15 years. Conversely, the District has a large supply of multi-family or mixed use zoned land and developments in the housing pipeline for multi-family housing that is appropriate to meet the demand of smaller households.

Few new multifamily buildings are being delivered with three or more bedrooms, unless they are part of housing planned to replace similarly-sized public housing units. Over the past three years, three-bedroom units have risen in price almost three times as fast as one-bedroom units – a reflection of the limited supply, subsequent demand pressure, and rapidly escalating prices. Families seeking to purchase relatively affordable homes are competing with developers who can pay more for a larger house than a family because they can profit by splitting up the building and selling smaller units. Ensuring that the R-4 zone remains a single-family rowhouse or flat zone can begin to address this pressure.

4) Conversion of Larger Non-Residential Buildings, by Special Exception
OP is proposing that the R-4 zone regulations continue to allow for the conversion of larger non-residential buildings, like a closed school or church, to facilitate the adaptive reuse of these non-residential buildings. OP is proposing that such a conversion be by special exception to allow for neighborhood input.

There is little if any implication on the production of Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) affordable units because the IZ requirements don’t apply in the R-4 zone until a project is 10 units or more and the conversion cases that would be limited by the proposed changes are typically 3 to 4 units. The larger projects such as school or church conversions will continue to be subject to the Inclusionary Zoning requirements.

OP believes that the combination of proposed amendments work to limit inappropriate additions while respecting the property rights of owners and preserving the character of the District’s residential rowhouse neighborhoods. The proposed amendments do not, however, stand alone. OP has also submitted the following proposals to the Zoning Commission through the Zoning Regulations Review (ZRR) (ZC Case 08-06A) process that work in tandem with the R-4 text amendments to accommodate new dwelling units:

1) Allow Accessory Apartments as a matter of right in low to moderate density residential zones;
2) Limit the height of a rooftop penthouse, currently allowed to be 18’6” tall, to 10’; and
3) Create two new zones that allow three (3) units per building and four (4) units per building. Although OP is not proposing to map these zones on any neighborhood, they would be zones available to a neighborhood if they wished to pursue a rezoning.

Historic Preservation Awards

Library_Laylights (3)

Architects, planners, builders, preservationists, and many enthusiastic members of the public came out this past Thursday for the 2014 District of Columbia Awards for Excellence in Historic Preservation at the DAR Constitution Hall. Hosted by the DC Office of Planning, Historic Preservation Office, and DC Preservation League, the awards recognized projects across the city that exemplified the best of historic preservation.

Before the program began, Katie Irwin of Quinn Evans Architects led tours of the lay light restoration in the DAR Library Reading Room—one of this year’s winning projects. What is now the reading room of the Daughters of the American Revolution’s famous genealogical library was originally built as an auditorium; it is connected to Constitution Hall. Large 9’x9’ leaded glass lay lights allow for natural illumination of the space (in photo above).

The event kicked off with remarks by Ellen McCarthy, Director of the Office of Planning, Mayor Vincent Gray, Edward Dunson, President of the DC Preservation League, and Lynn Forney Young, President General of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. All spoke about the positive role preservation pays in DC and many commented on the beauty of Constitution Hall.

To view short videos about each project, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN-Ku-lou7_1h8nndDElElA.

Photos from the event will be available soon on flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/14880935@N03/).


1925 6th Street NW: A labor-of-love homeowner project in the LeDroit Park Historic District. Rebecca Westcott

Arch Square, 801 7th Street NW: Rehabilitation and expansion of a signature corner in the Chinatown neighborhood of the Downtown Historic District. Douglas Development Corporation; McCaffery Interests; R2L: ARCHITECTS; Antunovich Associates; Winmar Construction; EHT Traceries, Inc.

Le Diplomate Restaurant, 1601 14th Street NW: Transformation of an abandoned 1920s laundry into an anchor restaurant along the 14Th Street corridor. Starr Restaurants; Stokes Architecture; Shawn Hausman Design; Brian Orter Lighting Design

Northern Exchange, 1401 R Street NW: Conversion of a vacant telephone exchange building into condominiums and retail on 14th Street NW. P.N. Hoffman & Associates, Inc.; Eric Colbert & Associates PC; Trevor Costa, Project Architect; EHT Traceries, Inc.

DAR Library Reading Room Lay Light Restoration Project, 1776 D Street NW: Restoration of extraordinary skylight roof in the former auditorium space of the DAR Headquarters complex.
Daughters of the American Revolution; Quinn Evans Architects; The Christman Company; Femenella & Associates, Inc.; Hutchinson United Rigging

Yuma Study Center/Convent of Bon Secours, 4101 Yuma Street NW: Renovation and tasteful expansion of a Tenleytown neighborhood signature landmark. Yuma Study Center; Quinn Evans
Architects; Forrester Construction Company; AtSite, Inc.; Tenleytown Historical Society

Meridian Public Charter School/Harrison School, 2120 13th Street NW: Renovation and contemporary addition to a Victorian-era school building in the U Street Historic District. Meridian Public Charter School; Bowie Gridley Architects; Forrester Construction Company; Brailsford & Dunlavey

St. Elizabeths Hospital Campus, 2701 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE: Recognition of the U.S. General Services Administration efforts at St. Elizabeths for both an archaeological project related to first phase construction, and preparation of a handsome and well-illustrated book, St. Elizabeths Hospital: A History. U.S. General Services Administration; Stantec Consulting Services, Inc.; Thomas Otto; The Louis Berger Group, Inc.

Francis L. Cardozo Senior High School, 1200 Clifton Street NW: Twenty-first century rehabilitation for a landmark school. District of Columbia Department of General Services; Hartman-Cox Architects; Grimm + Parker Architects; GCS-Sigal, LLC

Sherman Building Earthquake Recovery Project, 3700 North Capitol Street NW: Restoration and repair of extensive damage caused to the most significant building on the Armed Forces Retirement Home-Washington campus. Armed Forces Retirement Home – Washington; Quinn Evans Architects; R. Bratti Associates, Inc.; The Christman Company; Hayles & Howe; Keast & Hood Company; Oak Grove Restoration Company; PRESERVE/scapes Consulting, LLC

Douglas Jemal: Mr. Jemal is responsible for many projects in Washington’s downtown that have served as the catalyst for the redevelopment of that area, including 7th Street Row in Chinatown, the old Woodward & Lothrop Department Store building, and other signature projects along F Street NW.

Ten projects were recognized ranging in size from an individual homeowner project to the archaeological study of the St. Elizabeths Hospital campus. They were presented by Gretchen Pfaehler, Chair of the Historic Preservation Review Board; Edward Dunson; Steve Callcott, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer; and Ellen McCarthy. Additionally, Douglas Jemal, founder and president of Douglas Development, received the lifetime achievement award for his efforts in historic preservation in downtown DC. Each project was highlighted by a short video explaining how it had come to be with excerpts from interviews of people involved.

Following the ceremony, guests and awardees mingled over sweet and savory treats and beverages in the lobby area of the Hall. It was a great opportunity to congratulate the winners of this year’s awards, discuss upcoming projects, and reconnect with old friends.