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NoMa BID Thanks ZestFest Partners & Sponsors

Washington, D.C., November 18, 2010 – ZestFest splashed life onto NoMa’s streets this fall, unleashing art, music and community gatherings for three weeks in October.

The NoMa Business Improvement District, partnering with ReadysetDC, organized an interactive fall festival to activate and beautify NoMa’s public spaces. The goal was simple: fill the sidewalks with art, music, culture and unexpected activities, while effecting change in NoMa’s greenspaces and parks.


The response was spectacular. “You just made my day,” squealed one woman, who happened upon salsa dancing outside 1200 First Street, NE; she threw her bag down on the sidewalk and kicked up her heels for 10 minutes, then walked away to finish her lunch break with a brightened countenance.

Encountering a putt-putt green and chair massages in the Union Center Plaza at 840 First Street, NE, one man stopped for a double-take. “I need to move back into DC,” he said, with twinkling eyes. “It’s getting fun again.”

On the last Friday of ZestFest, hipsters and young families alike flocked to the Loree Grand Field for Zest for Retro, with a badminton tournament, classic bike show hosted by the Dandies and Quaintrelles, Beatles Rock Band on a 24-foot screen, remarks from Councilmember Tommy Wells, good eats from Eat Wonky, and representation from BicycleSpace and Capital Bikeshare. One resident encountered true community, and put her thoughts to paper (quote used with permission):

“What I really appreciated about Zest Festing was that several aspects of the city were represented and together in one space,” she wrote in an email. “There were families, young people, folks from other countries, and people who literally heard the music and just popped in and stayed to play badminton…It was one of those very positive and sought-after urban experiences of being able to stumble onto a place where folks were creating and sharing an experience based on it being available, accessible and good use of public space.”

During the three weeks of ZestFest, NoMa BID also created two permanent pocket parks in the neighborhood. The BID populated a concrete plaza behind 1200 First Street, NE, with donated benches and planters, providing a lunchtime hangout spot.

At Oak Leaf Park, NoMa BID created an inviting tree-filled greenspace out of a gravel pit in front of the 

New York Avenue Metro Station. Since station opened in 2004, a remnant of compacted gravel remained immediately in front of the Metro entrance at N Street. The NoMa BID decided to soften the gray, cold concrete by adding vegetation. Three crepe myrtle trees were donated from NPR’s new headquarters site, which is currently under construction, and planted in the new “Oak Leaf Park,” along with lariope, shrubs, and native grasses. In addition, DDOT widened a cramped and narrow sidewalk leading to the Metro entrance improving the crosswalk at Second and N Streets, NE. The entire transformation took place in one day, astounding passers-by and encouraging more than a few cell phone snapshots.

NoMa BID would like to thank the dozens of sponsors, partners and property owners who participated in ZestFest to bring smiles, dancing and laughter to thousands of NoMa employees and residents over a three-week period:

ZestFest was organized by NoMa BID and powered by ReadysetDC.

About NoMa BID:

NoMa is a vibrant, growing neighborhood north of Massachusetts Avenue and the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. In the last three years, private developers have invested more than $3 billion in the 35-block area covered by the NoMa BID, and have plans to develop more than 20 million square feet of office, residential, hotel, and retail space over the next 15 years. In 2010, more than 5,000 people moved into NoMa to live or work; and eight new retailers opened for business, including Harris Teeter (December 8) and TD Bank. NoMa has 15 modes of transportation, including two Red Line Metro stops, and the best biking facilities in DC, with the only East Coast Bikestation, the 8-mile Met Branch Trail, and six Capital Bikeshare stations. For more information about NoMa, visit and sign up for our bimonthly newsletter.



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