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:

  • Councilmember Tommy Wells, who attended our Classic Bike Show during Zest for Retro.
  • Lunar Massage: Joanna Robinson, Ander, Amber, Shawnna
  • BicycleSpace sponsored Zest for Retro and provided bike racks for the Classic Bike Show.
  • Capital Bikeshare sponsored Zest for Retro
  • Bike-and-Roll brought a historic penny farthing bicycle for the Classic Bike Show.
  • The Dandies & Quaintrelles sponsored the Classic Bike Show during Zest for Retro.
  • H Street Country Club loaned putters and golf balls for the putting greens throughout ZestFest.
  • Eat Wonky provided hot munchies during Zest for Retro at the Field.
  • Street Art: artists Diana CruzKelly Towles
  • Yoga District: Hannah Allerdice
  • InsideOut Services, Inc. provided a putting green and planters, as well as the work for Oak Leaf Park.
  • Metro Paving worked with DDOT to expand the sidewalk at Oak Leaf Park.
  • Polinger Shannon & Luchs participated in the creation of the Backyard, a new pocket park behind 1200 First Street, NE.
  • Urbanscape, Landscape Forms, Wabash Valley and Victory Stanley provided planters, benches, and trash cans for the Backyard.
  • Courtney McCall organized the donation and installation of the Backyard’s landscape furniture.
  • Yoga Chai: Alex Wilson & Autumn Wilson
  • Potbelly’s friendly musicians played outside during ZestFest.
  • Albus Cavus and Peter Krsko provided artwork for the Bistro, a pop-up internet café; and organized the graffiti artists for the closing party:
    • Graffiti Artists: Jazi Rock, Con, Graham Boyle, Juan Lopez, Katie Medina, Edwin Merino, Mika Altskan, Antarah Crawley, Asad Ultra Walker, Truth Among Liars, Rosina Teri Memolo, Justin Poppe, Jason Medina, Joseph Orzal, Ster, Elana Casey.
  • CLEAR sponsored the internet at the Bistro.
  • ATF and Capital Retail Group provided the space for the Bistro.
  • Local resident and NoMa fan Tony Goodman brought his Aussie Rules football team out for a Saturday skirmish.
  • Michelle Reyes taught salsa dancing on the plaza with DJ Asho performing.
  • Deborah Perry manages the Union Center Plaza, where chair massages, music, drumming and putting greens were set up during ZestFest.
  • The Cohen Companies & the Loree Grand at Union Place allowed the use of the Field at Second and L Streets, NE, for a variety of events during ZestFest.
  • Doc Powell and his drummers from Malcolm X Park performed in CNN Plaza during rush hour.
  • Enside/Out performed at the New York Avenue Metro Plaza.
  • Zest for Kids:
  • Lisa Schreiber and Ofer Khal at Wagtime provided dog goodie bags and treats for Zest for Dogs.
  • Alex Goldstein of the Fridge DC, who organized the closing party with a variety of local bands:
    • The NOT, New Atlantis Guitar Trio, Zigguraut, Lagomasino/Fishkin Duo,
      Collin Crowe, Mike Sebastian/Aaron Martin/John Howard.
    • And several DC high school bands: The Hundred Acre Wood, The Miniature Bears, The Dharma Bums.
  • Pleasant Pops and Roger Horowitz provided sweet treats for the closing party.
  • The Loree Grand sponsored a happy hour during ZestFest for the monthly networking event for the DC Chapter of Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU).
  • Paradigm Construction Co. provided straw bale seating for several events at the Field.

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.