Press Release: NoMa BID Celebrates Neighborhood’s Past With New Banners

For Immediate Release
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NoMa BID Celebrates Neighborhood’s Past With New Banners
Street Pole Banners Along Major Corridors Feature NoMa Branding, Historical Photos, and a CMYK Color Scheme

April 12, 2019 / Washington, D.C. — The next time you’re walking around NoMa, look up! On primary corridors, you’ll see new street pole banners featuring a variety of historical images from the area’s past, the NoMa BID logo in both normal and abstracted configurations, and a dynamic CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and key, or black) color scheme. The banners, 158 in all, are part of a multifaceted effort by the BID to celebrate the neighborhood’s history.

“The BID puts up street pole banners to let people know they are in NoMa, and also to tell a story,” says Robin-Eve Jasper, BID President. “Our last set, hung in 2012 and 2014, featured graphics pointing out great things about the growing neighborhood, such as bike lanes, transit options, and beautiful landscaping where there were once empty lots. With this banner refresh, we are looking back across 150 years and highlighting things that people might not know about the area. It’s an opportunity to reveal some of NoMa’s rich history and also have a little fun.”

Eight different photographs are used for the banners, with pairs of images united by one saturated CMYK color. Each color runs for several block lengths at various points around NoMa along major roadways: North Capitol Street NE, First Street NE, the nexus of New York and Florida avenues NE, Massachusetts Avenue NE, and K, L, M, and N streets NE.


  • Swampoodle Grounds: This baseball field was located where Union Station and the National Postal Museum now sit and served as home for the city’s National League team from 1886 to 1889. The working-class Irish neighborhood around it, known as Swampoodle, vanished with the construction of Union Station, which opened in 1907.
  • The Beatles: On February 11, 1964, a few days after appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show, the Beatles performed their first public concert in North America at Washington Coliseum, aka Uline Arena. It was the largest venue (8,000+) the Fab Four had played to that point. The photograph used is an Associated Press image from the concert.


  • Scarlet Oak Leaves: The scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea) is native to the central and eastern U.S. and is the official tree of the District of Columbia. Two layouts of the tree’s distinctive leaves and complex veining are used.


  • Women at the GPO: Women worked at the Government Printing Office (GPO), established in 1861, from its earliest days, usually at a lower pay scale than men and in roles that required tedious and repetitive work, such as feeding paper into printers or stitching bound copies. Two photographs are used, both circa 1912.


  • Lewis Henry Douglass: In 1869, Lewis Henry Douglass (1840–1908), the eldest son of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and a sergeant major during the Civil War, became the first black typesetter at the GPO. He also served as assistant marshall of the District of Columbia.
  • Earl Lloyd: The first black man to play in an NBA game, on October 31, 1950. An Alexandria, Va., native, Lloyd (1928–2015) played for the Washington Capitols, which called Washington Coliseum home court. Lloyd would go on to a distinguished sports career and was voted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2003.

The banners’ CMYK color scheme and halftone treatment of photographs are nods to the area’s past as a locus of printing activity, including the GPO; the Judd & Detweiler building at Florida Avenue and Eckington Place NE, where National Geographic was once printed, now the home of Sirius XM Radio; and the National Capital Press building at N and 3rd streets NE, which is being redeveloped as the mixed-use Press House at Union District.

In conjunction with the new permanent street pole banners, the NoMa BID is also temporarily covering the 1,100 linear feet of fence around the large triangular lot at the northeast corner of North Capitol Street and New York Avenue with banners that incorporate the historical images, contemporary images, and the abstracted NoMa logo. Along the North Capitol stretch, the banners include a brief timeline of the neighborhood’s history.

To see images of the historical photographs and the street pole banners and find links to the public-domain sources, go to