Andrew Lightman

Andrew Lightman moved to Capitol Hill in 1993 as a graduate student and is now the editor of the HILL RAG newspaper, located across the street from Eastern Market.

In this April, 2009, interview with Dilshika Jayamaha, Lightman discusses how the paper covers the Market, how the city and neighborhood responded to the fire, and the complicated relationships among the indoor merchants, weekend vendors, and storefront businesses. Lightman was among the first people at the Market the morning after the fire and describes much of the scene he observed and photographed.

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Interview Date
April 7, 2009
Dilshika Jayamaha
Elizabeth Lewis

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JAYAMAHA: This is Dilshika Jayamaha. I am interviewing Andrew Lightman, managing editor of theHill Rag newspaper, for the Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project. It’s April 7, 2009, and we are meeting at Coldwell Banker premises at 605 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington, DC.

Andrew, thank you very much for agreeing to this interview, and to start us off I was wondering if you could tell a little bit about your first encounter with the Market—when you first came here.

LIGHTMAN: I first moved to DC in the spring of 1993, I think it was. My then-wife had gotten a job at Results—not the gym, but this is the education fund, which is actually based on the Hill. And she was working with them and we settled on the Hill. My parents had already settled here, so at the point, myself, my wife, and my sister all lived within about a five block radius around Seward Square. So I first went down to the Market ... And I was a graduate student at the point. I was finishing a PhD in South Asian history, which I completed in ’95 at the University of Pennsylvania. And so I was basically writing and working part-time. I got a job eventually at the Hill Rag in advertising sales. And I used to go to the Market almost on a daily basis.

My first experience of the Market was probably the first thing that you notice, which was its odor, because it really reeked in those days. All the coolers were above ground. It was before they had reorganized it into a central aisle. You couldn’t see from one side to the other. The bread store was still in the, I guess it would be the southeast corner. It was still Jewish-owned, so I used to go there all the time because they had all sorts of kosher things there. And it was a time when Mark was still in the Market. He was one of the Glasgow brothers who’s no longer among us. He used to sit at the bottom of the Market and glower at everybody because he was the only meat store that had no customers. Right next to the bread store. Let’s see what else do I remember about the Market ... So that was my first experience. We didn’t have a car at that point, so we did all the grocery shopping that we could do there.

JAYAMAHA: And do you continue to be involved in the Market at the same level in terms of the time you spend there and ...

LIGHTMAN: I live in Southwest, so I usually will come to the Market once on the weekends, but I work right next to the Market, so I’m usually in there a couple of times a week and it’s still, we still, my fiancé and I still buy a lot of our fruits and vegetables and our produce and consumables, particularly meat and fish, from the Market.

JAYAMAHA: And from a professional point of view do you cover the Market, as it were, regularly, take pictures?

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Andrew Lightman Interview, April 7, 2009

LIGHTMAN: Well I have a very complicated relationship with the management of the Market. I’m the managing editor of the Hill Rag, so I make generally most of the editorial decisions in terms of coverage. One decision we’ve made is since the Market fire, Peter Waldron, who’s a long, long time resident of the neighborhood, has been covering the Market in a monthly column for us, all issues regarding the Market in terms of its rebuilding. That’s been going on since the Market burned, in fact since the month after the Market burned. I also had a lot of experience with the folks that used to run the Market, Eastern Market Ventures. I know several of the principals quite well. I handled their advertising account as part of the house accounts for the Hill Rag. I designed and took a lot of the photographs that ran in their ads up until a point that Edge took over the account and ran it as an agency account. And I know almost everybody in the Market. They know me by name. I am the public face of the Hill Rag, so people generally will, if they have an issue, if I walk into the Market, somebody will complain to me about something.

JAYAMAHA: And just picking up from there, are you hearing anything from the merchants in terms of the situation right now? Do you get the impression that people are looking forward to moving back into the old building?

LIGHTMAN: I think the city has done a very, very good job taking care of the merchants whose businesses were in the Market. And the neighborhood has taken enormous care of them. The city has done less of a good job caring for the vendors who are in the Sunday and Saturday flea markets that surround the Market. They have done a fairly pitiful job of caring for the storefront businesses. The brick and mortar businesses that are on Seventh Street who were heavily impacted by the fire, saw their business levels drop substantially, have now been impacted by both—initially the construction of the Market, and now reconstruction of Seventh Street itself.

From the vendors’ perspective, and these are people that rent monthly, the city obviously only recently got rid of Market 5 Gallery—it’s sort of been removed—and discovered, lo and behold, these people are paying an enormous amount of rent. Now anybody who took a look at Market 5’s nonprofit tax returns knew that before, but the city had been reluctant to move against John Harrod for a whole series of reasons which I would only speculate about.

But the problem the vendors had was, once the Market burned, because of the news coverage, everybody thought it was closed. So the city didn’t do anything, other than some publicity by bringing the mayor down, to explain to the Market’s historic customers in Wards 4, 5, 7 and 8, who had been drawn to the Market because of its long-time openness to African Americans, and in PG County, that this Market was still functioning. And so the types of business the Market has done is much more locally-based than it used to be because people can’t drive in and buy 20 pounds of chicken wings. So I think the Market has

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Andrew Lightman Interview, April 7, 2009

changed, and if you talk to either Mel, the Inmans, or you talk to the Glasgows, they’ll be able to tell you more about how that has happened.

And also, just locally, the Market has certainly been impacted by the opening of Harris Teeter. Safeway was really not much of a competitor, but Harris Teeter is, in terms of people’s business. And part of that is just simply parking. I mean, people can go park there very easily, where the Market, it’s really an issue, especially now that the street is closed. So I think the Market has a whole bunch of challenges, and the city didn’t do a very good job in the months following the fire explaining to the Market’s customers why they should come back to what most people thought was a burnt-down facility.

JAYAMAHA: Sort of talking a little bit about that from your perspective, sort of from the Hill Rag’s perspective, do you think you did some of that in terms of covering, soon after the fire happened, talking more about the fact that the Market is open?

LIGHTMAN: Well first of all, the Hill Rag, in the wake of the Market fire, provided thousands of dollars of free advertising to the Market merchants specifically—or significantly discounted advertising— and also to the Community Foundation—to help publicize the fact that the Market was open and that a new Market, I guess you call it the South Hall [ed: East Hall] now, was open, and that people could continue to buy. And then we’ve since done that ... Part of the Hill Rag’s mission is always to promote the business community of Capitol Hill. Hill Rag was founded as a two-page flyer in 1976, as a flyer full of business cards. It was founded because Jean-Keith Fagon, who’s still the owner, walked into Congressional Liquors and was speaking to the owner of Congressional Liquors, who was complaining about the cost of advertising in the city dailies and how prohibitively expensive it was, and how most of his customers walked to his place. And he got involved with Jean-Keith in creating the first Hill Discount Rag, which we still have a copy of in our office, which was a two-page flyer. And now we’re a, I don’t know, 160 to 180 page tabloid newspaper published monthly out of that.

JAYAMAHA: That’s wonderful. It’s a really good newspaper. I personally try to get a copy all the time. Just going back to one thing you mentioned about the competition, Andrew, you were talking about the fact that Harris Teeter is creating some amount of competition for Eastern Market. Having said that ...

LIGHTMAN: So is the H Street Market, actually, too, which is the organic market that’s up on H Street now. Both those places.

JAYAMAHA: But I’m also interested in how would you visualize Eastern Market could position itself as something very unique, sort of not to try to take on necessarily something like Harris Teeter or even maybe—obviously, the organic market is a little more complex in terms of how you could compete in that

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Andrew Lightman Interview, April 7, 2009

sense—but I mean to see sort of from your perspective since you’ve in some ways seen the Market over a long period of time ...

LIGHTMAN: Well, the Market has evolved into a much more customer-friendly ambience. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Florida Avenue Market, but if you ever go up to Florida Avenue to go to the DC Farmers Market, it looks like the Market used to look: very cluttered, very badly organized. There was no rationale, there wasn’t a central corridor. And that’s how the Market was when I got here. When Eastern Market Ventures took over the Market, they really cleaned it up quite a bit. Reorganized the stalls, got rid of the walk-in freezers, which impeded people’s ability to look down the whole length of the Market and see what was there. They did a good job with signage. They were not very good at other things, but those things they did very well, just in terms of reorganizing the Market. I think that ultimately the reason people go to Eastern Market has more to do with relationships than service. When I go to Harris Teeter, I don’t have any relationship with the person behind the cash register. When I go to Mrs. Calomiris, whom I refer to as “Mama,” I have a relationship with her. I have a relationship with Jack, The Man of Cheese. I have a relationship with Bill Glasgow, where I buy my meat, the Inmans, where I buy my chicken. And I don’t do business with them as faceless kind of people. It’s a different kind of relationship, much more akin to what I find in Indian markets when I lived in South Asia. And I think it’s that relationship that Harris Teeter cannot duplicate.

JAYAMAHA: That’s a wonderful point. Also in terms of ...
LIGHTMAN: I mean, I don’t enjoy going to Harris Teeter. I enjoy shopping at Eastern Market.JAYAMAHA: Absolutely, I think many people see that it’s a different experience.LIGHTMAN: It’s probably in some ways more expensive for certain things.

JAYAMAHA: Right, absolutely, but again, that’s sort of what I was trying to get at terms of how it could position itself. I would just like to move on very quickly, Andrew, it you don’t mind, to talk a little bit about the aftermath of the fire.

LIGHTMAN: I didn’t show up at the fire until the morning after. Stuart [Smith], who is one of the two principals at Eastern Market Ventures [EMV], called into my office, for some reason didn’t call my cell phone, I have no idea why. Idiot. But he called me in the, I got in ... When I walked into work in the morning, and I walked down Seventh Street—well, as soon as I heard about the fire, I walked there. And I actually have photos of this, a huge amount of footage from that morning of firemen putting out the [fire], and people on Seventh Street, and faces of the merchants—I mean, everybody was in tears. We were very, very upset. I was very upset. It was like the heart had been ripped out of our neighborhood, and I

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Andrew Lightman Interview, April 7, 2009

say this even though very few people who work in the Market live in our neighborhood. But they do have a relationship with us. And all I could think about was the O Street Market, which the city had let ... You know, after the city had sold off and the roof had collapsed and is still in ruin, which is up in Shaw, and I said, “Well, you know, this is what’s going to happen.”

And one thing I will say is we’re very lucky in Ward 6 that we have so many people that were high up in the Fenty administration, because if it hadn’t been for that confluence the Market would not have gone forward the way it has. Dan Tangherlini being probably the most prominent one, who’s the City Administrator, who’d been the head of Metro before, who is a long-time Hill resident. I always laugh, whenever I complain to him about something I say, “We know where you live.” And very active in the neighborhood and brought a focus. I think Adrian also, unlike many mayors who’d grown up in the city, came out of a family that has a small business and was intimately aware of how important that Market is. I mean, he still swims at the Natatorium, which has been renovated for his pleasure. But, so Adrian really understood how important it was, and Ward 6 is very important to him. Tommy Wells obviously, and Kathleen Penney, who usually doesn’t get mentioned, who’s the chief traffic engineer at DDOT [District Department of Transportation]. Remember, DDOT is responsible for doing a lot of this work, and the reason DDOT is responsible is that Dan turned to the agency that he knew most intimately and didn’t go to OPM [Office of Property Management] to do this, which I refer to as the “Office of Project, Property Mismanagement.” He did not go to OPM, he went back to his people at DDOT and he said “Get this done.” And that’s the only reason so much has happened, because it was a confluence of Tommy, of course, and then Tangherlini and the mayor. And Kathleen Penney.

JAYAMAHA: So, again, picking up from there ...

LIGHTMAN: OPM certainly had nothing to do with it and, what’s more important, one could argue that it was OPM’s mismanagement of the Market and their mismanagement of their relationship with Eastern Market Ventures, which I used to refer to as “Eastern Market Vultures,” the management firm that was responsible, that was subbed. In their defense, they were hamstrung by OPM. They couldn’t evict John Harrod. I mean that fire could easily have happened in the Northern Hall, where every time there was an event, the whole place shorted out. You know, the power would go, and you would have to reboot the power system. Every time you had a concert or something else, it was just terrible. But EMCAC [Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee], which is the group that is responsible for managing the Market—not managing, I would say they’re the ANC for the Market. They’re the equivalent of an Advisory Neighborhood Commission of stakeholders that advises OPM, which owns the property. And they told OPM years ago that there was a problem in the electrical system, and Monte Edwards has particularly worked on that, [has] been a long-time member of EMCAC and a charter member of Stanton

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Andrew Lightman Interview, April 7, 2009

Park Neighborhood Association. And Monte had been on them, and other people had been on them, for a long time about the electrical system.

Now we find out that it might not have been the electrical system, it might well have been a fire bug who started a whole series of fires in this neighborhood, a story which we broke years ago, although the EXAMINER recently picked it up again and thought they had discovered it. First written about by Peter Waldron in the Hill Rag. There were over a dozen fires that were started on Pennsylvania Avenue, in back of the Seventh Street businesses near North Carolina, and Barracks Row. All by the same guy who subsequently either committed suicide or was murdered. Nobody figured it out, but he’s dead. So the question was whether it was a dumpster or an electrical fire. And it could have been either one. Either way, it was EMV’s responsibility to make sure that didn’t happen, and OPM’s responsibility extended to the fact that the electrical system was a disaster. EMV was responsible for picking up the trash. I know for a fact the dumpsters in the back of the Market were completely overflowing all the time.

But I walked down Seventh Street—I don’t know what time it was in the morning, it must have been about seven or eight o’clock—down Seventh Street. I saw the fire trucks out in front, the fire engines on the corner of Seventh and C, and then I walked around the side, where I saw Tommy Wells and Ellen Opper-Weiner, who at the point was the mayor’s representative on EMCAC. And also, I guess the mayor got there later. You know, it was the same day the Georgetown fire was too, so everybody was out there. The merchants were just out there. I’ll never forget, I took a photo of one of the Canales daughters with tears dripping down her face while she was looking up at the fire, because thousands and thousands of dollars of produce and everything just went up in flames or was spoiled and the whole place was gutted. When I went in there about a week or two later after they’d stabilized the fire to take photos of the interior, it was just a mess. You have no idea.

JAYAMAHA: I’ve seen a couple of your pictures of the interior and, yes, I certainly believe you. It was also a devastating experience for the residents as well as the merchants themselves.

LIGHTMAN: Everybody was out sitting there crying. School kids watching the firemen, I have photos of them. This whole class of, must be four or five year olds, that were sitting in front of Jim’s book store, Capitol Hill Books, looking up at the fire people putting out the fire. And those firemen were exhausted, they were totally exhausted. I got there when they were just dousing the flames on the roof.

JAYAMAHA: What I’m also interested in finding out Andrew is the response to the fire. It’s interesting, sort of, you talked about some of the problems that were inherent in how the Market was run and managed, but in terms of the aftermath of the fire, what is your viewpoint? Do you think it was a quick response?

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Andrew Lightman Interview, April 7, 2009

LIGHTMAN: Well, the fire people did an amazing job. I mean you cannot fault the firefighters at all. They really saved a good deal of the building because if they hadn’t reacted so soon, the entire roof would have collapsed, which did not happen. They saved a lot of the exterior structure walls. Look, von Cluss [ed: Adolf Cluss] also built a building designed to burn and survive a fire. So you can’t fault them. And then Eastern Market Ventures did a very, very good job getting their—what do you call them? There’s a firm that does fire reconstruction and salvage, and they got them in there almost immediately afterwards, a firm that they had worked with before. And they did a pretty good job coordinating with, mainly, Gary Peterson at the Capitol Hill Community Foundation taking care of the merchants. And the merchants were really the focus of everything after the fire. The vendors were sort of a second thought, really, because the merchants were the most heavily impacted because their stuff was gutted. And the city did a very good job putting up the temporary structure, they reacted very ... Adrian and Tommy got the money put together, they took money out of—there was some money available to redo the street, and they used that money. That’s why DDOT got involved to actually rebuild the Market. And some federal money was gotten, I think through Mary Landrieu [US Senator from Louisiana, Hill resident and former Chair of DC Appropriations Subcommittee of Senate Appropriations Committee] and Eleanor [Holmes Norton]. So that all was done very well.

What they didn’t do a very good job of was—not so much within DC or within our neighborhood—but outside our neighborhood. The Eastern Market is a three-legged stool. It consists of brick and mortar businesses (the market as a larger group), vendors—who are the people that do business outside—vendors and farmers, I should say, because the farmers are outside too. And then the merchants, who are inside. And if any one of those legs is screwed up, then the whole thing doesn’t function. The vendors and the farmers attract a lot of weekend business that in turn feeds the brick and mortar businesses and feeds the merchants. During the week, the brick and mortar businesses bring in a lot of—especially—lunch business, to Seventh Street, without which some of the other brick and mortar retail establishments couldn’t work. So it’s very, sort of, closely linked. They’re all at loggerheads with each other. I mean, as far as the merchants are concerned in the Market, what they want is a huge parking lot for their customers. They don’t care where it is as long as it’s right next door. They don’t care about the vendors. They consider the vendors people that have not contributed to the Market financially over the years through rents and other things.

If you talk about the brick and mortar people, the brick and mortar people have mixed feelings about food vendors, prepared food vendors who are in front of them. And also now [they are] having vendors who are selling what they consider shoddy goods in front of the same stores. So you should talk to Debbie [ed: Danielson] at the Forecast about what she thinks of the vendors. Or talk to Moe [ed: Med “Moe” Lahlou,

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Andrew Lightman Interview, April 7, 2009

co-owner of Tunnicliff’s restaurant] about what he thinks about having the crepe guy in front of his restaurant, or Phyllis [ed: Phyllis Marriott, owner of Petite Gourmet]. So I think that there’s an enormous amount of tension because if you’re Moe and you’re paying taxes every month and you’re competing with Crepe Guy who comes down twice a week and absorbs your weekend business, you know, how are you doing to feel? I mean, he’s paying a pittance of the rent you’re paying. You know, you talk to brick and mortar people, who pay much more in taxes and rent than anybody in the Market, and they’re seeing all this city money go right to the merchants. And yet their taxes have not been forgiven, and they have not been given any break. The city is still collecting revenue even though the street’s shut down. If you talk to the vendors, their feeling is that the merchants have been given all this assistance and they’ve gotten very little. So everybody—I always say to Donna Scheeder, who’s head of EMCAC, that her responsibility is she’s chief cat herder, and that’s what she does for a living, she herds cats.


JAYAMAHA: Andrew, just to pick up from where we left off. Now you were talking about some of the inherent problems of the Market, some of the tensions between the various types of vendors, merchants, and brick and mortar restaurants. In terms of moving forward, how would you visualize the Market would be?

LIGHTMAN: Let me finish one other element of the tensions. Another element of the tensions is, in order to accommodate the vendors who were displaced from the areas around the Market, the city closed the streets. They closed the streets based on an emergency order without talking to any of the brick and mortar businesses. That succeeded in pissing off the brick and mortar people, who wanted the parking, and also the merchants in the South [East] Hall, what is now the South [East] Hall, who wanted the parking, too. So that’s an example of one way that the city did sort of do something for vendors.

What’s also true is the mix of vendors has changed pretty radically since the fire. A lot of folks who are more high-end artisans are no longer at the Market. You’ve got to understand that, for a flea market vendor, the Market is not the only opportunity, the Eastern Market, that they have. They can go over to Clarendon in Arlington, which has a much larger draw, or anywhere, to a number of different markets, in order to vend their goods. The advantage of the Eastern Market is that, unlike Clarendon, it has a tourist appeal. But that’s the part that the city has really not done a very good job exploiting. The Market’s appeal to people on the weekend and the message that the Market is open and that you can go and have the famous pancakes at Tommy’s lunch place, none of that is generated through advertising or publicity. It’s all organic and word of mouth, practically.

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JAYAMAHA: Absolutely.

LIGHTMAN: And also by the way, the vending has grown over time. Originally it started only in the northern plaza, and that was John Harrod, and it was completely illegal. And Sharon Ambrose with her legislation that created EMCAC and everything else, a former councilwoman, she regularized the Market and gave it a legal standing, and provided a legal basis for the city to administer it and deal with the vending, which was at a point you couldn’t do legally in any case. There was no way for the city to do it under statute. That was then complemented by the expansion of vending by the time I got here into the parking lots [at Hine Junior High School], which is a fairly recent phenomenon in the last maybe five to 10 years. Which is run independently of ... It was like everything was run independently. Tom Rall and Michael Berman rented the parking lot on Sunday and ran a market there. John Harrod, Market 5 Gallery, ran all of the non-food vendors all around the periphery of the Market. The food vendors reported to Eastern Market Ventures. On Saturday, Carol Wright managed the parking lot at Hine, and John managed the Saturday business himself, John Harrod, and subbed it out to Michael Berman and Tom Rall on Sundays. So it was a very complicated arrangement.

And on top of that, what we now know is that it’s very lucrative. The city has discovered, now that they’ve taken responsibility—and they only have responsibility now for the vending that goes on Seventh Street, which is closed, and the vending on the plaza around the Market, on the north plaza and the Natatorium. The parking lot vending is still run by these other two entities, so we don’t even know how much money, revenue, is there, because they pay the DCPS a relative pittance for the—or what was DCPS, I guess now Hine School is now OPM property. It’s under the Office of Property Management. But they pay a pittance for that. So what the city discovered when they managed to elbow John Harrod out of the way after the fire ... He was even collecting rents in the street. The weekend after the fire, John was out there on Saturday and Sunday collecting rents from the vendors who were allowed to operate in the street for the first time. And he just expanded right into Seventh Street, along with Michael Berman. So they were taking rents from anybody they could find except for the folks in the parking lot because the different entities—well, Berman and Harrod got along within reason, neither of them got along with Carol Wright. So it’s very, very complicated, but there’s a lot of money there in ground rents. A lot of money. And that’s one of the reasons the city has been reluctant to walk away from the Market and sub it to a private vendor. Because it’s not clear how much revenue is there yet, because the parking lots are still being run under old ground leases with Tom Rall and Carol Wright, rather than directly.


Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Andrew Lightman Interview, April 7, 2009

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Andrew Lightman Interview, April 7, 2009

LIGHTMAN: And Harrod ran almost a cash business. You should see his nonprofit tax returns. It’s a joke. He didn’t file them for many years. And what he filed is probably only what he had, the check he got from Michael and Tom on Sundays, which is approximately 20 percent of the take on a Sunday. So if you take what that check is—which is what he had to report or he would get in trouble because they wrote him a check, because they are legitimate businessmen—multiply by five and then by two again, that would give you an estimate of what the entire street take was. It’s probably on the order of $200,000 to a quarter of a million dollars a year in rents. Probably Michael might dispute me on that one.

JAYAMAHA: That’s fascinating. Obviously you have a lot of information and insights.
LIGHTMAN: So that’s the reason the city has been reluctant to turn it over privately again, because they

want to see what the entire revenue opportunity is.

JAYAMAHA: Right. So in terms of moving forward from here, what’s your impression? Should the city continue to expand its involvement? That would be one question I would ask you. And the other is, in terms of the Market itself, how would you see it positioning itself moving forward from here?

LIGHTMAN: I think that there are two—the Market has two pulls. I think on one hand it’s this significant amenity to those living on Capitol Hill. And the food markets are increasingly locally based because people don’t drive into the city, it’s too complicated on a weekly basis, so they have to go locally. And the farmers are not all organic farmers, mind you. So what I see happening is that the food market is increasingly neighborhood focused, and focused on Wards 7 and 8, which are the closest markets. Whereas the vendor business and the nonfood retail section of the brick and mortar business is really dependent on the Market as a tourist stop. And that’s what the city has to market regionally and internationally and nationally, which they’ve not done a very good job of doing. Nobody wants to pay for it.

Then in addition to that, the Market is only one part of Seventh Street. Seventh Street is not isolated from the rest of the Hill. Hine School is now up for redevelopment. There’s a Request for Proposals that the city has issued, an RFP, that people are now writing bids against. I fully expect in this fall that there will be a developer selected, which means the parking lots, where a good deal of the vending is done, are going to disappear. Now eventually there will be underground parking there, but that whole plot is going to be reconfigured. C Street may go back through ... It could be a whole bunch of things, underground parking ... But either way, if you start construction on a project that large, you’re talking easily a two- year lag time before that stuff gets done. Look at Southwest right now. They knocked them all down and it took them, I don’t know how long, to get ... I mean they’re still not done. [In] 2010, Fourth Street is opening down in Southwest. So it’s going to take some time for them to do that project. That project and

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the fate of what happens on the Metro plaza has been significantly changed because the [National] Park Service has given up control under Bush’s legislation and returned that land to city jurisdiction.

There’s a huge opportunity to think about the Market as part of the larger Eastern Market [Metro] Plaza. Tip Tipton has done some work on that, where we all think about it as a downtown Capitol Hill. What goes on in Hine, whether there’s first floor retail, whether it’s an office building, whatever, will significantly impact the future operations of the Market and determine its link to both the Metro plaza and to Barracks Row. I mean, it may be in the future that the vending is moved onto the plaza, which would be a sensible location for it, between C Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, or I guess it’s D [Street]. So there’s a lot of stuff that will happen in the future. We don’t know. We don’t know whether the entire plaza will be reconfigured. The way it is laid out now has to do historically with streetcar tracks which took a L’Enfant plaza, or circle I think it was originally designed as, L’Enfant plaza much like Stanton Park and cut it into pieces in order to get the streetcars to run. So there’s a lot of uncertainty and possibilities that have nothing to do with the Market building that have to be worked out in the next five to 10 years, all of which will impact the Market.

JAYAMAHA: I’d like to talk very quickly about, a little bit about the renovation that’s been going on and your coverage of that. Are there any interesting things in terms of the building, part of the renovation, that you came across that you can talk about?

LIGHTMAN: The person to talk about that is not me, but Monte Edwards. Other than the story about the bricks. They are pulling up all the bricks, all the old bricks from around the Market and some of the bricks from the interior of the market, and a guy walked into my office—[his] name escapes me, but he lives up in Hyattsville—incensed that they were going to cart the bricks off to a dump, where they would be ground up. You know, historic bricks are valuable actually as building materials. I dialed the phone in my office and I put him on the phone with Monte from EMCAC. And I think that he then drove Monte crazy, must have called him half a dozen, a dozen times, about “the bricks, the bricks, the bricks.” So now all the bricks were packed up and have been transported to Congressional Cemetery, where they are going to be used in creating paths and walls in the cemetery rather than being disposed of.

JAYAMAHA: I see. Well, that’s certainly very interesting.
LIGHTMAN: And Monte will tell you more about the skylights. Endless fighting about the skylights

and the windows. So you want to talk to him about that.

In terms of our coverage, our coverage has really involved more about the human dimensions around the Market than the specifics of the renovation itself. You have to understand that EMCAC had a very, very

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Andrew Lightman Interview, April 7, 2009

complicated, laborious ... The Market was due to be renovated before the fire, I don’t know if you were aware of that. But there were plans in place to renovate the Market before the fire. Even monies available to do that. And specifically the roof, which was leaking. I can tell you it was leaking because I used to walk through there. I don’t know if you remember the Market. You used to get leaked on. And there were ventilation issues and things like that. So they were going to redo the roof at one point. The roof had been redone I think in the ‘80’s not very well. I don’t think the roof on the North Hall had ever been done.

And there were also other fire issues, like there was an operating brick kiln in the second floor of the Center Hall. Did you know there was a Center Hall? There is. That’s where the pottery works people used to be. So EMCAC had actually, led by Monte and Donna Scheeder, walked through a lot of the issues of what was going to be done in terms of the renovation before the Market burned. So when the Market burned, actually, it was not as complicated a process as it might have been because a lot of the stuff had already been through HPRB, which is the Historic Preservation [Review] Board. There was a process that was already moving forward. So the fire just made it a little easier because it did a whole bunch of things like it levered Market 5 out of the North Hall. I don’t think John Harrod—they would have had to carry him out feet first. But he’s gone now, and the fire is what turfed [?] him out. Actually, after the fire, he was still operating in that space for a while, because the fire didn’t really affect the Center Hall and the North Hall, but then when the roof renovation went through, the city was able to put his stuff in storage and say, “You know, you can’t be here while we’re doing this.” So that’s what finally got him out.

JAYAMAHA: Well, I think we’re just up on time in terms of your schedule, Andrew. So thank you very much, and in case we do need to come back to you with some follow up questions, I hope that’s alright. So thank you very much for giving us the time.