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Union Market Brings Resurgence To Old Neighborhood

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Union Market reopens this weekend.
Markette Smith
Union Market reopens this weekend.

Union Market sits just across the street from Gallaudet University in a newly renovated, bright white building that stands out like a beacon of hope in Northeast D.C.'s up-and-coming wholesale district in the Florida Avenue corridor.

The new venue is like a fine food oasis in the middle of warehouses. Vendors include an organic produce stand, an espresso bar and Rappahannock Oysters. George Hastings shucks shells for the company.

"I'm the oyster shucker for the company, and real excited about this Saturday," says Hastings. "Gonna have raw oysters, clams along with steamed oysters, steamed clams, roasted oysters, crab cakes, and steamed shrimp."

Carolyn Stromberg is sanding down the frame of a chalkboard she'll use to display the menu at her upscale cheese shop. "I get a lot of local cheeses from local farms in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania," she says.

Stromberg sees the market as representing a new era for the neighborhood, which was once defined by its run-down buildings and crime.

"This is just one of those many neighborhoods, you know, like Columbia Heights, like Petworth, like Shaw, like Brookland, and Bloomingdale and all those neighborhoods that are kind of experiencing this renaissance. It's really exciting."

They'll have champagne and wine to kick-off the grand opening, which also represents the start of a plan by the city to make the area between Florida and New York Avenues pedestrian friendly.

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