Winners of the 2017 Brickie Awards

East City Books, DC Diaper Bank two of five awarded symbols of community-building

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Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6-D) laughs as John 'Peter Bug' Matthews accepts the 2017 Neighbor Award at the 11th Annual Ward 6 'Brickies'. Peterbug invited the men involved in the Peterbug Shoe Academy up with him as he presented Allen with a shoe pin.

On Wednesday evening, the new home of the Capitol Yacht Club (800 Wharf Street SW) was full of neighbors celebrating one another, as Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen hosted the 11th Annual Ward 6 ‘Brickie’ Awards. The awards are an annual celebration of the people, places, and organizations that make the Ward 6 community great. Begun 10 years ago by then-Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells as The Livable Walkable Awards, and awarding engraved bricks as a special honor, the event was nicknamed ‘The Brickies’ by local newspaper Hill Rag.

“This is a big night out for Ward 6 each year – neighbors enjoying food, music, and having some [fun] as we hand out bricks to recognize some of the important contributions from neighbors, organizations, and businesses,” said Councilmember Allen. “Every year, I feel lucky to recognize some great folks and this year is no exception.” Attendees enjoyed refreshments provided by local businesses before and after the awards and admired the spectacular view of the Anacostia River and the vessels moored nearby, many decorated with lights, as they sipped beverages on the balcony.

At-Large Councilmembers Anita Bonds, David Grosso and Robert C. White Jr. attended the ceremony, which was opened with remarks from Mayor Muriel Bowser.

 Winners

East City Bookshop Owner Laurie Gillman poses with Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6-D) as she accepts the 2017 Brickie Business Award.

EAST CITY BOOKSHOP | 2017 Business Award

 East City Bookshop’s Laurie Gillman describes herself as, “one of those people who, when visiting a new city or neighborhood, finds the independent bookstore as soon as possible. If there is no bookstore to be discovered, I must admit that I think a little bit less of that place.”

Within a year of Laurie opening East City Bookshop, and it fast became a gathering place for book lovers of all ages. It is a place to talk about books and ideas, to learn something new, bump into old friends, and meet new ones at the store’s many author discussions, book clubs, and other neighborhood events. Laurie and East City Bookshop support the literary arts at every reading level and show the value of the written word as a way to grow community.

As Gillman accepted her award, she recalled the first author reading at the book shop, attended by about 75 people. “I remember when I introduced myself as the owner of the bookshop, everyone just started applauding,” she said, “and it was overwhelming and amazing.”

“I just want our customers to know that every time they walk in, we feel like applauding, too.”

John ‘Peter Bug’ Matthews waves to the crowd. Matthews did not take home his award Wednesday evening, as the engraver made an error in transcribing his name. Allen said the engraver was terribly embarrassed, and was already working on the correction.

John “PETER BUG” MATTHEWS | 2017 Neighbor Award

At the ceremony, Councilmember Allen noted that John “Peter Bug” Matthews has a street and a day named for him — unusually, while still inhabits both. He is a man with a trade, with dignity, and a mission – to serve his community in the best way he knows how: by teaching. Peter Bug is Capitol Hill neighbor of long standing who runs Peter Bug Shoe Academy, a place where he teaches the age-old trade of shoe repair to the District’s youth. 

Peter Bug’s shop, located at 13th and E Streets, SE, is where he serves the community. Customers are welcomed with a warm smile but no paper claim slip when dropping off a repair—he matches faces with shoes. This practice is part of the philosophy of customer service and dedication to the community that he has passed on to his students for decades, serving as a role model and mentor to dozens of young people over the many years he has been teaching.

From hosting the annual “Peter Bug Day” celebration to a warm wave and smile for everyone passing by his shop, Peter Bug is a neighborhood institution and the winner of this year’s Neighbor Award. 

J.C. Smith who together with his brother Jeff Smith founded Balliwick Clothing Co., poses with Allen as he accepts the Civic Pride Award.

BAILIWICK | 2017 Civic Pride Award

Bailiwick Clothing Company artfully merges the worlds of design, culture, and purpose. Founded by brothers J.C. and Jeff Smith, Bailiwick makes clothing inspired by DC and the pride we all share for it.  As J.C. has said, “One thing that Jeff and I always talked about when we were starting Bailiwick is that we didn’t want to be a company for tourists. We made that a conscious decision. We want to tap into the pride that residents have. Anyone can sell a touristy shirt. We’re trying to come up with designs that speak to a deeper message of D.C.”

 From the “202” shirt Bryce Harper wears to their statehood, RE51ST, and “District vs Congress” designs, Bailiwick offers ways to wear District pride with style. (Allen said he keeps his own ‘District vs Congress’ shirt in his office). As Ward 6 residents whose fast-growing business is Made in DC, the Smith brothers’ Bailiwick Clothing Company is the winner of this year’s Civic Pride Award.

“We’re going to keep representing DC,” said J.C. Smith, donning a Bailiwick hat so that he could be recognized in a suit as he accepted the award. “You’re going to see more coming from Bailiwick.” This is at least the second time Bailiwick has received an award in thirty days. The clothing company was presented with the Maker Award at the First Annual Local First Awards Nov. 9th.

DC Diaper Bank Founder Corinne Cannon accepts the 2017 Community Organization Award. The organization has distributed more than 6 million diapers to vulnerable families. The Boogie Babes concerts for children aged 5 years and less, held Thursdays in the North Room of Eastern Market, support the work of the Diaper Bank.

DC DIAPER BANK | 2017 Community Organization Award

In October 2009, Ward 6 resident Corinne Cannon and her husband Jay became new parents to a very challenging baby. As they struggled through those hard early, sleepless months, Corinne thought about how hard parenting is even with great support, and how much harder it is for the many District families who struggle to afford something as basic as diapers. On her son’s first birthday seven years ago, she founded the DC Diaper Bank to help get diapers and many other important parenting resources to families in need.

“This is what I love about Ward 6,” she said. “When I said I wanted to do this, people didn’t say it was impossible. They asked how they could help.”

This remarkable organization has since distributed over 6.5 million diapers – more than 175,000 a month to over 4,000 vulnerable families – in partnership with dozens of community organizations providing “whole family care.” They now host a Baby Pantry that is stocked exclusively by donations, which includes baby and adult hygiene items — from formula and bottles to toothbrushes and deodorant – that distributes more than $3,000 of these necessities to families in need each month. For their service to the District’s babies and families, Corinne and DC Diaper Bank are this year’s Community Organization Award winner.

Advisory Neighborhod Commissioner Andy Litsky (6D04) smiles as he receives the Public Service Award. Allen said that Litsky moved into the neighborhood in the year the Councilmember was himself born.

ANDY LITSKY | 2017 Public Service Award

Andy Litsky has been actively involved in many aspects of Southwest life since moving to the Waterfront in 1977 – as so much change has come to Southwest, Andy has been a constant leader for the community.  He’s served on the boards of the Arena Stage Angels, Southwest House and as a founding shareholder of Tiber Island Cooperative Homes.   A retired lobbyist and public affairs professional, he recently completed a six-year term on the Executive Council of AARP-DC.

Since 1998, Andy has been the elected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner meeting the needs of the residents living at the Southwest Waterfront and now the newest Southwesters who reside at The Wharf including those aboard the 94 vessels moored at the Gangplank Marina.

The size and scope of Andy’s guidance shouldn’t be overlooked – he helps guide a neighborhood that’s grown into its own small city between The Wharf, Arena Stage, and two stadiums. Litsky was thanked directly at The Wharf’s Grand Opening Ceremony. Andy is currently serving his sixth year as Chairman of ANC-6D, representing the neighborhoods of Southwest, Navy Yard and Buzzard Point.

Litsky welcomed everyone attending the ceremony to his Single-Member District, which includes The Wharf itself and therefore the Capitol Yacht Club, before recognizing the many changes in the area in the forty years he had lived there and nearly twenty as a Commissioner. Litsky accepted the award on behalf of all ANC Commissioners, acknowledging those in attendance, including Commissioner Gail Fast (6D01) and Commissioner Chris Miller (6C05).

Christmas lights deck the decks of boats moored at the Capitol Yacht Club.
The crowd watches as awards are accepted.
Mayor Muriel Bowser poses with The Wharf’s Director of Security and Safety, Diane Groomes (L) and Ms. Senior District of Columbia 2011, Ms. Emma P. Ward (R).
2015 Brickie Business Award winner Leah Daniels of Hill’s Kitchen (R) enjoys the ceremony with a friend.
Many businesses donated their time and fine refreshments, including the District Winery, pictured here.
East City Books Laurie Gillman (c) joyfully celebrates her Brickie as friends admire the award.

 Thanks go to the many generous 2017 Brickie Awards Sponsors:

  • Atlas Brewing Company
  • Barrel
  • Bluejacket
  • Buffalo
  • Wild Wings
  • Compass Coffee
  • Cordial Craft Wine, Beer & Spirits
  • DC Brau
  • District Winery
  • Frager’s Hardware
  • Harry’s Resturant
  • Hill’s Kitchen
  • Jenny’s at the Wharf
  • King Ribs
  • Mr. Henry’s
  • Pascal & Weiss, PC
  • Pearl Street Warehouse
  • The Pretzel Bakery 
  • Schneider’s of Capitol Hill
  • Surroundings
  • Trusty’s
  • We The Pizza
  • and Speical Thanks to the Capital Yacht Club and Southwest BID