Greenberg awning protested

Signs called 'awkward' by community

A longtime District resident put forth a petition at a Thursday night neighborhood advisory commission meeting to alter the signs outside the Greenberg Theatre.

Richard Randall, who lives on Quebec Street, said the signs concerned ANC 3E - the neighborhood governmental unit that oversees Tenleytown, AU Park and Friendship Heights - and its citizens.

The Greenberg Theatre, home to AU's Department of Performing Arts, is located at 4200 Wisconsin Ave. NW, where Wisconsin Avenue intersects Van Ness Street.

During his presentation at the meeting, Randall said the signs "have overtaken visually graceful scenery" and called them "awkward and ugly."

"They stick out too far and attract your eye attention all the time," Randall said. "They don't fit in with the general design of the neighborhood."

He also complained that the signs advertise what he called an off-and-on theater, as many nights there are no scheduled events.

"I think they advertise something that is hardly there," Randall said.

Until the end of the school year, there are nine major events scheduled at the theatre, including student productions of "Kiss Me, Kate" and an AU Symphony Orchestra concert.

However, DPA chair Gail Humphries Mardirosian said, "There is not a time it's not being used." If there is not a performance going on, Greenberg is used for rehearsal, she said.

"I wish we would have more space," Mardirosian said.

She said that for someone who knows exactly how much use Greenberg gets, it is staggering to hear Randall complain about it not being used regularly.

The signs were constructed after a permit was approved to put them up. Since they are not in a historic or fine arts district, aesthetics were not taken into consideration.

Randall has no qualms about the name on the sign or building, just the size of the signs.

"Even if it were my own name [on the sign] I wouldn't be happy with it," he said.

David Scott, who has lived in the area for 25 years, said he had never paid attention to the signs. After seeing pictures of them, he said, "I would have put something a little less flamboyant up."

Janet Brooks, who has lived in the area for 45 years, agreed with Scott. She called the signs "flamboyant" and said AU is making too much of a show of itself by having them up.

However, not everyone agreed. Tom Quinn, who lives on 43rd Street, said Randall's efforts, while well-intended, miss the big picture.

"The whole length of Wisconsin Avenue is unattractive," he said. He said Randall never mentioned the bright golden arches at the McDonald's across the street from Greenberg.

No immediate action was taken, but ANC Commissioner Lucy Eldridge said Randall could come back later with a solution. Randall said he would work with residents in other ANCs to get more citizens involved.

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