The new sidewalks on the 17th Street corridor are getting a touch of brick–instead of being fully bricked. The areas next to the curb are brick and there is a brick accent toward the center of the sidewalk. Work is underway to complete the sidewalks on the west side before warm weather, and outdoor dining, arrives. Get updates on the 17th Streetscape project at the project Web site.
Gentrification. It can be a controversial word. No, it is a controversial word. Ask around for what it means to people and you will probably get a number of answers or definitions–some good, some bad, some mixed.
Woolly Mammoth Theatre is currently running Clybourne Park through April 11 (more about the show below). The theme is highly relevant considering the recent changes in our neighborhood.
Gentrification and Borderstan
Gentrification is a topic of discussion in DC because the city’s demographics are changing: less African-American and more white, Asian and Latino. More upper middle class and few working class and poor.
The Logan Circle, Shaw and U Street neighborhoods have all seen huge influxes of new residents, many of whom have more education and higher incomes than many of the long-time residents of the area. Moreover, the majority of the new residents are not African-American.
Some of the change is due to the newcomers moving into existing residences where African-Americans previously lived. However, it is also due to the huge number of new–and expensive–residential buildings constructed in the past five to 10 years. The rapid demographic changes in the Borderstan area in the past decade are astounding. (Also, see “DC’s 600,000 People: The Redistricting Angle.”)
The change in local retail is another one of the major shifts that comes with gentrification. The recently arrived expensive restaurants and boutiques on the 14th and U Street corridors are examples. So is the 1400 block of P Street NW (yes, there was life before Whole Foods). If you have lived in the neighborhood less than seven to 10 years, it is difficult to fathom the enormity of the change. It is not just the number of new businesses, but how different they are in terms of their customer base.
“Clybourne Park” at Woolly Mammoth
As for Clybourne Park, here is what Woolly Mammoth says about the show:
A white community in 1950’s Chicago splinters over the Black family about to move in. Fast-forward to our present day, and the same house represents very different demographics as we climb through the looking-glass of Lorraine Hansberry’s classic A Raisin in the Sun. These hilarious and horrifying neighbors pitch a battle over territory and legacy that reveals how far our ideas about race and gentrification have evolved–or have they?
Clybourne Park explores the evolution of racism and gentrification over the past half-century in America by imagining the conflicts surrounding the purchase of a house in a white neighborhood in the 1950s by an African American family, and then the re-design of that house in “post-racial” 2009. While Clybourne Park is a Chicago neighborhood, the play makes no direct reference to its geography. Woolly believes Clybourne Park is highly reflective of the changes happening to neighborhoods throughout DC and across the metropolitan area (and urban America).
Have you seen Clybourne Park? If so, what did you think? Are you planning to see it? We hope to have a review here at Borderstan for you next week.
Special Ticket Promotion
Woolly Mammoth is running a special promotion with $30 tickets for Borderstan readers. When purchasing tickets use the code 788. Go to woollymammoth.net for more information and tickets. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at 641 D Street N.W.
Pieces on Gentrification
Woolly Mammoth’s Radio Woolly has podcasts, blog entries, and special events listings at the “Is your neighborhood Clybourne Park?” on its Web site. Some of the Woolly’s blog entries are very well written and offer interesting perspectives, including Shaw. For another DC angle, read “G” is for Gentrifier at Barry Farms (re)Mixed blog.
Finally, you might want to check out this recent New York Magazine piece, “What’s Wrong with Gentrification?”
The reader poll is still open, but the results from around 200 Borderstan readers are in on “How Do You Get to Work?” Close to one-half of our readers use human muscle to commute, either by walking (39%) or cycling (6%). One-third (34%) use some combination of Metro–bus, subway or a combination thereof. Only 13% drive a car to work and 3% work at home. Full results below.
- Walk: 39%
- Metro (subway): 20%
- Car: 13%
- Bus: 12%
- Bicycle: 6%
- I work at home: 3%
- Bus and metro combo: 2%
- Scooter or motorcycle: 1%
- Commuter train: 1%
- Other: 1%
It’s springtime in DC, which can mean an uptick in street crime. Here is a Police Alert from from 9:48 p.m. Wednesday night:
Robbery (Gun), 2148 hours, 1600 Block of S Street NW. LOF: 2 Black Females wearing puffy hoodie jackets, blue jeans both armed with guns, last seen eastbound towards 16th Street. DO NOT TAKE ACTION. CALL 911 W/EVENT #I20100132077.
Be careful, folks. It’s called life in the big city. This another reminder to not talk on your cell phone or listen to your iPod… while alone… on a quiet residential street… at night. Don’t do it.
Congrats to the two commenters who figured out that the two mystery photographs from Tuesday and Wednesday were of Caracas, Venezuela. The coastline shot is of the approach to Simón Bolívar International Airport, arriving from the north over the Caribbean Sea. (A third reader pointed out that the coastline shot is of the small city of Mamo.) The second photo, from Wednesday, is of the hillside shot is of Baruta, one of the four municipalities that compose Caracas–about 7 miles on the other side of the coastal mountain range.
Caracas is, in my view, the Los Angeles of South America; that is how it looks and feels. From a governing standpoint, I compare it to New York City. It’s four municipalities can be compared to New York’s five boroughs. As for Baruta in the photo? I would say it is either Queens or Brooklyn. Of course, neither of them have hillsides and lush vegetation.
The residents? They are called Caraqueños.
The Shaw Dog Park Committee holds its monthly meeting tonight with the main topic of discussion the formation of a non-profit, 501(c)3 corporation to maintain and manage the dog park. The park is located on the 1600 block of 11th Street NW. Shaw Dogs currently operates as a subcommittee of the MidCity Association, a neighborhood non-profit organization. The meeting is at the group’s regular location, Hotel Helix at 1430 Rhode Island Avenue NW, at 7 p.m. Shaw Dogs meetings are open to the public.
Since no one was able to determine the location of the coastline in yesterday’s mystery photo, here is another photo clue. (I also took this photo in February.) The above photo is of a section of the city behind the coastal mountain range in yesterday’s photo. It is not in North America… it a cosmopolitan city of several million people… it was the destination of large numbers of southern European immigrants from the 1950s to 1970s… the climate is hot but not particularly humid. Where is it?
PSA 208 Meets Tonight
The monthly public meeting of Police Service Area (PSA) 208 is tonight at 7 p.m. at MPD Third District Headquarters at 1620 V Street NW (even though 208 is part of the Second District). The purpose of these meetings is for residents to meet members of the PSA who serve and patrol the neighborhood. Crime and public safety news about PSA 208 can be found on the Second Disrict listserv on Yahoo! Groups. In addition, you can access PSA 208 crime statistics on MPD’s crime database.
Each of the city’s seven MPD districts is divided into PSAs. Other PSAs serving the Borderstan area are PSA 307, which serves Logan Circle and western Shaw; and PSA 305, which serves the U Street area. Information related to these two PSAs can be found on the Third District listserv on Yahoo! Groups.
Crimes of Note
Following are additional crimes of note–robberies, assaults, burglaries and stolen autos–that occurred February 18-22 in the Dupont – Logan – U Street area. The area is covered primarily by Police Service Areas (PSAs) 208 and 307 with a small slice of the Borderstan area in PSA 305.
Note on the above photo: I decided to steal an idea from Greater Greater Washington‘s “What’s That?” and run a mystery photo today. I took it in February on a trip abroad. Where is it? What coastline is it and what large city lies behind the mountains? Hint: It is not in North America.
Closer to home, it’s Tuesday and time for another edition of stuff you might have missed (but shouldn’t have). Here are interesting tidbits from other blogs related to the Borderstan area and DC.
Real World DC house gets tenant. As reported by Urban Turf, the house that was the site of reality TV show, Real World DC, at 20th and S Streets NW now has a tenant: “Local non-profit HealthHIV has signed a lease for the top two floors of the Real World mansion in Dupont Circle (map).” Read the post for details.
From Luis Gomez
Whether you call it gentrification, revitalization or simply development, the U Street corridor has changed rapidly in the past decade. The eastern end of this famous DC avenue often gets the most attention due to the new residential buildings, and restaurants and clubs that have proliferated on U Street east of 14th Street NW.
However, new businesses have also opened on the western end of U Street, one of them being Greater Goods at 1626 U Street NW. As part of an ongoing series focusing on local entrepreneurs and retail businesses, we talked to Daniel Velez, founder and owner of Greater Goods.
Borderstan: Tell us a little bit about your businesses.
Velez: Greater Goods is DC’s source for eco-friendly products and services. Our goal is to help people live more sustainably by offering “greener” versions of products they use every day.
Borderstan: When did you start your business? Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
Velez: We started in November 2007 with a very small number of products! I was thinking a lot about our dependence on foreign oil, energy independence, and global warming. There was no place in DC that sold the green products I was looking for, so I decided to open one myself.
Borderstan: Many entrepreneurs, business owners have had other start-ups and businesses. What was the most unusual job you ever had or most interesting business you owned?
Velez: A friend and I created a company right out of college so we could take on a video editing project. I had no idea what I was doing, but we got the project and then didn’t sleep for weeks working on it. We called it Front Stoop Productions. The company lasted just one project.
New sidewalks and curbs are being installed on the west side of 17th Street between Q and R Streets NW. It looks like the race is on to get the west side of 17th Street done in time for spring. A number of restaurants on the strip between P and R have outdoor seating. Get updates on the 17th Streetscape project at project Web site.
The editors over at Who Murdered Robert Wone? will be doing live updates starting at 2:45 p.m. on the obstruction of justice charges against three defendants in the Robert Wone murder case. That is when today’s hearing begins downtown at the Moultrie Couthouse; the editors may also provide Twitter updates (@wonetrial). Wone was murdered on the evening of August 2, 2006, at a house on the 1500 block of Swann Street NW. He had been restrained and stabbed.
To date, no one has been charged with Wone’s murder. However, the three residents of the Swann Street house where Wone was murdered are scheduled to be tried for obstruction of justice in the case.
What’s with today’s hearding? According to the editors:
Joe Price’s Miranda battles may figure prominently at this afternoon’s hearing in the Robert Wone case. We preview today’s events, and will be updating via Twitter throughout. Later today, complete coverage of what happens inside Moultrie Courthouse.
The editors have already posted several updates this week:
The back-to-back February snowstorms–the Snowpocalypse–were rich opportunities for bloggers to provide endless updates and photos (guilty!). We put together the Top 10 posts in terms of page views and the winner, by a country mile, was “LET ME IN!” Whole Foods Closes Early; Urban Hipsters Panic with 17th Street Safeway: The Essentials Update in a respectable second place. The Top 10 list is below the fold.
Also, be sure to check out the 760 photos contributed by 68 readers at the Borderstan Snowpocalypse flickr pool.
As for “Snowpocalypse,” if you search for it on Wikipedia, you are redirected to “Snowmageddon“– under which are two separate and lengthy entries for the North American Blizzards of 2010:
Snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse and Snowzilla are portmanteaus of the word “snow” with “Armageddon”, “Apocalypse” and “Godzilla” respectively and can refer specifically to:
The Top 10 list of Borderstan Snowpocalypse posts is below the fold.
As noted in earlier posts this week on the U Street and 17th Street corridors, we are doing something new here at Borderstan with crime stats. In the past we reported monthly crime numbers for an area around the 1600 block of 15th Street NW and occasionally for Police Service Areas 208 (Dupont) and 307 (Logan). Starting this month we are running posts with crime stats for areas that are the centers of three main business and commercial corridors in the Dupont–Logan–U Street area: 12th and U NW; 14th and Q NW; and 17th and Q NW. These are approximately the centers of the U Street, 14th Street and 17th Street commercial corridors.
Why the switch? The area’s commercial strips are centers for neighborhood life–and as a result they can also be crime magnets. All three of the reporting areas listed above will encompass surrounding residential areas as well, as shown in the map above for the U Street corridor. Moreover, all three streets have substantial numbers of residential buildings, too.
Today’s posting is for 14th Street, centered at 14th and Q Streets NW, is near the center of the commercial strip on 14th Street. The 14th Street Corridor crime reporting area (see map above) covers a circular area that radiates 1,000 feet from 14th and Q NW–an area that roughly runs from 15th Street on the west to Vermont Avenue/Logan Circle on the east and from S Street on the north to Rhode Island Avenue on the south. The crime reporting is in Police Service Area (PSA) 307, part of MPD’s Third District.